The strangest thing just happened, while I was attempting to access this article by googling it, every reference to it was blocked with “may harm computer” warning.
After I managed to access the article through the “Hidden Access” site, the block and the warning were removed by someone. Google? Military? CIA?
Bush’s orders to send special forces after Taliban militants have roots in previous presidencies.By Howard LaFranchi | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the September 15, 2008 edition
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WASHINGTON – Orders President Bush signed in July authorizing raids by special operations forces in the areas of Pakistan controlled by the Taliban and Al Qaeda and undertaking those raids without official Pakistani consent, have roots stretching back to the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In an address to a joint session of Congress nine days after 9/11, President Bush said, “From this day forward any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime.”
But even before that declaration, two key steps had been taken: One, Congress had authorized the use of US military force against terrorist organizations and the countries that harbor or support them. Two, Bush administration officials had warned Pakistan’s leaders of the dire consequences their country would face if they did not unequivocally enlist in the fight against radical Islamist terrorism.
What Mr. Bush’s July orders signify is that, after seven years of encouraging Pakistan to take on extremists harbored in remote areas along its border with Afghanistan and subsidizing the Pakistani military handsomely to do it, the US has become convinced that Pakistan is neither able nor willing to fight the entrenched Taliban and Al Qaeda elements. Indeed, recent events appear to have convinced at least some in the administration that parts of Pakistan’s military and powerful intelligence service are actually aiding the extremists.
“We’ve moved beyond the message stage here. I think the US has had it with messages that don’t get any action, and that is why the president authorized this,” says Kamran Bokhari, director of Middle East analysis for Stratfor, an intelligence consulting firm in Washington. “This says loud and clear, ‘We’re fed up.’ ”
Even before the July order, the US had undertaken covert operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Moreover, the CIA over the past year has stepped up missile attacks by the unmanned Predator drones it operates to hit targets in the region. That increase has coincided with a deterioration of the war in Afghanistan, where the Afghan Army and NATO forces have come under increasing attack from militants crossing over the rugged and lawless border from Pakistan.
But Bush’s orders, first reported in The New York Times Thursday, mean that operations against insurgent sanctuaries will become overt and probably more frequent. A Sept. 3 ground assault involving US commandos dropped from helicopters targeted a suspected terrorist compound. Missile attacks by the CIA’s unmanned drones, including one Friday reported by Pakistani officials to have killed at last 12 people, are also on the rise.
Precedence for the orders authorizing the attacks on terrorist havens can be found in President Bill Clinton’s authorization of retaliatory attacks in 1993 (against Iraqi intelligence facilities) and in 1998 (against terrorist camps in Afghanistan and Sudan), and in President Ronald Reagan’s bombing of Libya, legal scholars say.
The administration has debated the use of commando raids in Pakistan for years, but the tipping point came in July, as relations with Pakistan’s civilian and military leaders deteriorated, intelligence sources say. The “kicker,” according to one source who requested anonymity over the sensitivity of the issue, was two July events: the bombing of India’s embassy in Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, an act that US intelligence officials concluded was aided by Pakistani intelligence operatives; and a July 13 attack on a US military outpost in eastern Afghanistan that killed nine US soldiers. The outpost attack was carried out by Taliban militants who had crossed over the nearby border from Pakistan.
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The evolution of operations in Pakistan from covert to overt actions is reminiscent of a trajectory followed in some aspects by the Vietnam War, some analysts note.
Patrick Lang, a former Middle East analyst for the Defense Intelligence Agency, says the evolution in Pakistan is similar to what occurred in Cambodia during the Vietnam War, when US operations against Vietcong sanctuaries there were initially covered up.
“We initially crossed into Cambodia as covert forces, but that changed,” says Mr. Lang, who was part of special forces that carried out the Cambodia operations. By 1970, cross-border operations against enemy sanctuaries were being carried out in the open. Looking at the evolution in operations in Pakistan, the national security analyst says, “We are letting [Pakistanis] know this could evolve into bigger things.”
Adds the intelligence source who requested anonymity, “The message is to the new civilian leadership and the military, ‘We have bought all these toys for you – if you don’t use them and do things in these areas that are causing us problems, we’ll do them for you.’ ”
The new orders reflect flagging confidence in Pakistan’s civilian and military leadership to address the problem of the Taliban and terrorist havens, which are thought to harbor Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri. For seven years the Bush administration focused its Pakistan policy on President Pervez Musharraf and his assurances that he was battling the militant sanctuaries. But Mr. Musharraf was forced to resign last month after suffering a crushing electoral defeat earlier in the year, and the US appears to have little confidence in the new civilian and military leaders.
“Musharraf was a one-stop shopping center for US relations with Pakistan, but that no longer exists,” says Stratfor’s Mr. Bokhari. Senior State Department officials have met with Pakistan’s new civilian leaders, he notes, while top Pentagon officials have met with the military leadership including Army chief of staff Gen. Ashraf Parvez Kayani, the top military commander.
“The sense I get is they were given the runaround, and they came away from all these meetings convinced the leadership structure has become much more complex at a time when the Taliban are becoming stronger and the situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating,” Bokhari says. “The feeling was the US couldn’t sit by and see how the leadership sorts itself out.”
Bush’s orders authorizing cross-border incursions into Pakistan mean in a sense that the rules governing US special operations have shifted from yellow to green. The military will no longer need a presidential “finding” for each operation – and that, military analysts say, means the handling of forays into Pakistan will fall increasingly into military rather than CIA hands.
That has some intelligence officials worried that the consequences of stepped-up US operations in Pakistan – in terms of Pakistani public opinion and the stability of the government – will get short shrift. According to intelligence sources, officials from the National Intelligence Council recently briefed the Bush administration’s national security team on the potentially dire consequences of US actions that could destabilize the government of a country with nuclear weapons.
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Tuesday, August 05, 2008
By Kamran Khan
KARACHI: Pakistan has complained to the United States military leadership and the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) that Washington’s policy towards terrorism in Pakistan was inconsistent with America’s declared commitment to the war against terror.
Impeccable official sources have said that strong evidence and circumstantial evidence of American acquiescence to terrorism inside Pakistan was outlined by President Pervez Musharraf, Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Director General Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj in their separate meetings with US Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and CIA Deputy Director Stephen R Kappes on July 12 in Rawalpindi.
The visit by the senior US military official along with the CIA deputy director — carrying what were seen as India-influenced intelligence inputs — hardened the resolve of Pakistanís security establishment to keep supreme Pakistan’s national security interest even if it meant straining ties with the US and Nato.
A senior official with direct knowledge of these meetings said that Pakistan’s military leadership and the president asked the American visitors “not to distinguish between a terrorist for the United States and Afghanistan and a terrorist for Pakistan”.
For reasons best known to Langley, the CIA headquarters, as well as the Pentagon, Pakistani officials say the Americans were not interested in disrupting the Kabul-based fountainhead of terrorism in Balochistan nor do they want to allocate the marvellous predator resource to neutralise the kingpin of suicide bombings against the Pakistani military establishment now hiding near the Pak-Afghan border.
In the strongest evidence-based confrontation with the American security establishment since the two countries established their post-9/11 strategic alliance, Pakistani officials proved Brahamdagh Bugti’s presence in Afghan intelligence safe houses in Kabul, his photographed visits to New Delhi and his orders for terrorism in Balochistan.
The top US military commander and the CIA official were also asked why the CIA-run predator and the US military did not swing into action when they were provided the exact location of Baitullah Mehsud, Pakistan’s enemy number one and the mastermind of almost every suicide operation against the Pakistan Army and the ISI since June 2006.
One such precise piece of information was made available to the CIA on May 24 when Baitullah Mehsud drove to a remote South Waziristan mountain post in his Toyota Land Cruiser to address the press and returned back to his safe abode. The United States military has the capacity to direct a missile to a precise location at very short notice as it has done close to 20 times in the last few years to hit al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan.
Pakistani official have long been intrigued by the presence of highly encrypted communications gear with Baitullah Mehsud. This communication gear enables him to collect real-time information on Pakistani troop movement from an unidentified foreign source without being intercepted by Pakistani intelligence.
Admiral Mullen and the CIA official were in Pakistan on an unannounced visit on July 12 to show what the US media claimed was evidence of the ISI’s ties to†Taliban commander Maulana Sirajuddin Haqqani and the alleged involvement of Pakistani agents in the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.
Pakistani military leaders rubbished the American information and evidence on the Kabul bombing but provided some rationale for keeping a window open with Haqqani, just as the British government had decided to open talks with some Taliban leaders in southern Afghanistan last year.
Before opening new channels of communication with the Taliban in Helmand province in March this year, the British and Nato forces were talking to leading Taliban leaders through†Michael Semple, the acting head of the European Union mission to Afghanistan, and Mervyn Patterson, a senior UN official, before their unprecedented expulsion from Afghanistan by the Karzai government†in January this year.
The American visitors were also told that the government of Pakistan had to seek the help of Taliban commanders such as Sirajuddin Haqqani for the release of its kidnapped ambassador Tariquddin Aziz, after the US-backed Karzai administration failed to secure Aziz’s release from his captors in Afghanistan.
Admiral Mullen and Kappes were both provided information about the activities of the Indian consulates in Kandahar and Jalalabad and were asked how the CIA does not know that both Indian consulates are manned by Indian Intelligence who plot against Pakistan round the clock.
“ We wanted to know when our American friends would get interested in tracking down the terrorists responsible for hundreds of suicide bombings in Pakistan and those playing havoc with our natural resources in Balochistan while sitting in Kabul and Delhi,”, an official described the Pakistani mood during the July 12 meetings.
Throughout their meetings, the Americans were told that Pakistan would like to continue as an active partner in the war against terror and at no cost would it allow its land to be used by our people to plot terror against Afghanistan or India . However, Pakistan would naturally want the United States, India and Afghanistan to refrain from supporting Pakistani terrorists.
Pakistani officials have said that the current “trust deficit” between the Pakistani and US security establishment is not serious enough to lead to a collapse , but the element of suspicion is very high, more so because of† the CIA’s decision to publicise the confidential exchange of information with Pakistan and to use its leverage with the new government to try to arm-twist the Army and the ISI.
The Pakistani security establishment, officials said, want a fresh round of strategic dialogue with their counterparts in the US, essentially to prioritise the objectives and terrorist targets in the war against terror, keeping in mind the serious national security interests of the allies.
“They categorically informed me that [the] UK was not involved. Pak [Pakistan] was not involved. Its territories were not used for planning this operation,” he said.
“We are not doing any whitewashing business. We believe in going about facts. Our findings will be acceptable to the world.”
His remarks are bound to anger India, which blames the attacks on Pakistani militants who it says must have had support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency.
India this month presented Pakistan with a dossier of evidence, including details from the interrogation of the sole surviving gunman and information gleaned from satellite phones used by the attackers.
Asked about that evidence, Mr Hasan said: “Well, it could be fabricated. You took 45 days to give that sort of evidence although you started blaming Pakistan from day one.”
Pakistan has denied any state involvement in the attacks and promised on January 17 that the Pakistani commission investigating the attacks would publish their findings within 10 days.
That did not happen, however, and Yousaf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s Prime Minister, said on Wednesday that Pakistan would release details of its investigation into the attack “very soon”.
There was no immediate response from the Indian foreign ministry.
Indian officials say that they are considering suspending all business, transport and tourists ties with Pakistan if it continues to drag its feet on the investigation and its pledge to crack down on Pakistani militant groups.
* Nine Pakistanis accused over a series of attacks that killed dozens of people and damaged the Danish embassy were remanded in custody by an anti-terror court. The suspects were arrested in the garrison city of Rawalpindi this week and confessed to involvement in bombings at the embassy in Islamabad, an Italian restaurant and against Pakistani security forces. (AFP)
Employees in deployable-designated positions will be trained, equipped and prepared to serve overseas in support of humanitarian, reconstruction and, if absolutely necessary, combat-support missions.
By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 27, 2009 – The Defense Department is forming a civilian expeditionary workforce that will be trained and equipped to deploy overseas in support of military missions worldwide, according to department officials.
The intent of the program “is to maximize the use of the civilian workforce to allow military personnel to be fully utilized for operational requirements,” according to a Defense Department statement.
Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England signed Defense Department Directive 1404.10, which outlines and provides guidance about the program, on Jan. 23.
Certain duty positions may be designated by the various Defense Department components to participate in the program. If a position is designated, the employee will be asked to sign an agreement that they will deploy if called upon to do so. If the employee does not wish to deploy, every effort will be made to reassign the employee to a nondeploying position.
The directive emphasizes, however, that volunteers be sought first for any expeditionary requirements, before requiring anyone to serve involuntarily or on short notice. Overseas duty tours shall not exceed two years.
Employees in deployable-designated positions will be trained, equipped and prepared to serve overseas in support of humanitarian, reconstruction and, if absolutely necessary, combat-support missions.
The program also is open to former and retired civilian employees who agree to return to federal service on a time-limited status to serve overseas or to fill in for people deployed overseas.
Program participants are eligible for military medical support while serving in their overseas duty station.
All participants will undergo pre- and post-deployment medical testing, including physical and psychological exams.
Defense civilians reassigned from their normal duty to serve overseas will be granted the right to return to the positions they held prior to their deployment or to a position of similar grade, level and responsibility within the same organization, regardless of the deployment length .
Families of deployed Defense Department civilian employees shall be supported and provided with information on benefits and entitlements and issues likely to be faced by the employee during and upon return from a deployment.
Defense civilian employees who participate in the expeditionary program shall be treated with high regard as an indication of the department’s respect for those who serve expeditionary requirements.
Expeditionary program participants’ service and experience shall be valued, respected and recognized as career-enhancing.
Participants who meet program requirements would be eligible to receive the Secretary of Defense Medal for the Global War on Terrorism.
France paralysed by a wave of strike action, the boulevards of Paris resembling a debris-strewn battleﬁeld. The Hungarian currency sinks to its lowest level ever against the euro, as the unemployment ﬁgure rises. Greek farmers block the road into Bulgaria in protest at low prices for their produce. New ﬁgures from the biggest bank in the Baltic show that the three post-Soviet states there face the biggest recessions in Europe.
It’s a snapshot of a single day – yesterday – in a Europe sinking into the bleakest of times. But while the outlook may be dark in the big wealthy democracies of western Europe, it is in the young, poor, vulnerable states of central and eastern Europe that the trauma of crash, slump and meltdown looks graver.
Exactly 20 years ago, in serial revolutionary rejoicing, they ditched communism to put their faith in a capitalism now in crisis and by which they feel betrayed. The result has been the biggest protests across the former communist bloc since the days of people power.
Europe’s time of troubles is gathering depth and scale. Governments are trembling. Revolt is in the air.
Alexandros Grigoropoulos, a 15-year-old middle-class boy going to a party in a rough neighbourhood on a December Saturday, was the first fatality of Europe’s season of strife. Shot dead by a policeman, the boy’s killing lit a bonfire of unrest in the city unmatched since the 1970s.
There are many wellsprings of the serial protests rolling across Europe. In Athens, it was students and young people who suddenly mobilised to turn parts of the city into no-go areas. They were sick of the lack of jobs and prospects, the failings of the education system and seized with pessimism over their future.
This week it was the farmers’ turn, rolling their tractors out to block the motorways, main road and border crossings across the Balkans to try to obtain better procurement prices for their produce.
The old Baltic trading city had seen nothing like it since the happy days of kicking out the Russians and overthrowing communism two decades ago. More than 10,000 people converged on the 13th-century cathedral to show the Latvian government what they thought of its efforts at containing the economic crisis. The peaceful protest morphed into a late-night rampage as a minority headed for the parliament, battled with riot police and trashed parts of the old city. The following day there were similar scenes in Vilnius, the Lithuanian capital next door.
After Iceland, Latvia looks like the most vulnerable country to be hammered by the financial and economic crisis. The EU and IMF have already mounted a €7.5bn (£6.6bn) rescue plan but the outlook is the worst in Europe.
The biggest bank in the Baltic, Swedbank of Sweden, yesterday predicted a slump this year in Latvia of a whopping 10%, more than double the previous projections. It added that the economy of Estonia would shrink by 7% and of Lithuania by 4.5%.
The Latvian central bank’s governor went on national television this week to pronounce the economy “clinically dead. We have only three or four minutes to resuscitate it”.
Burned-out cars, masked youths, smashed shop windows, and more than a million striking workers. The scenes from France are familiar, but not so familiar to President Nicolas Sarkozy, confronting the first big wave of industrial unrest of his time in the Elysée Palace.
Sarkozy has spent most of his time in office trying to fix the world’s problems, with less attention devoted to the home front. From Gaza to Georgia, Russia to Washington, Sarkozy has been a man in a hurry to mediate in trouble spots and grab the credit for peacemaking.
France, meanwhile, is moving into recession and unemployment is going up. The latest jobless figures were to have been released yesterday, but were held back, apparently for fear of inflaming the protests.
A balance of payments crisis last autumn, heavy indebtedness and a disastrous budget made Hungary the first European candidate for an international rescue. The $26bn (£18bn) IMF-led bail-out shows scant sign of working. Industrial output is at its lowest for 16 years, the national currency – the forint – sank to a record low against the euro yesterday and the government also announced another round of spending cuts yesterday.
So far the streets have been relatively quiet. The Hungarian misery highlights a key difference between eastern and western Europe. While the UK, Germany, France and others plough hundreds of billions into public spending, tax cuts, bank bailouts and guarantees to industry, the east Europeans (plus Iceland and Ireland) are broke, ordering budget cuts, tax rises, and pleading for international help to shore up their economies.
The austerity and the soaring costs of repaying bank loans and mortgages taken out in hard foreign currencies (euro, yen and dollar) are fuelling the misery.
The east European upheavals of 1989 hit Ukraine late, maturing into the Orange Revolution on the streets of Kiev only five years ago. The fresh start promised by President Viktor Yushchenko has, though, dissolved into messy, corrupt, and brutal political infighting, with the economy, growing strongly a few years ago, going into freefall.
Three weeks of gas wars with Russia this month ended in defeat and will cost Ukraine dearly. The national currency, at less than half the value of six months ago, is akin to the fate of Iceland’s wrecked krona. Ukrainians have been buying dollars by the billion. In November the IMF waded in with the first payments in a $16bn rescue package.
The vicious power struggles between Yushchenko and the prime minister, Yuliya Tymoshenko, are consuming the ruling elite’s energy, paralysing government and leaving the economy dysfunctional. Russia is doing its best to keep things that way.
Proud of its status as one of the world’s most developed, most productive and most equal societies, Iceland is in the throes of what is, by its staid standards, a revolution.
Riot police in Reykjavik, the coolest of capitals. Building bonfires in front of the world’s oldest parliament. The yoghurt flying at the free market men who have run the country for decades and brought it to its knees.
An openly gay prime minister takes over today as head of a caretaker government. The neocon right has been ditched. The hard left Greens are, at least for the moment, the most popular party in the small Arctic state with a population the size of Bradford.
The IMF’s bailout teams have moved in with $11bn. The national currency, the krona, appears to be finished. Iceland is a test case of how one of the most successful societies on the globe suddenly failed.
I am still skeptical that our new president will — or can — fulfill all his sweeping promises, but he has made an essential start by bringing the CIA back into our rule of law by appointing Leon Panetta as director of the CIA. It is significant that next to The New York Times Jan. 5 front-page story on his appointment was an account of a six-year imprisonment, with torture, of a Pakistani first “rendered” (kidnapped) by the CIA and now released without ever having been charged with any crime.
Critics of President-elect Barack Obama’s choice charge that Panetta has had no direct experience with the CIA or other intelligence work. Actually, as Fred Kaplan reveals in Slate (Jan. 6), while Panetta was Bill Clinton’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget, “he was one of a very few people who knew about all of the covert and special-access programs” — and he knows where to find the buried line-item budget items concerning the CIA.
As for Panetta’s patriotic and moral qualifications for his new office, he wrote last year in Washington Monthly: “Those who support torture (the CIA’s involvement in torture has been extensively documented) may believe that we can abuse captives in certain select circumstances and still be true to our values. We either believe in…the rule of law…or we don’t. There is no middle ground.”
Panetta added: “The Constitution was drafted by those who looked around the world of the eighteenth century and saw persecution, torture, and other crimes against humanity and believed that America could be better than that.”
Bush and Cheney have deeply shaken the world’s — including our allies’ — belief that we are, indeed, different.
The president-elect made another equally vital appointment that introduces the CIA to our Constitution. Beginning in 2002, it was at the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — which advises the president, the attorney general and others in the executive branch on constitutional matters — that torture became U.S. policy and other violations of international treaties, and our own laws against cruel and inhumane punishments were also legitimized.
In the Obama administration, the head of the Office of Legal Counsel will be Dawn Johnsen, University of Indiana constitutional law professor, who previously served there under Clinton. She is convinced, like Panetta, that we can and will overcome terrorists by refusing to resemble them in any way.
Before I continue in the next column to indicate the possible impact of these two appointments in markedly improving our intelligence services, here is a partial list of the specific war crimes in international law and our own statues that have been committed during the past eight years, and before, by highly EXPERIENCED CIA officials and their agents in the field.
Neither Panetta nor Johnsen has committed any war crimes.
In Article 3 of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, which the United States signed and has made part of our law, any person detained by our forces is guaranteed the right to freedom from “cruel treatment and torture; outrages on personal dignity (and) humiliating and degrading treatment.”
These rights must be in effect whether the detainee is a prisoner of war, unprivileged belligerent or noncombatant and — as I often tried to remind Dick Cheney in my columns — the guarantees apply “in all circumstances” and “at any time and in any place whatsoever.”
Moreover, the U.S. War Crimes Act of 1996 makes it a criminal offense for military personnel to commit the war crimes I have cited from the Geneva Conventions. That law was passed by a Republican-controlled Congress.
Also, and this should interest the new Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the indispensable 1,249-page thoroughly documented “The Torture Papers: The Road to Abu Ghraib” (Cambridge University Press) adds that our State Department Country Reports on Human Rights Practices “have expressly characterized as ‘torture’ or ‘other abuse’ tying detainees in painful positions; incommunicado detention; depriving detainees of sleep … long periods of imprisonment in darkened rooms … and instilling detainees with the false belief that they are about to be killed.”
That’s waterboarding, Mr. Departing Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
These are also precisely the common practices of torture and other abuses during the Bush-Cheney administration in our own detention centers. We do not yet know the interrogation techniques that have been used in the CIA’s secret prisons. In view of Panetta’s and Johnsen’s statements about the fundamental need to re-establish our rule of law for the CIA, I expect that they will insist on finding out — and telling us — what has been taking place in those “black sites.”