The Nation

US wants to break up Pakistan, says minister

The Nation

April 07, 2009

ISLAMABAD – “American policies are not of a friend but of a foe and Richard Holbrooke and Mike Mullen are in Pakistan to put a price on our loyalty to our religion and the Islamic State of Pakistan but we are not a saleable commodity.”
Federal Minister for Science & Technology Azam Khan Swati while commenting on the recent visit of the American military and political leadership to Pakistan said this on Tuesday.

According to a press release issued here, Swati said that Nato’s presence in the region was a great threat to the very existence of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China and Iran as well. “American policies aim to dismantle Pakistan, neutralise Iran and contain China to make India a regional superpower to achieve her objectives,” he added.

He said Obama’s administration was following the conspiracy hatched by George W Bush, Cheney and Rumsfield and would lead America towards destruction. He added the US policy aimed to destroy Pak Armed Forces, marginalise state-of-the-art security agency, ISI, and ruin Pakistan.

“To achieve its objectives, Americans are spreading hatred in the mind and heart of the people of world by portraying Islamists as cruel, inhuman and threat to humanity, and are trying to divide Pakistani nation on religious basis,” the Minister said. He added that the people of Pakistan would foil their nefarious designs, as the people of NWFP and Fata were peace-loving and practical Muslims and would never succumb to the pressure of foreign forces.

US drone strikes kill 4 in South Waziristan

US drone strikes kill 4 in South Waziristan

WANA: At least four people were killed when a US drone fired two missiles at their vehicle in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border on Wednesday.

“Drones initially flew over mountains around Gangi Khel area. There was some ground fire towards one of the drones and they left the area,” said one security official, on condition of anonymity.

Gangi Khel is a village around five kilometres (three miles) west of Wana, the main town in the semi-autonomous South Waziristan district.

“Drones returned after some time and targeted a vehicle, which was parked near some shops. Four people were killed in the attack. Four others were wounded they were either shopkeepers or local residents,” the official said.

It was not immediately clear whether any high-value targets were killed.

Another security official had earlier said it was not known whether the target was a vehicle or a house.

Pakistan To America: Back Off

Pakistan To America: Back Off

Why did Richard Halbrooke, always arrogant and calm, appear shaken today in Islamabad? Read on.

Holbrooke And Qureshi: A Diplomatic SparringBy AHMED QURAISHI

Wednesday, 8 April 2009.


ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—For the first time in a long time, the Pakistani government managed to turn heads in Washington by saying all things America doesn’t want to hear: Islamabad will not allow the United States to expand its war inside Pakistan, won’t allow U.S. boots on the ground, and CIA better stop its drone attacks ASAP. If this was not enough, the ISI chief reportedly refused to meet top U.S. officials and a former air force chief announced that the Pakistani Air Force is just a green signal away from shooting down CIA’s drones and that it only awaited orders from the President and the Prime Minister.

Holbrooke confused?

The week certainly did not start auspiciously for Mr. Richard Holbrooke, Washington’s arrogant special envoy who appeared visibly shaken yesterday in Islamabad. Apparently after getting used to apologetic Pakistani government officials, the sudden change of mood in the Pakistani capital was not something the seasoned diplomat anticipated. He was either too self-assured or was fed wrong reports by U.S. diplomats based in Pakistan.

All of this coincided with another major news story: the former Chief of the Pakistani Air Force, Air Chief Marshal (retired) Kaleem Saadat, came out on television yesterday night to decisively settle all speculation about what Pakistan can do to stop repeated U.S. violations of Pakistani airspace through the CIA-operated drones.

‘Yes, we can shoot them down,’ Saadat told Express News, throwing to the dustbin repeated statements by the defense minister and other ministers in the pro-U.S. elected government over the past months where these officials claimed Pakistan did not have the technology required to shoot down U.S. spy planes that violate Pakistani airspace. Those statements disappointed a majority of Pakistanis who look up to their military, one of the best in the world, to stand up for Pakistan.

Saadat gave an example: Pakistani Air Force jets shot down a sophisticated, Israeli-manufactured drone that India sent deep inside Pakistan on Jan. 7, 2002. The Indo-Israeli spy plane was supposed to be undetectable and beyond the reach and the capabilities of Pakistan Air Force. The Indian military was stunned. It initially tried to feign ignorance but then had to grudgingly half-accept the truth. And even then it was surprising for Pakistanis how Britain and the United States failed to censure India for a confirmed act of war.

‘The U.S. drones are much bigger in size [in comparison to the Indo-Israeli plane],’ said Air Marshal Saadat, and hence easier to target.


The former air chief left no doubt about who was failing in protecting Pakistani sovereignty. ‘The issue,’ said the former Chief of Air Staff, ‘is not military but a political one.’

This statement throws the ball in the court of the elected politicians who have long been suspected of quietly permitting Washington to mount missile attacks inside Pakistan.

Saadat’s statement came a few hours after a joint press briefing in Islamabad where visiting U.S. officials appeared shaken and confused. Richard Holbrooke, America’s envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, appeared surprised at the friendly but firm and straightforward talk by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi.

Qureshi was blunt, something new for a member of the Zardari-Gilani government. Mr. Qureshi went as far as snubbing President Obama, who had earlier said Pakistan would get “no blank checks” and the release of more U.S. aid would depend on how it dealt with terrorism.

In response, Qureshi turned to both Holbrooke and Mullen who shared the stage with him and firmly said: “It works both ways. We’ll neither accept one nor will we give one”.

Mr. Qureshi also said a “gap” existed between Islamabad and Washington on the problem of CIA-operated drones.



The mood is changing in Pakistan and the United States is increasingly seen as a dishonest friend.

One day before the arrival of Holbrooke and Mullen, the leader of the main opposition party in the country, Chaudhry Pervez Elahi of PML, told a press conference that his party favored rejecting U.S. aid if the trade off is to give up Pakistan’s national interest. This was the first call by any major Pakistani political party head to turn down the much needed U.S. financial assistance.

During the talk show where the former Chief of Air Staff Kaleem Saadat spoke, the other two panelists, a retired Army General and a retired Foreign Secretary, shared similar misgivings regarding the U.S. policy toward Pakistan.

Although not stated openly, but Pakistani officials are seriously concerned about mounting circumstantial evidence indicating the U.S. is actually using Afghanistan which it occupies since late 2001 as a base for spreading terrorism and mayhem inside neighboring Pakistan. The suspicions are especially centered on evidence that someone in Afghanistan is pumping trained operatives and saboteurs in the garb of Islamic militants inside Pakistan. These operatives and agents then go about spreading death and destruction in the name of ‘Pakistani Taliban’. There are also serious questions about why the CIA drones fail to attack shadowy militant leaders inside Pakistani tribal zone whose main mission is to attack and kill Pakistanis. In comparison, the Afghan Taliban in Afghanistan focus on fighting the occupation forces and have never advocated attacking Pakistani interests despite Islamabad having ditched them seven years ago.

Exploiting religious terrorism is one dimension of the problem. There is even more evidence that Afghan soil is also being used to spread ethnic and sectarian tensions inside Pakistan and recruit, train and sponsor separatists for this purpose. The sudden rise since 2005 of well armed and funded insurgent groups and death squads along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, where they never existed before, and their continued finances and arms supplies despite a blockade by Pakistani security, all of this has poisoned Pakistani perception toward the U.S. role in Afghanistan.

Most of the evidence regarding anti-Pakistani activities in Afghanistan is linked to the huge presence of Indian intelligence in that country disguised as diplomats and social workers. This, many Pakistanis believe, cannot happen without U.S. consent at some level. Some Pakistanis gave the U.S. the benefit of doubt on this point, arguing that the Indians were exploiting Afghan mess to drive a wedge between Washington and Islamabad. One way to do this, they argued, was to indirectly arm and finance terrorists posing as Taliban to carry out attacks inside Pakistan. But after repeatedly bringing this to the attention of the highest levels of government in Washington without any result, it is quite clear that someone in the U.S. capital is condoning or maybe even permitting what the Indians and their Karzai puppets are doing there.

It is quite obvious that Washington, or ‘non-state actors’ in the U.S. capital, are pursuing an agenda that exceeds what is stated publicly by U.S. officials with regards to Afghanistan. In fact, former Chief of Army Staff Gen. Mirza Aslam Baig wrote a paper as far back as 2007 that listed locations inside Afghanistan where U.S. or some of its allies have established intelligence outposts focused on penetrating four nations that share borders with or are close to Afghanistan. These four nations are Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan.

In mid 2007, both Ahmed Quraishi and Zaid Hamid, two Pakistani policy commentators, raised eyebrows when the state-run PTV News aired shows featuring the two criticizing what they said were early signs that someone was using Afghanistan to destabilize Pakistan and that the U.S. was either involved or was turning a blind eye as India and pro-Indian former Afghan communist officials who sit in key positions in Kabul exported terrorism to Pakistan. The television shows led to queries from within different parts of the Pakistani government on whether there has been some subtle change in the policy that was being pursued then by President Musharraf.

In November 2007, Quraishi authored a report that said that the next logical step for the severe destabilization seen in Pakistan that year would be a high-value assassination of either President Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, the two key leaders in Pakistan at the time, which would spin Pakistan out of control. That would be the natural next move for interested to terminally cripple the country. Truly enough, Ms. Bhutto was assassinated a month later and her violent murder almost led to a revolt in one of the four federating provinces of Pakistan. It was a miracle that Pakistan was not sent into a tailspin, a testament to the strength and endurance of this nation despite heavy odds.

All of this serves to highlight that Pakistani grievances against the United States, which the British and American media deliberately hide from their people, run back in time and are not the result of recent events in the Pakistani tribal zone.




The performance of Foreign Minister Qureshi certainly was a welcome surprise for many skeptics who had all but given up on the Zardari-Gilani government taking any stand on Pakistan’s legitimate interests when it came to American policy in Afghanistan. And the reason is simple. This government owes its existence and power to direct U.S. support. U.S. is using Pakistani democracy as a Trojan horse, playing off one set of politicians against the other and then using all of them against the military. There have been reports for some time now that certain departments within the U.S. government have been conducting ‘private foreign policies’ directly with the families that control Pakistani political parties. Some of the leaders of these families were invited to secret visits to Washington as part of this confidential dialogue.

Mr. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen are good examples of this American manipulation of key Pakistani political players. Both of them, and especially Mr. Holbrooke, would come to Pakistan and separately meet senior Pakistani politicians alone, each one separately, and often inside the fortified U.S. embassy compound to avoid the preying eyes of Pakistani media and also Pakistani intelligence. He would also make sure to meet the Pakistani President, Prime Minister, Army chief, ISI chief, and whoever else mattered, and all of them separately, and then play one party against the other, a sort of an improvement on the old British method of divide and rule.

Another sign of manipulation is the Zardari-Nawaz rivalry. When President Zardari began to appear weak, the Americans leaked a story – through the usual mouthpieces NYT and WSJ quoting no names – that “U.S. officials” were considering getting closer to Nawaz Sharif. The story was obviously meant to throw fuel on the fire of the cutthroat internal Pakistani politics and increase domestic instability by playing on the insecurities of the two key players.

While Mr. Zardari’s closeness to the Americans is indisputable [last week Dubai’s Gulf News reported Mr. Zardari met secretly with Mr. Holbrooke in the emirate without the knowledge of any Pakistani official or diplomat, except the organizer of the meeting Mr. Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s envoy to Washington, who is sarcastically referred to in Islamabad’s drawing rooms as ‘Washington’s envoy to Pakistan’], Mr. Nawaz Sharif is the new surprise. While he disagrees with President Obama’s policies in public, Mr. Sharif hurried to Islamabad on Tuesday to meet Mr. Holbrooke at the U.S. embassy compound. Why would Mr. Sharif present himself to the Americans privately as an alternative partner while keeping a nationalistic posture in public is something that only Mr. Sharif can explain.

This American manipulation of Pakistani politicians, in and out of government, means there is little chance most of these politicians would really want to get tough with Washington.

Foreign Minister Qureshi’s newfound assertive tone has probably more to do with restlessness within the Pakistani strategic community, which consists of civilian and military policy analysts, that is apparently beginning to prevail upon both the Pakistani Foreign Office and the Pakistani military to do something when the government appears incapable or unwilling to stand up for Pakistani interests. That’s one way of explaining the reports of how ISI chief refused to meet Mr. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen despite the duo’s request. [The ISI chief did not meet Mr. Holbrooke alone but did meet the U.S. official along with the Army chief.]

But there is another reason for this. Some Pakistani officials were determined this time not to allow Mr. Holbrooke to meet senior Pakistani officials separately. An intra-agency meeting, bringing top officials from several federal departments was scheduled for Monday, before Mr. Holbrooke’s arrival. The brainstorming session was supposed to bring minds together from the Foreign Office, the Interior, the military and others in order to present a unified Pakistani response to American policies.

But the meeting failed to materialize because Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, tired from a range of foreign trips throughout last week, was resting in his hometown in Multan and failed to show up for the meeting, which then was called off.

But Mr. Qureshi surprised the observers with his performance in the press conference with Mr. Holbrooke and Adm. Mullen. The Pakistani Foreign Minister was poised and assertive.

It was a good show for one day. The best way to achieve something for the long run, however, is to match the rhetoric with some actions. If the ISI chief did indeed refuse meeting U.S. officials [he did attend Holbrook’s meeting with the Army chief] then this is the first of a series of steps that Pakistan needs to take to ensure that Washington understands it cannot pursue a selfish policy of achieving its own goals in the region while Pakistan’s interests get trampled in the process.

© 2007-2009. All rights reserved. & PakNationalists

CIA & FBI Network in Pakistan: Myth vs. Reality? (February 24, 2008)

CIA & FBI Network in Pakistan: Myth vs. Reality?

Is cooperation with CIA-FBI posing a threat to Pak strategic interests?
By By Ansar Abbasi, The News, 2/25/2008

ISLAMABAD: While Pakistan might have benefited from hardcore actionable intelligence provided by the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the FBI in countering terrorism, one possible negative aspect has been the creation of a vast network of CIA and FBI agents – mostly Pakistanis.

Though intelligence cooperation between Pakistan and the US multiplied extensively after 9/11 and was aimed at the Taliban and al-Qaeda, many in Pakistan fear the network for these foreign agencies within Pakistan was also being used for other tasks, some probably falling into the definition of interference in our internal affairs.

Top authorities in Pakistan are said to be in knowledge of this phenomenal spread in the American spy agencies’ network as the country’s intelligence agencies have already reported this matter and even identified a number of those on the payroll of the US agencies.

Besides others, a large number of retired Army officers, including ex-brigadiers, are presently working here as American spies. An official of an intelligence agency, however, explained that spy agencies of different countries had their worldwide networks and they handled spy matters according to their resources and needs because importance of spying had increased tremendously after 9/11.

Because of the alleged presence of al-Qaeda-Taliban in Pakistan, the interest of the foreign intelligence agencies here has gone up. The official added that the US had the largest intelligence network in the world and Pakistan was also benefiting from this because through this network the CIA and FBI shared intelligence with Pakistan and gave important information to nab terrorists.

Pakistan allowed concessions to the US as part of intelligence cooperation in the controversial war on terror but some official sources are of the view that these concessions and their parameters were not being adhered to within the agreed limits.

Foreign Office spokesman Muhammad Sadiq, when contacted, said he had no information of this sort. He said intelligence cooperation between Islamabad and Washington was a fact but doubted that the local agents could be hired. He, however, said if there was any interference in our matters by any foreign spying agencies, it was illegal and not allowed. Sadiq said the ISPR would be in a better position to respond to such questions.

Director General ISPR and military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, when asked about the feared massive expansion of local CIA and FBI agents in Pakistan after 9/11, said, “I don’t think so.” He added that the government would never allow the CIA or FBI to expand their network in Pakistan. “I deny this,” the military spokesman said.

A defence source, however, recently told this correspondent it was a routine operation of all agencies around the world to recruit agents for espionage in every country. He said CIA and FBI did not need to come to Pakistan and start recruiting their local agents here because they could do the same while sitting in Washington. “These things are neither cut and dried nor done in black and white but this always happens and cannot be denied,” the source said

Caretaker Interior Minister Lt Gen (retd) Hamid Nawaz, when approached said the US influence was not only in Pakistan but also in almost every other country. He acknowledged that there was a feeling that the network of US intelligence agents had spread here but he had no proof with him to substantiate this. He, however, admitted that the US influence was there in all areas.

The retired general, who has also been secretary defence for some years and left the job much after 9/11, said there was a standard rule that no foreign intelligence agent could subvert against the state.

Elizabeth Colton, the Press Attache of the US embassy in Islamabad, told this correspondent, in response to a set of questions sent to her, that the Embassy could not discuss intelligence issues with the media.

She said the Embassy had no comment on the questions sent to her which included one asking whether the Embassy or its legal section had any role in recruiting Pakistanis for CIA and FBI.

The Embassy was also asked whether they shared the concerns of some Pakistani authorities that the US intelligence agencies, which were given some concessions in the tribal belt of Pakistan, were crossing their limits and hurting the strategic interests of Pakistan.

US National Intelligence Director Mike McConnel was quoted to have admitted recently that the US administration had already spent $50 billion during the current year on spying. A considerable chunk of this budget for spying is believed to have been spent on the US war on terror. Part of this money would have also travelled to Pakistan to pay off the CIA/FBI local agents, who are said to be paid well.

Parts of the US media have been reporting on this subject and the most significant report was in The Washington Post in 2002 when the influential newspaper claimed that the United States had organised its own espionage network in Pakistan due to lack of cooperation from the ISI in locating the al-Qaeda and Taliban fugitives.

“The FBI decided to set up a Spider Group, a band of former Pakistani Army officers and others, after it concluded that lack of cooperation from the ISI made it impossible to hunt down Taliban and al-Qaeda fugitives in the tribal areas of the country.”

Quoting a federal law-enforcement official in Washington, the newspaper reported that the US move marked an attempt by the FBI to develop “free flow of information” to US agents who previously had worked under some restriction with Pakistan’s official Inter-Services Intelligence agency.

The Spider Group, the report said, was also asked to recruit locals in Pakistan’s tribal areas, where hundreds of wanted “terrorists” are allegedly holed up under the patronage of tribal chiefs. Members of the Spider Group include a mix of Muslim and Christian retired Army and intelligence officers and have been trained and equipped by the FBI.

Background interviews reveal that today the CIA’s intelligence local network is far more extensive than that of the FBI. The sources said that during the initial years of War on Terror, the Americans were not satisfied with the intelligence gathering of local agencies in the tribal areas of Pakistan, so they launched their own agencies that had now developed a vast network in the country.

A source quoted an incident in which the CIA officials once distributed awards amongst Pakistani intelligence people in the headquarters of the agency in Langley, Virginia. “This is perhaps unprecedented,” the source said.

A spymaster of one of the country’s intelligence agency reported to the Interior Ministry that a provincial head of a private security agency, besides others, was spying for the CIA. The security agency was contacted and the said official was removed. It was also reported that a large number of private security agencies personnel were doing espionage work.

A retired lieutenant general confided to this correspondent on condition of not being named that during his career he had gone to the US twice for military related training, where he was openly offered to work for the US. “I was praised and offered that why don’t I join them,” he said, adding that once an official encouraged him to inform the US about the problems of Pakistan’s defence without even talking to his seniors.

He said the same intelligence officials asked him to settle his children in the US for better life and education. “I was openly told that I should not be worried about their expenses,” the retired general said.

Meanwhile, a local journalist Azaz Syed told this correspondent that quite a few years back, he approached the legal section of the US embassy in Islamabad, after reading an advertisement in an international publication for recruitment of FBI agents for South Asia. For the purpose of doing an investigative story, he offered his services for FBI. He said he offered his services to spy on Taliban in exchange for information from the US embassy but the diplomat interviewing him was not interested in Taliban but wanted info about civil bureaucracy. He was not ready to give any information either.

“I was told that I would get assignments relating to civil bureaucracy and in return would be paid well,” Syed said, adding that later he did a story for an Urdu newspaper with which he was associated at that point of time.

The US Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) – the spy military plane – are yet another source of concern for many here. The UAVs were allowed to do espionage in tribal areas of Pakistan for “specific jobs” only but since the UAVs were not caught by radars, these spy planes crossed their limits a number of times.

Initially, the Pakistan Air Force objected to such US surveillance but the government decided otherwise because of US insistence that it was inevitable to track down the so-called al-Qaeda targets.

The sources revealed that the murdered top tribal leader resisting the US war on terror, Nek Muhammad, became the target of a UAV despite the peace deal he had signed with the then corps commander Lt Gen Safdar Hussain.

Getting uncomfortable with the UAV activities, some Pakistani officials have expressed their concerns at the highest level. The Pakistan Army is trying to develop its own UAV but so far these planes are not up to the required international standards.

Pakistan has also been trying to buy these UAVs but some international forces are creating impediments in such deals. Once Pakistan contacted South Africa to purchase these small aircraft but the price demanded was $10 million, which was far higher than the price of the equipment.

The UAV intelligence capacity and its advantage of not being traced by radars, some believe, could pose serious threats to Pakistan’s strategic interests.

Pakistan: FBI rules the roost (Oct 4, 2003)

Pakistan: FBI rules the roost (Oct 4, 2003)
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI – Pakistani forces have killed at least 12 and arrested 12 suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters over the past two days in a major operation at Angoor Adda, a small town on the border with Afghanistan.

The operation is being widely hailed in Pakistan as a demonstration of the country’s commitment to the US-led “war on terrorism”.

However, this is only a part of the story. The clash was orchestrated by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) as a direct result of its deep penetration – and even control – of the Pakistani intelligence establishment.

The roots of this involvement can be directly traced to the fallout from the events of September 11, 2001, which saw Pakistan throw in its lot with the US. This entailed Islamabad withdrawing its long-standing support for the Taliban in Afghanistan, which it had helped propel into power in 1996, and opening its air bases to the US military for operations in Afghanistan.

It also allowed US intelligence to establish a finger-hold in the country, which the FBI has now turned into a vice-like grip through an ever-expanding network that has infiltrated, to various degrees, Pakistan’s armed forces, the police and intelligence agencies.

The FBI varies its presence according to requirements in its hunt for al-Qaeda suspects, with the total number deployed anywhere between 50 and 100. It has at least three active cells, in Peshawar, on the border of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where many al-Qaeda are known to hide, in the volatile port city of Karachi and in the capital Islamabad.

The FBI initially kept a low profile, working mostly at the direction of the all-powerful Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s premier intelligence outfit and effectively the architect and orchestrator of Pakistan’s strategic policies.

Now, however, the FBI works autonomously, with its own separate organizational setup. This includes communications to track both mobile and land telephone calls, as well as sophisticated bugging devices. Each cell has these capabilities. In Karachi, the FBI cell operates in the Defense Housing Authority Phase VIII complex. Only two or three army officers are attached to this cell, purely for coordination purposes.

Not all are happy with this state of affairs. According to one ISI person posted in Karachi, who requested not to be named when talking to Asia Times Online, “After September 11, 2001, we were given instructions to work along with FBI operators. Initially they were given a room in the ISI’s operations office. They used to give commands to us, and we had to obey them. For instance, once they asked us to send a packet somewhere. We packed it and informed them that the parcel was ready. They unpacked the parcel and asked an ISI employee to repack it in front of them. This is the way the FBI operators showed their domination over the ISI staff. At first they asked us to coordinate in operations. Later on they were given a separate place of work, then they cultivated local police officers, and several times they did not bother to inform the ISI about their operations.”

The FBI cells have established direct control over the law enforcing agencies, such as the police, who take orders from FBI agents. In return, they are believed to be handsomely rewarded financially. The ISI is aware of who is on the FBI’s payroll, but can do little about it.

“There is no precedent,” says a retired army brigadier who was in charge of ISI operations in Afghanistan during the Soviet war of the 1980s. “Pakistan was a frontline state against the former USSR during the Afghan war. The CIA was thickly involved in operations, but the CIA was not allowed to go beyond Islamabad. Their planes, loaded with missiles and ammunition, used to land at Islamabad airport, but these consignments were just handed over to an ISI cell, which used then to pass them on to the mujahideen in Afghanistan,” the brigadier said. “Even on a strategic level, the ISI used to plan operations single-handedly. The CIA only looked after the financial aspects of operations.”

Now, the FBI has virtually unlimited access and control, including airports, and now it has emerged that it has recently been given access to the bank accounts of Pakistani citizens.

According to well-placed sources in the Pakistani intelligence community, some the country’s former clandestine operations have now been curtailed, such as one involving the national carrier, Pakistan International Airline (PIA). PIA was once extensively used for “back-channel diplomatic activities”, such as shifting missiles under the cover of routine cargo. But under heavy US pressure, PIA’s reservation system is now hosted in Texas through the Sabre Group, and the movement of each and every passenger is carefully monitored, as is the cargo.

According to the Pakistani English daily, The News International, Pakistan has allowed information about foreign currency bank accounts in Pakistani banks to be shared with government authorities in the US. The FBI, according to the paper, is “seeking, and getting, the private account details of remittances being sent into banks in Pakistan from anywhere in the world”.

The paper continued, “Under an agreement between the authorities of the United States and Pakistan, banks in Pakistan will be giving details of remittances flowing in or out of foreign currency accounts, which will be handed to the FBI,” the paper quoted a Wall Street banker as saying. “The agreement has come into effect and the Pakistani banks are collecting details on deposits and withdrawals into and from their foreign currency accounts.”

The American official, who also works as a consultant for a think tank that is collating information on remittance flows from Islamic states to the US and vice versa, said that the idea was to track the pattern of the flow of funds for possible dubious uses. “The [United States] government wants to make sure that the funds are not being used to finance terrorist activities … and Pakistan is one of the countries under observation [for the flow of remittances].”

According to the newspaper report, when approached, an official at a branch of a Pakistani bank, after some hesitation, confirmed that details of all remittance flows from the US to foreign currency accounts in banks in Pakistan and vice versa were being given to US authorities. He refused to disclose which “authorities” he was referring to.

The Pakistani official also conceded that it was “basically illegal” to share private details of account holders with any authority, especially those not falling into the jurisdiction of the banking realm.
“It’s basically a political decision,” the official said. “We are living in strange times. We have to sacrifice some private rights and freedoms for larger collective interest.”

He added, “The current Pakistani laws don’t even allow for banks to share private account details with the Pakistan government, let alone American or other foreign authorities, but then that is the price we have to pay for ensuring that a useful channel like remittances is not abused by people bent on creating upheavals.”

The FBI in action
In the latest action against al-Qaeda this week, Pakistan forces are reported to have killed 12 suspected Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters and arrested 12 more in an operation at Angoor Adda near the Afghan border. While in Afghanistan, officials reported, there were 17 deaths, including 10 government soldiers and two children.

Angoor Adda lies about 65 kilometers from Wana, the district headquarters of the South Waziristan Agency of the FATA, in the west of Pakistan. South Waziristan is the most sensitive agency of Pakistan; it is not under the direct administration of the government of Pakistan, but indirectly governed by a political agent – a system that was enforced by the British rulers.

Asia Times Online sources say that most of the suspected casualties and detainees were Central Asians and Afghans. The operation was conducted after a fire-fight in Paktika in Afghanistan in which US forces and gunship helicopters chased the fighters into Pakistani territory.

The FBI’s network in this territory(which is explained in a January 10 article – A bloody destiny for South Waziristan
– sprang into action and notified the FBI cell in Peshawar, which then called in the Peshawar Corps to launch the raid.

US boot camp
The FBI’s operations in Pakistan apart, Islamabad has accepted an offer from the US for a number of the country’s army officers to be trained in the US.

In the past few weeks, about 100 officers have been sent to the US for various short courses ranging from one to two weeks on the “war on terror”. The officers include those belonging to army field units, as well as those involved in strategic and ISI services.

The FBI has also held several training sessions in Karachi in which Pakistan armed forces officials interacted with FBI operators.

Some military experts take a dim view of this. One told Asia Times Online that having army units trained by a foreign intelligence apparatus was like handing over the keys of the country to another nation as it allowed them undue influence in the armed forces.

Muttering in the ranks
Meanwhile, all is not well in the armed forces, which contain elements who are not exactly in step with the country’s president, General Pervez Musharraf, who is also head of the armed forces. Many resent his siding with the US, and the country’s strategic losses as a result in Afghanistan. Many also resent him wearing the two hats that he does – military and civilian – assumed after taking over the country in a bloodless coup in 1999.

The following are translated excerpts from a letter doing the rounds in military circles. It was printed on an army general headquarters letterhead.

For our national leader: We on behalf of the Pakistan army assure the nation that it is your army. This is the army of Islam and Pakistan, and we expect every member of parliament, from whichever party he belongs to, to work for the autonomy of parliament. Pervez Musharraf and his handpicked gang are imposed at the head of this nation. They are the national criminals who have not only the army but have the entire nation hostage. This is the gang of thieves and looters which has plundered the whole nation, mercilessly. At the same time, they helped the American Jews and Christians to kill our Afghan brothers. Pervez Musharraf has turned Pakistan from the fort of Islam into a slaughterhouse of the Muslims. Had this parliament not been in place, our armed forces would have been sent to kill our Iraqi brothers side-by-side with US soldiers. We request our national leadership and officials of the armed forces to bring the following matters in front of parliament.

  • An inquiry should be initiated into what happened on October 12, 1999 [when Musharraf seized power].
  • Before the US invasion of Afghanistan, all Pakistan army brigadiers and generals were allotted expensive plots in Lahore near LUMS [Lahore University of Management Sciences]. The worth of these plots ranges between Rs 7 million [US$121,000] to Rs 10 million. These officers had already received their commercial and residential land quotas.
  • Parliament should constitute a judicial inquiry into the chief justices of the Supreme Court and all four provincial high courts who were in office on October 12, 1999. Our aim – a free army and an independent Pakistan.From full colonels.
  • The ‘Kid’ In Kabul

    The ‘Kid’ In Kabul

    Amrullah Saleh, the thirty-six-year-old director of Karzai’s spy agency, known as NDS, became the world’s youngest intelligence chief in 2004, at age 32. Since 2005, NDS has emerged as a major source of strategic instability in the region.


    Thursday, 25 September 2008.


    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—He is young, bold, and methodical, often delivering his arguments in bullet-form even in an informal chat. According to one account, he went from earning $400 a month working for an NGO in Pakistan to making $6,000 working as a liaison officer for CIA with Northern Alliance. This is not the official version of course. His American patrons describe this assignment in a less dramatic way as “an informal ambassador and coordinator of non-governmental organizations with Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance.” This is how U.S. Congressman Mike Rogers introduced him during a reception three years ago.

    This is Amrullah Saleh, the thirty-six-year-old director of Karzai’s spy agency, known as NDS, who probably became the world’s youngest intelligence chief in 2004, at age 32.

    Mr. Saleh is also a central figure in the undeclared, low-intensity war against Pakistan, although he is more of a good executioner than an original thinker. Since 2005, NDS has emerged as a major source of strategic instability in the region. Armed with what appears to be an American nod that goes as far back as 2002, and with direct help from fourteen Indian intelligence outposts on Afghan soil, the NDS has facilitated the launch of a covert operation that has successfully created multiple insurgencies across Pakistan’s western belt – from Gwadar to Swat – in less than three years.

    Pakistan stands accused of attacks in both Afghanistan and India. The Americans have gone as far as blaming Pakistan, in advance, for all future attacks against United States. In fact, in a calculated leak, The New York Times on Sept. 11 accused Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani of complicity in the July 7 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, something that even the Indians didn’t dare do. And on Sept. 7, President Bush delivered a speech at the National Defense University in Washington where he almost called Pakistan a terrorist state.

    The ground reality, however, is a little different. The frequency and intensity of attacks inside Pakistan over the past two years have exceeded the number of attacks the U.S. military faces in Afghanistan. This is strange because if the U.S. accusations that Islamabad is behind Afghan Taliban’s resurgence in Afghanistan are correct, then why is the ‘Pakistani Taliban’ attacking the Pakistani State and people? The so-called ‘Pakistani Taliban’ should be happy that Pakistan is supporting the Afghan Taliban? But what is happening is the opposite. It is more like the ‘Pakistani Taliban’ is punishing Pakistan. The question is: Who benefits?

    According to one Pakistani official source, close to 8,000 foreigners have infiltrated Pakistani territories over the past two to three years. The figure was under 1,000 before 9/11, and most of them were peaceful leftovers from the anti-Soviet war in the 1980s, grownup, aging, with local wives and children. Yes, Pakistan did have a domestic religious extremism problem but it consisted of small groups and not armies with endless supply of money and sophisticated weapons and, apparently, advance knowledge of Pakistani military movements.

    There is a pile of evidence with Pakistani security officials that leaves no doubt that many of these 8,000 foreigners are operatives of foreign intelligence agencies who have infiltrated the Pakistani tribal belt from Afghanistan. This is not a Hollywood script. During the 2001 war against the Taliban government in Kabul, U.S. military used special ops teams made up of Pashtun look-alikes complete with perfect Pashtun accents, assisted by bought local help in the areas of their deployment.

    In Pakistani tribal belt, the numbers of foreigners dramatically increased in the years 2002 to 2004. These foreigners used the natural local anger at Pakistan’s alliance with U.S. to work up the locals against Islamabad. The area remained quiet for most of the time after the 2001 war until it finally erupted in insurgency led by a series of shady ‘rebel Mullahs’ who caught the Pakistani government and military by surprise.

    Karzai’s security and intelligence network is populated with viciously anti-Pakistan officers. Under U.S. patronage, the Indians are suspected of having raised the strength of their soldiers in Afghanistan to around ten thousand, mostly under the guise of security for Indian construction projects. Indians and Karzai’s men are directly involved in training, arming and financing rebels and insurgents and sending them into Pakistan. There is a full backing for an ethnic insurgency in southwestern Pakistan where China is building a strategic seaport.

    Pakistanis don’t have evidence that shows direct U.S. involvement in this anti-Pakistan campaign. But the circumstantial evidence is more than overwhelming. Afghanistan could not have turned into a staging ground for anti-Pakistan covert operations involving several players without Washington’s nod. U.S. military has also been deliberately attacking those militant tribals inside Pakistan who are pro-Islamabad and sparing those who exclusively fight Pakistani military. Also, U.S. government has refused to designate the ethnic insurgency in southwestern Pakistan as terrorism. One very interesting piece of information that points the fingers to both India and U.S. is that these shady ‘Pakistani Taliban’ have focused their efforts in the past four years on attacking Chinese citizens and Chinese interests inside Pakistan. No U.S. or NATO citizens have ever been attacked.

    The Afghan Taliban –who are the real Taliban before this foreign-orchestrated insurgency in Pakistani border areas hijacked the word ‘Taliban’ – have never attacked Pakistan despite Islamabad’s policy change after 9/11. In fact, senior Taliban officials, like its ambassador to Islamabad Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef, never said anything against Pakistan despite having been captured and handed over to the Americans by Islamabad.

    The only way out for Islamabad now is to leave the U.S.-led coalition that occupied Afghanistan in 2001.

    Pakistan will continue to face instability as long as it continues to be part of the war on terror on Washington’s terms. Pakistan’s legitimate security interests have been so damaged and ignored by Washington that it is time to tell the Americans to go and deal with Afghanistan on their own. Pakistan can say that it will help Washington where possible but that it can no longer remain part of the coalition, a coalition that only includes three nations now: U.S., U.K., and Pakistan. In this regard, Pakistanis can renegotiate the terms of letting U.S. use Pakistani soil and airspace for the transport of supplies. Pakistan can ask U.S. military to vacate the remaining Pakistani airbase under American use. Also, Islamabad can revoke the permission that former President Musharraf granted CIA to establish outposts in Pakistan’s tribal belt and the permission to recruit local assets. Meanwhile, Pakistan can continue eliminating the shady foreign and local criminals who call themselves ‘Pakistani Taliban’. This is what the Pakistani military has been doing recently, wiping off all these foreign assets. Which probably explains some of the recent American panic.

    ‘Insurgency,’ Mr. Saleh, the Afghan spymaster, told American journalists in 2006, ‘is like grass. Two ways to destroy it: You cut the upper part, and after four months, you have it back. You poison the soil where that grass is, then you eliminate it forever.’

    What Mr. Saleh got wrong is the soil. It is not Pakistan. The Afghan insurgency is sustained by Afghans. It is an Afghan problem. Please leave Pakistan alone.

    © 2007-2008. All rights reserved. The News International &

    “Two Choices”

    “Two Choices”


    What would you do?……you make the choice. Don’t look for a punch line,
    there isn’t one. Read it anyway. My question is: Would you have made the
    same choice?

    At a fundraising dinner for a school that serves children with learning
    disabilities, the father of one of the students delivered a speech that
    would never be forgotten by all who attended. After extolling the school and
    its dedicated staff, he offered a question:

    ‘When not interfered with by outside influences, everything nature does, is
    done with perfection.

    Yet my son, Shay, cannot learn things as other children do. He cannot
    understand things as other children do.  Where is the natural order of
    things in my son?’

    The audience was stilled by the query.

    The father continued. ‘I believe that when a child like Shay, who was
    mentally and physically disabled comes into the world, an opportunity to
    realize true human nature presents itself, and it comes in the way other
    people treat that child.’

    Then he told the following story:  Shay and I had walked past a park where
    some boys Shay knew were playing baseball. Shay asked, ‘Do you think they’ll
    let me play?’ I knew that most of the boys would not want someone like Shay
    on their team, but as a father I also understood that if my son were allowed
    to play, it would give him a much-needed sense of belonging and some
    confidence to be accepted by others in spite of his handicaps.

    I approached one of the boys on the field and asked (not expecting much) if
    Shay could play. The boy looked around for guidance and said, ‘We’re losing
    by six runs and the game is in the eighth inning. I guess he can be on our
    team and we’ll try to put him in to bat in the ninth inning.’

    Shay struggled over to the team’s bench and, with a broad smile, put on a
    team shirt. I watched with a small tear in my eye and warmth in my heart.
    The boys saw my joy at my son being accepted.

    In the bottom of the eighth inning, Shay’s team scored a few runs but was
    still behind by three.

    In the top of the ninth inning, Shay put on a glove and played in the right
    field… Even though no hits came his way, he was obviously ecstatic just to
    be in the game and on the field, grinning from ear to ear as I waved to him
    from the stands.

    In the bottom of the ninth inning, Shay’s team scored again.  Now, with two
    outs and the bases loaded, the potential winning run was on base and Shay
    was scheduled to be next at bat.

    At this juncture, do they let Shay bat and give away their chance to win the
    game?  Surprisingly, Shay was given the bat. Everyone knew that a hit was
    all but impossible because Shay didn’t even know how to hold the bat
    properly, much less connect with the ball.

    However, as Shay stepped up to the plate, the pitcher, recognizing the other
    team was putting winning aside for this moment in Shay’s life, moved in a
    few steps to lob the ball in softly so Shay could at least make contact.

    The first pitch came and Shay swung clumsily and missed. The pitcher again
    took a few steps forward to toss the ball softly towards Shay.

    As the pitch came in, Shay swung at the ball and hit a slow ground ball
    right back to the pitcher.

    The game would now be over.  The pitcher picked up the soft grounder and
    could have easily thrown the ball to the first baseman.

    Shay would have been out and that would have been the end of the game.
    Instead, the pitcher threw the ball right over the first baseman’s head, out
    of reach of all team mates.

    Everyone from the stands and both teams started yelling, ‘Shay, run to
    Run to first!’   Never in his life had Shay ever run that far, but he made
    it to first base.

    He scampered down the baseline, wide-eyed and startled.  Everyone yelled,
    ‘Run to second, run to second!’

    Catching his breath, Shay awkwardly ran towards second, gleaming and
    struggling to make it to the base.

    By the time Shay rounded towards second base, the right fielder had the ball
    .. the smallest guy on their team who now had his first chance to be the hero
    for his team.

    He could have thrown the ball to the second-baseman for the tag, but he
    understood the pitcher’s intentions so he, too, intentionally threw the ball
    high and far over the third-baseman’s head.

    Shay ran toward third base deliriously as the runners ahead of him circled
    the bases toward home.  All were screaming, ‘Shay, Shay, Shay, all the Way

    Shay reached third base because the opposing shortstop ran to help him by
    turning him in the direction of third base, and shouted, ‘Run to third!
    Shay, run to third!’

    As Shay rounded third, the boys from both teams, and the spectators, were on
    their feet screaming, ‘Shay, run home! Run home!’

    Shay ran to home, stepped on the plate, and was cheered as the hero who hit
    the grand slam and won the game for his team

    ‘That day’, said the father softly with tears now rolling down his face,
    ‘the boys from both teams helped bring a piece of true love and humanity
    into this world’.

    Shay didn’t make it to another summer. He died that winter, having never
    forgotten being the hero and making me so happy, and coming home and seeing
    his Mother tearfully embrace her little hero of the day!

    We all send thousands of jokes
    through the e-mail without a second thought, but when it comes to sending
    messages about life choices, people hesitate.  The crude, vulgar, and often
    obscene pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion about decency
    is too often suppressed in our schools and workplaces.

    If you’re thinking about forwarding this message, chances are that you’re
    probably sorting out the people in your address book who aren’t the
    ‘appropriate’ ones to receive this type of message Well, the person who sent
    you this believes that we all can make a difference.  We all have thousands
    of opportunities every single day to help realize the ‘natural order of

    So many seemingly trivial interactions between two people present us with a
    Do we pass along a little spark of love and humanity or do we pass up those
    opportunities and leave the world a little bit colder in the process? A wise
    man once said every society is judged by how it treats it’s least fortunate
    amongst them.

    You now have two choices:
    1. Delete 2. Forward

    Let your day be a Shay Day

    Georgian opposition to hold mass street protests to pressure Saakashvili to step down

    Georgian opposition to hold mass street protests to pressure Saakashvili to step down

    Georgian opposition to hold mass street protests to pressure Saakashvili to step down AP
    Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili
    walks in front of the U.S. Navy’s
    missile frigate USS Klakring (FFG 42)
    at the Georgian port of Batumi on
    Thursday, April 2, 2009.
    TBILISI, Georgia – Opposition leaders hope to bring tens of thousands of people out onto the streets Thursday for mass protests to press President Mikhail Saakashvili to step down and call new elections.

    The opposition is urging its supporters to protest peacefully, but there are widespread fears that the demonstrations could lead to violence.

    Opposition leaders blame Saakashvili for the disastrous war with Russia last August and say he is unable to lead Georgia forward because of his antagonistic relations with Moscow.

    Saakashvili, a U.S.-educated lawyer who has built close ties to Washington, defends his record and vows to serve out his five-year term, which ends in 2013.

    Biden: Israel Would Be ‘Ill-Advised’ to Attack Iran

    Biden: Israel Would Be ‘Ill-Advised’ to Attack Iran

    Readers Number : 60

    08/04/2009 US Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday the new Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would be “ill-advised” to attack Iran, but stressed that it was unlikely to do so.

    “I don’t believe that Prime Minister Netanyahu would do that. I think he would be ill-advised to do that,” Biden said in an interview with CNN, when asked about possible Israeli strikes on Iranian nuclear sites. “And so my level of concern is no different than it was a year ago,” he added.

    Biden’s comments came after Israeli President Shimon Peres said on Monday that a “sophisticated and devious” Iranian regime has managed to hide the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program from the world.

    Also Monday, United States President Barack Obama said the U.S. would go ahead with plans to build a missile defense shield in Europe as long as Iran posed a threat with its nuclear activities.

    Iran subsequently criticized Obama for the remarks and urged Washington and other countries possessing atom weapons to dismantle their arsenals. It also confirms that its program is for peaceful goals and it is its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

    Presenting his new government to Israeli parliament a week ago, Netanyahu alluded to an eventual nuclear-armed Iran as the biggest threat to his Zionist entity. “The biggest danger to humanity and to Israel comes from the possibility of a radical regime armed with nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu said, making clear his remarks were aimed at Iran.

    President Barack Obama’s administration has repeatedly said that all options are on the table for dealing with Iran, but is trying to launch a new dialogue with the Islamic republic after a three-decade freeze in relations.

    Obama Team Readying for Clash with Netanyahu, Lieberman

    Obama Team Readying for Clash with Netanyahu, Lieberman

    Hanan Awarekeh Readers Number : 57

    08/04/2009 In an unprecedented move, the Obama administration is readying for a possible confrontation with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu by briefing Democratic congressmen on the “peace process” and the positions of the new government in Israel regarding a two-state solution.

    The Obama administration is expecting a clash with Netanyahu over his refusal to support the establishment of a Palestinian state alongside the Zionist entity.

    In recent weeks, US officials have briefed senior Democratic congressmen and prepared the ground for the possibility of disagreements with Israel over the peace process, according to information recently received. The administration’s efforts are focused on President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party, which now holds a majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

    The preemptive briefing is meant to foil the possibility that Netanyahu may try to bypass the administration by rallying support in Congress.

    The message that administration officials have relayed to the congressmen is that President Obama is committed to the security of Israel and intends to continue the military assistance agreement that was signed by his predecessor, George W. Bush.

    However, Obama considers the two-state solution central to his Middle East policy, as he reiterated during a speech in Turkey on Monday, and he intends to ask that Netanyahu fulfill all the commitments made by previous governments in Israel: accepting the principle of a Palestinian state; freezing settlement activity; evacuating illegal outposts; and providing economic and security assistance to the Palestinian Authority.

    Administration officials made it clear to congressmen that the Palestinians will also be required to fulfill their obligations in line with the road map and the Annapolis process.

    According to the reports received in Tel Aviv, the U.S. administration is not concerned about recent statements by Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman calling for a rejection of the Annapolis process or overtures made by Netanyahu during the election campaign.

    U.S. officials say they will wait and hear Netanyahu’s position from the prime minister himself when he meets Obama in Washington next month.

    The Obama administration is also not opposed to the resumption of negotiations between Israel and Syria but will insist that the Syrian track not be used in Tel Aviv as a way of evading obligations undertaken by Israel as part of the Annapolis process.

    Obama is in no hurry to bring the U.S. in as lead mediator between Israel and Syria. American involvement, which both Israel and Syria consider essential for substantive progress, will remain conditional on progress in the dialogue between Washington and Damascus.

    Regarding Iran, the Obama administration is preparing the ground for a policy distinguishing between Iran’s right to have nuclear technology, including uranium enrichment done under international supervision, and the actual building of a nuclear weapon.

    Moreover, the US State Department hit back at Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s warning on Tuesday to those pressuring Israel on its foreign policy agenda.

    The Yisrael Beitenu chairman and recent appointment to the top ministerial position also said that the world was willing to listen to his ideas, accusing the Israeli left of attacking his positions to score points abroad. “We have never interfered with other people’s affairs and we expect of others not stand with a stopwatch in hand,” Lieberman told party members at a conference.

    Washington has other ideas however. State Department spokesman Robert Wood responded to a question regarding the foreign minister’s statements, saying that the US’ top priority was to steer the stagnated talks back to the pursuit of the two-state solution.

    Wood said that Obama’s special envoy to the Mideast, George Mitchell, would be visiting the region next week to “continue discussions with how we can move back to a very positive track with the goal being a two-state solution. We are going to hear comments from various parties about how they assess things.” Wood acknowledged that the situation was complex.

    Sources in Washington say that at present time President Obama does not have plans to visit the Zionist entity in June, nor are there clear plans for Netanyahu to visit Washington in May.

    Behind the scenes both sides are intent on reassuring each other, with the Americans maintaining restraint in the face of Foreign Minister Lieberman’s statements until the Netanyahu government formally lays out its foreign policy agenda.

    Lieberman riled not only American nerves on Tuesday, but Israeli ones as well. Opposition MK Yohanan Plesner from Kadima said that Lieberman’s comments “are causing grave harm to Israel’s (ties) to the US administration. The fears preceding his appointment to such a sensitive office are proved true every day anew.

    “At such a sensitive time, when Israeli-US ties are about to be redefined, Lieberman is damaging the relationship and putting at risk America’s commitment to supporting Israel. Lieberman needs to understand that state diplomacy can’t be managed like a branch of Yisrael Beitenu,” he said.

    Plesner said that Labor now has one last chance to “come to its senses and stop playing the role of fig leaf for a government that is causing so much damage to Israel’s foreign relations.”

    And as for the ‘opposition’ within Labor? MK Eitan Cabel: “The elephant continues to run amok and there is no one to stop him. I expect the Labor ministers, first and foremost among them (Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak), to stop standing on the sidelines – because this is the promise made to the public when (Labor) entered the coalition. It must be stopped now because the man’s lack of control over his mouth causes irreparable harm.”

    Why Mehsud is claiming responsibility for attacks

    Why Mehsud is claiming responsibility for attacks

    * Former ISI official says power struggle forcing Mehsud to take credit for attacks

    Daily Times Monitor

    LAHORE: Baitullah Mehsud’s claims of responsibility for a series of terrorist attacks in Pakistan may indicate jockeying for power among militant groups, analysts say.

    “There is an internal power struggle going on now,” a former Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) station chief in Peshawar told MSNBC. “When [Mehsud] thinks that someone new is coming up and could overshadow him, he kills him.”

    Mehsud first gained attention by sending suicide bombers into Afghanistan to attack US and NATO forces. Then in 2007 he declared war on Pakistan, forming the Tehreek-e-Taliban to target the Pakistan Army for supporting the US in Afghanistan.

    A former Mehsud lieutenant from another tribe first claimed responsibility for the attack. That seemed to have forced Mehsud to quickly call local reporters and take ‘ownership’. The two commanders often argue, according to a Taliban leader. “The Lahore attack could have been his [Mehsud’s] idea, but he could not have done it without some help from the Punjabis,” said a Pakistani intelligence official. “What’s more, all of these Punjabi groups have splintered and shifted in part out of the Punjab and into the Tribal Areas to band, but not always bond, with the Pakistani Taliban and Al Qaeda. … Mehsud has become very powerful among the tribal militants, but he may be feeling the heat from the Punjabis. … They are better trained …. and perhaps even more motivated than his men. While there is increasing coordination among the groups, all of them may not want to take orders from him.”

    Taliban and traitors

    Taliban and traitors

    —Brian Cloughley

    The Taliban are traitors to Pakistan. They must be tracked down and brought to justice for their actions. But to imagine their blinkered viciousness might be supported or condoned by the army’s most senior officers, whose honour and loyalty are beyond question, is stretching credulity far too far

    Last July, the New York Times published an article stating that “Stephen R Kappes, the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, accompanied Admiral Michael Mullen, the Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff on a secret visit to Islamabad on July 12. This visit was aimed at confronting Pakistan’s most senior officials with new information about ties between [the Directorate of Inter Services Intelligence] and militants operating in Pakistan’s tribal areas… According to one senior [and, as usual, anonymous] US official, Mr Kappes delivered a very pointed message, declaring that ‘Look, we know there’s a connection, not just with Haqqani but also with other bad guys and ISI, and we think you could do more and we want you to do more about it’.”

    What ignorant arrogance.

    Last week, the New York Times carried the story that “American officials say a wing of ISI is providing money and military aid to The Taliban,” after Admiral Mullen had declared “there are certainly indications” that this was the case. Then General Petraeus, the US regional commander, “echoed” a statement by Ms Michele Flournoy of the Pentagon who said, “I think ISI is a — or parts of ISI — are certainly a problem to be dealt with.”

    Then the flamboyant Petraeus spoke about “ISI elements” having informed extremists of the locations of US forces in Afghanistan and delivered the somewhat opaque statement that “There are some cases that are indisputable in which that appears to have taken place.”

    On Monday, this newspaper reported that “An unnamed Pakistani official told Newsweek that senior US officials had even shared with their counterparts in Islamabad ‘some intelligence indicating that renegade ISI elements helped Mehsud’s group train for the December 2007 assassination of Pakistan’s former prime minister Benazir Bhutto’.”

    The international drumbeat continues about ISI’s dastardly tricks. There is hardly a westerner (and not a single Indian) who does not believe that ISI is supporting the demented extremists who are determined to wrench Pakistan back to the fifteenth century.

    But where are the facts? Is there one solid piece of proof that “a wing” of ISI is giving advice, weapons, money and immunity to a loose grouping of sub-human thugs who revel in killing citizens of Pakistan?

    When questioned about this, those who declare they believe it to be true can say only that senior US officers and officials have stated it to be a fact, so therefore it must be so. The New York Times leads in attacking ISI by printing eye-winking, elbow-nudging hints from senior officials and lavish leaks from countless anonymous briefers — but there are never any hard facts.

    It is not impossible that there may be some people in ISI (or elsewhere in officialdom, for that matter) who approve of the killers of soldiers and other citizens. But Pakistan and the world in general must have something more substantive on which to judge whether or not the ISI is “a problem to be dealt with” than a silly sideswipe like “we know there’s a connection”.

    Just one name will do. Simply name a name. Then the person can be charged with treason and brought to trial. Anonymously sourced American claims and official blarney that “there are certainly indications” are not acceptable as evidence.

    Consider this: since 2002, the Army and the Frontier Corps have suffered some 1800 killed and four times that number wounded by criminal badmash referred to as the ‘Taliban’. Are we really expected to believe that members of the ISI would be permitted to provide these people with “money and military aid” in order to assist them to kill Pakistani soldiers?

    Before General Kayani was appointed Chief of the Army Staff, he was Director General of ISI. And we are being asked to believe that when he was in that position, he in some fashion allowed his subordinates to provide support for barbaric extremists so that they could kill his own soldiers. Does this make sense?

    General Ahmed Shuja Pasha was appointed head of ISI last year. He is a trusted confidant of the army chief and, although urbane and charming, like most senior army officers, he is a tough cookie. His loyalty is unquestionable. And we are expected to believe that he tolerates the existence of individuals in his Directorate who act contrary to the interests of his country. We are asked to believe that he accepts or even encourages people whose agenda includes destabilising Pakistan — or that he and his staff are incapable of detecting and dealing with disaffected operatives who support Pakistan’s enemies.

    I say bluntly that this is rubbish.

    And there are other domestic intelligence agencies operating in Pakistan, not least effective of which is the Directorate of Military Intelligence, always headed by a very sharp major general who is handpicked and totally trusted by the army chief. It has sections all over the NWFP, and there are some extremely professional operators who have many sources among the tribes and in the towns and villages. And we are asked to believe that these members of a proud army either have no knowledge of ISI’s alleged operations or that they condone activity by the ISI which results in slaughter of their comrades in uniform. This doesn’t compute.

    As I write this piece, there is news coming in of yet another bombing, no doubt carried out by the moronic savages who so many commentators claim are supported by ISI. These people — the Taliban — are traitors to Pakistan. They must be tracked down and brought to justice for their actions. But to imagine their blinkered viciousness might be supported or condoned by the army’s most senior officers, whose honour and loyalty are beyond question, is stretching credulity far too far.

    Brian Cloughley’s book about the Pakistan army, War, Coups and Terror, has just been published by Pen & Sword Books (UK) and is distributed in Pakistan by Saeed Book Bank

    New policy against terrorism?

    New policy against terrorism?

    Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani decided on Monday that the Parliamentary Committee on National Security should update its report to incorporate “the root causes of extremism as well as assess the present threats; prepare a draft national policy to counter the insurgency; devise a de-radicalisation programme to bring religious extremists into the mainstream; and devise means to bring the madrassas into the mainstream and enhance the capacity-building of law enforcement agencies”.

    The parliamentary committee has also been asked to co-opt the federal information minister, the federal religious affairs minister, the interior secretary, as well as the chief secretaries, IGs, all provincial home secretaries, the FIA chief, “and others”. The report has to be completed in two weeks and put before the prime minister. Since a new policy requires a revisiting of the old policy, it will become imperative not to rely on the old reports prepared and filed in the past. But, in view of the short time for preparation, the “new” policy will most probably be based on old reports. It may be a policy but it will not be “new”.

    A new policy is desired only when there is some dissatisfaction with the old one. After that, there are two ways “new” insights may be inducted into the report: a revamping of counter-action that has been taken in the past; and a completely “alternative” look at the way the entire phenomenon of terrorism has been defined in the past. There is no doubt that some of the parameters set earlier will have to remain the same because of paucity of time. But it is expected that the phenomenon will be overwhelmingly blamed on forces external to Pakistan and all “solutions” will be made to hang from Pakistan’s “forceful” defence of its sovereignty vis-à-vis American policy and India’s interference.

    Pakistan has lost a vast stretch of its territory in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) where only the army can go if it so chooses. All seven tribal agencies with over 3 million population have been partially or completely overrun by the Taliban who are affiliated with Al Qaeda and work in tandem with the Afghan Taliban located in Balochistan under the general label of Afghan Shura. An emirate has been set up in South Waziristan by Baitullah Mehsud with sway over some other agencies disposing vast sums of money as his budget which he augments through kidnappings. In North Waziristan, two warlords that the world accuses Pakistan of supporting are launching attacks into Afghanistan.

    Along the border with FATA, normally administered cities and towns of the NWFP have fully or partially fallen to the Taliban. Starting from Dera Ismail Khan and Hangu to Kohat and Bannu, the armed men of the Taliban decide how the people have to live, killing Shias and blowing up girls’ schools. Swat has been lost to the Taliban but not before Peshawar itself became a playground for the Taliban who kidnap and extort money from the rich of the city. NATO trucks have been attacked and looted till the Taliban were amply provided with high-tech transport meant for the external forces in Afghanistan.

    In the rest of the country there is sympathy for the Taliban and indirectly for Al Qaeda. Big cities like Karachi are threatened with a new war that Islamabad may not know how to tackle because it will be spearheaded by suicide-bombers. The madrassas have crossed the line and gone over to the other side. People need protection that only the Taliban can provide in the end because they are the perpetrators of violence and fear themselves. Therefore any new policy will have to knock off the old props of thinking. There is 60 percent coverage of the TV channels in Bajaur and a graded coverage in other agencies, and the message that the people are getting is against the state of Pakistan because it is allegedly “siding with America”.

    Pakistan’s economy can go down in a heap if it is not helped from outside through massive grants and handouts. Its army needs a big budget to maintain its readiness. Its police needs to be rebuilt on a new basis of recruitment and emolument for which it has no money. Since it blames terrorism on the West in general and America in particular, Pakistan is also incapable of formulating policy against terrorism. But it would be lethal if, like its parliament, the government and state organs of Pakistan take an isolationist stance when confronted with accusations of collaboration with the terrorists and lose the money they need to survive the “revolution” of the Taliban. The bottom-line for the world is Pakistan’s nuclear weapons. To prevent them from getting into the wrong hands of extremists, the world will do anything, with or without Pakistan’s help.

    Extremists are flowing across that border


    US senator urges Af-Pak de-hyphenation

    WASHINGTON: US Senator Carl Levin, head of the Armed Services Committee, has said that the Obama administration should not link its efforts in Afghanistan too closely with Pakistan. “The evidence is mixed as to whether or not the government in Pakistan is going to take on the religious extremists,” Levin told the National Public Radio on Monday. “The border is wide open now. Extremists are flowing across that border into Afghanistan; Pakistan has not done anything to stop them,” he said.

    Blaming the ISI

    Blaming the ISI

    Wednesday, April 08, 2009
    Sayed G B Bokhari

    There is an old maxim: “when a rival country demeans performance of your army: it is an excellent fighting machine.” Nonetheless it becomes tragic when a segment of your own countrymen, not familiar with the psychological factor of the warfare, joins the chorus of the anti-army propaganda that emanates from a foreign source.

    A volley of criticism on the performance of the Pakistan army, particularly its ace spy set-up, the Inter Services Intelligence Services, was unleashed from the American (mis)handlers of the war on terror in the South East Asian region last week. Hours after US President Barack Obama announced his new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, three top US generals claimed that the ISI was actively helping Al Qaeda and the Taliban. Chairman US Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen and head of the US Central Command, General David Petraeus, joined their National Security Adviser General James Jones in publicly asking the ISI to end its contacts with the militants.

    During General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani’s official visit to the US, Admiral Mullen and General Patraeus discussed this matter with him. Richard Holbrooke, America’s special envoy to Pakistan and Afghanistan, also raised the matter on an American TV channel. Not to be left out, a leading US newspaper claimed that militants were being aided by operatives from the ISI’s ‘S’ wing. The paper also alleged that ISI operatives were regularly meeting Taliban commanders in preparing a strategy for the run-up to the Afghan elections scheduled for this summer.

    Perhaps, what was being implied was that the control of the operation of the Taliban and Al Qaeda lies in the hands of the ISI. Should this contention be taken as a tribute to Pakistan’s spy masters for leashing in successfully the powerful terrorists who the combined forces of world’s superpower America and its powerful allies admittedly failed to defeat over a span of eight years? Or should this contention be taken as an excuse to exonerate failure of the 60,000 allies’ forces backed by a 70,000-strong Afghan National Army, to defeat a few thousand irregular militants?

    The American allegations about the militancy-promotion role of the ISI are quite absurd if one looks at them closely. After making these allegations, in the same breath US officials also say that it is unlikely that top officials in Islamabad were directly coordinating these clandestine efforts, further asserting that mid-level operatives occasionally cultivate such relationships not approved by their bosses. While this absolves the ISI’s top hierarchy from involvement in assisting the militant network, it betrays a significant amount of ignorance on the part of the Americans on the inner workings of the Pakistan army.

    To understand the working of the ISI, one needs to examine the working of the Pakistan army since 80 per cent of the officer cadre, commanders and decision-makers of the ISI, come from the army. These officers stay in the ISI for two to three years and then go back to the army, to resume their operational assignments. In the Pakistan army the word, desire or policy of a commander – be it at battalion, brigade, formation or GHQ level – is followed by the under-command functionaries in letter and spirit. Deviation from the command of a senior is unthinkable. In such a scenario, it is simply not possible for mid-level ISI officials to cultivate relationships with Al Qaeda or Taliban elements without the approval of their bosses — as the Americans would have us believe. Also, how could US officials sitting thousands of miles away know of any such ‘deviation’ but not the ISI’s own top brass? In any case, why would a mid-level official whose tenure in the ISI is confined to a mere 2-3 years period deviate from the stated policy and run the risk of being charged for disobedience?

    The intelligence set-up of any country serves as the eyes and ears of the government. The American official claim that proof of the ties between the Taliban and Pakistani spies came from electronic surveillance as well as trusted information, should not be taken as evidence of establishment of a cordial relationship between the ISI and the Taliban. History tells us that the CIA has all along been in contact with America’s sworn enemies.

    The writer is a retired colonel. Email:

    Pak rejects US proposal for joint ops in tribal areas

    Pak rejects US proposal for joint ops in tribal areas

    ISLAMABAD, Apr 7: Pakistan on Tuesday rejected a US proposal for joint operations in the country’s tribal areas, DawnNews quoted official sources as saying.

    Simultaneously, the top leadership also asked US envoy Richard Holbrooke and Admiral Mike Mullen to shift drone technology and authority to the Pakistan Army.

    The officials emphasized the need for trust between their countries to counter the al Qaeda and the Taliban threat, even as Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi complained Tuesday about American missile strikes on Pakistani soil.

    Richard Holbrooke and Mike Mullen were visiting Pakistan on the heels of President Barack Obama’s announcement of plans to reinvigorate the war in Afghanistan by sending more troops to the region and boosting aid to Pakistan to help it stave off al Qaeda and Taliban-led militancy on its soil.

    Pakistani leaders say they are happy about getting billions more in assistance, but Obama’s insistence that the money won’t come without conditions — no ‘blank check’ — has rankled some here and underscored a trust deficit between the two camps.

    ‘We can only work together if we respect each other and trust each other,’ Qureshi said during a joint news conference.

    It was a sentiment echoed by Mullen, who said he was committed to improving the nations’ relationship to the point where there is a ‘surplus of trust.’

    Pakistan’s civilian government points to the deaths of hundreds of Pakistani troops in battling insurgents along the Afghan frontier in questioning the line from Washington. But US officials have complained that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence still has ties to some militant groups, something Pakistan denies.

    ‘Pakistan is committed in eliminating extremism from the society, for which it needs unconditional support by the international community in the fields of education, health, training and provision of equipment for fighting terrorism,’ President Asif Ali Zardari said in a statement after meeting the envoys.

    Zardari also urged the use of negotiations to resolve some tensions with the militants, something the US is considering.

    ‘Military action is only one aspect of the solution,’ the statement said.

    Pakistan faces rising terrorist attacks on its soil by militants upset over its cooperation with the United States.

    Pakistani citizens have held protests denouncing recent attacks, but there is widespread worry that cooperating with the US in the anti-terrorist fight is what is damaging the nation’s security.

    Many Pakistanis also are irritated with US missile strikes on militant targets in the northwest, and the government has officially and repeatedly requested they be stopped because they inflame anti-American sentiment.

    On that subject, ‘let me be very frank. There’s a gap between us and them,’ Qureshi insisted Tuesday. ‘I want to bridge that gap.’

    ‘My view is that they are working to the advantage of the extremists. We agree to disagree on this. We will take it up when we meet again in Washington,’ Qureshi told reporters.

    Many analysts suspect the two countries have a secret deal allowing the strikes, which American officials say have killed some top militant leaders.

    The foreign minister further said that Pakistan has ‘red lines’ that should not be crossed, but would only specify its objection to any sort of US ground operation on its territory when asked to elaborate.

    Asked about whether the US could simply hand over Predator drones to the Pakistanis so they could carry out the strikes, Mullen did not directly answer, but said the Americans were eager to share counter-insurgency techniques and lessons with Pakistan.

    Holbrooke said the countries face a common challenge and task.

    ‘We have had a long and complicated history, our two countries,’ he said. ‘We cannot put the past behind us, but we must learn from it and move forward.’

    The envoys’ visit also comes just days after Hakimullah Mehsud, a deputy to Pakistani Taliban chief Baitullah Mehsud, warned that the group would carry out two suicide bombings per week in Pakistan unless the US stops the missile strikes.

    Schenectady Mayor Wants Governor to Declare Martial Law in the City

    Soldiers in Schenectady?

    WITH OVER a dozen cases of police corruption and disregard for the law coming to light in the past few weeks, Schenectady Mayor Brian Stratton announced that he is considering disbanding the city’s police force.

    He plans on requesting the governor declare martial law in the city for several months, while the city rebuilds the force from the ground up.

    One officer was found giving drugs out of the evidence locker to an informant. Several officers have been involved in driving-while-intoxicated-related accidents, including several where friends or family members were assaulted to prevent them from reporting the accident. One officer stole his girlfriend’s car. Another pair of officers face charges for beating a suspect in custody. The head of the civilian oversight board has resigned, saying the system is broken.

    While it is a step forward for the city government to recognize the corruption and out-of-control behavior of the city police that residents have been complaining about for years now, martial law is no solution. Putting armed, National Guard troops on the street is just exchanging one problem for another.

    Soldiers are not cops, as evidenced by the ongoing occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the situation in post-Katrina New Orleans. Are soldiers just back from overseas occupation duty really the safest people to be put out on the streets, fully armed?

    Bringing in troops serves one purpose: to re-establish the legitimacy of the armed state over the citizens. Deep down, there is nothing separating the situation in Schenectady’s police from the police in most other American cities, except these officers all got caught within a few weeks of each other. The real purpose of the police under capitalism is to enforce the control of the wealthy over those they exploit. For doing the dirty work of the rulers, the police are often left to do whatever they want.

    What the people of Schenectady really need is less money spent on law enforcement and more money spent on rebuilding the city’s economy, which has been decimated since General Electric shut down most of its operations in the city.

    Good-paying jobs and a sustainable economy are the keys to Schenectady’s future, not a different group of unaccountable armed men roaming the streets.
    Josh Karpoff, Rochester, N.Y.



    (There will be a simultaneous translation to Filipino language through attendees
    who are fluent in English language and our native tongue.)

    April 12, 2009, 4:00 PM, Mauban Gymnasium, Quezon Province,
    Luzon, Philippines

    By Eric V. Encina

    Speech Text:

    My Former Classmates and Friends, Good Afternoon!

    Thank you for inviting me as your speaker today in this reunion-meeting. I will discuss some of the monstrous problems and issues present in our country. In order to do so, I put together a talk titled “SOLUTIONS FOR THE PHILIPPINES — THE CHOICES THAT WE TOGETHER FACE,” which I hope that you will find of interest.

    As many of us here today know, we are in the climax of the problems and litmus test for our very survival. We are all in the same boat facing hardships and trauma due to the economic downturn and our government’s related policies.

    May I ask you? Do you think that we can find a solution for the Philippine crisis? Given the enormity of the country’s endless assorted interconnected problems, we have to seriously understand the matters that I am going to try to clearly explain to you that pertain to origins for some of these problems and my concern for monetary reform.

    IN OTHER WORDS, THE ORTHODOX AND CONVENTIONAL SOLUTIONS OF THE PHILIPPINE GOVERNMENT TO OUR JOINT DIFFICULTIES concern DEBT and the issues related to further debt at interest. This debt includes both the public debt held by the government and private, personal debt held by the many citizens, who are unable to sufficiently provide for their most basic needs in light of our government leaders not helping us find solutions relative to jobs, housing, food and other necessities. (The latter, individual debt, will not be, though, discussed here today. Instead, the focus will be the other sort of debt — our national debt and the ways to deal with it.)

    However, please take note: From the original IMF loan to our government of $800 Million and WB loan of $700 Million in 1978, our country’s TOTAL DEBT HAS horrendously increased by endless further borrowings and is accompanied by HIGHLY USURIOUS INTEREST rates over the  years to become close to US$350 BILLION or P6 Trillion plus Pesos with the INTEREST PAYMENT OF P700.6 Billion or US$14 Billion in 2009. Regardless of the high initial loan and the staggering amount of interest owed, it is generally not a part of government’s debt management plans.

    So while our government, eventually, will have to seemingly endlessly borrow more money to service the debt and its interest payment, are social services to be cut even further for Filipinos? Are our taxes, then, to be used not for our welfare and improvements to society, but be used instead to enrich the managers of organizations like International Monetary Fund and World Bank? Where is this pattern of continuous loans taking leading us as a country and as a people?

    MEANWHILE, MOST DEBTS ARE IDENTIFIED TO BE ODIOUS AND ANOMALOUS and, therefore, criminal against the Filipino people as a whole while others are greatly enriched off of them. In addition, anyone who has had a long term individual debt and its interest payments to creditors know that it is hard to manage as paying back takes money away from fulfilling other needs and wants. So our government is in the same situation — unable to tend its citizens due to its funds going to pay-backs.

    So  given this situation, should we have TAXES AT ALL OR MORE TAXES SIMPLY TO POUR MONEY INTO DEBT PAYMENT?


    FURTHER THERE ARE THE Billions of Pesos allocated for PORK BARRELS FOR OUR FILIPINO LEGISLATORS, WHO ARE doing nothing practically EXCEPT TO INCREASE their OWN political power AND SELF-SERVING MONETARY GAINS. In other words, the LEADERS (NOT ALL BUT MANY OF THEM) primarily use the money for graft, corruption and personal aggrandizements.
    At the same time, the same group of officials invite transnational corporations into our country to take our resources for pennies on the dollar relative to actual worth. Meanwhile, our citizens get no remuneration for these Filipino treasures that disappear from our land through mining, agriculture and other means to create huge financial gains for foreigners, along with the most affluent Filipino class who are in cahoots with them.

    PHILIPPINE BUREAU OF INTERNAL REVENUE or BIP – the tax department of the Department of Finance TARGETS a goal TO DRASTICALLY COLLECT taxes by 2009, this year, in the amount of P11.6 Billion EXACERBATED BY the WASHINGTON CONSENSUS and imposition of the IMF-WB 12% EXPANDED VALUED ADDED TAX or E-VAT that would become 15% by the year 2010-2011.

    LIBERALIZATION AND PRIVATIZATION  — are these two directions collectively ahead of us?

    DO WE HAVE NO CHOICE? Are the increasingly lax federal regulations concerning the ravage of our country’s resources good for our natural environment on which we depend for enough fresh, pollution free water, forests, healthy agricultural soil and other material goods on which we, as the people of our land, depend? Are they not favoring wealthy industrialists and agricultural giants at the expense of citizens? Are our government heads, with their focus on such an operation to remove our resources, creating sufficient jobs, decent wages, robust local economies, adequate housing and health care provision, food for all and other necessities? (… We all know the answer to this question.)

    Please note that the BANKING LIBERALIZATION AND PRIVATIZATION, ALONG WITH THE SALE OF PHILIPPINE ASSETS, that is criminal against the Filipinos, ARE AMONG THE MANY STRINGS ATTACHED to LOANS  from the IMF and the WB to Philippine Government.  And given our collective compliance to such damaging international (mandated) COVENANTS, the Philippines has rushed into GATT or General Agreement On Tariffs and Trade/World Trade Organization or WTO with short term monetary relief in mind.

    Yet alas, AFTER HAVING COMPLIED, the Philippines, along with other poor highly indebted nations, such as Uruguay, Costa Rica and Malaysian Territories Labua, are all accused as WORST OFFENDERS BY THE ORGANIZATION FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT OR OECD FOR providing NON-COOPERATIVE TAX HAVENS. This was disapprovingly aired at the recent G-20 Meeting in London, UK.


    Then, too, we have to deal with LIBERALIZATION — the lax regulations:

    Right now, many local factories and companies have closed down as we can’t compete on world markets and we are supposed to be able to do so by having pathetic wages rather than our simply making products for regional use and having a robust economy on account of primarily only serving our own indigenous needs. In light of this, one has to wonder about the many millions of jobs that were painfully and heartbreakingly lost when we opened the floodgates of imported goods with inadequate safety nets and protection to our own local producers? How did we get aided then — when this whole process started? How were derived benefits, in the end, really provided for us?

    LIKEWISE, HOW MANY FILIPINO FAMILIES BECAME IMPOVERISHED AND ARE DYING OF HUNGER RIGHT NOW IN THE COUNTRYSIDE when local companies that were built over several decades were suddenly wiped out in the name of TRADE LIBERALIZATION. The liberalization policies that exacerbate the increase rate of huge indebtedness of most families, along with the SHAMEFUL RATE of beggary and mendicancy in the countryside is tragic to behold.


    All the same, our Philippine leader continues to sell our COUNTRY’S NATURAL WEALTH AND MATERIALS to foreigners who allow 100% ownerships to multinational companies and global tycoons that only promote greed and destruction of HUMAN life and environment. THE REASON IS, OBVIOUSLY, TO RAISE BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR THE PURPOSE OF MEETING ANNUAL BUDGET DEFICIT ORIGINALLY CAUSED BY DEBT PAYMENT under debt-based economy.

    SO I SOMEWHAT REDUNDANTLY ASK: DO WE FILIPINOS GAIN FROM PRIVATIZATIONS? (WE KNOW THE ANSWER IN THAT MANY of these state-assets have become already privately owned like electric generating supplies, water and our major terminals, ports, even airports, etc. What next will be added? Are we all to maintain our status as impoverished serfs in our own land on account?)

    IN ADDITION, ARE WE EVER GOING TO BE ABLE TO PAY THE TOTAL DEBTS AND INTEREST FROM THE BORROWED FUNDS FROM THE SELLING OF THE STATE-OWNED ASSETS? The answer is “of course not” since the plan is to keep us in debt and keep taking our resources and money in payment until so few resources and dollars are left that we are simply, as a nation and a people, discarded on the world’s stage.

    All considered, deregulation of industry in support of transnational companies and the wealthy elite is one of the big problems ahead that we must resist in any way possible as this is robbery from all of us. At the same time, it is robbery from our children and future generations to come.

    Meanwhile, the cartel-like operation of oil industry through their many financed-backed multinational corporations will continue with increase in prices being dictated by the cartel bosses, whose only goal is immediate highest profit obtainable. This is dangerous as we are dependent on fossil fuels for nearly everything that we do unless we want to live like our primitive ancestors and, with our population, we cannot afford to do so.

    Instead, we must find alternative forms of energy and demand that our government invest in their provision as they are not harmful in relation to climate change and are almost cost free after the initial cost to build and install — such as solar panels and wind generators. However, there is no money available to allocate for the creation of energy security or the management of other needs in our country under our current economic system.
    This in mind, DEBT, INTEREST, TAXES, PRIVATIZATION, DEREGULATION AND COMPLIANCE TO INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SYSTEM UNDER WASINGTON OR OTHER CONSENSUS are not THE SOLUTIONS TO PHILIPPINE CRISIS. Therefore, we must make plans, not hastily or rashly, but slowly and deliberately to address our woes.
    Simultaneously, we must be patient while we wait for remedies to take fruition. Moreover, we must bear in mind about what is most important to us as a nation and what is not.
    ‘WAITING IS THE HARDEST WORK OF HOPE” – Lene’s Smeade stated.


    Indeed, we must remember these thoughts as we move ahead in addressing our national dilemma… So what is the solution given this backdrop?

    In a nutshell, we must have a DEBT-FREE MONEY CREATION ECONOMY.

    The Philippine Government must take back its power of creating money from the private banks and, in doing so, CREATE MONEY DEBT FREE BY LEGISLATION AND BY THE PROVISION OF THE NEW PHILIPPINE CONSTITUTION. This in mind, I am favorable to charter change for the reform of the economic system or banking system and not for the extension of power of the President and any other present incumbent government officials as absolute power corrupts.





    IF YOUR REJECT THIS SINGLE SOLUTION, then WHAT ELSE is there before us collectively?

    Friends, former classmates in sufferings, if you don’t agree, I HAVE THE LAST DRASTIC SOLUTION:

    It is death… We can either give up and, not being able to bear the suffering a moment longer, have a mass suicide as a form of protest or we can take THIS OTHER  more constructive course of action.

    In other words, we can, instead of choosing our quick demise rather than the slow one that we already face, try to create the life that we want and deserve. We can move to create the changes that absolutely need to be put in place.
    As such, we can work together to develop a revolution such as took place in France when silly and ignorant Marie Antoinette, an aristocrat much like our wealthy elite of today, suggested that the peasants eat cake if they have no bread. One wonders at such foolish commentary since, obviously, there was no cake, bread, nor other foods in ample supply for the poor French people just as there isn’t enough for us today.
    However, we must remember, if we plan this alternative to premature death, that we do not wish to create harm. We have all seen more than enough harm already. So the revolution, our collective and forceful demand for change in our monetary system, must be nonviolent in nature.
    All considered, we must remember that we want to support — not destroy — life just as Mahatma Gandhi recognized when he led the strike relative to cloth for which people in Great Britain were supportive and in sympathy even though they were economically impacted by his actions. We must, too, remember the power in numbers created in his salt march.

    In the end, I hope that I have clearly enlightened you all about our enormous problems. Please help me and follow me into action so that we can together make decisions that will benefit us all before it is too late to put the need changes in place that are long overdue. (We cannot continue to go on in the current ways of life. Deep down in our guts, we all know this. We all know this as we worry that our family members might begin to starve and our neighbors are terrified to become like the sad, destitute, listless beggars on the streets, who engender both revulsion and compassion.)




    They must begin to do so, especially since hunger and destitution is both terrible AND UNACCEPTABLE with more than 2.9 Million Filipinos suffering hunger daily in the Philippines according to recorded statistics. Yet honestly, there are more than 20 million Filipinos in the actual starvation circumstances, including those who are ill from being malnourished, such as the little children — the next generation of Filipinos on whom our country will depend for it to be a strong, robust and secure nation during the rest of this century.
    This all in mind, please contact me if you want to be a part of a big change and help develop procedures for the activities that we will all together undertake to begin to make a debt free system come into being. To this end, please put your name and contact information, especially e-mail address if you have one, on one of the pads of paper being sent around (while trying to use as little paper as possible so that we do not run out) if you wish to explore the creation of a widespread demonstration aimed at our government about their altering the ruinous fiscal course of our country. Indeed, this must happen so that our land can start providing for all of its citizens — not just the wealthy few.  So in joining up with each other, we can all make plans together to initiate our meaningful action towards fiscal reform.
    Please realize, too, that we have many ideological sisters and brothers facing the same plight as ours around the world. They are in sympathy and solidarity with us. They come from all nationalities, cultures, religions and overall varying backgrounds. They write to try to help us. They share our goals and send us words of encouragement.
    At the same time, they are quietly doing good works to help each other and have formed a sense of community despite their differences of opinion, skin color, ethnic background or religion. In relation, we must strengthen our own sense of unity at home and overcome separations, too. Like them, we must show increased empathy and decency — caring more about each other than personally hoarding profits for our own individual selves while taking unfair advantage of others.
    Meanwhile, we, as we press for change in our own nation, can set an example for them to follow. As such, we can inspire them to see that there is hope and a solution as they quietly go about providing food at soup kitchens and beds in homeless shelters for their comrades, who, too, have been marginalized like us.
    Yes, we can show the world the way forward by our example of pressing for change while the others like us increasingly have to create community gardens and bring provisions, such as clothing, to the many destitute people since the number of have-nots keep growing… and growing. They do so despite them and us having desire for change because our various governments will not alter course unless strongly encouraged to do so by a dedicated group such as us.
    Meanwhile, these sister and brothers are at web sites such as Global Research CA, Countercurrents, World Prout Assembly, Thomas Paine’s Corner, Information Clearing House, MWC News and countless other ones that I recommend as they are helpful so that we can all see our way forward to a better future.
    Moreover, these many other peoples are with us in spirit and we can all learn from each other. We can, for example, realize that are not alone in our struggle and we can pull off this whole new way to live wherein we are supportive of each other and society as a whole if and only if we demand that our government either gets out of the way or effectively helps us to develop a new economic system and lifestyles that support justice, mutual concern and a positive way to go forward in life instead of ramming down our throats this living hell that we currently have. So let us start to make the changes today. Let us start to join together to strongly encourage the needed monetary and other reforms so that our country and other ones once again can  be strong, vital and beneficial places to live for all!

    Thank you and God bless you!

    Eric V. Encina