©2008 Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
©2008 Institute for Social Policy and Understanding
LAHORE: Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Athar Abbas on Monday said the military was acquiring the latest technology to jam the illegal radio transmissions of the Swat Taliban, a private TV channel reported. The ISPR spokesman told the channel that the Taliban’s FM radio transmitters were mobile and could not be destroyed immediately. However, Abbas said, the acquisition of the technology would help block the illegal transmissions. General Abbas said the Taliban were trying to create an atmosphere of fear in Swat and wanted to extend their presence to other parts of the country, the channel reported. He told the channel that the Taliban were trying to project themselves as a parallel government in the valley, but the military would control the situation soon. daily times monitor
TEHRAN, Jan 26: Several members of Iran’s border security forces were killed in an ambush near the Pakistani border, state radio reported on Monday.
The report cited a police commander who alleged that Pakistan had become a “backyard for rebels and drugs smugglers” and said that Iran could help if Islamabad was not able to secure its side of the boundary.
“A pick-up truck moving at Mirjaveh border point (in southeast Iran) carrying special provisions for border outposts in the past day was ambushed by a group of rebels in which a number of our colleagues were martyred,” the commander, only identified as Nekouhi, was quoted as saying.
He did not say how many Iranian border police were killed.
“The rebels entered from the Pakistan border and returned there using the same route after committing the inhuman act,” the commander added.
Iranian security forces regularly clash with heavily armed drugs smugglers and bandits in the southeast border area around Sistan-Baluchestan province next to Pakistan’s border.
Nekouhi said that Iran had notified the Pakistani authorities about the incident.
“In the event that Pakistan is not able to control this, they can invite us and we will help them inside Pakistan to encounter and eliminate rebel, hostile and smuggling groups,” he added. —Reuters
Violent protests have erupted in southwest Pakistan after militants killed the head of a small Shiite political party.
Vehicles and building were set alight as paramilitary troops were called in to help quell the violence.
Hundreds of supporters of the Hazara Democratic Party spilled onto the streets of Quetta, setting government buildings, cars and motorbikes alight.
The protesters were enraged at the killing of Shiite muslim political leader Hussain Ali Yousafzai, who was shot by gunmen on a motorbike as he got out of his car.
A banned Sunni Muslim militant group – Lashkar-e-Jhangvi – rang local media outlets claiming responsibility.
Paramilitary troops were deployed to restore calm, using tear gas and batons in a bid to stop the violence.
Protesters shouted “down with the government” and a dozen people people were wounded in the clashes.
“We are protesting today against the culprits, against the terrorists who killed head of our party,” said a protester.
About 80 percent of Pakistan’s 160 million people are Sunni Muslims. While most people from the communities live in peace, militants from both sides have for years carried out attacks on their rivals.
Meanwhile, at least five people have been killed and 20 others injured in a bomb blast in the country’s northwest.
The bomb was strapped to a bicycle and exploded near a women’s hostel and hospital.
“I was in the area when a blast happened near the hospital. When I got here we found it was a bomb attached to a bicycle and many people had been harmed,” said a police officer at the scene.
The blast happened in a region that neighbours a Waziristan tribal area – a known sanctuary for Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants.
By Stuart Littlewood
While the murderous assault on Gaza continues, I notice there’s a briefing document on the website of the Israeli Embassy in London which has a lie in every line. The West’s mainstream media repeat them, and even the most senior TV and radio interviewers don’t bother to challenge them.
(Watch video: Israel launches deadly air strikes on Gaza)
(Watch video: UN calls for Israel to open Gaza border to aid)
The document is a transcript of Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni’s statement to the Israeli press dated 27 December 2008 – a day that will live in infamy. It is a perfect example of the falsehoods used to dupe not only us westerners but Israel’s own people. The statement shows how the regime’s view of itself is constructed on a web of dishonesty and self-delusion.
• “Israeli citizens have been under the threat of daily attack from Gaza for years.”
Palestinians have been under harsh Israeli occupation for 60 years.
• “Only this week hundreds of missiles and mortars shells were fired at Israeli civilian communities.”
Only one in 500 Qassam rockets causes a fatality. How many thousands of Israeli bombs, missiles, rockets, grenades and tank-shells have been blasted into the crowded city and towns of the Gaza Strip by Israel’s high-tech weaponry?
• “Until now we have shown restraint. But today there is no other option than a military operation.”
The only legitimate option for Israel is to end the occupation and withdraw behind its 1967 border, as required under international law and UN resolution. Israel has been killing Palestinians at the rate of 8 to 1 since 2000, and children at the rate of nearly 12 to 1 (B’Tselem figures). This is somebody’s idea of restraint?
• “We need to protect our citizens from attack through a military response against the terror infrastructure in Gaza.”
Self defence is not a right exclusive to Israel. Palestinians have an equal right to protect their citizens from the terror tactics of Israel.
• “Israel left Gaza in order to create an opportunity for peace.”
Israel never left Gaza. It still occupies Gaza’s airspace and coastal waters and controls all entrances and exits.
• “In return, the Hamas terror organization took control of Gaza and is using its citizens as cover while it deliberately targets Israeli communities and denies any chance for peace.”
Hamas was voted into power as the legitimate government of Palestine. Israel chose not to accept the people’s choice, which amounted to a denial of their human rights, and immediately set about obliterating it.
• “We have tried everything to reach calm without using force. We agreed to a truce through Egypt that was violated by Hamas, which continued to target Israel, hold Gilad Shalit and build up its arms.”
Try talking. The Israelis’ ongoing siege and economic blockade, begun shortly after Hamas was elected early in 2006, was never going to generate calm. And why is Shalit considered more important than the 9,000 Palestinians abducted and held prisoner by Israel? As soon as a Hamas government was formed Israeli troops arrested 8 Hamas ministers and 20 other parliamentarians, making the work of government impossible.
• “Israel continues to act to prevent humanitarian crisis and to minimize harm to Palestinian civilians.”
Every agency operating in Gaza has warned of the deepening humanitarian crisis and protested about the starvation and suffering, especially of children many of whom show evidence of stunted growth.
• “The responsibility for harm to civilians lies with Hamas.”
Not according to the Fourth Geneva Convention.
• “Hamas is a terrorist organization, supported by Iran, that does not represent the legitimate national interests of the Palestinian people but a radical Islamist agenda that seeks to deny peace for the peoples of this region.”
Hamas was the popular choice of Palestinians at the last election. It is entitled under international law to take up arms against an illegal occupier and invader. If it is supported by Iran, so what? Israel receives mega-support from the U.S. When it comes to terror, it is Israel’s conduct which fits the U.S. definition of terrorism so perfectly – see Bush’s Executive Order 13224, Section 3
• “While confronting Hamas, Israel continues to believe in the two State solution and remains committed to negotiations with the legitimate Palestinian Authority in the context of the peace process, launched at Annapolis.”
Israel is busy establishing irreversible facts on the ground that make a viable Palestinian state impossible. As everyone knows, the regime has reneged on the peace process and carries on building illegal settlements and the illegal Wall, and demolishing Palestinian homes.
Months ago Hamas accepted a Palestinian state based on internationally recognized (pre-1967) borders, in accordance with UN resolutions, with full sovereignty and its capital in Jerusalem, but this has been ignored. Hamas also offered a 10-year truce, also ignored. Earlier, Arafat and the PLO recognized the State of Israel in the Oslo agreement but what good did it do? Today’s U.S.-backed, Fatah-controlled Palestinian Authority is not representative of the Palestinian people.
• “Israel expects the support and understanding of the international community, as it confronts terror, and advances the interest of all those who wish the forces of peace and co existence to determine the agenda of this region.”
Israel, next to the U.S., the biggest purveyor of terror in the region and only advances its own interests. It may get the support of Israel lobby stooges in other western governments but is rapidly earning the contempt of everybody else.
From a statement dated 22 December 2008:
• “Hamas, backed by Iran, has regularly stated its desire to see the complete destruction of Israel.”
Israel is itself a leading destroyer and currently engaged in trying to wipe out Hamas and the Gazans. Iran’s Ahmadinajad quoted the late Ayatollah Khomeini as saying that “this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time” – fair comment considering Jerusalem, with Bethlehem, was designated an ‘international city’ under the UN Partition Plan.
Israeli propaganda twisted the Iranian’s words to read “Israel must be wiped off the map”. Zionist sources and the manifestos of Israeli political parties have made it clear for a long time that Israel plans to wipe Palestine off the map, and every act and lie is directed towards that end.
• “Our fight is not with the people of Gaza; it is with the extremists of Hamas.”
Then why does the Israeli navy harass and fire on peaceable Gazan fishermen who are well within their own territorial waters? Why does Israel prevent Palestinian students from taking up places at foreign universities and block hospital spares, medicines, foodstuffs and foreign medics from entering Gaza?
Why has the Israeli navy just rammed a mercy vessel in international waters taking doctors and medicines to Gaza? Latest air-strikes have hit the Islamic University and the ministry of education. These are direct attacks on Gazan civil society and its infrastructure.
• “Hamas started this conflict, and it bears responsibility for any harm to civilians on either side.”
The conflict, started by Jewish terrorists, has been going on for 60 years, decades before Hamas came into being.
• “Israel’s only responsibility is to protect Israeli citizens.”
As the occupying power Israel has a duty to see that the people of the occupied territories come to no harm.
• “Just as Israel seeks to defend its civilian population, Hamas seeks to kill them.”
This reads far better the other way round: “Just as Hamas seeks to defend its civilian population, Israel seeks to kill them.”
• “Rocket attacks have continued for years and are now a daily occurrence. How long does the international community expect Israel will wait before defending itself against them?”
The rocket attacks will end when Israel ends the occupation and stops terrorizing its neighbours.
• “In the south of Israel, Israeli citizens live with air raid sirens sounding every day – sometimes every hour. Their situation is intolerable.”
Not half as intolerable as it is for the Gazans, who live in constant fear of air raids and re-invasion and are constantly under surveillance by armed drones which can fire missiles under computer control from an armchair in Israeli headquarters.
• “For years, the international community has turned a blind eye to this onslaught. Only when Israel seeks to stop the rockets do they take notice.”
For years the international community has turned a blind eye to Israel’s violations of international law and human rights, which is why the problem remains unsolved.
• “Hamas is not only the enemy of Israel – it is the enemy of every Palestinian who believes in peace.”
Israelis just can’t come to terms with the Palestinians’ democratic choice and are bent on obliterating it.
• “It is Hamas’ attacks – not Israel’s reactions – that destroy every opportunity we have for peace.”
The world has managed to work out by now that Israel doesn’t want peace until it has stolen all the land and water it needs to expand its racist state into a ‘Greater Israel’. It is well on the way to achieving this and won’t be thwarted.
• “Palestinian militants targeted by Israel are not just the enemies of the Israeli people; they are criminals under international law, and enemies of peace.”
Israel is in no position to preach international law.
• “What is collective punishment? ‘Collective punishment’ is a city – schools, hospitals, homes – civilians being bombarded every single day by rockets and mortars.”
Collective punishment is keeping a whole population bottled up under siege and blocking supplies and exports, smashing their infrastructure, wrecking their economy and starving their children. Trying to equate Sderot with what’s happening in the Gaza Strip is idiotic.
• “Today’s Middle East is divided between extremists and pragmatists. Hamas, backed by Iran, belongs to the extremists, who must be defeated for the sake of the future of the Middle East…. Israel’s primary goal is peace.”
Israel’s primary goal is the expansion of Israel by making the occupation of the West Bank permanent and bringing the Gazans to their knees.
The core issue in this struggle is the illegality of Israel’s brutal occupation. Israel goes to great lengths to avoid and suppress all mention of it and play-acts the pathetic victim. As the official statements (above) show, the strategy is to frame and define the situation in Israel’s own terms regardless of the truth.
It uses advanced propaganda skills, and the elaborate Israel lobby network, to persuade western politicians and media to accept Israel’s version of events (and even use Israel’s biased language) and not question its motives.
In political PR terms it works wonderfully well. The loony leaders of my own government happily spread the poison and don’t seem interested in halting Israeli aggression and the vaporizing, dismembering and crushing of Gaza’s population. In human PR terms it is a disaster.
I have been listening to the BBC’s senior interviewers these last few days. None has had the gumption to ask Israeli spokesmen the only question that matters – the ‘killer’ question on which hangs the key to peace: WHEN IS ISRAEL GOING TO END ITS OCCUPATION AND RETURN TO THE PALESTINIANS THEIR LANDS AND FREEDOM?
Stuart Littlewood is author of the book Radio Free Palestine, which tells the plight of the Palestinians under occupation.
Tue, 2009-01-27 02:16
Brig Asif Haroon Raja
Within months of assumption of power by Republican candidate George W Bush in January 2001 under dubious circumstances, the harrowing terrorist attacks took place in New York and Washington which changed the dynamics of the world. Till this day, USA has not been able to establish who financed the 9/11 attacks. CIA destroyed all the video tapes of Al-Qaeda detainees interviews recorded in Guantanamo Bay. Efforts by US Congress to carry out inquest independently have been thwarted. It seems CIA, and Pentagon are party to the crime and the two have hushed it up. If Al-Qaeda hand in 9/11 attack was fabricated by CIA at the behest of an interested group, and WMDs in Iraq were faked, converting FATA into most dangerous place on earth can be another fabrication masterminded by CIA and Mossad.
Attack emanating from FATA on US homeland is another figment of imagination and wilfully floated with sinister designs. Al-Qaeda has been demonised asserting that in its bid to sap US economy, it would continue attacking US interests all over the world particularly its soil. Seven years have lapsed and so far no attack has been carried out in USA, but the US economy has tumbled at its own.
George W. Bush during his misrule pursued unilateralist and belligerent policies which inflamed extremism. He made the New World Order conceived by his father violent prone and devoid of morals and ethics and Muslim centric. Use of unabashed military force became the hallmark of his policies Rule of law and established norms were sidelined thereby shredding America’s ideals and values. He justified his immoral actions in Afghanistan and Iraq by posing himself as omniscient sage and acting upon the commandments from God. Decimation of Afghanistan was hailed and rejoiced by jingoistic Americans. Although the Americans took out demonstrations against the intended invasion of Iraq mainly because of worldwide protests, his stubbornness to go-ahead was not objected to in real sense. The Americans were told that the people of Afghanistan and Iraq would be liberated from the cruel clutches of Taliban and Saddam and endowed with democracy and prosperity. They were also assured that terrorism would be wiped off the face of the globe and the world made safe.
His madness to hunt and kill so-called Islamic terrorists throughout the Muslim world to make American homeland safe was acclaimed by the Americans. They however never bothered to find out what pains and agonies were being suffered by the teeming millions in the occupied lands at the hands of US troops and their allies. Tens of hundreds languished in infamous Guantanamo Bay, Abu Gharib and Baghram prisons for years under most pitiable conditions without any recourse to judicial justice. No moral or political pressure was put on Bush Administration on this account by the Americans or human rights commissions. No questions were asked on the spine chilling tales of torture and abuses narrated by the released detainees. Massacre of thousands of innocent men, women and children by trigger-happy pilots was justified under the unholy term of collateral damage.
While Bush made Gen Musharraf his blue-eyed boy and honoured him by inviting him to Camp David, he marked Pakistan as the future target for pulverisation and adopted dual-faced policies. Under the garb of friendship, America in collaboration with India, Israel, UK and Afghanistan took deliberate steps under a well conceived plan to destabilise, de-Islamise and denuclearise Pakistan and to turn it into a vassal state of India. Bush Administration accused Pakistan of cross border terrorism and constantly prodded it to do more through policy of stick and carrot. Defamation of the army and ISI was part of the gory plan and so was murder of Benazir and making NRO cleared Zardari into most powerful civilian president and turning the legislature into a dummy. Bush declared FATA a war zone and indicated his intention to modify the doctrine of pre-emptive strike against a hostile country. A new clause has been added in pre-emption doctrine permitting USA to launch pre-emptive strikes against non-state fighters residing within jurisdiction of another country. This blatant bullying act is being rationalised under the plea that if a country is unable to prevent misuse of its territory by militants, it becomes incumbent upon USA to take unilateral action in self-defence.
Bush yearned for a big catch from the Pak-Afghan border belt including FATA, or a high value trophy from al-Qaeda or the Taliban to bow out with a note of triumph. For the attainment of his wish he took host of offensive actions against his so-called ally Pakistan including a ground attack in FATA and acceleration of drone attacks killing hundreds of innocent people. Desperate to cover up its failings in Afghanistan, Bush Administration gave its blessing to India to go ahead with its Mumbai drama to blame Pakistan government, ISI and Lashkar-e-Taiba for their involvement in Mumbai attacks and to pave way for surgical strikes against Pakistan from the east. Under the garb of strikes against Jihadi outfits, Pakistan’s nuclear and missile sites were to be targeted. An Indian ground offensive from Rajasthan had also been given a final shape. His mania to end his rule victoriously proved illusive.
After 8 years of inglorious rule, Bush has faded into oblivion. He will be remembered as the most ruthless, unjust and hateful president of USA. All his promises and tall talk proved illusive. He and his neo-cons have not been held accountable for deceiving the Americans and not fulfilling any of the stated objectives. With the heavy baggage of crimes he carries on his shoulders, it is distressful to see that he doesn’t suffer from any sense of guilt or remorse. In fact he and the Republicans took credit for ensuring homeland security by keeping the flames of war on terror well away and keeping the terrorists deterred from making another attempt on American soil. Disharmony between the faiths of two leading religions took place in his time and he contributed a lot to gain acrimony of the Muslim world because of his cruel and unjust policies and dual standards.
He has not been held accountable for devastating Afghanistan; for presiding over the killing of 1,297,997 Iraqis and displacing half of Iraqi population and making them refugees; for making thousands of women widows and children orphans and destroying their homes and property. He and his team has not been punished for wasting over $587,141,917,596 in futile war on terror which earned USA undying abhorrence and ignominy and resulted in killing of 4223 US soldiers and injury to 31000 in Iraq alone apart from physiological disorders suffered by the troops. Bush and Cheney have not been put on the mat for indulging in blatant falsehood and fabricating cooked up stories to justify invasion of Iraq.
The two had lied to the Congress and American public that Iraq possessed WMDs. Bush was not questioned as to why he pursued dual-faced policies by looking the other way to terrorism of Israel and India and gave a raw deal to the oppressed and thus earned a bad name for USA. He backed Israel for its slaughter of people of Gaza. In his quest for making America safe he made the world unsafe and sank America’s prestige and credibility to rock bottom and triggered anti-Americanism across the globe to new heights. His mad policies have ignited terrorism and given a fatal blow to American economy and resulted in global meltdown. Extremism that was confined to Afghanistan has spread all over the world. Americans and the world at large will have to reap the harvest of seeds of terrorism sown by Bush Administration for a long time.
In the wake of fearsome designs of our so-called friends against Pakistan, it is to be seen whether Obama will pursue policies of his predecessor or opt to go a step ahead of him, or reverse the anti-Pakistan trend and befriend it in real earnest and remove the grievances of the Muslim world as a whole.
Brig Asif Haroon Raja. is a defence and political analyst.