Malik tables ‘proof’ of India’s hand in Balochistan unrest

Malik tables ‘proof’ of India’s hand in Balochistan unrest

* Interior adviser briefs in-camera sitting of Senate
* Says Afghan government not cooperating with Pakistan

By Tahir Niaz and Muhammad Bilal

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Interior Rehman Malik on Thursday tabled in the Senate ‘documentary proof’ of India and Afghanistan’s involvement in the unrest in Balochistan and the Tribal Areas, sources told Daily Times.

Addressing an in-camera session of the House, Rehman alleged that India was using Afghanistan as a base to destabilise Pakistan by fanning an insurgency. The sources said the ‘documentary proof’ showed that India was funding and training Pakistani terror groups. However, the ‘proof’ was nothing new for several of the senators, the added.

A senator said he was already aware of all anti-Pakistan conspiracies hatched by India and some other neighbouring countries. He said a neighbouring state was opposed to Pakistan’s progress and stability, but did not name the country.

The sources said Rehman used a multimedia system to show the senators images of terrorists arrested from Balochistan and other troubled areas. They said the arrested terrorists had admitted on camera to being trained in Afghanistan on India’s behalf.

According to the sources, Rehman also claimed that the majority of terrorists, equipped with latest weapons, arrested in Balochistan and the Tribal Areas had crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan. He said FATA was suffering from the spill over effect of the insurgency in Balochistan.

The sources said Rehman also showed the senators ‘documentary proof’ of the nationality of three Baloch leaders who were recently killed.

As stated by the prime minister’s interior adviser – one of the three leaders, Ghulam Muhammad, was wanted by Tehran, while another, Sher Baloch, was an Iranian national.

He showed the House images of Taliban slaughtering anti-Taliban and pro-government people in FATA.

Afghan govt: Rehman said President Asif Ali Zardari had complained to his Afghan counterpart, Hamid Karzai, of the use of Afghan soil against Pakistan, but the response had not been positive.

He said that Balochistan Liberation Army chief Brahamdagh Bugti was hiding in Afghanistan, and Kabul was not facilitating Islamabad over his arrest despite repeated requests.

The sources said Balochistan senators, including Abdul Malik and Shahid Bugti, opposed Rehman’s assertions. They said the senators rejected the interior adviser’s proposal for the formation of a House committee to oversee the investigation into the killing of the three Baloch leaders.

According to the sources, Rehman Malik spoke for seven-and-a-half hours on the situation in Balochistan, the Tribal Areas and NWFP. He also responded to the senators’ questions.

The interior adviser later told reporters that the briefing was based on ‘true facts’ and was given keeping in mind national interest. He said the government would defend the country at every cost.

Thursday’s briefing was the first-ever of its nature, and – according to the Online news agency – political parties are satisfied with it. The agency said that politicians were now hoping that the briefing would facilitate the formation of an effective policy for Balochistan.

Ex-Pak Army officer served as Lakhvi’s adviser: Report

SEE:  Gen Alvi murder case suspects remanded

Ex-Pak Army officer served as Lakhvi’s adviser: Report

Islamabad A former Pakistani Army officer, allegedly involved in abduction of the Karachi-based filmmaker uncle of Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla, had joined LeT after leaving military and served as an adviser to the Mumbai attack mastermind Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, a media report said on Monday.

During the interrogation of Major (Retd) Haroon Rasheed alias Abu Khattab, who was arrested some time ago for alleged links to terror groups, investigators learnt that he was the leader of the gang that kidnapped Chawla’s uncle Satish Anand six months ago, ‘Dawn’ newspaper reported.

Anand was freed last week after payment of Rs 16 million as ransom.

Rasheed, 43, told interrogators that he and his brother Khurram, who was a Captain in the army’s elite Special Service Group, met Lashkar-e Toiba chief Hafiz Mohammad Saeed and Lakhvi in 2000 when both of them were still serving the military, it said.

Rasheed sought premature retirement in 2001 while Khurram quit army in 2003 and both of them joined the LeT. Rasheed became an adviser to Lakhvi and also served as a trainer and made improvised

mortars for the LeT. He told interrogators he left the LeT after differences with Lakhvi.

In December 2006, Rasheed visited Wana in South Waziristan tribal agency where he met Taliban commander Mullah Nazir. He also travelled to Miranshah in North Waziristan to meet jehadi commander Ilyas Kashmiri.

Rasheed’s brother Khurram went to Afghanistan’s Hemand province to fight along side the ‘mujahideen’ and was killed there in March 2007.

Earlier media reports said Rasheed had allegedly killed Maj Gen (Retd) Amir Faisal Alvi, a former chief of the Special Service Group and brother-in-law of author V S Naipaul, in November last year to avenge Khurram’s death.

During subsequent visits to Waziristan in 2007, Rasheed met Mullah Nazir and Ilyas Kashmiri and helped them modify mortar guns.

During a meeting with Kashmiri in September last year, Rasheed learnt the militants were facing a shortage of funds and came up with a plan to kidnap affluent persons from urban areas for ransom.

Kashmiri and Rasheed then planned the abduction of Anand, who was kidnapped in Karachi on October 20 last year. Rasheed, LeT operative Nawaz Khan and a retired Major named Basit were involved in the kidnapping, the report said.

Rasheed has also told interrogators that several militant groups in the restive tribal areas have identified other persons in urban areas for kidnapping to raise funds by seeking ransom.

LeT operations commander Lakhvi is currently in judicial custody along with four others in connection with the Mumbai attacks. They were arrested for alleged involvement in planning and coordinating the 26/11 attacks, which India has blamed on Pakistan-based elements including LeT.

The Pulitzer-Winning Investigation That Dare Not Be Uttered on TV

The Pulitzer-Winning Investigation That Dare Not Be Uttered on TV

By Glenn Greenwald

April 21, 2009 “” — The New York Times‘ David Barstow won a richly deserved Pulitzer Prize yesterday for two articles that, despite being featured as major news stories on the front page of The Paper of Record, were completely suppressed by virtually every network and cable news show, which to this day have never informed their viewers about what Bartow uncovered.  Here is how the Pulitzer Committee described Barstow’s exposés:

Awarded to David Barstow of The New York Times for his tenacious reporting that revealed how some retired generals, working as radio and television analysts, had been co-opted by the Pentagon to make its case for the war in Iraq, and how many of them also had undisclosed ties to companies that benefited from policies they defended.

By whom were these “ties to companies” undisclosed and for whom did these deeply conflicted retired generals pose as “analysts”?  ABC, CBS, NBC, MSNBC, CNN and Fox — the very companies that have simply suppressed the story from their viewers.  They kept completely silent about Barstow’s story even though it sparked Congressional inquiries, vehement objections from the then-leading Democratic presidential candidates, and allegations that the Pentagon program violated legal prohibitions on domestic propaganda programs.  The Pentagon’s secret collaboration with these “independent analysts” shaped multiple news stories from each of these outlets on a variety of critical topics.  Most amazingly, many of them continue to employ as so-called “independent analysts” the very retired generals at the heart of Barstow’s story, yet still refuse to inform their viewers about any part of this story.

And even now that  Barstow yesterday won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting — one of the most prestigious awards any news story can win — these revelations still may not be uttered on television, tragically dashing the hope expressed yesterday (rhetorically, I presume) by Media Matters’ Jamison Foser that “maybe now that the story has won a Pulitzer for Barstow, they’ll pay attention.” Instead, it was Atrios’ prediction that was decisively confirmed: “I don’t think a Pulitzer will be enough to give the military analyst story more attention.”  Here is what Brian Williams said last night on his NBC News broadcast in reporting on the prestigious awards:

The Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and the arts were awarded today. The New York Times led the way with five, including awards for breaking news and international reporting.  Las Vegas Sun won for the public service category for its reporting on construction worker deaths in that city. Best commentary went to Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post, who of course was an on-air commentator for us on MSNBC all through the election season and continues to be. And the award for best biography went to John Meacham, the editor of Newsweek magazine, for his book “American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.”

No mention that among the five NYT prizes was one for investigative reporting.  Williams did manage to promote the fact that one of the award winners was an MSNBC contributor, but sadly did not find the time to inform his viewers that NBC News’ war reporting and one of Williams’ still-featured premiere “independent analysts,” Gen. Barry McCaffrey, was and continues to be at the heart of the scandal for which Barstow won the Pulitzer.  Williams’ refusal to inform his readers about this now-Pulitzer-winning story is particularly notable given his direct personal involvement in the secret, joint attempts by NBC and McCaffrey to contain P.R. damage to NBC from Barstow’s story, compounded by the fact that NBC was on notice of these multiple conflicts as early as April, 2003, when The Nation first reported on them.

Identically, CNN ran an 898-word story on the various Pulitzer winners — describing virtually every winner — but was simply unable to find any space even to mention David Barstow’s name, let alone inform their readers that he won the Prize for uncovering core corruption at the heart of CNN’s coverage of the Iraq War and other military-related matters.  No other television news outlet implicated by Barstow’s story mentioned his award, at least as far as I can tell.

The outright refusal of any of these “news organizations” even to mention what Barstow uncovered about the Pentagon’s propaganda program and the way it infected their coverage is one of the most illuminating events revealing how they operate.  So transparently corrupt and journalistically disgraceful is their blackout of this story that even Howard Kurtz and Politico — that’s Howard Kurtz and Politico — lambasted them for this concealment.  Meaningful criticisms of media stars from media critic (and CNN star) Howie Kurtz is about as rare as prosecutions for politically powerful lawbreakers in America, yet this is what he said about the television media’s suppression of Barstow’s story:  “their coverage of this important issue has been pathetic.”

Has there ever been another Pulitzer-Prize-winning story for investigative reporting never to be mentioned on major television — let alone one that was twice featured as the lead story on the front page of The New York Times?  To pose the question is to answer it.

UPDATE:  Media Matters has more on the glaring omissions in Brian Williams’ “reporting” and on the pervasive impact of the Pentagon’s program on television news coverage.  Williams’ behavior has long been disgraceful on this issue, almost certainly due to the fact that some of the “analysts” most directly implicated by Barstow’s story are Williams’ favored sources and friends.

On a different note, CQ‘s Jeff Stein responds today to some of the objections to his Jane-Harman/AIPAC/Alberto-Gonazles blockbuster story — quite convincingly, in my view — and, as Christy Hardin Smith notes, the New York Times has now independently confirmed much of what Stein reported.

UPDATE II:  For some added irony:  on his NBS News broadcast last night suppressing any mention of David Barstow’s Pulitzer Prize, Brian Williams’ lead story concerned Obama’s trip to the CIA yesterday.  Featured in that story was commentary from Col. Jack Jacobs, identified on-screen this way:  “Retired, NBC News Military Analyst.”  Jacobs was one of the retired officers who was an active member of the Pentagon’s “military analyst” program, and indeed, he actively helped plan the Pentagon’s media strategy at the very same time he was posing as an “independent analyst” on NBC (h/t reader gc; via NEXIS).  So not only did Williams last night conceal from his viewers any mention of the Pentagon program, he featured — on the very same broadcast — “independent” commentary from one of the central figures involved in that propaganda program.

On a related note, Howard Kurtz was asked in his Washington Post chat yesterday about  Mike Allen’s grant of anonymity to a “top Bush official” that I highlighted on Saturday, and Kurtz — while defending much of Allen’s behavior — said:  “I don’t believe an ex-official should have been granted anonymity for that kind of harsh attack.”

Glenn Greenwald was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book “How Would a Patriot Act?,” a critique of the Bush administration’s use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, “A Tragic Legacy”, examines the Bush legacy.

Adrift and lost, Pakistan awaits a miracle

[One of America’s best and most faithful friends, the people of Pakistan, face a national terror that we asked them to help us create.  We owe them more than we could ever repay for the sacrifices they have made, willingly distorting their national character to fit the mask that we thrust upon them.  We owe Pakistan a “Marshall Plan” without strings attached.  Are you listening, Holbrooke and Obama?]

Adrift and lost, Pakistan awaits a miracle

Ayaz Amir

There was nothing lion-like about the supporters of the Swat accord: they looked sheepish from the start. But they assured us there was no other way out and that, reservations notwithstanding, it would buy peace for the stricken valley. Just as in an earlier time, and far removed from Swat, a British prime minister had assured his people that the Munich agreement with Hitler would ensure “peace in our time.”

On the roof of the National Assembly is affixed a huge disc on which, in beautiful calligraphy, are inscribed the 99 names of God. But on that afternoon when the Swat Sharia Regulation was placed before the National Assembly, hanging over that august body was less any reference to the Almighty than a pall of fear, almost visible to the eye and sensible to the touch, Taliban spokesmen not having minced their words in saying that anyone opposing the deal would take himself out of the pale of Islam. Since in Islam the punishment for apostasy is death, everyone knew what the warning implied.

But apart from fear, the National Assembly was also stricken by misjudgement. The resolution had been tabled without warning and members from the ANP (the major ruling party in the Frontier) were crying themselves hoarse that no one was paying heed to the fact that it was Pakhtoon blood being spilt in FATA and Swat. So, apart from a few dissenting voices (the MQM’s Farooq Sattar giving a powerful speech), the National Assembly, closing its eyes, acquiesced in that act of surrender.

Now hardly ten days later, (affirming once again Harold Wilson’s timeless dictum that a week is a long time in politics), the pendulum has swung the other way, with more and more voices criticising the Swat deal. Behind this sudden change of heart lie two stark events.

Firstly, Maulana Sufi Muhammad’s declaration at a well-attended public meeting in Mingora that democracy and higher courts lay outside the circle of Islam. This has had a devastating effect on all those prepared to give the benefit of the doubt to the erratic patron saint of the mayhem in Swat.

Secondly, the Taliban’s advance from Swat into the adjoining district of Buner. One of the illusions fostered by the Swat deal was that the Taliban would be content with what they had gained and not try further adventures. The seizure of Buner — not very far from Islamabad, as every pundit has been at pains to emphasise — has underscored the foolishness of this thinking.

All the warnings coming from here and abroad that the Taliban were on the march were falling on deaf ears. Much of Pakistan was in a state of denial. But the Maulana’s rhetoric and Buner, both happening in quick succession, have hit public opinion like a bombshell. All at once Pakistan has woken up to the Taliban danger, the state of denial transformed almost overnight into a state of alarm.

For this we must be thankful to Maulana Sufi Muhammad. He has shaken our minds and helped us to concentrate. What was vague and confusing before is now almost blindingly clear. What seemed distant has been brought closer home. Jinnah’s Pakistan–or rather the mess we have made of it over the years–is not only shrinking but is in mortal peril. Serious-minded people talk candidly of the prospects of the further breakup of Pakistan. For alerting us to this danger, the bishop of Swat deserves our thanks.

The turmoil in Swat thus could be Pakistan’s salvation provided, for a change, we get serious. That Pakistan is in danger should not be a matter of any further doubt. Balochistan is angry and alienated; FATA outside any notion of federal control. Even Punjab, once thought secure, is beginning to sense the approaching storm.

Add to this the weakness of the political leadership, and the army’s scarcely encouraging performance in FATA and Swat, and we have the ingredients of full-fledged despair.

The leadership question is the most vital of all. More than at any other time in its history Pakistan stands in need of a de Gaulle or a Mustafa Kemal to pick up the pieces, rally the nation and summon it to action. There is no such figure around but this only means that instead of lamenting our fate, we make do with whatever is available.

Asif Zardari, alas, hasn’t shown much leadership. Probably he had it not in him to show anything of the kind. But what prevents him from choosing good advisers and acting on good advice? Why doesn’t he rise above his former self? Ronald Reagan was no one’s idea of an intellectual. But the American system throws competent people into the top slots of government. Pakistan is not without its share of bright people. Why don’t we see any of them in higher advisory positions?

But regardless of whether the presidency and the federal government improve their performance a huge responsibility rests on the shoulders of Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N. As the party in waiting–as the party governing Punjab, the largest province–it has to deliver the vision and leadership that the PPP has failed to provide, if Pakistan is not to go over the precipice.

But if it is vision that we are talking about, sad to think that the PML-N went along with the Swat resolution when it was tabled in the National Assembly. Some of the reservations it is sounding now should have been voiced then, so that the people of Pakistan could have seen the difference between what was being proposed and what needed to be done.

The PML-N must develop a clear position on terrorism. There can be no countenancing of drone attacks and this must be made clear to the Americans. But the time has also come–and for this we must again be grateful to Maulana Sufi Muhammad–to speak out boldly against the Taliban, without ifs and buts. The nation is looking for a lead. The PML-N, above any other party, has the responsibility of providing one.

Yes, there are some democracy issues still to be sorted out, like doing away with the more egregious of Pervez Musharraf’s constitutional amendments. The party must work to achieve this but without forgetting that democracy is no longer Pakistan’s number one issue. We have enough democracy and the higher judiciary also stands restored. The number one problem is terrorism and the growing ambitions of the Taliban.

Like the rest of the nation, the army too is bewildered and confused and after its reverses in FATA and Swat not a little demoralized. It also needs a direction and an over-arching strategy. But for this it is necessary that the vision of our political leadership should be superior to the army’s . If we begin from the premise that the army’s notions about many things are flawed, the critique makes sense only if someone can present a better alternative.

But for any headway in FATA and Swat, the political leadership and the army (which must work in tandem) need no distraction in Balochistan. The army is engaged on multiple fronts which takes away its focus from the threat posed by the Taliban. The disaffection of the Baloch people must therefore be addressed–and for this we need a grand initiative from the federal government–if we are to move forward elsewhere.

We should have had the good sense to make someone from Balochistan, some respected figure like Sardar Attaullah Mengal, president of the republic to begin assuaging Baloch grievances. Talk of opportunities squandered, we squandered this one too. All the same, we have to look to the anger of the Baloch if Pakistan is to be saved.

Yes, the Americans are a problem and, stuck in Afghanistan, they have their own axes to grind. True also that more often than not we give the impression of being a plaything in their hands, serving their interests more than our own. But this can be corrected and we can be masters of our own fate if we set the direction of our national compass right.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. We shake ourselves and take matters in hand. Or we allow the present drift to continue, in which case we could do worse than study the fate of Yugoslavia.


Baloch backlash

Baloch backlash

In a shockingly insensitive and senseless speech to the Senate, the adviser on interior has said India, Afghanistan and – oddly enough – the Russians were engaged in unrest in Balochistan and that the Baloch Liberation Army and the Baloch National Army had links with them. He has also attacked their leaders as traitors, declared the recent kidnapping of UNHCR chief John Solecki to have been a conspiracy hatched in Kabul, said one of the nationalist leaders killed recently in a grotesque murder was a terrorist and insisted that Baloch complaints of thousands of people being missing or women being tortured in lockups were lies.

Let us not even pause to discuss the veracity or otherwise of Mr Malik’s remarks. There are other facts that are far more important than the insults he hurled towards Baloch nationalists, in a move that seems geared to sabotage the reconciliation process initiated in the province by President Zardari. The reality is that feelings of deprivation and anger exist everywhere in Balochistan. It is these that have led to the emergence of nationalist outfits in the province over a period of decades. It is quite possible other countries have used the resentment that exists for their own purposes; this after all is a tactic we are familiar with – but they could not have done so had Balochistan been a more content federating unit within the state of Pakistan.

Mr Malik’s ill-advised diatribe, which was met by a predictably furious reaction from Baloch senators, makes it even less likely the people of the province will be persuaded to change their mind about the state of Pakistan. Rather than pulling them back into its embrace, Mr Malik has succeeded in pushing them away – and by doing so has put at further risk the welfare of a country so badly in need of greater harmony.

Govt mulls over operation against Taliban

Govt mulls over operation against Taliban

Militants enter Shangla; TTP spokesman denies

By Daud Khattak

and Delawar Jan

PESHAWAR: The NWFP government has reportedly made up its mind to opt for plan-B — a military operation — if the “intransigent” Taliban did not agree to vacate Buner district, cease patrolling in Swat and stop moving to other districts, according to sources.

The decision was discussed and later recommended as ‘second option’ after a high-level meeting at the Chief Minister’s House on Thursday with Chief Minister Ameer Haider Hoti in the chair.

The meeting was briefed about the Taliban build-up and their running over of some villages in Buner district, the armed patrolling of militants in Swat and the threats to the government and contradictory statements from banned Tehrik Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammadi (TNSM) head Maulana Sufi Muhammad.

Requesting anonymity, the sources privy to the meeting told The News that the meeting was unanimous on action against those violating the peace agreement and intimidating civilians in Malakand.

Situation arising out of the Taliban infiltration into Dir and Shangla districts was also reviewed. The meeting was told that everything was not good in the area and the NWFP government and the security agencies must come to the rescue of people in Buner, who had been taken hostage by the Taliban from Swat.

Besides the chief minister, the meeting was attended by Senator Afrasiyab Khattak, senior ministers Bashir Bilour and Rahimdad Khan, Information Minister Mian Iftikhar Hussain, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) parliamentary leader in NWFP Assembly Abdul Akbar Khan, NWFP Chief Secretary Javed Iqbal and Home Secretary Fiaz Khan Toru.

The meeting decided to convene a grand jirga of the NWFP-based political parties to discuss the situation. The sources said the chief minister and other participants of the meeting were also informed about the Wednesday’s visit of Afrasiyab Khattak and Mian Iftikhar Hussain to Malakand and their talks with Sufi Muhammad about his deadline for the establishment of Darul Qaza and Darul-Darul Qaza (appellate and final appellate courts, respectively) and his criticism of the Parliament and judiciary during a public meeting in Mingora.

The provincial government was perturbed after Sufi’s threat to pull out of the peace deal if the government failed to establish Darul Qaza and Darul-Darul Qaza in Malakand by Thursday evening.

However, a TNSM spokesman extended the deadline till an indefinite period, minutes after its time of expiry following reports that the government was set to carry out an operation against militants.

Talking to The News, Mian Iftikhar Hussain said the first option with the provincial government was peaceful means. “However, we’ll be compelled to use force as second option if the other side failed to honour its promises and continued challenging the writ of the government,” he said.

Mian Iftikhar said they would not allow anyone to establish a parallel government. “Disregarding internal and external pressure, we enforced Nizam-e-Adl Regulation in Malakand after which there was no justification for the other side to display arms and challenge the writ of the government,” he added.

About the government’s grand jirga at the Chief Minister’s House, Mian Iftikhar said he had himself talked to leaders of all the NWFP-based political parties to join the meeting on Friday to develop a consensus.

The ANP government had convened a similar jirga at the CM’s House in mid-February before the signing of peace pact with the TNSM.Another such meeting was held at the Governor’s House with NWFP Governor Owais Ahmad Ghani in the chair. Besides others, the chief minister, Peshawar corps commander and Home secretary attended the meeting.

The sources said the situation in Malakand Division was reviewed in the high-level meeting where a voice of concern was heard about the Taliban build-up in Buner.A day earlier, the NWFP governor had warned that those bent upon scuttling the peace deal in Swat would be dealt with sternly.

Signed with much fanfare and an overwhelming criticism from some internal and external quarters, the peace deal with the TNSM seem to be in the doldrums following Sufi Muhammad’s everyday threats and his provocative statements about the provincial and central governments as well as the Parliament and the superior judiciary.

Meanwhile, tension in Malakand region dramatically escalated as suspected Taliban militants attacked a convoy of the Frontier Constabulary (FC) being moved to Buner district to guard government buildings and take action against the intruders. Taliban militants also reportedly entered Shangla district and started their activities there.

The militants have also established an FM radio channel in Pir Baba to disseminate their messages to the people, official and local sources confirmed.The fresh advances by the militants despite a peace deal set alarm bells ringing for the government and security agencies as they are now threatening several strategic sites of the country.

Some 30-40 militants advanced into the Shangla district, which they had controlled in 2007, triggering a military operation to evict them. They patrolled in the bazaar of Aloch, the headquarters of Puran tehsil. Locals said later they dispersed and hid in the population. The local police station of Aloch confirmed the presence of Taliban.

However, spokesman for Swat militants Muslim Khan denied entry of Taliban into Shangla district. “Certain elements are spreading these rumours to sabotage peace here,” he said, adding they had directed their fighters in Buner to be peaceful and unarmed.

“The advances of the militants are dangerous as their march onto the Hazara region could threaten Khanpur Dam, Tarbela Dam on Topi, Swabi side and Karakoram Highway to the Shangla district side. What is alarming is that only Margalla Hills separate Islamabad from Hazara, which is a great matter of concern,” an official source having knowledge of the situation told The News.

As tension escalated in Buner, the government moved eight platoons of Frontier Constabulary — some 240 personnel — to man government buildings and installations. The convoy of the FC was attacked on its way to Daggar at Totalai, killing one police head constable escorting the FC officials and injuring another. The slain cop was identified as Gul Said and the injured as Yehya.

The district has 200-250 force of police apart from 57 officials of elite force but they were confined to the district headquarters Daggar, officials and locals said. The civil administration is becoming ineffective in the district, providing freedom to the militants to do their activities. The militants have already recruited a good number of people, while their “preaching” is still underway. A local jirga held on Thursday allowed militants to continue “preaching.”

The militants stormed a police checkpost in Jangali area of Buner on Thursday and kidnapped a cop, whose name could not be ascertained. It was learnt that there were six officials in the checkpost. Other five took shelter in civilian population but militants, officials said, surrounded the village and asked people to hand over police officials to them or else they would carry out a search operation.

An official source said that the militants had established checkposts at all the entrance points from Swabi, Mardan, Malakand and Swat. The source said they were at the borders of all these districts.

Officials estimated the strength of militants in Buner at 600-700. “The situation is precarious. The way the developments have been unfolding, action may be taken to secure the strategically located Buner district,” the official said. It was learnt from official sources that Frontier Corps and army were on the stand-by to cope with any dangerous situation in Buner.

46 militants killed in Orakzai operation

46 militants killed in Orakzai operation

By Syed Hassan Mehmood

KALAYA: Forty six militants have been killed and 26 injured in the four-day military operation in the Orakzai Agency, tribal and official sources said on Thursday.

The sources said jet fighters and gunship helicopters pounded the militants’ hideouts in Balozai area of the Kalaya Tehsil on Thursday at 2:00 pm, killing five militants and a civilian. A number of hideouts and bunkers of the militants were destroyed on Shawazar mountains, the sources said.

They said several government and private installations were also damaged during the shelling by the jet fighters and gunship helicopters on Wednesday. The Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Orakzai chapter commander, Hakimullah Mehsud, told reporters by phone from an undisclosed location that the TTP was not responsible for the killing of civilians. “Until the government stops operations and ensures a halt to the drone attacks in the tribal areas, the TTP will continue attacking the government installations,” he added.

The residents of Dabori, Khadizai and Ghiljo Tehsil have started migration to safer places in tractors, vans and carts. They complained that no camp had been set up in Hangu for the migrating people by the political authorities.

“We have no proper place to accommodate the internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Hangu and have requested the provincial government to allot us a place for setting up a camp for the affected people,” Political Agent Orakzai Agency Abdul Baseer said, adding the political authorities had also sought funds from the central government on an emergency basis for the rehabilitation of the affected people in the district.

Meanwhile, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) media cell said the security forces had killed 11 militants in the Orakzai Agency on Thursday after hitting the militants’ hideouts in Chapri, Ferozkhel, Khwajakhizar and Bizoti areas of the Orakzai Agency.

It further said that the security forces in operations on Tuesday and Wednesday killed 27 militants in Ghiljo Tehsil. A big cache of arms and ammunition was seized in a search operation in Darra Adamkhel, Frontier Region (FR), Kohat.

Army to fight militants if peace not restored in Swat: Haqqani

Army to fight militants if peace not restored in Swat: Haqqani

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States has urged the Obama Administration to enhance his country’s counterterrorism capacity and asked critics of Islamabad’s anti-terror policy not to blow militant threat out of proportions.

“There is a difference, you need to be alarmed and concerned but you need not feel as if Pakistan or Islamabad is about to fall tomorrow. I think there has to be a sense of realism,” Ambassador Husain Haqqani told USA Today.

Questioned about reports of Taliban advances in the wake of Swat peace arrangement, Haqqani said Islamabad is very much conscious of the challenges facing it and with a strong central government and a large military it can stave off any militant threat.

At the same time, he called for understanding the situation in a proper perspective and not as projected in the exaggerated media reports that compare Pakistan to Afghanistan which fell to the Taliban in 1990s.

“So, we need to work together. But what I am saying essentially is that the developments of the last few days in Swat and Buner, though alarming, are not perilous.

And we need to understand, put them in context, build Pakistan’s military capacity in a manner in which we can have a successful counterterrorism and counterinsurgency strategy.”

“In dealing with any insurgency, there are always a situation in which things turn good or bad, and we need to see a big picture. And the big picture is that the people of Pakistan do not want Taliban rule. They elected a government a year ago that is opposed to Taliban rule.”

Islamabad, he said, is in the process of devising a multifaceted strategy to counter the menace of violent extremism.

The strategy is likely to be completed before President Asif Ali Zardari’s visit to Washington in early May for White House meeting with President Barack Obama, he added.

“Pakistan will have a comprehensive national counterterrorism strategy, which will include a very strong military component, a political and a socio-economic component.”

“And we will be working with our partners in the United States on how to strengthen Pakistan’s capacity in dealing with the threat.”

India directly involved in Balochistan unrest: JI

India directly involved in Balochistan unrest: JI

LAHORE: Jamaat-e-Islami Naib Amir Liaquat Baloch Friday said that India is directly involved in creating unrest in Balochistan.

The government should award provincial autonomy to all four provinces and immediately halt military operations in Balochistan and tribal areas for restoration of peace, Baloch said in a statement issued here.

He said: “The government has made a wrong choice by cooperating with U.S. in the so-called war against terrorism as the entire country has now fallen prey to the terrorism.”

“The U.S. is threatening the very existence of Pakistan, he said, adding, Israel and India are its supporters.” Baloch added the said countries are enemies of the Pakistan’s sovereignty, integrity and security.

The JI Naib Amir also termed the American concerns about Swat peace deal baseless, saying that U.S. has no right to intervene in the internal affairs of Pakistan.

Taliban heading Swat, not Karachi: Muslim Khan

Taliban heading Swat, not Karachi: Muslim Khan

Updated at: 1915 PST,  Friday, April 24, 2009
Taliban heading Swat, not Karachi: Muslim Khan SWAT: Spokesman of Tehreek-e-Taliban Swat, Haji Muslim Khan has said that Taliban’s pull out from Buner has started and that they are now heading towards Swat and not Karachi.

Talking to Geo News from undisclosed location, Muslim Khan said the Taliban withdrawal from Buner has not come about as a result of any pressure.

“The first priority of the Taliban is enforcement of Nizam-e-Adl in Malakand Division and the government should also play a role its implementation,” he said.

Muslim Khan said Tehreek-e-Taliban did not challenge the government’s writ but the rulers for implementation of Nizam-e-Adl.

To a question regarding keeping weapons, he said Taliban do not possess tanks and advanced weaponry they only have the conventional weapons which he said are commnly found in every house. “Shariah also allows keeping weapons,” he argued.

“Whenever invited by people, Taliban will go for extending help and enforcing Islam,” he said.

Taliban start Buner pullout

Taliban start Buner pullout

Updated at: 1555 PST,  Friday, April 24, 2009
Taliban start Buner pullout PESHAWAR: Taliban militants have started pulling out from Buner, where they had intruded on April 6 with all of their fighting gears and had kept patrolling the area letting loose a reign of terror among the peace-loving citizens of Buner, while the courts were locked and women were shut behind the doors by enforcing complete ban on their coming out of the houses.

Taliban had earlier asserted that they were invited to come here and they have come for preaching purpose only. Following intrusion of Taliban in Buner, the criticism against Swat peace agreement had intensified and its future was had endangered.

However, after Maulana Sufi Muhammad visit to Buner, Taliban agreeing to vacate Buner, started pulling out.

A senior official says Taliban militants have begun pulling out of a recently seized district of northwestern Pakistan and are returning to their stronghold in the Swat Valley. Syed Mohammed Javed, the top administrator for Swat and the surrounding region, says Taliban fighters abandoned their headquarters in the Buner region on Friday.

Javed says an Islamic cleric who mediated a peace agreement between the government and the militants helped persuade the Taliban to withdraw. The U.S. has sharply criticized the peace deal. The Taliban had used it to justify a push into the adjoining Buner district, bringing them to within about 60 miles (100 kilometers) of the capital.

Pakistan attaches great importance to ties with Russia: FO

Pakistan attaches great importance to ties with Russia: FO

Updated at: 1840 PST,  Friday, April 24, 2009
Pakistan attaches great importance to ties with Russia: FO ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday dismissed reports about Russia’s involvement in Balochistan as misleading saying the country attaches great importance to its ties with the Federation.

A clarification from the Foreign Office said that during a briefing to the Senate by Advisor to Prime Minister on Interior “reference to the Soviet Union was made in a historical context.”

“The media coverage on the subject was misleading,” a statement quoting the Foreign Office spokesman said and added that it has also been conveyed to the Russian Federation through diplomatic channels.

The Foreign Office Spokesman said Pakistan attaches great importance to its relations with the Russian Federation which was playing an important role for peace, security and stability at the international and regional planes.

The Spokesman said Pakistan and Russia were in the process of strengthening their multifaceted cooperation and in this context referred to Foreign Minister Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s recent visit to Moscow to participate in a Special Conference under the SCO.

The two countries are engaged building a comprehensive partnership. These relations will continue to grow in the times to come, the spokesman said.

Army committed to root out terrorism with national support: Kayani

Army committed to root out terrorism with national support: Kayani

Updated at: 1616 PST,  Friday, April 24, 2009
Army committed to root out terrorism with national support: Kayani RAWALPINDI: The Chief of Army Staff (COAS), General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani chaired an operational meeting at the General Headquarters here on Friday.

While addressing the participants, Kayani stated that he was aware of the doubts being voiced about the intent as well as the capability of the Army to defeat the militancy in the country. He made it clear that Pakistan Army never has and never will hesitate to sacrifice, whatever it may take, to ensure safety and wellbeing of people of Pakistan and country’s territorial integrity.

The COAS stated that operational pause, meant to give the reconciliatory forces a chance, must not be taken for a concession to the militants. He declared that Army’s rank and file has resolve to fight to eliminate the militants, who endanger the lives of peaceful citizens of the country and challenge the writ of the State. He reassured the people of Pakistan that with their support, Army is determined to root out the menace of terrorism from the society. It will not allow the militants to dictate terms to the government or impose their way of life on the civil society of Pakistan.

He condemned pronouncements by outside powers raising doubts on the future of Pakistan. A country of 170 M resilient people under a democratic dispensation, strongly supported by the Army, is capable of handling any crisis that it may confront. He stated that the victory against the terror and militancy would be achieved at all cost.

The Cancerous Rot at the Center of the Empire

The Cancerous Rot at the Center of the Empire

by Jacob G. Hornberger Image

In obvious response to growing calls for the prosecution of Bush administration personnel who tortured people or who authorized the torture of people, former Vice President Dick Cheney has called on the CIA to declassify information showing that that the torture delivered “good” intelligence. Maybe he is referring to the 183 times that the CIA waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed or to the 83 times the CIA waterboarded Abu Zubadah.

My question is: Why limit torture to suspected terrorists? Why not expand it to suspected murderers, drug dealers, robbers, and kidnappers? After all, can’t those types of people commit just as heinous an act as terrorists?

Consider, for example, the drug dealers along the U.S.-Mexico border. They’re killing law-enforcement officers, judges, and other public officials. Suppose the U.S. military or Border Patrol takes a suspected drug dealer into custody. What would be wrong with torturing him into providing information about plans to kill government officials? Wouldn’t this information be just as valuable as information extracted from a suspected terrorist?

Couldn’t the same be true of suspected kidnappers? Wouldn’t the forcible extraction of information help save the life of a kidnap victim? What would be wrong with torturing the person into telling where the victim is being held?

There are, of course, solid and important reasons why it would be wrong, both legally and morally, for U.S. law-enforcement officers to torture criminal suspects in their custody.

For one thing, the U.S. Constitution, which is the supreme law of the land that controls the conduct of government officials, bars government agents from inflicting cruel and unusual punishments on people. It also protects a person from being forced to give information that might tend to incriminate him.

Secondly, in the United States the American people, through their elected representatives, have, by statute, made it a criminal offense, for law-enforcement officers to torture or abuse criminal suspects.

Third, as a moral matter, ever since the founding of our nation the American people have stood squarely in opposition to the power of government officials to torture people, no matter how heinous the crime and no matter how valuable the information that they might be able to disclose.

Finally, there is always the distinct possibility that a criminal suspect might be innocent or might not posses the information that the torturer is seeking.

Several years before 9/11, I visited The Torture Museum in San Gimignano, Italy. It was the most gruesome place I have ever seen in my life. Here are two links that give you an idea of what the place was like, but don’t click on them unless you’re prepared to see some horrible methods by which government officials have tortured other people, including a depiction of waterboarding in medieval times:

As I was walking through that museum, the last thing I would have ever figured was that a time would come when there would actually be a national torture debate in the United States, one in which people were actually debating whether torture should be permitted along with the relative “benefits” of torture. For that matter, it was the last thing I would have ever thought would be considered when I was taking civics and social studies classes in the public schools I attended as I child.

The fact that a torture debate is even taking place in the United States of America convinces me more than ever that it isn’t external enemies that ultimately bring down an empire. Instead, it’s the cancerous rot that the empire produces from within that ultimately destroys the moral foundation of the society.

Tony Blair calls on world to wage war on militant Islam

[Britain’s “Bush” is proud of the era of intervention he helped Clinton unleash upon  the world as the mechanism for creating permanant war, as we are all brought under the dominion of the Empire’s global dictatorship.]

Tony Blair calls on world to wage war on militant Islam

Tony Blair, UN Middle East Quartet Representative

Tony Blair has said he does not regret leading Britain to war in Iraq when he was Prime Minister and has called on the world to take on and defeat Islamic extremists. He believes that, without intervention, the problem will continue to grow in countries such as Afghanistan.

He called for a battle to be waged against militant Islam similar to that fought against revolutionary communism.

In an address last night to a forum on religion and politics in Chicago, Mr Blair said that the world today faced a struggle posed by “an extreme and misguided form of Islam”, which threatened the majority of Muslims as well as non-Muslims.

“Our job is simple: it is to support and partner those Muslims who believe deeply in Islam but also who believe in peaceful co-existence, in taking on and defeating the extremists who don’t.”

The struggle could not be won “without our active and wholehearted participation,” he said.

Mr Blair was speaking almost ten years to the day since he gave an address in Chicago at the height of the Kosovo crisis when he set out what he described as a “doctrine of international community” that sought to justify intervention, including military intervention, not only when a nation’s interests are directly engaged but also where there exists a humanitarian crisis or gross oppression of a civilian population.

The speech was criticised widely at the time as hopelessly idealistic and even dangerous.

“Probably, in the light of events since then, some would feel vindicated,” Mr Blair said last night, but he stood by his stance. ‘I still believe that those who oppress and brutalise their citizens are better put out of power than kept in it,’ he said.

Defending his intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said the argument that Britain should revert to a more traditional, cautious foreign policy should be resisted.

“The case for the doctrine I advocated ten years ago remains as strong now as it was then,” he said, arguing that there was a link between the murders in Mumbai, the terror attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan, the attempts to destabilise countries such as Yemen, and the training camps of insurgents in Somalia.

“It is not one movement. There is no defined command and control. But there is a shared ideology. There are many links criss-crossing the map of Jihadist extremism. And there are elements in the leadership of a major country, namely Iran, that can support and succour its practitioners.”

Defending the Obama Administration’s attempts to engage with Iran, Mr Blair said: “The Iranian Government should not be able to claim that we have refused the opportunity for constructive dialogue, and the stature and importance of such an ancient and extraordinary civilisation means that as a nation, Iran should command respect and be accorded its proper place in the world’s affairs.” I hope this engagement succeeds.

He argued that the purpose of such engagement should be clear and was about more than preventing Iran acquiring nuclear weapons capability. “It is to put a stop to the Iranian regime’s policy of de-stabilisation and support of terrorism.”

Listing the conflicts across the world, from Israel through Iraq to the Philippines and Algeria, he said: ‘It is time to wrench ourselves out of a state of denial. There is one major factor in common. In each conflict there are those deeply engaged in it, who argue that they are fighting in the true name of Islam.”

Mr Blair said that the doctrinal roots of extremism could be traced back to the period in the late 19th and early 20th century where modernising and moderate clerics and thinkers were slowly but surely pushed aside by the hard-line dogma of those, whose cultural and theological credentials were often dubious, but whose appeal lay in the simplicity of the message that Islam had lost its way and departed from the “true faith”.

“The tragedy of this is that the authentic basis of Islam, as laid down in the Koran, is progressive, humanitarian, sees knowledge and scientific advance as a duty, which is why for centuries Islam was the fount of so much invention and innovation. Fundamental Islam is actually the opposite of what the extremists preach,” he said.

He welcomed President Obama’s reaching out to the Muslim world at the start of a new American Administration but warned that it would expose “the delusion of believing that there is any alternative to waging this struggle to its conclusion”.

“But the ideology, as a movement within Islam, has to be defeated. It is incompatible not with ‘the West’ but with any society of open and tolerant people and that in particular means the many open and tolerant Muslims.”

He had moved on from believing that the removal of a despotic regime was sufficient to create the condition for progress.

“This battle cannot so easily be won. Because it is based on an ideology and because its roots are deep, so our strategy for victory has to be broader, more comprehensive but also more sharply defined.”

Outlining a six-point strategy, he said that this must include using the armed forces to fight where necessary.

“In the use of hard power, we have to understand one very simple thing: where we are called upon to fight, we have to do it. If we are defeated anywhere, we are at risk of being defeated everywhere.”

He also advocated “soft” options. “I do not accept at all the view that democracy is unattainable or unaccepted in the Islamic world. On the contrary, eventually it is only by the embrace of greater democracy — albeit by evolution — that this battle will be won.”

Mossad and ISI Link to Operation 9/11

Mossad and ISI Link to Operation 9/11

Part 1

However, there is plenty of evidence to connect Israel, in form or another, to the 9/11 operation. The ISI, Saeed Sheikh, and Khalid Sheikh are the missing links, who simply complete the missing pieces of the 9/11 saga. Prior to 9/11, the FBI discovered the presence of a massive spy ring inside the United States run by the government of Israel. Israel has established government-subsidized telecommunications companies in the United States.

MANY facts and theories connecting Israel to the 9/11 attacks exist. One important missing link in all these theories is the connection between the ISI and Mossad, the Israeli Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations. First, some facts: there is ample evidence that the ISI and bin Laden worked together; the ISI was the prime backer of the Taliban; the CIA and U.S. government were behind the rise of the Taliban initially; the ISI is still protecting some Afghan intelligence assets; the ISI’s assets transferred funds to the hijackers (as discussed in Chapter 3); and ISI agents predicted the attacks on the World Trade Center and the collapse of the towers well in advance.

The ISI was not solely responsible for the organization, planning, and execution of Operation 9/11, but it was (knowingly or unknowingly) part of the set-up for apportioning the blame on Osama bin Laden. It has been confirmed that the ISI was controlling Khalid Sheikh, Saeed Sheikh, and other assets. The question remains, however: who was pulling the ISI’s strings?

Of course, the CIA has been the main force behind the ISI’s actions since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. What many of us could hardly imagine is the direct connection from Israel to the ISI. In the wake of Pakistan’s refusal to recognize the state of Israel, and Israel’s anti-Pakistan alliance and activities with India, it seems highly unlikely that there could be a direct connection between the ISI and Israel, and that Mossad could infiltrate the ISI and directly control it for Israel’s strategic objectives.

Those who doubt the links between Israel and ISI should refer to journalist and author George Crile’s book, Charlie Wilson’s War (Grove Press, NY, 2003). George Crile, of the ‘Sixty Minutes’ program, presents the story of a congressman who became the foremost champion of the CIA campaign against the Soviets in Afghanistan. A closer reading tells of how Mossad actually used Charlie Wilson to penetrate the CIA’s Afghan campaign, and thereby the ISI and the Pakistani government at all levels.

Charles “Nesbitt” Wilson is a 1956 Annapolis graduate who worshipped Winston Churchill and entered politics in 1961 at the age of 27 as the Texas State Representative. Wilson won a seat to Congress in 1973 as a Liberal. He regularly voted against Vietnam and eventually became of strong defender of Israel. Wilson’s appointment to the House Appropriations Committee and a strategic alliance with CIA veteran Gust Avrakotos ignited the covert actions that gave Mossad the opportunity to infiltrate the ISI.

Charlie Wilson was famous for moving large sums of money, both legally and illegally, as subsidies and to purchase weapons and equipment for groups fighting the Soviet army in Afghanistan.

Wilson was had a close relationship with the Israeli embassy’s congressional liaison officer, Zvi Rafiah. According to George Crile, “Rafiah is a short, very smart Israeli who Wilson always believed was a highly placed Mossad agent… [he, Rafiah] had always acted as if he owned Wilson’s office. One of the staffers kept a list of people he needed to lobby. He would use the phones, give projects to the staff, and call on Charlie to intervene whenever he needed him.” 159 Crile’s account suggests that Rafiah was the dominant figure in this partnership.

The relationship between Congressman Charlie Wilson and Zvi Rafiah started in 1973 when Wilson worked as an Israeli congressional liaison officer. A close working relationship developed between the two legislators, which lasted many years. Over the years this bond continued, even after Rafiah left his diplomatic post and joined Israeli Military Industries (IMI), Israel’s largest defense company.160

To understand Zvi Rafiah in detail, it must be noted that he was involved in spying and collecting strategic information from the U.S. for Israel. In A close associate of Richard Perle offered classified material to Zvi Rafiah.161 The incident was instantly reported to the Justice Department, which quickly launched an FBI investigation. The investigation found that Stephen Bryen, a Senate Foreign Relations Committee staffer and a close associate of Richard Perle, had illegally obtained classified documents of military and scientific importance, and that he had been seeking material that “could prove to be a major embarrassment to the U.S. government.”162 The FBI ultimately assembled “a good circumstantial case” that Rafiah “routinely issued orders to Bryen” and recommended that the case be brought before an investigative grand jury for espionage. However, the case was quietly closed after Bryen resigned at the insistence of Philip Heymann, the assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, and from senators Clifford Case (Bryen’s boss) and Henry Jackson (Richard Perle’s boss). Heymann happened to be a close personal friend and associate of Dr. Bryen’s attorney.163

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Charlie Wilson developed an interest in Israel at the same time as being appointed to some key Congressional committees that controlled funding for all major intelligence and military projects. His appointments to those positions were made possible with the help of his Israeli connections, which Crile termed his “Jewish friends.”164

His Jewish friends had helped get him onto the committee; once there, Charlie learned from these master politicians how to influence budgets and policies. When he won a seat on the Foreign Operations subcommittee, which allocates all U.S. military and economic assistance, he was suddenly positioned to champion Israel’s annual $3 billion foreign-aid package.165

It was therefore not surprising to see Wilson traveling not only to Israel, but also Lebanon after the Israeli invasion of Lebanon. After witnessing evidence of Israeli carnage and an elaborate campaign of terror, Wilson proclaimed: “The biggest surprise I had was the enthusiasm, the universal enthusiasm, with which the Lebanese welcomed the Israeli army. In every instance their voices were of relief and appreciation of the Israelis. That’s just the way it is. It ain’t no other way.” After making this statement, Wilson personally met with Prime Minister Menachem Begin in Jerusalem.166 “By the time he returned to Washington, Wilson had become, in his own words, ‘an Israeli commando’ in the U.S. Congress.”167

It can be said that events unfolding before our eyes today usually have roots deep in the past. Wilson’s loyalty to Israel and his association with Mossad made him closer to the sympathizers of Israel in the United States. Dick Cheney, who stands accused by a growing number of analysts for his involvement in the 9/11 attacks, played a key role in having Wilson appointed to the White House Select Committee on Intelligence. This fact may suggest that Cheney was also an important player in the pro-Israeli network.168

After gaining access to the key Congressional positions, the “Israeli commando” became obsessed with funding and controlling the CIA’s Afghan jihad against the Soviets, not for the sake of Jihad, but for the purpose of infiltrating the ISI and reaching the inner-most power circles in Pakistan. At this point, Wilson’s Israeli sympathies had not been widely publicized. He promised the then Pakistani President, General Zia, that he would deliver the latest radar systems for Pakistan’s F-16 fighter planes—a crucial weapons system that they had thus been denied by the United States. Wilson also met with the CIA Station Chief Howard Hart and urged him to expand the program, stressing that vast amounts of money should be made available.169

In addition to infiltrating the ISI, Wilson’s other objective was the promotion and sale of Israeli weapons. For example, the famous anti-helicopter missile system Wilson had specially built for the Mujahideen was designed by the Israelis. Crile notes:

Charlie Wilson was marching himself into a true forbidden zone. Congressmen are not allowed to commission a foreign power to design and construct a weapons system. Nor do they have the authority to commit the Pentagon to pay for such a weapon. But these were minor outrages compared to Wilson’s potentially explosive attempt to bring the Israelis into the Muslim jihad that the CIA was funding against the Soviets in Afghanistan.170

General Zia and his close associates were perfectly happy with the sale of the missile system that the Israelis sold, in addition to tanks and other weapons systems, to Pakistan for use in the Afghan war.171 Charlie Wilson remained an intermediary in all these deals. “The Israelis were hoping this deal [involving T-55 tanks] would serve as the beginning of a range of under-the-table understandings with Pakistan that the congressman would continue to quietly negotiate for them.”172

These deals were bitterly opposed by the CIA. Howard Hart, CIA Station Chief in Islamabad at the time, stated: “It was bad enough for [Pakistani President] Zia to be dealing with the Americans, even secretly. But the Israelis were so beyond the pale that it would have been impossible … It’s beyond comprehension to have tried to bring the Israelis into it.”173 Gust Avrakotos, the CIA’s acting Chief of South Asia Operations was also “adamantly opposed” to “bringing the Israelis into the CIA’s Muslim Jihad.”174 The power of Israel’s lobby is evident from the fact that, in Crile’s words, “…right under Hart’s nose, Wilson had proposed just such an arrangement, and Zia and his high command had signed on to implement it.”175

Due to the pressure from Charlie Wilson, the CIA’s budget for Afghan covert operations was tripled in a matter of a few weeks. The CIA initially resisted accepting the funds, but according to William Casey’s executive assistant Robert Gates, “Wilson just steamrolled [CIA Near East Division Chief Charles]—and the CIA for that matter.”176 The budget grew from $35 million in 1982 to $600 million in 1987. Both the United States and Pakistan played into Israeli hands as effectively then as they did in the 21st century, both before and after 9/11. They just kept getting steamrolled.

In the period between 1992 and 1995, Israeli and Pakistani diplomats met secretly in Washington on many occasions. These undisclosed diplomatic meetings were arranged by the Turkish ambassador to Washington, Baki Ilkin. Charlie Wilson, who ten years earlier had brokered arms deals between Israel and Pakistan for the Afghan War, was involved.177

Sliding into Mossad’s trap was so easy that General Zia even agreed to keep details of the arms deals with Israel hidden from the United States. When Zia visited the U.S. in November 1982 to meet with President Reagan, he first met with Charlie Wilson in Houston. According to Crile, Wilson then broached the subject of Pakistan secretly purchasing arms from Israel for the Afghan War. General Zia agreed to this in principle— his only caveat being that “the Star of David be removed from them.”178

In summary, the Israelis became major players in the exchange of information and commodities with Afghanistan and Pakistan, not by interfacing with the CIA, which opposed their involvement, but via Mossad, the Israeli lobby in the United States—using Congressional delegations to establish their own direct connections—and by direct interaction with the ISI in Pakistan. The Israeli/Pakistan connection was crucial for infiltrating the ISI and providing Israeli intelligence with a very secure footing inside Pakistan’s intelligence agency.

In her second term in power, Benazir Bhutto also intensified the ISI’s liaison with Mossad in 1993, and she too began to cultivate the American Jewish lobby. Bhutto is said to have had a secret meeting in New York with a senior Israeli emissary, who flew to the U.S. during her visit to Washington, DC in 1995. Since his days as Bhutto’s Director-General of Military Operations, Pervez Musharraf has been a keen advocate of Pakistan establishing diplomatic relations with the state of Israel.

After Musharraf overthrew Nawaz Sharif’s government, the ISI-Mossad relationship deepened. This close interaction set the tone for Israeli-Pakistani relations until 2001, regardless of who was the incumbent in Israel, or whether a civilian or military regime ruled Pakistan. The most important contacts were between Mossad and the ISI, and the traffic was two-way. Pakistan passed intelligence about the Gulf States and the nuclear ambitions of Iran and Libya, whose programs Pakistani scientists had helped to build. Israel provided everything, from training for Pakistani leaders’ security guards, to intelligence on India, with whom it has enjoyed full diplomatic relations since 1992.179

The consequences of the ISI-Mossad cooperation are gradually beginning to surface. The deepening relationship has not only paved the way for Musharraf’s approval of his foreign minister’s handshake with Israel, his “chance” encounter with Ariel Sharon on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in September, and an address to the American Jewish Congress, but also to what transpired between the two agencies prior to the 9/11 attacks.

The ISI was closely working with Saeed Sheikh and Khalid Sheikh and Mossad was closely involved with Mohammed Atta and company. It appears that Mossad had been following and observing Atta since 2000, but there is more to that story, which is as yet unknown.

According to some documents shown to the Sunday Express newspaper in the U.K., Mossad was running a round-the-clock surveillance operation on some of the September 11 hijackers. This is highly unfeasible without some collaboration, similar to Khalid Sheikh and Saeed Sheikh working with the ISI. The details, contained in classified papers, reveal that a senior Mossad agent tipped off his counterpart in the CIA that a massive terrorist hit was being planned in the US. Other documents leaked to the Sunday Express from several intelligence agencies, including the DEA, show that two Mossad cells of six Egyptian and Yemeni born Jews trained at a secret base in Israel’s Negev Desert with the intention of penetrating the Al-Qaeda network.

Even U.S. agencies expressed doubt over the Mossad claims. CIA chief George Tenet is understood to have described the warning from Mossad as “too non-specific.” A senior U.S. intelligence source said: “Anyone can be wise after the event but it was extremely difficult to act on a non-specific threat given in a couple of tips from Israeli intelligence. It would be interesting to know if they could have been more specific with their information. Their surveillance teams must have observed Atta and his accomplices going to flying schools. I guess we might never know the real truth.”180 The real truth would do nothing more than confirm that Atta and associates were closely working with the U.S. and Israeli agencies.

Israel certainly had motive to perpetrate an outrage like the 9/11 attacks, provided that the blame could be placed on Arab terrorists. Previous incidents, such as the Lavon Affair, amongst other things, suggest that they have the capacity to perpetrate such “false flag” attacks. Given the depth of Mossad’s infiltration in the United States, the following account demonstrates that it had the motive, means, resources, moles, and opportunity to coordinate the 9/11 attacks, using connections both in the United States, the CIA and the ISI. Mossad needed the ISI for its intelligence assets. General Mahmood was more than happy to provide Mossad-assets with money via the ISI-assets. This we know from information available in the public domain. Unfortunately, it would take years of research and some courageous investigation before the world could know the full depth of the CIA, ISI, and Mossad’s joint planning in Operation 9/11.

However, there is plenty of evidence to connect Israel, in form or another, to the 9/11 operation. The ISI, Saeed Sheikh, and Khalid Sheikh are the missing links, who simply complete the missing pieces of the 9/11 saga. Prior to 9/11, the FBI discovered the presence of a massive spy ring inside the United States run by the government of Israel. Israel has established government-subsidized telecommunications companies in the United States. These companies, such as Comverse Infosy and Amdocs, provide billing and directory assistance for 90 percent of the phone companies in the United States. Amdocs’ main computer center for billing is actually in Israel and allows those with access to do what intelligence agencies call “traffic analysis”; provide a picture of an individual’s activities based on a pattern of who they are calling and when.

Similarly, Comverse Infosys subcontracts the installation of automatic tapping equipment now built into every phone system in America. Comverse has been named as the most likely source of leaked information from telephone calls by law enforcement resulting in the derailment of several investigations, not only into espionage, but into drug running as well.

According to a Fox News Report:

Adding to the suspicions is the fact that in Israel Comverse works closely with the Israeli government, and under special programs gets reimbursed for up to 50 percent of its research and development costs by the Israeli Ministry of Industry and Trade. But investigators within the DEA, INS, and FBI have all told Fox News that to pursue or even suggest Israeli spying through Comverse is considered career suicide.181

Another prominent Israeli telecom company called Odigo, provides the core message-passing system for all “Instant Message” services. Two hours before the 9/11 attacks on commenced, Odigo employees received a warning.182 Odigo, like many Israeli software companies, is based in Herzliya, Israel, a small town north of Tel Aviv, which happens to be where Mossad’s headquarters are located.183

The information gleaned from these companies is being used to coerce the behavior of key individuals in the U.S. Government and media. This claim is supported by the manner in which the government and the media have handled these scandals­—they are downplaying them. Perhaps “burying” is a better word.

Fox News ran the story as a four-part broadcast, and placed the story on their web site. Suddenly, without explanation, Fox News erased the story from their web site184, and have never mentioned it again. CNN followed by removing their report of the two hour advance warning of the WTC attacks sent to Odigo employees. Far more telling is the admission made by a U.S. Official in part one of the Fox News report that hard evidence existed linking the 9/11 attacks to some of the 200-plus Israeli spies who were arrested both before and after 9/11. This evidence has now been classified.

Since then, any and all mention of the Israeli spy ring and phone tapping scandal has resulted in a hail of anti-Semitic accusations—an overused device to try to silence discussion on any topic unfavorable to the nation which instigated the spy ring in question.

Part 2

AIPAC, NSA Spying and the Corruption of Congress

[Harman’s promotion to the Intelligence Committee by manipulation of the nomination process by other Jewish “syanims” (agents) is eerily reminiscent of Rep. Charlie Wilson (pg.33) being moved onto the powerful Appropriations Committee by the “Jewish lobby,” where he ensured the continued flow of cash to Israel and succumbed to sexy Mossad spies, who seduced him, helping their bosses to motivate him to pour cash into the CIA “mujahedeen” program in Pakistan and Afghanistan, which morphed into Bush’s “war on terror.”  Here is proof that foreign agents have taken control of American foreign policy.]

AIPAC, NSA Spying and the Corruption of Congress

A major scandal involving a top Democrat, the Israeli lobby-shop AIPAC and charges that former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales sought congressional help to suppress media reports of systematic, illegal warrantless surveillance of Americans by the National Security Agency (NSA) broke on Sunday.

Congressional Quarterly revealed that Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) “was overheard on an NSA wiretap telling a suspected Israeli agent that she would lobby the Justice Department [to] reduce espionage-related charges against two officials of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, the most powerful pro-Israel organization in Washington.”

The former ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, Harman is the co-sponsor of the shameful “Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act” (H.R.1955) and its mutant relative in the Senate (S.1959). In other words, Harman’s “liberal” veneer is the perfect cover for currying favor with politically well-connected corporate grifters, major beneficiaries of the national security state’s largesse.

Harman was among the most vociferous defenders of the Bush regime’s warrantless wiretapping program. As Salon’s Glenn Greenwald reminds us, during an appearance on “Meet the Press” with Republicans Pat Roberts and Peter Hoekstra, Harman said that “the whistleblowers who exposed the lawbreaking and perhaps even the New York Times (but not Bush officials) should be criminally investigated, saying she ‘deplored the leak,’ that ‘it is tragic that a lot of our capability is now across the pages of the newspapers,’ and that the whistleblowers were ‘despicable’.”

Jeff Stein reported that the southern California Democrat, in an apparent quid pro quo, was recorded as saying she would “‘waddle into'” the AIPAC case ‘if you think it’ll make a difference,’ according to two former senior national security officials familiar with the NSA transcript.”

In exchange for Harman’s help, the sources said, the suspected Israeli agent pledged to help lobby Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., then-House minority leader, to appoint Harman chair of the Intelligence Committee after the 2006 elections, which the Democrats were heavily favored to win.Seemingly wary of what she had just agreed to, according to an official who read the NSA transcript, Harman hung up after saying, “This conversation doesn’t exist.” (Jeff Stein, “Sources: Wiretap Recorded Rep. Harman Promising to Intervene for AIPAC,” Congressional Quarterly, April 19, 2009)

AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobby shop with the power to make or break politicians who don’t tow the line, have long been accused by critics of engaging in espionage in Washington on behalf of the settler-colonial state, America’s stationary aircraft carrier in the Middle East.

Two AIPAC officials, Steve Rosen and Keith Weismann were indicted in 2005 for trafficking classified information on Iraq and Iran obtained from government officials. Lawrence Franklin, a policy analyst with a top secret classification, worked for Under Secretary for Defense Policy Douglas Feith and Under Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and was AIPAC’s conduit.

According to FBI surveillance tapes, Franklin relayed top secret information to Rosen, then AIPAC’s policy director and Weismann, a senior Iran analyst with the lobby group. The New York Times reported in 2004 that Franklin was one of two U.S. officials that held meetings with Paris-based Iranian dissidents, including Iran-Contra figure, the arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar.

The Pentagon-endorsed meetings were apparently brokered by the American Enterprise Institute’s Michael Ledeen, another key Iran-Contra figure, identified by Italian journalists Carlo Bonini and Giuseppe D’Avanzano in their book Collusion, as a key facilitator of the bogus “yellow cake” dossier during the run-up to the 2003 American invasion and occupation of Iraq.

One purpose of the Paris meetings according to The Jerusalem Post was to “undermine a pending deal that the White House had been negotiating with the Iranian government,” involving the exchange of top al-Qaeda operatives in Iranian custody in return for an American promise to halt its support of the anti-Iranian cult group, Mujahideen al-Khalq, whose fighters were based in Iraq.

Classified information obtained by Franklin was allegedly passed to Naor Gilon, the head of the political department at the Israeli Embassy in Washington. As with America’s CIA, Israel’s embassy political officers are often drawn from the ranks of their secret service, Mossad.

As the World Socialist Web Site points out, “No doubt AIPAC found Harman ‘well-qualified’ because she was prepared to promote the policies of the Israeli state, including the attempt to steer Washington toward a military confrontation with Iran, precisely the aim of the espionage of which Franklin, Rosen and Weissman are accused.”

Franklin pled guilty and was sentenced in 2006 to 12 years and 7 months in prison. After multiple delays, the pair are scheduled to go on trial in June in Alexandria, Virginia.

But as The New York Times reported April 21, administration officials regard the case as a “problem child” and that “senior Justice Department officials” are conducting a “final review” that will determine whether the case goes forward or the charges against the alleged spies are dismissed.

Unlike the vast majority of Americans targeted by NSA’s driftnet surveillance of their electronic communications, the Harman intercept was part of a lawful warrant obtained by the FBI during the course of its investigation of AIPAC officials.

The New York Times reported April 21, “that someone seeking help for the employees of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a prominent pro-Israel lobbying group, was recorded asking Ms. Harman, a longtime supporter of its efforts, to intervene with the Justice Department. She responded, the official recounted, by saying she would have more influence with a White House official she did not identify.”

According to Congressional Quarterly, that official was none other than Bush crime family capo, Alberto Gonzales.

CQ reports that charges that AIPAC lobbied on Harman’s behalf so that she could obtain the plum chairmanship of the House Intelligence Committee “aren’t new,” they were first reported by Time Magazine in 2006. It was then alleged that an FBI investigation of Harman was dropped “for lack of evidence.” Stein reveals:

What is new is that Harman is said to have been picked up on a court-approved NSA tap directed at alleged Israel covert action operations in Washington.And that, contrary to reports that the Harman investigation was dropped for “lack of evidence,” it was Alberto R. Gonzales, President Bush’s top counsel and then attorney general, who intervened to stop the Harman probe.

Why? Because, according to three top former national security officials, Gonzales wanted Harman to be able to help defend the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about break in The New York Times and engulf the White House.

As for there being “no evidence” to support the FBI probe, a source with first-hand knowledge of the wiretaps called that “bull****.” (Congressional Quarterly, op. cit.)

The Times reveals that “in return” for her intervention in the AIPAC affair, “a wealthy California donor,” identified as “media mogul Haim Saban” would threaten “to withhold campaign contributions to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who was expected to become House speaker after the 2006 election, if she did not select Ms. Harman for the intelligence post.”

Harman however, isn’t the only Democrat accused by critics of currying favor with corporate grifters. As I reported last June, top Democratic Party representatives raked-in hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the telecom industry in return for their support of the odious FISA Amendments Act passed last July by Congress.

In addition to handing the telecommunications industry retroactive immunity and thus, protection from prosecution for aiding and abetting NSA’s warrantless wiretapping programs, the law greatly expanding the agency’s driftnet spying.

The whistleblowing website MAPLight revealed that the 94 Democrats who changed their positions on telecom immunity “received on average $8,359 in contributions from Verizon, AT&T and Sprint from January, 2005, to March, 2008. As I wrote at the time:

Despite congressional bromides about “national security” and “keeping America safe,” what it all comes down too is cold, hard cash. Considering that legislation passed last week by the House will effectively quash some 40 lawsuits pending against telecom giants–with potential savings for these corporate grifters running into the billions–it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to conclude its a rigged game. (“‘Fighting Democrats’ Rake-in Big Telecom Bucks,” Antifascist Calling, June 25, 2008)

Among the largest recipients of telecom largesse were James Clyburn, (SC-6), $29,500; Steny Hoyer (MD-5), $29,000; Rahm Emanuel (IL-5), $28,000; Nancy Pelosi (CA-8), $24,500. Harman clocked-in with some $7,000 from the industry.

On Sunday Emanuel, now White House chief of staff told ABC News that “those who devised policy” … “should not be prosecuted,” handing senior Bush administration officials a get-out-of-jail free card for their role in ordering American torture policies.

Harman was quick to denounce the CQ report. According to Stein, the California Democrat said in a prepared statement: “These claims are an outrageous and recycled canard, and have no basis in fact. I never engaged in any such activity. Those who are peddling these false accusations should be ashamed of themselves.”

CQ’s sources however, told the Washington insider publication that “Justice Department attorneys in the intelligence and public corruption units who read the transcripts decided that Harman had committed a ‘completed crime,’ a legal term meaning that there was evidence that she had attempted to complete it, three former officials said.”

When Porter J. Goss, the former CIA Director and no slouch when it came to corruption in his own agency (paging Dusty Foggo!), signed off on DoJ’s FISA warrant after a review of the transcript, he notified then House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi “of the FBI’s impending national security investigation of a member of Congress–to wit, Harman.”

“But that’s when,” CQ reports, “Attorney General Gonzales intervened.”

Top officials interviewed by Stein said Gonzales “needed Jane” to carry water for the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Gonzales picked the right person for the job. “And thanks to grateful Bush administration officials, the investigation of Harman was effectively dead,” Stein reports.

Despite evidence that Harman was enmeshed in a “pay for play” scheme to secure the top post at the Intelligence Committee, a highly-politicized–and criminal–Justice Department did nothing.

One official involved in the AIPAC investigation told CQ: “It’s the deepest kind of corruption. It’s a story about the corruption of government–not legal corruption necessarily, but ethical corruption.”

While top Democrats such as Harman, Pelosi and Hoyer assert that the Obama regime should be looking “forward” and not “backwards,” and do everything in their power to sabotage criminal investigations of lawbreaking by officials in the former administration, and actively engage in an on-going cover-up of everything from warrantless wiretapping and torture, to the waging of preemptive wars of aggression and conquest, why is Harman now screaming for an investigation of the leaking of private conversations obtained by a legal warrant?

This is nothing but the boldest, most shamefaced hypocrisy writ large. Some liberal commentators have suggested that breaking the Harman story is an attempt by elements within the national security establishment to “change the story” following last week’s release of previously classified Office of Legal Counsel memos. Those documents revealed the Bush regime’s monstrous authorization of–and justification–for torture; Stein however, denies this. As the World Socialist Web Site reports,

The reality, however, is that the revelations demonstrate the intimate and indispensable collaboration and complicity of the Democrats in all of the criminal actions of the Bush administration, from launching a war of aggression based upon lies against Iraq, to the systematic use of torture, to the unconstitutional and illegal spying on American citizens.Harman personally played a prominent role in all of these crimes. She promoted the lies about “weapons of mass destruction” and supposed ties between Baghdad and Al Qaeda before the war. She, along with Pelosi, was among the four members of Congress to be fully briefed on the CIA’s torture–including waterboarding–of detainees in “black sites” scattered around the world. Neither she nor anyone else made the slightest protest over these criminal actions, while they kept them secret from the American people. (Bill Van Auken, “Democratic defender of NSA spying was wiretapped in Israeli spy probe,” World Socialist Web Site, April 22, 2009)

What’s that old adage about the justice of roosting chickens…

Source: Antifascist Calling

Sufi Mohammed alienates his sympathisers

Sufi Mohammed alienates his sympathisers

Friday, April 24, 2009
By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Sufi Mohammad’s alarming assertions and the Taliban’s physical assault on Buner have alienated and disillusioned whatever a small number of sympathisers or apologists they had in Pakistan. Sufi has proven his Pakistani and foreign critics right.

Barring exceptions, all Pakistanis are unwilling and would not allow demolition of state institutions like parliament and superior courts merely because of fear and threats of a handful of gun-toting persons, because these institutions have been created and are functioning under the Constitution, which enjoys the rare national consensus.

The democratic system and other institutions not only have the support and backing of powerful religious people, political parties and regional groupings, they are in line with the guidelines of the founding father of Pakistan.

Sufi’s description of the Supreme Court and high courts as un-Islamic, in fact, totally runs counter to the very NAR that the government promulgated at gunpoint on TNSM’s demand.

Sufi Mohammad’s assertions and Taliban’s expansionist activities are hugely embarrassing for both Zardari and the ANP. The ANP got itself massively hurt politically as its credentials as a secular party went to the dogs. Weathering colossal foreign pressure, especially of the United States, the president acted and approved the NAR although he never wanted to do so, perhaps knowing the subsequent response of the Taliban and Sufi Mohammad.

Even major but somewhat quiet opponents of the NAR like Nawaz Sharif have started distancing themselves from the regulation. Religious elements like Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Qazi Hussain Ahmed were never great supporters of the NAR. Now, they are more disenchanted with the outbursts and activities of Sufi Mohammad and the Taliban.

The fact that Sufi Mohammad and the Taliban are conveniently ignoring is that the pristine objective of the implementation of the NAR is the achievement of peace. If this is not realised, the government will be justified in abolishing the NAR. And if the Taliban continue to capture more and more areas in a bid to force the authorities to enforce the similar system there as well, the government will consider it as a violation of the accord.