The World Anti-Communist League, international crime

The World Anti-Communist League, international crime

by Thierry Meyssan *

Founded in Taiwan by Chiang Kai-shek, the Rev. Moon and Nazi war criminals and Nippon, the World Anti-Communist League (WACL) was first used by Nixon to extend the methods of counterinsurgency Southeast Asia and Latin America.Seven heads of state then participated in their meetings. Later, came alive again in the Reagan era, becoming an instrument of U.S. military-industrial complex and the CIA during the Cold War. He then ordered political killings and the formation of the counterinsurgency in all conflict areas, including in Afghanistan where he was represented by Osama Bin Laden.

After the Second World War, the U.S. Secret Service agents used Nazi Ustasha fascist and anti to create a network, you stay-behind [1]. If agents recruited in the future states of the Atlantic Alliance should remain secret, those States that had fallen under Soviet control were, however, to act publicly. Was created, therefore, in 1946, a sort of international entity to coordinate the actions of the players from the East transferred to the West: the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations, ABN).

Ukrainian fascists, Hungarians, Romanians, Croats, Bulgarians, Slovaks, Lithuanians, etc. met under the direction of Yaroslav Stetsko. Ex-collaborationist leader in Ukraine, Stetsko is held responsible for the slaughter of 700 people, mostly Jews, committed in Lvov on July 2, 1941.

Eight years later, at the end of the Korean War, the United States replaced France in Indochina [2]. President Eisenhower established a regional defense system directed against the USSR and China. On September 8, 1954, following the model of NATO, SEATO was created which brings together Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, the United Kingdom and United States. On December 2 the device is completed with a bilateral defense treaty between the U.S. and Taiwan [3].

In parallel, the CIA, under the direction of Allen Dulles, the intelligence structure of these states and provides an organization of anti-party links in the region. It is well, around the same Chiang Kai-shek, an Anti-Communist League of Peoples of Asia (Asian People’s Anti-Communist League, APACL).

In addition to the Taiwanese president Chiang Kai-shek, the APACL counts among its members Paek Chun-hee, the future president of South Korea; Ryiochi Sasakawa, a war criminal, a millionaire and benefactor of the Japanese Liberal Party, and the Reverend Sun Myung Moon [4], prophet of the Unification Church. Also appear in the ranks of the General Prapham APACL Kulapichtir (Thailand), President Ferdinand Marcos (Philippines), Prince Sopasaino (Laos) [5], Colonel Dang Cong Do-representative of President Nguyen Van Thieu, Vietnam) , etc.

L’APACL is under the control of Ray S. Cline, then chief of the CIA station in Taiwan [6], and publishes the Asian Bulletin, which is drafting by Michael Lasater, future head of the Department of Asia at the Heritage Foundation [7].

The creation of the WACL

Since 1958, the president of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN) participates in Taipei at the annual conference of the Anti-Communist League of Peoples of Asia (APACL). Stetsko Cline and oversee the establishment of the Political Warfare Cadres Academy in Taiwan, the institution responsible for training the cadres of the regime of Chiang Kai-shek for anti-repression.

The academy is the Asian equivalent of the Psychological Warfare Center in Fort Bragg (USA) and the School of Americas in Panama [8]. Gradually, the CIA is a network of political groups and trainers in global counterinsurgency. In 1967, ABN and APACL merge and adopt the World Anti-Communist League appeal (World Anti-Communist League, WACL) and extend its activities to the entire Free World. New members include Los Tecos, also called Legion of Christ the King, Mexican fascist formation created during World War II. The League called the first stage of growth during the years 73-75, when Richard Nixon and his security adviser Henry Kissinger in the White House.

Its funding is generously insured by the Unification Church. However, this reality is no longer publicly reconoda since 1975. The Reverend Sun Myung Moon then said to have broken their ties with the League, but continues to exert its leadership through its Japanese representative Osami Kuboki.

The role of WACL in implementing plans Phoenix (1968-1971) and Condor (1976-1977), including the murder of thousands of suspected sympathizers with communism in Southeast Asia and Latin America, is still not enough documented.

Operation Phoenix in Vietnam was probably applied by the Joint Task Force Warfare Unconventionnal Maj. Gen. John K. Singlaub later president of the WACL. However, Singlaub has always denied involvement in that operation.

On the other hand, General Hugo Banzer, who imposed his dictatorship in Bolivia from 1971 to 1978, chaired the Latin American section of the WACL.Banzer organized a plan to physically eliminate his opponents communists in 1975. Banzer Plan was presented as a model for a Latin American meeting of the WACL, in Asuncion, in 1977, in the presence of Paraguayan dictator, Gen. Alfredo Stroessner. A motion directed to proceed in the same way, for disposal in Latin America for priests and religious followers of liberation theology was presented by the Paraguayan delegation and adopted by the World Conference WACL in 1978 [9 ].

Neither knows for sure the role of WACL in the strategy of tension that struck Europe during that period. The Frenchman François Duprat, founder of New Order, the Italian Giorgio Almirante, founder of MSI, the Spanish Jesus Palacio, founder of CEDADE, the Belgian Paul Vankerhoven, president of Circle of Nations, and others like them, are active in the WACL. And the League which gets smuggled from Italy to Stefano delle Chiaie [10], wanted in Italy for terrorism, and sends it to Bolivia, then under the regime of Hugo Banzer, where he immediately appoints second head Klaus Barbie of the death squads.

The documentation is minimal also in relation to the role of WACL in the Lebanon war. It is known, at best, who recruited mercenaries integrated the ranks of the Christian militias of former president Camille Chamoun in 1975, weeks before the outbreak of the conflict.

On arrival at the White House in 1977, Jimmy Carter wants to end the sordid practices of their predecessors. Admiral Stansfield Turner appointed head of the CIA and is dedicated to eliminating authoritarian regimes in Latin America.It is a difficult time for the WACL, who no longer receive funding from its members. This is then converted into a den of anti-Carter, is preparing for better days and spontaneously established relationships with the leading organization of anti-Carter United States, the National Coalition for Peace Force (National Coalition for Peace Through Strength).

That face of rejection comes from the American Security Council, which President Eisenhower designated with the term “military-industrial complex” [11]. Its co-chairs are Daniel O’Graham general [12], who participated with George H. Bush on the reassessment of the Soviet threat in the Commission Pipes-called Team B [13] -, and General John K. Singlaub [14].

Numerous officials of the League are linked to the campaign committees for the election of Ronald Reagan. For many, the Republican governor of California is not a stranger. Indeed, at the end of World War II, Reagan participated as spokesman for the Crusade for Freedom (Crusade for Freedom) in raising funds for the establishment in America of immigrants from Eastern Europe fleeing communism. It was in fact transferred to the Nazis and Ustasha fascist members of the Anti-Bolshevik Bloc of Nations (ABN). As Vice President George H. Bush, it is also a friend. As patron of the CIA, was the head of Operation Condor.

The golden age of WACL

Since the arrival of Ronald Reagan and George H. Bush to the White House, the WACL regains its former vigor and continues its development. Previous contacts bear fruit. The U.S. military-industrial complex is responsible for financing the creation of a U.S. branch of the WACL under the name of World Peace Council (Council for World Freedom, USCWF). Gen. John K. The Singlaub having as vice president of General Daniel O’Graham. But, the thing does not stop there. The military-industrial complex takes over the WACL to make it a central tool of the global anti-repression. Singlaub thus becomes president of the WACL.

The League acts on all fronts

To combat the Soviet presence in Afghanistan, the American Security Council [15] funded a thematic section of the WACL: the Committee for a Free Afghanistan (Committee for a Free Afghanistan) based in the Heritage Foundation. The operation begins on the occasion of an official visit by Margaret Thatcher and Lord Nicholas Bethell, department head of MI6, the United States and headed by General J. Milnor Roberts.

The Committee is directly involved in logistical support to “freedom fighters”, awarded by decision of CIA Director William Casey [16] and run by Osama Bin Laden [17]. The link between the WACL and the Saudi businessman Sheikh Ahmed Salah ensure Jamjoon collaborator of public works emporium Saudi Bin Laden Group, and a former Prime Minister of South Yemen [18].

In the Philippines, President Ferdinand Marcos who represents the WACL. But when it was overthrown in 1986, John K. Singlaub and Ray Cline arrive in the country to choose new partners there. Then create a guerrilla and paramilitary unit deposited in the general preference Fidel Ramos [19], a friend of Frank Carlucci [20], George H. Bush and Bin Laden.

To combat the Sandinista revolution in Nicaragua, the WACL install a rear base in the ownership of John Hull in Costa Rica with Argentine instructors. The League also uses the facilities offered in Honduras the Chief of Staff, Gen. Gustavo Alvarez Martinez, who recruited mercenaries using as cover to Refugee Relief International humanitarian.

In Guatemala, the WACL with Mario Sandoval Alarcon, the leader of the Movement of National Liberation. Sandoval, who was vice president from 1974 to 1978, is the true master of the country since the general-president Romeo Lucas Garcia is just a puppet. Sandoval created death squads that killed more than 13 000 people in five years.

In Salvador, the WACL is based on Roberto d’Aubuisson, formed in Taiwanese academia and beneficiary of the aid of Guatemalans. D’Aubuisson becomes at once ANSESAL chief, the local equivalent of the CIA, and leader of a right-wing paramilitary organization, the Republican Party Nacionalista (ARENA). It also creates death squads and killed the Archbishop Oscar Romero.

But the success of the WACL also cause their downfall. In 1983, Undersecretary of Defense Fred C. Iklé [21] at the Pentagon created a secret committee of eight experts, the Council for the Defense of Freedom, chaired by Gen. John K. Singlaub [22]. It is known that the Committee establishes the secret intervention in Afghanistan as a model to extend counseling to Nicaragua, Angola, El Salvador, Cambodia and Vietnam, but not enough documentary evidence of the details of their action.

In 1984, Ronald Reagan left to the League in general and in particular John Singlaub set Irangate private financing under the direct authority of Col. Oliver North in the National Security Council. The scandal broke in 1987, destroys everything and destroys the WACL.

Harry Aderholt and Generals John Singlaub, members of the Secret Committee for Defense of Freedom> <anticommunism is alive and well organized

Thierry Meyssan

French political analyst. Founder and president of the Voltaire Network and the Axis for Peace conference. Last work published in Spanish: The Big Lie.Manipulation and misinformation in the media (Monte Avila Editores, 2008).

[1] See: “Stay-hebind: U.S. networks destabilization and interference” by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire, July 20, 2001.

[2] The French army lost the battle of Dien Bien Phu on 7 May 1954.

[3] On the other hand, the January 29, 1955, Congress carte blanche to President Eisenhower authorized to enter into war to defend Taiwan if the island is attacked by the Communists.

[4] See: “Reverend Moon, le retour” text in French, Voltaire, March 26, 2001.

[5] Sopasaino Prince, vice president of the National Assembly of Laos, was intercepted by French authorities at Paris’ Orly airport on 23 April 1971. He carried in his luggage 60 kg of pure heroin.

[6] S. Ray Cline had been the most listened analyst views the outbreak of the Korean War. He was head of the CIA station in Taipei from 1958 to 1962. Its coverage was as director of the U.S. Naval Auxiliary Communications Center.Then became deputy director of the CIA through a turnover caused by the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Published a memoir, Secrets, Spies and Scholars, Edotirial Acropolis Books, 1976.

[7] Michael Laseter was primarily responsible for the Church Universal and Triumphant (CUT) by Elizabeth Claire. In the mid 70’s, the sect was in the midst of a scandal when it was discovered a military arsenal at its headquarters in California. One of its leaders was appointed executive director of the WACL representation in Afghanistan in the 80’s.

[8] The School of Americas (SOA) was moved then to Fort Benning, U.S.. Our electronic library offers a comprehensive guide school students in French, from 1947 to 1996.

[9] This operation appears to have been conducted in coordination with Monsignor Alfonso Lopez-Trujillo, then secretary general of the Latin American Episcopal Conference (CELAM).

[10] See: “1980: slaughter in Bologna, 85 dead”, Voltaire, March 14, 2004.

[11] The National Coalition for Peace Force grew to 257 members of Congress.

[12] Lt. Gen. Daniel O’Graham was deputy director of the CIA in charge of relations with other intelligence agencies (1973-74) and later director of the DIA (1974-76). Executive Director of the American Security Council, was one of the main proponents of the proposed “Star Wars.” Frontier High founded which he chaired until his death in 1995.

[13] In 1975, the far right accuses the CIA of having been penetrated by communist infiltrators and minimize the red menace. President Ford then appointed George H. Bush as director of the Agency and authorizing implementation of a counter-check. Richard Pipes sets “Team B” which publishes an alarmist than justify the resumption of the arms race. Today we know that the Commission deliberately falsified data Pipes for open markets and industrial military complex. On this topic, see: “Washington’s manipulators” by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire, January 11, 2005, and “Daniel Pipes, the expert haine” text in French, Voltaire, May 5, 2004.

[14] John K. Singlaub was an officer in the OSS during World War II.Kuomintang guerrillas set of Chang Kai-shek against the Japanese. During the Korean War, he was head of the CIA station, and later, during the Vietnam War, he led the Green Berets. He was then counterinsurgency instructor at Fort Benning. Moving into retirement, he became director of training of the American Security Council. It was under that post he assumed the chairmanship of the Coalition and, later, president of the League.

[15] The National Endowment for Democracy assumes the financing of the Committee since 1984. This shall then part of the funds received humanitarian supplies for their political objectives in Afghanistan, mostly to Doctors Without Borders, Bernard Kouchner, and International Medical Assistance.

[16] United States deliberately destabilized Afghanistan, but did not expect the scale of military response from Moscow. Washington then moved his allies to engage in war, not with the aim to “liberate” the Afghan people but explicitly to prevent the USSR could have a step towards the Arabian Sea.

[17] In 1983, the WACL shirts printed with the image of Osama Bin Laden and the inscription “Support the Afghan Freedom Fighter. He Fights For You! “(Support to Afghan freedom fighter. He fights for you!).

[18] Osama Bin Laden is not presented then as a Muslim believer, but as an anti businessman chosen by Prince Turki, head of Saudi intelligence services, to participate with the United States in the war against the Soviets. Bin Laden first deal to direct the construction of infrastructure needed by “freedom fighters” after administering the procurement of foreign mudjahidines join them. Osama Bin Laden only belatedly transform Muslim believer to establish its authority over them.

[19] General Fidel Ramos is elected president in 1992. At the end of his term in 1998, joined the Carlyle Group. See: “Le Carlyle Group, une affaire d’initio” (The Carlyle Group, a case of insiders) text in French, Voltaire, February 9, 2004.

[20] See: “L’honorable Frank Carlucci” (The Honorable Frank Carlucci) French text, by Thierry Meyssan, Voltaire, 11 février 2004.

[21] Fred C. Iklé was the second of Caspar Weinberger at the Pentagon. This historic fighter of the Cold War is now a member of the Center for Security Policy (CSP) of the Project for a New American Century (PNAC) and manager of the Smith Richardson Foundation.

[22] The committee includes generles Harry Aderholt and Edward Lansdale, Colonel John Waghelstein, Seale Doss, Edward Luttwak, the largest F. Andy Messing Jr. and Sam Sarkessian.

Gun fails to save Rome policeman from beating by Berlusconi rioters

Italy gun policeman in riot

Ambushed: the officer is jumped by hooded protesters, some armed with clubs

A policeman with his gun drawn was overpowered in a violent demonstration against the government of prime minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The officer from the Guardia di Finanza, a paramilitary police force under the authority of the finance ministry, was dragged to the ground and beaten with clubs.

Mr Berlusconi’s narrow victory in a parliamentary confidence vote brought pandemonium to the streets of Rome. Thousands of protesters fought riot police in the Corso, the capital’s main street, in front of tourists.

About 40 demonstrators and 50 police were injured as cars were set on fire and paint and smoke bombs thrown at government buildings, with the protests spreading to TurinNaplesSicilySardiniaand Milan.

U.S. Senator. UU. asked to stop aid to Nicaragua for invasion

Sen. Richard G. Place called yesterday to eliminate the U.S. economic aid given to Nicaragua through the Millennium Challenge Initiative, as a sanction for the invasion of the island Calero in Costa Rica.

In a letter to the executive director of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (Millennium Challenge Corporation), Daniel W. Yohannes, Nicaragua requested exclusion Place project, in view of his attitude toward Costa Rica goes against the “criteria of eligibility for assistance” from the program.

Lugar, who represents the state of Indiana, the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee of the Senate at a time when that party is prepared to participate more heavily in the next Congress, which assumes in January.

Punishment and reaction. The Millennium Challenge Corporation is a U.S. aid agency. UU. created by Congress in 2004 to fight global poverty.

In his note, Place recalls that in 2005 U.S.. UU. had signed a cooperation plan with Nicaragua for $ 175 million, but the intrusion of the government of Daniel Ortega in the elections of mayors, the program cut the assistance to $ 113.5 million.

Of that money already awarded $ 105 million, according to Place, and now this calls for halt on further aid to the Nicaraguan occupation of the island Calero.

In addition, the Indiana senator emphasized in its petition to the Corporation which should adopt a political declaration in view of the attitude of the government in Managua.

The reaction of the political sector in Costa Rica was one of surprise and applause.

Foreign Minister Rene Castro welcomed the letter because, in his opinion, is a reaction to public complaints and the management team Costa Rican diplomat to members of the United States Congress.

“We have been informing members of both parties in Congress and visited a number of representatives to report the case of Costa Rica,” said Castro.

“This action in defense of Costa Rica is a sign of interest in the case, from environmentalists to lawmakers and experts on these issues,” said the Chancellor.

According to Francisco Chacon, deputy for the National Liberation Party (PLN) and president of the International Affairs Committee of Congress, “Senator Lugar’s description is very accurate and very reliable version of events. Nicaragua will feel pressure from other governments in similar ways. “

Meanwhile, Claudio Monge, a member of the Citizen Action Party (PAC) who denounced abuses in Nicaragua, Calero island located in the northeast corner of the country “, said the letter” is a strong voice and is a call to position the issue, and rule more openly. “

Complaint for invasion. E l Senator Lugar, in his letter to Yohannes (head of the Millennium Challenge), realizes the Nicaraguan Army’s invasion Costa Rican wetlands, deforestation of primary forests and the illegal stay of the soldiers of that country in the territory of Costa Rica.

In addition, reports on the efforts of Costa Rica to the Organization of American States (OAS) and the application before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, and the Convention of Wetlands of International Importance Ramsar.

Now, Costa Rica awaits the hearing in The Hague from 11 to 13 January with the expectation that the ICJ required to remove its troops from Nicaragua Calero Island.

Empire unmasked

[The author of the following has captured the duplicity of US diplomacy, which has been highlighted by the leaks--public diplomacy--vs--military reality.  That seems to be the diplomats' only function these days, to lie to the public about US military intentions and actions.  That is what you have when you have an aggressive militarist state disguising itself as a "champion of human rights."  By the time the US military policies are carried-0ut in the world there will be very little of this dinosaur known as "human rights" left over.]

 

“Secret diplomacy is a necessary tool for a propertied minority, which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to subject it to its interests. Imperialism, with its dark plans of conquest and its robber alliances and deals, developed the system of secret diplomacy to the highest level.”

– Leon Trotsky, Foreign Affairs Commissariat, USSR, 1917.

Empire unmasked

VIJAY PRASHAD

The WikiLeaks cables expose the duplicity in American diplomacy and send shudders across world capitals.

LENNART PREISS/AP

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a news conference in London on October 23. He was arrested on December 7 after a Swedish court issued a warrant against him on a molestation charge.

“Secret diplomacy is a necessary tool for a propertied minority, which is compelled to deceive the majority in order to subject it to its interests. Imperialism, with its dark plans of conquest and its robber alliances and deals, developed the system of secret diplomacy to the highest level.”

– Leon Trotsky, Foreign Affairs Commissariat, USSR, 1917.

ON November 28, four newspapers and WikiLeaks’ website released the first tranche of almost 250,000 United States State Department and embassy cables. Orchestrated with a great deal of care, the website provided only the 291 cables that were being written about separately by El País, Der Spiegel, The Guardian and The New York Times. Each day a set of cables saw the light of day and the papers reported on them in tandem.

A few days after the trickle, The Guardian provided a downloadable index of all the cables, with information of their provenance and their dates, but with nothing about their content. It whets the appetite. What we have to look forward to are cables from 274 embassies and the State Department at Foggy Bottom, Washington, DC.

These cables cover the years 1966 to 2010, although the bulk of them belong to the period after 2006. The cables carry such varied material as Ambassadors’ assessments of the political situation in the countries they are deputed to, the State Department’s questions to Ambassadors, and Ambassadors’ or political officers’ reports on meetings they attended. Some Ambassadors and political officers are remarkably perceptive; others are, predictably, duds.

MANDEL NGAN/AFP

U.S. President Barack Obama. The disclosure of documents “has resulted in damage to our national security”, said the administration.

Thus far, just over a thousand cables are in the public domain. WikiLeaks’ public face, Julian Assange, is under arrest in the United Kingdom, and capitals across the world are either in nervous anticipation or in shocked disbelief. There is no question that this deluge by WikiLeaks is the most significant blow to the world of secret diplomacy since the Soviet Union opened the Tsarist correspondence with the grandees of Europe in 1917.

In early 2009, U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Margaret Scobey wrote to Hillary Clinton to prepare her for her visit with Egyptian Foreign Minister Aboul Gheit. The cable is a model of diplomatic acumen, providing a character sketch of Gheit (“smart, urbane with a tendency to lecture”) and offering a series of options that Gheit might push Clinton on (such as an invitation to the Gaza Donors’ Conference in Cairo). Scobey, a career foreign services officer, knows her business. No wonder that the Indian Ministry of External Affairs asks its trainee diplomats to study the cables “and get a hang of the brevity with which thoughts and facts have been expressed”.

Early in the cable, however, Scobey reveals the problem with her profession. She correctly points out to Hillary Clinton that Gheit “may not raise human rights (specifically Ayman Nour), political reform, or democratisation; but you should”. Ayman Nour is the leader of the El Ghad liberal party who had been in Cairo’s prisons since 2005 (he was released shortly after Clinton’s meeting with Gheit).

The problem here is that while Scobey tried to push the agenda of human rights in one room, in other, more shadowy rooms, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and military intelligence officials of the U.S. carried a more powerful brief. Since 1995, the U.S. government has provided the Egyptian secret service (the Mukhabarat) with various prisoners through the extraordinary rendition programme. These prisoners, often suspected of being Al Qaeda members, are alleged to have been tortured in those very jails that Ambassador Scobey criticised.

Idealism vs new diplomacy

What the cables demonstrate, therefore, is the blind idealism of the State Department, which has been sidelined by the new diplomacy in the shadows conducted by the U.S. government’s arms of war.

In cable after cable, we read of the visits of U.S. military officials and their conversations with heads of state in various countries. The Ambassadors act as fixers or go-betweens for these military luminaries. For instance, Ambassador Stephen Seche, another career diplomat, filed a cable from Sana’a, Yemen, in January 2010 on General David Petraeus’ meeting with Yemen’s President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP

THE WIKILEAKS HOME page as viewed in Washington on December 3. The White House ordered government agencies to block employees from accessing WikiLeaks from official computers, saying the leaked diplomatic cables remain classified documents.

Seche sat by as stenographer as Petraeus and Saleh colluded against Yemeni sovereignty and the U.S. public – the U.S. has an active military presence in Yemen, and is at war there, something that is not known in the U.S. and has not been admitted to the Yemeni Parliament.

“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Saleh told Petraeus. His Deputy, Rashad al-Alimi, said he had just lied to Parliament, telling it that the bombs are American, but fired by Yemenis.

Petraeus pointed out that Saleh must tell the Yemeni customs to stop “holding up embassy cargo at the airport, including shipments destined for the [Yemeni government] itself, such as equipment of [Yemen's counter terrorism unit]”. In other words, the diplomatic pouch no longer carries only letters; it now carries military hardware.

In 2007, Deputy Chief of Mission in Berlin John Koenig wrote to the State Department after a briefing at the German Chancellery. The Bush administration was afraid that the German government would pursue a case against the 13 CIA agents who were responsible for the extraordinary rendition of a German national, Khalid el-Masri. The CIA kidnapped, tortured and then released El-Masri when they discovered that they had the wrong man. The Germans found out the names of the agents and traced their orders to National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice.

As legal scholar Lisa Hajjar put it to me, “the cables indicate that the U.S. exerted political pressure on the German legal and political system to shut down the criminal case, a serious and unlawful intervention in the domestic law enforcement process of a sovereign state.” Once more the embassy is doing the legwork of the CIA and the NSA, both of whom have begun to run foreign policy but use the State Department to clean up behind them.

Even here, diplomacy is reduced to naked power. The Deputy Chief of Mission “pointed out that our intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.” This is, of course, a threat. Much the same dance took place in Madrid.

Spying on U.N. staff

No surprise then that the State Department, in July 2009, asks its embassy staff to collect credit card information, frequent-flyer numbers and biometric data of members of the United Nations Security Council and of the U.N. Secretary-General. What is revealing is that we do not know who has asked the State Department to collect this information and what will be done with it.

It is unlikely that the State Department has use for such information; more likely that this goes off into the entrails of the Defence Intelligence Agency, the CIA and the NSA. These shadowy entities are the only ones with the wherewithal to use this kind of data. They have smothered the capacity of the more urbane State Department to conduct its kind of handshake diplomacy.

The embassy now appears as the emissary of the military and the CIA. This is precisely what Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke meant when he called for the diplomatic arm to be a “support for the military”.

Cloak and Download

The WikiLeaks cable dump brought embarrassment to capitals across the world. In Beijing there were shudders when the U.S. cables quote officials calling the North Koreans “spoilt children” and when the cables pointed fingers at Chinese officials for the cyber-attack on Google.

A tremor crossed Buckingham Palace when the well-written cable from Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller showed up Prince Andrew’s nasty side. Ex-government officials in London blushed when the cables suggested that they had released the Libyan prisoner Abdel Basset Ali al-Megrahi because of pressure from Tripoli, where Gaddafi must be unhappy that the world knows that he cannot climb more than 35 steps at a time.

Italy’s Silvio Berlusconi must enjoy the notations about his notorious party-life, as much as Germany’s Angela Merkel must despise the characterisation that she “avoids risk and is seldom creative”.

Subservience

The cables from the Gulf had the royals, in a position of utter subservience, telling the Ambassadors what they think the U.S. wants to hear: during the Bush administration begging them to attack Iran, and then during the Obama administration calling for tougher sanctions.

The Gulf royals are a mirror of Washington’s whims. American and Israeli newspapers saw the selective calls for a military attack on Iran as confirmation of the views of their own governments.

If Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan called for Iran’s nuclear programme to be stopped “by all means available”, on another day his government was “clearly nervous about any U.S. actions that could upset their much larger and militarily superior neighbour”. By 2009, the Crown Prince worried that a military strike “would have little impact on Iran’s capabilities”, even as he fulminated, “Ahmedinejad is Hitler” (the last quote was highlighted in The New York Times).

Evidence of U.S. operations in Yemen was not as devastating as evidence of its Special Force operations in South Waziristan. Ambassador Anne Patterson’s agony is evident. In February 2009, she wrote to Washington that the relationship with Pakistan is “transactional in nature,” as well as “based on mutual mistrust”. “Pakistan hedges its bets on cooperation because it fears the U.S. will again desert Islamabad after we get Osama bin Laden,” she wrote perceptively. “Washington sees this hesitancy as duplicity that requires we take unilateral action to protect U.S. interests. After 9/11, then President [Pervez] Musharraf made a strategic shift to abandon the Taliban and support the U.S. in the war on terror, but neither side believes the other has lived up to expectations flowing from that decision. The relationship is one of co-dependency we grudgingly admit – Pakistan knows the U.S. cannot afford to walk away; the U.S. knows Pakistan cannot survive without our support.” It is hardly the kind of thing that the State Department would like to have in the public domain, even as it demonstrates that Washington does not operate without the benefit of reality.

Everybody denounced the leaks and rejected the claims made by U.S. Ambassadors. Washington, DC, reacted in an obvious way. It went after the messenger. A charge that Julian Assange did not use a condom when he had consensual sexual relations in Sweden (which has some of the best rape laws in the world) was resurrected miraculously by the prosecution office in Gothenburg; the Swedish Chief Prosecutor, Eva Finne, had declined to prosecute the case in August of this year.

The American right wing went off the deep end, with several prominent people calling for the assassination of Assange. Even Democrats lost their commitment to free speech – Senator Diane Feinstein called for Assange to be jailed for 2.5 million years (a 10-year sentence for each offence, and with 250,000 documents the sentence is biblical). Senator Joe Lieberman put pressure on Amazon to remove WikiLeaks from their web server. It complied, and so did MasterCard, Visa, Tableau, PayPal and EveryDNS. The Hindu’s editorial on December 5 called this a procedure of “Digital McCarthyism”.

Why is there this massive outrage at these cables when there was virtual silence at the release of the Iraq and Afghan war logs? These cables show the elite at their venal worst, conniving with each other, making light of each other’s failings. Imagine what must be in the Russian diplomatic dispatches or those of the Saudi intelligence services. The war logs, on the other hand, showed the misadventures of teenaged working-class soldiers, suborned to a war that they did not understand. Their violence was dismissed as the work of a few “bad apples”, men and women who had not been sufficiently civilised. In these cables, on the other hand, the civilised talk about their “dark plans of conquest”. It is an abomination.

Before his arrest Assange took on the liberal concept of free speech. In a chat on The Guardian website, he noted, “The West has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings, and so on. In such an environment, it is easy for speech to be ‘ free’ because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is like birds and badgers.”

Assange’s dry, elliptical wit emerged once more in his last published dispatch ( The Australian, “Don’t Shoot the Messenger for Revealing Uncomfortable Truths,” December 8). Here he compared his endeavour to the campaign of Rupert Murdoch’s father Keith. Keith Murdoch fought to bring to light the sacrifices of Australian troops at Gallipoli because of muddled British commanders. “In the race between secrecy and truth,” the elder Murdoch wrote, “it seems inevitable that truth will always win.” Assange then went on to say, “Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.”

The point about “corporate corruption” is withering. WikiLeaks has already announced that it is set to release documents from a major U.S. bank. In haste, Bank of America pre-emptively said it may be the bank. It wants to take the sting out of the surprise.

When the talk of assassination heated up, Assange and his team released an insurance file to their allies. This heavily encrypted file contains damaging material on British Petroleum, Guantanamo Bay and other matters. It sits on computers, awaiting the 256-digit key. The WikiLeaks team has appropriately called this the Doomsday File.

Adm. Mullen Sidesteps Questions on Future US Intervention, On Balochistan, Or On Indian Subversion

Direct military action in Pakistan not my decision to take: Mullen

Wednesday December 15, 2010 (1149 PST)

ISLAMABAD: Describing North Waziristan as the “epicentre” of terrorism, US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, has once again emphasised the inevitability of military action in the restive tribal agency, adding, “General Kayani (too) has spoken of it in terms of not if, but when”. Shying of making a categorical denial ruling out direct military action inside Pakistan, he also said that it was not a decision for him to make.

He was talking here to a group of Pakistani newspaper editors and American journalists accompanying him on his latest visit to Pakistan. The admiral stated that the ultimate meaningful resolution of the Afghan conflict would come through negotiations but opined that in his judgment that stage had still not come. “I have always said that we cannot kill them all but for peace to prevail, first ground conditions must be changed”. He further stated, “I believe that negotiations typically occur when we would pursue them from a position of strength.” When asked to gauge US’s “position of strength” on a scale of one to ten, the admiral simply smiled and said, “I’d leave that alone”.

Talking about the North Waziristan issue, he cited it as the main concern for his repeated visits to Pakistan arguing that, “there needs to be a focus” on this priority. He said that he was engaging Pakistan’s military and political leadership to create pressure on both sides of the border against these groups and to “recognise the need”.

During the course of the discussion, Admiral Mullen repeatedly referred to al-Qaeda and Taliban, including Haqqani group, “living peacefully in Pakistan”, and lamented that their actions against America and its allied Nato troops “needed to be ceased”. He said that terrorist groups like LeT, TTP, etc, were coming closer and their local perspective was changing to a regional outlook and said that, “the goal here is to dismantle, al-Qaeda and such groups living peacefully in Pakistan”. At this point, when asked whether the Pakistan-being-the-terrorist-haven mantra was actually a deliberate ploy to create a justification for an ultimate direct military action inside Pakistan, the top US commander said that the sensitivity of Pakistan’s sovereignty was not lost on anyone.

When pressed to categorically state whether there was absolutely no possibility ever of any direct army action by the US or Nato troops inside Pakistan, he, however, stopped short of stating the same and said, “I don’t get to decide who does what but I’m very cognizant of the sensitivity of the sovereignty of the country and the same is recognised by the military and political leadership in United States”. He also said that it was no myth but a fact that al-Qaeda leadership was based inside Pakistan.

Responding to various questions, he clearly indicated that contrary to the general perception, the United States had no intentions of just packing up and leaving, come spring 2011. He informed that the draw-down of US troops from Afghanistan would begin in the coming spring but said that it was too early to tell from where and how these troops would be culled. “It’s upto General Petraeus to decide and right now it’s a bit too early for that” and went on to add that, “the drawdown does not mean that we won’t continue having a considerable presence in Afghanistan”.

Defending the troops’ surge in Afghanistan, he claimed that it had proved instrumental in causing a curtailing and reversal of the Taliban momentum but in the same breath also agreed that, “this reversal is fragile and not irreversible and still needs to be taken to that point”. He said that the surge had helped positively transform the law and order situation in Helmand amongst other places and allowed for non-military services to be undertaken and added that the number of US civilians involved in non-military services had increased three fold.

Replying to another question, he stressed the presence of a strongly growing relationship between the two countries but ceded that Pakistan-US relationship continued to be mired in deep mistrust and would take a long time to rebuild. “Between 1990 to 2002, we had no relationship and it will take a long time to rebuild the present immense trust deficit. It will take a lot longer than even a decade or so,” he said, adding that the US was now looking at building a, “long term stable strategic relationship and not one based purely on military links”.

When asked whether attempts to isolate al-Qaeda from Taliban could yield results in the present ground realities he said, “This is epicentre of terrorism. Groups are coming closer here, (we) would love to split them but I don’t see it happening here soon.”

He trashed all reports about combat US soldiers being embedded with Pakistani troops involved in anti-terrorism operations in Fata and said that wherever there were US troops involved with the Pakistan Army, they were purely in the capacity of trainers and instructors and had been specifically invited by the Pakistan Army itself.

Commenting upon the fallout of WikiLeaks, he said that he did not apprehend any damage to relations between the US and Pakistani military establishments but did add that in his opinion, Assange (WikiLeaks founder) and his team had put at risk “lives they did not even know about”.

The admiral tactfully sidestepped questions regarding India’s exaggerated role in Afghanistan and only said “this (Afghanistan conflict) is a regional challenge and everyone is aware of everyone’s concerns”. He was equally non-committal when asked about Pakistan’s serious concerns over Balochistan and its possible impact on the Afghan situation and only stated that the US was very much aware of the “Balochistan sensitivity issue and it will have to be addressed in totality” while dealing with the enemy dedicated to destroying America and others in the region.

Admiral Mullen also paid rich tributes to late ambassador Richard Holbrooke and dubbed his death as an immense loss both to the United States but also to the peace process in Afghanistan.

End.

Musharraf Says Army ‘May Intervene Over Pakistan’s Decline’

[Pakistan is sorely in need of a national leader--maybe Musharraf is it.]

Army ‘May Intervene Over Pakistan’s Decline’

Alex Crawford, special correspondentPakistan’s former president Pervez Musharraf has warned the army may have to intervene again in politics, if the country continues to decline. 

He added Pakistan may be forced to take matters into their own hands – which could include working with the Taliban – if it continues to feel alienated by the rest of the world.

Mr Musharraf was speaking exclusively to Sky News from his new home in the United Arab Emirates, where he is in self-imposed exile.

“There is no bar against me going back to Pakistan. But the conditions have to be right,” he said.

The former general is building his own political party with the intention of returning to Pakistan to take on the current government in a bid for power.

Pakistan has to be protected. If you don’t help, if no-one helps… then Pakistan has to take its own measures.

Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf

It would be an astonishing turnaround for a man who resigned more than two years ago before almost certainly being impeached.

Mr Musharraf spoke extensively in a wide-ranging interview which covered his return to politics, his regret at the circumstances surrounding his resignation and the future.

He was most concerned over the threat he sees coming from the developing relationship between America, India and Afghanistan.

“They are creating an anti-Pakistan Afghanistan and America has to realise that,” he said.

Pervez MusharrafMr Musharraf talking to Sky

“What should Pakistan do? What should ISI (the Pakistan intelligence agency) do? What does the Army chief do? They’ll make a strategy of protecting themselves.”

I asked whether that would mean working with the Taliban.

He replied: “No comment, no comment.

“We must understand, the protection of Pakistan is everything as far as I’m concerned.

“If someone is disturbing that I will go to any extent to protect Pakistan, because that’s what I’m meant for. So you can see the answer yourself.”

He issued this warning to the West: “Pakistan has to be protected. If you don’t help, if no-one helps and instead is helping the other side, the side which is trying to disturb and destabilise us, well, then Pakistan has to take its own measures.”

Anti-Musharraf protesters in BirminghamMusharraf’s time as President earned him many opponents.

Pakistan, he said, is in a terrible state – with its economy in crisis, high unemployment, mass discontent – and this as well as having terrorists on its soil.

Mr Musharraf said his return and his attempt to become an elected politician would this time “give me the legitimacy which maybe last time I didn’t have because, in the eyes of the world, I was a dictator.”

The man who first took power in a bloodless coup also said the army may still have to play a role in determining the future leadership.

“You have to remember, in Pakistan the armed forces play a very big and important role,” he said.

“It is strong and well-administered and wherever there is turmoil, the people run to the army.

“I have always been of the opinion the army should have a role in the constitution, so it can voice its opinion and influence what happens in the country.

“The whole world thinks that is politicising the army. It isn’t.”

But he went onto say the army chief always had the quandary of upholding national security, ensuring the survival of the state as well as balancing that against upholding democracy.

“Is democracy more important than the state?” he asked.

“This is the question that arises. And the army is in between. The Army is the saviour. The Army can save the state. It cannot save democracy.”

Is Judgment of Khodorkovsky Indictment of Putin’s Neo-Soviet System?

“Putin once told him that it was Khodorkovsky’s funding of the parliamentary opposition without Kremlin approval that had sealed his fate.”

Day of judgment for Vladimir Putin’s billionaire rival

A heavy sentence on Wednesday for the tycoon held on fraud charges since 2003 will show Russia retains its Soviet mentality.

Russia faces one of the biggest judgments on the Putin-Medvedev leadership tomorrow with the culmination of the latest legal case against Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the oil billionaire and one-time political contender who has been in jail on fraud charges since 2003.

The case against Khodorkovsky, once Russia’s richest man, has been seized upon as a barometer of Russia’s political climate. Another lengthy jail term for the man once seen as a threat to Vladimir Putin’s pre-eminence is likely to indicate a further retrenchment of the forces of Soviet-style justice hostage to the whims of its leaders; a lesser verdict — or an unlikely acquittal — will be seen as a victory for forces of reform.

The case is the second against Khodorkovsky and his former business partner Platon Lebedev, who were dramatically arrested in 2003 and convicted of fraud and tax evasion two years later. Khodorkovsky’s oil empire, built up through the corrupt privatisation auctions in the 1990s, was crudely appropriated and appended to the apparatus of the state. But from his jail cell in Siberia, and latterly Moscow, the former tycoon has grown into an unlikely figurehead for the fractured and emasculated opposition in Russia.

The latest case against the pair was brought in 2007, when prosecutors presented fresh charges against the two men, this time for allegedly embezzling over 200 million tonnes of oil and laundering the proceeds. Throughout the trial Khodorkovsky would point to the absurdity of the two cases: evading taxes on laundered money does not make much sense.

The trial has lasted nearly two years. The prosecutor spent several months reading the 3,500-page indictment in a low mumble. More than 100 witnesses were called. In a surprise move, former economy minister German Gref and energy minister Viktor Khristenko agreed to testify.

Throughout the trial Khodorkovsky has often appeared frustrated, as he leads his own defence despite a team of lawyers. His closing remarks early last month were greeted in some circles as a manifesto for challenging the Putin era.

“A state that destroys its best companies, which are ready to become global champions, a country that holds its own citizens in contempt, trusting only the bureaucracy and the special services, is a sick state,” Khodorkovsky told the court.

“Much more than two people’s fates lie in your hands,” he said. “Right here and right now, the fate of every citizen of our country is being decided.” That was a thought echoed today in an open letter to President Medvedev, signed by nearly 50 European figures, including former foreign secretary David Miliband, former French foreign minister Bernard Kouchner, and film director Terry Gilliam.

“As strong supporters of the drive to modernise Russia we cannot stand idly by when rule of law and human values are being so openly abused and compromised,” they wrote about the trial of Khodorkovsky and Lebedev. “The consensus of respected objective observers is that their ongoing persecution is unjust and not truly motivated by law. This has shaken confidence in the Russian legal system and in your strong will to uphold the Russian constitution.”

Medvedev, a former lawyer, took over the Kremlin from Putin nearly three years ago, and has focused his presidential rhetoric on pledging to modernise and democratise the country. In practice, he has done little to suggest that he operates independently of Russia’s paramount leader.

Friends and associates consider the perpetual assault on Khodorkovsky as a deliberate attack on a man who had grown too powerful and too independent for Putin. Mikhail Kasyanov, who served as prime minister under Putin and has since joined the opposition, says Putin once told him that it was Khodorkovsky’s funding of the parliamentary opposition without Kremlin approval that had sealed his fate. He spent two years in a jail in Chita in the Siberian far east, some of it in solitary confinement, before being transferred to Moscow in 2007.

Khodorkovsky’s supporters argue that the second trial, which could see him jailed until 2017, was designed to keep him in prison throughout the election period. His current sentence runs out in October 2011.

Vadim Klyuvgant, Khodorkovsky’s lead lawyer, declined to speculate on what sort of verdict he expected, but said the judge had come under unprecedented pressure and that both trials taken together amounted to “one big vendetta”.

The verdict could be read out over several days. At the end of Khodorkovsky’s first trial in 2005, the judge took 10 days to issue his decision, gracing the court with an endless litany of procedural remarks. “Khodorkovsky is ready for everything,” Klyuvgant said. “He’s ready to fight as long as needed.”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media 2010

RIA Novosti Gives Hillary New “Roadmap” for Reset Relations

[The following report form RIA Novesti reads like it was written in the Kremlin.]

What does the collapse of the Soviet Union really mean?

Source: RIA Novosti

Regardless of how one would characterize the collapse of the Soviet Union – as the “greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century” or just its “major geopolitical disaster” – everyone appears to agree that it was one of the 20th century’s most fateful geopolitical events. Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin once called it a “genuine drama” for the Russian nation. In contrast, many in the West celebrated the disappearance of the Soviet Union as a Cold War trophy and a sign of the “end of history.”

While the fact that the Soviet Union has “collapsed” is not in dispute, little attention is being paid to what the Soviet Union, the Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), actually was. The only thing everyone seems to remember is that the USSR was composed of 15 so-called Soviet Socialist Republics (SSR). So when the USSR was “collapsing,” the “collapse” was supposed to proceed precisely along the borders separating the SSRs, resulting in the creation of 15 newly independent states. Can it get any simpler than that?

Not so fast. In 1991, the Soviet Union was a true administrative monster that held together as many as 173 different territorial entities: 15 above-mentioned SSRs, 20 Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republics (ASSRs, parts of SSRs), 8 autonomous regions, 114 regions, 6 territories (“край”), and 10 autonomous districts.

Countless changes to this administrative puzzle occurred over the almost 70 years (1922-1991) that the Soviet Union was in existence: new districts, regions and republics emerged and then disappeared with the speed of images on a slide show; borders between entities were drawn and redrawn, and then redrawn again, by a restless hand of a mysterious artist; shuffling smaller “republics” between bigger ones was taking place almost as often as shuffling cards in professional poker. Just a few examples. In 1936, the Kazakh and Kyrgyz ASSRs ceased being parts of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR), the largest SSR in the USSR, and were “upgraded” to the Kazakh and Kyrgyz SSRs, while the Karakalpak ASSR was transferred from the RSFSR to the Uzbek SSR. In the 1950’s, a swath of RSFSR territories bordering the Kazakh SSR went under the Kazakh SSR’s jurisdiction. In 1954, the Ukraine SSR got a gift from the RSFSR: Crimea (the Crimea region of the RSFSR).

Think about that for a moment. Crimea has been an intrinsic part of Russia for almost 200 years, with the Russian Empire spending blood and treasure, during the Crimean War of 1853-1856, to keep the peninsula within its borders. And then, a Communist apparatchik, Nikita Khrushchev, following the best traditions of the Soviet Union’s arbitrariness, just transferred Crimea from Russia proper to Ukraine. (The reason for Khrushchev’s decision – to commemorate the 300th anniversary of the reunification of Ukraine with Russia – sounds especially absurd today.) Is it not incumbent upon anyone who wants to put away the legacy of the Soviet Union to condemn this act of supreme state stupidity (the term “state treason” would perhaps be more appropriate) and to demand that Crimea be returned to where it truly belongs: in Russia?

Granted, the borders of some Soviet Socialist Republics – the three Baltic SSRs (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) come to mind first – did reflect historically established demarcations between stable and mature nations. But others did not. Instead, they were created by the malicious mind of the world’s most creative nation builder, Josef Stalin. Take the Georgian SSR. This product of Stalin’s imaginative cartography included the Abkhaz ASSR and the South Ossetia autonomous region, both placed under Georgian rule in contradiction to historic and common sense and despite protestations by both the Abkhazi and Ossetian people. So when in 1991, Georgia declared its independence from the Soviet Union, both Abkhazia and South Ossetia rightfully demanded their independence from Georgia. They won it, after an armed rebellion, in 1992-1993. But the Western governments have refused to accept their de facto independence. Western strategists apparently believed that in this part of the Soviet Union, its “collapse” should be partial, so that Georgia’s independence from the Soviet Union was legitimate, despite the fact that Georgia joined the Soviet Union voluntarily, but the independence of Abkhasia and South Ossetia from Georgia was not, despite the fact that both entities were made part of Georgia by Stalin’s order.

The U.S. Secretary of State ought to consider this the next time she articulates U.S. policy in the region. Madam Secretary should remember that by vowing to uphold Georgia’s “territorial integrity,” she is attempting to preserve the legacy of the Soviet Union (and fulfill the dreams of its bloody dictator).

It will take time to heal all the wounds – political, economic, social, cultural, and psychological – the precipitious and disorderly desintegration of the Soviet Union has caused to Russia and its people. It will also take time to fully understand what the Soviet Union was and was not in the history of the Russian state. The burden of this work lies on the shoulders of the Russians themselves. But we in the West can help, too. First, by accepting that today’s Russia is not a Soviet Union and will never be one. Second, by realizing that the “collapse” of the Soviet Union is still going on, and we can’t just end its history by whim.

ISI Hiding Its Part In American Special Forces/Drone War

ISI on the run, refuses to explain its role in drone attacks!

Related article:

General Kayani allowed US special forces to secretly operate in Pakistan

In a visible expression of disrespect and distrust of politicians, the ISI has refused to brief the Pakistan Parliament’s standing committee on defense about their role and cooperation with the US drone attacks on Pakistani territory.

According to recent revelations by Wikileaks the current drone operations in Pakistan are being conducted by the USA with due permission and help from Pakistan Army / ISI.

A few days ago, the National Assembly Standing Committee on Defense had taken serious view of the media reports that US was seeking to expand drone attacks in Quetta. The committee is chaired by the PPP MNA from Sindh, Azra Afzal.

The NA committee, which met at the Parliament House on 25 November, sought a clarification from the Interior, Foreign and Defence Ministries by December 7. The committee also directed for a special briefing on ISI role in the war on terror.

The ISI has however refused to welcome parliamentarians in their headquarters because of ‘security concerns’.

The ISI, which is largely conceived as a state within the state of Pakistan, is notorious for its disrespect for elected representatives of the people, and also for its illegal interference in the country’s political system.

According to the ISI’s criteria, almost all politicians and activists (except Imran Khan, Munawar Hassan, General Hameed Gul, Hafiz Saeed, Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Pir Pagara etc) are a risk to the national security of Pakistan.

In the past, the ISI and its paid agents in Pakistani media have categorized elected Prime Ministers Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif as a threat to the national security.

Same allegations are currently being levelled against the elected President Asif Zardari, Prime Mnister Yusuf Raza Gilani and their aides including Interior Minister Rehman Malik and Law Minister Babar Awan etc.

Blurring the Lines Between Pak/US Command Structure

Wikileaks: US special forces secretly working with Pak military

US embassy cables released by whistleblower website WikiLeaks reveal that teams of US special forces have been secretly working with Pakistan military in the tribal areas, the Guardian said on Wednesday.

Small US special forces teams helped hunt down Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters and co-ordinate drone strikes, American cables revealed.

They pointed out that the number of soldiers involved were limited to just 16 in October 2009 – but the deployment is of immense political significance.

The first special forces team of four soldiers was deployed at an old British colonial fort in the northern half of the tribal belt in September 2009, so as to help Frontier Corps paramilitaries to carry out artillery strikes on a militant base, one of the leaked US cables revealed.

A month later, two more teams of six soldiers each were deployed at Pakistani army bases in North and South Waziristan, a lawless warren of mountains considered to be the global headquarters of al-Qaeda, it said.

Their job was to provide “intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance” support, “general operational advice” and to help set up a live satellite feed from American drones flying overhead.

American officials, who had long been pushing for such a deployment in the face of “adamant” Pakistani opposition, were jubilant, viewing it as a sign of growing trust in an often troubled relationship, the cable said.

“The developments of the past two months thus appear to represent a sea change in [the military's] thinking,” read one of the cables.

American special forces had been deployed in Pakistan since 2008 but were limited to a training role, it noted.

Permission for the active combat deployment “almost certainly” came with the personal consent of Pakistan army chief General Ashfaq Kayani, another cable read.

“Patient relationship-building with the military is the key factor that has brought us to this point. The Pakistanis are increasingly confident that we do not have ulterior motives in assisting their operations,” according to the cable.

Participation of American soldiers in combat operations in the tribal campaign has never been publicly acknowledged due to its extreme political sensitivity in a country seething with anti-US sentiment, it further noted.

In the cables, Pakistan bureaucrats have been shown as supporting the drone attacks, viewing them as a solution to a problem.

Speaking in an “unofficial capacity” last year, a senior tribal area official in Peshawar told US officials that “he and many others could accept Predator strikes as they were surgical and clearly hitting high value targets”.

Most local people did not fear the strikes because “everyone knew that they only hit the house or location of very bad people”, he said.

Terror Bomb Kills 38 In Chabahar, Iran, Home of New Indo/Iranian Port

[Was this a warning to India, as well?]

Iran mosque bombing kills at least 38

AFP

TEHRAN (AFP) – A suicide bomber blew himself up at a mosque in the Iranian city of Chabahar on Wednesday, killing at least 38 people and wounding 50 as Shiites marked the climax of Ashura, officials said.

“According to the latest casualty toll, 38 people were killed and 50 wounded by the blast which struck near Farmandari Square among worshippers who were taking part in a procession,” the official, Mahmoud Mozafar, told the ILNA news agency.

“An individual walked up to some Red Crescent ambulances and blew himself up,” Mozafar added.

A pathologist cited by the official IRNA news agency said 38 bodies had been brought to the town’s mortuary, among them women and children.

The prefect of Chabahar Ali Bateni denied earlier reports that there had been two explosions and said there had been two, not three, attackers.

“There were two terrorists who were spotted before they carried out their attack but one of them managed to detonate his explosive vest,” he told IRNA.

“The ringleader of this terrorist action has been arrested.”

State media said that the bomber struck in the main square outside the Imam Hossein mosque in the southeastern city.

The attack came on the eve of the final day of Ashura, one of the high points of the Shiite calendar when large crowds of worshippers gather in mosques across Iran.

Unlike most of Iran, Sistan-Baluchestan province where Chabahar is situated has a significant Sunni community and has seen persistent unrest in recent years by the Sunni militant group Jundallah (Soldiers of God).

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Wednesday’s bombing but over the past decade, Jundallahhas claimed many deadly attacks on Iranian security forces as well as assaults that have led to civilian deaths.

In July, it claimed responsibility for an attack on the Grand Mosque in the provincial capital Zahedan that targeted members of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps and killed 28 people.

Last month, the United States officially designated Jundallah a foreign terrorist organisation, drawing a cautious welcome from Iran which had previously accused Washington of supporting the group.

The authorities have cracked down hard on the group, arresting many suspected members and executing its leader Abdolmalek Rigi in June.

Rigi was captured in a dramatic operation in February while on a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, when Iranian warplanes forced the aircraft he was on to land in Iran.

A month before his execution, his brother Abdolhamid was also executed on charges of “terrorism.”

The 10-day Ashura rituals, which climax in Iran on Thursday, commemorate the killing of Imam Hussein, a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed, by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD. Tradition holds that the revered imam was decapitated and his body mutilated.

Shiites make up around 15 percent of Muslims worldwide. They represent the majority populations in Iraq, Iran and Bahrain and form significant communities in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

An Excerpt from “My Life with the Taliban,” by Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef

Torture and Abuse on the USS Bataan and in Bagram and Kandahar: An Excerpt from “My Life with the Taliban” by Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef

Andy Worthington

Cageprisoners has just posted an excerpt from My Life with the Taliban by Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, the Taliban government’s ambassador to Pakistan before the 9/11 attacks, who was seized by the Pakistani authorities a few months later. Handed over to the US authorities, he was one of a number of supposedly signficant prisoners held on the USS Bataan (including the Australian David Hicks), and was then moved to the US prisons at Bagram airbase and Kandahar airport. He was transferred to Guantánamo in July 2002, and was released in September 2005.

His autobiography has been well-received. Foreign Affairs described it as “A counternarrative to much of what has been written about Afghanistan since 1979 … Zaeef offers a particularly interesting discussion of the Taliban’s origins and the group’s effectiveness in working with locals,” and the Sunday Telegraph wrote, “Spies, generals and ambassadors will pounce on this book, poring over its pages for clues to a way out of the Afghan morass.”

This fascinating excerpt from the book, cross-posted below, deals with Zaeef’s detention in Pakistan, on the USS Bataan, and in Bagram and Kandahar.

An Excerpt from “My Life with the Taliban” by Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef (Hurst & Co.)

When we arrived in Peshawar I was taken to a lavishly-fitted office. A Pakistani flag stood on the desk, and a picture of Mohammad Ali Jinnah hung at the back of the room. A Pashtun man was sitting behind the desk. He got up, introduced himself and welcomed me. His head was shaved — seemingly his only feature of note — and he was of an average size and weight. He walked over to me and said that he was the head of the bureau. I was in the devil’s workshop, the regional head office of the ISI.

He told me I was a close friend — a guest — and one that they cared about a great deal. I wasn’t really sure what he meant, since it was pretty clear that I was dear to them only because they could get a good sum of money for me when they sold me. Their trade was people; just as with goats, the higher the price for the goat, the happier the owner. In the twenty-first century there aren’t many places left where you can still buy and sell people, but Pakistan remains a hub for this trade. I prayed after dinner with the ISI officer, and then was brought to a holding-cell for detainees. The room was decent, with a gas heater, electricity and a toilet. I was given food and drink — even a copy of the Holy Qur’an for recitation — as well as a notebook and pen. The guard posted at the door was very helpful, and he gave me whatever I requested during the night.

I wasn’t questioned or interviewed while being held in Peshawar. Only one man, who didn’t speak Pashtu and whose Urdu I couldn’t understand came every day to ask the same question over and over again: what is going to happen? My answer was the same each time he asked me. “Almighty God knows, and he will decide my fate. Everything that happens is bound to his will”.

All of the officials who visited me while I was detained in Peshawar treated me with respect. But none of them really spoke to me. They would look at me in silence but their faces spoke clearer than words could, humbled by pity and with tears gathering in their eyes. Finally, after days in my cell, a man came, tears flowing down his cheeks. He fainted as his grief and shame overcame him. He was the last person I saw in that room. I never learnt his name, but soon after — perhaps four hours after he left — I was handed over to the Americans.

It was eleven o’clock at night and I was getting ready to go to bed when the door to my cell suddenly opened. A man (also with a shaved head) entered; he was polite and we exchanged greetings. He asked me whether I was aware of what was going to happen to me. When I said that I knew nothing, he said that I was being transferred, and that it would happen soon. So soon, in fact, that he recommended that I should prepare straight away by taking ablutions and by using the toilet. Without asking for any further details, I got up and took my ablutions.

The USS Bataan

Barely five minutes had passed when other men arrived with handcuffs and a piece of black cloth. They shackled my hands and the cloth was tied around my head covering my eyes. This was the first time in my life that I had been treated in this way. They searched my belongings and took the holy Qur’an, a digital recorder and some money I still had with me. As they led me out of the building, they kicked and pushed me into a car. None of them had said a word so far. We drove for almost an hour before they stopped the car. I could hear the sounds of the rotating blades of a helicopter nearby. I guessed that we were at an airport where I would be handed over to the Americans. Someone grabbed me and pulled an expensive watch that I was wearing from my wrist as the car drove closer to the helicopters. The car stopped again, but this time two people grabbed me on each side and took me out of the car. As they brought me towards the helicopter, one of the guards whispered into my ear. Khuda hafiz. Farewell. But the way he said it, it sounded like I was going on a fantastic journey.

Even before I reached the helicopter, I was suddenly attacked from all sides. People kicked me, shouted at me, and my clothes were cut with knives. They ripped the black cloth from my face and for the first time I could see where I was. Pakistani and American soldiers stood around me. Behind these soldiers, I could see military vehicles in the distance, one of which had a general’s number plate.

The Pakistani soldiers were all staring as the Americans hit me and tore the remaining clothes off from my body. Eventually I was completely naked, and the Pakistani soldiers — the defenders of the Holy Qur’an — shamelessly watched me with smiles on their faces, saluting this disgraceful action of the Americans. They held a handover ceremony with the Americans right in front of my eyes. That moment is written in my memory like a stain on my soul. Even if Pakistan was unable to stand up to the godless Americans I would at least have expected them to insist that treatment like this would never take place under their eyes or on their own sovereign territory. I was still naked when a callous American soldier gripped my arm and dragged me onto the helicopter. They tied my hands and feet, sealed my mouth with duct tape and put a black cloth over my head. That was in turn taped to my neck, and then I was shackled to the floor of the helicopter. All this time I could neither shout nor breathe. When I tried to catch my breath or move a little to one side, I was kicked hard by a soldier. On board the helicopter, I stopped fearing the kicking and beating; I was sure that my soul would soon leave my body behind. I assured myself that I would soon die from the beatings. My wish, however, wasn’t granted.

The soldiers continued to shout at me, hit and kick me throughout the journey, until the helicopter finally landed. By then I had lost track of time. Only Allah knows the time I had spent between cars, helicopters and the place where I now found myself. I was glad when the helicopter landed, and allowed me to hope that the torment had come to an end, but a rough soldier took me and dragged me out of the helicopter. Outside, a number of soldiers beat and kicked me. They behaved like animals for what seemed like hours. Afterwards, the soldiers sat on top of me and proceeded to have a conversation, as if they were merely sitting on a park bench. I abandoned all hope; the ordeal had been long and I was convinced I would die soon. Still I saw the faces of the Pakistani soldiers in my mind. What had we done to deserve such a punishment? How could our Muslim brothers betray us like this?

I lay curled up for two hours on the ground and then they dragged me to another helicopter. It appeared to be more modern than the last one. The guards tied me to a metal chair, and throughout the flight I was not touched. No one told me where I was being taken, and the helicopter landed some twenty minutes later. Again, the soldiers grabbed me and led me away. It seemed like a long way; I was still blind-folded, but I could hear that there were many people in the vicinity. They pulled me up to my feet and an interpreter told me to walk down the staircase in front of me. The stairs led inside and the noise of the people above slowly faded. There must have been six flights of stairs before we stopped and the black bag was pulled from my head. The duct tape was ripped off my face, and my hands were untied.

Four American soldiers stood around me and to my left I could see cells — they looked more like cages — with people inside. The soldiers brought me to a small bathroom, but I couldn’t shower. My limbs and body throbbed with the pain of the beating I had received earlier in the day during the torment of the helicopter flight. I felt paralysed and had little sensation in my arms or legs. I was given a uniform and led into one of the cages. It was small, perhaps two metres long and a metre wide, with a tap and a toilet. The walls were made out of metal bars with no seals. Before they left, the guards told me to go to sleep and locked the door behind me. Alone in the cage, I reflected on the last few days. How did I end up in this cage? Everything was like a dark dream, and when I lay down and tried to get some sleep amid the aching of my bruised body, I realised that I no longer knew whether I was awake or asleep.

The next morning I looked out from my cage and saw a soldier guarding the door. There were three other cages around mine, all covered in rubber. It dawned on me that I was in a big ship, one of the ships used in the war against Afghanistan off the Pakistani coast. I could hear the loud rumble of the ship’s engines throughout the night and morning, and I was sure that this was one of the ships that had launched missiles at Afghanistan.

I barely moved my eyes — not daring to look around — out of fear. My tongue was dry and stuck to the top of my mouth. On the left side I could see a few other prisoners who were together in one cell. A soldier came with some food and another prisoner was brought onto the ship. The men ate their breakfast and stood together. We were not permitted to talk to each other, but could see one another while the food was handed to us. I eventually saw that Mullahs Fazal, Noori, Burhan, Wasseeq Sahib and Rohani were all among the other prisoners, but still we could not talk to each other.

A soldier entered my room and handcuffed me to the bars of the cage. They searched my room and afterwards I was interrogated for the first time; fingerprints were taken and I was photographed from all sides. They wrote up a brief biography before bringing me back to my cage. I found that I had received some basic items in my absence: a blanket, a plastic sheet and a plate of food — rice and a boiled egg. I had not eaten for a long time, and returned the empty plate to the guard who stood in front of my cage. I had just lain down to rest when I heard another soldier coming with handcuffs. Shackled once more, I was brought to the interrogation room. This time I was asked about Sheikh Osama bin Laden and Mullah Mohammad Omar. They asked me where they were, what their current condition was, and then about some key commanders of the Taliban forces — where they were hiding, what had happened to them and what they were planning. 11 September came up only once, and then only in a very brief question. They wanted to know if I had known anything about the attack before it happened. These were the main things I was asked in the dark and small interrogation room on the ship.

The Americans knew — I was sure — that I had little to do with the things that they asked me about. I had not been informed, nor did I have any previous knowledge, of the attacks on the United States or who was responsible for them. But just as these things happened to me, thousands of others were defamed, arrested and killed without a trial or proof that they had been complicit or responsible. On the ship I thought that I would never see my friends and family again. I thought they would never know what had happened to me.

No one should be in such despair, especially a Muslim, but I had to remember the Soviet invasion, and the behaviour of the Russians in Afghanistan. I thought of the destiny of those sixty thousand Afghans who were just devoured by the Soviet monster. They were gone forever; no one returned alive, and no one knew anything about them. For the first time, I could feel what those people must have felt, deep in my bones. I wanted my spirit to join them and to be finished with this anguish. I wanted to escape the cruelties of those vicious animals, those barbarous American invaders.

After five or six days on the ship I was given a grey overall, my hands and feet were tied with plastic restraints and a white bag was put over my head. I was brought onto the deck of the ship along with the other prisoners. We were made to kneel and wait. The restraints cut off blood to our hands and feet. Some of the other prisoners were moaning because of the pain but the soldiers only shouted and told them to shut up. After several hours we were put into a helicopter and we landed three times before we reached our final destination. Each time we landed the soldiers would throw us out of the helicopter. We were forced to lie or kneel on the ground and they kicked and hit us when we complained or even moved.

In the helicopter we were tied to the walls or the floor, most of the time in a position that was neither kneeling nor standing. It was torment, and with each passing minute the agony grew. On our penultimate stop when I was thrown to the ground, one of the soldiers said, “this one, this is the big one”. And while I could not see them, they attacked me from all sides, hitting and kicking me on the ground. Some used their rifles and others just stomped on me with their army boots. My clothes were torn to pieces and soon I was lying naked in the fresh snow. I lost all feeling in my hands and feet from the restraints and the cold. The soldiers were singing and mocking me. The USA is the home of Justice and Peace and she wants Peace and Justice for everyone else on the globe, they said over and over again. It was too cold to breathe and my body was shaking violently, but the soldiers just shouted at me telling me to stop moving. I lay in the snow for a long time before I finally lost consciousness.

Bagram

I woke up in a big room. I could see two guards wearing balaclavas and holding large sticks in their hands in front of me. My body ached all over. When I turned my head I saw two more guards behind me in each corner of the room, both pointing pistols at my head. They were all shouting at me. “Where is Osama? Where is Mullah Omar? What role did you play in the attacks on New York and Washington?” I could not even move my tongue. It had swollen and seemed to be glued to my upper palate. Lying in that room, in pain and being screamed at, I wanted to die. May Allah forgive me for my impatience! They left when they noticed that I could not answer; then other soldiers came and dragged me into a run-down room without a door or a window. They had given me some sort of clothes but still it was too cold and once again I lost consciousness. I woke up in the same room. A female soldier was guarding the entrance and came over to me. She was the first soldier that was nice and behaved decently, asking me how I was and if I needed anything. Still I could not talk. I thought I was in Cuba at first, having lost all sense of time, but when I saw that the walls were covered in names and dates of Taliban I realized that I was still in Afghanistan.

I could hardly move. My shoulder and head seemed broken and the pain rushed through me with each heartbeat. Silently I prayed that Allah would be pleased with me and that he protect other brothers from the ordeal I was going through. When it became dark I called for the female soldier to help me. I asked her if I was allowed to pray. She said that I was. My hands were still tied so that I could hardly perform tayammum. I was still praying when two soldiers entered the room. They let me finish my prayer before they asked me if I felt better, if I was cold or needed anything. All I said was alhamdulillah. I dared not complain, and I knew they could see the bloody bruises on my face, my swollen hands and my shaking body. They asked me about Sheikh Osama and Mullah Mohammad Omar but I had nothing to tell them. My answer did not please them, and I could see the anger in their faces. But even though they threatened me and tried to intimidate me, my answer stayed the same and they left.

I had not eaten for six days because I was not sure if the military food rations they gave me were halal. For nearly one month they kept me in that small run-down room, and all I had for food was a cup of tea and a piece of bread. The soldiers would not let me sleep. For twenty days I lay in the room with my hands and feet tied. I was interrogated every day.

On 24 January 2002, six other prisoners were brought into my room, most of whom were Arabs. They stayed for a few hours before they were taken away again. They returned the next day and I asked them what had happened. They told me that Red Cross representatives had come to to inspect the camp, register prisoners and collect letters for their families. They said that they did not know why they were being hidden away. We talked some more, and food was brought, the first time I had had enough to eat.

Kandahar

In the following days we were moved several times. Each time we would be blindfolded, made to kneel and sit in uncomfortable positions for hours. On 9 February we were transferred out of Bagram and flown down to Kandahar. Once again we were tied up, kicked and beaten, dragged through the mud and made to wait outside in the cold. Many of the prisoners screamed and cried while they were abused. The same happened when we arrived after the brief flight. I was hit with sticks, trampled on and beaten. Five soldiers sat down on me while I lay in the cold mud. They ripped my clothes to shreds with their knives. I thought I would be slaughtered soon. Afterwards they made me stand outside; even though it was extremely cold I felt nothing but pain. They dragged me into a big tent for interrogation. There were male and female soldiers who mocked me, while another took a picture of me naked.

After a medical check up I was blindfolded again and dragged out of the tent. The soldiers rested on the way, sitting on me before bringing me to another big prisoner tent that was fenced off with barbed wire. Every prisoner was given a vest, a pair of socks, a hat and a blanket. I put the clothes on and covered myself with the blanket. It was cold in the tent and other prisoners were brought in one after another. Interrogations went on all day and night. The soldiers would come into the tent and call up a prisoner. The rest of us would be ordered to move to the back of the tent while they handcuffed the prisoner and led him out. The soldiers would abuse prisoners on the way, run their heads into walls — they could not see — and drag them over rough ground.

A delegation of the Red Cross came to the camp to register us and gave each prisoner an ID card. We were all suspicious of the delegates and believed that they were CIA agents. The Red Cross was trying to connect the prisoners with their families, arranging for letters to be exchanged and providing some books. They also arranged showers for us. Each prisoner got a bucket of water and was forced to take his shower naked in front of the other prisoners. We were allowed to shower once a month. No water was provided for ablutions. We received bottled drinking water from Kuwait and sometimes prisoners would use it to wash their hands and face, but as soon as the guards noticed the prisoner would get punished. I was held in Kandahar from 10 February till 1 July 2002. We were repeatedly called for interrogation. The tactics of the Americans changed from time to time; they would alternate between threats and decent treatment or they would try to cut deals with us. I was asked about my life, my biography, my involvement in the Taliban movement and so on. But the discussion always returned to Sheikh Osama and Mullah Mohammad Omar. Often an interrogation that began in a humane and decent way would end up with me being grabbed and roughly dragged out of the room because I did not have any information about the life of Sheikh Osama or the whereabouts of Mullah Mohammad Omar.

There were twenty people in each prison tent. The camp in Kandahar was better than Bagram. We were allowed to sit in groups of three and talk to each other; there were more facilities in general. All in all I believe there were about six hundred prisoners in the Kandahar camp. They conducted night-time searches, rushing into each prison tent and ordering all prisoners to lie face-down on the floor while they searched us and every inch of the tent. They brought in dogs to go through the few belongings we had, and to sniff up and down our bodies. There was no real food; all we were given was army rations, some of which dated back to the Second World War. Many were expired and no one could tell if we were allowed to eat the meat that was in the rations, but we had no choice: we had to eat the food or we would starve. The situation improved in June when we were given rations that were labelled halal. The new rations tasted better, and they weren’t out of date any more. We were also given some Afghan bread and sweets, a real luxury. Helicopters and airplanes landed day and night close by and the constant noise kept us awake. Many of the soldiers would also patrol during the nights, shouting and waking us. Three times each day all the prisoners would be counted. We were all given a number; I was 306. Until the time I was released I was called 306.

When I was taken to Bagram, every day I hoped that it would be my last. I only had to look at my shackled hands and feet, my broken head and shoulders, and then I would look at the inhuman, insulting behaviour of these American soldiers; I had no hope of ever being free again. When I met the six prisoners who were being hidden from the Red Cross in Bagram, I understood that there was something going on … I did not see any representatives of the Red Cross at Bagram because the Americans had also hidden me from them, but when I was transferred from Bagram to Kandahar, I saw the Red Cross on the second day after I arrived. They did not have a Pashtu translator with them, just an Urdu speaker whom they had taken from their Islamabad office. He was not Pakistani himself, but he could speak fluent Urdu. They had Arabic speaking staff as well. For Pashtu they had three people who hardly could speak the language at all: Julian, Patrick, and a German who had spent a lot of time in the Peshawar area. It was the first time that I had been able to tell my family that I was alive. I was given a pencil and paper, and a soldier sat in front of me while I wrote. When I was finished I gave the pencil and the paper back to the soldier. I did not receive any letters from home when I was in Kandahar, and nobody gave me any information about my family, about what had happened to them after I was arrested.

There were lots of Red Cross representatives going back and forth, talking to us through barbed wire. They were asking questions about our health and other problems. They told us that whatever we said would stay safe with them, and that they would not tell the Americans. But we were suspicious. We thought they might be lying; we could not trust them and we were not open with them. We did not tell them what was in our hearts. We could not complain about the situation, because right in front of their eyes the Americans were taking us to interrogation, they were dragging us along the ground, sometimes with two or three soldiers sitting on top of us. The Red Cross delegates saw this, but they did not help.

The detainees told all of the brothers to be careful in what they said. According to them, there were many American spies masquerading as Red Cross delegates, tricking us while pretending to help. But in any case we had nothing useful for the Americans. We had nothing to do with any spying. The only sensitive issue was complaints, and the fact that many of the brothers had given false names and addresses when they were captured. So now they could not give new names and addresses to the Red Cross, so their letters were being sent to the wrong places. It was hard for them to tell the truth to the Red Cross, because they were afraid the information would get back to the Americans. I had the same suspicions when I was in Guantánamo.

We did not understand the level of assistance we were getting from the Red Cross while we were in Kandahar. But I did know three things they were doing: first, they were connecting us to our families with those letters, which was very important. Second, they gave us four Qur’ans per each set of twenty people. Third, they arranged for us to take our first shower in four months, even if it was a communal, naked, and very embarrassing shower. They also gave us clean overalls. According to the Red Cross, all of these things were done at their suggestion.

Our guards changed shifts twice a day and many of the low-ranking soldiers misbehaved, bearing ill-will towards Muslims. Every time they would appear, we had to stand in a row looking at the ground, and if the number of a prisoner was called he had to say ‘welcome’. Any prisoner who disobeyed these orders was punished. Every day all prisoners were lined up outside and made to stand in the sun. There were about twenty tents that held eight hundred prisoners. Not all soldiers were the same, but some would command us to stand there for half-an-hour before they took the attendance register and almost two hours afterwards. No one was allowed to sit down or stand in the shade, no matter what his condition. May Allah punish those soldiers!

The guards inspected the tents inside and outside along the barbed wire every day. One time a soldier found a piece of broken glass outside on the ground. He was one of the meanest soldiers, and upon discovering the piece of glass he gave it to me and asked where it had come from. I tossed it back to him and said that I did not know; we had brought nothing with us. The glass must have been here before, I told him. The soldier kept repeating his question. “Don’t talk. I will fuck you up”, he screamed at me. I was forced to kneel with my hands behind my head for several hours; from time to time he would kick or push me to the ground. There was no point in complaining about the behaviour of the soldiers; it would only make the punishment even worse. I will never forget the treatment I suffered at the hands of these slave rulers.

Kandahar prison camp had several sections. Next to the ordinary prison tents, one of the old hangars — previously a workshop for air planes — was now being used for the prisoners. Most prisoners feared it as a place of extreme punishment. Several times I saw prisoners being transported to the hangar bound with metal chains. In another separate location they deprived prisoners of sleep, holding them for months on end. The camp was guarded by six watchtowers and patrols, on foot and with vehicles, which took place all day and night. There are too many stories from the time when I was a prisoner in Kandahar. One day a new prisoner was brought to the prison tent where I was detained. He was a very old man. Two soldiers harshly dragged him into the tent and dropped him on the floor. He was ordered to stand but neither could he stand nor was he able to understand the men. He seemed to be confused; other prisoners told him to stand up but it was as if he could not distinguish the soldiers from the prisoners.

On the second day when he was called for interrogation and had to lie down to be tied up, he did not understand again. None of the other prisoners were allowed to help him; we were told to move towards the far end of the tent. Soon the soldiers let their passions loose and kicked him to the ground. One of them sat on his back while the others tied his hands together. All the while the old man was shouting. He thought he was going to be slaughtered and screamed, “Infidels! Let me pray before you slaughter me!” We were shouting from the back of the tent that he was just going to be interrogated and that he soon would be back at the tent, but it was as if he was in a trance. I cried and I laughed at the same time. There was so much anger in me as I watched the old man being dragged outside. When he came back I sat down to talk to him.

He said he was from Uruzgan province and that he lived in Char Chino district. He told me he was 105 years old, and eventually he was the first man to be released from the Hell of Guantánamo. In the camp we would pray together in congregation. One morning while I was leading the morning prayer, we had just started performing the first raqqat when a group of soldiers entered our tent and called the number of an Arab brother to take him for interrogation. The brother did not move, but continued with his prayer as is commanded by Allah. He was called a second time. By the third time, the soldiers rushed in, threw me to the ground, pressing my head into the floor, sitting on me while two others grabbed Mr Adil, the Arab brother from Tunis, and dragged him out. There was no respect for Islam.

Every day prisoners were mistreated in the camp. A Pakistani brother who had a bad toothache had only been given Tylenol by the medic in the camp. Eating was painful and difficult for him, and he could not manage to finish his food in the thirty minutes allocated for each meal. When the soldier came to collect his plate, he asked to be given more time because of his teeth. The soldier took him to the entrance and hit him in the mouth while the rest of us watched helplessly. After we saw how they treated the Pakistani brother, we decided to go on hunger strike. Word spread quickly and soon the entire camp had stopped eating. When the camp authorities came to find out what the reason for the strike was, we informed them about the abuses of the soldier and that we would no longer tolerate them. We were promised that incidents like this would be prevented in the future and we stopped the hunger strike. Even though we were subject to harsh conditions, this was the first hunger strike to have taken place under the American invaders’ custody.

The next day Mohammad Nawab, who was very ill and could not stand up, was beaten and kicked. The soldiers had come to inspect the tent and ordered the prisoners to move to the back. Mohammad Nawab had not moved; he had remained in bed. When the soldiers saw him, a group of them started to beat and kick him before they dragged him to the end of the tent and dropped him at our feet. I should mention that not all American soldiers behaved in this way; some were decent and respectful and did not join their comrades in the abuses. Some abuses were worse than others and affected everyone in the camp. One afternoon I woke up to the sound of the men crying. All over the camp you could hear the men weep. I asked Mohammad Nawab what had happened. He said that a soldier had taken the holy Qur’an and had urinated on it and then dumped it into the trash.

We had been given a few copies of the Qur’an by the Red Cross, but now we asked them to take them back. We could not protect them from the soldiers who often used them to punish us. The Red Cross promised that incidents like this would not be repeated, but the abuses carried on. The search dogs would come and sniff the Qur’an and the soldier would toss copies to the ground. This continued throughout my time in Kandahar. It was always the same soldier who acted without any respect towards the Qur’an and Islam. There were many other incidences of abuse and humiliation. Soldiers were conducting training with the prisoners as guinea-pigs: they would practise arrest techniques — all of which were filmed — and prisoners were beaten, told to sit for hours in painful positions. The number of such stories is endless.

All the while the interrogations continued. One night, when I had already been in Kandahar for several months, I was called for interrogation. I was asked if I wanted to go home, told that they had not benefited from my detention and had found no proof that I was involved beyond my dealings as Ambassador. They were planning to release me, they said. They would arrange for money, a phone and anything else I needed. After all this they told me the condition for my release: all I had to do was help them find Sheikh Osama and Mullah Mohammad Omar. Any time I would choose detention over this kind of release. I would not dare to put a price on the life of a fellow Muslim and brother ever!

I interrupted them and asked them what the reason for my detention was. They said that they believed I know about Al Qaeda, the Taliban, their financial branches, and about the attacks on New York and Washington. I had been arrested to investigate all these allegations. Given that they had not found any proof of what they had accused me of, they must see that I was innocent, I said. I had been arrested by the Pakistani government, and should be released without any conditions. For three days they talked about financial aid and a possible deal if I would agree to their terms, but I turned all their offers down. Once again their behaviour changed. They threatened me and my life, again.

The next day a group of soldiers came to our tent throwing a bunch of handcuffs towards a group of prisoners. After they put on the handcuffs, they were tied together and led away. We all wondered what was happening. Some believed that we were being released; others speculated that they might get transferred. But they all were brought back a few hours later. Each and every one was shaved — their beards, hair and eyebrows. Every single hair was gone. This was the worst form of punishment. In Islam it is forbidden to shave one’s beard. It is considered a sin in the Hanafi faith. It is better to be killed than to have one’s beard shaved. I was in the next group that was led away to the barber. I asked the barber not to shave my beard; he replied with a hard slap to my head. I did not open my eyes for several minutes while the pain rushed through me. Later, when a doctor asked me what had happened to my face and I complained about the barber, I received another slap from the doctor, telling me I should not complain about the American invaders.

During one interrogation session, I was asked if I knew Mr Mutawakil [the Taliban foreign minister] and there were several other questions relating to him. Finally I was asked if I wanted to meet him. I doubted that he had been arrested and asked where he was and how I could meet him. A few moments later he entered the room. He had brought me a packet of Pakistani biscuits, but my hands were tied and I was unable to eat them. Nor was I allowed to take them with me. We talked for ten or fifteen minutes and then he left again. In the short meeting I learnt that I would soon be transferred to Cuba. Mr Mutawakil did not say much more about that. He knew that Allah knew best what would happen to me. The next day I was interrogated again. I was told that I would be transferred to Cuba on 1 July.

The interrogator added that those going to Cuba would spend the rest of their lives there and that even their bodies might never find their way back to Afghanistan. This was my last chance, he said; I had to make a decision to go home or to be transferred to Cuba. Once again he stated the conditions for my release. If I were to go home, I would have to work with and help the American intelligence agencies in their search for Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders, remaining their slave for the rest of my days. May Allah save us from committing such a sin! Even though I was given a day to think about it, I replied immediately: “I am not more talented or important than any of the brothers detained here. I accept the decision made for me by Almighty Allah. I have not committed any crime, and so will not admit to any crime. It is now up to you to decide what to do with me and where I shall be transferred”. After this interrogation I hoped that the transfer would come soon.

Andy Worthington is the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (published by Pluto Press, distributed by Macmillan in the US, and available from Amazon — click on the following for the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to my RSS feed (and I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter). Also see my definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, updated in July 2010, details about the new documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (co-directed by Polly Nash and Andy Worthington, currently on tour in the UK, and available on DVD here), and my definitive Guantánamo habeas list, and, if you appreciate my work, feel free to make a donation.



:: Article nr. 72820 sent on 13-dec-2010 18:24 ECT
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