Pakistan’s War On Civilians

Pakistan’s War On Civilians

By Paul Rogers

29 May, 2009

The car-bombing in Lahore of a police station and the local headquarters of Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) agency on 27 May 2009 is more than the seventh major attack on the city since January 2008 – and the third since March 2009, when the Sri Lankan cricket team and a police academy were targeted. The bomb, which killed twenty-seven people and and injured over a hundred, is a further indication of the systemic, interrelated and deep- rooted nature of Pakistan’s internal-security troubles.

Lahore, after all, is Pakistan’s cultural centre, a sophisticated city that lies close to India and is a long way from the intense fighting currently being waged in the Swat valley in North West Frontier Province (NWFP). If it can be repeatedly attacked with apparent impunity, it tells its own story about how the different parts of the country are becoming implicated in an all-consuming conflict (see Ayesha Siddiqa, “Pakistan: a country on fire”, 24 September 2008).

The military machine

The exact link between the Lahore bombing – and the twin attacks that followed in Peshawar on 28 May that killed eleven people and injutred dozens more – and what is happening in Swat is not yet clear, but Islamist militants in western Pakistan had threatened attacks across the country in response to the army’s operations in the NWFP. What is clear, though, is that those operations are massive and sustained and are having huge human consequences, whatever the belief in Islamabad that they are necessary to counter the increasing power of the Taliban and other militias.

A United Nations source has estimated the flow of internal refugees since mid-May 2009 as 2.4 million people; by 29 May, the UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) calculated that the figure exceeded 3 million. There are few examples of such vast and sudden movements in recent history; the scale of what is happening recalls the traumatic events prior to the founding of Bangladesh in 1970-71, when many millions of people fled from the Pakistani army across the border into India.

Much of the destruction in Swat is because the Pakistani army is simply not constructed for counterinsurgency or counter-guerrilla warfare – and the conflict in Swat is a combination of this with an out-and-out civil war. Pakistan has a standing army of 550,000, equipped with nearly 2,500 main battle-tanks and over 4,000 artillery pieces, five times the size of the British army. That may be large by any standards; but the “threat” from India has long dominated the Pakistani military posture, and India commands well over a million troops, 4,000 tanks and more than 10,000 artillery pieces.

What is essentially a powerful land army geared to armoured battles and artillery bombardments on the plains of south Asia, is now engaged in a war against its own people in a bitter internal conflict that is being conducted under a blanket of tight media control. Because of this, every impression is being given of a successful campaign against weak opponents – the Taliban – who are being put to flight. Where foreign journalists can report at all, they do so under tight army control and the rare visits they are able to make are to towns that are firmly under the army’s control (see Shaun Gregory, “Pakistan and the ‘AfPak’ strategy”, 28 May 2009).

The civilian impact

Even so, two issues are emerging. One is that the assault will be prolonged and very violent. The army is readily using its huge firepower advantage, but the militias that it is trying to defeat are proving highly resilient. Even army sources now speak of “steady progress amid stiff resistance” and acknowledge that the war has some time to run (see Robert Birsel, “Bombs seen stiffening Pakistan resolve on militants, Reuters, 29 May 2009).

In the city of Mingora, for example, there has been intensive street-fighting, yet the government security forces have gained control of just one quarter of the urban area. More generally, the militias are now avoiding conflict in exposed places and are dispersing to towns and villages across the valley. The army in response is using helicopter gunships, strike-aircraft and artillery, whose main effect is widespread destruction including the wholesale flattening of villages.

The second issue follows: the serious humanitarian consequences (both short- and long-term) of the conflict. The United Nations estimates that $450 million is needed for immediate aid to respond to exceptional displacement of peoples. An indication of Washington’s concerns over the situation is the decision on 22 May to make an immediate commitment of $110 million in humanitarian aid. But this will barely touch the larger problem that many thousands of civilians are caught up in the fighting and prevented by a a Pakistani army curfew from escaping the conflict-zone.

Also on 22 May, the United Nations and several partner agencies launched an appeal for $543 million in aid; but by 28 May, the “humanitarian action plan” had reached only 21% of this total.

A leading Islamabad newspaper cites a report from Human Rights Watch’s Asia director, Brad Adams: “Reports of civilians killed in the crossfire continued to flood in…as people break the curfew in desperate bids to find food and water for their families, or try and escape the aerial and ground bombardments” (see “Trapped civilians face catastrophe in Swat”, Dawn, 26 May 2009).

The surge of over 2 million refugees who have fled from the area has overwhelmed the Pakistani government and agencies:

“The true dimensions of the refugee problem are apparent in Mardan, one of the primary destinations for civilians fleeing the battles in Swat and in neighbouring Buner and Dir. The city is studded with refugee camps consisting of endless rows of tan canvas tents that bake under the 110-degree skies. Schools are packed to capacity with families sleeping on concrete classroom floors, with each classroom housing 40 or more people” (see Griff Witte, “Pakistani Refugee Crisis Poses Peril”, Washington Post, 25 May 2009).

A small proportion only of these refugees – 20%, according to Save the Children – is housed in government camps. Most are living outside them; half of the displaced are children.

The signal of war

The inability to cope with a crisis caused by its own military action means that Pakistan’s government is ceding influence to others (radical groups in particular) that are quick to fill the vacuum:

“The army has warned that some Taliban fighters joined the fleeing residents and may have infiltrated the refugee camps… Outside the camps, radical Islamist agendas are rushing in to fill the void left by the paucity of government services. The Falah-e-Insaniyat foundation, the successor to a group known as Jamaat-ud-Dawa, has established a major presence near Swat, feeding tens of thousands of displaced people and providing them with quality medical care” (see “Foundation provides food to 275,000 IDPs”, The News, 17 May 2009)

In the longer term there are indications that the physical damage done to settlements will take years to repair. Qamar Zaman Kaira, Pakistan’s information minister, said that the authorities had started “initial satellite surveys for the rehabilitation of homes, businesses and cultivable lands”. The very fact that the destruction demands satellite surveys gives some indication of the impact of the war after barely two weeks.

The war in northwest Pakistan may still be in its early stages, but it is already operating with an intensity that is not fully appreciated beyond the region. Pakistani army sources are presenting the operation as an extensive and determined effort to isolate a relatively small group of extremist militias. But three factors – the failure to cope with refugees, the ability of the militias to disperse, and the rapid provision of aid by radical movements – suggests that the long-term effects of the army’s campaign could be to intensify Pakistan’s divisions. The Lahore bombing and Peshawar attacks may be early signals of that.

This article is published by Paul Rogers, and under a Creative Commons licence. You may republish it free of charge with attribution for non-commercial purposes following these guidelines. If you teach at a university we ask that your department make a donation to Open Democracy. Commercial media must contact for permission and fees.

Paul Rogers is professor in the department of peace studies at Bradford University, northern England. He has been writing a weekly column on global security on openDemocracy since 26 September 2001

IDPs threaten strike if supply of cooked food stopped

[Here is the gross human tragedy being created in Pakistan, in order to accomodate the American demands to wage war.  The play-acting charade that has displaced millions, claimed thousands of lives and totally ruined large sections of the Northwest could have been handled much differently.  The government could have found some accomodation with these armies of radical militants created to serve as proxy forces, short of the road it is now on.  Seeing the deteriorating situation in NWFP, knowing that the same circumstances are planned for FATA, it is getting harder to rationalize the Pakistani government decisions.  The Pakistani people will pay any price to continue the money flow into private bank accounts, in order to maintain the umbilical cord to Washington.  The people are being taken to hell to play America’s strategic games.  Now that they are in hell, why not pocket the money meant to feed them, as well?]

IDPs threaten strike if supply of cooked food stopped

By Akhtar Amin

MARDAN: The internally displaced persons (IDPs) lodging at Sheikh Shahzad and Sheikh Yaseen camps in Mardan on Saturday threatened to come on the roads if the government stopped the supply of cooked food to them.

During a visit to the camps, IDPs from Swat, Buner and Dir districts of Malakand Division told Daily Times that the camps in charges Friday evening announced that the government had decided not to supply cooked food to the IDPs.

The IDPs asked where had gone millions of dollars donated by the international community to Pakistan to provide food and shelter to them. They complained that about 90 percent of the IDPs were living outside camps having no access to the government’s relief package. They said the government’s decision to stop supply of cooked food to just 10 per cent of the IDPs living at the two camps in Mardan carried no logic. Najeebullah, who fled from the military operation against the Taliban in Mingora and took refuge at Sheikh Shahzad Camp, told Daily Times that the camp administration’s announcement had created panic among the IDPs.

He disclosed that almost all the IDPs living in the camps sold their monthly ration [two bags of wheat, 5 kg coking oil and 5 kg pulses] to meet their other basic needs, as they had no cash to meet their other requirements. He said the IDPs sold their ration because women could not cook food due to scorching heat at the camps.

Sultan Mohammad Deewana, 60, who is lodging with his family at camp number 5 of Sheik Shahzad Camp, said that the IDPs would be left with no option but to come on the roads if the government stopped the supply of cooked food (two time meal and one time tea) to the camps.

He said the camp administration made the announcement Friday evening but on Saturday they extended the deadline to another five days. The federal government was also criticized for not providing the announced Rs 25,000 relief package to the registered IDPs for fulfillment of their basic needs.

It was observed that about 90 percent tents had no gas stoves to cook food. Women were facing great hardship in using latrines, as these had been constructed side by side for both men and women.

Zulekha, 45, complained that the latrines were not cleaned and they carried no symbols to guide the users. She also complained that safe cold drinking water was not available to them.

‘US wants to make aid conditional to continuing war’

‘US wants to make aid conditional to continuing war’

LAHORE: The US wants to attach conditions with its aid to Pakistan to exert pressure on Pakistan regarding its nuclear programme and ensure that it continues the war against terror in a better way, former Arms Control and Disarmament Agency director Brig (r) Naeem Salik has said. Speaking on the programme ‘Najam Sethi Special’ on Dunya News channel on Saturday, Salik said US President Barack Obama was on the record saying that the US did not want to given a ‘blank cheque’ to Pakistan.

Taliban may target ulema, mashaikh

[This is not Islam.  Religious “holy warriors” would not target their own people.  Whatever they are teaching these “reglious students” in the madrassas is the opposite of “holy.”  Radical Islam, just like radical Christianity, is anti-religion.]

Taliban may target ulema, mashaikh

LAHORE: The Taliban may target ulema and mashaikh in major cities of Pakistan, a private TV channel quoted its sources as saying on Saturday. The Taliban are present in all the major cities, including Lahore and Islamabad, and could target the clerics any time, the channel said. Authorities have directed foolproof security for all cleric conventions in light of possible terror attacks, it added. daily times monitor

Is radical Islam normal Islam?

Is radical Islam normal Islam?

—by Khaled Ahmed

Radical Islam and International Security: Challenges and Responses;
edited by Hillel Frisch & Efraim Inbar;
Routledge 2008;
Pp227; Price £70;
Available at bookstores in Pakistan

Tibi shares Fukuyama’s view that Europe has become a battlefront of Islamism. To avoid misunderstandings, it is important to note that at issue is a small but highly active minority among the Islamic diaspora, not the entire diaspora itself

Bassam Tibi, professor of international relations at the University of Goettingen, and a visiting faculty member at Cornell University as the AD White Professor-at-large, has contributed significantly to this volume. As someone educated in Germany, he attributes extremism and radicalism among Muslims there “to the discrimination and denial of young Muslims to joining the German community”. He is from the ashrafia of Damascus and would have gone astray had not some Jewish teachers given him support. The label of ‘guest-worker’ turns people to radical thoughts. (p.29)

Tibi questions the term extremism (Arabic tatarruf) as applied to political Islam. Questioning the use of “extremism” is important in order to know that political Islam is not a fringe phenomenon of delinquency, but rather an ideology of political movements that represent the major oppositions in most countries of the world of Islam, particularly in the Middle East (e.g., the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt). Some of these movements of political Islam (e.g., Hizballah in Lebanon; SCIRI and the Mahdi Army in Iraq) already participate in power and governance. (p.11) Extremism is thus increasingly the characteristic of mainstream Islam.

After the ‘religionisation’ of a political conflict, issues become non-negotiable since the discourse of negotiation becomes absolutist. The formula Filastin Islamiyya versus Israel indicates an Islamisation of the conflict with non-negotiable claims. (p.12) Founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, later embraced by Hamas, Hasan Al Banna wrote Risalat al-Jihad in the early 20th century, which is used today as a basic reading for the indoctrination of the jihadist ideology. (p.13) This is the paper used by madrassas all over the world and in Western Europe in their policy of recruitment. They first teach jihadism, then create an appeal for action under it. This is the two-track strategy to deal with Islam and Islamism. (p.13) Without jihadism, radicalism will not march.

Scholars in Europe who refuse to include Islamism in security studies are fearful of the accusation of Islamophobia. This sentiment adds to the confusion between Islam and Islamism. (p.21) Important components of Islamist jihadism exist throughout Europe, Germany being a prominent case in point. The new German tolerance vis-à-vis Islamism is among the wrong lessons contemporary German scholars have drawn from their shameful past. (p.24)

Tibi shares Fukuyama’s view that Europe has become a battlefront of Islamism. To avoid misunderstandings, it is important to note that at issue is a small but highly active minority among the Islamic diaspora, not the entire diaspora itself. In the case of Germany there are approximately 100,000 Islamists among the diaspora community of 3.7 million. This figure varies from one country to another. The Islamists comprise 10 percent of the diaspora in the Netherlands. (p.26)

Rushda Siddiqi, an Associate Fellow with the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi, has contributed her article, The Islamic Dimension of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy, and thinks that Pakistan, created to safeguard the identity of a religion, is the realisation of a fundamentalist imagination. She thinks, “Pakistan has been one of the first states in contemporary history to employ non-state proxies to safeguard its interests in the region and in the international arena”. Initially, Pakistan benefited from its non-state actors and the mechanisms they employed. The government used its foreign office to support terrorist activities in Kashmir. “In the long run, however, the use of non-state actors backfired, increasing the state’s vulnerability to a backlash not only by the states affected by Pakistan’s terrorist proxies, but also by the non-state actors within Pakistan”. (p.153)

According to her, there are two institutions that play the main role, the madrassa and the ISI. A coordinated effort between the two has been responsible for the use of terrorism as a tool of foreign policy. The ISI has also created organisations that play a role in the domestic politics of target countries. The Taliban in Afghanistan and the Lashkar-e Tayba in India are two examples. The aim of having a controlled homegrown movement in Afghanistan ensured that Pakistan would not face hostility on the western border. And a friendly polity in Afghanistan would be an effective counter to the Shia government in Iran. Afghanistan could also provide Pakistan with strategic depth in its conflict with India. (p.158)

Arye L Hillman in his An economic perspective on radical Islam quotes the well known Muslim economist Timur Kuran who sees economic impediment in Islamic jurisprudence. He also looks askance at the practice of waqf or charity trust which came into being to avoid being bothered by the ruler and to avoid normal taxation in the name of charity. He points out that the Islamic legal system did not necessarily apply to Jews and Christians living under Islam, and, and in consequence, Jews and Christians came to dominate economic activity in Islamic societies. (p.55)

Barbara Crossette explains female genital mutilation and denial of sexual satisfaction of women as reflecting lack of trust of women by men. Lack of trust is also pressed into prohibitions on women being in the company of men, “which reduces income”. When social mobility and incomes are low, gender relations provide compensating benefits or “rents for males through polygamy”.

Hillman pursues Timur Kuran’s thesis about the Muslims, likening his work to that of Max Weber who first linked economics to religion, dividing Christianity into Catholicism with a weak work ethic and Protestantism of the ‘north’ with a strong work ethic. If Islamic economics doesn’t help, what explains its existence and popularity? Why would anyone believe that Islamic economics is capable of raising productivity, stimulating growth, or reducing inequality? These questions mask an essential, if paradoxical, fact: “the main purpose of Islamic economics is not to improve economic performance. Its purpose is to help prevent Muslims from assimilating into the emerging global culture whose core elements have a Western pedigree.” (p.59)

According to Kuran, the ‘supreme values’ of radical Islam deprioritise economic achievement and impose self-deprivation on their own population. “Theories of economic development presuppose that intended beneficiaries experience economic improvement. These theories lose applicability when ‘supreme values’ require economic self-deprivation and when ongoing life has no value.” (p.62) *

Predator Drones Could Face Legal Challenges From Human Rights Advocates

Predator Drones Could Face Legal Challenges From Human Rights Advocates

Human rights activists are turning their attention to the drone program in part because they say there’s no warning to innocent civilians who are in a targeted area.

By Megan Dumpe Kenworthy

Human rights activists at odds with President Obama over his recent national security decisions are indicating that they might legally challenge the U.S. military’s use of Predator drones, a weapon that intelligence officials say is their single most effective tool in combating Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Predator spy planes are unmanned aerial vehicles that are virtually invisible when flying overhead. The Air Force uses them frequently in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they are able to track and hit targets from the air when mountainous terrain makes it notoriously hard to send troops.

“That’s the spooky thing about the Predator,” national

security and terrorism expert Neil Livingstone said. “Even if the Predator is directly overhead and you know it’s overheard, you still can’t see it or hear it. This is kind of like death out of the blue.”

Human rights activists are turning their attention to the drone program in part because they say there’s no warning to innocent civilians who are in a targeted area.

Gabor Rona, international legal director of Human Rights First, a U.S.-based group that advocates universal rights and freedom, said large number of civilians are being unintentionally hit, harmed and killed.

“This is not only a violation of the international laws of war,” he said. “It’s bad policy.”

Opponents of the drones say that the policy could be illegal. The laws of war allow individuals who are engaged in hostilities to be targeted in an armed conflict but strictly prohibit actions against those not engaged.

“Even when you’re attacking a legitimate military objective, you cannot cause civilian casualties that exceed the value of a legitimate military attack,” Rona says.

It’s undeniable that more civilians have been killed than actual Al Qaeda terrorists in the 16 Predator strikes this year. But there’s little chance that could change.

“So many of these guys surround themselves with collateral casualties,” Livingstone said, and large numbers of women and children are strategically placed around hotbeds of activity. Livingstone makes the point that even if high-value targets are killed in one of these drone attacks, Al Qaeda still can claim a “propaganda victory” because of the number of civilian casualties.

Two high-value Al Qaeda operatives were killed on New Year’s Day this year in northern Pakistan. Usama al Kini and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan were wanted for their involvement in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania. More than 200 people were killed in the embassy bombings, including 12 Americans. The men sought refuge in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

“Our military fighting in Afghanistan has got to be able to pursue high level (operatives) who flee across the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan,” said Matt Bennett, a national security expert for a Washington-based think tank.

On the presidential campaign trail, Obama had said that if there was legitimate intelligence about high-level Al Qaeda personnel he would not hesitate to act. And although there’s no formal agreement between the U.S. and Pakistan when it comes to Predator drone attacks, Pakistan more or less looks the other way.

Even so, human rights advocates continue to grow more disillusioned by the president’s decisions on the Guantanamo military commissions and his refusal to release photos of alleged detainee abuse by U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as other national security issues. The Predator program, which is a holdover from the Bush administration, could be the next legal battle.

“This is part of a broader campaign on the left to begin the drumbeat of withdrawal from Afghanistan and Pakistan generally to change the direction there and make it about only providing aid and not about military engagement,” Bennett said.

Taliban getting funds from abroad: PM

Taliban getting funds from abroad: PM

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Saturday the Taliban perpetrating heinous terrorism in Pakistan were being funded from abroad and the drug mafia was also involved in the funding. Gilani said he feared that an increase in the United States presence in Afghanistan might cause the Taliban to enter Pakistan again. The prime minister vowed to take “full care” of the internally displaced persons (IDPs), saying they would be offered financial assistance to rebuild their houses and the world community would be approached for the purpose.

Forty Taliban killed in South Waziristan: Official

Forty Taliban killed in South Waziristan: Official

‘Militants came in force and attacked a paramilitary camp and fighting lasted for eight hours. At least 40 militants were killed while four soldiers died,’ said an intelligence official in the region. — AP/File Photo

WANA: Security forces killed at least 40 Taliban militants when they repelled an attack on a paramilitary camp in the South Waziristan region on the Afghan border overnight, intelligence officials said on Sunday.

‘Militants came in force and attacked a paramilitary camp and fighting lasted for eight hours. At least 40 militants were killed while four soldiers died,’ said an intelligence official in the region.

Another security agency official put the militant toll even higher. There was no independent confirmation of the casualty estimates. — Reuters

Who killed Benazir?

Who killed Benazir?

By Humayun Gauhar | Published: May 31, 2009

Trying to identify assassins of the great is a zero sum game. Theories sprout up instantaneously, depending on where the theorists are coming from politically. The real assassins are hardly ever definitely identified. Surprising, then, that an experienced journalist like Seymour Hersh slipped into the maze called ‘Who killed Benazir Bhutto?’
I should refresh your memories. Pakistani newspapers of May 18, 2009 carried a story by Online, a private Pakistani news agency, that Hersh had claimed in an interview to an Arab TV channel that a “US special squad killed Benazir Bhutto”? The channel was not identified. Try as I might I have not been able to find the purported interview on any English language Arab television channel. The salient points in the story are?
Seymour Hersh told an Arab television channel that the Joint Special Operation Command was formed and headed by Dick Cheney.
Within the JSOC is a “death squad”.
The squad killed Benazir Bhutto.
At the time General Stanley McChrystal, the new US army commander in Afghanistan, headed it.
It also killed Rafik Hariri and the Lebanese army chief for refusing to allow the US to set up military bases in Lebanon.
Ariel Sharon, the then prime minister of Israel, was also a key man in the plot.
Many websites suspect that Benazir was killed because she said in a November 2, 2007 interview to Sir David Frost on Al-Jazeera TV that Osama Bin Laden had been murdered by Omar Saeed Sheikh because it took away the justification for the presence of the US army in Afghanistan.
The BBC website that carries transcripts of Al-Jazeera interviews edited out her words about Osama’s death.
Newspapers of May 20 carried a vehement denial by Seymour Hersh. The Nation also carried a rather acerbic letter to the editor written, it seems, in some umbrage by the US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson. Hersh described as “complete madness” reports that the squad headed by General McChrystal “had also killed Hariri and the Lebanese army chief.” “Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Hariri or Bhutto. I have never said that I did have such information. I most certainly did not say anything remotely to that effect during an interview with an Arab media outlet.” McChrystal, he said, had run a special forces unit that engaged in “High Value Target activity…while I have been critical of some of that unit’s activities in the pages of the New Yorker and in interviews, I have never suggested that he was involved in political assassinations or death squads on behalf of Cheney, as the published stories state.” He regretted that he hadn’t been first contacted by any of the publications before they printed the story (point taken). “This is another example of blogs going bonkers with misleading and fabricated stories and professional journalists repeating such rumours without doing their jobs…and that is to verify such rumours.”

Then there’s Her Excellency, who made the following points:
“We…are offended and outraged that your newspaper would republish this especially repugnant brand of spurious and unsubstantiated rumor.”
“Regrettably, these baseless, sensational and third-hand allegations have been repackaged and republished without any responsible attempt at either verification or solicitation of comment from an official source of the United States government.”
“This, without any byline story, was distributed by a Pakistani wire service, which in turn allegedly quoted an unidentified Arab broadcast organization, which in turn allegedly quoted a single source (a journalist), who in turn relied on comments that were allegedly erased from an interview that took place almost two years ago.”
“Regrettably, these baseless, sensational and third-hand allegations have been repackaged and republished without any responsible attempt at either verification or solicitation of comment from an official source of United States government…most troubling of all is the complete failure to provide an opportunity for the accused party, the United States government, to refute these claims.”
“…We take exception to allegations that the US government had anything whatsoever to do with the tragic assassination of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister, late Benazir Bhutto.”
Lectures on the ethics of journalism we’ve all heard before. How one wishes, though, that Her Excellency would deliver the same lecture on the ethics of journalism to US media. They need it more than we do – “The Taliban are about to take over Islamabad”, “Pakistan’s nuclear weapons about to fall into terrorist hands” and other such garbage. The important point in her letter, one that cannot be challenged without proof, is that the US government had anything to do with Benazir’s assassination.
Benazir certainly alleged that Omar Saeed Sheikh had killed Osama Bin Laden because on January 4, 2008 the BBC’s Steve Herrmann acknowledged that, “Under time pressure, the item producer responsible for publishing the video on the BBC website edited out the comment, with the intention of avoiding confusion. The claim appeared so unexpected that it seemed she had simply misspoken. However, editing out her comment was clearly a mistake, for which we apologise…” On January 9 the BBC added: “As promised above, we’ve now updated the original clip with the full version of the interview.”
People have heard the interview many times. Benazir said the words deliberately and cautiously, after stopping and taking a breath before uttering Osama’s name. Spurious excuses such as these insult people’s intelligence and beget conspiracy theories for which people are then mocked by the perpetrators of spurious excuses.
What adds spice to the story is that former President Pervez Musharraf says in his best selling autobiography that Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British national educated in the London School of Economics, was first recruited by Britain’s intelligence agency MI6 and sent to Bosnia and Kosovo to fight the Jihad there. It could be that he later ‘turned’, says the general. But it could also be, say I that he is still working for MI6 pretending that he has ‘turned’ as a smokescreen or camouflage. Isn’t that what is called a ‘double agent’?
What makes me not believe the theory that Benazir was killed by the US – a point that Hersh missed – is: If she was killed because she revealed that Osama Bin Laden was dead, killed by Omar Saeed Sheikh, in her interview with Sir David Frost was telecast on Al Jazeera on November 2, 2007, why was the first assassination attempt against her was made two weeks earlier, on October 18? Or was that somebody else? If it was, then how do we know that it was not that somebody else that killed her on December 27, 2007 and not the US? In any case, her assassination was more a case of misadventure. Her assassins were certainly there, but got no opportunity until she suddenly stuck her head out of the sunroof of her vehicle, which she was not supposed to. That is when they went for her with everything blazing. While everyone has been asking why the place was hosed down, no one has asked why Khalid Shahinshah, supposed to be looking after her security, along with two photographers behind him, were making such peculiar gestures standing besides Benazir on the stage, as if signaling something to someone? What possessed her to break with security protocol and stick her neck out of the window? Have the numbers on the SIMs of all the phones of those in her vehicle been examined, including her own phone?
Hersh’s denial is interesting, for it reveals more than it denies. He certainly makes it clear that he never said or wrote anywhere that a US special death squad killed Benazir Bhutto and I haven’t found anything where he even remotely says so. However, he doesn’t deny the existence of what he called “an executive assassination wing” in a speech at the University of Minnesota on March 10 this year… “General McChrystal ran a special forces unit that engaged in High Value Target activity.” If people – important politicians and not just terrorists or those that the US thinks are terrorists – are not “High Value Targets”, I’ll eat my hat Mr. Hersh.
Perhaps I’ll continue with this next week because there’s so much to tell, unless something happens – which is well within the realm of possibility – that demands more attention.

Iran summons Pak envoy over mosque blast

[The United States Army calls it “counter-insurgency,” the rest of the world calls it just plain terrorism, but whatever it is it operates out of southern Afghanistan and secret bases in Pakistan, this time calling its foot soldiers “Jundullah.”]

Iran summons Pak envoy over mosque blast

Published: May 31, 2009

TEHRAN (AFP/Reuters) – Iran summoned Pakistan ambassador over the deadly bombing of a mosque in the southeast after rebels reportedly claimed responsibility, the official IRNA news agency reported on Saturday.
Mohammad Bakhsh Abbasi was summoned after Iran’s state television quoted the pan-Arab channel Al-Arabiya as saying that the Jandullah (Soldiers of God) group said it was behind Thursday’s mosque attack which killed 30 people.
According to state television, the chief of the Iranian armed forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi, said on Saturday that Iran ‘has located the base of the group’s head and informed Pakistan’s government of his arrest’.
The Iranian authorities said they immediately arrested three men involved in the bombing. The trio were executed on Saturday morning near the mosque in Zahedan city, the capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province.
In recent years, the restive province has been the scene of a deadly insurgency by Jundallah, which is strongly opposed to the government of predominantly Shia Iran.
The province has a substantial Sunni minority and lies on a major narcotics-smuggling route from Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Meanwhile, an Iranian official accused the United States of involvement in a mosque bombing that killed 30 people. Washington denied the allegation.
Jalal Sayyah, of the governor’s office in Sistan-Baluchestan province, said three people had been arrested in connection with the blast on Thursday in a crowded mosque in the city of Zahedan, in a region where many of Iran’s minority Sunnis live.
“The terrorists, who were equipped by America in one of our neighbouring countries, carried out this criminal act in their efforts to create religious conflict and fear and to influence the presidential election,” Sayyah told state radio.

Abbas Repackaging Zionist Bush Scheme for Strangling Gaza

Tighten blockade, finish Hamas, charge US troops with policing Palestinian population until they can be transferred to Jordan, this is merely a continuation of murderous plans of “cast lead.”

Abbas is typical of all Bush/Cheney lackies; they are all traitors to their own people.

Hamas: Abbas gave Obama ‘detailed plan’ on how to overthrow us in Gaza

[After dissing Obama on the issue of illegal Israeli colonies within the West Bank, Pres. Obama might be disinclined to cooperate on Netanyahu’s plans to finish the destruction begun by his disgraced predecessor.  SEE: Israel: We Won’t Bow to U.S. Settlement Requests]

Israel: We Won’t Bow to U.S. Settlement Requests

Israel: We Won’t Bow to U.S. Settlement Requests

An official close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says Israel will not agree to U.S. demands to freeze settlement activity in the West Bank.

Israel will not agree to U.S. demands to freeze all settlement activity in the West Bank, the AFP reported an official close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu as saying.

“I want to say in a crystal clear manner that the current Israeli government will not accept in any fashion that legal settlement activity in Judea and Samaria be frozen,” Transport Minister Yisrael Katz said, using the Israeli term for the West Bank. “The government will defend the vital interests of the state of Israel.”

It was the first high-level reaction to President Obama’s call Thursday during a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas that Israel stop settlement activity, a key hurdle in Mideast peace talks.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had said last Sunday Israel will continue to build homes in existing West Bank settlements, but would not allow any new settlements to be created.

“We will not build new settlements,” he said, according to remarks released by his office. “But it is not fair not to provide a solution to natural growth.”

Obama met Thursday with Abbas and challenged Israelis and Palestinians to be fair brokers in the quest for peace, calling on Israel to stop settlement construction in the West Bank.

“We can’t continue with the drift, with the increased fear and resentment on both sides, the sense of hopelessness around the situation that we’ve seen for many years now,” Obama said, referring to the idea of Palestinians and Israelis living peacefully as neighbors. “We need to get this thing back on track.”

“I am confident that we can move this process forward,” Obama said after meeting with Abbas at the White House. The president said that means both sides must “meet the obligations that they’ve already committed to” — an element of the peace effort that has proved elusive for years.

Abbas told The Associated Press after the session with Obama that no meetings with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu are on the horizon. He said there are no preconditions for such a meeting but “obligations” on Israel through the so-called road map for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Abbas said he is meeting his commitments under the road map and that Israel should do the same. He cited continued settlement construction as a commitment Israel is not meeting.

Committee to mediate between Taliban, govt

Committee to mediate between Taliban, govt

TANK: A 15-member peace committee of the Mehsud tribe will step up mediation to defuse tension between the Baitullah Mehsud-led Taliban and the South Waziristan political administration, a tribal mediator said on Friday. “We have decided to play a role in defusing the tension,” Senator Saleh Shah told reporters. “We are contacting the Taliban in this regard,” he added. The committee members had suspended peace efforts following clashes between the Taliban and the security forces. staff report

Bombs seen stiffening Pakistan’s resolve on Taliban

[Finally, the shoe is on the other foot and the militants are experiencing the other side of the terrorism equation.  With each bombing the resistance to the violence grows, creating unity of cause with the state, just as American bombs formerly drove the people to support the Taliban resistance.  If the US was a true ally, then it would now let-up on the Predator attacks which were driving the people’s motivation, allowing the Pakistani people to unite in common purpose behind their government.]

Bombs seen stiffening Pakistan’s resolve on Taliban

* Analysts says Taliban trying to undermine state’s determination to fight them, and broad public support the army’s campaign enjoys

ISLAMABAD: A series of bomb attacks in Pakistan aims to undermine the country’s resolve to fight the Taliban but is likely only to strengthen determination to defeat the militants, analysts say.

Pakistan has undertaken its most concerted effort to roll back an expanding Taliban insurgency that has raised fears for the important US ally’s stability, and for the safety of its nuclear weapons.

The army late last month went into action against Taliban who had seized a district only 100 km from the capital after the United States criticised a peace pact as tantamount to abdicating to the Taliban.

This month, the military launched a full-scale offensive to root out the Taliban from their stronghold in nearby Swat.

But the Taliban have responded with eight bomb attacks in towns and cities since late April, three on Thursday in the northwest, a day after 24 people were killed in a suicide gun and bomb attack in the eastern city of Lahore.

Undermine: The Taliban are trying to undermine the state’s determination to fight them, and the broad public support the army’s campaign enjoys, analysts said on Friday.

“This is exactly what the militants are trying to do because they have done it successfully in the past. But things have changed substantially,” security analyst Ikram Sehgal said.

“I don’t think it will undermine the resolve of either the public or the government. They realise that this sort of thing will only escalate if they vacillate any further,” he said. Pakistan signed up to the US-led campaign against militancy after the 9/11 attacks but at best ambivalently.

Pakistan had used these fighters to oppose Soviet occupiers in Afghanistan in the 1980s and later backed the Afghan Taliban. Militants were also used to oppose India in the Indian-held Kashmir.

Pursuit of strategic interests apparently at odds with US aims and mixed messages from the state and media brought muddle.

The Taliban overplayed their hand when, under cover of a controversial peace pact, they denounced the constitution and pushed out of the former tourist valley of Swat towards the capital.

“The Taliban attempt to make their presence felt in an area that a large number of Pakistanis are familiar with, and the way they went about it, the brutality, exposed them and changed opinion,” said Samina Ahmed of the International Crisis Group think-tank.

“They are no longer considered alienated, disaffected Pakistanis who need to be brought into the fold. They’re looked upon much more as criminals who should be brought to justice.”

The violence the Taliban have unleashed demonstrated the extent of the threat they posed and is steeling opposition, Ahmed said.

“It strengthens the government’s position that the terrorists pose a major threat … It’s no longer a remote conflict being fought in FATA,” she said.

The state now had to show it can finish the offensive in Swat quickly and wind up the militant networks. “Their main aim is to weaken public opinion, especially in Punjab,” said retired Brigadier Asad Munir, a former intelligence agency officer, referring to Pakistan’s most prosperous and politically important province, of which Lahore is capital.

“You won’t see this now but if the operation is prolonged then things will start changing. They have got to do it in a week or 10 days,” he said of the Swat operation.

Wavering at this stage would dash the hopes of the public and be disastrous, he said.

‘Taliban state’: “If they stop the operation now then prepare yourself for a Taliban state,” he said.

Threat of disease looms amdist unhygienic conditions

Threat of disease looms amdist unhygienic conditions

A cook makes food for displaced people at the Chota Lahore refugee camp, at Swabi, in northwest Pakistan, Friday, May 29, 2009. The U.N. humanitarian chief issued a desperate appeal for hundreds of millions of dollars to help 2.4 million Pakistanis who have fled the war against Taliban militants, warning that the U.N. can only sustain its current aid efforts for one month. -AP

GENEVA: The UN refugee agency is pitching tents and building toilets for the families hosting an estimated 2 million Pakistanis uprooted by an offensive against the Taliban.

About 200,000 are sheltering in displacement camps and the rest have sought refuge in other villages and regions.

Doctors are treating people for disease, infection and mental disorders, and fear the monsoon season may bring more illness.

‘Many local families have seen their households double or triple overnight,’ UN agency spokesman Ron Redmond said on Friday. ‘The longer that situation goes on, the more difficult it becomes for … the people who are hosting them to maintain the same generosity.’

About 5,000 ‘family tents’ to shelter up to 50,000 people were distributed this week in the Mardan and Swabi districts of the North West Frontier Province, he said.

‘You are going to start seeing these tents being erected in the gardens of houses throughout those districts where families are hosting displaced people,’ Redmond told a news briefing in Geneva, where the UN High Commissioner for Refugees is based.

It is also providing hygiene kits and latrines to households, he said, as well as repairing village water pumps and improving sanitation facilities in mosques, which have also been helping to house and care for the uprooted.

Crowded host villages could also face the threat of disease as a result of low vaccination coverage and unhygienic conditions, the World Health Organisation told the briefing.

WHO spokesman Paul Garwood said that uprooted people without proper shelter also could face added risks during the monsoon season from water-borne diseases such as dysentery.

About 30,000 of those displaced by Pakistan’s conflict are estimated to have severe mental disorders as a result of the stress they have undergone, and this number could double as the fighting stretches on, Garwood said.

Doctors in the region have been treating people for acute respiratory-tract infections, diarrhoea, diabetes, high blood
pressure and asthma, and have reported some outbreaks of measles among the displaced though these appear to have been brought under control, according to the WHO.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, which is working with the Pakistani Red Crescent Society, also raised concerns about people who have been unable to leave areas of Swat where fighting is continuing.

In the main Swat town of Mingora, ICRC spokesman Florian Westphal said ‘there is no running water, there is no electricity, the district hospital has closed down’.

‘We are continuing our attempts to access that area, including Mingora, as quickly as possible, security permitting.’

Civilians suffer in war against Taliban

Civilians suffer in war against Taliban

‘Both sides were firing mortar shells — an inaccurate weapon that often hits targets other than the intended one.’ — AP

MARDAN: Moabullah dragged the dead in his wheelbarrow for burial behind a girl’s school. There were about 30 bodies, he says, many blown apart in fighting between the Pakistan army and Taliban militants in the Swat Valley.

As Pakistan fights to take back the valley and other parts of the northwest, residents fleeing the fighting are pouring into hospitals and refugee camps. Many, like Moabullah, are telling their stories to anyone who will listen.

Taken together, their accounts — along with those of aid workers and hospital staff — suggest significant civilian casualties, mostly as a result of aerial raids by an army more equipped for conventional war with India than guerrilla warfare with the Taliban.

The Associated Press conducted more than 150 interviews in refugee camps from Mardan to Swabi, at hospitals and basic health units as well as into the battle zone in Buner to seek a picture of the plight of civilians amid the combat.

No independent tallies of the dead have been conducted. Aid groups like the international Red Cross and US-based Human Rights Watch say such a task is impossible until they are able to enter most parts of the roughly 4,000-square-mile area of fighting — about four times the size of Hawaii.

But the very perception among villagers of the causes of widespread killings, injuries and damage to homes could undermine popular support needed for the US-backed Pakistan army campaign and possibly generate sympathy for the insurgency.

‘Civilian casualties are much higher than those of either the army or the Taliban,’ said Ali Bakt, speaking at a hospital in the northwestern capital of Peshawar after fleeing the Taliban mountain stronghold of Peochar.

He said both sides were firing mortar shells — an inaccurate weapon that often hits targets other than the intended one.

Yusuf, a 21-year-old man who fled the fighting in Buner, said he supported the military operation but was fed up with the civilian casualties.

‘It’s good to take action against the Taliban, but there is a problem for civilians,’ said Yusuf, who like many in the Pakistani frontier region offers only one name. He recalled the killings of 10 people whose bodies could not be recovered for three days because of the fighting.

The army is not releasing tolls of civilian casualties, but insists they are minimal and that it is doing everything possible to avoid causing them.

‘In our judgment there are very few casualties,’ military spokesman Gen. Athar Abbas said, emphasizing the main targets are militant training camps and their mountain hide-outs. ‘But even if we are fighting in a populated area, we are using precision strikes.’

At a government-run hospital in the town of Mardan just south of the Swat Valley, Moabullah gave his account of the carnage.

‘I myself put the bodies in the wheelbarrow and took them to a graveyard behind a girls’ school,’ Moabullah said as he held the hand of his dehydrated nine-year-old son, Abu Bakr, who was lying in a rancid-smelling bed.

Intravenous drips from makeshift poles were nourishing the thin boy and, in the next bed, an elderly gentleman who appeared to be malnourished and barely breathing.

The old man’s nephew, Nawab Ali, said they fled their homes in the Swat Valley’s main city of Mingora on May 22, defying an army-imposed curfew. They had run out of food, and water supplies were low.

‘People were coming on foot. We had just reached near the village of Abwa when the army fired on us. Six people were killed and seven others hurt. I saw this myself,’ Ali said. ‘The army was trying to hit the Taliban but hit civilians trying to flee instead.’

Four women were killed including the mother of a four-month-old baby, whose grandfather carried him to safety, according to Ali.

The AP interviews suggest that many casualties occurred after residents defied the curfew to flee their homes, often out of desperation because of little food, water or medical aid. Most villagers blamed the casualties on government aerial assaults and missile attacks. They said they were either caught in the crossfire or targeted for defying the curfew.

But villagers also recounted, particularly in Mingora, Taliban refusing to allow people to leave because the militants wanted to use the civilians as human shields, according to Ali Dayan Hasan, Human Rights Watch’s Pakistan representative.

Hasan said he had a report that militants slit the throat of one man after he said he told soldiers there were no Taliban in his village. The Taliban didn’t believe his account of what he’d said to the army.

The army launched its offensive to oust the Taliban nearly a month ago after a peace deal soured and Taliban streamed out of their Swat Valley stronghold to take over neighbouring regions. So far, the fighting has caused 1.5 million people to flee.

The military claims to have killed more than 1,000 Taliban fighters, a figure that cannot be independently verified, and says more than 50 soldiers have also died.

The International Committee for the Red Cross said it fears the fighting has taken a high toll on civilians but that verification is impossible in most parts of the battle zone. In areas it has been able to enter like Dagar in Buner the Red Cross has treated 240 war wounded, said spokesman Sebastian Brack.

In the emergency room at The Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, a dirt-smeared admission ledger indicates the majority of the wounded were from Swat, Dargai, Buner and Dir, where the heaviest fighting has taken place.

In one week the hospital received more than 50 victims including a three-year-old, two 13-year-olds and a 10-year-old from Swat.

Most, like sweets salesman Saddar Ali of the Shah Deri area in Swat, had shrapnel wounds while fleeing in defiance of the curfew. Four relatives carried Ali into the emergency room. He was then laid gently on a stretcher covered with a hot, sticky, brown plastic sheet.

Khan Maluk, 50, said most of the sun-baked mud homes in Fizaqat, not far from Mingora, were destroyed in blistering shelling.

‘One of my relatives died and the security guard was killed,’ he said as he watched over his mentally handicapped son, who had an arm wound. The young man rocked back and forth, crying and moaning as his father spoke.

Lying on a bed, his head propped up by a handful of rags, 20-year-old Saddam Hussein — the name is not that unusual in the Muslim world — said he too was wounded when he defied the curfew.

His family had fled their Kalam home in the Swat Valley during a previous army operation against the militants, then returned within days of a peace accord last month. When the new fighting broke out, Hussein, a day labourer, packed up and left, hoping to find work.

Left behind and trapped in their home were his mother, brothers and sisters.

‘It’s been eight days now since I have heard from my family. The last phone call I received, they said they had nothing to eat and to send them something,’ he said. ‘Since then I have had no contact.’

In another small hospital room, more than eight patients crowded into four beds.

Jahan, a middle-aged woman wrapped in a pale green chador, said jets bombed Pir Aman Qilla, just next door to her village in Takhtabund.

‘I could see 10 houses were destroyed,’ Jahan said. ‘But we couldn’t leave our homes. We couldn’t find the dead.’

A patient at the Mardan hospital, Ziaullah Khan, said he heard aircraft overhead in the Buner town of Pir Baba after fleeing his Mingora home.

‘Then we came under fire,’ Khan said. ‘We were using a back road. Five vehicles were hit. One van had 15 people from one family in it. But our van was still running. We had to leave. We couldn’t stop.’

The stories were similar at a dusty, wind-swept refugee camp on the edge of Mardan.

Hayat Khan, of Odigram village in the Swat Valley, said he lost his niece to the fighting: ‘In front of me, two or three were killed by the army,’ he said.

Fazlur Rahman, who fled from Dir, said ‘350 homes in our village was destroyed. You can decide from that how many are dead, and the others can’t move because of the curfew.’

Another refugee, Sirajuddin, said he fled Gumbatmera village in the Swat Valley on May 20 after military jets pounded the area, destroying a large number of homes.

‘I am a local and I know who is there and who was in the houses. For some 24 days it has been going on. I went to seven funerals in two days and one time we all ran away because of the jets. What I know is that in the destroyed houses there are people who are dead. But we can’t get to them.’

Afzal, a 65-year-old wearing a beard dyed bright red with henna, said he saw soldiers fire shells at two vehicles that were defying the curfew to harvest wheat.

‘Maybe they thought they were Taliban,’ he said. ‘We don’t know about army or Taliban — but we know lots of civilians are dying.’

Waziristan militants start mining region: report

Waziristan militants start mining region: report

Given the ongoing military operation in Swat, militants in Waziristan have started mining the area. — AP/File

ISLAMABAD: A latest advisory issued by the Interior ministry to the country’s security agencies reveals that the Taliban and other militants operating in Waziristan have started planting landmines in the area, a BBC report said.

Given the ongoing military operation in Swat, militants, after consulting with the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan chief Baitullah Mehsud, have begun mining the area, the advisory says.

Mehsud has ordered Asmatullah Muawiya and Qari Zafar to plant landmines across the South Waziristan tribal region, whereas, different militant groups active in North Waziristan have taken the task on.

Meanwhile, a source in the interior ministry said top police officials in all four provinces had been alerted regarding a possible terrorist plot in the Punjab province. They had also been advised to beef up security in their respective areas, the source told BBC.

The government advisory said militants were planning suicide attacks in different areas of the Punjab province in reaction to the ongoing anti-Taliban operation in Swat and other districts. The fundamental targets in these attacks are likely to be the armed forces and law enforcement institutions.

Stolen US arms being used in Swat: ISPR

Stolen US arms being used in Swat: ISPR

By Iftikhar A. Khan

Major General Athar Abbas addressing a press conference at PID. -APP File Photo

ISLAMABAD: The military on Friday said US weapons stolen from Afghanistan were being used against security forces in Swat and Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

While speaking to Dawn, military spokesman Major General Athar Abbas said the terrorists in FATA and Swat were getting material and financial support through the Afghan border and alleged that some hostile foreign agencies were abetting them.

Answering a question about the assertions over the security of strategic assets of Pakistan, he said the United States should stop worrying about the nukes and start thinking about the weapons lost in Afghanistan.

‘We are not surprised if these weapons slip out from Afghanistan and many of them are found in Swat and are being used against our troops’, he remarked.

Giving details on the progress of operation Rahe Rast, he said security forces have recovered a huge quantity of looted and stolen food items and a cache of arms including 12.7 mm guns from four tunnels discovered during search and cordon operations in Peochar.

He said that the food items recovered from tunnels were apparently stolen and looted as these were otherwise not locally available.

He said the packing of the food items also shows that they were part of relief goods meant to reach the people stranded in the areas where the military operation against militants was taking place.

General Athar Abbas said the security forces continued with cordon and search operation and successfully cleared the stronghold of miscreants at Peochar village.

He said that forces have secured Bahrain and the area was under their complete control.

General Athar Abbas also said that 28 miscreants were killed and seven were apprehended in various areas of Swat during exchange of fire, while five soldiers and two civilians were injured.

The military spokesman said cordon and search operations were still continuing in Mingora.

Militants getting Nato arms from across border

[Somebody in Afghanistan is supplying weapons to the Pakistani Taliban.  Care to make any guesses who it is?]

Militants getting Nato arms from across border

Published: May 30, 2009

ARMY spokesman Maj-Gen Athar Abbas has maintained that he sees Swat as a political problem, which can only be partially solved by military intervention and he claimed many of the Taliban’s arms are coming across the border from Afghanistan.
He agreed when asked whether that included Nato weapons, as suggested in recent reports. He said Washington was too focused on the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
The United States should “stop worrying about the nukes and start worrying about the weapons lost in Afghanistan,” he said in an interview with the CNN.
He described the conflict in Swat as “an existential threat” – a fight for the very existence of Pakistan in its current form. And he seemed acutely aware that the portrayal of that conflict to the West would be critical.
The office of Maj-Gen Athar Abbas has a bank of six flat-screen televisions covering most of one wall, showing all the main international English-language news channels, and several local ones besides, according to a CNN report.
This is one of the rooms where Pakistan’s media war is being fought, and Maj Abbas, the Pakistan Army’s main spokesman, is a key part of the battle.
CNN correspondent Dan Rivers says, “I kid with him that CNN isn’t among the channels on his screens, and he seems slightly hurt, insisting it is. He’s right and I’m wrong – CNN was on a commercial break. In fact, I rather get the impression Abbas, who has become the face of the Army’s operation against Taliban militants in the Swat Valley, watches our coverage closely. One of his subordinates complains about one of our reports – not the accuracy, but something in the general tone,” he adds. The correspondent says whatever Abbas thinks of CNN, he is more than willing to explain how the Pakistan army sees the broad picture as it fights in the Swat Valley.

The current conflict there is intricately linked to the situation in Afghanistan, in his view.
A US government report last month warned that the Pentagon did not have “complete records” for about one-third of the 242,000 weapons the United States had provided to the Afghan army, or for a further 135,000 weapons other countries sent.
The Afghan army “cannot fully safeguard and account for weapons,” the Government Accountability Office found.
When asked how Taliban are well armed the Taliban, the Army spokesman replied they were “very well equipped from the border area.”
He also conspiratorially suggested they also were getting weapons and support from “foreign intelligence agencies.”
When asked what that meant, he smiled and said he can’t elaborate – declining to repeat the speculation in the press here that India may be somehow involved in stirring up trouble on Pakistan’s northwestern border.
But the very suggestion plays to a military strategist’s nightmare scenario – the Pakistan Army bogged down in the northwest, unable to focus on the disputed province of Kashmir, a key element of its conflict with India, according to the CNN.
The military wants to get done in Swat as soon as possible, but Maj-Gen Abbas acknowledged troops would be there for some time. He estimated that 10 to 15 per cent of the Taliban there were foreign fighters: “Well-trained Arabs, Afghans, with a sprinkling of central Asians and North Africans.”
He also said there were Yemenis, Saudis and Uzbeks fighting, as Pakistan had become the destination du jour of the international jihadist, with Arabs in commanding positions and the other foreign fighters bringing in expertise.
He said he thought that perhaps Mingora, the main town at the gateway to the Swat Valley, might be secured in 48 hours, but it might be much, much longer before the area was totally pacified.
“First you have to disarm the Taliban and then re-establish the writ of government,” he said.
He admitted that Swat and neighbouring Bajaur districts “were lost to the state” and that now “we are paying in blood for areas we had already occupied.” Now, he said, the Army is set for a long fight. “We are prepared for that – we are mentally prepared.”
But, according to the CNN, they are also prepared for the conflict to be taken to other parts of Pakistan. An ISI building was attacked in Lahore this week. The Taliban claimed they carried out the attack and Maj Abbas said the security services expected more attacks.
The broadcast says there is also the risk of the Taliban using the mass exodus of civilians from the Swat Valley as cover to penetrate other towns and cities. Already almost three million people have flooded out of what was once a tranquil tourist destination, and the military fears that among the mass movement of humanity there will be those plotting to strike at the heart of Pakistan’s cities.
“It’s a very big issue — a serious concern,” Abbas said.

And now psywar

And now psywar

Published: May 30, 2009

AS Peshawar and Dera Ismail Khan came under terrorist attacks on Thursday killing 13 and injuring 90 unsuspecting victims, a Tehrik Taliban Pakistan leader threatened to attack more cities inside Punjab, calling on the population to leave them, thus signaling the beginning of psychological warfare, or psywar.
The surge in attacks is an expression of desperation. It indicates that the situation could become worse before it starts improving. Hakimullah Mehsud has not only threatened to conduct attacks inside Lahore, Multan, and Rawalpindi, but also the federal capital. His statement, however, is indicative of the militants’ weak spots. While he has claimed the attack in Lahore was motivated by the military operation in Swat, the fact that it came weeks after the operation had started, and only after tanks and heavy artillery started rolling into South Waziristan, shows that despite the claims of solidarity every militant group is for itself in the ultimate analysis. TTP spokesman Muslim Khan’s intercept, pleading for help, reveals the same weakness. If one was to accept Hakimullah Mehsud’s statement that the TTP was “looking for this (Lahore) target for a long time,” what one would conclude is that it is finding it increasingly difficult to penetrate the Punjab heartland. Despite the fact that the police is not trained or equipped to fight the terrorists, it succeeded in barring the terrorists from entering the ISI headquarters. The Army, which so far has lost 90 soldiers, including officers, during the Swat operation, is fully determined to face the challenge as General Kayani’s statement on Thursday indicates.

The initiation of psywar by the militants is meant to spread panic among the population and weaken the government’s resolve to fight. Thankfully, Pakistan is run by an elected government and, unlike the Musharraf administration, is dealing with the situation with the full support of Parliament. What is more, the PPP and the PML(N) are finally on the same page. The military is wholeheartedly carrying out the policy devised by the government. What is needed is that the security agencies, which are increasingly under attack, improve their efficiency and fully concentrate on eliminating the threat faced by the country. Meanwhile, provincial intelligence agencies have to be provided the sophisticated equipment that they have been clamouring for to intercept messages between terrorists. Their demand for electronic gadgets which can help them detect explosives from a distance, to be better able to ward off attacks, should also be met. The need for cooperation between the federal and the provincial governments was never so dire as it is today.

Head money on top terrorists shows failure of spy agencies

Head money on top terrorists shows failure of spy agencies

By Ansar Abbasi

ISLAMABAD: The announcement of head-money in millions on all the top commanders of the Taliban in Swat presents a perfect case of intelligence agencies’ failure to hunt down the extremist-cum-terrorist networks, as all the top commanders are still wanted and none has been apprehended or killed.

Background interactions reveal despite the great challenge the country’s intelligence agencies are confronted with, average and below average defence and police officers have been posted in leading spy agencies, rendering them incompetent. In view of this situation, faulty reports have been generated, which led to wrong decisions.

By announcing head-money on the key militant figures, the government has admitted that it has no knowledge of their whereabouts. It was a serious lapse on the part of the government and security agencies that they had launched the Swat operation but without ascertaining as to where the likes of Maulana Fazlullah, Muslim Khan, Ibne Amin and Shah Doraan were. So far, the Army claims to have killed more than 1,000 militants but none of the top militant commanders was included in this huge number of killings.

Sources said the top posts, particularly in the military-dominated agencies — the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) and the Military Intelligence (MI) — are generally held by career generals, two-star and three-star. However, against the mid-level and most importantly field posts, those defence officers who do not have a promising career are appointed.

“Without talented and career officers, the field intelligence apparatus of the country cannot meet the challenge they are entrusted,” a source said, adding only career officers with promising future would prove to be effective spies as in case of failures their career prospects would be affected.

Rarely career officers of the level of captain, major and even colonel of the Pakistan Army, Air Force or Navy were posted to the ISI and the MI. Assigning them field positions was simply out of question.

The Military Intelligence is a pure Pakistan Army’s baby; however, the ISI despite being a civilian agency is ruled by Army officers, who hold almost all its key positions: whether in the field or at its headquarters at Aabpara.

Similarly, the Intelligence Bureau, which is a pure civilian agency, is in a bad shape. The IB is an organisation that has the combination of officers from the Police Service of Pakistan (PSP) and the agencies’ own recruits. The top post of director-general of the Intelligence Bureau is included in the cadre of the Police Service of Pakistan but the post is now rarely offered to the PSP officers. Generally, it goes to retired or serving Army officers or political appointees.

Under the rules, the IB contains a reasonable number of posts for police officers from BS-18 to BS-21 but like the ISI and the MI career police officers are not posted to the IB. Generally, only unwanted PSPs are dumped in this agency and many of the PSP posts, particularly in BS-20 and BS-21, remain vacant as even the average PSPs do not want to be posted to the IB. It is rare that some motivated officer joins the IB out of his own desire.

Owing to the faulty intelligence, the military operations become more difficult and chances of collateral damage grow as is the case in Swat. Efficient intelligence networks successfully penetrate into militant and terrorist groups but no such thing is seen to have happened in Swat where the military has to resort to area weapons instead of target weapons owing to which chances of civilian casualty have grown.

Hard-line Kashmir separatist denounces Taliban

Hard-line Kashmir separatist denounces Taliban

SRINAGAR: “Acts of terrorism” by Taliban extremists in Pakistan are un-Islamic, a hard-line Muslim politician campaigning for Kashmir’s independence from India said Saturday.

Referring to Thursday’s spate of bomb attacks in Pakistan’s northwestern cities, in which 15 people were killed, Syed Ali Geelani told reporters that, “such attacks are forbidden in Islam as innocents are killed. “Islam is a religion of peace and such attacks defame the religion,” said the 79-year-old Geelani, who supports a two-decade insurgency against India’s rule over half of Kashmir.

Geelani, who heads a hard-line faction in the region’s main separatist alliance, the Hurriyat (Freedom) Conference, called on the Taliban to lay down their arms and hold peace talks with Pakistan’s government. “Taliban leadership needs to give up violence and adopt peaceful means to get their demands addressed,” Geelani said, warning that killings of “innocent people cannot be tolerated.”

Like many separatists seeking an end to India’s rule over part of Kashmir, Geelani is opposed to negotiations with New Delhi until it recognises Kashmir as a disputed territory.

Zion Sets Its Sights On the Rest of the Americas

[Zion sets its sights on the rest of the Americas.]

Israel to attend OAS summit to counter Iran clout

JERUSALEM: Israel’s deputy foreign minister will attend the annual summit of the Organization of American States next week in a bid to counter Iran’s growing influence in Latin America, an official said on Saturday.

Danny Ayalon plans to meet representatives of several Latin American states at the summit in Honduras as arch-foe Iran tightens trade and military ties with a number of countries, mainly Venezuela and Bolivia, the official told.

“Israel sees in the summit a chance to deepen economic and diplomatic ties with Latin America and to match Iran’s and (the Lebanese militia) Hezbollah’s involvement in the region,” said the official, who asked not to be identified.

The decision to send a high-ranking Israeli representative to the OAS summit for the first time in years stems from Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s plan to bolster diplomatic ties in regions such as Latin America and Africa.

PM concerned over Nato forces raise in Afghanistan

PM concerned over Nato forces raise in Afghanistan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani said that military action was solution to no problem; however, the government had to launch the operation under inevitable circumstances and he took this decision in consultation with consensus.

Talking to media at the PM Secretariat, he said the increase in US presence in Afghanistan may cause the militants to enter Pakistan again, adding the borders will be strictly monitored to counter the menace.

The Prime Minister said the terrorists present in Pakistan are being funded from abroad, and the elements in drug mafia are also supporting them.

Gilani said the affected people of Swat would be given financial assistance to build their houses and the world community would be approached for the purpose.

He said, “Those who are fighting for the defence of country should be supported,” adding he salutes the jawans of Pakistan army who are busy with operation in Swat.

The PM said the army personnel are fighting for the nation to save their future and their sacrifices would not go in vain.

Earlier, speaking at a ceremony here, he said the country is in safe hands.

The media should project the real face of Islam to the world, adding he is against all bans on media and the government will put an end to all the Draconian Laws to give more freedom to the media.

On this occasion, the PM distributed letters to the employees of the government television channel, who have been made permanent.

Swat Relief: Call out for Doctors, Community health workers, Gynecologists & Nurses

Swat Relief: Call out for Doctors, Community health workers, Gynecologists & Nurses

Posted by Teeth Maestro

A Severe Health Crisis:

There are 66,000 pregnant women living at the relief camps in Pakistan and many of them are likely to give birth in the next three months, the UN has said. Displaced children need special health and nutrition assistance as well as access to primary and emergency medical care to prevent disease. With the dire conditions, these people are living in there is a serious threat of an epidemic spreading in the camps.

Termed as the worst humanitarian crisis that Pakistan has experienced. UNHCR reports that there are 2.2 million people displaced. Conditions for the conflict areas are a cause of concern since access to water, electricity and health care is extremely limited. Fighting and a general lack of security have disrupted supply chains in Dir, Buner and Swat, making goods – food in particular – scarce and expensive. In addition, frequent curfews make it difficult for people to obtain whatever basic services do happen to be available in their towns and villages. In Mingora, for example, the Swat district’s main hospital is now abandoned and water and electricity have been cut off for over a week.

Large camps are being set up to house civilians fleeing conflict-stricken areas. According to official statistics, however, only a fraction of the 2.2. Million officially registered internally displaced people (IDPs) have moved into them.

We urgently require doctors, community health workers, gynecologists and nurses to go up to the areas. We, a group of citizens working with Concern for Children (organization tied with GSK) have arranged accommodation and are arranging for travel expenses for anyone who would like to go to these areas.

For more information please contact 0333-3464403 or email us at or

We are working in conjunction with Sungi and Omar Asghar Khan Development Foundation to provide emergency medical care to those IDP’s that have not been able to reach the government camps. These people are living with host families who are themselves impoverished, or have been placed in make shift shelters in schools.

The organisations on the ground have informed us that the need for female doctors, especially gynecologists is dire and many women in the make shift shelters are likely to give birth in unhygienic surroundings, far from medical care. We will be taking up missions of female doctors, medicines and safe delivery kits to those that need it the most

NADRA charging Rs 50 for ID Card Verification from IDP’s in Swat

NADRA charging Rs 50 for ID Card Verification from IDP’s in Swat

Posted by Teeth Maestro

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “untitled“, posted with vodpod

Translated by Noman Qadir courtesy of the Video posted on PakistanIDP

NADRA is charging Rs.50 for folks who lost/misplaced or had their cards destroyed in the process of fleeing their homes. The provincial government, district government, civil society and individual citizens are doing all they can to feed, house and clothe these IDPs.

The federal government charges them Rs.50 for their Identification Cards. Call your MNA, Senator, Uncle, or Auntie, call anybody and everybody you can, and tell them how outrageous this is. NADRA should stick to making money on contracts from foreign governments (as it does when it mass produces machine readable passports for other countries). This software house financed by the taxpayer should not be charging IDPs for a document that is a human and constitutional right in Pakistan.

It is indeed a sad situation that the government has the audacity to charge anything so as to merely get verified and be able to get relief aid to feed their families – this is criminal

Collection Drive for IDP Relief team to Swat

Collection Drive for IDP Relief team to Swat

UN estimates there are 980,000 people being displaced out of NWFP – there is tremendous suffering and a severe lack of funds and Volunteers.

IDP's scrambling for food in SWATFacebook Event – Collection / Donation appeal for IDP’s in SWAT
I plan to lead a team to the affected areas hopefully to depart from Karachi on the 18th of May 2009 to take the collected donation items personally into the region of Mardan and physically distribute the items only to the needy and suffering.

We are interested in anything that you can contribute. We are hoping to pre-pack the collected items into small handy packages so as to distribute items to each individual person. The small packages will help us avoid hoarders who made even the 2005 Earthquake a business.

Please Please do not donate old/expired stuff. Make sure edible items are hygienic and properly packed.

  • Most Important things Pedestal Fans, Tents, Mattress.
  • Utensils: Jerri cans (large plastic cans that hold 20 liters of water or other liquids), Crockery, Buckets
  • Toiletries: Tissues, Soaps, Dettol (antibacterial cleaners), Towels
  • Food: Rice [3 kg pack], Wheat [3kg pack], Sugar [1 kg pack], Tea [1 box each], Variety of Daals [1 kg each], Milk [in tetra packs or powder], Safe drinking water


  1. Most important thing is Anti Mosquito sprays
  2. Water purification tablets.
  3. Life Saving drugs.
  4. Vaccines for malaria, cholera, typhoid, influenza.
  5. Pain killers including strong ones like morphine derivatives, tremadol, pethadine, kinz .
  6. Antibiotics e.g. tetnus, amoxil, gentamycin.
  7. IV cannulas
  8. IV Drip sets
  9. IV drips: normal saline, ringerlactate
  10. Local anesthetics (injections)
  11. Cotton bandages, cotton.
  12. Surgical instruments: e.g needle holders, forceps, tweezers.
  13. Suturing materials, Skin staples.

Just think about it that if you live in tent then which kind of things you need there so buy it and donate it.


USA’s Secret War In Pakistan

USA’s Secret War In Pakistan
by Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent
JALALABAD, Afghanistan – October 07, 2008

U.S. military officials don’t talk about our secret war in Pakistan. Don’t even ask, I was told, on U.S. military bases in Afghanistan at Bagram and Jalalabad. on’t ask about the remotely-controlled American drones armed with missiles that are now hunting across the Pakistani border, searching through the mountain peaks, valleys and dusty villages inside Pakistan for the leaders of a few dozen networks of al-Qaida fighters, Taliban militants, warlords, weapons smugglers and opium traffickers.

And certainly don’t ask about the troops on bases here in Afghanistan who don’t wear uniforms, have long beards (so they can better blend in during covert operations), tattoos and don’t mingle with regular soldiers. They eat in their own chow halls, plan their own missions and don’t talk much. They don’t talk at all to the media.  They’re the men who have been called in to cross into Pakistan when the drones can’t get deep enough to find and kill their targets.

They are elite Special Operations Forces, the most-highly trained and covert of the U.S. military. They are America’s ghost warriors. According to Pakistani villagers who claim to have witnessed their operations, the “Special Ops” work in small teams, fast roping out of helicopters, air assaulting their objective before the enemy can re-group. Their strengths are rapid violence, stealth, mobility and surprise. The Special Operations Forces don’t receive much attention or credit in the media, but they’re leading America’s secret war inside Pakistan, at least for now.

The Army Times, a military newspaper, recently reported that the U.S. will temporarily halt ground incursions into Pakistan. The newspaper quoted an unnamed Pentagon official as saying, “We are now working with the Pakistanis to make sure that those types of ground-type insertions do not happen, at least for a period of time to give them an opportunity to do what they claim they are desiring to do.” The newspaper said the halt did not apply to the incursions by drones.

U.S. perspective

While details of American operations in Pakistan are sparse, several commanders have helped me understand the American motivation for the raids. They say the cross-border incursions are necessary because the Pakistani government has failed to contain Taliban and al-Qaida fighters. Pakistan’s tribal region – 10,000 square miles along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan – has become a no-man’s-land where radical militants train, equip, rest, regroup, refit, plan and launch attacks on American troops in Afghanistan and on the Pakistani government in Islamabad.

Pakistan has taken some action. In August, the Pakistani military launched an offensive in Bajaur, a militant stronghold near the border. The Pakistani army is also building alliances with tribal leaders who have turned on the Taliban and al-Qaida. But Pakistan’s actions have yet to produce significant results, according to tribal elders, witnesses, and the U.S. military. The border region remains a lawless insurgent safe haven that the United States has decided it can no longer tolerate. From the U.S. perspective, the military had to act in Pakistan, a U.S. ally, because the Pakistani government and military could not, or would not, crack down on Islamic radicals.

Pakistan’s perspective

Sipping cups of green tea in a villa in Islamabad, I recently spoke for three hours with a Pakistani military official, who also worked for several years in his country’s intelligence service, to get the other side of the story. He argued passionately that both Pakistan and the United States share the same goal – to wipe out the dangerous radicals – but that the U.S. cross-border incursions are counter-productive. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject, said Pakistan has deployed 120,000 troops along its border with Afghanistan, stationed at 1,000 posts.

He compared Pakistan’s force to just over 30,000 U.S. troops at about 100 posts on the Afghan side of the border. “You see where the insufficiency of forces is?” he asked.  “I don’t understand why [the Americans] don’t just kill the militants on their side of the border. They show us videos as proof of militants crossing into Pakistan. Why don’t they just sort them out there, in Afghanistan, instead of making videos?’” I asked the Pakistani official about the U.S. cross-border raids. Do they help? Don’t they target the same people who plot attacks against Pakistan? Unlike the U.S. military, he had a lot to say.

The official claimed there have been about 50 drone incursions into Pakistan since this summer, along with roughly 10 “physical incursions.” He claimed the raids had killed “several hundred” civilians and were causing panic in the tribal areas. “The villagers hear the buzzing [of the drones] and are terrified. They are scared to have weddings, funerals or any social gatherings, afraid they will be blown up by the drones,” he said. The official also claimed the U.S. strikes undermine the Pakistani military’s ability to operate in the tribal areas. It’s a problem of logistics and terrain, he explained.

The few roads in the mountainous border area run through villages. Since the Pakistani military lacks aircraft, the roads are the army’s main supply line. The official argued that if the villagers, angered by American air strikes, turn on the Pakistani military – who are after all U.S. allies – they could cut off Pakistani troops. “We may have to pull them out completely if [the American incursions] continue. We cannot leave the troops there, if we are cut off from supplies and can’t support them.”

Human toll

While the United States and Pakistan argue over the incursions, conditions in border villages are rapidly deteriorating. The mountain town of Swat was once known as the Switzerland of Pakistan, a resort where Pakistanis vacationed to escape the bustle of Islamabad and Karachi.  Today it is a battle zone. According to a Pakistani military spokesman, in Swat Valley Taliban and al-Qaida fighters have burned down 111 girls schools, destroyed 37 government buildings, blown up 29 bridges, incapacitated the main power plant and cut the gas supply.

Villagers are often completely without power.  Schools that haven’t been burned down don’t operate. Not surprisingly, more than a quarter million refugees have escaped areas like Swat and Bajour.  At least 20,000 refugees have crossed into Afghanistan.  Aid workers say tens of thousands more may be coming.

What can be done?

A senior U.S. military official told me he’d heard Pakistan’s argument – leave us alone, we’ll handle it, stay out – a thousand times, but had yet to see results. But what can the U.S. actually do? It’s difficult to fight a secret war, especially here. The Special Operations Forces must fight in the mountains, far away from their bases in Afghanistan, against a battle-hardened enemy funded by the opium trade.

Since U.S. troops must operate covertly, they also can’t afford to lose a single man, fearing the enemy would drag his body Somalia-style through the streets, exposing their presence. The Americans also can’t leave anything behind, no equipment, no bags of MREs, no tracks, no trace they were there fighting America’s newest, most secret war. Both American and Pakistani officials seem to agree that the only long-term solution to combating the militants in the border region is through better coordination.  For now, however, there’s little trust between the two sides, and suspicions are growing.

Gunmen attack Ahmadinejad election campaign centre

Gunmen attack Ahmadinejad election campaign centre

TEHRAN : Gunmen attacked President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s election campaign centre in the southeastern Iranian city of Zahedan on Friday, wounding three people including a child, the official IRNA news agency said.

It said the gunmen, on motorcycles, opened fire at the centre at around 7:00 pm (1430 GMT) a day after a suicide bomber killed 25 people and wounded 125 others in an attack on a Shiite mosque in Zahedan.

Iran’s state-broadcaster said the pan-Arab television channel Al-Arabiya reported that the Jundullah (Soldiers of God) Sunni rebel group said it was behind Thursday’s mosque attack.

Zahedan is the restive capital of Sistan-Baluchestan province bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“Three knife-wielding people on motorbikes stopped outside the centre on Saadi Street, cursed, made threats and tore up billboards,” Mohammad Reza Zahed Sheikhi, who heads Ahmadinejad’s election office in Zahedan, told IRNA.

He said that as campaign workers for the June 12 presidential election went to protest, “the attackers pulled out guns and shot at them.”

He said two campaign workers, Nasser and Khodadad Miri, received arm, stomach and shoulder wounds and were taken to hospital. The child was also shot in the stomach and was undergoing surgery, he told IRNA.

“The men ran away, but the police chased and arrested them,” Sheikhi said.

A senior government official who declined to be named told AFP that incidents targeting any election candidates will be investigated.

The attack on the mosque and Friday’s shooting were reminiscent of a similar outbreak of violence just days before Iran’s last presidential election in 2005 which Ahmadinejad won.

Bombs hit Tehran and the city of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran in June four years ago, killing at least eight people and wounding scores more.

The deputy governor of Sistan-Baluchestan, Jalal Sayah, told the semi-official Fars news agency that the bombers of the Shiite Amir al-Momenin mosque were “hired by America and the agents of the arrogance.”

Officials in the Islamic republic usually use the term “global arrogance” to refer to arch-foe Washington.

Interior Minister Sadegh Mahsooli also pointed the finger at the United States and Israel.

“Enemies try to influence the election by terror, just as they did in Zahedan yesterday,” Mehr news agency quoted him as saying.

“The terror agents are neither Sunni nor Shiite but American and Israeli seeking a Sunni-Shiite divide.”

Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in a statement read out by state television, urged restraint.

“Those who committed this enormous sin may have done it out of anger and ignorance, but undoubtedly the hands of political planners in some interfering powers and their spy services are covered in the innocent victims’ blood.”

Khamenei said Sunni clerics in the province “should once again express their firm stand in loathing the corrupt ones who commit such crimes in the name of defending Sunni adherents. Shiite clerics should prevent thoughtless and angry reactions.”

Zahedan MP Payman Foroozesh told ILNA news agency the mosque attacker was a suicide bomber.

Provincial justice chief Ebrahim Hamidi told ISNA news agency that one person had been arrested over the bombing and “charged with armed opposition and acting against national security.”

He said most attacks in Sistan-Baluchestan province were carried out by Jundullah.

Iran’s former premier and presidential hopeful Mir Hossein Mousavi also blamed “foreign forces” for the mosque blast.

“The fewer foreign forces in the region, the more security there is. They provoke extremism in the region such as the incident in Zahedan,” said Mousavi, one of four candidates in next month’s presidential election.

Iran has in the past blamed US and British agents based in neighbouring Iraq and Afghanistan for attacks in border provinces with significant ethnic minorities.

Sistan-Baluchestan province has a large ethnic Sunni Baluch minority.

In recent years, the province has seen a deadly insurgency by Jundullah, which is strongly opposed to the government of predominantly Shiite Iran.

The province also lies on a major narcotics-smuggling route from Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Obama’s Dream Team, Our Nightmare

Obama’s Dream Team, Our Nightmare

by C. August

In “How Obama Is Using The Science of Change” at, Michael Grunwald exposes something which shouldn’t surprise, and yet it does. We know that Obama has appointed Cass Sunstein as “regulatory czar,” and I have long observed the interplay between Sunstein’s “libertarian paternalism” (Nudge) and the work of behavioral economist Dan Ariely (Predictably Irrational), but Grunwald today tells us something we didn’t know (as far as I’m aware, anyway):

Two weeks before Election Day, Barack Obama’s campaign was mobilizing millions of supporters; it was a bit late to start rewriting get-out-the-vote (GOTV) scripts. “BUT, BUT, BUT,” deputy field director Mike Moffo wrote to Obama’s GOTV operatives nationwide, “What if I told you a world-famous team of genius scientists, psychologists and economists wrote down the best techniques for GOTV scripting?!?! Would you be interested in at least taking a look? Of course you would!!”

Moffo then passed along guidelines and a sample script from the Consortium of Behavioral Scientists, a secret advisory group of 29 of the nation’s leading behaviorists. …

The existence of this behavioral dream team — which also included best-selling authors Dan Ariely of MIT (Predictably Irrational) and Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein of the University of Chicago (Nudge) as well as Nobel laureate Daniel Kahneman of Princeton — has never been publicly disclosed, even though its members gave Obama white papers on messaging, fundraising and rumor control as well as voter mobilization. All their proposals — among them the famous online fundraising lotteries that gave small donors a chance to win face time with Obama — came with footnotes to peer-reviewed academic research. “It was amazing to have these bullet points telling us what to do and the science behind it,” Moffo tells TIME. “These guys really know what makes people tick.” [bold added]

I have previously addressed some of Cass Sunstein’s and Dan Ariely’s ideas, and upon reflection, it isn’t a shock to see that they worked together in the Obama campaign’s Consortium of Behavioral Scientists. In a perverse way, it’s reassuring to see such terrible ideas coalesce like this, because it reinforces that ideas have great importance, and that there is a definite right and wrong. It reasserts the primacy of existence and the law of identity. These fellows belong together.

The threat, however, is that the bad ideas are the ones whispered in the ear of power, and power is eager to listen.

To revisit briefly, Sunstein’s idea of nudging is to set up “choice architecture” to default to the way the government wants things to go, but to toss a bone to freedom by allowing people to opt-out. I suppose that doesn’t sound too terrible on the face of it, so let’s continue with Grunwald:

The first sign of the behavioralist takeover surfaced on April 1, when Americans began receiving $116 billion worth of payroll-tax cuts from the stimulus package. Obama isn’t sending us one-time rebate checks. Reason: his goal is to jump-start consumer spending, and research has shown we’re more likely to save money rather than spend it when we get it in a big chunk. Instead, Obama made sure the tax cuts will be paid out through decreased withholding, so our regular paychecks will grow a bit and we’ll be less likely to notice the windfall. The idea, an aide explains, is to manipulate us into spending the extra cash.

Obama’s efforts to change us carry a clear political risk. Republicans already portray him as a nanny-state scold, an élitist Big Brother lecturing us about inflating our tires and reading to our kids. We elected a President, not a life coach, and we might not like elected officials’ challenging our right to be couch potatoes. Obama’s aides seem to favor nudges that preserve free choice over heavy-handed regulation, an approach Thaler and Sunstein, the co-authors of Nudge, call “libertarian paternalism.” But it’s still paternalism, and Sunstein will have the power to put it into action. The idea of public officials, even well-meaning ones, trying to engineer our private behavior to produce change can seem a bit creepy.

But face it: Obama is right. Our emissions are boiling the planet, and most of our energy use is unnecessary. Our health expenditures are bankrupting the Treasury, and most of our visits to the doctor can be traced to unhealthy behavior. We do need to change, and we know it.

So why don’t we? And how can we? The behaviorists have ideas, and the Administration is listening. [bold added]

Grunwald’s ideas are clear: he agrees with Ariely that people are irrevocably irrational and need to be led to the “right” decisions by a supposedly benevolent government. And yet, he still gets something right… this is creepy. And not just creepy, but Orwellian and profoundly disturbing.

If I were prone to believing in conspiracies, I would think that Kant and Marx set the philosophical and economic ideas in motion, transmitted special coded tea leaf signals to Keynes to continue the work to attack the free market, and to Dewey to destroy classical education, and then watched the dominoes fall throughout the 20th century as American students were bathed in nihilism and pragmatism to a point where they really are predictably irrational, by design.

But I don’t believe in conspiracies like this. I do, however, respect the power of ideas, and know that while there were no grand plans in place, the transmission of the terrible ideas of the historical figures above led to the situation we’re in now—where a group of “behavioral economists” (I use quotes on purpose) are positioned to experiment on the citizens of America–while citizens like Grunwald seem to revel in it. Grunwald acknowledges as much, though likely without realizing it, when he writes:

Obama has pledged that his bank-regulation overhaul would be based “not on abstract models … but on actual data on how actual people make financial decisions.” That’s a plain-English way of saying it will be guided by behavioral economics, not neoclassical economics.

Neoclassical economics — another University of Chicago specialty — has ruled our world for decades. It’s the doctrine that markets know best: when government keeps its hands off free enterprise, capital migrates to its most productive uses and society prospers. But its elegant models rely on a bold assumption: rational decisions by self-interested individuals create efficient markets. Behavioral economics challenged this assumption, and the financial meltdown has just about shattered it; even former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan confessed his Chicago School worldview has been shaken. [bold added]

Behavioral economics, relying on the pragmatism and altruism that the sad majority of Americans hold as an unquestioned guide to life, is replacing the last vestiges of Enlightenment thought that, only because of its veracity and the American sense-of-life, still lingers in America to this day. In reference to the “opportunity” afforded by the financial crisis, Grunwald quotes Ariely, in what seems the disgusting relish of a cannibal looking up from its meal:

“We couldn’t have planned a better marketing campaign for behavioral economics,” MIT’s Ariely quips.

Prepare to be nudged, America.

Iraq redux? Obama seeks funds for Pakistan super-embassy

[How much more proof do we need that Obama is a continuation of Bush/Cheney?]

Iraq redux? Obama seeks funds for Pakistan super-embassy

By Saeed Shah and Warren P. Strobel | McClatchy Newspapers

May 27, 2009

ISLAMABAD — The U.S. is embarking on a $1 billion crash program to expand its diplomatic presence in Pakistan and neighboring Afghanistan, another sign that the Obama administration is making a costly, long-term commitment to war-torn South Asia, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

The White House has asked Congress for — and seems likely to receive — $736 million to build a new U.S. embassy in Islamabad, along with permanent housing for U.S. government civilians and new office space in the Pakistani capital.

The scale of the projects rivals the giant U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, which was completed last year after construction delays at a cost of $740 million.

Senior State Department officials said the expanded diplomatic presence is needed to replace overcrowded, dilapidated and unsafe facilities and to support a “surge” of civilian officials into Afghanistan and Pakistan ordered by President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Other major projects are planned for Kabul, Afghanistan; and for the Pakistani cities of Lahore and Peshawar. In Peshawar, the U.S. government is negotiating the purchase of a five-star hotel that would house a new U.S. consulate.

Funds for the projects are included in a 2009 supplemental spending bill that the House of Representatives and the Senate have passed in slightly different forms.

Obama has repeatedly stated that stabilizing Pakistan and Afghanistan, the countries from which al Qaida and the Taliban operate, is vital to U.S. national security. He’s ordered thousands of additional troops to Afghanistan and is proposing substantially increased aid to both countries.

In Pakistan, however, large parts of the population are hostile to the U.S. presence in the region — despite receiving billions of dollars in aid from Washington since 2001 — and anti-American groups and politicians are likely to seize on the expanded diplomatic presence in Islamabad as evidence of American “imperial designs.”

“This is a replay of Baghdad,” said Khurshid Ahmad, a member of Pakistan’s upper house of parliament for Jamaat-e-Islami, one of the country’s two main religious political parties. “This (Islamabad embassy) is more (space) than they should need. It’s for the micro and macro management of Pakistan, and using Pakistan for pushing the American agenda in Central Asia.”

In Baghdad and other dangerous locales, U.S. diplomats have sometimes found themselves cut off from the population in heavily fortified compounds surrounded by blast walls, concertina wire and armed guards.

“If you’re going to have people live in a car bomb-prone place, your are driven to not have a light footprint,” said Ronald Neumann, a former U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan and the president of the American Academy of Diplomacy. Neumann called the planned expansions “generally pretty justified.”

In Islamabad, according to State Department budget documents, the plan calls for the rapid construction of a $111 million new office annex to accommodate 330 workers; $197 million to build 156 permanent and 80 temporary housing units; and a $405 million replacement of the main embassy building. The existing embassy, in the capital’s leafy diplomatic enclave, was badly damaged in a 1979 assault by Pakistani students.

The U.S. government also plans to revamp its consular buildings in the eastern city of Lahore and in Peshawar, the regional capital of the militancy plagued North West Frontier Province. The consulate in the southern megacity of Karachi has just been relocated into a new purpose-built accommodation.

A senior State Department official confirmed that the U.S. plan for the consulate in Peshawar involves the purchase of the luxury Pearl Continental hotel. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly.

The Pearl Contintental is the city’s only five-star hotel, set in its own expansive grounds, with a swimming pool. It’s owned by Pakistani tycoon Sadruddin Hashwani.

Peshawar is an important station for gathering intelligence on the tribal area that surrounds the city on three sides and is a base for al Qaida and the Taliban. The area also will be a focus for expanded U.S. aid programs, and the American mission in Peshawar has already expanded from three U.S. diplomats to several dozen.

In all, the administration requested $806 million for diplomatic construction and security in Pakistan.

“For the strong commitment the U.S. is making in the country of Pakistan, we need the necessary platform to fulfill our diplomatic mission,” said Jonathan Blyth of the State Department’s Overseas Buildings Operations bureau. “The embassy is in need of upgrading and expansion to meet our future mission requirements.”

A senior Pakistani official said the expansion has been under discussion for three years. “Pakistanis understand the need for having diplomatic missions expanding and the Americans always have had an enclave in Islamabad,” said the official, who requested anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to discuss the matter publicly. “Will some people exploit it? They will.”

In Kabul, the U.S. government is negotiating an $87 million purchase of a 30- to 40-acre parcel of land to expand the embassy. The Senate version of the appropriations bill omits all but $10 million of those funds.

(Shah is a McClatchy special correspondent. Jonathan S. Landay contributed to this article.)

Israel’s little Hitler

Israel’s little Hitler

By Khalid Amayreh


May 28, 2009

There is always fresh evidence justifying the Israeli-Nazi analogy. In recent days and weeks, a number of Israeli officials and lawmakers proposed “draft laws” that would effectively formalize Israel’s de facto racism and seriously restrict the human and civil rights of Israel’s non-Jewish citizens.

One of the proposals being discussed would criminalize the commemoration of Nakba by Palestinians holding the Israeli citizenship. Predictably, the brazenly racist proposal has infuriated Israel’s 1.5-million- strong Palestinian community.

One Israeli Palestinian parliamentarian compared the proposed law with an imagined promulgation by Germany of a law banning all Jewish activities commemorating the holocaust.

The lawmaker’s remarks are not far-fetched. After all, the Nakba or catastrophe is the Palestinian holocaust, whether we like or not. True, the scope may not be identical in both cases. However, it is also true that Zionists have wrested the Palestinian people historical homeland form its rightful native inhabitants, destroyed their homes and towns, and expelled them to the four corners of the globe.

More to the point, the Palestinians are the longest-suffering people in modern history. They are still being haphazardly killed in the hundreds and thousands by a Gestapo-like army which claims to be the “most moral army in the world.” Palestinian homes are still being demolished, Palestinian land is still being stolen on a daily basis, and millions of Palestinians in the West Bank and especially Gaza Strip are still being hounded, starved, tormented, savaged and terrorized by the very country that shamelessly claims to be the only true democracy in the Middle East.

Aryeh Eldad

One of the most thuggish Israeli leaders who has been promoting Israel’s manifestly racist discourse against non-Jews in general and Palestinians in particular is Aryeh Eldad of the Nazi-like Ichud Leumi, or National Union.

This party holds more or less the same ideas and perceptions toward the Palestinian people that the German Nazis held against the Jews and other “untermenschen.” It advocates genocide, ethnic cleansing, discriminatory treatment of non-Jews as well as wanton home demolitions and land confiscation of land owned by Palestinians.

Some of the party’s associates have called for “wiping off the goyem (non-Jews) from ‘the Land of Israel pursuant Biblical methods.”

The term “Biblical methods” refer to the genocidal wars the ancient Israelites waged against the Canaanite tribes in Palestine as recorded in the Bible.

A few days ago, Eldad proposed that Jordan be “transformed” into a Palestinian state and that Palestinians in the West Bank be granted the Jordanian citizenship.

The proposal would impose the Israeli sovereignty on “all mandatory Palestine” from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean and prepare the psychological and legal ground for the ultimate deportation of the estimated 5.1 million Palestinians from their ancestral homeland.

Interestingly, many Israeli leaders from various political parties have expressed keen interest in the diabolical proposal. Indeed, those who voiced reservations about the proposal did so on the ground that it was “unrealistic” and “impractical” not immoral and criminal.

In fact, even Labor party lawmakers in the Likud-led government voted in favor of referring the proposal to further discussion by the Knesset.

Eldad has a long history of making bluntly-fascist and racist provocations against the Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line as well as against Islam and Muslims.

Nearly six months ago, he hosted in West Jerusalem a virulently anti-Islam “seminar” in which a number of fascist-minded speakers from Israel and abroad took part.

The one-day seminar was addressed by notorious Islamophobes such as Daniel Pipes, an American-Jewish supremacist, Dutch Legislator Greet Wilders and Eldad himself.

After making characteristically venomous remarks against Islam, the Quran and Muslims, Wilders received a standing ovation.

A few years ago Eldad suggested that non-Jews were not true human beings.

He was quoted as saying during a protest against the eviction by the Israeli army of a small settler outpost in the West Bank that “it was sad that the army was treating real human beings as if they were Arabs.”

Eldad has also been a focal advocate of ethnic cleansing of Palestinians in East Jerusalem where successive Israeli governments have been trying to besiege Arab demographic presence while actively encouraging Jewish settlement activities in and around the occupied Arab city.

Arab Knesset member Ahmed Teibi has described Eldad and likeminded Jewish leaders as “representing and embodying the ugly face of racism and fascism.”

“If Eldad and his ilk were living in any European country, they would be thrown behind bars immediately. The fact that they are thriving in Israel speaks volumes about the poisoned political environment in this country.”

Teibi said the roots of Palestinians in occupied Palestine were deeper, much deeper, than the shallow roots of most Israeli Jews.

“Every honest person in this world can attest that every Jewish town or village is built on the ruins of an Arab town and village.”

I believe that honest people around the world are morally obligated to call the spade a spade, irrespective of whose hands the shovel happens to be.

Today, the ugly face of fascism is rising in Israel, and a Jewish Third Reich must never be allowed to evolve and prosper into a full-fledged Hitlerian monster at the hands of the very people who have made the epithet “Nazi” one of the ugliest words in all languages of the world.

Hence, the entire humanity is urged to combat and defeat the new Nazism now thriving in Israel. The fact that this Nazism is having a Jewish garment is totally irrelevant. Evil doesn’t become kosher or innocuous when done by Jews.

West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO

West Plots To Supplant United Nations With Global NATO

Rick Rozoff


May 28, 2009


Ten years ago it first became evident to the world that moves were afoot in major Western capitals to circumvent, subvert and ultimately supplant the United Nations, as the UN could not always be counted on to act in strict accordance with the dictates of the United States and its NATO allies.

At that time in 1999 the NATO alliance was waging what would become a 78-day bombing war against Yugoslavia in flagrant contravention of the United Nations and of international law in general.

As two of the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the five permanent members being the main victorious World War II allies, with the People’s Republic of China having replaced the Republic of China (Taiwan) in 1971 and with Russia as the successor state to the Soviet Union – exactly China and Russia, not being NATO members states, opposed that war and in several other instances the use of sanctions and military force against nations targeted for both by the West.

The first indication that the United Nations was marked for marginalization, selective application (and exploitation) or even de facto dissolution, however, occurred three years earlier in 1996 when the United States single-handedly browbeat the other fourteen then members of the Security Council to depose Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali and replace him with Kofi Annan, who the preceding year had been appointed UN special envoy to NATO and authorized the NATO bombing in Bosnia behind the back of Boutros-Ghali.

Boutros-Ghali was deprived of the traditional second term for not authorizing NATO’s bombing of Bosnian Serb targets in 1995 and for speaking the truth about the deadly Israeli bombing of a refugee camp in Qana, Lebanon in the following year when 106 civilians were killed and 116 injured.

As former Clinton and Bush administrations’ National Security Council counter-terrorism adviser Richard Clarke acknowledged:

“[Madeleine] Albright and I and a handful of others (Michael Sheehan, Jamie Rubin) had entered into a pact together in 1996 to oust Boutros-Ghali as Secretary General of the United Nations, a secret plan we had called Operation Orient Express, reflecting our hope that many nations would join us in doing in the UN head.

“In the end, the US had to do it alone (with its UN veto) and Sheehan and I had to prevent the President from giving in to pressure from world leaders and extending Boutros-Ghali’s tenure, often by our racing to the Oval Office when we were alerted that a head of state was telephoning the President. In the end Clinton was impressed that we had managed not only to oust Boutros-Ghali but to have Kofi Annan selected to replace him.” [1]

By 1999, however, even having a UN secretary general handpicked and forced upon the world by Bill Clinton and Madeleine Albright wasn’t sufficient to meet NATO’s requirements as it finalized plans for its first war, the Operation Allied Force aerial assault against Yugoslavia.

The US and its Alliance allies could not be assured of gaining a majority of votes in the 15-member Security Council to authorize the war and even if successful in that regard could not be certain that Russia, China or both would not veto the resolution.

So the United Nations, whose procedures and requirements for 54 years had been observed even in the breach, was now disregarded, downgraded and severely if not mortally wounded, not yet having recuperated from the blow of ten years ago.

American and NATO subordinate Annan officiated over the debasement and humiliation of the organization he headed and never once criticized NATO’s waging war without a United Nations mandate and in open defiance of the institution.

Guarantor Of Peace Versus World’s Only Military Alliance

The Preamble to the Charter of the United Nations identifies the purpose of the UN’s founding in 1945 as being “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind” and “to unite our strength to maintain international peace and security, and to ensure, by the acceptance of principles and the institution of methods, that armed force shall not be used, save in the common interest.” [2]

To accentuate and complete the message that NATO had launched its post-Cold War transformation from Euro-Atlantic military bloc to self-designated and sole international arbiter of conflicts within and between nations and of the  authorization of extraterritorial military force, with the concomitant usurpation of the role of the United Nations, on April 23-24 NATO held its 50th anniversary jubilee summit in Washington D.C.

Unveiling what it called its new Strategic Concept, the summit also issued a Washington Declaration which inter alia stated “We are charting NATO’s course as we enter the 21st century” and “We pledge to improve our defence capabilities to fulfill the full range of the Alliance’s 2lst century missions.” [3]

Video clips and photographs of the summit at the time revealed what 21st Century NATO was intended to become: With the US’s Bill Clinton and Britain’s Tony Blair at the center of other world leaders, the flags of nearly fifty nations – nineteen full NATO member states, 25 Partnership for Peace affiliates and others – decked the auditorium. As did the NATO flag, a facsimile of a compass with its four arms pointed to north, south, east and west.

The message could not have been more clear, more irrefutable: A new world organization, an expanded version of a Western military bloc, was replacing that which had emerged from the smoldering ruins of a war that had cost over fifty million human lives.

NATO lost no time and spared no effort in implementing its plans for the new millennium. In addition to its military deployment in Bosnia the bloc continued its occupation of the Serbian province of Kosovo.

In 2001 it inaugurated a military deployment in Macedonia, Operation Allied Harmony, after armed invasions of the nation by an extremist offshoot of the NATO-allied Kosovo Liberation Army based in Kosovo, and later in the year it participated in the American invasion and occupation of Afghanistan where NATO continues its first ground war almost eight years later.

It insinuated itself into the Darfur region of western Sudan in 2005 and thus was simultaneously engaged in operations in three continents in that year.

Or as then State Department Deputy Assistant for European Affairs and later US ambassador to NATO Kurt Volker said of 2005, NATO was “engaged in eight simultaneous operations on four continents.” [4]

In the last five years of the 20th Century and the first five of the 21st NATO had evolved from a regional alliance based in Western Europe to a global force contending with the United Nations for the number and geographical range of the missions it was conducting.

That expansion in both extent and essence was not limited to frequently overshadowing and nullifying the role of the UN, but has also been a component in undoing the entire post-World War II order of which the UN was the cornerstone.

Results Of World War II Undone: Inauguration Of Post-Post-Yalta World

In early May of 2005 US President George W. Bush paid what the State Department must have intended as a “freedom crusade” tour to the capitals of two former Soviet republics, Latvia and Georgia.

The choices were deliberately selected to antagonize Russia, which has borders with both, as Latvia has disenfranchised millions of the minority residents of the country who are 40% of the total, especially ethnic Russians and other Slavs (Europe’s only “non-citizens”), and has permitted the rehabilitation of Nazi Waffen SS veterans as “defenders of the nation,” and Georgia has been a thorn in Russia’s side since its formerly US-based head of state Mikheil Saakashvili came to power on the back of the “rose revolution” of late 2003 with the assistance of US governmental and non-governmental funds and direction. That antagonism reached a breaking point last August with the five-day war between Georgia and Russia.

Bush overtly baited Russia in the Georgian capital of Tbilisi with comments like “Before there was a purple revolution in Iraq or an orange revolution in Ukraine or a cedar revolution in Lebanon, there was a rose revolution,” [5] “In recent months, the world has marvelled at the hopeful changes taking place from Baghdad to Beirut to Bishkek [Kyrgyzstan],” [6] and that thanks to Georgia, “freedom is advancing to the Black Sea, the Caspian Sea and around the world,” [7] as an image of his face was projected onto a giant screen in the background.

Earlier in the Latvian capital of Riga Bush delivered a blunt and unprecedented attack on the Yalta Conference of 1945 and its aftermath. The historical meeting of Britain’s Winston Churchill, the US’s Franklin Roosevelt and the Soviet Union’s Josef Stalin in February of that year was denounced by Bush with such characterizations of the summit as constituting one of “the injustices of our history,” which “followed in the unjust tradition of Munich and the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact,” and that “the legacy of Yalta was finally buried, once and for all” in 1991. [8]

This animus against the post-World War II system that evolved out of the Yalta and later Potsdam conferences remained a recurring motif for Bush, who in his last appearance as US president at a NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania in 2008 denounced “the bitter legacy of Yalta” and to demonstrate what the post-post-Yalta era was intended to be added, “I spoke those words on the soil of a nation on the Baltic. Today, on the soil of a Black Sea nation, I have come to see those words fulfilled. The NATO alliance that meets here this week now stretches from the shores of Klaipeda [Lithuania] to the beaches of Neptun [Romania].

“[O]ur Alliance must also decide how to respond to requests by Georgia and Ukraine to participate in NATO’s Membership Action Plan. These two nations
inspired the world with their Rose and Orange revolutions….

“As NATO allies fight…in Iraq and Afghanistan, our Alliance is taking on other important missions across the world. In the Mediterranean, NATO forces are patrolling the high seas…as part of Operation Active Endeavor. In Kosovo, NATO forces are providing security and helping a new democracy take root in the Balkans….NATO is no longer a static alliance….It is now an expeditionary alliance that is sending its forces across the world….” [9]

To understand the nature of this abiding, visceral, monomaniacal hostility toward what with a comparable degree of venom Zbigniew Brzezinski for years has contemptuously derided as the post-Yalta world, excerpts from a column by Indian journalist Siddharth Varadarajan immediately after Bush’s Riga speech of 2005 are quoted below.

“[Bush’s] attack on Yalta shows the U.S. is not interested in cooperative security.

“Historians of the Cold War will not have missed the significance of President George W. Bush choosing Riga as the venue for his speech on Saturday repudiating the 1945 Yalta Agreement.

“[W]hen Mr. Bush said in Riga that Yalta was ‘one of the greatest wrongs of history’ because it traded the freedom of small nations for the goal of stability in Europe, he was not merely echoing Cold War dogma. He was also sending out a message to the world — and particularly to Great Powers like Russia and China — that the era of collective security established at
Yalta and later, at the United Nations, is decisively over. And that if the restraints placed by this system ever come in the way of U.S. national interests, they will be brushed aside.” [10]

Varadarajan included in his piece this quote from President Franklin Roosevelt on March 1, 1945 on the meaning of Yalta as it was understood at the time:

“The Crimea Conference was a successful effort by the three leading Nations to find a common ground for peace. It ought to spell the end of the system of unilateral action, the exclusive alliances, the spheres of influence, the balances of power, and all the other expedients that have been tried for centuries — and have always failed. We propose to substitute for all these, a universal organisation in which all peace-loving nations will finally have a choice to join.” [11]

The universal organization Roosevelt referred to only 42 days before his death was the United Nations, which would come into existence formally on October 24, 1945.

On the very day that Bush traduced Yalta and its legacy in Latvia, his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin said on the same topic, “I am deeply convinced that the essence of the 1945 Yalta accords was as follows: The anti-Hitler coalition’s leaders strove to build a new international system that would prevent the revival of nazism, and that would shield the world from destructive global conflicts,” explicitly mentioning the United Nations Organization and its Charter. [12]

Bush’s statement in Riga, “the significance of the venue” having been pointed out above, was calculatingly delivered in the capital of a country that has witnessed a disturbing revival of Nazi revisionism, apologetics, nostalgia and rehabilitation in recent years. Animosity toward the Yalta principles, including their most enduring institutional embodiment, the United Nations, means preferring in some manner what preceded the Yalta conference to what came after it. That either means the state of affairs in Europe before World War II or – that during the war years of 1939-1945.

Von Sponeck’s Warning: Subverting The United Nations From Within

This past February Hans von Sponeck, former UN Assistant Secretary General and UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, wrote a probing indictment called The United Nations and NATO for a Swiss Journal.

It it he warned that “The world of the 192 UN member states has come to a fork in the road. One way leads to a world focused on the well being of society, conflict resolution and peace, i.e. to a life of dignity and human security with social and economic progress for all, wherever they may be as stated in the United Nations Charter. Down the other road is where the nineteenth century ‘Great Game’ for power will be further played out, a course which, in the twenty-first century, will become more extensive and dangerously more aggressive than ever.

“This road supposedly leads to democracy, but in truth it is all about power, control and exploitation.” [13]

Contrasting explicitly what the above excerpt had done tacitly, he remarked of his former employer and its would-be replacement:

“A comparison of the mandates of the United Nations and of NATO shows clearly how opposed the purposes of these two institutions are. In the 63 years of its existence, the United Nations mandate has remained the same.

“The United Nations was created to promote and maintain worldwide peace. NATO exists to assure the self-interest of a group of 26 UN member countries.” [14]

In a section of his article titled “21st century NATO incompatible with UN Charter,” von Sponeck added, “In 1999, NATO acknowledged that it was seeking to orient itself according to a new fundamental strategic concept. From a narrow military defense alliance it was to become a broad based alliance for the protection of the vital resources” needs of its members. Besides the defense of member states’ borders, it set itself new purposes such as assured access to energy sources and the right to intervene in ‘movements of large numbers of persons’ and in conflicts far from the boarders of NATO countries. The readiness of the new alliance to include other countries, particularly those that had previously been part of the Soviet Union, shows how the character of this military alliance has altered.”

“[T]he United Nations monopoly of the use of force, especially as specified in Article 51 of the Charter, was no longer accepted according to the 1999 NATO doctrine.

“NATO’s territorial scope, until then limited to the Euro-Atlantic region, was expanded by its member to encompass the whole world in keeping with a strategic context that was global in its sweep.” [15]

In a following section named “UN-NATO-accord: incompatible with UN Charter,” he exposed a clandestine accord signed between the secretaries general of NATO and the United Nations, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and Ban Ki-moon, respectively, on September 23, 2008, which “took place without any reference to the United Nations Security Council.

“In the generally accepted agreement of stated purposes, one reads of a
‘broader council’ and ‘operative cooperation, for example in ‘peace
keeping in the Balkans and in Afghanistan. Both secretaries general committed themselves to acting in common to meet threats and challenges.

“The UN/NATO accord is anything but neutral and will thus not remain without serious consequences.” [16]

Shortly after the unauthorized pact signed behind the backs of the UN Security Council, in addition to the General Assembly, by NATO chief Scheffer and Ban, who has proven to be as obsequious toward and obedient to the interests of the West as his predecessor had been, the Russian press reported:

“Russia’s representative to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin, said that in the document there is not a single word on the UN’s leading role in ensuring stability in the world.

“NATO and the United Nations have signed a new cooperation accord on prerogatives for UN member states – but have angered Russia by not telling them about it in advance.” [17]

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov was similarly caught off guard and indignant alike, stating “”We knew that the UN and NATO secretariats were
drawing up an agreement. And we assumed that before the signing, its draft should be shown to the member states. But it never happened,” accusing Scheffer and Ban of operating secretly and in violation of UN norms.

“The Russian minister said that he discussed the problem with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. ‘I did not hear any reasonable explanations. It surprised me,’ said Lavrov….’We asked the leadership of the two secretariats what it might mean. We’re awaiting answers.'” [18]

Another Russian report added, “Russia has recently vented its displeasure over what it called the ‘furtive signature’ of a cooperation agreement between the secretariats of the United Nations and NATO, which took place late last month. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov complained that this country, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, was not even consulted on the matter.

“Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said recently that Moscow and other UN members had not been consulted on the essence of the UN-NATO cooperation agreement, although, he said, the document contained clauses that concern the prerogatives of UN member states.” [19]

A third source referred to Russian Foreign Minister spokesman Andrei Nesterenko who, in stressing that the surreptitious pact was “riding roughshod over Moscow’s interests,” affirmed that “a big question mark currently hangs over the professional skills of some UN officials, who try to involve the UN Secretary-General in covert activities.” [20]

An Azerbaijani news source added, “If the agreement, signed in September, is only confirming the status quo, it can be surprising why the information about it was not published on the NATO website, which even has a special section called ‘NATO’s relations with the United Nations.’ This fact perpetuates Russia’s perception of NATO as a hostile bloc.” [21]

In a news dispatch titled “UN and NATO team up behind Russia’s back,” Russian envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin – who was himself not informed of the backroom deal – said “NATO should fully acknowledge the UN’s universal role and not try to substitute UN functions.” [22]

In the article discussed earlier, Hans von Sponeck asked “Is the United Nations accord with NATO – a military alliance with nuclear weapons – in contradiction with Article 2 of the United Nations Charter, which requires that conflicts be resolved by peaceful means? Can UN and NATO actions be distinguished when three of the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council are also NATO members? How can future violations of international law by NATO be legally prosecuted? Is an institution like NATO, which in 1999, without a UN mandate, unlawfully bombed Serbia and Kosovo, a suitable partner for the United Nations?” [23]

And in a section entitled “UN mandate makes NATO obsolete,” he finished with “Any evaluation of the UN/NATO pact must take into account that NATO is a relic of the Cold War; that NATO, as a Western alliance, is regarded with considerable mistrust by the other 166 United Nations member states; that a primary NATO aim is to assert, by military means, its energy and power interests in opposition to other United Nations member states and that the United States, a founding member of the NATO community, in the most unscrupulous ways, has disparaged the United Nations and broken international law.

“It is urgent that one or several member states petition the International Court of Justice to rule on the interpretation of the UN/NATO pact of 23 September 2008, in conformity with the Courts statutes.

“The people of the world have a right to request such a ruling and a right to expect an answer.” [24]

Think Tank Origins: NATO Undermining The UN From Inside And Out

The current US permanent representative (ambassador) to NATO is Netherlands-born Ivo Daalder, who like so many others of his type cut his foreign policy teeth in the Balkans in the 1990s. In fact he was the director for European Affairs on the National Security Council under President Bill Clinton, where he was in charge of Bosnia policy. Although a Clinton appointee Daalder criticized his chief during the 1999 war against Yugoslavia, calling for a ground invasion of the country in addition to the devastating air war.

The day after President Barack Obama announced the selection of Daalder for the NATO post, a news account from his homeland described him as a “liberal hawk” who was “a signatory to the January 2005 Project for a New American Century letter to Congress urging an increase in the number of troops in Iraq. The Project for a New American Century is a neoconservative think-tank linked to the American Enterprise Institute, where much of the foreign policy of the Bush administration originated.

“He often wrote about the right (or duty) of the international community to use military and humanitarian action to intervene in countries that fail to meet their responsibilities.” [25]

At the time of his nomination Daalder was a Senior Fellow in Foreign Policy Studies at The Brookings Institution. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

The day after the Dutch feature appeared, the print edition of Russia Today
television had this to say:

“Barack Obama’s administration sees NATO as the nucleus for a global
organization of democracies that will eventually replace the United Nations, believes an influential Russian newspaper [Kommersant].

“Washington wants NATO to expand by inviting counties like Australia, Japan, Brazil and South Africa and become a global organization tackling not only security issues but also epidemics and human rights….The next US Ambassador to NATO Ivo H. Daalder is a great supporter of this idea.

“Daalder, an expert at the Brookings Institution and a foreign policy adviser to Barack Obama during the election campaign, is a strong proponent of the so-called Concert of Democracies.

“The idea, coined by the think-tank Princeton Project on National Security, is that the United Nations is outdated….” [26]

The source added that “Daalder believes that NATO is a prototype of the proposed concert, being an alliance of democracies with a long success record, and can be extended to the new global organization” and that “a source in the White House [says] that Vice President Joe Biden is among the supporters of the Concert of Democracies.” [27]

As the American magazine Newsweek reported late last year under the headline Fighting Wars of Peace, “Vice President-elect Joe Biden called during the campaign for imposing a no-fly zone in Darfur and, a year earlier, advocated committing ‘U.S. troops on the ground’ if necessary. And Hillary Clinton, the incoming secretary of state, was a forceful advocate of the interventions in Bosnia and Kosovo during her husband’s administration.

“[A]s Ivo Daalder, [a] prominent Obama adviser, and Robert Kagan have pointed out, between 1989 and 2001 America dispatched significant military force to foreign hot spots so often — once every 18 months —  that intervention became something of a standard weapon of U.S. foreign policy, and one with bipartisan support.” [28]

The genesis of the “war for peace” Concert of Democracies concept under NATO auspices and in opposition to the UN, at least as far as Daalder is concerned, may have been in a “guest” column in the Washington Post over five years ago called An Alliance of Democracies and co-authored by Daalder and James Lindsay, then vice president and director of studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In the article Daalder and his colleague leave no doubt as to which institution global NATO stands in opposition to:

“An immediate problem is that the United Nations lacks the capability to make a difference. Its blue-helmeted troops can help keep the peace when warring parties choose not to fight. But as we learned in the Balkans, they cannot make peace where none exists. And as we saw in the 12 years preceding the Iraq war, the United Nations cannot enforce its most important resolutions. The deeper problem is that these reform proposals do not go to the heart of what ails the organization: It treats its members as sovereign equals regardless of the character of their governments.

“The idea of sovereign equality reflected a conscious decision governments made 60 years ago that they would be better off if they repudiated the right to meddle in the internal affairs of others. That choice no longer makes sense.

“Today respect for state sovereignty should be conditional on how states behave at home, not just abroad.

“We need an Alliance of Democratic States. This organization would unite nations with entrenched democratic traditions, such as the United States and Canada; the European Union countries; Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia; India and Israel; Botswana and Costa Rica.” [29]

Analogous demands have been voiced over the past few years by former Spanish prime minister Jose Aznar, NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and spokesman James Appathurai and US Republican Party candidates in last year’s presidential election Rudolph Giuliani and John McCain, alternately identified as an alliance, a concert or a league of democracies. In 2007 the now deceased US congressman Tom Lantos, at the time chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee, said that “NATO should seriously consider expanding into a global alliance including democratic countries such as Australia, New Zealand, South Korea and Israel,” and posed the rhetorical query “Would it not make the (NATO) Supreme Allied Commander feel more comfortable about upcoming global crises if he would have a NATO of a global reach?” To which the commander identified, Gen. Bantz John Craddock, replied: “From a best military advice perspective, it would indeed
be enormously helpful to have more democratic, peace-loving nations as part of the alliance.” [30]

The advocates of the ultimate “coalition of the willing” call for expanding NATO from its current 28 full members, 22 Partnership for Peace states in Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia, seven Middle Eastern and North African nations in the Mediterranean Dialogue, six Persian Gulf countries covered under the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative and several individual Contact Countries – in total over a third of the nations in the world – into a comprehensive, worldwide political-economic-military bloc with members in six of the world’s seven continents and with its eye set on the remaining one, Antarctica.

The nations targeted for the NATO-led Alliance of Democracies include Australia, Botswana, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, India, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa and South Korea inter alia.

From Design To Execution: Ivo Daalder

Daalder would follow up on this initiative two and a half years later, this time in a forum generously provided him by the International Herald Tribune, sister publication of the New York Times, the other main pillar of the American “free press,” and co-written by the Council on Foreign Relations’ James Goldgeier.

The piece in question, “For global security, expand the alliance,” states:

“NATO must become larger and more global by admitting any democratic state that is willing and able to contribute to the fulfillment of the alliance’s new responsibilities.

“Other democratic countries share NATO’s values and many common interests – including Australia, Brazil, Japan, India, New Zealand, South Africa and South Korea – and all of them can greatly contribute to NATO’s efforts by providing additional military forces or logistical support….”

The contribution is urgent because “NATO militaries are stretched thin by the many new missions they are called on to perform in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in the Sudan, Congo and other parts of Africa.”

The column raised the stakes to a degree that is deeply unsettling, fraught as they are with the threat of nothing less than world war.

“Collective defense, enshrined in Article 5’s dictum that an attack on one member is an attack on all, must remain at the core of an expanded alliance as it has in the past. For the United States, such commitments
elsewhere would not be novel, as it already guarantees, either formally or informally, the security of countries such as Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.

“[A]ll NATO members contributed to the grand coalition that reversed Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait, which is not even a democracy. If Australia or Japan were attacked, would the European democracies simply shrug their shoulders?” [31]

Far more is involved than the deployment of troops, warships and warplanes to all parts of the globe on the arbitrary decision of the major NATO partners, as unparalleled a danger to the world as that is.

In speaking of Washington’s ongoing global missile shield program – one that could neutralize the potential for nations, Russia and China come immediately to mind, to maintain a deterrent or retaliation capacity and thus serve as an invitation for a first strike – in March of 2007 US Assistant Secretary of State John Rood asserted that planned interceptor missile sites in Poland and the Czech Republic “would be integrated with existing radar sites in the United Kingdom and Greenland as well as missile defense interceptors in California and Alaska,” adding that at the time some fourteen nations were already involved in the plans, including “Australia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Israel, India, Japan, the Netherlands and Ukraine. Taiwan is also participating….

“[There] is a cooperative understanding among the United States, the United Kingdom, Japan, Australia, Israel, Italy and Denmark to conduct government-to-government and industry-to-industry missile defense cooperation.” [32]

The correlation between the non-NATO nations mentioned as members of a concert or alliance of democracies under NATO leadership and those being integrated into the global interceptor missile system is striking.

While still US State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs and before being appointed Ivo Daalder’s predecessor as ambassador to NATO, Kurt Volker said:

“[A]s NATO is active in places like Afghanistan or Iraq or Darfur, we are working together with countries that share NATO’s values and that are capable of contributing to security, such as Australia or New Zealand or South Korea or Japan, and we would like to find ways to cooperate with these countries….

“Some countries which, from a geographic standpoint, see themselves as front line states, have a high interest in theater missile defense, and other countries say it’s something we ought to do….For the U.S. there is no such thing as theater missile defense because we look at missile defense in a global scale….” [33]

The complement to the above, popularly referred to as Star Wars or Son of Star Wars, is an even more dangerous threat: Space war.

Last November Russia, as it has routinely done for years at UN General Assembly meetings, urged “UN member-states to join the moratorium on the deployment of weapons in outer space.”

The nation’s ambassador to the UN, Vitaly Churkin, pointed out that “it is on Russia’s initiative that the UN General Assembly has been adopting resolutions, for many years now, aimed at the prevention of an arms race in space.

“The only one who objected to the adoption of this resolution was the United States – this was earlier this year.” [34]

Another report revealed that “Washington does plan to deploy its ABM system
elements in near-Earth orbits, and it is only Russia that can counter such plans.

“In the United Nations 166 countries have voted for the Russia-proposed resolution on measures to ensure transparency and build up confidence in space activities.” [35]

As with questions of war and peace, the United Nations is used by the US and its allies solely to punish weaker nations and if the UN would ever begin to function as it was designed to – including attempting to prevent the militarization of space – it will be bypassed and rendered powerless by a NATO-led “Alliance of Democratic States.”

As recently as a few days ago Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, on the sidelines of the foreign ministers meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in Damascus, Syria, “express[ed] his country’s worries over giving NATO an international mission where it will be able to interfere anywhere in the world without permission from the Security Council, affirming that this is very negative and can undermine the basis of international law and the UN Charter.” [36]

NATO No Alternative To United Nations

Conceived during the waning days of the world’s most destructive and deadly war and born two months after the only use to date of nuclear weapons, the United Nation’s still bears its birth marks. 74 years later the five chief victors of World War II remain the only permanent members of the Security Council and alone have veto power. Three of them are founding members of NATO and all five are nuclear powers, hardly representative of the world community.

Not a single nation in Africa, South (indeed all of Latin) America and Oceania have such status.

Also, the 192-member General Assembly has largely been shunted aside in favor of the five permanent and ten rotating members of the Security Council, not to mention events of major world importance being conducted by the secretary general and other officials behind the backs of even permanent members of the Security Council as with last September’s agreement with NATO.

The General Assembly represents humanity not only on a day-to-day basis but in a more substantive and legitimate manner than ten of its 192 members on the Security Council at any given time. It must play a larger role in all deliberations.

A revived, robust, empowered and democratized UN must shift focus from a disproportionate emphasis on negotiating trade, treaty and other agreements in service to world commerce and in ceding vast tracts of the earth to interested parties under suspicious circumstances, as with the oil-rich Bakassi Peninsula to Cameroon and 2.2 million square kilometers of the resource-rich Antarctic Ocean to Australia recently, to what needs to be its main objective: Exerting all efforts to eliminate forever the scourge of war.

The record of the past thirteen years under the stewardship of Kofi Annan and Ban Ki-moon has been abysmal. Three major wars have been conducted by the United States and its NATO allies, the first against a founding member of the UN, Yugoslavia, while the organization made no meaningful efforts to prevent or halt them once started and has even legitimized them after the fact with assorted resolutions. Even UN resolutions following unauthorized wars are trampled on, as with the recognition by most NATO members of the illegal secession of Kosovo from Serbia last February, flagrantly contradicting UN Resolution 1244 which commits the UN to “Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act….”

However, even with its manifold problems, the United Nations was intended to prevent the replication of the horrors of World War II which ended only two months before its creation. The world would hardly gain by having it further weakened, sidelined and in effect reduced to a hollow shell by an expanding military bloc that has already waged wars on two continents and set its sights on penetrating and dominating the entire world.


1) Richard Clarke, Against All Enemies, 2004
2) Charter of the United Nations, Preamble
3) NATO International, May 23, 1999
4) U.S. Department of State, May 4, 2006
5) Agence France-Presse, May 10, 2005
6) Agence France-Presse, May 11, 2005
7) Agence France-Presse, May 10, 2005
8) Washington Post, May 8, 2005
9) USA Today, April 1, 2008
10) The Hindu, May 9, 2005
11) Ibid
12) Russian Information Agency Novosti, May 7, 2005
13) Current Concerns (Switzerland), February 13, 2009
14) Ibid
15) Ibid
16) Ibid
17) Russia Today, October 9, 2008
18) Ibid
19) Voice of Russia, October 13, 2008
20) Voice of Russia, October 9, 2008
21) Trend News Agency, October 14, 2008
22) Russia Today, October 9, 2008
23) Current Concerns, February 13, 2009
24) Ibid
25) NRC Handelsblad, March 12, 2009
26) Russia Today, March 13, 2009
27) Ibid
28) Newsweek, December 13, 2008
29) Washington Post, May 23, 2004
30) Reuters, June 23, 2007
31) International Herald Tribune, October 12, 2006
32) UNIAN (Ukraine), March 5, 2007
33) U.S. State Department, February 24, 2006
34) Voice of Russia, November 20, 2008
35) Voice of Russia, November 1, 2008
36) Syrian Arab News Agency, May 24, 2009

Photos of US soldiers’ alleged rape, sexual abuse in Iraq

Photos of US soldiers’ alleged rape, sexual abuse in Iraq

Fri, 29 May 2009 04:59:07 GMT
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To see the images use the new version of the Press TV website. Viewers should be warned about the graphic nature of the next images.

New photos obtained by Press TV have revealed alleged sexual harassment and rape of Iraqi prisoners at US-run Abu Ghraib detention center by American soldiers.

The alleged pictures illustrate American soldiers raping and sexually harassing Iraqi detainees.

Wayne Madsen, an investigative journalist from Washington, told Press TV that there is a lot of information about these photos.

“That is exactly what was taking place in Abu Ghraib and that information came to me from many many different sources some of whom actually stationed in Abu Ghraib at the time,” according to Madsen.

Madsen added that the information that these photos being fake came from neoconservatives media.

To clarify the issue, Madsen said when some of these photos first surfaced in 2004 by the Boston Globe random, the paper was attacked immediately by known neoconservative propaganda.

He also ruled out some reports that the photos were from pornographic movies.

US president Barack Obama has been trying to block the release of some 2000 photographs from prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan, despite his promise to make them available to the public.

The Pentagon rejected reports on the existence of such photographs.

Earlier on Thursday, Antonio Taguba, a retired US general who conducted an inquiry into the abuses at the US prison in Iraq, sent shockwaves around the world by explaining about the heinous pictures in an interview with The Daily Telegraph.

“These pictures show torture, abuse, rape and every indecency,” the British newspaper quoted Taguba as saying without releasing any of the images.

The daily had added that one of the pictures depicted a male American soldier apparently raping a female detainee, while the other showed a male translator raping a male prisoner.

Another photo showed how a female detainee was forced to disrobe and expose her breasts.

There were also photos that show US soldiers sexually assaulting the prisoners with objects like truncheons, wires and phosphorescent tubes.

Taguba noted that the gruesome nature of the photos was to such extent that he understood why Obama was trying to block them.

Press TV can not independently confirm the authenticity of the images.

30 killed in Iran mosque blast

30 killed in Iran mosque blast

* Police defuse another bomb nearby

TEHRAN: An explosion at a prominent Shia mosque in the southeast Iranian city of Zahedan on Thursday killed 30 people and wounded 60, the semi-official news agency IRNA reported.

It said the blast was a suicide bomb but no person or group had claimed responsibility.

Shortly after the explosion, security forces discovered and defused a second bomb near the mosque, the FARS news agency reported. The attack was carried out on a public holiday honouring the first Shia Imam, Ali Ebne-Abitaleb, after whom the mosque is named. Zahedan is a mostly Sunni city.

The provincial governor told state television the explosion occurred at about 1515 GMT when many people were offering prayers inside the mosque.

Zahedan is the capital of Sistan-Balochistan province, which shares a border with Pakistan. The province faces serious security problems and there are frequent clashes between police and drug dealers and bandits.

The presidents of Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan met in the capital for their first summit on Sunday, in an effort to improve cooperation in fighting terrorism and drug trafficking and tackling other regional security problems. Iran is also preparing for a presidential election on June 12.

Baitullah retaliates in Lahore

Baitullah retaliates in Lahore

After the Taliban accepted responsibility late Wednesday night for the suicide-bombing of the Police Rescue-15 and ISI offices in Lahore, it is obvious that the Taliban are feeling the heat of the Swat Operation and want to show that the battle is joined on their side too. The Wednesday blast was a “hybrid” one, mixing the techniques employed in the Lahore FIA headquarters and the Manawan Police Training School cases. The explosive-laden vehicle was most probably targeting the ISI office in front of the Rescue-15 building. It was prevented from reaching its target and had to be exploded prematurely.

The Tehreek-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP) chief “Amir” Baitullah Mehsud believes in retaliation, and this time he was reacting to the beating his men in Swat are receiving from the Pakistan Army. There is news about the besieged 4,000 militants there, which must have upset him a great deal. The terrorists are trying to escape through routes not yet blocked by the Army, many of them with their beards shaved off. A number have been caught from the refugee camps after they were recognised by the refugees. Some of his best commanders have either been killed or taken prisoner. There are rumours that warlord Fazlullah himself could have been killed during the military operation.

Some misplaced criticism has been levelled against the government after the incident. The Punjab government has been blamed by some on TV that it could do little to prevent the bombing from happening, that it could not intercept the vehicle carrying the explosives, that it could not act promptly on an intelligence report that Lahore could be attacked. One must repeat here that terrorism is rated most dangerous because its method of waging war is unconventional and when it adopts suicide as one of its weapons it becomes even more difficult to anticipate and prevent. In city traffic, where hundreds of vans are carrying commercial freight, it is not possible to catch a lone vehicle full of dynamite. The intelligence reports had to be vague, saying sensitive offices of the city would be targeted, but they left the target undefined.

What has to be noted is that the latest attack failed to reach the ISI offices. The terrorists were confronted and counter-attacked, after which the suicide-bomber was forced to detonate his payload. If we go back and recall the attacks made earlier in the year, they were all less than perfect. In the Liberty attack, the raiders failed to kidnap the Sri Lankan cricket team; in the Manawan attack, one attacker was caught, which led to the capture of a number of abettors that Baitullah was using and revealed the extent of participation of the terrorist groups in Punjab. That, of course, doesn’t take away from the damage done by the attacks. But it does indicate that Pakistan can confront the TTP if it resolves to do so.

It is very important to grasp the true dimensions of the TTP and its links with Al Qaeda. Details about it have remained obscure because of the general attitude to the phenomenon, a deliberate policy of denial, and reluctance of the state to make the necessary connections. As the army finally takes on the terrorists, more and more evidence of the “international” nature of this evil enterprise are coming to the fore.

The national press is now bold in describing the TTP as a terrorist organisation and telling us exactly how Baitullah connects the large spread of his TTP to the global network of Al Qaeda. As the Pakistan army moves forward to challenge the logistics of the “international” terrorists in the tribal areas, Arabs from the Gulf and as far away as Algeria are being caught.

For every one incident that takes place there are ten that are prevented because of prior intelligence and prompt action, despite the flaws in our police system. The government needs to remove the cloak of secrecy from the arrests made virtually every day of men caught with suicide-jackets and explosives on them. The terrorists caught by the policy must be shown on TV so that criminal cases are registered in public memory. If possible, those caught red-handed should be kept in one place and their interviews should be played on TV so that no doubt is left about the existence of terrorist organisations taking advantage of religion. *

Pakistani militant groups uniting

Pakistani militant groups uniting

* Experts say money, weapons continue to pour in as Punjab heads towards tipping point

Daily Times Monitor

WASHINGTON: The Lahore bombing is the latest sign, according to ABC News, that diverse militant groups from across the country are uniting.

The Taliban and Punjabi militant groups “are working hand in glove,” says Malik Iqbal, the former Lahore city police chief.

“Ultimately we’re going to reach a tipping point where the Taliban will have opened so many fronts in Punjab that it will be almost impossible for the army to deploy against so many fronts which are so distant from each other geographically,” says Ahmed Rashid.

US officials believe the Punjabi groups are stronger and more radical than ever.

Pakistani and US officials say Lashkar-e-Jhangvi teamed up with the Taliban to attack the Sri Lankan cricket team in Lahore, as well as helping destroy Marriott Hotel in Islamabad last year.

“Police is not trained for this purpose. It’s a force against crime. It’s not a force against terrorism,” said Saud Aziz, the police chief in Multan.

Another problem is the inability to crack down on the militant groups, Aziz said.

US officials believe that the funding comes mainly from Arab states, especially Saudi Arabia.
But they admit that despite efforts, they have not been able to convince the Saudis that their money is going to help fund terrorism.

“The money is pouring in. The money is there. The weapons are there. The philosophy is there,” one senior police officer in southern Punjab said, wishing to remain anonymous. “This is our problem. And we are not concentrating.”

Pakistan seeks English version of Mumbai evidence

Pakistan seeks English version of Mumbai evidence

This is why our proceeding to formal prosecution is getting delayed, FO spokesman Abdul Basit said. — Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is seeking an English translation of information India provided about November’s militant attacks in Mumbai in order to begin prosecutions of suspects, a government spokesman said on Thursday.

India says the assault on Mumbai, in which 166 people were killed, was carried out by Pakistan-based militants who must have had backing from some official Pakistani agencies.

Tension between the rivals rose sharply after the attack, and India put on hold a five-year-old peace process that had brought better ties.

Pakistani investigators have acknowledged the coordinated attacks in India’s financial capital were launched and partly planned from Pakistan’s soil, and that the sole surviving attacker was Pakistani.

But Islamabad has been demanding information from India saying it needed evidence to press ahead with its own investigation and prosecution of anyone found involved.

India gave Pakistan a dossier of information shortly after the attack and handed over new material on May 20 in response to Pakistani questions.

But Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said most of the new information was in either the Hindi or Marathi languages.

‘Unfortunately, most of the material which has been given to us is in languages other than English and Urdu,’ Basit told a regular briefing.

‘So you can see … as to why and how this delay is occurring with regard to our proceeding to commence the process of prosecution, formal prosecution.’

‘We have now formally requested India to give us an English version of this material,’ he said.

Pakistan has lodged police complaints against eight suspects, including Mohammad Ajmal Kasab, the militant caught alive by Indian forces during the attack. Nine attackers were killed by Indian commandos.

India has repeatedly said Pakistan was not doing enough to bring the perpetrators to justice. India’s home minister said this week Pakistan had been given enough evidence to prosecute those behind the attack.

Neither India nor Pakistan have offered details of the latest information India handed over but Indian media said it contained DNA samples from the attackers.

Military operation may be launched in Kurram Agency

[SEE: Parachinar: The Valley of Death]

[SEE: The actual story of Parachinar Pakistan]

Military operation may be launched in Kurram Agency

Troops deployed in remote areas

By our correspondent

PESHAWAR: The government for the first time has deployed troops in remote mountainous places of Kurram Agency, scene of bloody sectarian clashes in the past, for a possible military operation against the militants.

Also, hundreds of families were seen Thursday fleeing their homes in the troubled remote villages after the deployment of security forces.

Military spokesman and Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Athar Abbas has ruled out any operation in the agency but said the deployment might be part of reinforcement of the forces.

Tribal sources told The News from Parachinar, the headquarters of Kurram Agency, that security forces entered the mountainous villages for the first time and took positions in Warmagai, Brekat and Dagai of Central Kurram.

The troops reportedly entered Kurram from Tora Warai area in the adjoining Hangu district.

There were reports that militants had shifted in large numbers to the mountainous areas of Kurram Agency from the neighbouring Orakzai Agency where the helicopters and jet fighters recently pounded their positions and inflicted losses on the Taliban.

Frightened villagers left their homes in Warmagai, Brekat and Dagai villages and were seen travelling towards Sadda subdivision and other places in Lower Kurram.

In the past two years, Kurram Agency has seen violent clashes between the followers of the two sects in which hundreds of people lost their lives.

Cry, My Beloved Country !!!

Aijaz Zaka Syed, DUBAI, United Arab Emirates, September 04, 2008–
A friend and fellow Indian keeps warning me to lay off India and sub-continent issues. She has made a lifelong mission of speaking up for the voiceless but thinks the folks back home (in India) don’t take kindly to anything critical in the foreign media. Which is why I’ve been trying hard to ignore what has been going on in India for some time now. But it hurts to see the country you love so much slide dangerously into the kind of socio-political chaos and religious extremism that India’s neighbors have been battling for years.

Until recently, my Pakistani friends would envy the pluralism and the culture of genuine tolerance in the world’s largest democracy, attributing it to the blessings of democracy. This general worldview of India did not change even after the demolition of Babri mosque (1992) and Gujarat (2002). But they are not so sure now. Neither am I. The current violence and attacks on Christians by militant Hindu groups in the eastern state of Orissa shame us all. At least, 50 people have died in the pogrom against the minority community.

Tens of thousands of Christians have fled their homes to take shelter in the jungles or relief camps set up by the government. In a chilling reminder of the genocide in Gujarat when Muslims were burnt alive by the marauding mobs, the VHP and Bajrang Dal men set a missionary-run orphanage on fire with women and children inside. The rightwing Hindu organizations like RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal have been concerned by the massive proselytizing by Christian missionaries in the tribal areas of Orissa.

The missionaries have been doing some excellent social work, running schools, clinics and orphanages in the interior Orissa where even government officials fear treading. As a result, low caste Hindus and tribal groups, exploited for thousands of years, have been joining Christ’s flock in thousands every year. The current wave of violence was sparked by the killing of a local leader from the VHP, the militant organization that was in the forefront of the Ayodhya mosque demolition and subsequent anti-Muslim riots.

Religious violence is not new to Orissa. In 1999, an Australian missionary, Graham Steins, who had been working in the state for three decades treating lepers in remote tribal areas, was burnt alive with his two sons as they slept in their jeep. And the same demons have come back to haunt Orissa today unleashing a reign of terror in the region where Emperor Ashoka gave up arms to promote Buddha’s message of peace. And all that the state and federal governments have done so far is pass the buck to each other.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has rightly called the attacks a “national shame” — just as PM Vajpayee had done in the case of Gujarat in 2002 where his own party was in power and his protégé presided over the carnage. But is that enough? Is it not the responsibility of governments to protect their people, especially the vulnerable among them? The Orissa government finds itself helpless in dealing with the murderers and arsonists because they are led by the men who are part of the coalition.

The government in Delhi is busy settling political scores with the Orissa government. Instead of stepping in to stop the bloodletting, the federal government has suggested a probe by the CBI -– India’s answer to the FBI -– into attacks. No wonder the Christian community is infuriated. In protest it has shut the vast network of thousands of schools it runs across the country. Unlike Muslims, Christians are not economically challenged or politically marginalized. They will fight back — and in effective ways.

Remarkably, the authorities that look the other way while the mobs ransack Orissa, hunting and killing helpless men and women like some cornered animals, have been extraordinarily efficient in dealing with the ‘Muslim terrorists.’ From the plains of the North India to the Malabar coast down south, hundreds of young Muslims have been swallowed up by India’s jails in the name of fighting terror. While there has always been the ominous cloud of ISI and Pakistan hanging over Indian Muslims, especially if they look like Muslims, the extent of persecution under the secular and liberal UPA government is truly shocking.

Even though one has been reading and hearing about the harassment of Muslims in Indian press from time to time, the big picture revealed by the Tehelka magazine ( and the recent open, people’s courts held by human rights groups in Hyderabad is incredibly horrifying. I can’t believe this is happening in my own country. From fake encounters to torture to old fashioned terror tactics, the world’s biggest religious minority today faces the kind of terror that it did not experience even under the long British rule. Today, the Muslims have become enemies of the state in their own land.

It was the Hindu nationalist government of BJP that started the current witch-hunt of the community by banning the SIMI, an obscure students organization that was hardly known even among Muslims, in September 2001 — within days of the 9/11 attacks. Not only the SIMI offices were shut and sealed and its members were imprisoned but countless innocents were also thrown behind the bars as SIMI sympathizers. And the current government of the Congress, once led by the giants like Gandhi and Nehru and which came to power riding on the Muslim support, has dutifully carried that mission forward. A whole community is being driven over the edge and nobody gives a damn.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who had so enthusiastically informed his good ol’ friend George W. Bush not long ago there was not a single al-Qaeda member in India, stands and stares as hundreds of innocent Muslims — doctors, engineers and techies — are ensnared in false terrorism cases or are simply bumped off in states like Gujarat. Is this Gandhi’s India? Whatever happened to the India of our dreams, the champion of non-violence and tolerance? And where’s this country headed? I do not know. But I fear and cry for my country.

Aijaz Zaka Syed, an expat Indian, is Opinion Editor of Khaleej Times. Write to him at

Four blasts kill at least 10, hurt over 80 in northwest

Four blasts kill at least 10, hurt over 80 in northwest

Policemen holding their weapons look to secure the streets of Peshawar after multiple bomb blasts.—Reuters

PESHAWAR: Two bombs exploded in a market in the Frontier capital of Peshawar on Thursday, killing six people, and gunmen on rooftops ambushed police as they arrived at the scene, police said.

A short while later, a suicide bomber attacked a paramilitary checkpost in another part of the city, killing two soldiers and wounding three.

‘He was on foot and as we saw him, he ran and blew himself up when he got close to us,’ Wasiullah, a paramilitary soldier wounded in the attack, told Reuters as he arrived at a hospital.

The attack was soon followed by a huge bomb blast and gunfire was heard on the streets of Dera Ismail Khan, police said.

Three were killed and seven injured after a bomb planted in the city’s town hall exploded, police told DawnNews.

Peshawar bazaar attack

The first two bombs were planted on motorbikes in the vicinity of Qissa Khwani (Storytellers) Bazaar in Peshawar’s old city and caused extensive damage.

Six people were killed and about 70 wounded, provincial government minister Bashir Ahmed Bilour told Reuters.

The first blast triggered a huge fire in Kabari Bazaar, which lies in a narrow lane and destroyed at least seven cars, witnesses said.

Minutes later a second bomb went off in another market across the road sparking another fire and gutting up to 18 electronics shops, AFP reported.

‘Two separate timed bombs were planted on motorbikes, which exploded in quick succession,’ said Shafqat Malik, a senior police investigator.

Soon afterwards, gunmen on rooftops began firing at police in lanes below.

Television showed policemen firing back while colleagues strapped on bullet-proof vests.

Police later said two gunmen had been killed and two suspects detained.

‘We’re carrying out searches as others could be hiding,’ city police chief Sifwat Ghayyur told reporters.

Pakistani police and militants in gun battle after deadly Peshawar bombing

Pakistani police and militants in gun battle after deadly Peshawar bombing

Two suspected Taliban members killed after blasts kill at least five and wound dozens in crowded bazaar, police say

bomb blasts rock PeshawarFirefighters tackle blazes after bomb blasts in a crowded bazaar in Peshawar, Pakistan. Photograph: EPA

A gun battle erupted in a crowded Peshawar bazaar today after two bomb blasts that killed at least five people and wounded dozens.

Suspected Taliban militants perched on rooftops opened fire on police officers responding to the explosions in Kissa Khwani, a historic market in the old city.

Two militants were killed and two arrested during the battle, which lasted about an hour, the city’s police chief said.

The attacks came a day after a similar, but much larger, assault in Lahore where gunmen opened fire indiscriminately before exploding a huge bomb that killed at least 24 people.

Live coverage on local television showed officers opening fire down alleyways as traders and shoppers cowered at a distance.

Images showed a wounded man limping from a shop, and police giving thumbs-up signs from a rooftop after shooting two militants dead.

One of the suspects, a clean-shaven man in a black shirt, was punched by members of the crowd as police dragged him away in handcuffs.

The violence brought into focus Pakistan‘s fight with the Taliban and al-Qaida. The Taliban said the Lahore bomb was in retaliation for the army operation against militants in the Swat valley.

“Obviously they are on the run,” the interior minister, Rehman Malik, told Dawn News. “The enemies of Pakistan want to destabilise and terrorise the public … but we’ll flush them very soon out of this country.”

Malik said that Mingora, the main town of Swat, would be under government control “within a day or two”. “Obviously they have lost their ground there so they are resorting to these tactics,” he said.

Malik said that intelligence reports indicated further attacks may be pending, and the police in Islamabad, Punjab and North-West Frontier province were on high alert.

As he spoke, reports came through of an explosion and possible gunfire at a checkpoint on the edge of Peshawar.

Jamestown Foundation Claiming Jihadis Discussing Plans to Seize Pakistani Nukes

[You can’t really justify an invasion of Pakistan to secure nuclear weapons that are threatened by “al Qaida” terrorists if you don’t first come-up with some good actors to play the part of evil genius, terror masterminds.  “Al Qaida” is the bogeyman.]

Jihadis Discuss Plans to Seize Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal

Publication: Terrorism Monitor Volume: 7 Issue: 14
May 26, 2009 04:31 PM Age: 2 days
Category: Terrorism Monitor, Global Terrorism Analysis, Home Page, Military/Security, Terrorism, South Asia, Featured
Abu Yahya Al-Libi

Urged by a senior al-Qaeda ideologue to take over Pakistan, members of jihadi internet forums have begun to examine the possibility of controlling Pakistan’s nuclear weapons (, April 24). At the same time, jihadis continue to collect information on nuclear facilities around the globe, especially Israel’s nuclear projects, waiting for an opportunity to perpetrate successful terrorist attacks against these facilities after massive terrorist attacks using conventional weapons failed to give rise to the global supremacy of Islamic law (, April 22).

On March 14, al-Fajr Media Center released a 29-page book entitled Sharpening the Blades in the Battle against the Government and Army of Pakistan by a senior al-Qaeda leader, Abu Yahya al-Libi (, May 3; see Terrorism Focus, May 8). Al-Libi’s work is designed to incite jihad against the Pakistani government.

Tales of U.S. Hegemony and Pakistani Government Betrayals

Tales of U.S. Hegemony and Pakistani Government Betrayals

By Talha Mujaddidi. Axis of Logic

War it is! Prime Minister Gillani announced to the Pakistani public on national television that the Government has decided to launch an operation against Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) 1 (Operation Rah-e-Raast or straightpath).

Who wants peace?

The Pakistani public opinion was divided on the peace deal. But the parties that played a key roles in the breakdown of the fragile peace agreement were the TTP (described below); the U.S. government; Prime Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani; and General Ashfaq Kayani, Pakistan’s Army Chief.

The earlier peace deal collapsed after TTP failed to surrender their weapons and let police return into Swat. The U.S was never in favor of the Swat peace deal and the Clinton/Holbrooke team did their part in orchestrating a breakdown. The Pakistani Minister, Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, announced that nation must give unconditional support to Pakistani Army to remove the TTP from their strongholds and restore the writ of the government. General Ashfaq Kayani complied and ordered the attacks. We all agree that this operation against the TTP was a necessity, given the circumstances, especially since the TTP had again started resorting to acts of violence after the peace agreement. The biggest violent act was the kidnapping and then beheading of four Special Services Group (SSG) Officers of Pakistan Army. Later on, the nation saw the video of the officers being held hostage on Pakistani private news channel. All the political parties, media groups and civil society are behind the army operation.

Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP)

As I had mentioned earlier that the TTP had nothing to do with peace deal or Shariah law, it’s a brutal militant outfit following Takfiri ideology (a Muslim who believes that all other Muslims even orthodox are not true Muslims and they are just collaborators of infidels and deserve to be attacked and killed. All Muslim scholars are unanimous in declaring Takfiris ‘heretics’ of Islam) and they will fight until the last man standing. Sufi Mohammad 2 turned out to be a culprit since he played at the hands of the TTP. Sufi called Pakistan a Kafir (infidel) nation; he called Pakistan’s constitution Kafir. What is worse; is that Sufi has declared that the freedom movement, in Indian occupied Kashmir, is not a Jihad but a war for resources (something that must have made India proud). These statements and antics together were more than the Pakistani Government could tolerate under mounting U.S pressure to let go off the peace deal. U.S and TTP wanted the peace deal to break down. Why is that? Eric Margolis’s new book, “The American Raj” provides the answer. U.S, like Russians, Israel and India has a habit of playing double game in almost all conflicts. The U.S is supporting TTP through Afghani and Indian intelligence agencies at the same time pressurizing the Pakistani government to go after the TTP using Pakistani Army.

Map showing TTP presence in NWFP, most of the areas of TTP presence are FATA (Federally Administrated Tribal Areas) which are still not governed under Pakistan law. (Map: BBC).

After Swat the TTP moved into Dir and Buner areas. This was basically part of the U.S. plan to take control of areas surrounding Afghanistan-Pakistan border area, using the excuse of fighting the TTP and Al-Qaeda, and pushing Pakistani government authority as far back as Indus River. Thus, the Pakistan Army didn’t have much choice but to launch a big operation against the TTP. If unchecked, the TTP would continue to grab control of more area around northern Punjab and South Eastern NWFP. There are some key military and government installations in that area, hence control of that region by TTP cannot be allowed.

As a consequence, the Pakistani Army decided that an operation had to be launched against the TTP. The U.S didn’t instruct the Pakistan Army to start the operation but simply created conditions under which no other alternatives were available to the Pakistan Army. The U.S would like Pakistan Army to start a simultaneous operation in North and South Waziristan, where supposedly Baitullah Mehsud is located. The U.S will not kill Mehsud with a drone-strike but will keep pressurizing the Pakistani government to start another military operation. U.S puppet President Zardari has already said that soon an operation in South Waziristan will start. The Pakistan Army must not launch an operation in South Waziristan, while it is engaged in Swat and adjoining areas. As mentioned earlier U.S would like to stretch Pakistan Army as much as possible. It is important that TTP are eliminated as much as possible, so that one area of conflict is closed down. If TTP are not eliminated, there is a possibility that Pakistan Army will have to fight them and BLA in Baluchistan at the same time. This must be avoided at all costs. Supplies for TTP are coming from Afghanistan; therefore it is vital that Pakistan Army secures the border region so that supplies for TTP are limited.

Zardari’s damage to Pakistan

As much as the U.S, India, Afghanistan are interfering into Pakistan’s internal affairs, an equal amount of damage is being done by Zardari and his government to Pakistan’s national interests. The government should have made appropriate arrangements for the residents of Swat, Buner and Dir, who are evacuating from the areas where the military offensive is taking place. These evacuees are in serious need of humanitarian assistance. The Government should have known that making accommodation for evacuees, who are Internally Displaced People (IDP), would be extremely difficult. Currently more than a million people have been displaced from their homes. Zardari is going around the world begging for money for the IDP’s while he himself has given nothing for the IDPs from his personal looted wealth. He is a billionaire in US dollars. Same goes for other corrupt Pakistani politicians. As in most “third world countries”, corrupt government officials will plunder most of the foreign aid which often comes with strings attached.

“Af-Pak” – U.S. Imperialist Policy for Afghanistan & Pakistan

As I have mentioned in previous articles, the U.S would like nothing more than to cut off the land link between Pakistan and China. The “AfPak” plan calls for attacks on TTP militants who control FATA, Swat areas, the Pushtoon dominated border region of Afghanistan-Pakistan border, up to Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan. Quetta has been called the headquarters of Afghani Taliban by US authorities. Admiral Mullen himself has admitted that U.S troop surge in Afghanistan will push more militants into Pakistan.

FATA, Swat areas, the Pushtoon dominated border region of Afghanistan-Pakistan border, up to Quetta, the provincial capital of Baluchistan.

AfPak would like more trouble in Baluchistan. As mentioned my article last article, ‘Finding Clarity in the Baluchistan Conundrum’, the current Baluchistan government is another proxy of U.S, hence they have announced that government will spend millions of rupees to make Gwadar, the winter capital of Baluchistan. Quetta is the current capital for the province, and it’s predominantly Pushtoon. A parallel government is to be setup in Gwadar, from where Baloch Liberation Army (BLA) and Jandullah can operate from. BLA will operate inside Baluchistan, and Jandullah will try to create trouble in Iran. Iran has, since last year, begun to fence its border with Baluchistan. Once violence is escalated in Baluchistan, BLA will claim that we have setup an independent Baluchistan government in Gwadar. The U.S can use either terrorism or an alternate supply route as a pretext to take control of most strategically located Gwadar. Pepe Escobar calls Baluchistan the biggest prize for U.S in this region.

Baluchistan comprises 48% of the land area of Pakistan. It is poorly protected as Pakistan does not have enough troops to man different areas of Baluchistan, especially when Army is fighting in Swat. The Pakistan Navy is a small force, and is no match to the U.S. Navy carrier group which is just off the coast of Gwadar. On the other side of the Pakistan border. in Afghanistan (Helmand province), a brand new U.S airbase is being built and that area also called, ‘desert of death’ will house some eight thousand U.S troops. Cross border special operations into Pakistan and Iran from there will be very easy once the base is operational.

Baluchistan comprises 48% of the land area of Pakistan

Nuclear Weapons

If the TTP gets control of the border areas of Afghanistan-Pakistan and enough chaos is created in Baluchistan using BLA, Jandullah, the U.S will tell the world community that Pakistan has become a failed state. U.S can go to the UN Security Council and demand the world to help the U.S and its allies restore order in Pakistan. This is an option that U.S will have if the TTP end up controlling the troubled areas of Pakistan. Of course, the U.S will ask the U.N to pressurize Pakistan government to cap its nuclear program and allow IAEA inspection and eventual dismantling of the nuclear weapons. This will take place under the pretext that TTP or Al-Qaida might take over nuclear weapons. Zardari already knows this, in his recent visit to France; he was told by French authorities that France can provide equipment to Pakistan so that certain codes can be placed on the nuclear weapons to prevent the Pakistan Army from using nuclear weapons in any conflict with India without these special release codes. Zardari will get his cut in return for obliging the French. But it’s not that simple, he can’t do this unless the Pakistan Army allows this to happen. His handyman Rehman Malik, the Interior Minister, has made some suspicious remarks on the nation’s nuclear program, only to deny them afterwards. Zardari government has already cut 35% funding for Pakistan’s nuclear program, as has been verified by top investigative journalist Ansar Abassi of The News and Dr. Shireen Mazari, Director of Institute of Strategic Studies in Islamabad (The News Aug 3rd 2008).  This like all other matters was done without bringing the issue to the parliament for discussion.

The endgame for U.S in Afghanistan?

The U.S has already expanded the war on terror inside Pakistani territory. The reason is that U.S has realized that soon it will run out of options in Afghanistan, and they will have to leave in humiliation. Usually, wars end with “peace talks” and the “negotiating table”, but there is no negotiating table” for U.S and NATO in Afghanistan. The situation on ground has become so dire that Kabul is surrounded by the Taliban, who control over 70% of the country. It’s a matter of time only before they start attacking vital installations in Kabul. The U.S has sent more troops into Afghanistan on the hope that situation will be controlled. This is a flawed strategy. The Red Army had several hundred thousand troops there and still couldn’t control the resistance movement. The following maps highlight, the control of Taliban at the end of 2007, and November 2008.

Map 1: Taliban complete control in dark pink, considerable control in pink, and no control in grey, at the end of 2007
Map 2: Taliban complete control in dark pink, considerable control in pink, and no control in grey in November 2008.

Patrick Cockburn, journalist, also highlights the failure of Afghan Government in Afghans to Obama get out take Karzai with you.

“A measure of the failure of Mr. Karzai, his government and his Western supporters is that I was able to drive from Kabul to Kandahar eight years ago. But if I tried to make the same journey today, I would be killed or kidnapped soon after leaving Kabul”. He continues, “It is not so much that the Taliban is strong and popular, but that the government is weak, corrupt and dysfunctional”.

“Security has not deteriorated because of what the Taliban has done,” says Daoud Sultanzoy, a US-trained commercial pilot who is a highly respected MP from Ghazni province, south-west of Kabul, “but because people feel the government is unjust. It is seen as the enemy of the people, and because there is no constitutional alternative to it, the Taliban gain.”

The U.S wants Pakistan to get rid of its allies inside Afghanistan, namely, Mullah Omar 3, Gulbadeen Hikmatyar, Anwar ul Haq Mujahid, and Jalaluddin Haqqani (all historic Mujahedeen from the time they were fighting Soviet Army). The Pakistan Army and ISI are well aware of the history of this region and the Soviet defeat; the U.S simply ditched Pakistan and moved away. Pakistan was left to deal with the mess. The Pakistan Army and ISI 5 are not interested in going against their assets in Afghanistan, for if the U.S were to abandon Afghanistan again, the Pakistan would like to have some friendly people in Afghanistan. The fact that all these Afghan leaders/war lords, have never caused any harm to Pakistan or Pakistani people so there is no need for Pakistan Army to make enemies out of them. Other than the U.S, Pakistan’s arch enemy, India, now has a strong base inside Afghanistan. If the U.S were to leave Afghanistan, these warlords will be used to remove Indian influence in Afghanistan. Finally, the US Army has always been reluctant to kill Baitullah Mehsud 4, the leader of the TTP. This has impaired the trust level between the Pakistan Army and Pentagon, which has been publicly acknowledged by Admiral Mullen as well.

U.S plans for Pakistan and a puppet Pakistani government

The United States has placed the following demands for the Pakistani government.

  1. Completely freeze Pakistan’s nuclear and missile program

  2. Handover the existing enriched uranium to U.S special task force so that it can be moved to a “safe location” outside Pakistan

  3. Keep following the IMF/World Bank guidelines for managing the economy of Pakistan

  4. Change the Pakistan military doctrine; make India an ally in “war against terror”, instead of an enemy nation.

  5. Move Pakistani troops from eastern border with India

  6. Accept Indian hegemony in South Asia, and allow India to send its supplies (transit trade) through Pakistan into Afghanistan.

  7. The U.S needs another supply line from Pakistani port of Gwadar; hence the Pakistan government would cooperate in that regard.

This is the U.S agenda for Zardari and his government; otherwise he will be removed – “regime change”. The U.S has asked Nawaz the leader of the opposition to join the government in Pakistan, so that PPP 6, ANP 7, MQM 8 and PML (n) 9 can forward the U.S agenda together in Pakistan. Nawaz has always been seen as part of center right in Pakistan’s political spectrum. His policies during Musharraf’s rule have always been anti-U.S, at least in his statements. But the problem for Nawaz is that he has no choice but to oblige. He is as corrupt as Zardari, plus he owes his escape from jail (under Musharraf) to Bill Clinton, hence he has to oblige Uncle Sam. See my 3/26/09 article, The “Long March” in Pakistan Ends. U.S. plays both sides to maintain control).

Before this, another agreement was done between President Musharraf, Benazir, and the US, known as the NRO 10. The result of that agreemen was that Benazir gave unconditional guarantees to the U.S before she actually arrived in Pakistan. Once in Pakistan, she realized that Pakistani public opinion is totally off tangent to that of U.S demands. She was caught in middle not sure of which path to take. She tried to represent the pulse of the people but the result was not good. She was no more, and Musharraf too had to leave in humiliation in the aftermath of Benazir’s assassination. Nawaz should know very well what it would mean if he is dragged into a similar deal with the US. The ground reality is that a pro-American leader in Pakistan will not be accepted by the people. Nawaz should know better, but then again there is no room for dissent when you have corruption cases against you lying in Pakistani courts and plundered loot hidden in Swiss bank accounts.

The biggest question to ask now is, under what terms and conditions did IMF and World Bank give the harsh loans to Pakistan? Why doesn’t the government disclose the terms and conditions to the Pakistani public? What are they afraid of? Why should we listen to IMF, honor these onerous agreements that continue to destroy our economy. Taking loans on heavy interest from IMF and the World Bank has always resulted in disaster for the nation. Naomi Klein in her best seller book, “The Shock Doctrine, rise of the disaster capitalism”, has described the disastrous effects of IMF and WB policies. John Perkin, a former economic hit man has described the details of such policies and economics shocks, in his best seller books, “Confessions of an economic hit man”, and “Secret history of the American Empire”.

Why must our finance minister be a former Citibank employee? The current finance advisor and the governor of the State Bank are both former Citibank officials. Neither are not accountable to the Pakistani public.

Like I mentioned earlier, India has blocked Pakistan’s water supply from Chenab River and there is the Kashmir dispute that remains to be resolved. Plus there are other outstanding issues, the biggest being RAW’s (Research and Analysis Wing, India’s top intelligence agency) committing terror attacks inside Pakistan. Despite all this, how is it possible that Pakistan can remove its troops from Indian border? On the other hand India is busy in war games near Pakistani border, involving six of its strike corps. The best part is that since terrorist attacks in Mumbai India has not moved its forces from the border.

If India is allowed to move its supplies through Pakistan into Afghanistan, Pakistan will be responsible for security of these supplies. If there is an attack on their convoy, then India will send its troops into Pakistan to secure their supplies? This is surely something that Pakistan Army will not entertain, nor the people of Pakistan.

The U.S would like an alternate route through Pakistan, and Gwadar fits the map most ideally. Its most strategically located. There is already a port there, built by China. Therefore, occupying Gwadar would not only provide the U.S. with an alternate supply route through Baluchistan into Afghanistan, but also cut off China, damaging the Chinese ‘String of Pearls’ theory.

The Pakistani government is not doing anything in Pakistan’s national interest. There is the problem of incompetence, corruption, and treachery. People like Pakistani Ambassador to U.S, Hussain Haqqani are only pleading U.S case against Pakistan rather than pleading Pakistan’s case in Washington D.C. Rehman Malik the Interior Minister suffers from lost credibility just like the President Zardari. Pakistan’s most trusted allies China and Saudi Arabia don’t trust Zardari since they know of his corrupt past. The Saudi’s are also skeptical of Zardari’s (Shia Muslim) close working relationship with Iran. The Pakistan Army is also very skeptical of Zardari, Malik, Haqqani, and the entire setup of this government, but Gen. Kayani is a professional soldier and he does not want to drag the army into politics once again. This is especially true since the army is fully occupied in battling insurgencies inside Pakistan. However there are also few realistic choices left for the Army. They must have drawn a ‘Red Line’, which shall not be crossed by Zardari government. I also think that there is a line that is drawn for the U.S as well. I don’t think that Pakistan Army will allow a blank check to the U.S., especially at the expense of accepting Indian hegemony. What Pakistan needs now is a caretaker nationalist government to be setup under the Supreme Court of Pakistan and it must make fundamental policy decisions and curb U.S influence in Pakistani politics.

It’s really is a very tough scenario for decision-makers in Pakistan. There is no easy way out of this quagmire, is there? The economy is heavily dependent on IMF and WB. Political parties are unable to deliver anything good for the public. They are just one step away from going at each other’s throats. People are fed up with the lies and incompetence of the politicians.

At the moment the eyes of the nation are fixed at the military operation going on in Northern Areas. We all hope that this operation is successful in restoring the writ of the government in Swat, Buner, Dir and other areas that were under TTP control, so that there is peace in those areas and IDPs can go back to their homes. But lasting peace in Pakistan will only come about when there is a nationalist government rather than a government of corrupt scoundrels. We need to make major policy changes, and stop following the dictates of the U.S. Like I said it’s not NWFP or Baluchistan where the root cause of Pakistan’s trouble lie. It’s Afghanistan, where the nerve center of turmoil inside Pakistan is located. Until Pakistan has a nationalist government who is courageous enough to renegotiate terms and conditions with the US, the turmoil in Pakistan will continue and Pakistan will remain a battle ground for US strategic energy driven goals. The TTP, Zardari government, BLA, and Jandullah are just tools being used by U.S to expand its Great Game in Pakistan. It is also important the Pushtoons are included in government in Afghanistan. This is because of the Pushtoon populations sympathize with Pushtoons of Afghanistan. A pro-Pakistan government in Kabul is a must for peace in Pakistan. General Zia (Pakistan Army Chief and President from 1977-88) was right when he said that pro-Pakistan government in Afghanistan is a must for Pakistan’s stability otherwise Pakistan will burn.


Glossary of Terms and people mentioned

1. Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) is the main anti-government party in Pakistan at the moment. Because the TTP bears the name “Taliban” the western media often confuses them with the Taliban in Afghanistan. This is a grave mistake. The Afghan Taliban rejects the TTP. The TTP views the ANP to be pro-US and part of the pro-US Pakistan government. The TTP is a group based on Takfiri ideology (a Muslim who believes that all other Muslims, even orthodox Muslims are not true Muslims. They view all others as collaborators with the West. All Muslim scholars are unanimous in declaring Takfiris ‘heretics of Islam.

2. Sufi Mohammad has moved into Swat with 9000 followers. He is the original leader of the Swat Islamic Courts Movement and the current leader of the Movement to Implement Islamic Laws in Swat under the name, Tehrik-e-Nizam- e-Shariat e Mustafa (TNSM).  Sufi Mohammad had virtual control over Swat during the 90’s but now no military power on ground.

3. Mullah Mohammad Omar, founder, leader and ruler of Afghanistan until US invasion in 2001. Mullah Omar has never been against Pakistan. He wants complete withdrawal of US and NATO troops from Afghanistan.
4. Baitullah Mehsud is the leader of TTP, and his cousin Abdullah Mehsud was the founder of TTP, he founded TTP after he was released from Guantanamo Bay, by US authorities.

5. ISI- Inter Services Intelligence is Pakistan’s top spy agency. Very close ally of CIA. Also knows some intimate secrets of Afghan Jihad against Soviet, which was partnered by CIA and Regan administration. Recently ISI has been told not to interfere in domestic politics by Gen. Kayani.

6. The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) is the ruling political party under President Zardari.

7. ANP is predominantly Pushtoon political party that is currently ruling the NWFP province. ANP is a Marxist party, and the founder of the party didn’t want to join Pakistan at the time of partition of India, but the muslim majority of NWFP wanted to join Pakistan.

8. MQM is a political party in Sind, started off an ethnic party to represent the urdu speaking or Mohajir (those people who left india at time of partition and moved to newly created Pakistan) community of Pakistan. MQM chief Altaf Hussain is in a self chosen exile in London.

9. PML (N) is the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz group, currently PML is split into three groups. The three groups can come together soon. PML (Q) was also called King’s Party’ since it was formed by President Musharraf, now with Musharraf out of the scene Q and N are likely to join hands again.

10. National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) is the brainchild of Condi Rice, Richard Boucher, and John Negroponte. The NRO brought the current Pakistan government under President Zardari into power. One of the key functions of the NRO was to “baptized” all the corrupt politicians of the past, erasing their crimes and misdeeds.

11. Pervez Musharraf is former dictator-turned- president of Pakistan. He was forced out of office due to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and his loss of support by his former sponsor, the U.S. government

© Copyright 2009 by

Cash reward over arrest of 21 TTP leaders announced

Cash reward over arrest of 21 TTP leaders announced

Updated at: 0202 PST,  Thursday, May 28, 2009
Cash reward over arrest of 21 TTP leaders announced PESHAWAR: North West Frontier Province (NWFP) government has announced late on Wednesday the cash reward over information leading to the arrest of the 21 leaders of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Geo news reported.

According to NWFP information Minister Mian Iftikhar, Rs. 4 million will be awarded over the help arrest of TTP leader Molvi Fazlullah, Rs. 4 million over arrest of Haji Muslim Khan, Rs. 5 million over arrest of Naib Ameer TTP Shah Doran, Rs. 3 million over commander Qari Mushtaq Gali, Rs. 3 million over arrest of commander Koza Bandah Mehmood Khan, Rs. 2 million over arrest of commander Kabal Akber Hussain, Rs. 1 million over commander Charbagh Sher Muhammad Kasab, Rs. 3 million over commander Malam Jabba Sirajuddin, Rs. 3 million over Matta Bakht Farzandi, Rs. 1 million over local commander Koza Bandah Mian Fazal Gahfoor, Rs. 1 million over Matta Nisar Ahmed, Rs. 1 million over Baraymian Torobanda Lal Deen and others.

The advertisements, of the following cash reward from NWFP government over the information helpful for the arrest of 21 TTP leaders, have been published in all newspapers.

The ads stated that the names of the persons, providing information in this respect, will be kept secret while some telephone numbers, in this wake, have also been published in advertisements, sources confirmed.

Mossad SITE Claims Lahore Solidarity Attack by Copycat Killers

[SITE, home of the infamous fake “bin Laden” videos, is run by Israeli  Rita Katz, a fluent Arabic speaker, was born in Basra in 1963 to a wealthy Iraqi Jewish family. In 1968 her father was arrested on charges of spying for Israel and the rest of the family put under house arrest. The following year Katz’s father was convicted and executed in a public hanging and Katz’s mother managed to escape with the children to Israel.[4] While in Israel, Katz served in the Israeli Defense Forces and studied politics and history at Tel Aviv University.]

‘Punjabi Taliban’ claim Lahore suicide bombing: monitors

[One might ask why a Zionist disinformation site would want to take the heat off an anti-Pakistan terrorist outfit that probably receives arms and funding from at least one hostile foreign entity?  Such inconsistencies could go a long way towards proving that the Tehreek e-Taliban Pakistan is a product of hostile intelligence agencies.]

Policemen detain a suspect (C) following a suicide car bomb attack on the police emergency response office building in Lahore. —AFP

NICOSIA: A Pakistani Taliban group on Wednesday claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing of a Lahore police building that killed 24 people, a US specialist militant monitoring group said.

A group calling itself ‘Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab’ made the claim in a Turkish-language statement posted on Turkish militant websites through an organisation called Elif Media.  [If the video emerged on a Turkish militant site, then it must be associated with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), SEE: The IMU in Pakistan: A Phoenix Reborn, or a Tired Scarecrow?]

The militant monitors SITE cited the group as saying the attack ‘targeted the ‘nest of evil’ in Lahore, and was a ‘humble gift’ to the mujahideen who suffer beneath the attacks of Pakistani forces in Swat.’

It specified that a vehicle laden with 100 kilos of explosives was blown up outside a security building in Lahore, the capital of Punjab province in Pakistan, destroying the building and injuring hundreds more.

‘Tehrik-i-Taliban Punjab asks Muslims in Pakistan to stay away from areas where the enemy is ‘taking advantage’ of them, so that they are not harmed by jihadi attacks,’ SITE added.

The blast was the third deadly attack to rock Lahore in as many months.

A top security official told AFP after nightfall that 24 people died, including 13 policemen, civilians and security officers.

A senior investigator told AFP the attack was the likely handiwork of Al-Qaeda linked Taliban militants operating from Pakistan’s Waziristan region.

One of the attackers was shot dead by security guards as he approached the building, and two others perished in the explosion, the investigator said.

US strategic plan

US strategic plan

Published: May 28, 2009

A.H. Amin
Every movement in history has a direction, a quantum, a modus operandi. According to the father of the philosophy of war Carl Von Clausewitz everything in strategy moves slowly, imperceptibly, subtly, somewhat mysteriously and sometimes invisibly. The greatness of a military commander or statesman lies in assessing these strategic movements.
The USA inherited a historical situation in the shape of 9/11.At this point in time it was not making history if we agree that 9/11 was the work of Al Qaeda for which so far the USA has failed to furnish any solid evidence. After 9/11 when the USA attacked Afghanistan ,US leaders and key military commanders were making history. They had a certain plan in mind. The stated objectives of these plan were the elimination of Al Qaeda. The unstated objective was the de-nuclearisation of Pakistan. This scribe has continuously held this position held consistently in articles published in Nation from September 2001,all through 2002,2003,2004,2005 and till 2009.
The US strategic plan followed the following distinct phases:
* An initial manoeuvre occupying Afghanistan in 2001.
* Establishing and consolidating US military bases near the Afghan Pakistan border. Most prominent being the Khost, Jalalabad, Sharan and Kunar US bases. Some military bases like Dasht I Margo in Nimroz and three other bases in Kandahar, Badakhshan and Logar were so secret that their construction was not even advertised. Even in case of sensitive areas the contracts were awarded to the US Government owned Shaw Inc and the CIA proxy operated Dyncorps Corporation. Patriotic Afghans trained in USSR were removed from Afghan Intelligence because they would not agree to be a party to USA’s dirty game in between 2001 and 2007.Similarly many patriotic Afghan officers trained in USSR were removed from the Afghan military establishment.

* Cultivating various tribes in ethnic groups on the Pakistan Afghan border by awarding them lucrative construction and logistic sub contracts.
* Forcing the Pakistani military to act against the FATA tribes thus destabilising Pakistan’s North West area close to the strategic heartland of Peshawar-Islamabad-Lahore where Pakistan’s political and military nucleus is located.
* Creating a situation where mysterious insurgencies erupted in various parts of Pakistan including FATA, Swat and Balochistan.
* Carrying forward urban terrorism into Punjab through various proxies.
Now it appears that the strategic plan is entering its final stage of launching a strategic coup de grace to Pakistan. These may be assessed as following :–
* US military buildup in Afghanistan and launching of an offensive against Taliban with an aim of pushing them into Pakistan.
* Simultaneously pressurising the Pakistan Army into launching an operation in Waziristan. Thus Pakistan Army gets severely bogged down and hundreds of thousands of refugees enter Pakistans NWFP and Balochistan provinces. Infiltrators and fifth columnists being a heavy promiscuous mixture of this movement.
* Since 2001 the USA has spent a great fortune collecting information on Pakistan’s strategic nuclear assets. It appears that in 2009 it has sufficient data to launch a covert operation.
* The covert nuclear operation could have a civilian and a military part. The civilian part may involve an attack on Pakistan’s non-military nuclear reactors like Chashma and KANUPP. The military covert operation could involve an attack on any of Pakistan’s strategic nuclear groups anywhere in Pakistan. Once this type of attack is done the USA with its NATO lackeys like Britain, France and Germany would go the UN and manoeuvre an international resolution demanding denuclearization of Pakistan. The international opinion may be so strong that Pakistan’s government may capitulate.
* Once Pakistan is de-nuclearisaed the USA would encourage Pakistan’s Balkanisation into a Baloch US satellite , a city state of MQM in Karachi, a Pakhtunistan badly bombed and in tatters and a Punjab stripped of nuclear potential , kicked and bullied by India. A Northern Area republic which is a US lackey unless China decides to call the US bluff by occupying the Northern Area.
What is the answer to this:
* An immediate clean break with USA/NATO and closing all NATO/US supply lines to Afghanistan.
* Mining and barbed wiring the Afghan Pakistan Border.
* Allowing the FATA agencies to import goods for Afghanistan duty free and scrapping the old Afghan Transit Trade Accord thus economically boosting the FATA.
* A military alliance with China with a Chinese Naval base at Gwadar.
* A rapprochement with Russia and offering the Russians free port facilities at Gwadar.
* Creation of a maritime province in Gwadar and Lasbela districts insulating these areas from the Baloch Sardars on payroll of US intelligence.
* Creation of a Pashtun Province in the Pashtun districts of Balochistan with Quetta as its capital.
* Cancelling all mineral concessions to all European/Australian/American companies in Balochistan and grant all mineral concessions to Chinese companies.
Everything is not inevitable in history. The ablest navigators can defeat the worst sea storms. Pakistan needs strategic and political vision. It may be necessary to have a military government to do all this in case the civilians prove inept.

Pakistani Taliban claim bombing

Breaking News

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for a bomb attack in Lahore which killed at least 26 people.

A deputy to Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud told the BBC over telephone that the attack was in response to the army’s continuing operation in Swat.

The caller, who identified himself as Hakimullah Mehsud, threatened similar attacks in other cities of Pakistan.

“Residents should leave the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Lahore and Multan,” he said.

More than 200 people were also injured in Wednesday’s attack.

WAR IS A RACKET, General Smedley D. Butler


by Two-Time Congressional Medal of Honor Recipient

Major General Smedley D. Butler – USMC Retired

About the Author



WAR is a racket. It always has been.

It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives.

A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small “inside” group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes.

In the World War [I] a mere handful garnered the profits of the conflict. At least 21,000 new millionaires and billionaires were made in the United States during the World War. That many admitted their huge blood gains in their income tax returns. How many other war millionaires falsified their tax returns no one knows.

How many of these war millionaires shouldered a rifle? How many of them dug a trench? How many of them knew what it meant to go hungry in a rat-infested dug-out? How many of them spent sleepless, frightened nights, ducking shells and shrapnel and machine gun bullets? How many of them parried a bayonet thrust of an enemy? How many of them were wounded or killed in battle?

Out of war nations acquire additional territory, if they are victorious. They just take it. This newly acquired territory promptly is exploited by the few – the selfsame few who wrung dollars out of blood in the war. The general public shoulders the bill.

And what is this bill?

This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones. Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Depression and all its attendant miseries. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.

For a great many years, as a soldier, I had a suspicion that war was a racket; not until I retired to civil life did I fully realize it. Now that I see the international war clouds gathering, as they are today, I must face it and speak out.

Again they are choosing sides. France and Russia met and agreed to stand side by side. Italy and Austria hurried to make a similar agreement. Poland and Germany cast sheep’s eyes at each other, forgetting for the nonce [one unique occasion], their dispute over the Polish Corridor.

The assassination of King Alexander of Jugoslavia [Yugoslavia] complicated matters. Jugoslavia and Hungary, long bitter enemies, were almost at each other’s throats. Italy was ready to jump in. But France was waiting. So was Czechoslovakia. All of them are looking ahead to war. Not the people – not those who fight and pay and die – only those who foment wars and remain safely at home to profit.

There are 40,000,000 men under arms in the world today, and our statesmen and diplomats have the temerity to say that war is not in the making.

Hell’s bells! Are these 40,000,000 men being trained to be dancers?

Not in Italy, to be sure. Premier Mussolini knows what they are being trained for. He, at least, is frank enough to speak out. Only the other day, Il Duce in “International Conciliation,” the publication of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, said:

“And above all, Fascism, the more it considers and observes the future and the development of humanity quite apart from political considerations of the moment, believes neither in the possibility nor the utility of perpetual peace… War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the people who have the courage to meet it.”

Undoubtedly Mussolini means exactly what he says. His well-trained army, his great fleet of planes, and even his navy are ready for war – anxious for it, apparently. His recent stand at the side of Hungary in the latter’s dispute with Jugoslavia showed that. And the hurried mobilization of his troops on the Austrian border after the assassination of Dollfuss showed it too. There are others in Europe too whose sabre rattling presages war, sooner or later.

Herr Hitler, with his rearming Germany and his constant demands for more and more arms, is an equal if not greater menace to peace. France only recently increased the term of military service for its youth from a year to eighteen months.

Yes, all over, nations are camping in their arms. The mad dogs of Europe are on the loose. In the Orient the maneuvering is more adroit. Back in 1904, when Russia and Japan fought, we kicked out our old friends the Russians and backed Japan. Then our very generous international bankers were financing Japan. Now the trend is to poison us against the Japanese. What does the “open door” policy to China mean to us? Our trade with China is about $90,000,000 a year. Or the Philippine Islands? We have spent about $600,000,000 in the Philippines in thirty-five years and we (our bankers and industrialists and speculators) have private investments there of less than $200,000,000.

Then, to save that China trade of about $90,000,000, or to protect these private investments of less than $200,000,000 in the Philippines, we would be all stirred up to hate Japan and go to war – a war that might well cost us tens of billions of dollars, hundreds of thousands of lives of Americans, and many more hundreds of thousands of physically maimed and mentally unbalanced men.

Of course, for this loss, there would be a compensating profit – fortunes would be made. Millions and billions of dollars would be piled up. By a few. Munitions makers. Bankers. Ship builders. Manufacturers. Meat packers. Speculators. They would fare well.

Yes, they are getting ready for another war. Why shouldn’t they? It pays high dividends.

But what does it profit the men who are killed? What does it profit their mothers and sisters, their wives and their sweethearts? What does it profit their children?

What does it profit anyone except the very few to whom war means huge profits?

Yes, and what does it profit the nation?

Take our own case. Until 1898 we didn’t own a bit of territory outside the mainland of North America. At that time our national debt was a little more than $1,000,000,000. Then we became “internationally minded.” We forgot, or shunted aside, the advice of the Father of our country. We forgot George Washington’s warning about “entangling alliances.” We went to war. We acquired outside territory. At the end of the World War period, as a direct result of our fiddling in international affairs, our national debt had jumped to over $25,000,000,000. Our total favorable trade balance during the twenty-five-year period was about $24,000,000,000. Therefore, on a purely bookkeeping basis, we ran a little behind year for year, and that foreign trade might well have been ours without the wars.

It would have been far cheaper (not to say safer) for the average American who pays the bills to stay out of foreign entanglements. For a very few this racket, like bootlegging and other underworld rackets, brings fancy profits, but the cost of operations is always transferred to the people – who do not profit.



The World War, rather our brief participation in it, has cost the United States some $52,000,000,000. Figure it out. That means $400 to every American man, woman, and child. And we haven’t paid the debt yet. We are paying it, our children will pay it, and our children’s children probably still will be paying the cost of that war.

The normal profits of a business concern in the United States are six, eight, ten, and sometimes twelve percent. But war-time profits – ah! that is another matter – twenty, sixty, one hundred, three hundred, and even eighteen hundred per cent – the sky is the limit. All that traffic will bear. Uncle Sam has the money. Let’s get it.

Of course, it isn’t put that crudely in war time. It is dressed into speeches about patriotism, love of country, and “we must all put our shoulders to the wheel,” but the profits jump and leap and skyrocket – and are safely pocketed. Let’s just take a few examples:

Take our friends the du Ponts, the powder people – didn’t one of them testify before a Senate committee recently that their powder won the war? Or saved the world for democracy? Or something? How did they do in the war? They were a patriotic corporation. Well, the average earnings of the du Ponts for the period 1910 to 1914 were $6,000,000 a year. It wasn’t much, but the du Ponts managed to get along on it. Now let’s look at their average yearly profit during the war years, 1914 to 1918. Fifty-eight million dollars a year profit we find! Nearly ten times that of normal times, and the profits of normal times were pretty good. An increase in profits of more than 950 per cent.

Take one of our little steel companies that patriotically shunted aside the making of rails and girders and bridges to manufacture war materials. Well, their 1910-1914 yearly earnings averaged $6,000,000. Then came the war. And, like loyal citizens, Bethlehem Steel promptly turned to munitions making. Did their profits jump – or did they let Uncle Sam in for a bargain? Well, their 1914-1918 average was $49,000,000 a year!

Or, let’s take United States Steel. The normal earnings during the five-year period prior to the war were $105,000,000 a year. Not bad. Then along came the war and up went the profits. The average yearly profit for the period 1914-1918 was $240,000,000. Not bad.

There you have some of the steel and powder earnings. Let’s look at something else. A little copper, perhaps. That always does well in war times.

Anaconda, for instance. Average yearly earnings during the pre-war years 1910-1914 of $10,000,000. During the war years 1914-1918 profits leaped to $34,000,000 per year.

Or Utah Copper. Average of $5,000,000 per year during the 1910-1914 period. Jumped to an average of $21,000,000 yearly profits for the war period.

Let’s group these five, with three smaller companies. The total yearly average profits of the pre-war period 1910-1914 were $137,480,000. Then along came the war. The average yearly profits for this group skyrocketed to $408,300,000.

A little increase in profits of approximately 200 per cent.

Does war pay? It paid them. But they aren’t the only ones. There are still others. Let’s take leather.

For the three-year period before the war the total profits of Central Leather Company were $3,500,000. That was approximately $1,167,000 a year. Well, in 1916 Central Leather returned a profit of $15,000,000, a small increase of 1,100 per cent. That’s all. The General Chemical Company averaged a profit for the three years before the war of a little over $800,000 a year. Came the war, and the profits jumped to $12,000,000. a leap of 1,400 per cent.

International Nickel Company – and you can’t have a war without nickel – showed an increase in profits from a mere average of $4,000,000 a year to $73,000,000 yearly. Not bad? An increase of more than 1,700 per cent.

American Sugar Refining Company averaged $2,000,000 a year for the three years before the war. In 1916 a profit of $6,000,000 was recorded.

Listen to Senate Document No. 259. The Sixty-Fifth Congress, reporting on corporate earnings and government revenues. Considering the profits of 122 meat packers, 153 cotton manufacturers, 299 garment makers, 49 steel plants, and 340 coal producers during the war. Profits under 25 per cent were exceptional. For instance the coal companies made between 100 per cent and 7,856 per cent on their capital stock during the war. The Chicago packers doubled and tripled their earnings.

And let us not forget the bankers who financed the great war. If anyone had the cream of the profits it was the bankers. Being partnerships rather than incorporated organizations, they do not have to report to stockholders. And their profits were as secret as they were immense. How the bankers made their millions and their billions I do not know, because those little secrets never become public – even before a Senate investigatory body.

But here’s how some of the other patriotic industrialists and speculators chiseled their way into war profits.

Take the shoe people. They like war. It brings business with abnormal profits. They made huge profits on sales abroad to our allies. Perhaps, like the munitions manufacturers and armament makers, they also sold to the enemy. For a dollar is a dollar whether it comes from Germany or from France. But they did well by Uncle Sam too. For instance, they sold Uncle Sam 35,000,000 pairs of hobnailed service shoes. There were 4,000,000 soldiers. Eight pairs, and more, to a soldier. My regiment during the war had only one pair to a soldier. Some of these shoes probably are still in existence. They were good shoes. But when the war was over Uncle Sam has a matter of 25,000,000 pairs left over. Bought – and paid for. Profits recorded and pocketed.

There was still lots of leather left. So the leather people sold your Uncle Sam hundreds of thousands of McClellan saddles for the cavalry. But there wasn’t any American cavalry overseas! Somebody had to get rid of this leather, however. Somebody had to make a profit in it – so we had a lot of McClellan saddles. And we probably have those yet.

Also somebody had a lot of mosquito netting. They sold your Uncle Sam 20,000,000 mosquito nets for the use of the soldiers overseas. I suppose the boys were expected to put it over them as they tried to sleep in muddy trenches – one hand scratching cooties on their backs and the other making passes at scurrying rats. Well, not one of these mosquito nets ever got to France!

Anyhow, these thoughtful manufacturers wanted to make sure that no soldier would be without his mosquito net, so 40,000,000 additional yards of mosquito netting were sold to Uncle Sam.

There were pretty good profits in mosquito netting in those days, even if there were no mosquitoes in France. I suppose, if the war had lasted just a little longer, the enterprising mosquito netting manufacturers would have sold your Uncle Sam a couple of consignments of mosquitoes to plant in France so that more mosquito netting would be in order.

Airplane and engine manufacturers felt they, too, should get their just profits out of this war. Why not? Everybody else was getting theirs. So $1,000,000,000 – count them if you live long enough – was spent by Uncle Sam in building airplane engines that never left the ground! Not one plane, or motor, out of the billion dollars worth ordered, ever got into a battle in France. Just the same the manufacturers made their little profit of 30, 100, or perhaps 300 per cent.

Undershirts for soldiers cost 14� [cents] to make and uncle Sam paid 30� to 40� each for them – a nice little profit for the undershirt manufacturer. And the stocking manufacturer and the uniform manufacturers and the cap manufacturers and the steel helmet manufacturers – all got theirs.

Why, when the war was over some 4,000,000 sets of equipment – knapsacks and the things that go to fill them – crammed warehouses on this side. Now they are being scrapped because the regulations have changed the contents. But the manufacturers collected their wartime profits on them – and they will do it all over again the next time.

There were lots of brilliant ideas for profit making during the war.

One very versatile patriot sold Uncle Sam twelve dozen 48-inch wrenches. Oh, they were very nice wrenches. The only trouble was that there was only one nut ever made that was large enough for these wrenches. That is the one that holds the turbines at Niagara Falls. Well, after Uncle Sam had bought them and the manufacturer had pocketed the profit, the wrenches were put on freight cars and shunted all around the United States in an effort to find a use for them. When the Armistice was signed it was indeed a sad blow to the wrench manufacturer. He was just about to make some nuts to fit the wrenches. Then he planned to sell these, too, to your Uncle Sam.

Still another had the brilliant idea that colonels shouldn’t ride in automobiles, nor should they even ride on horseback. One has probably seen a picture of Andy Jackson riding in a buckboard. Well, some 6,000 buckboards were sold to Uncle Sam for the use of colonels! Not one of them was used. But the buckboard manufacturer got his war profit.

The shipbuilders felt they should come in on some of it, too. They built a lot of ships that made a lot of profit. More than $3,000,000,000 worth. Some of the ships were all right. But $635,000,000 worth of them were made of wood and wouldn’t float! The seams opened up – and they sank. We paid for them, though. And somebody pocketed the profits.

It has been estimated by statisticians and economists and researchers that the war cost your Uncle Sam $52,000,000,000. Of this sum, $39,000,000,000 was expended in the actual war itself. This expenditure yielded $16,000,000,000 in profits. That is how the 21,000 billionaires and millionaires got that way. This $16,000,000,000 profits is not to be sneezed at. It is quite a tidy sum. And it went to a very few.

The Senate (Nye) committee probe of the munitions industry and its wartime profits, despite its sensational disclosures, hardly has scratched the surface.

Even so, it has had some effect. The State Department has been studying “for some time” methods of keeping out of war. The War Department suddenly decides it has a wonderful plan to spring. The Administration names a committee – with the War and Navy Departments ably represented under the chairmanship of a Wall Street speculator – to limit profits in war time. To what extent isn’t suggested. Hmmm. Possibly the profits of 300 and 600 and 1,600 per cent of those who turned blood into gold in the World War would be limited to some smaller figure.

Apparently, however, the plan does not call for any limitation of losses – that is, the losses of those who fight the war. As far as I have been able to ascertain there is nothing in the scheme to limit a soldier to the loss of but one eye, or one arm, or to limit his wounds to one or two or three. Or to limit the loss of life.

There is nothing in this scheme, apparently, that says not more than 12 per cent of a regiment shall be wounded in battle, or that not more than 7 per cent in a division shall be killed.

Of course, the committee cannot be bothered with such trifling matters.



Who provides the profits – these nice little profits of 20, 100, 300, 1,500 and 1,800 per cent? We all pay them – in taxation. We paid the bankers their profits when we bought Liberty Bonds at $100.00 and sold them back at $84 or $86 to the bankers. These bankers collected $100 plus. It was a simple manipulation. The bankers control the security marts. It was easy for them to depress the price of these bonds. Then all of us – the people – got frightened and sold the bonds at $84 or $86. The bankers bought them. Then these same bankers stimulated a boom and government bonds went to par – and above. Then the bankers collected their profits.

But the soldier pays the biggest part of the bill.

If you don’t believe this, visit the American cemeteries on the battlefields abroad. Or visit any of the veteran’s hospitals in the United States. On a tour of the country, in the midst of which I am at the time of this writing, I have visited eighteen government hospitals for veterans. In them are a total of about 50,000 destroyed men – men who were the pick of the nation eighteen years ago. The very able chief surgeon at the government hospital; at Milwaukee, where there are 3,800 of the living dead, told me that mortality among veterans is three times as great as among those who stayed at home.

Boys with a normal viewpoint were taken out of the fields and offices and factories and classrooms and put into the ranks. There they were remolded; they were made over; they were made to “about face”; to regard murder as the order of the day. They were put shoulder to shoulder and, through mass psychology, they were entirely changed. We used them for a couple of years and trained them to think nothing at all of killing or of being killed.

Then, suddenly, we discharged them and told them to make another “about face” ! This time they had to do their own readjustment, sans [without] mass psychology, sans officers’ aid and advice and sans nation-wide propaganda. We didn’t need them any more. So we scattered them about without any “three-minute” or “Liberty Loan” speeches or parades. Many, too many, of these fine young boys are eventually destroyed, mentally, because they could not make that final “about face” alone.

In the government hospital in Marion, Indiana, 1,800 of these boys are in pens! Five hundred of them in a barracks with steel bars and wires all around outside the buildings and on the porches. These already have been mentally destroyed. These boys don’t even look like human beings. Oh, the looks on their faces! Physically, they are in good shape; mentally, they are gone.

There are thousands and thousands of these cases, and more and more are coming in all the time. The tremendous excitement of the war, the sudden cutting off of that excitement – the young boys couldn’t stand it.

That’s a part of the bill. So much for the dead – they have paid their part of the war profits. So much for the mentally and physically wounded – they are paying now their share of the war profits. But the others paid, too – they paid with heartbreaks when they tore themselves away from their firesides and their families to don the uniform of Uncle Sam – on which a profit had been made. They paid another part in the training camps where they were regimented and drilled while others took their jobs and their places in the lives of their communities. The paid for it in the trenches where they shot and were shot; where they were hungry for days at a time; where they slept in the mud and the cold and in the rain – with the moans and shrieks of the dying for a horrible lullaby.

But don’t forget – the soldier paid part of the dollars and cents bill too.

Up to and including the Spanish-American War, we had a prize system, and soldiers and sailors fought for money. During the Civil War they were paid bonuses, in many instances, before they went into service. The government, or states, paid as high as $1,200 for an enlistment. In the Spanish-American War they gave prize money. When we captured any vessels, the soldiers all got their share – at least, they were supposed to. Then it was found that we could reduce the cost of wars by taking all the prize money and keeping it, but conscripting [drafting] the soldier anyway. Then soldiers couldn’t bargain for their labor, Everyone else could bargain, but the soldier couldn’t.

Napoleon once said,

“All men are enamored of decorations…they positively hunger for them.”

So by developing the Napoleonic system – the medal business – the government learned it could get soldiers for less money, because the boys liked to be decorated. Until the Civil War there were no medals. Then the Congressional Medal of Honor was handed out. It made enlistments easier. After the Civil War no new medals were issued until the Spanish-American War.

In the World War, we used propaganda to make the boys accept conscription. They were made to feel ashamed if they didn’t join the army.

So vicious was this war propaganda that even God was brought into it. With few exceptions our clergymen joined in the clamor to kill, kill, kill. To kill the Germans. God is on our side…it is His will that the Germans be killed.

And in Germany, the good pastors called upon the Germans to kill the allies…to please the same God. That was a part of the general propaganda, built up to make people war conscious and murder conscious.

Beautiful ideals were painted for our boys who were sent out to die. This was the “war to end all wars.” This was the “war to make the world safe for democracy.” No one mentioned to them, as they marched away, that their going and their dying would mean huge war profits. No one told these American soldiers that they might be shot down by bullets made by their own brothers here. No one told them that the ships on which they were going to cross might be torpedoed by submarines built with United States patents. They were just told it was to be a “glorious adventure.”

Thus, having stuffed patriotism down their throats, it was decided to make them help pay for the war, too. So, we gave them the large salary of $30 a month.

All they had to do for this munificent sum was to leave their dear ones behind, give up their jobs, lie in swampy trenches, eat canned willy (when they could get it) and kill and kill and kill…and be killed.

But wait!

Half of that wage (just a little more than a riveter in a shipyard or a laborer in a munitions factory safe at home made in a day) was promptly taken from him to support his dependents, so that they would not become a charge upon his community. Then we made him pay what amounted to accident insurance – something the employer pays for in an enlightened state – and that cost him $6 a month. He had less than $9 a month left.

Then, the most crowning insolence of all – he was virtually blackjacked into paying for his own ammunition, clothing, and food by being made to buy Liberty Bonds. Most soldiers got no money at all on pay days.

We made them buy Liberty Bonds at $100 and then we bought them back – when they came back from the war and couldn’t find work – at $84 and $86. And the soldiers bought about $2,000,000,000 worth of these bonds!

Yes, the soldier pays the greater part of the bill. His family pays too. They pay it in the same heart-break that he does. As he suffers, they suffer. At nights, as he lay in the trenches and watched shrapnel burst about him, they lay home in their beds and tossed sleeplessly – his father, his mother, his wife, his sisters, his brothers, his sons, and his daughters.

When he returned home minus an eye, or minus a leg or with his mind broken, they suffered too – as much as and even sometimes more than he. Yes, and they, too, contributed their dollars to the profits of the munitions makers and bankers and shipbuilders and the manufacturers and the speculators made. They, too, bought Liberty Bonds and contributed to the profit of the bankers after the Armistice in the hocus-pocus of manipulated Liberty Bond prices.

And even now the families of the wounded men and of the mentally broken and those who never were able to readjust themselves are still suffering and still paying.



WELL, it’s a racket, all right.

A few profit – and the many pay. But there is a way to stop it. You can’t end it by disarmament conferences. You can’t eliminate it by peace parleys at Geneva. Well-meaning but impractical groups can’t wipe it out by resolutions. It can be smashed effectively only by taking the profit out of war.

The only way to smash this racket is to conscript capital and industry and labor before the nations manhood can be conscripted. One month before the Government can conscript the young men of the nation – it must conscript capital and industry and labor. Let the officers and the directors and the high-powered executives of our armament factories and our munitions makers and our shipbuilders and our airplane builders and the manufacturers of all the other things that provide profit in war time as well as the bankers and the speculators, be conscripted – to get $30 a month, the same wage as the lads in the trenches get.

Let the workers in these plants get the same wages – all the workers, all presidents, all executives, all directors, all managers, all bankers –

yes, and all generals and all admirals and all officers and all politicians and all government office holders – everyone in the nation be restricted to a total monthly income not to exceed that paid to the soldier in the trenches!

Let all these kings and tycoons and masters of business and all those workers in industry and all our senators and governors and majors pay half of their monthly $30 wage to their families and pay war risk insurance and buy Liberty Bonds.

Why shouldn’t they?

They aren’t running any risk of being killed or of having their bodies mangled or their minds shattered. They aren’t sleeping in muddy trenches. They aren’t hungry. The soldiers are!

Give capital and industry and labor thirty days to think it over and you will find, by that time, there will be no war. That will smash the war racket – that and nothing else.

Maybe I am a little too optimistic. Capital still has some say. So capital won’t permit the taking of the profit out of war until the people – those who do the suffering and still pay the price – make up their minds that those they elect to office shall do their bidding, and not that of the profiteers.

Another step necessary in this fight to smash the war racket is the limited plebiscite to determine whether a war should be declared. A plebiscite not of all the voters but merely of those who would be called upon to do the fighting and dying. There wouldn’t be very much sense in having a 76-year-old president of a munitions factory or the flat-footed head of an international banking firm or the cross-eyed manager of a uniform manufacturing plant – all of whom see visions of tremendous profits in the event of war – voting on whether the nation should go to war or not. They never would be called upon to shoulder arms – to sleep in a trench and to be shot. Only those who would be called upon to risk their lives for their country should have the privilege of voting to determine whether the nation should go to war.

There is ample precedent for restricting the voting to those affected. Many of our states have restrictions on those permitted to vote. In most, it is necessary to be able to read and write before you may vote. In some, you must own property. It would be a simple matter each year for the men coming of military age to register in their communities as they did in the draft during the World War and be examined physically. Those who could pass and who would therefore be called upon to bear arms in the event of war would be eligible to vote in a limited plebiscite. They should be the ones to have the power to decide – and not a Congress few of whose members are within the age limit and fewer still of whom are in physical condition to bear arms. Only those who must suffer should have the right to vote.

A third step in this business of smashing the war racket is to make certain that our military forces are truly forces for defense only.

At each session of Congress the question of further naval appropriations comes up. The swivel-chair admirals of Washington (and there are always a lot of them) are very adroit lobbyists. And they are smart. They don’t shout that “We need a lot of battleships to war on this nation or that nation.” Oh no. First of all, they let it be known that America is menaced by a great naval power. Almost any day, these admirals will tell you, the great fleet of this supposed enemy will strike suddenly and annihilate 125,000,000 people. Just like that. Then they begin to cry for a larger navy. For what? To fight the enemy? Oh my, no. Oh, no. For defense purposes only.

Then, incidentally, they announce maneuvers in the Pacific. For defense. Uh, huh.

The Pacific is a great big ocean. We have a tremendous coastline on the Pacific. Will the maneuvers be off the coast, two or three hundred miles? Oh, no. The maneuvers will be two thousand, yes, perhaps even thirty-five hundred miles, off the coast.

The Japanese, a proud people, of course will be pleased beyond expression to see the united States fleet so close to Nippon’s shores. Even as pleased as would be the residents of California were they to dimly discern through the morning mist, the Japanese fleet playing at war games off Los Angeles.

The ships of our navy, it can be seen, should be specifically limited, by law, to within 200 miles of our coastline. Had that been the law in 1898 the Maine would never have gone to Havana Harbor. She never would have been blown up. There would have been no war with Spain with its attendant loss of life. Two hundred miles is ample, in the opinion of experts, for defense purposes. Our nation cannot start an offensive war if its ships can’t go further than 200 miles from the coastline. Planes might be permitted to go as far as 500 miles from the coast for purposes of reconnaissance. And the army should never leave the territorial limits of our nation.

To summarize: Three steps must be taken to smash the war racket.

We must take the profit out of war.

We must permit the youth of the land who would bear arms to decide whether or not there should be war.

We must limit our military forces to home defense purposes.



I am not a fool as to believe that war is a thing of the past. I know the people do not want war, but there is no use in saying we cannot be pushed into another war.

Looking back, Woodrow Wilson was re-elected president in 1916 on a platform that he had “kept us out of war” and on the implied promise that he would “keep us out of war.” Yet, five months later he asked Congress to declare war on Germany.

In that five-month interval the people had not been asked whether they had changed their minds. The 4,000,000 young men who put on uniforms and marched or sailed away were not asked whether they wanted to go forth to suffer and die.

Then what caused our government to change its mind so suddenly?


An allied commission, it may be recalled, came over shortly before the war declaration and called on the President. The President summoned a group of advisers. The head of the commission spoke. Stripped of its diplomatic language, this is what he told the President and his group:

“There is no use kidding ourselves any longer. The cause of the allies is lost. We now owe you (American bankers, American munitions makers, American manufacturers, American speculators, American exporters) five or six billion dollars.

If we lose (and without the help of the United States we must lose) we, England, France and Italy, cannot pay back this money…and Germany won’t.


Had secrecy been outlawed as far as war negotiations were concerned, and had the press been invited to be present at that conference, or had radio been available to broadcast the proceedings, America never would have entered the World War. But this conference, like all war discussions, was shrouded in utmost secrecy. When our boys were sent off to war they were told it was a “war to make the world safe for democracy” and a “war to end all wars.”

Well, eighteen years after, the world has less of democracy than it had then. Besides, what business is it of ours whether Russia or Germany or England or France or Italy or Austria live under democracies or monarchies? Whether they are Fascists or Communists? Our problem is to preserve our own democracy.

And very little, if anything, has been accomplished to assure us that the World War was really the war to end all wars.

Yes, we have had disarmament conferences and limitations of arms conferences. They don’t mean a thing. One has just failed; the results of another have been nullified. We send our professional soldiers and our sailors and our politicians and our diplomats to these conferences. And what happens?

The professional soldiers and sailors don’t want to disarm. No admiral wants to be without a ship. No general wants to be without a command. Both mean men without jobs. They are not for disarmament. They cannot be for limitations of arms. And at all these conferences, lurking in the background but all-powerful, just the same, are the sinister agents of those who profit by war. They see to it that these conferences do not disarm or seriously limit armaments.

The chief aim of any power at any of these conferences has not been to achieve disarmament to prevent war but rather to get more armament for itself and less for any potential foe.

There is only one way to disarm with any semblance of practicability. That is for all nations to get together and scrap every ship, every gun, every rifle, every tank, every war plane. Even this, if it were possible, would not be enough.

The next war, according to experts, will be fought not with battleships, not by artillery, not with rifles and not with machine guns. It will be fought with deadly chemicals and gases.

Secretly each nation is studying and perfecting newer and ghastlier means of annihilating its foes wholesale. Yes, ships will continue to be built, for the shipbuilders must make their profits. And guns still will be manufactured and powder and rifles will be made, for the munitions makers must make their huge profits. And the soldiers, of course, must wear uniforms, for the manufacturer must make their war profits too.

But victory or defeat will be determined by the skill and ingenuity of our scientists.

If we put them to work making poison gas and more and more fiendish mechanical and explosive instruments of destruction, they will have no time for the constructive job of building greater prosperity for all peoples. By putting them to this useful job, we can all make more money out of peace than we can out of war – even the munitions makers.

So…I say,


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ISI HQ main target

ISI HQ main target

Thursday, May 28, 2009

By Amir Mir

LAHORE: Authorities investigating Wednesday’s suicide attack in the provincial metropolis believe the actual target was the provincial headquarters of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), which gave strong resistance from inside the building but the blast was so powerful that it brought down part of it, killing a serving colonel, who was present in his office at the time of the attack.

Those investigating the assault say the attack was a hybrid operation, consisting of an armed attack by four gunmen and subsequent detonation of a car bomb. The terrorists accompanying the suicide bomber apparently wanted to penetrate the well-protected ISI

building. At least, four men with rifles first stepped out of the car and opened fire on security guards deployed outside the agency building. As the security personnel offered tough resistance by returning the fire, the attackers threw a hand grenade to pave the way for the car bomber to enter the ISI building.

As the firing intensified, the car bomber suddenly changed his direction and rammed his vehicle into the Rescue 15 office hardly a few yards away. Investigators say at least 100 kilograms of C4 explosives might have been used to carry out the deadly attack.

While the ISPR spokesman declined to speak on the martyrdom of a serving colonel in Wednesday’s attack, a senior interior ministry official confirmed on condition of anonymity that Lt-Col Mohammad Amir, a senior ISI official, was the victim of Wednesday’s attack.

An Army source in Lahore confirmed the death of Lt-Col Amir, adding his funeral prayers were offered at the Ayub stadium in Lahore on Wednesday night. He added another senior ISI official, Col Zulfiqar, also received injuries in the suicide attack and was in critical condition.

Those investigating Wednesday’s assault have firm view that it was a well-coordinated operation carried out jointly by the Punjabi Taliban belonging to the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ) and the Pashtun Taliban associated with the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The two proscribed sectarian and Jihadi organisations have already been found involved in several other terrorist attacks in various parts of Punjab, ranging from the September 20, 2008 Marriott suicide bombing in Islamabad to the March 30, 2009 Fidayeen-style attack on the Manawan police training academy in Lahore.

Investigators say there are clear indications that like many earlier incidents of suicide bombings in the Punjab, Wednesday’s assault might have also been planned jointly by Qari Hussain Mehsud, a close associate of the FBI’s most wanted TTP Amir Baitullah Mehsud, and Qari Mohammad Zafar, currently the chief operational commander of the LeJ.

Al-Qaeda-linked Qari Hussain, who is also known as “Ustad-e-Fidayeen” or the teacher of suicide bombers, is considered to be a specialist in indoctrinating teenagers to carry out suicide attacks in the name of Islam. He is believed to have become the main ideologue of the Taliban working under Baitullah Mehsud’s command. Qari Hussain is well-known in the TTP ranks for his strong anti-Shia views and his close ties with the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ). The agencies are trying to hunt him down since long given his status as the one who may have recruited and indoctrinated the largest number of people to carry out suicide attacks in the country.

Originally coming from Karachi, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi’s Qari Mohammad Zafar has become a trusted member of al-Qaeda’s hardline inner circle who enjoys the protection of Baitullah Mehsud and is believed to be hiding in the lawless South Waziristan. Authorities say Qari Zafar is not only the suspected mastermind of the September 20, 2008 Marriot Hotel suicide attack in Islamabad, but the most sought after al-Qaeda-linked terrorist who had been trying to target important strategic installations belonging to the ISI in the Punjab and Sindh.

Authorities pointed out on Jan 17, 2009, Qari Hussain had released an unusual video of statements from purported suicide bombers and footage of deadly attacks they claimed to have perpetrated in Pakistan.

The 40-minute tape had shown youths, some apparently in their teens, addressing the camera about their intention to carry out suicide attacks to background music of Urdu militant anthems. The said video was reportedly handed over to journalists in Peshawar by none other than Qari Hussain. All those featured in the video spoke Pashto. The two major suicide attacks claimed on the TTP video were the March 11, 2008 suicide attack on the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) building in Lahore and the Nov 24, 2007 twin suicide attacks in Faizabad area of Rawalpindi in front of the ISI headquarters when a suicide bomber rammed his explosive-laden car into a bus carrying 35 ISI officers, killing 15 of them on the spot.

Although, no militant group has yet claimed responsibility for the Wednesday’s suicide attack, Interior Minister Rehman Malik seems sure about the involvement of Baitullah Mehsud. “The Lahore attack seems to be the reprisal for fresh Army operation in South Waziristan. Agencies had received threats from Baitullah Mehsud and his cronies to stop the military operation or face suicide attacks. And this seems to be the result of that warning,î Malik told reporters in Islamabad.

Islamic Bloc Cool to Obama’s Proposed ‘57-State Solution’

Islamic Bloc Cool to Obama’s Proposed ‘57-State Solution’

Wednesday, May 27, 2009
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

OIC Secretary-General Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, left, accompanies Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem at a meeting of OIC foreign minisers in Damascus on Monday May 25, 2009. (AP Photo)
( – Days before President Barack Obama delivers a much-anticipated speech to the Muslim world, Islamic nations have set the conditions on which they would agree to any U.S. plan to offer Israel recognition as part of a Mideast peace deal.

Jordan’s King Abdullah has disclosed that Obama is interested in a “57-state solution” – offering Israel ties with the Islamic world in return for a peace deal.

Foreign ministers from the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), meeting in Damascus, said in a declaration that Islamic governments would not reward Israel for its “crimes.”

“Any development in relations – if any exist at all – [must be] tied to the concrete expression of Israel’s commitment to just and comprehensive peace, which would guarantee the restoration of legitimate national rights and withdrawal from the occupied lands in Palestine, Golan, and southern Lebanon,” it said.

Obama is due to speak on June 4 in Cairo, where he is expected to lay out his vision for the road ahead in Mideast peace efforts.

Egypt and Jordan are the only Arab countries which have full diplomatic ties with Israel, established as a result of bilateral peace agreements in 1979 and 1994. Several other Arab nations have partial ties but most are currently suspended.

Israel also has relations with a handful of non-Arab Muslim countries, including Turkey and the Central Asian republics. The Islamic countries most opposed to normalization include Iran, Syria and Libya.

OIC foreign ministers discussed the issue in the Syrian capital over the weekend.

The meeting adopted a resolution urging those member states with relations with Israel to sever them and for “all forms of normalization” with Israel to end “until a just and comprehensive peace is established in the region.”

It also agreed to uphold a broad Islamic boycott against Israel “until the liberation of all occupied Arab territories and the recovery of all the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people.”

The Islamic organization, which marks its 40th anniversary this year, has been flexing its muscles at the United Nations and elsewhere in recent years. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the OIC’s Turkish secretary-general, said in his address to the meeting that the OIC had taken “a quantum leap” since the days when it was solely concerned with staging conferences and issuing recommendations.

It was now “becoming an indispensable interlocutor in large and influential international fora,” he said, adding that “joint Islamic action” and unified positions were an “effective weapon in the midst of the current international changes.”

The declaration agreed on in Damascus reflected an ambition to become even more influential “at the global level.”

Israeli girls wave national flags in Jerusalem on Thursday, May 21, 2009. OIC foreign ministers meeting in Damascus reaffirmed the stance that the Palestinian and Islamic claim to Jerusalem is a core issue for the world’s Muslims. (AP Photo)

“In order to succeed we have to … search for the means of power,” it said. “We are living today in a world of the powerful where there is no place for the weak. Power is acquired and not granted.

“We can gain power through strengthening our economic relations and break[ing] existing barriers in this regard, as well as by way of mastering science, knowledge; by political cooperation and mutual support of our national causes.”

Ihsanoglu used the meeting to advance a proposal for an OIC peacekeeping force. A conceptual paper on the subject argues for the need to have such a force to tackle conflicts in Muslim parts of the world, noting that individual OIC member states are already key contributors to United Nations peacekeeping forces.

A brainstorming session was held on the peacekeeping proposal, an idea that has been circulating for some time. Early this year, a Malaysian government minister cited Israel’s military operation targeting Hamas in the Gaza Strip and said the time was ripe for the OIC to cooperate in that way, to protect Muslims under threat when the U.N. was seen to be unable to do so.

A resolution adopted in Damascus requires member states to put forward their views on the peacekeeping initiative and for the OIC secretariat to convene, within six months, an intergovernmental expert group to study the proposals received.

‘Feverish campaign against Islam’

The gathered foreign ministers also discussed the ongoing OIC campaign to highlight and counter what it calls “Islamophobia,” a phenomenon it says has mushroomed since 9/11 and which it considers a contemporary form of racism.

Their declaration referred to “a feverish campaign against Islam, aimed at distorting its image … and against Muslims in general in order to malign them.”

The OIC has over the past decade shepherded more than a dozen resolutions through the U.N. General Assembly and human rights bodies against the “defamation” of religion, specifically Islam. The drive has drawn growing opposition from
religious freedom and free speech advocates who see it as an attempt to shield Islam and Islamic practices from criticism.

Ihsanoglu told a press conference in Damascus there was no truth to the allegation that its religious defamation push was a pretext to curtail freedom of expression.

The meeting in Damascus reiterated the view that the Palestinian cause and Jerusalem are the “core” issues for the Islamic world, and emphasized, once again, the stance that “resistance” is not “terrorism.”

The OIC’s insistence that the fight against “occupation” should be explicitly exempted from any definition of terrorism has for years stymied efforts at the U.N. to produce a comprehensive convention on international terrorism. The OIC stance applies especially to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but also has implications for the jihad against Indian rule in disputed Kashmir and anti-coalition violence in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Iran-Arab ties

Meanwhile, the Syrian government used its hosting of the OIC meeting to defend its ally, Iran, against charges that the non-Arab Shi’ite regime in Tehran poses a threat to the mostly Sunni Arab states.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been pushing the argument that Israel and the Arab states face a “common danger” from Iran.

Egypt has also clashed with Iran in recent months. Iran, an ally of Hamas, condemned Cairo’s refusal to open a crossing point along its border with Gaza during Israel’s offensive against the terrorist group last winter.

Last month, Egyptian officials announced it had uncovered a plot by the Lebanese group Hezbollah – another Iranian ally – to attack Egyptian and Israeli targets in Egypt. Iran hit back, accusing Egypt of trying to undermine Hezbollah’s popularity ahead of June 7 elections in Lebanon.

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Muallim accused Israel of promoting the idea of an “Iranian threat” as an attempt to divert attention from the Palestinian issue.

He told Syrian television that Iran as an OIC member had stood behind the Arab world and said Arabs should not forget that “the main enemy of Arabs is the Zionist regime.”

(Egypt’s foreign minister did not attend the OIC meeting; Iran’s did.)

Headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the OIC groups 56 Muslim states in the Middle East, Asia and Africa, along with one each in Europe (Albania) and Latin America (Guyana). Its 57th member is “Palestine.”

The organization describes itself as “the second largest inter-governmental organization after the United Nations” and claims to represent the world’s estimated 1.3 – 1.5 billion Muslims.

All for the sake of keeping gasoline under $5.00/gallon.

All for the sake of keeping gasoline under $5.00/gallon.

By: Peter Chamberlin

The Western world either fails to see, or doesn’t care to see, the fate of the millions of poor desperate people left floundering in our violent wake, whose lives of constant struggle are made even poorer and more desperate by our resource wars.  Human rights activists assail Israel for its war crimes upon Palestine, but ignore the same brutality on a far greater scale being committed by our own government.

Our fearless ambitious leaders and the media outlets under their command casually trot-out non-judgmental labels such as “collateral damage” and “refugees” to describe the bi-products of their actions, hiding behind euphemisms the cold brutal facts that mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, grandparents and cousins, sometimes entire families are being bombed into bloody little fragments of tissue and bone, or being forced from their generational homes in the middle of the night, out into the streets which are already clogged with other fleeing families, all so that American homes and automobiles might have cheap gasoline or raw materials.

For the sake of our own convenience and dislike of price inflation, we send bombers and killers into the homes and hometowns of innocent people, even unto our allies like Pakistan.  I cannot stress this simple fact enough, we are killing people by the hundreds and the thousands for the sake of cheap fuel; this whole terror war has nothing to do with avenging attacks.  That whole war on terror excuse died when Bush pulled out of Afghanistan and ended the hunt for the alleged perpetrators of the 2001 attacks.  Since then, it has clearly been a series of resource wars.

Beyond the obvious effects of our actions, seen in the bombings and the shootings themselves, is the unseen suffering inflicted upon both old and young as they are torn from their homes out of fear of what is to come, or literally driven from destroyed domiciles.  Imagine your own family, if they were suddenly forced to give-up all privacy, all human comforts gone (not even food or drink, or basic toilet facilities), the fortunate few have a roof between their heads and the storming skies, most are lucky to find sleep at all in the blackest night, besieged by poisonous insects and reptiles, all manner of deadly things.  All for the sake of keeping gasoline under $5.00/gallon.

This is what our nation has come to—we are killing thousands of women and children to control inflation.

Here is a taste of the new life we have plunged our Pakistani friends into, as witnessed by Al Jazeera correspondent Imran Khan:

“The heat is punishing. It must be 45 degrees Celsius with no wind. A haze seems to rise from every surface.

It’s midday in the camp. Seemingly, there no escape from the brutal sun.

Children try and cool off by splashing water over each other, which would be a happy scene anywhere else in the world.

Except here.

These children are at risk from dehydration, skin diseases and other problems.

The Swati refugees come from a pleasant and temperate valley, and are used to average temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius.

The refugee camps are on the plains. There is little shade. The refugees are forced to live under canvas; water and food are limited and the toilet facilities are basic.

It’s taking a toll on the people.

Children are especially at risk of dehydration
as the sun beats down on the plain

Iqbal Ahsan is a rickshaw driver from the main Swat valley town of Mingora.

He heads an extended family of 30. He came to the camp on foot, which took 2 days. When he got here he was tired and ill, but it was the heat that got him down the most.

“It was unbearable for me. But for my children they suffered more. I had to take them to the doctor. I was scared for them, they were so ill,” he says.

Iqbal’s children have recovered, but his story is common in all the camps.

Doctors have been battling to see as many patients as they can. The risk of diseases spreading is high. Any epidemic would only add to the misery.

Akbar Noor is a medic from the charity Ummah Welfare Foundation. He says he sees 300-500 people a day in the 6 hours he holds his surgery.

Besides the health problems, Noor faces another issue.

“The medicines we have aren’t sufficient and then the ones we do have are being spoilt because of the heat. We are trying to build storage facilities but it takes time,” he says.

As I walked down through the camp the sun was at its highest.

I could feel the sun burning down. I have the luxury of leaving the camp for my hotel. Swatis have no choice but to bear the heat.”

Pakistan diary: New battle lines?

Pakistan diary: New battle lines?

Dozens are feared dead following Wednesday’s suicide bomb attack in Lahore [AFP]

Imran Khan, Al Jazeera’s reporter in Pakistan, is filing regular dispatches from the country as the army battles Taliban fighters in the North West Frontier Province.

On the road to Lahore, Wednesday, May 27, 06:41GMT

I have now been covering Pakistan for a number of years, but today’s attack in Lahore is the thirteenth I have either covered or witnessed.

There was always a fear that Pakistan’s war with the Taliban would spill over into the major cities.

We have seen attacks in the last 10 days in Peshawar, but this attack in Lahore has all the hallmarks of something more organised and more deadly.

Ordinary Pakistanis now fear the country as a whole is under threat [AFP]

Lahore is one of Pakistan’s most iconic cities. Known for its liberal attitudes, it is the home of Pakistan’s art cinema community.

The attack here shows that not only are Pakistan’s security forces under threat, but the ordinary people of Pakistan too.

The fear now among many – particularly the friends I have spoken to in Lahore – is that even if the Pakistani army wins the battle for the Swat valley, Pakistan itself will be under threat.

It is worth noting that, although the Pakistani Talbian have a significant presence in the North West Frontier Province, they also have a reach across Pakistan.

I hope this isn’t the beginning of a new wave of attacks in Pakistan, however, all the indications suggest that that is exactly what it is.

Shiekh Yassin camp , North West Pakistan, 25 May, 10.45GMT

The heat is punishing. It must be 45 degrees Celsius with no wind. A haze seems to rise from every surface.

It’s midday in the camp. Seemingly, there no escape from the brutal sun.

Children try and cool off by splashing water over each other, which would be a happy scene anywhere else in the world.

Except here.

These children are at risk from dehydration, skin diseases and other problems.

The Swati refugees come from a pleasant and temperate valley, and are used to average temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius.

The refugee camps are on the plains. There is little shade. The refugees are forced to live under canvas; water and food are limited and the toilet facilities are basic.

It’s taking a toll on the people.

Children are especially at risk of dehydration
as the sun beats down on the plain

Iqbal Ahsan is a rickshaw driver from the main Swat valley town of Mingora.

He heads an extended family of 30. He came to the camp on foot, which took 2 days. When he got here he was tired and ill, but it was the heat that got him down the most.

“It was unbearable for me. But for my children they suffered more. I had to take them to the doctor. I was scared for them, they were so ill,” he says.

Iqbal’s children have recovered, but his story is common in all the camps.

Doctors have been battling to see as many patients as they can. The risk of diseases spreading is high. Any epidemic would only add to the misery.

Akbar Noor is a medic from the charity Ummah Welfare Foundation. He says he sees 300-500 people a day in the 6 hours he holds his surgery.

Besides the health problems, Noor faces another issue.

“The medicines we have aren’t sufficient and then the ones we do have are being spoilt because of the heat. We are trying to build storage facilities but it takes time,” he says.

As I walked down through the camp the sun was at its highest.

I could feel the sun burning down. I have the luxury of leaving the camp for my hotel. Swatis have no choice but to bear the heat.

Jalala refugee camp, 24 May, 09.54 GMT

As children play with building blocks and shuttlecocks, I feel a sense of peace in this remote corner of Jalala refugee camp. This is a wonderful, safe zone.

It’s run by a Pakistani charity, The Hayat Foundation and the United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef).

Just outside the canvas walls of this camp-within-a-camp is a teeming, chaotic refugee city.

Childrens’ pictures show how deeply the conflict has affected the young [Zein Basravi]

I am at a “child-friendly space” – Unicef’s term for a nursery.

All the children here been through some sort of psychological trauma. The common cause is separation anxiety.

In the rush to leave the Swat Valley, many children simply lost their parents.

They were then taken in by friendly faces or relatives who brought them to the camp.

At the camp they were reunited, but the trauma of being lost took its toll, so much so, that the children here are undergoing assessment by Nabeela Afridi, a psychologist.

“We are seeing post-traumatic stress disorder; children are having nightmares of helicopters and fighter jets [and] they talk about the Taliban constantly,” Afridi says.

I saw the children draw pictures of helicopters flying over houses, and toy soldiers made of plasticine holding guns.

In normal circumstances this would just be innocent play, but the children here are acting out their fears in order to neutralise them. It’s heartbreaking stuff.

One child, Qayanat, is just seven years old. She lost her parents in the rush to leave. She was only reunited with them at the camp.

Her story is common here.

This conflict is having a massive psychological trauma for children and adults alike.

Adults suffer from boredom and frustration in the camps. Boredom because they have been torn from their routines, frustration because they cannot return.

At least in this child-friendly space, some children are getting some of the help they need.

Islamabad, Saturday, May 23, 14.07GMT

After a night of terror in Peshawar, where another bomb claimed more lives when it exploded in a busy market place, the Pakistani army made good on their promise to enter the Swat valley town of Mingora.

The army were to present the manoeuvre as a success, saying they have captured a key bridge and interchange.

They say they have blown up an explosive laden vehicle and shot a suicide bomber.

So now Pakistan waits.

Pakistani troops have moved into Mingora, the main town in the Swat valley [EPA]

Awaits the outcome of the battle, awaits how it will play out, awaits news of civilian casualties, army deaths and political spin.

This war has united Pakistanis, but for how long?

Rahimullah is a friend of mine from Peshawar. He mourns for his town.

We meet in a television studio in Islamabad, the capital.

“Look at the security here. It’s immense but in my town it’s just not there. We feel exposed. These car bombs and suicide bombers are attacking us. ordinary people”

I ask him what he thinks will happen now fighting has intensified in Mingora.

“More bombs in Peshawar, the Taliban can reach there, They can mingle with the people.

My town is about to become a frontline if thats happens then in good nature we cannot support this fight against the Taliban.”

Frontline Peshawar is a scary thought.

Support for the war is holding but if Peshawar becomes a regular target, then Peshawaris and Pashtuns, the dominate ethnicity in the North West Frontier, may well drop their support for this operation and if that happens then  Pakistan’s war will come under immense pressure.

Islamabad, Friday, May 22, 13.20GMT

It looks like Pakistan’s battle with the Taliban is about to get worse, or to use military-speak, enter a new phase.

The army is making noises about entering the Swat valley’s main town of Mingora.

So far the main thrust of its tactics has been to use heavy artillery and air power to pound Taliban hideouts.

The army insists that it has had to use that kind of tactic to avoid heavy civilian casualties.

In fact, it says the civilian death toll so far in the upper Swat valley is just 10.

The army says the civilian toll in upper Swat valley is just 10, a figure impossible to verify

That figure is impossible to independently verify.

In the fight for Mingora though the army will not use heavy artillery and air power.

It is sending in the infantry which will mean house-to-house, street-to-street fighting.

It’s going to be bloody and hard fought.

When I visited Mingora just after the Taliban signed a peace deal, the Taliban were still armed and highly visible as if to say “This is our town”.

Thier confidence is not idle boasting. They know this area well. They know the streets and the best places to hide. This is to be the Taliban’s last stand in the Swat valley.

They have always maintained they will fight to the last man.

The army will take over this town. No one expects the Taliban to fight Pakistan’s well- trained, well-equipped army into submission but the fighters are likely to claim some sort of victory.

We will know what both will say soon enough. Until then Pakistan awaits the outcome with anticipation and fear.

Islamabad, Thursday, May 21, 10.01GMT

Support for Pakistan’s war seems be to holding. Nightly, the county’s media shows salute its soldiers.

One newspaper headline is particularly striking: “The nation speaks with one voice: Crush ’em!”

Pakistan will have to deal decisively with the massive refugee crisis it faces as a result of the conflict [AFP]

In the markets and coffee shops people seem to want the crisis over, but welcome the fact that the army is tackling the Taliban.

“The thing is, Pakistanis have realised that the Taliban have gone back on their promises, have shown themselves incapable of sticking to peace deals so Pakistanis have become fed up,” Khadim Hussien, a university professor and analyst, told Al Jazeera.

“The Taliban are offering nothing – no new ideas, no way out.”

It’s an interesting thing to witness, this broad public and political support for the war.

Just a few months ago the government was under immense pressure because its military action against the Taliban in the Swat valley was being vocally criticised.

The army, fearful that their image would be tarnished, supported a landmark peace deal brokered by a pro-Taliban cleric between the provincial government of the North West Frontier Province and the Taliban.

In video

Inside Swat’s conflict zone Pakistan’s displaced struggle to find shelter
Swat residents make dash for safety
UN warns of ‘disaster’ for Pakistan refugees

As we now know, that failed.

The Taliban moved into Buner and Dir districts and Islamabad was forced to act.

This latest operation is said to be a decisive action against the Taliban to finish them once and for all.

But beyond that task, challenging as it is, are others.

To maintain support for the war, Pakistan has to deal decisively with the massive refugee crisis it now faces.

It needs to show that the operation is Pakistani by design and that no foreign pressure has been put on the country.

If Pakistan’s politicians can keep all those plates spinning, then perhaps Pakistanis will keep supporting the war.

But as the refugee crisis mounts and more soldiers die, the odds are stacked against Islamabad.

Mirabadi Village, Wednesday, May 20, 07.40GMT

The vast majority of Pakistan’s almost 1.5 million refugees are living outside of the camps in private accommodation.

Mirabadi Village, which lies just outside of Islamabad, is a ‘slum village’

We visited some of these people to really see what their living conditions were like and to hear their stories.

The term “private accommodation” conjures up images of families helping each other out, living in nice conditions with a homely atmosphere.

Whilst that might be true for some, for others the living conditions are as challenging as those in the camps.

Mirabadi Village – just outside of Islamabad – is a slum village. It’s dusty, with narrow cobbled streets, open sewers and poor house workers. The type, although not Pakistan’s poorest, that have little.

But even here amongst the heat and barefoot children are stories of incredible generosity.

Nazimuddin is a labourer, working whenever he can find a job carrying bricks in one of the capital’s many construction sites.

If he earns a dollar a day he considers himself lucky.

His house is basic, two rooms and toilet, with an outdoor cooking area.

Crucially, however, he has a basic house next door in his village which was empty.

A Pakistani charity, FHRO, based in Swat asked him if he could house refugees.

He jumped at the chance to help.

“I have no television, radio, but the villagers her were talking about the fighting in Swat, I knew I had to help,” he says.

“It is my duty as a Muslim, as a Pakistani. I have very little.”

It has made a massive difference to Ahsanullah who lives in the house.

They have few facilities. Pakistan’s energy crisis means they are without electricity, they use gas to cook with, but even then the cost of gas means the have to use it sparingly.

Ahsanullah fled with his familiy and were placed here by the charity.

“This man has very little, but what he does have he shares with us,” he tells me.

Ahsanullah and Nazimuddin are now firm friends.  As their children play together I can’t help but be struck by just how, in the face of a massive crisis, Pakistanis have united and continue to unite.

Islamabad, Tuesday, May 19, 13.13GMT

After careering around the North West Frontier Province for the past week or so, it feels good to be back in the relative calm of the capital Islamabad.

The government assault on pro-Taliban fighters has forced 1.5m to flee their homes [AFP]

I say relative calm because, despite the fact that I was here just a few weeks ago, I have noticed a few changes.

Huge concrete walls have gone up around some buildings. In other parts, black and yellow concrete safety barriers have turned open roads into go-kart courses.

The Marriott Hotel, subject to a massive bomb blast in September last year, is cocooned in a massive shell made out of blast walls and sandbags.

Armed guards, pump action shotguns draped casually over their shoulders, stand on every street.

This is Fortress Islamabad.

It’s been like this for a while now, but in last few months security the capital has gone into security overdrive.

Driving past the Parliament requires you to navigate several checkpoints and the route from one end of Islamabad to the other, which used to take 20 minutes, can now take an hour.

I contrast this with the Islamabad of my youth. My younger brother, sister and I used to come to the capital city on holiday as children.

In the 1980s it was nice place. Families would picnic in the hills that surround the city, you could go horse riding, every available space seemed to taken up by young men playing cricket and groups of girls would sit in cafes sharing ice cream and gossip.

The only security you would see was on the outskirts of the city. You would have never seen Pakistani army soldiers ensconced in sand bag posts.

That peaceful Islamabad seems to have gone.

Don’t get me wrong, Islamabad still continues in it’s own way, but as city it has changed irrevocably.

Fashion shows still happen here, there is a thriving arts scene, the markets are packed with every kind of Pakistani buying every kind of cloth and the cafes are still doing a brisk trade.

But it’s not the carefree atmosphere of my youth. People tend not to hang around as much as they used to, most entertaining now happens at home and Islamabad’s vast array of restaurants, though packed by day, remain emptier than ever at night.

Islamabad – they call it the beautiful city here. Carved out of the hills it’s definitely that, but it’s also nervy and tense.

Mardan, Monday, May 18, 12.03 GMT
The streets are teeming, the noise is deafening.

At every corner, on every road, it seems someone is trying to raise money, ask for goods, or pray for Pakistan’s displaced.

The outpouring of charitable aid has been ‘extraordinary’, says Imran Khan [AFP]

Mixed in amongst it all is a small stall with a black and white flag gently fluttering away.

The flag is a surprise to me as it belongs to a group that was banned: Jamaat Ud Dawa.

The UN put them on a terrorist watch list after the Mumbai attacks last year.

The group then disappeared as it members were arrested. Now here they are, working alongside the UN.

The group seems to have risen from the ashes.

But there is a new name to describe it: Falah-e-Insaniat Foundation, which translates as the Humanitarian Welfare Organisation.

I asked the spokesman, a young bearded chap with and high visibility orange jacket on,  if the name change was simply cosmetic. He was non-committal.

“We coordinate with Jamaat Ud Dawa, but we co-ordinate with several charities,” he said.

Inside the tent sat Yayha Mujahadin, a key member of Jamaat Ud Dawa. I asked him for an interview but he declined.

It seems whoever this particular group is, they are keeping a low profile.

For the people in the camp, though, it matters little who is supporting them, whether it’s groups with alleged links to jihadist organisations, the UN, or student organisations – the aid is important.

The vast majority of Pakistans estimated 1.5 million refugees live with family or friends but a significant chunk live in camps which are supplied by Pakistanis of every political hue.

It is extraordinary, the outpouring of generosity I have witnessed over the last week.

But what will stick with me is the sight of a member of a group the UN has put on terrorist watch list work alongside the UN when it comes to helping refugees.

Peshawar, Sunday, May 17, 14:09 GMT

It has been a very eerie day in Peshawar.

After Saturday’s bomb blasts – which killed at least 11 people and wounded several others – Pakistan has had time to digest the events.

Pakistani politicians seem to have taken a bullish stance. They want to get rid of the Taliban.

Pakistan is braced for what could be a decisive assault on the Swat town of Mingora [AFP]

The chief minister of the North West Frontier Province says he wants the army to go after the Taliban in other areas of the country.He has some support for the idea, but others are fearful over any more military action.

With something like 1.5 million Pakistanis already displaced, any additional military action is likely to cause that figure to skyrocket. Pakistan is struggling to cope with the problem it has, never mind any more.

Also, ordinary Pakistanis are terrified of reprisal attacks. The Taliban are said to have several bases across Pakistan from which they can launch attacks.

It is a very tense situation.

The government, though, seems to be sensing victory.

Pakistan is braced for what could be a decisive assault on the main Swat town of Mingora.

The Taliban have said it’s victory or death.

Whatever the outcome, what is clear is that Swat valley is only the beginning of Pakistan’s fight.

The Taliban are unlikely to just give up Swat without attacking major cities.

The government may be confident of victory, but Pakistanis are terrified of at what cost it will come.

Peshawar, Saturday, May 16, 12:44 GMT

Another shocking day for Pakistan.

This time it’s not in the Swat valley but here in the city of Peshawar.

The car bomb exploded outside an internet cafe in the city of Peshawar [EPA]

It was little after midday when a car bomb exploded outside of an internet cafe killing and wounding many, including several schoolchildren waiting in a nearby bus.

More innocent victims of Pakistan’s battle within.

I was on the phone with a Peshawari friend when the news came in.

His reaction was telling.

“Imran, I have to leave this country. I have to get out. What on earth is going on?”

My friend Yousef is the future of this country. Young, educated and articulate he is exactly the kind of person to drive things forward.

But he, and many others, no longer feel safe in Pakistan.

Anecdotal evidence suggests that many young Pakistanis are leaving.

I was in Dubai in March and what struck me most was the amount of young Pakistani nationals who had settled there.

The situation is much the same in Britain and the US.

As news of the Peshawar car bomb continued to come in, I called Yousef back and asked him whether he would really leave.

“My uncle works in Washington as a political lobbyist. He says his firm needs people who understand the US and Pakistan. What would you do?”

I understand that Yousef is beginning to feel like he has little choice but to leave. I only hope Pakistan will one day tempt him back.

Peshawar, Friday, May 15, 13:47 GMT

One of the great things about Peshawar is its history. Behind its noisy, congested streets lie alleyways and markets that have stood for centuries. One such place is Storytellers Bazaar.

In days gone by, this was where artists, poets and thinkers would gather to sing, argue and swap stories late into the night.

Thousands of charities have sprung up in response to the crisis [GALLO/GETTY]

I have come here because another song is now being sung, a lament for Pakistan’s displaced – refugees in their own country.

Here one of thousands of charitable organisations has set up a stall gathering together vital food aid, money and supplies to ship to the camps where hundreds of thousands now live.

The stall is surrounded by electric fans. Stacks of rice are piled high and small denomination currency is strewn across a ramshackle wooden table.

The stall is run by Habibullah Zahid, a large, jolly, bearded man who runs restaurants by day and the charity by night.

I asked him what on earth refugees living in tents would do with electric fans.

“They need these desperately,” he said.

“Those camps will get electricity eventually. You have to remember that these people are used to the cooler climes of the Swat Valley. This is [a] hot place. You will see these will be most useful.”

Whatever Pakistanis feel about the military operation, the humanitarian crisis has united them.

Newspapers are full of advertisements urging readers to donate, television commercials run on loop showing heartbreaking images of children and the elderly.

As I talked to him, people drop money onto Habibullah’s table. Some of Pakistan’s poorest people, are donating as much money as they can to stalls such as these all over the country.

Their generosity is humbling.

As Habibullah and I talk, a small boy – he must be seven or so years old – begins to sing and a crowd quickly gathers.

His voice rises as more people watch; his words capture the crowd’s attention.

I later find out that he is singing the poetry of Sufi Rehman Baba, a 17th century mystic more commonly known around here as the “Nightingale of Peshawar”.

The boy’s choice of song is particularly poignant. A few months ago Sufi Rehman Baba’s shrine, which has stood since he died in the 17th century, was attacked by men claiming to be Taliban fighters.

They planted four devices to try to destroy the shrine, but it survived.

When this chapter in Pakistan’s history closes, perhaps it will be remembered and re-told by the storytellers in Peshawar.

Perhaps people will wonder how such a thing ever came to pass.

Swabi, North West Frontier Province, Thursday, May 14, 12:22 GMT

The first thing that hits you when you visit a refugee camp is the sheer scale.

“Camp” is too small a word to use- these are cities of canvas and rope.

Yar Hussein is home to 4,000 refugees, much smaller than the 48,000 strong Jallala camp

Yar Hussein camp has only been running for a few days. So far it houses 4000 refugees – a small town compared to say Jallala refugee encampment which has upwards of 48,000 people living there.But nonetheless housing people is a mammoth task.

Getting these tents up, supplying water and food is a logistics nightmare.

I spoke to the cook at the camp. He told me: “We are doing the best we can, but look at what we have.”

He pointed to huge cauldrons bubbling away, cooking rice. The pots had definitely seen better days.

His whole open air kitchen reminded me of a wedding I had been to in Pakistan as a child – the fires roasting, the multi-coloured awning covering the kitchen area.

This, though, was far from a celebration. It is a “massive crisis” – according to Antonio Guterres, the United Nations high commissioner for refugees.

A soft-spoken man, he is visiting the crisis area for the first time and has passionately pleaded for the world to take notice.

“Pakistan has hosted the largest refugee population in the world – 5 million Afghans – Pakistan now needs help itself and the world must pay attention.”

The UN and other aid agencies have a big job on their hands.

This is the biggest movement of people in recent times. The figures are worth going over again.

At least 1.3 million people are on the move and more than 800,000 are registered with the UN alone as refugees.

But behind that figure lies another one. You could call them the forgotten refugees.

Since August 2008, people have been fleeing clashes across the North West Frontier Province. The army has been battling Taliban fighters and more than 500,000 refugees have been registered in camps by the UN since August last year.

They have been living makeshift accommodation since then. The Red Cross has registered another 400,000.

These figures are mind boggling.

I had a chance to reflect on the numbers while I was in the camp. Watching children roam freely, playing as they do, I found myself wondering how many of them would spend their formative years living in places like these.

When so many people live together disease also becomes a problem. Cases of diarrhoea and skin problems have already been registered.

I wonder how many of the children I saw will survive.

Peshawar, Wednesday, May 13, 06:43 GMT

The army is really selling its side of the story.

On Tuesday, it proudly told the media that it had managed to capture a key Taliban stronghold, Gatt Pachar.

The humanitarian crisis persists as thousands of families are displaced by fighting [AFP]

This mountain is the base of Mullah Fazlullah, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban.It is said to house armed fighters, training camps and arms dumps.

Capturing it was key.

But has it made a difference?

Well, yes and no. Denying the Taliban any ground is crucial. But were key Taliban leaders there at the time?

It would appear not. That’s an issue.

The longer Mullah Fazlullah evades capture, the more of a totem he becomes, and a symbol for the Taliban fighters.

That gives him strength and power beyond his tactical skills.

Speculation suggests that Fazlullah remains in the Swat valley. Sources close to the Taliban have told Al Jazeera that Fazlullah knew that the army would target his base and that, by leaving fighters there, he was able to escape along with the senior leadership.

That’s important because the Taliban has plenty of fighters, but what the group lacks is men with military knowledge to guide them.

Experts say the Taliban’s senior leaders have that knowledge, which encompasses guerrilla warfare, bombmaking and other skills.

If Mullah Fazlullah and men such as his senior commander Ibn-e-Amin perish, then the army can say the Taliban has been defeated.

So far, the Taliban insists that its leaders are all still alive and battle goes on.

So, while the army sells its message of success, success, success others are less sure.

The humanitarian crisis continues; so far, the government says 1.3 million have been displaced. Ordinary Pakistanis are watching the pictures on their television screens nightly and wondering how on earth this spells peace.

Peshawar, Tuesday, May 12, 2009, 09:22 GMT

Peshawar is a town with a past littered with the ghosts of war.

A palpable fear now hangs over the city after frequent deadly attacks [EPA]

Traditionally it has inhabited the crossroads between Pakistan and Afghanistan.It was here the British Empire headquartered its great game against Russia in the 19th century.

It is here that the Afghan mujahidin gathered logistics to fight their war against Russian occupation in the 1980s.

This dusty town with its cobbled alleyways was the place where CIA agents mingled with their Pakistani counterparts to conduct their war in Afghanistan after the twin towers in New York fell.

And now Peshawar is once again at the centre of conflict.

It’s already home to thousands of refugees fleeing those wars in Afghanistan.

But this time its war is raging within Pakistan’s borders and those refugees are Pakistani.

It’s had an incredible effect on Pakistan.

The media here have dubbed this the biggest movement of people since partition, when millions crossed the new border between Pakistan and India in 1947.

“The media here have dubbed this the biggest movement of people since partition… in 1947”

Ordinary Pakistanis have taken to the streets demanding the fighting stops.One taxi driver told me he fears the break-up of Pakistan.

Another shop owner in one of Peshawar’s hotels says war will only make the situation worse, that the Taliban will hide in the mountains and fight until the bitter end.

The bitter end.

It’s worth thinking about how exactly Pakistan will end its military operation.

The government wants a swift operation that will allow them to claim victory.

Analysts say the army wants to be able to secure the area quickly and withdraw leaving the police in charge.

At the time of writing, the end is nowhere in sight.

The only thing we can say with any degree of certainty is that Pakistanis will flood into the camps and the battle still rages.

Obama’s Animal Farm

Obama’s Animal Farm

May 27, 2009 By James Petras
Source: GR

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“The Deltas are psychos…You have to be a certified psychopath to join the Delta Force…”, a US Army colonel from Fort Bragg once told me back in the 1980’s.  Now President Obama has elevated the most notorious of the psychopaths, General Stanley McChrystal, to head the US and NATO military command in Afghanistan.  McChrystal’s rise to leadership is marked by his central role in directing special operations teams engaged in extrajudicial assassinations, systematic torture, bombing of civilian communities and search and destroy missions.  He is the very embodiment of the brutality and gore that accompanies military-driven empire building.  Between September 2003 and August 2008, McChrystal directed the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations (JSO) Command which operates special teams in overseas assassinations.

The point of the ‘Special Operations’ teams (SOT) is that they do not distinguish between civilian and military oppositions, between activists and their sympathizers and the armed resistance.  The SOT specialize in establishing death squads and recruiting and training paramilitary forces to terrorize communities, neighborhoods and social movements opposing US client regimes.  The SOT’s ‘counter-terrorism’ is terrorism in reverse, focusing on socio-political groups between US proxies and the armed resistance.  McChrystal’s SOT targeted local and national insurgent leaders in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through commando raids and air strikes.  During the last 5 years of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld period the SOT were deeply implicated in the torture of political prisoners and suspects.  McChrystal was a special favorite of Rumsfeld and Cheney because he was in charge of the ‘direct action’ forces of the ‘Special Missions Units.  ‘Direct Action’ operative are the death-squads and torturers and their only engagement with the local population is to terrorize, and not to propagandize.  They engage in ‘propaganda of the dead’, assassinating local leaders to ‘teach’ the locals to obey and submit to the occupation.  Obama’s appointment of McChrystal as head reflects a grave new military escalation of his Afghanistan war in the face of the advance of the resistance throughout the country.

The deteriorating position of the US is manifest in the tightening circle around all the roads leading in and out of Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul as well as the expansion of Taliban control and influence throughout the Pakistan-Afghanistan border.  Obama’s inability to recruit new NATO reinforcements means that the White House’s only chance to advance its military driven empire is to escalate the number of US troops and to increase the kill ratio among any and all suspected civilians in territories controlled by the Afghan armed resistance.

The White House and the Pentagon claim that the appointment of McChrystal was due to the ‘complexities’ of the situation on the ground and the need for a ‘change in strategy’.  ‘Complexity’ is a euphemism for the increased mass opposition to the US, complicating traditional carpet ‘bombing and military sweep’ operations.  The new strategy practiced by McChrystal involves large scale, long term ‘special operations’ to devastate and kill the local social networks and community leaders, which provide the support system for the armed resistance.

Obama’s decision to prevent the release of scores of photographs documenting the torture of prisoners by US troops and ‘interrogators’ (especially under command of the ‘Special Forces’), is directly related to his appointment of McChrystal whose ‘SOT’ forces were highly implicated in widespread torture in Iraq.  Equally important, under McChrystal’s command the DELTA, SEAL and Special Operations Teams will have a bigger role in the new ‘counter-insurgency strategy’.  Obama’s claim that the publication of these photographs will adversely affect the ‘troops’  has a particular meaning:  The graphic exposure of McChrystal’s modus operendi for the past 5 years under President Bush will undermine his effectiveness in carrying out the same operations under Obama.

Obama’s decision to re-start the secret ‘military tribunals’ of foreign political prisoners, held at the Guantanamo prison camp, is not merely a replay of the Bush-Cheney policies, which Obama had condemned and vowed to eliminate during his presidential campaign, but part of his larger policy of militarization and coincides with his approval of the major secret police surveillance operations conducted against US citizens.

Putting McChrystal in charge of the expanded Afghanistan-Pakistan military operations means putting a notorious practitioner of military terrorism – the torture and assassination of opponents to US policy – at the center of US foreign policy.  Obama’s quantitative and qualitative expansion of the US war in South Asia means massive numbers of refugees fleeing the destruction of their farms, homes and villages; tens of thousands of civilian deaths, and eradication of entire communities.  All of this will be committed by the Obama Administraton in the quest to ’empty the lake (displace entire populations) to catch the fish (armed insurgents and activists)’.

Obama’s restoration of all of the most notorious Bush Era policies and the appointment of Bush’s most brutal commander is based on his total embrace of the ideology of military-driven empire building.  Once one believes (as Obama does) that US power and expansion are based on military conquests and counter-insurgency, all other ideological, diplomatic, moral and economic considerations will be subordinated to militarism.  By focusing all resources on successful military conquest, scant attention is paid to the costs borne by the people targeted for conquest or to the US treasury and domestic American economy.   This has been clear from the start:  In the midst of a major recession/depression with millions of Americans losing their employment and homes, President Obama increased the military budget by 4% – taking it beyond $800 billion dollars.

Obama’s embrace of militarism is obvious from his decision to expand the Afghan war despite NATO’s refusal to commit any more combat troops.  It is obvious in his appointment of the most hard-line and notorious Special Forces General from the Bush-Cheney era to head the military command in subduing Afghanistan and the frontier areas of Pakistan.

It is just as George Orwell described in Animal Farm:  The Democratic Pigs are now pursuing the same brutal, military policies of their predecessors, the Republican Porkers, only now it is in the name of the people and peace.  Orwell might paraphrase the policy of President Barack Obama, as ‘Bigger and bloodier wars equal peace and justice’.

US B-52 Practices Bombing Runs, Intimidation Tactics

US bomber violates Pakistani airspace

MIRANSHAH: A United States B-52 bomber aircraft on Tuesday violated Pakistan’s airspace over North Waziristan Agency. The violation came early morning near the Pak-Afghan border in Mera Din areas of Goreek and Shawaal. The US bomber flew over the Pakistani territory for nearly an hour in brief intervals. Residents of the area expressed concern and anger over the airspace violation by the US aircraft.

The Jordanian Option has Always Been Zionism’s Plan

The Jordanian Option has Always Been Zionism’s Plan

Thursday, 19 June 2008 09:42 Peter Chamberlin

It seems that the “cat has been let out of the bag” over the past couple of days, concerning the “Jordanian option,” allegedly revealed recently by McCain neocon advisor Robert Kagan, then just as quickly shot down.  In a controversy started by Jordan Watch,  “McCain will declare Jordan as a Palestinian state, and the Jordanians love him!” [1] if McCain gets elected, he will support the total ethnic cleansing of Palestine, “transferring” all of them to Jordan.

“McCain’s trusted neo-con political advisor Robert Kagan has stated in a lecture in New York that the natural state for the Palestinians will be Jordan.”

The next day, the same source retracted the charge, “Kagan Statement: Have we been Fooled?” [2]

“Ammon news agency, fabricating the whole story.”

That should have laid the whole rumor to rest.  Right?  Think again.  Zionist-lite agitator Noam Chomsky, revealed in a 2007 interview at Democracy Now [3] that when Israeli leaders speak of the “two-state solution,” they have always considered Jordan to be the Palestinian state, and American leaders have always accepted it.

Noam Chomsky:

“In 1988, as you know, the Palestinian National Council formally accepted a two-state settlement, and the Israeli government responded. This was the coalition government of Shimon Peres and Yitzhak Shamir. They responded by issuing a formal declaration that there can be no additional Palestinian state between Jordan and Palestine — “additional” because for Shimon Peres and his Labor coalition, Jordan already was a Palestinian state. It’s a view that’s attributed to the right wing, but that’s mistaken. This is Shimon Peres….

The Bush Baker Plan endorsed Israel’s position without qualification and went on to add that any Palestinian negotiators would have to accept that framework, namely no second Palestinian state in addition to Jordan.”

The never-ending PSYOP, euphemistically termed “the nightly news,” is a continuing farce, where every word about the Palestinians is an Israeli-framed deception.  The “freedom of [this] press” is a license to lie and to promote officially sanctioned disinformation to the American people.  If it is not true that Zionists control our media, then how can you explain so many Israeli lies being spoon-fed to the American sheeple?