Bomb hits Islamabad police base

Pakistani security personnel in Islamabad evacuate a wounded colleague by stretcher after the blast on 4 April

Police evacuated an injured colleague by stretcher

A suicide bomber has killed at least five paramilitary police in an attack on a security base in the Pakistan capital, Islamabad, police say.

The attacker apparently slipped into the base under cover of darkness and attacked a mess tent, also injuring a number of policemen.

Shots heard after the explosion are believed to have come from guards.

It was the second attack on security forces in Islamabad in two weeks and comes amid a rise in militant violence.

Map

A suicide bomb attack on a police station on 23 March left one policeman dead and another injured.

The Pakistani Taleban leader, Baitullah Mehsud, claimed responsibility for that attack.

Violence in Pakistan has surged in recent months amid a wave of attacks blamed on Islamist militants.

Last June a massive bomb blast in Islamabad’s Marriott hotel killed at least 53 people and injured more than 250.

DALIT VOICE, April 1st – 15th, 2009

DALIT VOICE, April 1st – 15th, 2009

Vol. 28

April 1st – 15th, 2009

No. 7

Editorial
Financial melt-down forcing those eating too much to vomit & purge: DV welcomes Curse of Nature
Reports
  • DV theory on “caste killing casteists” gets support
  • Nitish experiment in “caste identity” may spoil Lalu chances
  • UP caste dilemma for BSP
  • A Moulana as enemy of Muslims
  • Dalai Lama admits defeat
  • Brahmin revolt against Advani ?
  • Obama strikes Mossad?
  • There is nothing like Al-Qaeda
Articles
  • Editor launches new party of Dalits & Muslims in Bengal
  • Political power will not come if cultrual struggle is ignored
  • Without a powerful media of our own we can’t fight the Enemy
  • BOOK REVIEW : Pakistani scholar’s tribute to Dr. Ambedkar
  • Meera murdered by vaidik Brahmins for disobeying their order
  • Editor to address Bombay meeting on April 25
  • Hindus persecute Dalits even in Pakistan
  • Brahmins suppressed Lotus Sutra as it will liberate Dalits
  • Budhism died because Brahminical enemy killed Lotus Sutra
  • Lotus Sutra is not a cock & bull story
  • Vipassana good only for individual but not for collective development

Avigdor Lieberman: A Response To Offensive Ego And States Of Deficiency

Avigdor Lieberman: A Response To
Offensive Ego And States Of Deficiency

By Eileen Fleming

03 April, 2009
Countercurrents.org

Once upon a time in Moldova, Avigdor Lieberman was employed as a night club bouncer. Today he is Israel’s latest foreign minister and the leader of the hard-line party Yisrael Beitainu and national movement following in the path of Revisionist Zionism.

In 1998, Lieberman called for the flooding of Egypt via bombing the Aswan Dam in retaliation for Egyptian support of Yasser Arafat. Such an act could have resulted in a tsunami and drowning of all 80 million Egyptians in the Mediterranean.

Egypt is one of only two Arab countries with which Israel has so far managed to be neighborly with.

In 2002, Lieberman called for the forcible transfer of Palestinian citizens of Israel from their land stating there was “nothing undemocratic about transfer.”

In 2003, Haaretz reported that Lieberman called for thousands of Palestinian prisoners to be drowned in the Dead Sea and offered to provide the buses to take them there.

In May 2004, Lieberman proposed a plan that called for the transfer of Israeli territory with Palestinian populations to the Palestinian Authority. Likewise, Israel would annex the major Jewish settlement blocs on the Palestinian West Bank. If applied, his plan would strip roughly one-third of Israel’s Palestinian citizens of their citizenship and a “loyalty test” would be applied to those who desired to remain in Israel.

In May 2006, Lieberman called for the assassination of Arab members of the Knesset who met with members of the Hamas-led Palestinian Authority.

Most recently Lieberman’s offense was to tell the President Hosni Mubarak, to “go to hell.”

Lieberman’s silent acceptance into the Israeli government is a travesty of the name of democracy and a major step backwards for civilization. But, it also provides some illumination into the offensive ego and defense systems in a State of Deficiency; where wrong is right and holds power in Israel.

When ego structures are used for defense, walls against the other are as rigid as if they were cast in cement. Only when egos mature do they become less defensive.

A main ego defense is against the feelings or state of inadequacy, which is turned inside out into grandiosity. One believes and behaves as if they are the best, the strongest, most capable and most chosen.

This defense is nothing more than a delusion layered with denial of ones actual state of inadequacy and can be demonstrated in real time by the tunnels that persist in Gaza to import goods and export people. Despite Israel’s recent brutal attempt to destroy them, the tunnels and the spirit of the people persist.

A mature leader with intelligence and integrity would also have compassion and understand that when ever people are penned in they will do all they can to liberate themselves and it is their inalienable right.

Another defense mechanism against the state of deficiency/inadequacy is the schizoid defense of isolation and withdrawal. The incapacity to interact with others as equal human beings results in having no true relationships at all. Defensive suspiciousness manifests in suspecting the motivations of others and is based on cynicism-on giving up and that is the antithesis of healthy skepticism!

Healthy skepticism is an openness coupled with a love for the truth-no matter how brutal- and not the invalidating, angry, attacking of reactivity when confronted and challenged by it.

The way out of this distress is by developing faith in the intrinsic goodness of ourselves and that always equates to having faith in the goodness of others-but NOT blind trust in it!

Faith that believes and trusts that every human being is equal to every other will always respect and rise up in healthy defense of one self and others. Even though an individual’s humanity might appear so buried that they act out of willful ignorance, destructiveness and cynicism, a mature person responds by continually offering the olive branch; another chance and opportunity to reconcile and be kind and selfless.

A mature person has dealt with the death of some of their childhood ego defense mechanisms and chronological age has nothing to do with it while compassion does. Compassion is that sense of viscerally feeling the pain of another and being moved to do something to help alleviate it.

Ego is often a projection of what we feel we must be versus who we really are. Ego acts as a protective cocoon in the childhood of our journey in life and childhood is when we build up our ego defense systems.

In his Inauguration speech, President Obama reminded us that “in the words of Scripture, the time has come to set aside childish things. The time has come to reaffirm our enduring spirit; to choose our better history; to carry forward that precious gift, that noble idea, passed on from generation to generation: the God-given promise that all are equal, all are free, and all deserve a chance to pursue their full measure of happiness.”

Truly audacious hope comprehends that “HOPE has two children. The first is ANGER at the way things are. The second is COURAGE to DO SOMETHING about it.”-St. Augustine

That kind of hope is expressed best by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Maried Corrigan-Maguire, once again a featured speaker at the Annual Bil’in conference on Nonviolent Popular Resistance [April 22-24, 2009 http://www.bilin-ffj.org ]

On April 21st, 2007, in the West Bank agricultural Village of Bil’in, Mairead Maguire, was shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet by Israeli Occupation Forces an hour after delivering this message at a peace press conference:

“Thanks to the media here for telling the truth…Bring this truth to whatever country you come from. Non-violence will solve the problems here in Israel and Palestine. Often, the world sees only violence. But Palestinians are a good people, working towards non-violence. This Wall must fall! It is an insult to the human family and to the world– that we are building Apartheid Walls in the 21st Century! More than forty years of Occupation and Land Appropriation.”

Since 2004, in Bil’in, every Friday afternoon after prayers at the mosque, Palestinian farmers, workers, mothers, and students, together with Israeli and International volunteers, have been braving teargas, beatings, bullets, arrest, and even death to rise up against the well equipped Israeli army with nothing more than their own bodies and audacious hope.

Máiread Maguire once wrote: “Hope for the future depends on each of us taking nonviolence into our hearts and minds and developing new and imaginative structures which are nonviolent and life-giving for all. Some people will argue that this is too idealistic. I believe it is very realistic. I am convinced that humanity is fast evolving to this higher consciousness. For those who say it cannot be done, let us remember that humanity learned to abolish slavery. Our task now is no less than the abolition of violence and war…. We can rejoice and celebrate today because we are living in a miraculous time. Everything is changing and everything is possible.

“While Governments can make a difference, in the final analysis it is the individual – that is each one of us – that will bring the dream of a nonviolent world to reality. We, the people must think and act nonviolently. We must not get stuck in the past as to do so will destroy the imagination and creativity which is so n a new future together…

“To change our world we need a spiritual and a political evolution. The political steps are often very obvious: uphold Human rights, and International Laws, demand our Governments meet their obligations under these Laws, support and reform United Nations, etc., However, all the legislation, resolutions, and fine talk will be of no use, if we do not as men and women evolve and become transformed, so that we, the human family, achieve a more enlightened and humane way of living together, and solving conflicts.”

The change I hope and work for is the transformation of hearts and minds to put aside childish ways and eye for eye violent retaliations and instead see with new eyes that only justice; equal human rights for all can reap security for any.

Sources:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7977395.stm

http://www.juancole.com/

http://www.wearewideawake.org/index.php?option=com_
content&task=view&id=128&Itemid=105

A.H. Almaas, THE PEARL BEYOND PRICE: Integration of Personality into Being: An Object-Relations Approach, and Facets of Unity: The Enneagram of Holy Ideas Shambhala, September 2000.

Eileen Fleming, is the Founder of WAWA: http://www.wearewideawake.org/
Author “Keep Hope Alive” and “Memoirs of a Nice Irish American ‘Girl’s’ Life in Occupied Territory”
She produced “30 Minutes With Vanunu” and “13 Minutes with Vanunu” because corporate media has been MIA all during a Freedom of Speech Trial in Israel.

Iraq: The Growing Storm (Right on Cue)

“It has been a truce built on a deeply corrupt US policy of backing the predominantly Shia Iraqi government forces while paying the Sunni resistance not to fight both government and occupation forces.”

Iraq: The Growing Storm

By Dahr Jamail

03 April, 2009
T r u t h o u t

Last weekend, the Iraqi government arrested an Awakening Group leader of a Baghdad neighborhood, then moved into the area. With the help of US occupation forces, they disarmed the militiamen under his control, but only after fighting broke out between US-backed Iraqi government security forces and the US-formed Sunni Awakening Group militia. This disturbing event is the realization of what most Iraqis have long feared – that the relative calm in Iraq today would eventually be broken when fighting erupts between these two entities.

The US policy that has led to this recent violence has been long in the making, as it has only been a matter of time before the tenuous truce between the groups came unglued. For it has been a truce built on a deeply corrupt US policy of backing the predominantly Shia Iraqi government forces while paying the Sunni resistance not to fight both government and occupation forces.

Most of us remember all too well the praise from the Bush administration lavished on the Awakening Groups, a Sunni militia comprised of former resistance fighters and al-Qaeda members (according to the US military), each member paid $300 per month of US taxpayer money. They grew in strength to 100,000 men.

US aid to the Councils was cut off last October on the understanding that the members would be absorbed into Iraqi government forces. To date, less than a third have been given government jobs.

Two months ago I visited the al-Dora area of Baghdad, a sprawling area controlled by Awakening forces. One of their commanders told me he was concerned about the fact that most of his men were not being given government jobs. “They are lacking pay, and most of them are becoming more angry by the day, since they have had more broken promises than they can handle,” he explained as we drank tea, “Many of my men have not been paid since October. This cannot continue.”

Meanwhile, the US-backed Iraqi government led by US-appointed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki continues to target the leadership of the Awakening Groups. Maliki perceives the Awakening groups as both a political and military threat, and since October has been targeting their leadership in parts of Baghdad, as well as in Iraq’s volatile Diyala Province.

In the wake of the spasm of violence in Baghdad last weekend, The Washington Post reported “As Apache helicopter gunships cruised above Baghdad’s Fadhil neighborhood, former Sunni insurgents fought from rooftops and street corners against American and Iraqi forces, according to witnesses, the Iraqi military and police. At least 15 people were wounded in the gunfights, which lasted several hours. By nightfall, the street fighters had taken five Iraqi soldiers hostage. The battles, the most ferocious in nearly a year in Baghdad, erupted minutes after the arrest of Adil Mashadani, the leader of the Fadhil Awakening Council, which is composed mostly of former Sunni insurgents who allied themselves with the US military in exchange for monthly salaries that are now paid by Iraq’s government.”

Of course, the reason given to justify government’s detention of the Awakening leader of the area, the incident that triggered the bloodshed, were “terrorist acts” by the group, according to Iraq’s chief military spokesman, Gen. Qassim Atta. Predictably, the Awakening group spokesman for the area, Abu Mirna, told the Post, “We will fight them till the end if they don’t release him.”

It was convenient policy to have set up the Awakening groups to temporarily quell overall violence in Iraq. Resistance fighters rushed to join the ranks for the paycheck, as well as US military protection from Shia militias, which now largely comprise the government security apparatus. Now, however, clearly the US has lost some of their interest in continuing to support the Awakening groups, and the Maliki government is ratcheting up its efforts to dismantle them. Predictably, members of the Awakening are fighting back – for without a paycheck, and with yet another broken promise by the occupation forces to spur them on, why should they sit back and allow themselves to be detained, killed or further betrayed?

However, let us not martyr the Awakening Groups. Most of the leadership of the Awakening Groups are thugs, as are many of the members. Within weeks of the formation of the groups back in 2006, Iraqis living in areas that began to come under the control of Awakening groups began complaining of the brutality of the fighters in their area. Extortion and bribery became rampant, and many Iraqis view Awakening forces as collaborators with the occupiers of their country.

For example, I recently had the opportunity to spend some time with the president of the Fallujah Awakening Council, Sheikh Aifan Sadun, who, like other Awakening leaders, has hundreds of security personnel under his control. It was just before the January 30 elections in Iraq, and he was vying for political power against a rival Sunni group in the city – the Iraqi Islamic Party. Sheikh Aifan, who spoke with me while driving his $420,000 custom-built heavily armored BMW through the city that was destroyed by two US sieges in 2004, was accusing his rivals of rigging the upcoming elections.

He told me he would use “any means necessary” to fight them if they stole the elections. It was and is all about power for these Awakening leaders. And money. Shiekh Aifan, like most of the Awakening leaders, quickly got into the “construction business” when the US military stopped direct payments to them last October. Now those payments come in the form of “construction contracts.” Sheikh Aifan himself has been awarded “contracts” worth $250 million – keep that in mind during this tax season, because it is your money that is paying for things like his own private militia, his BMW and his mansion on the outskirts of Fallujah.

In nearby Ramadi, the capital city of Al-Anbar, Sheikh Ahmad Abo Risha is president of the Awakening Council for the entire province. Just before the election, he, like Sheikh Aifan, was making moves to ensure he maintained his grip on power. His rival in the elections was Sheikh Hamid Al-Hayis, also an Awakening Council leader in the city, and from the same tribe. Abo Risha did not have kind words for Al-Hayis. “Al-Hayis has relations with government people and oil contracts, and he gets money from this by using his position which we helped him acquire,” Abo Risha told me at the Awakening Council of Ramadi headquarters. “I’m from a long line of sheikhs, but Al-Hayis has only been a sheikh since 2006 when we started the Awakening,” Abo Risha said. If Al-Hayis were to win the elections, “there will be a revolution.”

When I asked Abo Risha about the Islamic Party, which Sheikh Aifan was accusing of trying to steal the elections, he told me if the Islamic Party took the elections by fraud, “It will be like Darfur.”

None of these threats came to pass, as both men were victorious over their rivals. But their bellicose rhetoric is indicative of the kind of people they are, and the lengths they are willing to go to in order to maintain and/or seize power.

Despite the corruption and inherent infighting with the Awakening Group leaders, most of them, and the tens of thousands of men under their control, will certainly fight when attacked or provoked, as evidenced by this past weekend in Baghdad.

Broadening the frame of reference, keep in mind that government detentions, killings and threats towards Awakening Group leaders and members are ongoing in neighborhoods of Baghdad, as well as across Diyala province. We should expect violence in the areas of Baghdad they control as the Iraqi government continues to make moves towards taking them out in advance of the national elections scheduled for later this year. Thus, keep your eyes on the following areas of Baghdad in the coming weeks and months: Adhamiyah, Amiriyah, Gazaliyah and al-Dora, to name just a few. More broadly, also watch Baquba and surrounding areas where Awakening Groups are largely in control.

And keep Al-Anbar in mind. The province, which is one-third the geographic area of Iraq, is largely controlled by Awakening groups. This is the area where the fiercest resistance to the occupation has occurred, and if US occupation forces or the US-backed Iraqi government begins to move on men like Sheikh Aifan or Abo Risha, it will bring predictable results.

As Awakening Group member Abu Ayad, 58, told the Post, “We will all become suicide bombers” if his leader, Mashadani, is not released by the Iraqi government.

Fake Faith And Epic Crimes

Fake Faith And Epic Crimes

By John Pilger

04 April, 2009
The New Statesman

These are extraordinary times. With the United States and Britain on the verge of bankruptcy and committing to an endless colonial war, pressure is building for their crimes to be prosecuted at a tribunal similar to that which tried the Nazis at Nuremberg. This defined rapacious invasion as “the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.” International law would be mere farce, said the chief US chief prosecutor at Nuremberg, Supreme Court justice Robert Jackson, “if, in future, we do not apply its principles to ourselves.”

That is now happening. Spain, Germany, Belgium, France and Britain have long had “universal jurisdiction” statutes, which allow their national courts to pursue and prosecute prima facie war criminals. What has changed is an unspoken rule never to use international law against “ourselves,” or “our” allies or clients. In 1998, Spain, supported by France, Switzerland and Belgium, indicted the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, client and executioner of the West, and sought his extradition from Britain, where he happened to be at the time. Had he been sent for trial he almost certainly would have implicated at least one British prime minister and two US presidents in crimes against humanity. Home Secretary Jack Straw let him escape back to Chile.

The Pinochet case was the ignition. On 19 January last, the George Washington University law professor Jonathan Turley compared the status of George W. Bush with that of Pinochet. “Outside [the United States] there is not the ambiguity about what to do about a war crime,” he said. “So if you try to travel, most people abroad are going to view you not as ‘former President George Bush’ [but] as a current war criminal.” For this reason, Bush’s former defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who demanded an invasion of Iraq in 2001 and personally approved torture techniques in Iraq and at Guantanamo Bay, no longer travels. Rumsfeld has twice been indicted for war crimes in Germany. On 26 January, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Manfred Nowak, said, “We have clear evidence that Mr. Rumsfeld knew what he was doing but nevertheless he ordered torture.”

The Spanish high court is currently investigating a former Israeli defence minister and six other top Israeli officials for their role in the killing of civilians, mostly children, in Gaza. Henry Kissinger, who was largely responsible for bombing to death 600,000 peasants in Cambodia in 1969-73, is wanted for questioning in France, Chile and Argentina. Yet, on 8 February, as if demonstrating the continuity of American power, President Barack Obama’s national security adviser, James Jones, said, “I take my daily orders from Dr. Kissinger.”

Like them, Tony Blair may soon be a fugitive. The International Criminal Court, to which Britain is a signatory, has received a record number of petitions related to Blair’s wars. Spain’s celebrated Judge Baltasar Garzon, who indicted Pinochet and the leaders of the Argentinian military junta, has called for George W. Bush, Blair and former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar to be prosecuted for the invasion of Iraq — “one of the most sordid and unjustifiable episodes in recent human history: a devastating attack on the rule of law” that had left the UN “in tatters.” He said, “There is enough of an argument in 650,000 deaths for this investigation to start without delay.”

This is not to say Blair is about to be collared and marched to The Hague, where Serbs and Sudanese dictators are far more likely to face a political court set up by the West. However, an international agenda is forming and a process has begun which is as much about legitimacy as the letter of the law, and a reminder from history that the powerful lose wars and empires when legitimacy evaporates. This can happen quickly, as in the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of apartheid South Africa — the latter a spectre for apartheid Israel.

Today, the unreported “good news” is that a worldwide movement is challenging the once sacrosanct notion that imperial politicians can destroy countless lives in the cause of an ancient piracy, often at remove in distance and culture, and retain their respectability and immunity from justice. In his masterly Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde R.L. Stevenson writes in the character of Jekyll: “Men have before hired bravos to transact their crimes, while their own person and reputation sat under shelter … I could thus plod in the public eye with a load of genial respectability, and, in a moment, like a schoolboy, strip off these lendings and spring headlong into the sea of liberty. But for me, in my impenetrable mantle, the safety was complete.”

Blair, too, is safe — but for how long? He and his collaborators face a new determination on the part of tenacious non-government bodies that are amassing “an impressive documentary record as to criminal charges,” according to international law authority Richard Falk, who cites the World Tribunal on Iraq, held in Istanbul in 2005, which heard evidence from 54 witnesses and published rigorous indictments against Blair, Bush and others. Currently, the Brussels War Crimes Tribunal and the newly established Blair War Crimes Foundation are building a case for Blair’s prosecution under the Nuremberg Principle and the 1949 Geneva Convention. In a separate indictment, former Judge of the New Zealand Supreme Court E.W. Thomas wrote: “My pre-disposition was to believe that Mr. Blair was deluded, but sincere in his belief. After considerable reading and much reflection, however, my final conclusion is that Mr. Blair deliberately and repeatedly misled Cabinet, the British Labour Party and the people in a number of respects. It is not possible to hold that he was simply deluded but sincere: a victim of his own self-deception. His deception was deliberate.”

Protected by the fake sinecure of Middle East Envoy for the Quartet (the US, EU, UN and Russia), Blair operates largely from a small fortress in the American Colony Hotel in Jerusalem, where he is an apologist for the US in the Middle East and Israel, a difficult task following the bloodbath in Gaza. To assist his mortgages, he recently received an Israeli “peace prize” worth a million dollars. He, too, is careful where he travels; and it is instructive to watch how he now uses the media. Having concentrated his post-Downing Street apologetics on a BBC series of obsequious interviews with David Aaronovitch, Blair has all but slipped from view in Britain, where polls have long revealed a remarkable loathing for a former prime minister — a sentiment now shared by those in the liberal media elite whose previous promotion of his “project” and crimes is an embarrassment and preferably forgotten.

On 8 February, Andrew Rawnsley, the Observer’s former leading Blair fan, declared that “this shameful period will not be so smoothly and simply buried.” He demanded, “Did Blair never ask what was going on?” This is an excellent question made relevant with a slight word change: “Did the Andrew Rawnsleys never ask what was going on?” In 2001, Rawnsley alerted his readers to Iraq’s “contribution to international terrorism” and Saddam Hussein’s “frightening appetite to possess weapons of mass destruction.” Both assertions were false and echoed official Anglo-American propaganda. In 2003, when the destruction of Iraq was launched, Rawnsley described it as a “point of principle” for Blair who, he later wrote, was “fated to be right.” He lamented, “Yes, too many people died in the war. Too many people always die in war. War is nasty and brutish, but at least this conflict was mercifully short.” In the subsequent six years at least a million people have been killed. According to the Red Cross, Iraq is now a country of widows and orphans. Yes, war is nasty and brutish, but never for the Blairs and the Rawnsleys.

Far from the carping turncoats at home, Blair has lately found a safe media harbour — in Australia, the original murdochracy. His interviewers exude an unction reminiscent of the promoters of the “mystical” Blair in the Guardian of than a decade ago, though they also bring to mind Geoffrey Dawson, editor of The Times during the 1930s, who wrote of his infamous groveling to the Nazis: “I spend my nights taking out anything which will hurt their susceptibilities and dropping in little things which are intended to sooth them.”

With his words as a citation, the finalists for the Geoffrey Dawson Prize for Journalism (Antipodes) are announced. On 8 February, in an interview on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Geraldine Doogue described Blair as “a man who brought religion into power and is now bringing power to religion.” She asked him: “What would the perception be that faith would bring towards a greater stability …[sic]?” A bemused and clearly delighted Blair was allowed to waffle about “values.” Doogue said to him that “it was the bifurcation about right and wrong that what I thought the British found really hard” [sic], to which Blair replied that “in relation to Iraq I tried every other option [to invasion] there was.” It was his classic lie, which passed unchallenged.

However, the clear winner of the Geoffrey Dawson Prize is Ginny Dougary of the Sydney Morning Herald and the Times. Dougary recently accompanied Blair on what she described as his “James Bondish-ish Gulfstream” where she was privy to his “bionic energy levels.” She wrote, “I ask him the childlike question: does he want to save the world?” Blair replied, well, more or less, aw shucks, yes. The murderous assault on Gaza, which was under way during the interview, was mentioned in passing. “That is war, I’m afraid,” said Blair, “and war is horrible.” No counter came that Gaza was not a war but a massacre by any measure. As for the Palestinians, noted Dougary, it was Blair’s task to “prepare them for statehood.” The Palestinians will be surprised to hear that. But enough gravitas; her man “has the glow of the newly-in-love: in love with the world and, for the most part, the feeling is reciprocated.” The evidence she offered for this absurdity was that “women from both sides of politics have confessed to me to having the hots for him.”

These are extraordinary times. Blair, a perpetrator of the epic crime of the 21st century, shares a “prayer breakfast” with President Obama, the yes-we-can-man now launching more war. “We pray,” said Blair, “that in acting we do God’s work and follow God’s will.” To decent people, such pronouncements about Blair’s “faith” represent a contortion of morality and intellect that is a profananation on the basic teachings of Christianity. Those who aided and abetted his great crime and now wish the rest of us to forget their part — or, like Alistair Campbell, his “communications director,” offer their bloody notoriety for the vicarious pleasure of some — might read the first indictment proposed by the Blair War Crimes Foundation: “Deceit and conspiracy for war, and providing false news to incite passions for war, causing in the order of one million deaths, 4 million refugees, countless maiming and traumas.”

These are indeed extraordinary times.

Strange Days on the Red Sea Coast: A New Theater for the Israel-Iran Conflict?

Strange Days on the Red Sea Coast: A New Theater for the Israel-Iran Conflict?

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 8
April 3, 2009 05:30 PM Age: 16 hrs
Category: Terrorism Monitor, Global Terrorism Analysis, Home Page, Military/Security, Middle East, Iran, Featured

Ali al-Sadig, Sudan Foreign Minister (AFP)

Over the last few months, the strategically important African Red Sea coast has suddenly become the focal point of rumors involving troop-carrying submarines, ballistic missile installations, desert-dwelling arms smugglers, mysterious airstrikes and unlikely alliances. None of the parties alleged to be involved (including Iran, Israel, Eritrea, Egypt, Sudan, France, Djibouti, Gaza and the United States) have been forthcoming with many details, leaving observers to ponder a tangled web of reality and fantasy. What does appear certain, however, is that the regional power struggle between Israel and Iran has the potential to spread to Africa, unleashing a new wave of political violence in an area already consumed with its own deadly conflicts.

Airstrike in the Desert

Though an airstrike on a column of 23 vehicles was carried out on January 27 near Mt. Alcanon, in the desert northwest of Port Sudan, news of the attack first emerged in a little-noticed interview carried on March 23 in the Arabic-language Al-Mustaqillah newspsper (see Terrorism Monitor, March 26). In the interview, Sudanese Transportation Minister Dr. Mabruk Mubarak Salim, the former leader of the Free Lions resistance movement in eastern Sudan, said that aircraft he believed to be French and American had attacked a column of vehicles in Sudan eastern desert after receiving intelligence indicating a group of arms smugglers was transporting arms to Gaza. Dr. Salim’s Free Lions Movement was based on the Rasha’ida Arabs of east Sudan, a nomadic group believed to control smuggling activities along the eastern Egypt-Sudan border.

On March 26, Dr. Salim told al-Jazeera there had been at least two airstrikes, carried out by U.S. warplanes launched from American warships operating in the Red Sea. There was no further mention of the French, who maintain an airbase in nearby Djibouti. After the news broke in the media, Sudanese foreign ministry spokesman Ali al-Sadig issued some clarifications:

“The first thought was that it was the Americans that did it. We contacted the Americans and they categorically denied they were involved… We are still trying to verify it. Most probably it involved Israel… We didn’t know about the first attack until after the second one. They were in an area close to the border with Egypt, a remote area, desert, with no towns, no people” (Al-Jazeera, March 27).

With the Americans out of the way, suspicion fell on Israel as the source of the attack.

Sudanese authorities later claimed the convoy was carrying not arms, but a large number of migrants from a number of African countries, particularly Eritrea (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, March 27; Sudan Tribune, March 28). According to Foreign Minister Ali al-Sadig; “it is clear that [the attackers] were acting on bad information that the vehicles were carrying arms” (Haaretz, March 27). Dr. Salim claimed the death toll was 800 people, contradicting his earlier claim that the convoy consisted of small trucks carrying arms and that most of those killed were Sudanese, Ethiopians and Eritreans (al-Jazeera, March 26). There was also some confusion about the number of attacks, with initial claims of a further strike on February 11 and a third undated strike on an Iranian freighter in the Red Sea. The latter rumor may have had its source in Dr. Salim’s suggestion that several Rasha’ida fishing boats had been attacked by U.S. and French warplanes. Otherwise, no evidence has been provided to substantiate these claims.

A Hamas leader, Salah al-Bardawil, denied the movement had any knowledge of such arms shipments, pointing to the lack of a common border with Sudan as proof “these are false claims” (Al-Jazeera, March 27).

A Smuggling Route to Sinai?

The alleged smuggling route, beginning at Port Sudan, would take the smugglers through 150 miles of rough and notoriously waterless terrain to the Egyptian border and the disputed territory of Hala’ib, currently under Egyptian occupation. From there the route would pass roughly 600 miles through Egypt’s Eastern Desert, a rocky and frequently mountainous wasteland. Criss-crossing the terrain to find a suitable way through could add considerably to the total distance. North of the Egyptian border the Sudanese smugglers would be crossing hundreds of miles of unfamiliar and roadless territory. The alternatives would involve offloading the arms near the border to an Egyptian convoy or making a change of drivers. Anonymous “defense sources” cited by the Times claimed local Egyptian smugglers were engaged to take over the convoy at the Egyptian border “for a fat fee” (The Times, March 29).

Use of the well-patrolled coastal road would obviously be impossible without official Egyptian approval. The other option for the smugglers would be to cut west to the Nile road which passes through hundreds of settled areas and a large number of security checkpoints. The convoy would need to continually avoid security patrols along the border and numerous restricted military zones along the coast. Either Egyptian guides or covert assistance from Egyptian security services would be needed for a 23 vehicle convoy to reach Sinai from the Egyptian border without interference. Once in the Sinai there is little alternative to taking the coastal route to Gaza, passing through one of Egypt’s most militarily sensitive areas, to reach the smuggling tunnels near the border with Gaza.

Water, gasoline, spare parts and other supplies would take up considerable space in the trucks. Provisions would have to be made for securing and transporting the loads of disabled trucks that proved irreparable, particularly if their loads included parts for the Fajr-3 rockets the convoy was alleged to be carrying, without which the other loads might prove unusable. Freeing the trucks from sand (a problem worsened by carrying a heavy load of arms) and making repairs could add days to the trip. The alleged inclusion of Iranian members of the Revolutionary Guard in the convoy would be highly risky – if detained by Egyptian security forces, every member of the arms convoy would be detained and interrogated (Israeli sources claimed several Iranians were killed in the raid). It would not take long to separate the Iranians from the Arabs, with all the consequences that would follow from the exposure of an Iranian intelligence operation on Egyptian soil.

Of course most of these problems would disappear if Egypt was giving its approval to the arms shipments. But if this was the case, why not send the arms through Syria and by ship to a port near the Gaza border? Ships are the normal vehicle for arms deliveries as massive quantities of arms are usually required to change the military balance in any situation.

Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that the arms were “apparently transferred from Iran through the Persian Gulf to Yemen, from there to Sudan and then to Egypt through Sinai and the tunnels under the Egypt Gaza border” and included “various types of missiles, rockets, guns and high-quality explosives” (Haaretz, March 29). The Yemen stage is unexplained; Iranian ships can easily reach Port Sudan without a needless overland transfer of their cargos in Yemen before being reloaded onto ships going to Port Sudan. Looking at this route (the simplest of several proposed by Israeli sources), one can only assume Hamas was in no rush to obtain its weapons.

Reserves Major General Giyora Eiland, a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, alleged the involvement of a number of parties in the Sinai to Gaza arms trade, including “Bedouin and Egyptian army officers who are benefiting from the smuggling.” He then turned to the possibility of arms being shipped through Sudan to Gaza; “Almost all of the weapons are smuggled into Gaza through the Sinai, and some probably by sea. Little comes along this long [Sudan to Gaza] route” (Voice of Israel Network, March 27).

Video footage of the burned-out convoy was supplied to al-Jazeera by Sudanese intelligence sources. The footage shows only small pick-up trucks, largely unsuitable for transporting arms. If Fajr-3 missiles broken down into parts were included in the shipment, there would be little room for other arms (each Fajr-3 missile weighs at least 550 kilograms). Sudanese authorities described finding a quantity of ammunition, several C-4  and AK-47 rifles and a number of mobile phones used for communications by the smugglers. There was no mention of missile parts (El-Shorouk [Cairo], March 24). No evidence has been produced by any party to confirm the origin of the arms allegedly carried by the smugglers’ convoy.

Assessing Responsibility

Citing anonymous “defense sources,” the Times claimed the convoys had been tracked by Mossad, enabling an aerial force of satellite-controlled UAVs to kill “at least 50 smugglers and their Iranian escorts” (The Times [London], March 29). American officials also reported that at least one operative from Iran’s Revolutionary Guards had gone to Sudan to organize the weapons convoy (Haaretz/Reuters, March 27). According to the Times’ sources, the convoy attacks were carried out by Hermes 450 and Eitan model UAVs in what would have been an aviation first – a long distance attack against a moving target carried out solely by a squadron of remote control drones.

U.S.-based Time Magazine entered the fray on March 30 with a report based on information provided by “two highly-placed Israeli security sources.” According to these sources, the United States was informed of the operation in advance but was otherwise uninvolved. Dozens of aircraft were involved in the 1,750 mile mission, refuelling in midair over the Red Sea. Once the target was reached, F15I fighters provided air cover against other aircraft while F16I fighters carried out two runs on the convoy. Drones with high-resolution cameras were used to assess damage to the vehicles.

The American-made F16I “Sufa” aircraft were first obtained by the IAF in 2004. They carry Israeli-made conformal fuel tanks to increase the range of the aircraft and use synthetic aperture radar that enables the aircraft to track ground targets day or night. The older F15I “Ra’am” is an older but versatile model, modified to Israeli specifications.

The entire operation, according to the Israeli sources used by Time, was planned in less than a week to act on Mossad information that Iran was planning to deliver 120 tons of arms and explosives to Gaza, “including anti-tank rockets and Fajr rockets with a 25 mile range” in a 23 truck convoy (though this shipment seems impossibly large for 23 pick-up trucks). The Israeli sources added that this was the first time the smuggling route through Sudan had been used.

Israeli officials claimed anonymously that the convoy was carrying Fajr-3 rockets capable of reaching Tel Aviv (Sunday Times, March 29; Jerusalem Post, March 29). The Fajr-3 MLRS is basically an updated Katyusha rocket that loses accuracy as it approaches the limit of its 45km range and carries only a small warhead of conventional explosives. It has been suggested that the missiles carried by the convoy “could have changed the game in the conflict between Israel and Palestinian militants,” thus making the attack an imperative for Israel (BBC, March 26). Yet the Fajr-3 was already used against Israel by Hezbollah in 2006 (see Terrorism Monitor, August 11, 2006). It has also been claimed that the Fajr-3 rockets could be used against Israel’s nuclear installation at Dimona, but Israeli officials reported at the start of the year that Hamas already possessed dozens of Fajr-3 rockets (Sunday Times, January 2). Some media accounts have confused the Fajr-3 Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), which would seem to be the weapon in question, with the much larger Fajr-3 medium-range ballistic missile.

Reports of the complete destruction of the entire convoy and all its personnel raise further questions. Desert convoys tend to be long, strung out affairs, not least because it is nearly impossible to drive in the dust of the vehicle ahead. Could an airstrike really kill every single person involved in a strung out convoy without a ground force going in to mop up? UAV’s with heat sensors and night vision equipment might have remained in the area to eliminate all survivors, but this seems unnecessary if the arms had already been destroyed. The political risk of leaving Israeli aircraft in the area after the conclusion of a successful attack would not equal the benefit of killing a few drivers and mechanics.

What role did Khartoum play in these events? A pan-Arab daily reported that the United States warned the Sudanese government before the Israeli airstrike that a “third party” was monitoring the arms-smuggling route to Gaza and that such shipments needed to stop immediately. (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, March 30). Despite state-level disagreements, U.S. and Sudanese intelligence agencies continue to enjoy a close relationship.

With Sudan under international pressure as a result of the Darfur conflict, Khartoum has sought to renew its relations with Iran. Less than two weeks before the airstrike, Sudanese Defense Minister Abdalrahim Hussein concluded a visit to Tehran to discuss arms sales and training for Sudanese security forces. An Iranian source reported missiles, UAVs, RPGs and other equipment were sought by Sudan (Sudan Tribune, January 20).

An Iranian Base on the Red Sea?

As tensions rise in the region, wild allegations have emerged surrounding the creation of a major Iranian military and naval base in the Eritrean town of Assab on the Red Sea coast. Assab is a small port city of 100,000 people. A small Soviet-built oil refinery at Assab was shut down in 1997. Last November an Eritrean opposition group, the Eritrean Democratic Party, published a report on their website claiming Iran had agreed to revamp the small refinery, adding (without any substantiation) that Iran and Eritrea’s President Isayas Afewerki were planning to control the strategic Bab al-Mandab Straits at the southern entrance to the Red Sea (selfi-democracy.com, November 25, 2008).

A short time later, another Eritrean opposition website elaborated on the original report of a refinery renovation, adding lurid details of Iranian ships and submarines deploying troops and long-range ballistic missiles at a new Iranian military base at Assab. Security was provided by Iranian UAVs that patrolled the area (EritreaDaily.net, December 10, 2008).

The Israeli MEMRI website then reported that “Eritrea has granted Iran total control of the Red Sea port of Assab,” adding that Iranian submarines had “deployed troops, weapons and long-range missiles… under the pretext of defending the local oil refinery” (MEMRI, December 1, 2008).

The story was further elaborated on by Ethiopian sources (Ethiopia and Eritrea are intense rivals and political enemies). According to one Ethiopian report, Iranian frigates were using Assab as a naval base (Gedab News, January 28). An Ethiopian-based journalist contributed an article to Sudan Tribune in which he again claimed Iranian submarines were delivering troops and long-range missiles to Assab, basing his account on the original report on selfi-democracy.com, which made no such claims (Sudan Tribune, March 30). Israel’s Haaretz noted that Addis Ababa is “a key Mossad base for operations against extremist Islamic groups” in the region, adding that some of the weapons destroyed in the convoy had “reportedly passed through Ethiopia and Eritrea first” (Haaretz, March 27).

Only days ago, a mainstream Tel Aviv newspaper reported that Iran has already finished building a naval base at Assab and had “transferred to this base – by means of ships and submarines – troops, military equipment and long range-ballistic missiles… that can strike Israel.” The newspaper claimed its information was based on reports from Eritrean opposition members, diplomats and aid organizations, without giving any specifics (Ma’ariv [Tel Aviv], March 29). On March 19, Israel’s ambassador to Ethiopia accused Eritrea of trying to sabatoge the peace process in the region by serving as a safe haven for terrorist groups (Walta Information Center [Addis Abbab], March 19). In only four months, a minor refinery renovation was transformed into a strategic threat to the entire Middle East.

Conclusion

Questions remain as to how the moving convoy was found by its attackers. Did Mossad have inside intelligence? Did the Israelis use satellite imagery from U.S. surveillance satellites as part of the agreement they signed earlier in January on the prevention of arms smuggling to Gaza, or did they use their own Ofeq-series surveillance satellites? Was an Israeli UAV already in place when the convoy left Port Sudan? A retired Israeli Air Force general, Yitzhak Ben-Israel, recognized the difficulty involved in finding and striking the convoy by noting; “The main innovation in the attack on Sudan… was the ability to hit a moving target at such a distance. The fact that Israel has the technical ability to do such a thing proves even more what we are capable of in Iran” (Haaretz, March 27).

The two-month silence on the attacks from other parties is also notable – it is unlikely U.S. and French radar facilities in Djibouti would have missed squadrons of Israeli jets and UAVs attacking a target in nearby East Sudan. If the Israelis took the shortest route through the Gulf of Aqaba and down the Red Sea they would likely be detected by Egyptian and Saudi radar on their way out and on their way back. According to former IAF commander Eitan Ben-Eliyahu, the attack would require precise intelligence and a two and a half hour flight along the Red Sea coast, keeping low to evade Egyptian and Saudi radar. The aircraft would also require aerial refuelling (Haaretz, March 27).

Even if the aircraft evaded radar, their low flight paths would have exposed them to visual observation in the narrow shipping lanes of the Red Sea.  Israeli aircraft would almost certainly have been tracked by the Combined Task Force-150, an allied fleet patrolling the Red Sea. All other routes would have taken the aircraft through unfriendly airspace. By March 27, an Egyptian official admitted that Egypt had indeed known of the airstrike at the time, but added the Israelis had not crossed into Egyptian airspace (Al-Sharq al-Awsat, March 27).

If Tehran was involved in this remarkably complicated smuggling operation, it will now be taking its entire local intelligence infrastructure apart to find the source of the leak. Egypt is reported to have deployed additional security personnel along the border with Sudan, effectively closing the alleged smuggling route (Haaretz, March 29). As Sudan revives its defense relationship with Iran it is very likely rumors and allegations will continue to proliferate regarding an Iranian presence on the Red Sea.


U.S. missile kills 13 in Pakistan

U.S. missile kills 13 in Pakistan

By Alamgir Bitani

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) – A pilotless U.S. drone aircraft fired a missile in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing 13 people including some foreign militants, security officials and residents said.

Hours later, Pakistani Taliban militant leader Baitullah Mehsud claimed responsibility for a shooting at a U.S. immigration center in New York in which a gunman killed 13 people, saying it was revenge for U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan.

U.S. officials were not immediately available for comment about Mehsud’s claim, but Pakistani security analysts dismissed it as a publicity stunt.

The New York Times quoted representative Maurice Hinchey, whose district includes the town of Binghamton in New York state where the shooting took place, as saying indications were the gunman was an immigrant from Vietnam.

With the Afghan insurgency intensifying, the United States began launching more drone strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban militants on the Pakistani side of the border last year.

Since then, about 35 U.S. strikes have killed about 350 people, including mid-level al Qaeda members, according to reports from Pakistani officials, residents and militants.

The attack Saturday was in the North Waziristan region, a stronghold of al Qaeda and Taliban militants on the Afghan border, about 35 km (20 miles) west of the region’s main town of Miranshah at about 3 a.m. (5 p.m. EST on Friday).

“The missile hit a house where some guests were staying,” one intelligence agency official said, referring to foreign militants. “We have information that 13 people were killed including some guests.”

Later, a suicide bomber was killed as he approached a military convoy. His explosives went off, killing three passersby, witnesses and a hospital official said.

Many al Qaeda and Taliban militants fled to northwestern Pakistani border regions such as North Waziristan after U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban in Afghanistan in late 2001.

From the remote ethnic Pashtun tribal lands that have never been governed by any Pakistani government, the militants have orchestrated the Afghan war and plotted violence beyond.

“MY MEN”

Nuclear-armed, U.S. ally Pakistan objects to the missile strikes, saying they are a violation of its sovereignty and are counter-productive.

Officials say about one in six of the strikes over the past year caused civilian deaths without killing any militants, and that fuels anti-U.S. sentiment, complicating the military’s struggle to subdue violence.

The concentration of strikes in Waziristan was also pushing some militants eastwards, deeper into Pakistan, they say.

Taliban leader Mehsud said Tuesday his group had carried out an assault on a police training center in the Pakistani city of Lahore in retaliation for U.S. drone attacks. He vowed more attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan and the United States.

Security analysts say Mehsud does not have the capacity to conduct attacks in the United Sates by himself but he is part of an al Qaeda-led network that does have global reach.

Mehsud told Reuters by telephone that two men, one a Pakistani and the other a “foreigner,” had carried out the shooting in the United States Friday.

“I accept responsibility. They were my men. I gave them orders in reaction to U.S. drone attacks,” he said, adding one of the attackers had escaped and telephoned him.

Pakistani analysts were skeptical.

“It seems it’s a move to boost his image. To me, it’s just bluster and bluff,” said Talat Masood, a retired general turned analyst. “It shows he’s under tremendous pressure.”

Competition has intensified between Taliban factions in the northwest and the drone strikes are taking a toll, analysts say.

Last month, the United States announced a $5 million reward for information leaded to Mehsud’s location or arrest.

“He doesn’t have the capacity (to attack in the United States),” said defense analyst Hasan Askari Rizvi.

(Additional reporting by Kamran Haider and Haji Mujtaba; Writing by Robert Birsel, Editing by Dean Yates)

CJ Iftikhar wants Swat flogging victim in court

CJ Iftikhar wants Swat flogging victim in court

CJ has described the act as a serious rights violation and ordered the officials to bring the girl before his court on Monday. — File


ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry has described the recent flogging of a 17-year-old girl by Taliban in Swat as a serious violation of fundamental rights and ordered the interior secretary to bring the girl before his court on Monday.

Taking suo motu notice of the incident, the chief justice asked the chief secretary and police chief of the NWFP to appear in person.

Supreme Court Registrar Dr Faqir Hussain brought the incident to the notice of the chief justice on Friday after seeing an amateur video of the flogging aired by television channels.

‘We do not know the exact venue of the incident and the circumstances in which the punishment by whipping was administered, but it certainly constitutes a serious violation of law and fundamental rights of the citizens of the country,’ the chief justice said.

He constituted an eight-judge bench headed by himself to hear the case on April 6. Besides Chief Justice Iftikhar, the bench comprises Justice Javed Iqbal, Justice Sardar Mohamamd Raza Khan, Justice Khalilur Rehman Ramday, Justice Faqir Mohammad Khokhar, Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed and Justice Chaudhry Ijaz Ahmed.

Notices were also issued to Attorney General Sardar Latif Khosa, the NWFP advocate general and the president of the Peshawar High Court Bar Association.

The private TV channels which had shown the footage were ordered to submit a copy of the recording. The Geo, Aaj and Express channels were asked to jointly compile the video of the incident and make arrangements to display it before the court.

In his note to the chief justice, the registrar stated that he had watched the video in which the victim who was crying and screaming continuously was being whipped on the charge that she had gone out of her home with a ‘na-mahram’. The exact place where the incident had taken place was not mentioned.

However, it appeared to be somewhere in Mingora or a village in Swat. Probably the news had also been released by foreign media, the registrar said, adding that it was a very cruel act which violated the fundamental rights and gave a very bad name to the country.

The treatment was also in violation of Islamic norms and principles, he said. ‘The Constitution of Pakistan guarantees fundamental rights of its citizens,’ he said, adding that no person could be deprived of life or liberty without due process of law.

‘The dignity of person is inviolable. No person can be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. Punishment of whipping is prohibited by law. The incident, therefore, constitutes a serious violation of the Constitution/law,’ the note said.

According to Article 247 of the Constitution, it said, the executive authority of the federation extended to the tribal areas, including the Provincially Administered Tribal Areas (Pata).

Man who made Swat flogging video speaks to Dawn News

Man who made Swat flogging video speaks to Dawn News

Shaukat, the man who witnessed and filmed the flogging incident in Swat, has spoken to Dawn News. — AFP

MINGORA: The man who witnessed as well as filmed the Taliban flogging a teenage girl in Swat has spoken out. The flogging was featured in a two-minute long video shot from a mobile phone and shows a burqah-clad woman lying on the ground while being whipped by the Taliban.

Shaukat is the only eye-witness who has come forward and spoken to Dawn News about the incident.

He claimed that the incident took place two weeks ago.

Giving the incident’s background, Shaukat said the allegation against and the treatment meted out to the girl was actually a punishment against her for refusing a marriage proposal.

The man who proposed to marry her joined the ranks of the Taliban after the rejection and this was how he took his revenge from the 17-year-old girl, Dawn News quoted Shaukat as saying.

When asked about the reaction of the people who had witnessed the whole episode, Shaukat said the people in Swat are so scared that no one has the courage to stand up and speak out against the Taliban and their verdicts.

Tribesmen riot after suspected Taliban destroy radio station

Tribesmen riot after suspected Taliban destroy radio station

Staff Report

PESHAWAR: Hundreds of tribesmen in South Waziristan’s Wana headquarters ransacked government buildings in the area hours after suspected Taliban blew up a two-room state-run FM radio station on Friday.

Talking to Daily Times, eyewitnesses said authorities deployed security forces several hours after the attack. “Suspected Taliban destroyed the station during the early hours of Friday after taking away the equipment in it,” local administration officials in Wana said on condition of anonymity. A tribal journalist in Dera Ismail Khan also confirmed the destruction of the radio station. “Hundreds of tribesmen took away everything they could get their hands on, including the bricks of the radio station, construction material and office equipment,” the eyewitnesses added, saying no government forces had attempted to stop the people from doing so. However, they said army and paramilitary forces were deployed in the area several hours later and took control of Wana’s Rustam bazaar after local residents shuttered their shops. “Nothing was left on the ground,” said one resident. “I saw people taking broken bricks and office chairs,” he added.

Suspected Taliban attacked the building at 2am on Friday. In the third attack on the station since its establishment in 2004, they removed all the equipment and then blew up the building. Local residents said the station had stopped airing music after being threatened by Taliban and had been broadcasting commentary on development projects, sports news and Islamic teachings for the past two years. The station had been airing six hour of programming daily, they added. According to eyewitnesses, the attackers allowed two security personnel guarding the station to leave. The tribal journalists, meanwhile, said the motive for destroying the station was still unknown. The federal government had set up a number of FM stations in different tribal regions where Taliban or Al Qaeda-linked militancy had made it difficult for independent journalists to do their jobs.

Talib-thugs Boast Girl’s Flogging, “Not serious,” else She Would have been Stoned to Death

Taliban flog 17-year-old girl for having ‘affair’: Govt orders probe into Swat whipping

* President, PM seek report, call for arrest of perpetrators
* Taliban spokesman says girl would have been stoned to death if a ‘serious view’ of her ‘crime’ was taken
* Govt says girl whipped in January, Taliban say 9 months ago, HR activist says in last 10 days

Staff Report

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has strongly condemned the flogging of a 17-year-old girl in public in Swat – where the government recently signed a peace deal with the Taliban – and ordered an inquiry into the matter.

The incident has put the controversial Swat peace deal into jeopardy, with TV footage showing the Taliban mercilessly beating the girl – sparking outrage in Pakistan and abroad.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said Zardari had sought a report from the NWFP provincial government and the local administration and called for arresting those responsible. He said the president had been shocked by the act of barbarism that had brought down heads in shame. “Such barbarism is unpardonable.”

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani also took serious notice of the incident, and sought a report.

In shocking images, the two-minute video – apparently made using a mobile phone camera – shows the girl, wearing a veil, face down on the ground with two men holding her arms and feet. A third man in a black turban with a long beard whips her backside repeatedly for having ‘illicit relations with her father-in-law’ – causing her to scream: “Either stop it or kill me.” A crowd of men can be seen watching as one of the Taliban shouts, “Hold her tightly.” The Daily Mail reported the girl’s brother was also involved in the flogging.

Taliban spokesman Muslim Khan acknowledged that his group was responsible for the flogging in public, “because no indoor arrangement for Islamic punishment could be made, as we are at war with the government”.

NWFP government spokesman Mian Iftikhar said the flogging took place on January 3, much before the peace deal with the Taliban. “We believe there is a conspiracy to sabotage the peace process by airing a video recorded before the deal,” he said.

Muslim Khan, however, said, “This incident took place nine months ago.”

Top Peshawar-based cleric Maulana Yousaf Qureshi opposed what had happened, telling Daily Times, “The state gives Islamic punishment … flogging a girl in public is just highhandedness.”

Serious view: Muslim Khan said the Taliban had handed out a ‘lenient’ punishment to the girl – suggesting she would have been stoned to death had a ‘serious view’ of the ‘crime’ been taken.

Samar Minallah – who works for a Pakistani human rights organisation – distributed the video given to her by people in Swat to the Western media. “The entire village knows she is innocent,” Samar told AFP. She told The Guardian that the flogging had taken place in the last 10 days.

A Grassy Knoll in Pakistan

A Grassy Knoll in Pakistan

By: Peter Chamberlin

All things have come full circle in the mountains of Pakistan.  The “great game” has been played-out.  The cycle of death which we unleashed upon the world there, bringing the  war on terrorism home to us, now draws us inexorably into the vacuum of its violent ending.  The convulsions now wracking that country threaten to become a revolutionary explosion capable of bringing down the foundations of the world.

The rapidly building democratic-revolution is now entering the “critical mass” stage.   Its expansion is accelerating beyond human control.  The assassination of Benazir Bhutto was a calculated risk, intended to derail democracy in Pakistan because Islamic extremists were making the democratic transition from militias into political parties.  For this reason, it is unlikely that she was assassinated by real Islamists, true Taliban.  It is more likely that the hit on Bhutto was connected to the Administration’s getting the “green light” (the day before the attack), to move large numbers of Special Forces “trainers” into the tribal regions.

Even though Bhutto was allegedly stirring the cauldron, “…demanding after returning to Pakistan that the ISI be restructured; and in a press conference during her house arrest in Lahore in November she went as far as asking Pakistan army officers to revolt against the army chief,”  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7709   recent revelations by various neocon-men points to a covert US plan to eliminate her.

“A large number of ISI agents who are responsible for helping the Taliban and al-Qaeda should be thrown in jail or killed. What I think we should do in Pakistan is a parallel version of what Iran has run against us in Iraq: giving money [and] empowering actors. Some of this will involve working with some shady characters, but the alternative – sending US forces into Pakistan for a sustained bombing campaign – is worse,” Steve Schippert was quoted as saying a November 2007 issue of Weekly Standard.  (1.   Steve Schippert  |  November 28, 2007 at 12:39 am “For what it’s worth, the author attributed a comment to me that I did not make in the Weekly Standard article. While I ascribe fully to what the unnamed intelligence source who actually said it did in fact say, they are not my words.”)  http://hankypanky.wordpress.com/2007/11/27/the-plan-to-topple-pakistan-military/

Musharref seems to be laboring under the illusion that the United States government supports his efforts to contain the building political explosion, when, in fact, the explosion of Pakistan is what the neocon traitors have been waiting for.  With big “events” come big opportunities.  Bush does not intend to do anything to help him stave off the inevitable.  Their aim, all along, has been to plan for the day after the catastrophic event, for the day when their real plans could be fully implemented.  The Pakistani leader let their ceaseless warnings about the day after move him into cooperating with them, in allowing the new expansion of the war into Pakistan.   The actual neocon objective, according to Professor Michel Chossudovsky, is:

“…fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup of Pakistan. This course of action is also dictated by US war plans in relation to both Afghanistan and Iran.

This US agenda for Pakistan is similar to that applied throughout the broader Middle East Central Asian region. US strategy, supported by covert intelligence operations, consists in triggering ethnic and religious strife, abetting and financing secessionist movements while also weakening the institutions of the central government.

The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.”   http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7705

By cooperating with Bush and Cheney, Musharref is supporting their efforts to revive the CIA training operation which had originally destabilized Pakistan.  This had proven to be a winning strategy against powerful adversaries like the Soviet Union, but when the same strategy was tried elsewhere, where there were no large technological forces to attack, the trained militias targeted civilians.  When it was transferred to the illegal “contra” war against Nicaragua it was quickly perverted, degenerating into organized death squads.  “Targeted assassinations” and death squads, by trained, paid “militias” (mercenary armies) will overthrow regimes and terrorize the populations that dare to resist the American secret assault, while it will win no hearts and minds for the causes of democracy or freedom.

In the article, “Key Pentagon strategist plots global war on terror,”   (Dec. 30) http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/2004099311_pentvick30.html

we learn that the man who planned the strategy and directed the actions of the former Afghan Mujajedeen has been given the same job in the new improved “Global War On Terror,” patterned after it.

“In the Pentagon’s newly expanded Special Operations office, Assistant Secretary of Defense Michael Vickers is working to implement the U.S. military’s highest-priority plan: a global campaign against terrorism that reaches far beyond Iraq and Afghanistan.

The plan details the targeting of al-Qaida-affiliated networks around the world and explores how the United States should retaliate in case of another major terrorist attack. The most critical aspect of the plan, Vickers said in a recent interview, involves U.S. Special Operations forces working through foreign partners to uproot and fight terrorist groups.

Vickers, a former Green Beret and CIA operative, was the principal strategist for the biggest covert program in CIA history: the paramilitary operation that drove the Soviet army out of Afghanistan in the 1980s… he directed an insurgent force of 150,000 Afghan fighters and controlled an annual budget of more than $2 billion in current dollars.

Today Vickers’ plan to build a global counterterrorist network [to fight covert wars in 49 countries].”

According to the Guardian    http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,2213925,00.html      Vickers will expand the Special Forces units now in Pakistan, to “…train the Frontier Corps and recruiting local militias to take on the insurgents.”  We will train a large roving Frontier Corps paramilitary force, as well as local Islamic militias.

“A new and classified American military proposal outlines an intensified effort to enlist tribal leaders in the frontier areas of Pakistan in the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban, as part of a broader effort to bolster Pakistani forces against an expanding militancy, American military officials said.

Militants have extended their reach beyond the tribal areas.  If adopted, the proposal would join elements of a shift in strategy that would also be likely to expand the presence of American military trainers in Pakistan, directly finance a separate tribal paramilitary force that until now has proved largely ineffective and pay militias that agreed to fight Al Qaeda and foreign extremists, officials said.

http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/19/washington/19policy.html?_r=3&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

The “war on terrorism,” focused primarily on a fictional global insurgency named “al Qaida,” that, in fact, fought for American interests in Afghanistan, Bosnia, Croatia and Chechnya is an exercise in hypocrisy.  The more “evidence” that is provided to us, to prove the al Qaida connection to every act of terrorism, the more evident it becomes that the war is a fraud, based on a cover-up of a treasonous attack, intended to whitewash history and to paint America as a heroic nation, dedicated to bringing freedom and democracy to all people.  The United States’ claim to be promoting democracy, while it exports state terrorism, has demolished the hopes of all those who still believe in American “good will,” all over the world.

Informed people all over the world cannot fathom how the American administration can seriously claim to be pursuing “al Qaida-connected terrorists,” when they know that “al Qaida,” the terrorist organization never existed.  Thanks to revelations by British MP Robin Cook in the Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,12780,1523838,00.html                            and French intelligence agent Pierre-Henry Bunel at the Wayne Madsen Report, http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=BUN20051120&articleId=1291     people know that when the United States needed a new enemy, after the demise of the Soviet empire, they decided to call “the base” (an international computer data base in Saudi Arabia of Afghan fighters), designated as “al Qaida” [an email address], an international terrorist network.

“Bin Laden was, though, a product of a monumental miscalculation by western security agencies. Throughout the 80s he was armed by the CIA and funded by the Saudis to wage jihad against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Qaida, literally “the database”, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians.” – Robin Cook

“The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive the ‘TV watcher’ to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US and the lobbyists for the US war on terrorism are only interested in making money.” – Pierre-Henry Bunel

“Elements associated with al Qaida” has become the new official catch-all phrase, used as often as possible, to incite terror among the American people and to justify new attacks by American forces and American-supported militia groups.  We are going into Pakistan in force, to train new Pakistanis to fight other Pakistanis that we had trained too well in the past.  How will we separate the “friendly” al Qaida from the unfriendly ones, when we bundle the whole bunch together under the rubric “al Qaida?”

Why are Islamists like Ayman al Zawahiri considered al Q., after they provided the US Islamic fighters in Bosnia, Kosovo, and Macedonia, as well other Islamic recruits who served US interests in Chechnya?                     http://www.bestcyrano.org/THOMASPAINE/?p=143    The Islamic mercenaries were fighting for us when the embassies were bombed in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998, even after bin Laden and Zawahiri announced the establishment of “The International Islamic Front for Holy War Against Jews and Crusaders,” (an umbrella organization linking Islamic extremists in scores of countries around the world, the bin Laden group that was renamed Al Qaida).  The militant group, now called al Qaeda was the instant answer to the 9/11 attacks, even though it was never what it was alleged to be, the ultimate terrorist bogeyman.  The conjunction of US and al Qaida interests all over the Muslim world should warn thinking individuals, whenever attacks happen to occur in just the places that the neocon war planners would most like to invade.

It is more than reasonable to question where al Qaida ends and the secret world of their CIA trainers begins.  Was it other trained al Qaida agents who pre-planted the demolitions that brought the towers down, obtained US security codes, timed the attacks into ongoing war games and stood down fighter cover, or was that part of the act of war the CIA’s domain?  Questioning further along that line, was Pakistan’s ISI (secret service) still acting as the CIA’s surrogate, when ISI head General Mahmud Ahmad allegedly had Sheik Omar wire Mohammed Atta $100,000?  According to Chossudovsky:

“The FBI had information on the money trail. They knew exactly who was financing the terrorists. Less than two weeks later, the findings of the FBI were confirmed by Agence France Presse (AFP) and the Times of India, quoting an official Indian intelligence report (which had been dispatched to Washington). According to these two reports, the money used to finance the 9-11 attacks had allegedly been “wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta from Pakistan, by Ahmad Umar Sheikh, at the instance of [ISI Chief] General Mahmoud [Ahmad].” 10 According to the AFP (quoting the intelligence source):

“The evidence we have supplied to the U.S. is of a much wider range and depth than just one piece of paper linking a rogue general to some misplaced act of terrorism.”  http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20020620&articleId=371

The name “Sheikh Omar” should set off alarms to those who are paying attention.  He was the one whom Bhutto fingered on the David Frost interview on 2nd November 2007  (2:15), “Omar Sheikh, the man who murdered Osama bin Laden.”  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnychOXj9Tg   Omar is mentioned in connection with a man that Bhutto feared might be involved in threats against her.

President Musharraf, in his book In the Line of Fire stated that the Sheikh was originally recruited by British intelligence agency, MI6 to go to the Balkans.  Here is another shadowy figure linked to al Qaida, Western intelligence agencies and the US program, organized by Bill Clinton, to bring radical Islamist Jihadis to the war in Yugoslavia.  They fought on the US side, in a war prosecuted by the United States, as an Islamic paramilitary force.

The new secret world war, based on the contra strategy, follows on the heels of what has been described as a “winning strategy” in Iraq, where the strategy was implemented and proven to be faulty.  In Iraq, another former military/CIA contra trainer, James Steele has helped to implement the “El Salvador option,” injecting the same training that he had provided to Central American “death squads” during the illegal covert war against Nicaragua.  But we know that the scenario, as it played-out in Iraq, produced the same results as in El Salvador, that of further polarizing the populace and turning the people against the US efforts.  But, in Iraq, the policy was judged successful, by some, because of the unexpected bonus of inciting religious sectarian civil warfare.  Between this new policy of promoting religious civil war and hiring armies of mercenaries, Bush & co. think that they are now winning in Iraq.  For this reason, they plan to repeat the pattern in Pakistan.

We have seen elements of this new war strategy backfire in Gaza and Lebanon, where the political forces associated with Elliott Abrams sought to create viable insurgencies, like Mohammad Dahlan’s U.S.-backed Preventive Security Services who were ran out of Gaza and the Lebanese Fatah al-Islam faction, allied with Said Hariri, who were driven from the Nahr el-Bared Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli.  These small forces were far too weak to successfully engage the Lebanese government, or the Hamas government in Gaza, yet the US was willing to gamble on them.

Joint efforts between the CIA and the Israeli Mossad to train offshoots of the PKK terrorist organization in Iraq, for cross-border attacks upon Iran, have also gone astray, leading to Turkish military action in Iraq, to eliminate the intolerable terrorist attacks upon it, that were a bi-product of misguided American efforts.  Similar efforts to train Jundallah terrorists in Pakistan to attack Iran succeeded in killing a few Iranians, but managed to bring international opprobrium on the US for its support of terrorism.

The new program to inflict mass terrorism upon Pakistan’s Western Provinces will backfire as well, further compounding America’s military dilemma, while increasing the suffering and tribal hatred of the Pakistani and Afghan people exponentially.

If America would only stop being the world’s number one sponsor of terrorism, then its leaders might realize that promoting real democracy is the only answer to the global unrest.  In Pakistan, democratic forces will sweep Musharref and the Americans completely out of power there.  Both he and Bush must decide to do whatever is necessary to make that “clean sweep” a relatively peaceful one.  There is no room for a dictator in any democracy – not in Pakistan, or America.  If the attempt by the Pakistani government to cover-up the Bhutto assassination, by claiming that she was not shot is any indication of the path that Musharref has chosen for Pakistan, then there will be no chance for peace in that beleaguered country.   http://littlegreenfootballs.com/weblog/?entry=28445&only&rss

 

peter.chamberlin@hotmail.com

Chairman Joint Chiefs Visits Saudi “Friends,” Wahabbi Overlords

SEE:  CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR

General Tariq Majid leaves for Saudi Arabia

ISLAMABAD: General Tariq Majid, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) left on an official visit to Saudi Arabia today.

The senior Tri Services officers and Defence Attaché of Saudi Arabia Colonel Saeed Mashafi saw him off at Islamabad airport.

During his four-day visit to Saudi Arabia, General Tariq Majid is expected to meet the King Abdullah Bin Aziz Al-Saud and other Saudi military and civil leadership.

Mehsud Takes Credit for New York Seige, for Oklahoma City, for Tylenol Tamperings, for killing JFK

THE LATEST CIA “EVIL GENIUS” SCREAMS “BOO!!”  GOD SAVE US FROM THE BOGEYMEN!!  SEE: CIA Agent Sees Dead People

Baituallah Mehsud claims U.S. shooting

WANA: Taliban militant leader Baituallah Mehsud claimed on Saturday responsibility for an attack on a U.S. immigration centre in New York state in which 13 people were killed.

“I accept responsibility. They were my men. I gave them orders in reaction to U.S. drone attacks,” Mehsud told foreign news agency by telephone from an undisclosed location.

A man armed with two handguns killed 13 people at an immigration services centre before apparently turning the gun on himself, authorities in Binghamton, New York, said.

5 children amid 17 civilians killed in Miranshah suicide attack

5 children amid 17 civilians killed in Miranshah suicide attack

MIRANSHAH: At least 17 civilians including five children were killed in a suicide attempt on the security forces at the Headquarters of North Waziristan here.

Sources said that Pakistan army convoy was on way from Bannu to Miranshah, when a suicide bomber attempted to ram his explosive-laden vehicle with the convoy, but the FC alert gunmen preventing the attack on convoy blew it up by firing, which unfortunately resulted in the death of 17 civilians including five children, while several were injured, as the spot of incident was crowded with people at that time besides the children were returning from the schools.

Following the blast, Miranshah Bazaar was shut down, while the security forces have besieged the area.

US, Pak kick off joint operation against Mehsud

US, Pak kick off joint operation against Mehsud

Updated at: 0500 PST, Saturday, April 04, 2009 LONDON: US and Pakistan have begun a joint operation to kill the head of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud, a British newspaper reported. A Pakistani intelligence official told UK daily that Washington had agreed to target Mehsud after months of persuasion by Islamabad’s military leadership. Pakistan will pass on intelligence about Mehsud’s movements with the aim of guiding a missile attack from an American drone. In public, Paksitan’s government opposes all strikes of this kind as an invasion of the country’s sovereignty. Behind the scenes, however, Pakistan’s government is quietly passing on targeting information to the Americans. “We are mounting joint operations against Baitullah Mehsud which will hopefully soon show results,” said the official. Mehsud, who is based in the Tribal Area of South Waziristan, threatened to target America after he claimed responsibility for the attack on a police-training centre outside Lahore on Monday. The intelligence official said that Pakistan had twice given America intelligence about Mehsud’s whereabouts so that he could be targeted. But he claimed the information had been ignored. “He was travelling on a road from point A to point B, and twice we tipped off America”, said the official. “But nothing happened. That raised a question mark over America as an ally for us.” American commanders now view Mehsud as a major threat. He is deemed to have links to al-Qaeda and last month he joined an alliance of Taliban leaders from across the border in Afghanistan who are preparing to counter President Barack Obama’s deployment of more US troops in the country.

Western Relief Agencies in Darfur: Shocking Facts

Western Relief Agencies in Darfur: Shocking Facts

Why the 13 Foreign Aid Agencies Were Sacked

By  Muhammad Gamal Arafa

Political Analyst – Egypt

Image

People supporting Sudan’s President Omar Hassan al-Bashir attend a rally in Al Fasher, northern Darfur March 8, 2009. (Reuters photo)

The Sudan Government’s decision to expel 13 foreign aid agencies from Darfur has provoked much controversy over this step’s futility as far as the making of appropriate peaceful atmosphere in Darfur is concerned. It might backfire and provide the west with reasons to severely punish the Sudan on basis of allegations that such decision would be detrimental to the displaced people in Darfur’s relief camps.

The decision was followed by the Sudanese government’s proclamation of dispensing with all the other western organizations and instructing them to leave within one year.

This, again, has led to questioning both decisions’ impact on the relief work in Darfur. Does Khartoum have an actual plan to replace such organizations without creating gaps that could lead to rekindling the human crisis in Darfur?

Initial Facts
Sudan’s Big Gains
Intelligence, Business, and Other Activities
Why the Foreign Relief Agencies Were Expelled?

(1)International Rescue Committee (IRC)
(2)US “CARE International”
(3)French “Action Against Hunger” (ACF)
(4)French “Solidarity”
(5) American “Mercy Corp.”
(6) Dutch “Doctors Without Borders”
(7) American “CHF International”
(8) British “Save The Children”
(9) ” Norwegian Refugee Council” – NRC
(10) British “Oxfam”


Initial Facts

The number of the expelled foreign aid agencies is just 13. They are American, British, French, Canadian, and Dutch agencies, but this does not necessarily mean there are no other relief agencies from these countries or other countries working in Darfur.

The other foreign aid agencies working in the Sudan are 118, apart from two main international charities, 13 Islamic and Arab relief and charity agencies, as well as 55 local Sudanese ones.

There are documents and ample evidence that the expelled aid agencies were carrying out intelligence work for their countries. They also worked to maintain the problem of the displaced for purposes of profits as their staff members receive huge payments which may amount to 70% of the relief funds they obtain for the poor in Darfur.  They also serve other political purposes of  pressuring the Sudanese government.

In other words, the 13 western agencies expelled constitute only 8% of the working relief agencies on the ground. There are 19 American agencies, of which five only were expelled, 16 British agencies, of which four only were expelled, 10 French agencies, of which two only were expelled, in addition to one Canadian and one Dutch agencies.

Twenty two out of these 118 agencies have Zionist backgrounds and are run and funded by Zionist organizations based in New York, Washington and some European countries.

It is not true that these organizations inject huge money or aids into Darfur. They basically distribute the foods offered by the UN International Food Program without providing any supplies to Darfur’s three provinces, Southern, Northern and Western.
Contrarily, these organizations have been accused of usurping most of that they received of relief aids and supplies allocated for the Darfuris for their own and for their administrators’ benefit.

The International Food program donates about 60 thousand tons of food per month to Darfur. The Sudanese Red Crescent Organization distributes about 40% of this amount, whereas the foreign and local organizations distribute around 60%.  This simply means that if these foreign organizations are replaced by other Arab and Islamic relief organizations, the crises  and the catastrophes the west and the foreign  organizations are warning of, due to the expulsion decision, will never occur

The key gain for Khartoum is when it “Sudanizes” voluntary and relief work, This is apt to eliminate the West’s interference in Darfur’s crisis

Sudan’s Big Gains

Given that, the great challenge the government and the national and Islamic organizations are facing is filling the vacancies created by the expulsion of these foreign organizations and getting fully prepared to shoulder the responsibility of distributing the relief supplies, providing medical teams, trained personnel to operate water wells, and providing health devices and services.  This way, Khartoum could prove its ability to solve its own problems irrespective of the West’s agenda.The key gain for Khartoum is when it “Sudanizes” voluntary and relief work, This is apt to eliminate the West’s interference in Darfur’s crisis or aggravating it through these foreign agencies that have turned into “states within the state” in Darfur.

These expelled agencies managed to some extent to encourage Darfur’s dissidents, particularly the Zaghwans, to rise strongly against the government.

It is no secret the agencies in questions used to distribute donations to the Darfuris to win their satisfaction and to employ some of them to work against their country. This was through implicating them in false witnesses of mass murder and rape crimes, to which there is no tangible evidence, neither by existence of mass graves or collective women’s complaints.

The missionary Christianization role of some of these organizations had been indicated by Kotbi Al-Mahdi, former political advisor to Al-Bashir.

Intelligence, Business, and Other Activities

The intelligence activities undertaken by these agencies have already been experienced in south of Khartoum, South of Sudan, where they have played the most serious role in inciting the separation of the south and providing relevant information to America.

Among the most famous of the organizations and characters that have been deeply involved in dealing with the Congress and the US Intelligence are the British Baroness Cox and her Christian Solidarity. The Baroness Cox played a part through the Christian Solidarity in supporting the Popular Movement for Sudan’s Liberation (PMSL), which is currently represented in the government.

Some Sudanese evidence has emerged that these organizations cooperate with the American intelligence in support of the South against the Khartoum government as part of the scheme of separating the south and the north of  Sudan. The real secret why the Europeans heavily support the American schemes of intervention into the affairs of the Sudan and  Darfur lies mainly in the missionary Christianization role these relief Western agencies are said to play there.This role is linked also to the agenda of the European and American intelligence regarding securing interests in Sudan’s oil reserves. This is the fact that urged the Priest John Danforth, former US envoy to the Sudan, to say: “The cessation of the civil war in Sudan could open the door for it to become a major oil country in Africa!”.

The missionary Christianization role of some of these organizations has also been indicated by Kotbi Al-Mahdi, former political advisor to the Sudanese president, who accused them of flaring up sedition in southern Sudan and the Nuba Mountains and eastern Sudan, saying that “They have sought further insurrection in Darfur.”

There are documents against such agencies concerning forced displacement of the people of Darfur through temptations, pressures and deception pushing them to leave for Europe and Israel.

Why the Foreign Relief Agencies Were Expelled?According to Sudanese official reports, which IslamOnline.net had access to, the 13 agencies were expelled due to obvious acts of intelligence and that some of them had nothing to do with relief work. The expulsion of these organizations has basically little to do with the decision of the prosecutor of The International Criminal Court arrest warrant against President Al-Bashir.

Monitoring the activities of such agencies confirmed beyond doubt that they have been for many years doing full intelligence work far from their normal humanitarian duty. However, Khartoum had been so patient and tolerant until provoked by the ICC  warrant of arrest.

The Sudanese Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs has obtained files and documents as evidence kept at the office of its Sudanese Commissioner. These documents indicate the fishy roles of the involved agencies and the amount of harm they were inflicting on the situation in Darfur, in particular, and in the Sudan in general.

There are documents against such agencies concerning forced displacement of the people of Darfur through temptations, pressures and deception pushing them to leave for Europe and Israel, in an act of illegal human trade. They were also involved in destructive activities through keeping persuading dwellers of some camps not to leave them and to take arms against the government.

They also incited some armed factions to take arms inside the camps like what happened in the notorious camp of “Kalimat”.  Some of these agencies have also written false intelligence reports and sent them to the ICC. They were misleading reports obviously financed by some Zionist organizations.

Some of the violations and infractions by such foreign aid agencies could be detailed as follows:

When the agency was questioned about the statement, it apologized and claimed it was a personal view.

(1) International Rescue Committee (IRC)

1- The IRC had an agreement with the ICC in 2005, according to which the Committee provides the court with information, documents and witnesses as well as ensuring the witnesses’ safety in coordination with the UN mission in the Sudan.

2.  In December 2004, four Dutch journalists brought by the IRC were arrested as they had photos of some Janjaweed members near the camps and a fabricated film about hold-up looting operations, originally carried out by two staff members working in the humanitarian field.

The film also showed false attempts of raping of displaced women and interviews with displaced witnesses about battering and torturing operations allegedly carried out by the government authorities.

The journalists finally admitted to all that violations and a criminal prosecution was started with the witnesses’ statements documented, but the case was finally dropped off after the mediation of the Dutch ambassador in the Sudan.

3- The CNN broadcast a statement made by Mrs. Roberta, an official in the organization, describing what was going on in Darfur as the most hideous genocide in the 21st century. The statement claimed that government members displaced the people in Darfur, raped women and dumped children into the fire before their parents’ eyes.

When the organization was questioned about that statement, it apologized and claimed that the statement made was a personal view of Mrs. Roberta, and that she was just a staff member and did not represent the organization.

4-  The Organization’s president, Nicky Smith, made a statement alleging the commitment of 200 cases of murder, rape in the camp without providing a single piece of evidence. She considered that it was an indication of the deterioration of the security status and claimed that the statement was an organization document.

5- In August 2005, the organization sent letters to the then American Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, following her visit, requesting her to continue the pressure on Khartoum and the enforcement of the resolution 1591. She organized media campaigns on the Internet to collect signatures to be sent to the US President directly for the replacement of the African Union forces troops by international troops.

6- In 2006, the organization director was summoned by the Organizations Department Director General of the National Security and Intelligence Authority and was faced with these breaches and abuses. She provided a documented apology and requested opening a new page of cooperation to which she was not committed.

7- The organization has carried out some mock so-called projects in Darfur on issues¬– such as women’s mental health, the rule of law, policies of protection, etc– that were just discussed in coffee meetings for women to promote their psychological comfort.

During these filmed meetings, women were pushed to talk about any abuses they were subjected to, which were meant to collect and fabricate information on their mouths.

What’s really interesting is that the organization had been working without any technical agreements, and that’s why it was first stopped in 2008.

8- The organization deported a number of the displaced people of Darfur to some European countries while others were sent to the ICC to bear witnesses.

9- For the organization to fulfill some of its goals, it prepared regular intelligence and information reports in addition to security surveillance reports on Darfur.  It also prepared a report on the alleged forced displacement of the tribe of Al Zaghawa, and on the government stirring up of tribal disputes.

(2) US “CARE International”

1- It prepared security reports which were basically security and military records as well as accusations against  the government of shelling civilians in the villages of the northern province of Darfur.

2- The organization’s local director, Mr. Parker, prepared a paper that is figuring out scenarios of the replacement of the African Union troops by International ones.

The report included a security and intelligence analysis which recommended the possibility of the Sudanese government approving the advent of international forces in a dignified manner.

ACF’s Cosultant, Mrs Silvy, suggested that the government practiced genocide, arson, and civilian abduction.

(3) French “Action Against Hunger” (ACF)1- The French Action Contre la Faim (ACF) is an intelligence interface that prepared informational intelligence reports, including a letter that was discovered and carried an alleged indication  that the area of Umm Khairat in Darfur was bombarded by the Janjaweed on Dec. 5, 2004.

A criminal case was filed against the organization that finally  apologized for that and claimed it had conducted an investigation on the typing of that information on its official stationery, but the investigation yielded no results!.

2- Silvy, the organization’s consultant, delivered a lecture, at the French International Institute of International Relations in 1999, in which she accused the Sudanese government of using the weapon of hunger against some people of Darfur in the south and in Nuba Mountains.  She suggested that the government practiced genocide, arson, and civilian abduction operations.

(4) French “Solidarity”

1- In  March 2007, the Radio of France cast a long interview with  the organization’s director in which he alleged that the Janjaweeds continued assaulting and attacking the Zaghawa tribes and that there was genocide and that the Sudanese government backed up the Arab militia and concluded that the war would not stop.

2- In 2005, the organization’s distribution officer, Mr. Jill, supported the rebels by providing them with mobile recharge cards.

3- Barrels full of fuel prepared by the organization to be sent to the rebellious movements were discovered. A case was filed against the organization for thatviolations but  it was finally dropped through diplomatic interventions.

The organization practiced activities that had nothing to do with humanitarian work in Kurmuk city.

(5) American “Mercy Corp.”

1- This organization played a number of intelligence roles in the region of Abyei, disputed between the northern and southern Sudan, to create commotion among the people of Abyei of the Dinka tribe (African) and Missiriya tribe (Arab).

It also incited the Dinka people to create chaos in the region and beguiled them into believing they are the owners of the region and oil, and that they should fill the administrative vacuum and exploit the volatile situation.

2- The organization practiced activities that had nothing to do with humanitarian work in Kurmuk, a city in the Blue Nile Province of Sudan. It established a local radio station called the “Society Radio”.

It broadcast programs that incited hatred and urged the citizens to separate from Sudan.  It also initiated programs for church preaching.

(6) Dutch “Doctors Without Borders”

1- In October 2004, the organization published a report on mass killings in Darfur. The report claimed that the Sudanese government practiced genocide against civilians by using the Janjaweed pro-government militias, and that the civilians could not find a safe haven.

2- In March 2005, the organization published another report on rape in Darfur, and alleged that the rape and sexual violence were practiced by the Sudanese government and its allied militias on an ongoing basis.

The Secretary General of the United Nations used quotes form the report in his periodic report to the Security Council, citing that the organization treated 5,00 rape cases from Darfur in the UN clinics.

A criminal case was filed by the Sudanese government against the organization that was unable to prove its false allegations.

The organization’s national employees, including the medical teams, denounced the report, refuted its claims, and noted that it was prepared with intentional malice. Then, the organization sought to exercise diplomatic pressure to have the case dropped.

Endeavors led by the United Nations representative, Jan Pronk, the one who submitted the report to the Secretary-General, who, in turn, sought the support of the Security Council. The Dutch Ambassador and the Ambassador of the European Union also intervened to drop the case.

Finally, the decision of the Sudanese Minister of Justice was to drop the case and give a final expulsion warning to the organization, and to depose its director, Darfur coordinator, out of the country for the untrue reports.

(7) American “CHF International”

1- The organization kept receiving a lot of women in its headquarters in the state of North Darfur and managed to convince them to lie to visiting guests and officials of international bodies about false cases of rape and sexual violence by the pro-government forces of the Janjaweed militia and to claim that these forces burned their villages and killed their men and children.

On a visit of Jan Waveland, Assistant of UN  Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, the organization denied admission of the accompanying Sudanese Minister of Humanitarian Affairs.

2– It selected a number of displaced women from camps of Abu Shouk to represent the organization in Abuja, after instructing them to tell untrue stories and reverse the situation intimidating them by rumors about rape they would face at the hands of the Janjaweed.

3– It exploited some mayors and sheiks of tribes through financial aids and mortgage servicing in return for their collecting information for the organization. They were also forced to attend meetings of the organization at which they are incited to rise against the government.

(8) British “Save The Children”1- The organization issued, in November 2002, a statement on the security situation in the state of North Darfur claiming that the government warplanes bombed positions only 50 meters from its food distribution center, although there were no fighting in that period of time.

2- It published information, in July 2004, which alleged that more than half a million children from Sudan’s Darfur had been forced to flee their villages, and that a million people were forced to leave their homes by militias supported by the government.

The organization promoted wrong information on rape cases, and it was found that it provided good sums of money to the girls to lure them into telling lie and recognizing rape.

(9) “Norwegian Refugee Council” ( NRC)

1 – The organization recruited a number of elders, youth and women within the camp of Kalema. It paid them monthly salaries of 50,000 Dinars per person, and the task of those recruits was to collect intelligence information about security, political, military and social conditions, which the organization forwarded in daily reports to its top management.

2- The organization arranged secret meetings between the displaced people and some foreign delegations visiting the camp, and provided them with false information.3 – The organization promoted wrong information on rape cases, and it was found that it provided good sums of money to the girls to lure them into telling lie and recognizing rape.

4 – When Jan Egeland, the former Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan, visited Darfur in 2005, the organization provided him with false information about “sexual harassment, rape, and racial abuse”. He was summoned to the camp of Kalema in secret to hear the false information.

5- It recruited 45 girls, and gave them 45 donkeys to move inside the camp and the surrounding villages to monitor the presence of government agents.

6- Owing to the organization’s reiterative infringements, the authorities of south Darfur decided to expel it in 2006 for providing false reports.

(10) British “Oxfam”

1- In November 2004, the organization issued a report indicating the crimes committed by the rebels. It accused the government of incurring the deterioration of the security status in Darfur and called for an action by the international community and for immediate intervention.

2- In the same month, the organization prepared a report on the situation in Darfur which the Sudanese Organizations High Commission refused to publish it for the false information it carried.

However, Oxfam official, Alan McDonald, disclosed some false information to Karen Smith of the CNN about genocide in Darfur. Both the organization and the CNN played a big role to create a lobby to pressurize the Sudanese government.


Muhammad Gamal Arafa is a political analyst in IslamOnline.net. He holds a BA and pre-MA in political science and has numerous research published in a wide range of publications mainly in Arabic.

Robo-scientist makes gene discovery–on its own

Robo-scientist makes gene discovery–on its own

Adam (shown in background) may not look like its two colleagues in the white coats, but it’s starting to act like them.

(Credit: Aberystwyth University)

Earlier this week, we told you about a robot that could be controlled by human thought alone. Now comes news of a bot that doesn’t need to bother with any human thought at all, thank you very much. It’s a “robot scientist” that researchers believe to be the first machine to independently come up with new scientific findings. Aptly, the bot is named Adam.

While we’ve become accustomed to robots built to repeat a given task many times over, scientists at Aberystwyth University in Wales and the U.K’s University of Cambridge designed Adam to take a more human approach to scientific inquiry. And while it may not win the Nobel Prize for physics just yet, Adam appears to be doing impressively well for a young scientist, carrying out scientific research automatically, without the need for further human intervention.

As reported in the latest issue of the journal Science, Adam autonomously hypothesized that certain genes in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae code for enzymes that catalyze some of the microorganism’s biochemical reactions. The yeast is noteworthy, as scientists use it to model more complex life systems.

Adam then devised experiments to test its prediction, ran the experiments using laboratory robotics, interpreted the results, and used those findings to revise its original hypothesis and test it out further. The researchers used their own separate experiments to confirm that Adam’s hypotheses were both novel and correct–all the while probably wondering how soon they’d become obsolete.

“This is one of the first systems to get (artificial intelligence) to try and control laboratory automation,” Ross King, a professor of computer science who led the research at Aberystwyth University, told Live Science. Current robots, he noted, “tend to do one thing or a sequence of things. The complexity of Adam is that it has cycles.”

Adam is a still a prototype, but King’s team–which is funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council–says they believe their next robot, Eve (don’t leave those two in the lab alone together) holds promise for scientists searching for new drugs to combat diseases such as malaria and schistosomiasis, an infection caused by a type of parasitic worm in the tropics.

“Ultimately,” King said, “we hope to have teams of human and robot scientists working together in laboratories.”

Leslie Katz, senior editor of CNET’s Crave, covers gadgets, games, and most other digital distractions. As a co-host of the CNET News Daily Podcast, she sometimes tries to channel Terry Gross. E-mail Leslie.

Topics:

Robots,

Science

Philippine Branch of Jihadi Network Follows Terror Program

Deadline passes; no beheading

By Julie Alipala
Inquirer Mindanao

ZAMBOANGA CITY — The Abu Sayyaf did not carry out its threat to behead one of the workers of the International Committee of the Red Cross, even after it’s new deadline for a troop pullout expired at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

“I have information na okay pa naman ang tatlo at hindi naman sila pinugutan (that the three are okay and have not been beheaded),” Sulu Governor Abdusakur Tan told the Philippine Daily Inquirer by phone.

“May possibility pa rin na buhay silang lalabas [There’s a possibility they will all emerge alive],” Tan added. He refused to elaborate.

Even as the deadline lapsed and the hostages remained alive, Tan said the whole of Sulu had been placed under a state of emergency.

In the declaration, Tan directed the police, with the help of the military and civilian volunteers, to set up checkpoints all over the province.

A curfew has also been imposed, subject to guidelines that might be issued by the proper authorities.

Tan also ordered “the conduct of general search and seizure, including arrests in the pursuit of the kidnappers and their supporters; and the conduct of such other actions or police operations as may be necessary to ensure public safety.”

Even before the first ultimatum lapsed at 2 p.m., government troops in Sulu started moving back near the Abu Sayyaf lair in Indanan municipality.

They were ordered to pounce on the bandit group as the deadline set by Albader Parad for the beheading of one of the hostages drew near.

Jolo town Mayor Hussin Amin said, “Life is like hanging in a balance, it’s like the lives of over 800,000 Tausugs as against the lives of three kidnapped victims.”

“We cannot allow this kind of imbalance to stay longer; kailangang matigil na ito [this has to end],” he said.

Asked to elaborate what he meant by life hanging in a balance, Amin explained that “[the] Abu Sayyaf bandits are demanding to free the entire Sulu province of military and other government forces.”

“What do they want? Anarchy? Does it mean that we need to sacrifice the lives of 800,000 Tausugs moving around with the feeling of security and allow these bandits to run loose and free? That cannot be done,” he said.

Amin admitted that tension gripped them every minute as as the deadline approached.

He said whenever the phone rang, he got edgy.

He said the details of the redeployment could be provided only by Interior Secretary Ronaldo Puno.

Meanwhile, an Inquirer informant said the Abu Sayyaf’s extension of the deadline for the total pullout of government troops to 5 p.m. Tuesday came after Sulu Vice Governor Nur Anna Sahidulla and Sulu Representative Yusop Jikiri met and spoke with Doctor Abu, another Abu Sayyaf leader on the island-province.

But while Marines and policemen were moving back near the Abu Sayyaf’s lair in Indanan, the source said the bandits appeared to be preparing for the worst too.

“Actually may movement na ang mga Abu Sayyaf, paakyat na sila sa Bud Tumatangis [Actually there was movement among the Aby Sayyaf; they were moving up Mount Tumatangis],” he said by phone.

Tan said he was not aware of the extension of the new deadline, saying they were closely monitoring the situation.

“We are not losing hope here, let’s cross all our

Tan said he was not aware of the extension of the new deadline, saying they were closely monitoring the situation.

“We are not losing hope here, let’s cross all our fingers. Wala pa tayong natatanggap na balita sa sinuman sa tatlong bihag [We have not received word from any of the three captives]; we just hope nothing bad will happen to them,” he said.

Philippine Blast by Ramsey Yousef’s Old Buddies Kills 8

Blast Kills 8, Wounds 2 in Philippine Al Qaeda Stronghold

MANILA, Philippines  —  A Philippine military spokeswoman says a bomb explosion killed at least two people and wounded eight others on Basilan island, a stronghold of Al Qaeda-linked militants.

Lt. Stephani Cacho says the improvised bomb exploded late Friday in front of a popular fast-food restaurant and near a public square in Isabela township. She says the blast may have hit a power line, cutting off electricity in the area.

Cacho says the incident is still under investigation and authorities have no suspects yet.

Basilan is a stronghold of Abu Sayyaf, which is on a U.S. list of terrorist organizations. The group on Thursday freed a Filipino Red Cross worker after 10 weeks of captivity in the nearby island of Jolo but is holding two other hostages — a Swiss and an Italian.

Obama’s Af-Pak strategy has dangerous ramifications for Pakistan

Obama’s Af-Pak strategy has dangerous ramifications for Pakistan

By Asif Haroon Raja

The psychological operations bullets are being persistently and systematically fired at Pakistan by its adversaries. The aim is to implant impressions, and to convince the world that Pakistan has become the main headquarters of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates, it is the most dangerous country in the world, it is fast becoming a failing state, the Islamists have captured FATA and NWFP and made deep inroads into Punjab and Karachi and the situation in Balochistan is explosive. The propagandists are also selling the idea that the Islamists are on the verge of annexing power in Pakistan and that the nuclear weapons would also be taken over by them thereby threatening the world security. Both President Obama and Gen Petraeus stated on 01 April that Islamist insurgents pose a growing threat to Pakistan’s very existence.

Obama said that Al-Qaeda based in FATA is planning attacks in Pakistan. He said that Al-Qaeda and its extremist allies are a cancer that risks killing Pakistan from within. The Obama led US leadership is now convinced that the stage has been set for Al-Qaeda stationed in FATA to launch an attack on US homeland. To lend strength to US assertions Baitullah Mehsud has suddenly sprung a huge surprise that its squads would teach the Americans a lesson by attacking White House in Washington. Does it not sound fishy and bizarre? I will comment upon it separately.

The army and ISI continue to be in the firing line and alleged to be linked with the Taliban and their associates and are out of control of civil government. Besides India the entire civil and military leadership of USA have focused their guns on ISI and have not minced their words in threatening the ISI in particular to disassociate itself from the extremist elements. Renewed hostility against ISI is not without a sinister purpose and is reflective of bad intentions of USA.

Some of the reasons for their ire are as under: One, retraction of notification on placement of ISI under their handpicked Interior Adviser Rehman Malik. Two, change of mind of Pakistan government to send DGISI to New Delhi after PM Gilani had acquiesced to demand of Manmohan in the aftermath of Mumbai attacks. Three, the ISI exposed covert operations by RAW and CIA in Balochistan, FATA and Swat and is keeping a strict watch on their activities.

The ISI gave advanced information on several RAW sponsored terrorist acts including 3 and 30 March terrorist acts in Lahore. It has now forewarned all concerned about nefarious plan of RAW to target chief justice Iftikhar and attacks in Rawalpindi and Islamabad on the pattern of Lahore. 20 Uzbek terrorists duly trained and equipped in Afghanistan have reportedly entered Islamabad through Baitullah led Taliban in FATA. Possible assigned targets are Pak Secretariat blocks, TV stations, police training centres, English medium schools. Another group has been dispatched to Lahore.

In the new Af-Pak strategy spelled out by Obama, “war on terror” has been changed to read “war against Al-Qaeda”, and the irreconcilable have been affiliated with Al-Qaeda. Likewise, FATA has been linked with Afghanistan and turned into a single battleground. While exhibiting aggressive intentions against Pakistan and expressing its displeasure on recent peace deals with militants in Swat and Bajaur, Pakistan has been offered handsome monetary assistance strictly in return for its performance against the extremist elements. Unlike Bush who would only deal with Musharraf and Karzai and keep praising them lavishly and in the same breadth condemn Pakistanis and Afghanis, Obama has addressed concerns of the people of two countries in the hope of winning their support to fight the extremists. USA has again extended an olive branch to reconcilable within Afghan Taliban.

The truculence and arrogance of US leadership has apparently melted down to some extent not because of human considerations but because of economic meltdown and its utter failure to control militancy through shock and awe. However, behind the farce of friendly overtures towards Afghanistan and Pakistan to improve their image and win over public support, there is no change in their laid down objectives. The stick has been dipped in honey to achieve their hidden agenda with the willing cooperation of the government of the two countries. While dangling the carrot of $ 7.5 billion package spread over 5 years, Gen Petraeus has hurled a clear cut threat that US military would reserve the right to strike inside Pakistan as a last resort. Their patience which is already wearing thin will wear out if the alleged ties between the ISI and Taliban are not severed completely, the ISI is not defanged as per their wishes, the so-called sanctuaries as well as the anti-US and anti-Indian militants are not destroyed wholly and above all Pakistan voluntarily hands over its nuclear assets to USA. While the US has termed terrorism as a cancer that Pakistan needs to fight from within for its own sake, it has shut its eyes to multiple deadly ailments that afflict Pakistani society. These include poverty, illiteracy, corruption, nepotism, cronyism, feudalism, insatiable avarice, injustice, immorality, vulgarity and obscenity under the garb of modernism which in my view are deadlier and terrorism is a consequence to these curses. Without curing these diseases no amount of effort put in to eliminate terrorism would prove fruitful.

The covert plan collectively formulated by CIA, RAW, MI-6, RAM-Mossad had been put into operation in 2003 to destabilize and denuclearize Pakistan and then balkanize it so as to make India the unchallenged super power of South Asia. After repeating ad-nauseam the mantra of “do more “and never getting satisfied and at the same time fuelling militancy in selected spots, the US bared its teeth soon after the suicide attack on Indian Embassy in Kabul in July last year. The ISI was blamed for it without any proof and both Mike Mullen and Director CIA came rushing to Islamabad in white heat with cudgels in their hands. The incident had put a temporary spanner in the way of covert operations undertaken by RAW in collaboration with CIA against Pakistan, which by then had reached an advance stage. From that time onwards, the US accelerated the tempo and has applied various defamatory and coercive tools to prepare a case for attacking Pakistan. Instead of defining Pakistan as a victim of terrorism it has been painted as a safe haven for terrorists and the ISI linked with them.

Declaring FATA as the most dangerous place on earth and a war zone, locating bulk of Al-Qaeda and its top leadership in that region, linking the ISI with extremists, blaming Pakistan in Mumbai attacks, affiliating ISI with banned Lashkar-e-Taiba, disqualification of Sharif brothers and imposition of Governor Rule to destabilize Punjab were links of a chain to make Pakistan ungovernable and to prepare conducive conditions to apply military instrument both from western and eastern fronts. The US has stepped up the threat of Al-Qaeda and its affiliates to the very existence of Pakistan to scare Pakistani leadership and to make it agree to let US forces step into FATA and provide all out support for the fulfillment of its nefarious designs.

From the above it can be inferred that USA has finally made up its mind that if required, it would invade and occupy parts of Pakistan and let India do the rest. Kilcullen’s prediction that Pakistan would collapse within 1-6 months together with the heightened jingoism of US civil and military leaders fits into the dangerous scheme. They are repeatedly warning Pakistan to do as told to do or suffer the consequences of defiance. It is ironic that any institution trying to safeguard the integrity of Pakistan against the malevolent designs of adversaries comes in the bad books of USA and is branded as a rogue institution. Anti-American elements are branded as extremists and terrorists. Those who follow the dictates of USA at the cost of national interests or those who are pro-America are most liked and are rewarded.

The battle plan has been finalized by Adm. Mike Mullen and Gen Petraeus and approved by Pentagon and Obama Administration. Economic packages for Afghanistan and Pakistan are a smoke screen to conceal their hidden agenda and intended crimes against humanity behind it. It wants to fight the extremists along the Pak-Afghan border belt including whole of FATA and Pashtun belt in Balochistan under the overall command of US military. It wants that Pak army and the ISI to remain subservient to US Centcom and its command HQ in Kabul and the government to follow the dictates given by Holbrooke on civil matters. In the final phase of Vietnam War, Cambodia was turned into a killing field on the plea that it provided sanctuaries to the Vietnamese. Learning no lesson from the Vietnam debacle as well as all its failed military ventures, the US Administration in the firm grip of Jewish lobby and neo-cons is hell-bent to repeat history irrespective of the costs.

While Zardari has hailed the speech of Obama and promptly consented, the military, the ISI as well as PM Gilani have serious reservations since they know that the new plan has dangerous ramifications for Pakistan. Zardari and his NRO cleared associates are jubilant over the aid announcement and are least bothered about the sinister designs and grave implications of the new US battle plan in which Pakistan northwestern region would be turned into a war zone. Sooner than later the flames of war would engulf whole of Pakistan. But why our blood sucking rulers and parasitic elite should be bothered about such a dreadful scenario since they have safe havens and foreign accounts abroad. When the Soviets occupied Afghanistan in 1979, the elite shifted to Peshawar, Islamabad and western capitals and had no problem in starting a new life under affluent conditions. They have returned to the safe confines of Kabul and recommenced their life of pleasure as second rated citizens and are begging the Americans to keep the Taliban at bay. The liberal elite of Iran too are still living overseas after the onset of Islamic revolution in March 1979.

The earth beneath Pakistan will continue to quiver as long as the white elephants are prancing in the immediate neighborhood which they have trampled and are now menacingly itching to jump the fence to extend their radius of playing field. They had stepped into the barren fields of Afghanistan to make it greener but their macabre dance destroyed everything. They should return to their own grazing pasture and stomp as much as they can rather than playing in someone else’s meadow and destroying the grass as well as peace of the inhabitants of the region under the plea of protecting them and their own grazing field.

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brig and author of books titled Muhammad Bin Qasim to Gen Musharraf; Roots of 1971 Tragedy; Kashmir Battles and Freedom Struggle; and Battle of Hilli in Former East Pakistan.

– Asian Tribune –

America’s Proxy “War on Terrorism” in Pakistan Lahore Attack: Dress Rehearsal for The Horrors to Come

Global Research, April 3, 2009

Monday’s brazen assault on a police academy in Lahore, Pakistan’s second largest city and cultural capital, is a grim reminder that the “killing season” has begun in earnest across Central- and South Asia.

At least 13 police recruits were killed and another 100 wounded, according to Dawn.

The Lahore assault followed the horrific Jamrud mosque suicide bombing March 27 in the Khyber Agency that killed upwards of 80 people during Friday prayers.

The raid by as yet unknown gunmen is a stark demonstration to Lahore residents that last month’s attack on the Sri Lankan national cricket team, also carried out by heavily armed and well-trained commandos, was not a one-off affair but the opening round in a destabilization operation by any number of suspects.

Pakistani Taliban, the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence assets also known as al-Qaeda, as well as militants “trained-up fierce” by Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and America’s CIA have all been named as the responsible parties. Fleshing out the rogues’ gallery one finds: Baitullah Mehsud’s Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LEJ), or, when all else fails, a “foreign hand,” e.g. India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW).

Given the modus operandi of the attack, one cannot preclude Lashkar-e-Jhangvi. LEJ is a virulently anti-Shia sectarian outfit that evolved from the neo-Wahabbi Sipah-e-Sahaba during the 1990s. With strong connections to Pakistan’s military intelligence agency, the group served as a training ground for notables such as the operational whiz-kid behind the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, Ramzi Yousef, and the reputed “mastermind” of the 9/11 attacks, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.

Like LET, the LEJ has aligned itself–and fought alongside–the Afghan Taliban and, according to some analysts, was involved in the 2002 kidnapping and murder of Wall Street Journal investigative reporter Daniel Pearl; a murder orchestrated by ISI asset and 9/11 bagman, former London School of Economics student Omar Saeed Sheikh.

Historically, LET and LEJ have been ISI proxies and have targeted leftist and secular opponents of the shadowy intelligence agency as well as serving as a cats’ paw for plausibly deniable attacks against Pakistan’s geopolitical rival India.

On Tuesday however, Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan chieftain Mehsud claimed it was the TTP that carried out the assault, according to The New York Times.

Mehsud told the BBC, that the raid was “in retaliation for the continued drone strikes by the US in collaboration with Pakistan on our people”. During a phone call, the TTP’s head honcho told Reuters, “We wholeheartedly take responsibility for this attack and will carry out more such attacks in future.”

But Mehsud went further and claimed that TTP-aligned militants will mount a terror operation in Washington, perhaps targeting the White House. The Wall Street Journal reported Mehsud told Pakistani journalists from–where else–an “undisclosed location (!) that “soon we will launch an attack in Washington that will amaze everyone in the world.”

As if on cue, CENTCOM commander General David Petraeus of Iraq “surge” fame told the Senate Armed Services Committee Wednesday, that the “government was doing a ‘deep dive’ investigation” into Mehsud’s claims, according to The New York Times. The “newspaper of record” failed however to inform readers whether the “threat level” had been raised in response!

Earlier this month, the U.S. State Department issued a $5 million bounty for Mehsud, a frequent target of CIA Predator and Reaper drone strikes that have killed scores of innocent civilians in Pakistan’s “lawless” borderlands.

The New York Times reported April 2, that missiles fired from a CIA drone struck an alleged “militant training camp,” killing at least 10 people. The raid, according to the Times targeted Hakimullah Mehsud, one of Baitullah’s top lieutenants.

According to Times, Hakimullah’s forces “have been held responsible by Pakistani officials for attacking NATO supply depots in Peshawar used to resupply international forces in Afghanistan. His influence is such that he has imposed Sharia Islamic law in the Orakzai region, residents said.”

However, according to Dawn, “at least 14 people, including 12 militants were killed and 13 injured.” The Karachi-based newspaper reported that “two women and several children were also among the victims of the strikes.”

To further muddy the waters, the Associated Press reported March 31 that Omar Farooq, the spokesman for the little-known jihadi outfit, Fedayeen al-Islami, also claimed responsibility for Monday’s attack.

Claiming the assault was a reprisal raid for U.S. drone strikes and Pakistani Army intervention in the tribal areas, Farooq also demanded the release of former Red Mosque chief cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz.

While Pakistani officials have blamed the TTP for a series of attacks, including the December 2007 assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, it is just as likely the police academy raid had been carried out by Punjabi-based militants such as LET or LEJ.

The overwhelming majority of Mehsud’s forces are Pashtun-speaking residents of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) and the North-West Frontier Province (NWFP). While Shahid Iqbal, the deputy inspector general for operations for the Lahore Police Department claimed the attackers were “Afghans,” many recruits described the attackers as Punjabis speaking a local dialect.

According to The New York Times, the militants, some dressed in police uniforms scaled the walls, fired automatic weapons and hurled grenades while shouting “‘Oh, Red Mosque attackers, we have come,’ a reference to the 2007 takeover by Pakistani authorities of a militant mosque in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital.” Meanwhile, “according to militant contacts” Asia Times Online reports,

A group of militants once associated with the Harkat-e-Jihad-i-Islami and the Lashkar-e-Taiba–groups with strong roots to the struggle over divided Kashmir–a few days ago traveled to Lahore from a militant camp in the North Waziristan town of Razmak, a year-round hill station situated at the crossroads of North Waziristan and South Waziristan on the Afghanistan border. …

In light of statements made by some cadets, intelligence agencies maintain that some of the militants came from Pakistani Punjab and spoke three languages–Urdu, Punjabi and Seraiki. (Seraiki is spoken in southern Punjab.) (Syed Saleem Shahzad, “Pakistan braces for more attacks,” Asia Times Online, April 1, 2009)

The unmistakable message to the Zardari administration and the United States, according to the online publication is that Monday’s attack, “mark ominous muscle-flexing by Pakistan’s ‘original’ jihadis, mostly Punjabis trained by the military in the 1990s as the first line of defense for the country, especially in Kashmir.”

As I reported March 29, the corporate media’s belated “discovery” of linkages amongst ISI officers, the Taliban and al-Qaeda in the form of “money, military supplies and strategic planning guidance to Taliban commanders,” one cannot rule out the possibility that some ISI officers, still committed to Pakistan’s policy of seeking “strategic depth” against India may have been complicit in Monday’s attack.

However, it is U.S. imperialism which for decades nurtured, armed and financed such retrograde outfits to advance its own geopolitical agenda–military bases and resource extraction–that is fueling the far-right insurgency, and the justifiable rage felt by Pakistanis over the continued slaughter.

Cheekily, Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), the chairman of the powerful Senate Armed Services Committee, perhaps channeling the spirit of the British Raj, said that Pakistan “must prove” it is willing to take on the insurgency “before the U.S. delivers financial aid or weapons to the government there,” the Associated Press reported March 31.

Such comments by leading imperialist spokespersons are nothing new and are fully within the framework of American neocolonial arrogance. Calling for “benchmarks” and “metrics” by which Washington power brokers will measure “progress,” what are these if not so many flaming hoops through which sovereign nations must jump through like so many trained poodles to curry favor with the Global Godfather.

As if Pakistani workers and farmers, crushed beneath the iron heel of venal, ruling class elites fêted by Pentagon bureaucrats or IMF/World Bank thieves who tout Islamabad’s “responsible” policies that line the pockets of international debt merchants beholden to shady American and European banks have but one role, that of mute spectators!

As if to drive home the point, Daily Times reported that “Pakistan has suffered economic losses amounting to $6 billion during 2007-08 while supporting the global war on terror.”

Dr. Hafiz Pasha, heading a panel of Planning Commission economists, told the Pakistan Institute of Development Economists’ annual meeting,

“This loss to the economy, according to the government of Pakistan, is over $8 billion,” said Pasha, adding that the US should double the funds being given to Pakistan for its support to the war on terror in view of the massive losses. He said the prevailing economic situation was “not very positive”, as tax collection had fallen, imports were very high, real effecting exchange rate was functioning at the level of last year and the ministries’ expenses had increased by Rs 100 billion. (Sajid Chaudhry, “‘Pakistan suffered $6bn terror war losses in 2007-08’,” Daily Times, April 2, 2009)

Stating that the IMF’s role in Pakistan “focused on stability rather than growth,” I might add for corporate grifters and comprador elites, Pasha went on to comment that such program’s are “not good for Pakistan in the long run”. “Pakistan paid a heavy price for stability at the cost of growth during the previous regime’s tenure … and [Pakistan] should not repeat the same mistake.”

Committed to so-called “structural adjustment” policies that sacrifice the economic well-being of the Pakistani people so that huge debts incurred by previous military regimes are repaid to international banks, the IMF continues to urge the sell-off of state assets at fire-sale prices even as Western imperialist nations pump trillions of dollars into their failing economies to stave-off the capitalist melt-down.

Let it be said, once again: the entire drive by the United States to “secure” the “Afpak theatre” has very little to do with “fighting them there, so we don’t have to fight them here,” and everything to do with that most American of motives: greed and plunder.

As analyst Pepe Escobar points out in Asia Times, the “U.S. Empire of Bases” is “still in overdrive and in New Great Game mode–which implies very close surveillance over Russia and China via bases such as Bagram, and the drive to block Russia from establishing a commercial route to the Middle East via Pakistan.” Escobar goes on to comment:

Last but not least, the energy wars. And that involves that occult, almost supernatural entity, the $7.6 billion Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, which would carry gas from eastern Turkmenistan through Afghanistan east of Herat and down Taliban-controlled Nimruz and Helmand provinces, down Balochistan in Pakistan and then to the Pakistani port of Gwadar in the Arabian Sea. No investor in his right mind will invest in a pipeline in a war zone, thus Afghanistan must be “stabilized” at all costs. (Pepe Escobar, “The secrets of Obama’s surge,” Asia Times Online, April 2, 2009)

A dozen dead police recruits? Fifty or a hundred or thousands more people transmogrified into corpses by CIA drones or suicide bombers? “So is AfPak the Pentagon’s AIG,” Escobar wonders. “We gotta bail them out, can’t let them fail?”

“Whatever it is, it’s not about ‘terrorists’. Not really. Follow the money. Follow the energy. Follow the map.” Indeed, but whatever we do, pay no attention to that man behind the curtain!

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, an independent research and media group of writers, scholars, journalists and activists based in Montreal, his articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily, Pacific Free Press and the whistleblowing website Wikileaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military “Civil Disturbance” Planning, distributed by AK Press.

Britain now faces its own blowback (10 September 2005)

Britain now faces its own blowback

Intelligence interests may thwart the July bombings investigation

The videotape of the suicide bomber Mohammad Sidique Khan has switched the focus of the London bombings away from the establishment view of brainwashed, murderous individuals and highlighted a starker political reality. While there can be no justification for horrific killings of this kind, they need to be understood against the ferment of the last decade radicalising Muslim youth of Pakistani origin living in Europe.During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s, the US funded large numbers of jihadists through Pakistan’s secret intelligence service, the ISI. Later the US wanted to raise another jihadi corps, again using proxies, to help Bosnian Muslims fight to weaken the Serb government’s hold on Yugoslavia. Those they turned to included Pakistanis in Britain.

According to a recent report by the Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, a contingent was also sent by the Pakistani government, then led by Benazir Bhutto, at the request of the Clinton administration. This contingent was formed from the Harkat-ul- Ansar (HUA) terrorist group and trained by the ISI. The report estimates that about 200 Pakistani Muslims living in the UK went to Pakistan, trained in HUA camps and joined the HUA’s contingent in Bosnia. Most significantly, this was “with the full knowledge and complicity of the British and American intelligence agencies”.

As the 2002 Dutch government report on Bosnia makes clear, the US provided a green light to groups on the state department list of terrorist organisations, including the Lebanese-based Hizbullah, to operate in Bosnia – an episode that calls into question the credibility of the subsequent “war on terror”.

For nearly a decade the US helped Islamist insurgents linked to Chechnya, Iran and Saudi Arabia destabilise the former Yugoslavia. The insurgents were also allowed to move further east to Kosovo. By the end of the fighting in Bosnia there were tens of thousands of Islamist insurgents in Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo; many then moved west to Austria, Germany and Switzerland.

Less well known is evidence of the British government’s relationship with a wider Islamist terrorist network. During an interview on Fox TV this summer, the former US federal prosecutor John Loftus reported that British intelligence had used the al-Muhajiroun group in London to recruit Islamist militants with British passports for the war against the Serbs in Kosovo. Since July Scotland Yard has been interested in an alleged member of al-Muhajiroun, Haroon Rashid Aswat, who some sources have suggested could have been behind the London bombings.

According to Loftus, Aswat was detained in Pakistan after leaving Britain, but was released after 24 hours. He was subsequently returned to Britain from Zambia, but has been detained solely for extradition to the US, not for questioning about the London bombings. Loftus claimed that Aswat is a British-backed double agent, pursued by the police but protected by MI6.

One British Muslim of Pakistani origin radicalised by the civil war in Yugoslavia was LSE-educated Omar Saeed Sheikh. He is now in jail in Pakistan under sentence of death for the killing of the US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002 – although many (including Pearl’s widow and the US authorities) doubt that he committed the murder. However, reports from Pakistan suggest that Sheikh continues to be active from jail, keeping in touch with friends and followers in Britain.

Sheikh was recruited as a student by Jaish-e-Muhammad (Army of Muhammad), which operates a network in Britain. It has actively recruited Britons from universities and colleges since the early 1990s, and has boasted of its numerous British Muslim volunteers. Investigations in Pakistan have suggested that on his visits there Shehzad Tanweer, one of the London suicide bombers, contacted members of two outlawed local groups and trained at two camps in Karachi and near Lahore. Indeed the network of groups now being uncovered in Pakistan may point to senior al-Qaida operatives having played a part in selecting members of the bombers’ cell. The Observer Research Foundation has argued that there are even “grounds to suspect that the [London] blasts were orchestrated by Omar Sheikh from his jail in Pakistan”.

Why then is Omar Sheikh not being dealt with when he is already under sentence of death? Astonishingly his appeal to a higher court against the sentence was adjourned in July for the 32nd time and has since been adjourned indefinitely. This is all the more remarkable when this is the same Omar Sheikh who, at the behest of General Mahmood Ahmed, head of the ISI, wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta, the leading 9/11 hijacker, before the New York attacks, as confirmed by Dennis Lormel, director of FBI’s financial crimes unit.

Yet neither Ahmed nor Omar appears to have been sought for questioning by the US about 9/11. Indeed, the official 9/11 Commission Report of July 2004 sought to downplay the role of Pakistan with the comment: “To date, the US government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks. Ultimately the question is of little practical significance” – a statement of breathtaking disingenuousness.

All this highlights the resistance to getting at the truth about the 9/11 attacks and to an effective crackdown on the forces fomenting terrorist bombings in the west, including Britain. The extraordinary US forbearance towards Omar Sheikh, its restraint towards the father of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, Dr AQ Khan, selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea, the huge US military assistance to Pakistan and the US decision last year to designate Pakistan as a major non-Nato ally in south Asia all betoken a deeper strategic set of goals as the real priority in its relationship with Pakistan. These might be surmised as Pakistan providing sizeable military contingents for Iraq to replace US troops, or Pakistani troops replacing Nato forces in Afghanistan. Or it could involve the use of Pakistani military bases for US intervention in Iran, or strengthening Pakistan as a base in relation to India and China.

Whether the hunt for those behind the London bombers can prevail against these powerful political forces remains to be seen. Indeed it may depend on whether Scotland Yard, in its attempts to uncover the truth, can prevail over MI6, which is trying to cover its tracks and in practice has every opportunity to operate beyond the law under the cover of national security.

· Michael Meacher is the Labour MP for Oldham West and Royton; he was environment minister from 1997 to 2003.

massonm@parliament.uk