Scenes From A Wreckage

Says retired generals are in control of militants and ISI, at 5:03. Claims they control radical madrassas through “Islamic Defense Council, which also moves madrassa graduates into leadership positions.

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Scenes From A Wreckage

By AMIR MIR – |Magazine| Nov 05, 2007

For almost 10 hours on October 18, the people of Karachi choked the streets, cheering Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a mass catharsis on her return home from exile. As Benazir’s cavalcade threaded through an enraptured throng towards the mausoleum of Mohammed Ali Jinnah where she was to address a public rally, the PPP leader stood atop an especially fortified, bullet-proof truck, waving lustily at her followers and occasionally wiping eyes brimming with tears of joy. At 12.09 am on October 19, the cavalcade had reached the Karsaz Bridge, still 10 km away from the destination. But Benazir was not to be seen—19 minutes earlier she had gone down to use the makeshift washroom built in the lower deck of the truck.

It was then that someone tossed a grenade on the right side of Benazir’s truck, hoping the explosion would break the three rings of security cordon around it. The outer ring was of Pakistani policemen, the other two of the Janisar Force of the PPP. Her personal guards valiantly held their ground. In the ensuing confusion, a suicide bomber tried to sneak under Benazir’s truck from the left to inflict maximum damage. Challenged, he detonated himself. (Subsequently, the truck’s windshield was found riddled with bullets, suggesting a sniper had tried to ensure nobody could escape to safety.) The carnivalesque mood soon turned funereal—human flesh and limbs flew around, people wailed in agony and grief, and the death toll reached a chilling 143.

What saved Benazir was that she wasn’t atop the truck at that fatal moment; the explosion was powerful enough to rip off a door of her truck. Government sources say the assassination plan reveals prior knowledge of the security architecture around Benazir. Not only was the attack three-pronged, those who masterminded it also chose a suicide bomber in order to evade the jamming devices fitted into two vehicles immediately in front and behind Benazir’s truck. The jammers could have prevented any explosion triggered by a remote-controlled device, as had happened during one of the two attempts on Pakistan President General Pervez Musharraf’s life in 2003.

The nature of explosives used is another indicator of intricate planning. Investigators say the suicide bomber (whose head has been recovered, and is supposed to be a 21-year-old who had a 48-hour stubble) had strapped himself with 15-20 kg of an explosive mix of C4 and Trinitrotoluene or TNT. The C4 explosive is rated as the best quality military plastic explosive that detonates with tremendous velocity, and isn’t readily available. The other ingredient—TNT—has the capacity to shatter concrete structures and hillocks. Investigators say the TNT was meant to pierce through the bullet-proof casing of Benazir’s vehicle, with the C4 inflicting damage over a wide area. Fortunately for Benazir, two police jeeps accompanying her bore the brunt of the explosion.

So, who were these people who could access such devastating and rare explosives, and who were aware of the obstacles they would encounter in targeting Benazir? The signature of Al Qaeda, as well as local militant groups affiliated to it, is writ large—the self-destructing agent, the total apathy towards popular sentiment, the appetite for the ‘big’ hit. But did these groups have the assistance, or tacit approval, of jehadi-minded elements in the administration? Benazir herself thought so. On October 19, she disclosed that she had written a confidential letter to Musharraf on October 16, informing him about three senior officials who were planning to assassinate her when she returned home.Her information, she said, had come from a brotherly country (read Afghanistan) who told her about four suicide squads having entered Karachi to kill her. “However, I had made it clear (to Musharraf) that I won’t blame Taliban or Al Qaeda if I am attacked, but I will name the three officials as I know quite well my enemies in the Pakistani military and intelligence establishment,” she told journalists.

Benazir has not yet named the three persons, but PPP insiders disclosed their identity to Outlook. It’s an illustrious list: Brig (retd) Ejaz Hussain Shah, DG, Intelligence Bureau; Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, chief minister of Punjab; and Hassan Waseem Afzal, a former official of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). A fourth, familiar name pops up in the concluding part of the letter—that of former isi chief, Lt Gen Hameed Gul, who’s a vocal supporter of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

PPP insiders believe the quartet’s motive in organising the assassination attempt on Benazir was to check the burgeoning moderate political alliance between her and Musharraf. As such, the Musharraf camp was bitterly divided over his deal with Benazir. One group led by the secretary of the National Security Council, Tariq Aziz Warraich, was in favour of Musharraf sharing power with the PPP. Shah’s group opposed the deal with Benazir, believing it would be at the cost of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (Qaid-e-Azam). Ejaz Shah is close to the powerful Chaudhry brothers—Elahi and Shujaat Hussain—whose party the ruling PML-Q is, besides sharing their fundamentalist worldview.

Indeed, it was Shah who had ‘arranged’ the surrender of Sheikh Ahmed Omar Saeed, the killer of American journalist Daniel Pearl, on February 5, 2005, in Lahore. Then, Shah was the home secretary of Punjab. Shah knows Omar’s family well as both of them belong to the Nankana Sahib area of Punjab. The relationship between Shah and Omar was really one of a handler and his agent. In an interview with Daily Times, August 13, 2007, Benazir Bhutto said, “Brig Shah and the isi recruited Omar Sheikh, who killed Danny Pearl. So I would feel very uncomfortable to have the Intelligence Bureau, which has more than 1,00,000 people under it, run by a man who worked so closely with militants and extremists.”

Links with militants apart, Shah was instrumental, say PPP insiders, in splitting PML (Nawaz) and weaning away 20 PPP members in the National Assembly, to form the PML-Q. It’s Shah on whom the PML-Q depends to manipulate the impending general election to its advantage. For the Chaudhry brothers, the general election is a do-or-die battle: a defeat could well spell political oblivion for them.

The third person named in Benazir’s letter, Hassan Waseem Afzal, is currently secretary to the governor of Punjab. He was appointed to this post after he was removed as NAB’s deputy chairman on Benazir’s insistence a few months before her Abu Dhabi meeting with Musharraf in July this year. It was one step Benazir had wanted Musharraf to take as a confidence-building measure with her. Afzal had incurred her wrath because he had made it his personal mission to pursue corruption cases against her in the United Kingdom, Spain and Switzerland. It was on his order that the Interpol issued a red alert notice against her.

The fourth conspirator PPP names is Gul, a retired, dyed-in-the-wool Pakistani general who headed the isi following the jehad against the Soviets in Afghanistan and was responsible for fomenting the Kashmir insurgency in 1989. Gul worked in tandem with the Americans against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, but began to oppose America post-9/11. In 2003, Gul declared, “God will destroy America.”

Government sources, however, say a high-level meeting presided over by Musharraf dismissed Benazir’s accusations as “childish”. They also say her insistence on implicating Musharraf’s close associates in the Karachi carnage could even threaten her equation with the president. (The FIR filed by Benazir in Karachi states as suspects “those whose names were given to Gen Musharraf”.) They claim the suicide attack bore the signature of Al Qaeda, arguing that she has incurred its wrath because of her support for military operation against the Red Mosque fanatics in Islamabad in July and for declaring that she would allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to question Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan about his nuclear proliferation activities. Her emergence as an ally of Musharraf, government sources say, explains the fury of militants who had targeted him as well earlier.

But, are Benazir’s claims as ridiculous as government sources are making them out to be? Why, even Musharraf in his book, In the Line of Fire, wrote that militants roped in Pakistani air force personnel in the conspiracy to kill him in 2003. In another abortive attempt the same year, Musharraf implicated personnel of the Special Services Group charged with vip security. What was accepted as true in Musharraf’s case cannot prime facie be falsified in Benazir’s. Nothing is impossible in Pakistan’s cloak-and-dagger politics.

The Three Men Named In Benazir’s Letter

Police to question Pervaiz Elahi, Hamid Gul, Ejaz Hussain Shah

October, 18 2008
KARACHI – Another FIR of the Karsaz blast was registered here on Friday against unidentified culprits with the Bahadurabad Police Station, just a day before the first anniversary of the tragic incident on the directives of the Sindh High Court.

The letter written by Benazir Bhutto has also been cited in the FIR wherein former chief minister Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former DG FBI Ejaz Hussain Shah and former ISI chief Hamid Gul have been named. The Government of Sindh has got registered this FIR under No 213/2008. In her statement, Benazir Bhutto had expressed her suspicion over three persons for plotting her assassination and they would be included in investigation.

Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza held a meeting on Friday in central police office in connection with registration of new FIR. IG Sindh Sultan Salahuddin, CCPO, Karachi Waseem Ahmad, DIG investigation Karachi, Ghulam Qadir and others attended the meeting.

The meeting also decided to increase the reward money from Rs 5 million to Rs 10 million for those who would provide information in connection with arrest of accused persons.

The Karsaz massacre took place on Shahrah-e-Faisal on October 18 last year on the arrival of martyred PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto and claimed more than one hundred lives and left around 500 others badly injured. The first FIR 183/2007 was registered within a week of the tragic incident but the PPP leadership declined to accept its subject and filed a petition for the registration of another one.

The sections, added in the new FIR, included 302/324/427/120-B/34-PPC/Explosive Act 7-ATA 34 and 109. Experts believe the addition of section 109 in the FIR is a major breakthrough that defines that the conspirator, who had hatched the conspiracy, was also involved in the heinous crime.

Town Police Officer, Sohail Zafar Chattha, while talking to The Nation, said that Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was the petitioner and, for that matter, was the complainant in the new FIR. He added that a case has been registered against the unidentified persons whom the complainant had named in a letter she had written to the then President of Pakistan they could be involved in her assassination.

Chattha further elaborated that investigation in the light of the previous FIR had been stopped and the case would proceed according to the newly registered FIR.

City Police Chief Waseem Ahmed said Ms Bhutto had contacted police afterwards and referred to a letter she had earlier written to the then president Pervez Musharraf in which she had named the three men as a danger to her life.

According to police sources, the slain PPP leader had mentioned three names in her letter to the former President before her arrival including former Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, former DG FBI Brig (r) Ejaz Shah and Lt Gen (r) Hameed Gul as prime suspects who could be involved in her assassination attempt.

Sindh Home Minister Dr Zulfiqar Mirza has reportedly said that former President Pervez Musharraf could also be implicated in the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and called into the court.

Rashid A Rizvi, President Sindh High Court Bar Association, while talking to The Nation said that there was a High Court judgment on the second FIR in which it had ruled it legal on the application of Ghinwa Bhutto earlier before this incident. He added that addition of section 109 PPC defined the criminal intention of the accused person.

Online adds: Chief Minister Sindh Syed Qaim Ali Shah has said that FIR on October 18 carnage has been filed according to the context of Benazir Bhutto’s letter, which would also be a part of investigations owing to its importance, and the responsible of the incident will be punished.

He further said that a five-member committee has been established to probe the investigations of October 18 incident headed by DIG investigation Ghulam Qadir, and according to ongoing investigations over Karsaz carnage statements of about 423 people have been recorded.

Taliban Hole Up in Karachi as Pakistan Weeds Out Swat Valley

[SEE: Karachi Powderkeg, Where the Swat Taliban Went]

Taliban Hole Up in Karachi as Pakistan Weeds Out Swat Valley

By Naween A. Mangi and Farhan Sharif

June 19 (Bloomberg) — On June 7, Pakistan’s anti-terrorist police burst into a house in the Sohrab Goth suburb of Karachi. Inside, they said, were 10 suicide-bomber jackets, 60 kilograms of explosives, 10 grenades and Taliban militant Naeemur Rahman.

Fayyaz Khan, senior superintendent in the police’s crime investigation department, who led the raid, said the arrest of Rahman, an aide of Taliban Commander Baitullah Mehsud, is part of a daily battle to root out terrorists from Pakistan’s biggest city and prevent a major attack.

“Terrorists have a network here and whenever they get a chance to carry out an attack, they will grab it,” said Khan, “They want to do something major because when something happens here, it creates much more pressure on the government.”

Even as Pakistan’s military drives the Taliban from bases in the Swat Valley, 1,200 kilometers (750 miles) to the north, militants are holing up in Karachi, making it harder to rid the country of Islamic extremists. U.S. officials say the extremists pose a security threat in the nuclear-armed state and aid Muslim insurgents battling NATO forces in neighboring Afghanistan.

Karachi, a city of 18 million people, has two faces. One is the commercial capital, where women are seen in the workforce and in public life, entrepreneurs live in million-dollar homes and jeans-clad teenagers hang out in shopping malls and cafes.

The city is home to the country’s stock exchange, central bank and local headquarters for New York-based Citigroup Inc. and London-and Rotterdam-based Unilever. Karachi contributes more than 70 percent of Pakistan’s tax revenue, according to the local government.

‘Welcome Taliban’

The other face is the rundown warren of narrow streets in districts like Sohrab Goth and Baldia Town, where authorities have little control and walls and bridges are daubed with slogans like “Welcome welcome Taliban” and “Long live Taliban.”

“Karachi has more bombs, dynamite and Kalashnikovs than any other city in Pakistan,” said Fateh Muhammad Burfat, head of criminology at Karachi University.

Investors have been drawn to Karachi after Mayor Mustafa Kamal spent 200 billion rupees ($2.5 billion) in the last three years building bridges, underpasses and roads.

“The Taliban overshadow anything good,” said Farrukh Khan, president of the 175-member Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “Most investors are taking it as a positive that there’s a consensus in the country to tackle the Taliban head on.”

Stock Gains

The Karachi 100 share index rose 20 percent this year while the currency weakened 2.5 percent. The government projects the economy will grow 2 percent in the year ended June 30, the slowest pace in eight years.

Karachi lures as many as one million job seekers every year, half of whom never return home, city authorities said.

“The problem for Karachi is there is no registration system,” said Burfat. “People are still coming from every corner of the country. Among these, many elements get involved in terrorism.”

The unmapped slums are perfect hiding places for Taliban seeking respite from the fighting, said Arif Hasan, an urban planner and author of “Understanding Karachi.”

“In a city as large as Karachi, anyone can hide,” Hasan said. “Police surveillance is weak and a high level of corruption means any one who has money can easily hide.”

Militants also use the commercial center as a source of money by kidnapping for ransom, robbing banks and trafficking drugs and arms, according to Kamal.

Kidnappings Rise

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York, there have been 355 reported kidnappings for ransom in Karachi, compared with 68 in the previous five years, said the Citizens Police Liaison Committee, a volunteer group.

In October 2008, film maker Satish Anand was kidnapped and held for six months until he paid a ransom, police said. A month earlier, Shaukat Afridi, who ran a fleet of oil tankers and supplied NATO forces in Afghanistan, died when his kidnappers blew up the house where he was being held. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl was abducted in Karachi and killed in 2002.

Pakistan has suffered more than 25 bombings since the army began its campaign in the Swat Valley seven weeks ago. At least 31 people were killed in political violence in Karachi in the first week of June.

“Hearing gunfire at night everyday has become a habit,” said Ashraf Hussain, Pakistan’s only woman caddy, who travels from the north of the city to the Karachi Golf Club everyday. “I get on the bus every morning fearing how I will get home.”

Meanwhile, Fayyaz Khan and his anti-terrorist team carry out up to three raids a day to try to prevent a major attack.

“It’s a cat and mouse game,” said Khan, 40, who had plastic surgery after a bomb exploded in his hands in 2002. “We have to keep at it. The game is about who is one step ahead.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Naween A. Mangi in Karachi, Pakistan at; Farhan Sharif in Karachi, Pakistan at

We cannot afford to provoke a tribal uprising

[The following explanation of the differences in Pakistani Army and US positions highlights the imperative for the Army to stand-up to Obama and demand that US violations of sovereignty end immediately. Until now, it has been verboten for Pakistan to even express publicly its position, explaining why it seeks to avoid total war in the FATA region.  Daring to air its logical reasoning behind the strategic choice to limit the war is but one small step, albeit an appreciated one.  The next big step must be a public demand that American meddling and war crimes in Waziristan end now.]

“When we do move in, it must only be against Baitullah and his group. We cannot afford to provoke a tribal uprising.”

Mehsud ruthless criminal: Army

MORE than 70 years ago, the British army went to war against tribal forces loyal to a charismatic religious figure in what is now the Pakistani region of Waziristan, reports The Washington Post.
The ensuing guerrilla conflict lasted more than a decade. The British troops, though far more numerous and better armed, never captured the renegade leader and finally withdrew from the region. Today, the Pakistan Army is preparing to launch a major operation against another warrior in Waziristan, Pakistani Taliban commander Baitullah Mehsud. Taking a lesson from history and its own recent failures, the Army is attempting to isolate and weaken Mehsud before sending its troops into battle. “We are trying to shape the environment before we move in for the fight,” Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, the chief military spokesman, said in an interview. “We are also trying to minimise the loss of life. Ours is the only institution that can stand up to the militants, but public support is crucial. When we do move in, it must only be against Baitullah and his group. We cannot afford to provoke a tribal uprising.”
So far, the effort has produced mixed results. On Tuesday, a Mehsud loyalist assassinated a key pro-government tribal leader in South Waziristan, and US drone strikes killed 46 people at the funeral of a slain Mehsud commander, muddying the waters of tribal loyalties and antipathies.
As the days pass without the launch of a full-scale operation, experts said Mehsud – who Army officials estimate commands about 10,000 tribal fighters – has had the time to gather support from sympathisers in other areas of Pakistan and abroad.
Sources close to the armed forces said there were concerns that the military was being pushed into the new campaign by Pakistan and US officials too soon after taking on thousands of Taliban fighters in Swat.
The sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic sensitivity, said there was also concern in the military that the continuing US drone attacks were doing more harm than good, killing a few important militant figures but stoking anti-American sentiment throughout the tribal region.

“The drone attacks have a short-term positive impact, but their long-term effect is to create public hostility,” one military source said. “People see them as a breach of sovereignty and think the state is leaving its own citizens at their mercy.”
Maj-Gen Abbas said he could not comment on the drone issue, and he would not say how soon the ground operation in Waziristan would begin. However, he said that although the Army was prepared to go after Mehsud and the fighters, “we are dealing with a lot of complexities and constraints. We can only go so far without hurting our long-term interests.”
Abbas acknowledged that the government had decided to withdraw the Army from South Waziristan in January after a brief effort to attack Mehsud, but he said the military was in a far better political position today to go after the militants, because it enjoys strong public support while Mehsud, once seen as a Robin Hood figure by many Pakistanis, has become a ruthless criminal in the public’s eye.
Abbas said Swat was an “ideal territory for guerrilla fighters” because it is mountainous, forested and heavily populated. In contrast, he said, South Waziristan is barren and sparsely populated, with few places for insurgents to hide.
Still, Abbas said that even if Mehsud is captured or killed and his movement crushed, the problems that spawned it will not vanish overnight. “The tribal areas have been neglected for 50 years,” the spokesman said. “We will do our part, but there has to be follow-up by the civilian administration, better governance, more development. This is going to be a long haul.”
“It is now clear that any tribals who side with the Army will be violently suppressed,” said Rifaat Hussain, a professor of defence studies at Quaid-i-Azam University here. “They may tacitly support the state, but they will not dare actively support it.”
He also noted that many Army officers are from the same ethnic Pashtun group as Mehsud, making them reluctant to take him on.

Locating the threat within

Locating the threat within,

Mosharraf Zaidi

President Asif Ali Zardari is the product of a legitimate election, by a legitimate parliament. He could do a lot worse than he already has, and he will always remain a better president than his predecessor. And yet, somehow, the more that Zardari is supposed to be less like his predecessor, the more he seems more and more like his predecessor. As he approaches a full year in office, it is to the enduring shame and ridicule of the PPP that it presides over one of the most farcical constitutional eras in Pakistani history: a people’s government that refuses to live up to the most basic of its promises to the people — to give back the country to parliament of the people.

The keen appetite that President Zardari shares with Gen Musharraf for retaining absolute power through the mutilation of the constitution is only the tip of the iceberg. The more striking and much more insidious resemblance between this president (legitimate, standing tall and all) and the last one (hardly legitimate enough to walk away in shame) is in their foreign policy doctrine. Both presidents have used the art of charm as the single and only instrument of foreign policy available. While Gen Musharraf had truckloads to dispense with of his own, built up over a career filled with tiny exploits made to look bigger with rhetorical bluster, President Zardari uses the substantial stock of charm gleaned from years of sacrifice by the PPP, and the gold mine of charm that the PPP came across when Husain Haqqani stumbled into, and onto the feet of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Being a charming president to a country of 172 million is no crime at all. Except of course if all the charm is reserved for everybody outside the country, and none at all is reserved for anybody in it. And let’s be frank, being charming only for foreigners isn’t such a bad thing for a country widely seen to be the most dangerous in the world. Unless of course what you consider charming is in fact just disingenuous pseudo-intellectual drivel. And it is this, most depressing of realities, that makes this current, most legitimate of presidents, seem like a rerun of his predecessor, a most illegitimate one.

Gen Musharraf ran out of party tricks with the Bush administration when it became widely accepted conventional wisdom in Washington DC that though he was telling the Americans everything they wanted to hear, the general wasn’t the kind of kitten they had thought, but rather a different kind of cat deep down inside. By the time he left office, Musharraf’s invisible alter ego, to the Americans at least, was a dude with a turban, a long beard, with a chair deep in the heart of the ISI headquarters, ready to take it to the next level in Kabul, Delhi and anywhere else he had to, to deepen Pakistan’s ‘strategic depth’.

So now, Uncle Sam and Nephew Pak have a democratic government, led by President Zardari, to deal with. And what’s different about Zardari, clearly, is that he isn’t part of the ‘establishment’, that he’s from the ‘progressive and secular PPP’, that he’s the head of the ‘most popular political party in the country’ and that he’s not ‘Punjabi’. Asif Ali Zardari, unlike the Punjabi-ised General Musharraf of Old Delhi and New Londontown, is none of the things that Washington DC has come to loathe in this Islamic Republic.

President Zardari has lived up to the hype thus far, mostly thanks to his man in Washington DC. Ambassador Haqqani makes sure his master in Islamabad speaks to the nervous ticks and muscular spasms that get any kind of airtime at all in DC. Every speech, op-ed and press conference must inspire a new memo, a new telegram, and a new talking point.

For serious followers of politics and policy in Pakistan, President Zardari’s quotes are nothing more than an entertaining sideshow, not the core of Pakistani foreign policy. In true Pakistani tradition, however, the only tempering mechanism for President Zardari’s pronouncements is American gullibility. So while Pakistan’s dysfunction is entirely Pakistan’s fault, American naivete cannot get a pass because Pakistan is a basket case. In the Age of Obama, America has to do better. Anyone that was really interested in debilitating the Punjabi-dominated, Hindu-hating, right-leaning, military-dominated Pakistani establishment would have to be recklessly foolish if it went and helped rebrand the Pakistan army in the wake of eight years of Musharraf and a devastating and humiliating defeat at the hands of the country’s lawyers. Yet that’s exactly what President Zardari has done since the May 8 offensive was launched into Swat. The Swat offensive has helped rehabilitate the image of the military.

Pakistanis should be ecstatic. No country should have to demonise its own military to enjoy democratic freedoms. But the rehabilitation of the military’s image in Pakistan comes with inherent costs. One of them is the credibility of the Haqqani framework for counter-establishment rhetoric that President Zardari uses with such abandon, such as “the existential threat to Pakistan is from within”, and the classic, “India is not the enemy, the Taliban are”.

Not only are these statements technically debatable, they are logically inconsistent with the purported joint mission of the PPP in Pakistan, and its supporters in Washington DC. This mission, to weaken the undemocratic strains of the Pakistani establishment, and strengthening its democratic credentials, is a noble one. However, good intentions alone don’t cut it in ‘the world’s most dangerous country’.

On existential threats, honest brokers know that countries are not insects, or cigarettes. They don’t disappear. All the post-partition rage, confused liberal mumbo-jumbo, and irrational right-wing bluster can’t change the reality of Pakistan’s existence, and its vitality — no matter how many terrorists attack its innocent people. In South Asia’s real politick, there is no such thing as an existential threat to Pakistan.

On the differentiation between internal threats and external ones, Pakistan’s worldview is best demonstrated by what it does, not what it says. It uses the army, rather than the police (even though the enemy keeps trying to engage the police!) to fight internal threats. More tellingly, if Pakistan really believed that the threat (deep and serious as it is) is internal, would every government minister, army general and armchair pundit be blaming India, Afghanistan, and the US as the sources of the terrorists’ funding, weapons and training? Pakistan can keep towing the American line on who its enemies really are in the Washington Post — but it clearly does not believe it can afford to do so at ministry of interior press conferences in Islamabad, much less on Pakistan’s eastern border.

The truth is that neither Gen Musharraf nor President Zardari is incentivised to tell the truth. Why would they tell unpleasant truths when they know that they can tell pleasant lies and get some money out of the bargain? They can milk the US taxpayer for the injection of American assistance into the Pakistani economy (albeit in a manner most inefficient) by continuing to whisper sweet nothings to the three Dicks — Dick Armitage, Dick Boucher and now Dick Holbrooke. When they are in town, Pakistani presidents don’t need to tell the truth.

The truth is that Pakistan — even under heavy moral and tactical compulsion — cannot, and will not, accept Indian dominance in Afghanistan. More urgently, the truth is that in negotiations between India and Pakistan henceforth, the conversation needs to begin with Afghanistan, if Pakistan were to be honest, rather than Kashmir, which is now, a secondary foreign policy issue for Pakistan. Finally, perhaps most urgently, the truth is that Pakistan does not want, and cannot help sustain, an American troop presence in Afghanistan.

None of this is to say that the terrorists are not recognised as a threat to Pakistan. They are. Nor is it to suggest that anybody has a better alternative to a US troop surge in Afghanistan to quell the increasing fortitude of the terrorists there in the present scenario. They do not. Nor is it to suggest that the brave Pakistani soldiers that are taking on the Taliban are not fighting the right war for the right reasons. They are.

But the realities and implications of Pakistan’s lesser-told truths are important. To understand Pakistan’s foreign policy dysfunction, the starting point cannot be a barrel of a gun, or the shining tip of a pen about to sign a $1.5 billion cheque. Pakistan will continue to take the money, its generals will continue to think the way Pakistan is ‘existentially’ wired to think, and Pakistan will continue to confound analysts because the set-piece frameworks in vogue in Washington DC, in London and beyond, simply don’t work. They are spurious, to say the least.

One-liners can’t change the course of the behemoth called Pakistan, nor can money, even $1.5 billion of it. This beast has momentum. To paraphrase the great American poet, Walt Whitman, does Pakistan contradict itself? Very well then, Pakistan contradicts itself. It is large. It contains multitudes.

The writer advises governments, donors and NGOs on public policy. He can be reached through his website

Army Facing Tough Choice After NWA Ambush–Stand-up to Obama, or Fight Total Civil War

[More proof (as if it was needed) that Obama is leading Gen. Kayani and his co-conspirators around by the nose.  Pakistan is doomed, as long as America is charge of its war effort.  The purpose of the Predator attacks is not so much to kill militant leaders as it is to drive them into attacking the Army.  It is more than obvious that the generals intend to continue Musharref’s play-acting in the war on terror, pretending to pursue America’s designated enemies, while killing only those militants who challenge the government.  Using the drone attacks to stir-up the militants and the locals is America’s not so subtle method for taking-away Pakistan’s right to choose its own path.  If the generals try to choose a different path than total civil war throughout the FATA region, then America’s only remaining option to force the generals’ compliance is to send in US Special Forces.]

Army facing tough choice after NWA ambush

Should it go after Baitullah only or punish Gul Bahadur too?

“It was thus obvious that the confrontation between the militants and the military in North Waziristan would escalate because the US is unlikely to give up its policy of using drones to target militants� positions.”

By Rahimullah Yusufzai

PESHAWAR: The Army high command is required to make a tough choice whether to extend its military operation from South Waziristan to North Waziristan following the provocative attack by the Taliban militants on a military convoy in North Waziristan�s Madakhel area on Sunday despite the existence of a peace accord.

The priority for now is South Waziristan where the military campaign against the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) head Baitullah Mehsud is gaining momentum. Opening a new front when the armed forces are fighting on a number of fronts including Swat, Buner, Dir Lower, Bajaur, Mohmand, Darra Adamkhel, Orakzai and South Waziristan would over-stretch the military and mix-up its priorities. But the military cannot ignore the deadly ambush on the 250-member convoy in which a significant number of soldiers were killed and injured. A senior government official said such attacks could demoralise the troops if punitive measures aren�t undertaken.

This wasn�t the first time that the security forces were targeted by the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led militants or the peace accord was violated in North Waziristan. There have been quite a few such incidents during the past month or so. There were attacks on military convoys with improvised explosive devices (IEDs), including two last Friday on the Miramshah-Mir Ali road in which four soldiers were killed, and the students of Cadet College, Razmak, located in North Waziristan, were kidnapped by Baitullah�s men in the limits of Frontier Region (FR) Bannu, an area that Hafiz Gul Bahadur considers as part of his tribal fiefdom. There have been suspicions that militants loyal to Hafiz Gul Bahadur cooperated with Baitullah�s fighters while kidnapping the Razmak college cadets and their teachers.

But the ambush against the military convoy in Madakhel area on Sunday was both unexpected and provocative. Though the Taliban spokesman Ahmadullah Ahmadi claimed that 60 troops were killed and 15 military vehicles were destroyed in the attack, the Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas conceded the loss of 12 soldiers only. Official sources in Peshawar and Miramshah estimated that the number of soldiers who lost their lives in the ambush was 40 or even more. Among the dead was a colonel, a major and a captain. The sources said the attackers also seized vehicles and arms and ammunition.

The ambush was carried out in a narrow gorge that isn�t much different than the Shaoor Tangi, the famous gorge in South Waziristan where freedom-fighters often ambushed British forces and other invaders in the past. People with knowledge of Madakhel area wondered why adequate measures weren�t taken when the military convoy was passing through that treacherous gorge. It isn�t clear if helicopters were in place to provide air cover to the convoy at a time when it was vulnerable to an ambush.

More intriguing are reports that intercepts of the militants communicating with each other had been heard three days before the ambush in which they talked about starting attacks against the security forces without formally scrapping their peace accord with the government in North Waziristan. If true, it is strange that even then proper security measures weren�t made for military convoys in the dangerous parts of North Waziristan. Also worth recalling is another such incident in June in which an army rescue party sent to help a military convoy under attack itself was ambushed shortly before sunset while returning to Shakai in South Waziristan. It was felt the rescue party shouldn�t have undertaken the return journey at such inopportune time in an area infested with militants. As a consequence, the rescue party suffered avoidable casualties.

It is clear that the peace accord in North Waziristan is finished even if there has been no formal announcement by the militants and the government that it has been scrapped. The Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led Taliban Shura has already issued threats to tribal elders and others to stop interacting with government functionaries and avoid holding jirgas to settle disputes. Aware of the consequences, only one tribal elder, Malik Gulabat Khan, dared to attend the jirga with North Waziristan�s political agent on Monday. Others who came to the jirga, convened to discuss Sunday ambush against the military convoy, were clerics. The clerics� loyalties, out of necessity, fear or religious affiliation would be with the militants.

Though Hafiz Gul Bahadur was angry with the military for carrying out operation against his militant allies in FR Bannu, his spokesman Ahmadi mentioned the continued US drone attacks as the reason for the Taliban ambush on the Pakistan Army convoy in Madakhel area on Sunday. It was thus obvious that the confrontation between the militants and the military in North Waziristan would escalate because the US is unlikely to give up its policy of using drones to target militants� positions.

NWA militants scrap peace deal

NWA militants scrap peace deal

Death toll in military convoy attack reaches 30

By Mushtaq Yusufzai & Malik Mumtaz Khan

PESHAWAR/MIRAMSHAH: Previously known as pro-government militants, the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led Taliban in the troubled North Waziristan region on Monday formally scrapped the peace deal with the government in, what they termed, protest against the US drone attacks.

Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led militants, called The News from Miramshah, headquarters of North Waziristan Agency (NWA), and said their Shura members had decided in a meeting to scrap the peace accord.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the Sunday�s attack on a military convoy in NWA rose to 30, as 10 more seriously wounded soldiers succumbed to their injuries on Monday. The slain troops included a colonel, a captain and a lieutenant.

The Taliban in NWA had signed the first peace accord with the government on September 5, 2006 after months of bloody clashes with security forces in which both the sides had suffered heavy casualties. However, later they scrapped the agreement when their relations with the government turned sour.

Again, with the help of a 40-member peace committee, comprising tribal elders and clerics, the Taliban signed another peace agreement with the government on February 17, 2008, a day before the general elections last year. The latest accord was signed on militants� terms and conditions.

Before signing the agreement, the government had removed all the roadside military checkpoints, released detained militants and compensated them and other tribesmen for their losses they had suffered during the military operation.

However, despite being in peace accord the two sides never enjoyed cordial relations and lack of trust has always been visible. The militants were running the tribal region according to their own will, leaving little space for the government and the law-enforcement agencies.

Hafiz Gul Bahadur has said he had scrapped the peace accord in protest against the frequent US drone attacks in NWA. He claimed that the drones had carried over 50 attacks since signing of the peace accord in NWA in which hundreds of people, including women and children, had lost their lives.

Another reason that reportedly annoyed Gul Bahadur was the recent military operation in Janikhel and Bakakhel villages of the FR Bannu. Gul Bahadur has recently threatened more than once to end the peace agreement but it was the 40-memebr peace committee members who prevented him from taking such a decision.

Tribal sources said the peace committee members also reminded Gul Bahadur and his men that drones did not pound any target in NWA during the past two months and a military operation in the FR Bannu was almost over.

The Taliban commander has also reportedly demanded an end to the military operation against the Baitullah Mehsud-led militants and drone attacks in the adjoining South Waziristan tribal region. The elders, however, have told Gul Bahadur that their peace agreement was restricted to NWA, therefore, it would be difficult for them to put pressure on the government to accept their demands related to South Waziristan.

In the meantime, Gul Bahadur told the tribal elders that all doors for negotiations between him and the government had been closed, warning the peace committee members not to approach him for talks.

He also later issued a pamphlet, asking all tribal elders and Maliks to boycott the government offices and its functions.The pamphlet, a copy of which was made available to The News, forbade the tribesmen from approaching the government and attending its functionaries. It also banned holding of Jirgas and congregations in the tribal region. He had warned he would not even hesitate to send his suicide bombers to attack any meeting convened for peace in the region.

The tribal sources said Gul Bahadur�s decision to scrap the peace deal with the government was in context of his previous association with Baitullah Mehsud.In February last, Baitullah Mehsud, Gul Bahadur and Mulla Nazeer, commander of Ahmadzai Wazir militants in Wana area, had entered into an alliance � �Shura Ittehad-ul-Mujahideen� or council of holy warriors � and pledged to end their differences and fight together in future against their enemy.

Sources close to the Taliban said that Gul Bahadur had personally decided to break the peace accord. They said he had called 600 well-armed militants to his village for attacking the military convoy.

Several soldiers went missing after their convoy was ambushed and militants are believed to have kidnapped them. After Gul Bahadur, militants affiliated with Mulla Nazeer have also started attacks on military installations in Wana and Shakai areas of South Waziristan. Though he has been silent so far, military officials believe his men are involved in recent attacks on military installations.

I want to tell the world a story

I want to tell the world – a story –

About a home with a broken lantern


About a picnic that wasn’t enjoyed.





About an axe that killed a tulip



About a fire that consumed a plait






About a tear that couldn’t run down


I want to tell a story about a goat that wasn’t milked



About a wedding that wasn’t celebrated


And a baby girl that didn’t grow up



About a football that wasn’t kicked


I want to tell a stroy about a key that wasn’t used


About a classroom that wasn’t attended
About a besieged lonely farm
And about its fruits That weren’t picked
About a lie that wasn’t discovered
I want to tell a story about a stone that faced a tank
And about a stubborn flag that refuses to lie down
About a spirit that cannot be defeated
I want to tell the world a story
Now Light a little candle for Palestine
You can do it

Light a candle One little candle
Watch the darkness fade away

Just try it out

One ray of light
Wipes away the gloomiest
Jet-black nights
As the dawn breaks

Just observe

Can you see that
All the might of darkness
In the world
Cannot extinguish
The faintest flicker
Of a beam of light

Light a candle
One little candle
Watch the darkness fade away

You can do it

Why is it that the Arabs don’t revolt?

Why is it that the Arabs don’t revolt?

By Rami G. Khouri
Daily Star staff

The stark contrast between the street demonstrations in Iran in the past two weeks and the absence of any such popular revolts in the Arab world during the past half-century is more than just fascinating in terms of political anthropology. A major question that hangs over the Arab world like a ton of bricks is: Why do its top-heavy, non-democratic political control and governance systems persist without any significant popular opposition or public challenge?

The events in Iran – the second major popular rebellion there in the past 30 years – accentuate the relative quiescence in the Arab world, but this is not for lack of

grievances among Arabs. The same pressures and indignities that annoy many Iranians and push them to openly challenge their rulers are prevalent throughout much of the Arab world: abuse of power by a self-contained ruling elite, the absence of meaningful political accountability, dominance of the power structure by security-military organs, prevalent corruption and financial abuse, mediocre economic management, enforced leadership-worshipping and personality cults, and strict social controls, especially on the young and women.

Only once has a popular revolt forced a change of government in the Arab world: the 1985 overthrow of Sudanese President Jaafar Numeiry. All other coups and regime changes in the Arab world have been the work of a small number of military officers or foreign governments. Mass Arab uprisings have occurred against foreign occupation or domination, such as the two Palestinian intifadas against Israeli occupation, the anti-Syrian uprising in Lebanon in 2005, and assorted anti-colonial rebellions. Small militant groups have also challenged Arab regimes – such as violent Islamists in Syria, Egypt and Algeria in the 1980s and 1990s – but these efforts were always beaten down.

The sheer power of police and security organizations is not a sufficient explanation of Arab popular passivity, because angry populations around the world have confronted and toppled equally powerful security forces, whether in the shah’s Iran or most Eastern European states. Lack of courage is not a satisfying explanation either, because Arab men and women have defied and confronted their governments in many ways over the past half-century – yet always falling short of taking to the streets in mass demonstrations aimed at toppling the regime.

One of the possible explanations is that angry or frustrated Arab men and women do not relate to their central government in the same way that Iranians do (or Turks). Indignant Iranians or Turks fed up with their government’s abuse of power demand a change in government behavior, and use available means to bring about that change. Arabs in a similar situation seem to largely ignore their governments, and instead set up parallel structures in society that satisfy the same practical services and needs that governments in more coherent countries normally provide.

Discontented citizens throughout the Arab world have channeled their energy into several arenas that coexist in parallel with the state. These include Islamist and other religious movements, tribal structures, non-governmental organizations, and the private sector to a lesser extent. Some of these movements, like Hizbullah and Hamas, grew briskly and have become parallel states in every respect, including military power, social services, economic clout, and international diplomatic engagement.

One possible explanation for why discontented Iranians or Turks try to capture and reconfigure their state governance machinery, while Arabs tend to avoid it and simply build their own parallel structures, may have to do with the most basic factors of nation and state legitimacy, efficacy and credibility. Iran and Turkey enjoy powerful, ancient legitimacy as nation-states while most Arab countries do not, because most of them are modern creations of the European colonial powers.

Rather than wanting to manage the very difficult socio-economic challenges that define countries like Yemen, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Algeria and Sudan, it is much more attractive for discontented political and social movements to carve out a space for themselves in society, mostly ignore the central government, and get on with the business of catering to their constituents. Consequently, central governments in most Arab countries beyond the oil states are finding that their impact and footprint in society are slowly narrowing, in line with their often diminished legitimacy. Arab regimes to a large extent are not being challenged by their own people; they are being contained and shrunk.

It is possible that the lack of popular Arab revolts against the state is less a comment on the passive nature of Arab citizenship and political psyche, and more a comment on the declining allure of the prize of political incumbency in Arab governance systems whose impact and legitimacy continue to fray at the edges, and that cater to a smaller and smaller constituency of true believers at their core.

Rami G. Khouri is published twice-weekly by THE DAILY STAR.

U.S.-built bridge is windfall — for illegal Afghan drug trade

Google map showing bridge and new Indian air base at Farkhor, Tajikistan (alleged supply point for Pakistani Taliban TTP)

U.S.-built bridge is windfall — for illegal Afghan drug trade

Gateway for Afghan opium

By Tom Lasseter | McClatchy Newspapers

NIZHNY PANJ, Tajikistan — In August 2007, the presidents of Afghanistan and Tajikistan walked side by side with the U.S. commerce secretary across a new $37 million concrete bridge that the Army Corps of Engineers designed to link two of Central Asia’s poorest countries.

Dressed in a gray suit with an American flag pin in his lapel, then-Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez said the modest two-lane span that U.S. taxpayers paid for would be “a critical transit route for trade and commerce” between Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Today, the bridge across the muddy waters of the Panj River is carrying much more than vegetables and timber: It’s paved the way for drug traffickers to transport larger loads of Afghan heroin and opium to Central Asia and beyond to Russia and Western Europe.

Standing near his truck in a dusty patch on the Afghan side of the river, Yar Mohammed said it was easy to drive drugs past the Afghan and Tajik border guards.

“It’s an issue of money,” Mohammed said, to the nods and grins of the small group of truckers gathered around him near the bridge at Nizhny Panj. “If you give them money, you can do whatever you want.”

The roots of the global drug trade are often a murky tangle of poverty, addiction, violence and corruption. However, it’s clear why the dirt-poor former Soviet Central Asian republic of Tajikistan is on the verge of becoming a narco-state.

After the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001, the United States and other Western powers looked the other way as opium and heroin production surged to record levels, making Afghanistan by far the world’s biggest producer.

Much of the ballooning supply of drugs shipped across Afghanistan’s northern border, up to one-fifth of the country’s output, has traveled to and through Tajikistan. The opium and heroin funded rampant corruption in Tajikistan and turned the country, still hobbled by five years of civil war in the 1990s, into what at times seems like one big drug-trafficking organization.

Every day last year — extrapolating from United Nations estimates — an average of more than 4 metric tons of opium, which can be made into some 1,320 pounds of heroin, moved on the northern route. Put another way, the equivalent of nearly 6 million doses of pure heroin — at 100 milligrams each — is carried across the northern Afghan border each day.

After it’s cut with other substances and sold on the street corners and in the apartment stairwells of Russia and Western Europe, the main retail markets for Central Asian heroin, that could produce at least 12 million doses.

Nevertheless, it’s clear even to a casual visitor at the bridge that neither the Afghan or the Tajik border guards have much interest in curbing, or even inspecting, the exports that pass in front of them.

In fact, as the Afghan drug supply has grown, Tajik seizures have fallen. In 2004, Afghanistan produced 4,200 metric tons of opium, and some 5 metric tons of heroin or its equivalent in opium were seized in Tajikistan, according to U.N. figures. Last year, with Afghan cultivation rising to 7,700 metric tons of opium, Tajik authorities seized less than 2 metric tons of heroin.

Although the United States wields enormous influence in both countries, their drug problems have taken a back seat to the war against the Taliban. Until the past year, Afghanistan’s growing drug production was at best a midlevel priority for Washington, and the U.S. hasn’t pressed Tajik President Emomali Rahmon to rein in his country’s drug trafficking, Western officials said. Nor, they said, has any other Western government with troops in Afghanistan.

All along the Afghan-Tajik border, smugglers for years have thrown sacks of heroin over the Panj River, waded across when the water is low, set up flotillas of car tires and used small ferries or footbridges.

The U.S.-financed bridge has made drug trafficking even easier, truck driver Mohammed said with a toothy smile: “You load the truck with drugs.”

The ferry that used to operate at Nizhny Panj carried about 40 trucks a day. The bridge can carry 1,000 vehicles daily.

Organized crime groups now are focusing on using official checkpoints to move their drugs, a senior official at the Tajik State Committee for National Security said, speaking to a recent meeting of Central Asian counter-narcotics officers.

“Especially through the Tajik-Afghan bridge on the Panj River,” Davlat Zarifov said.

Zarifov apparently didn’t know that a reporter was present, and he declined further comment and quickly walked away.

To try to get the Tajik government’s side of the story, a McClatchy reporter approached Sherali Mirzo, the official in charge of the country’s border guards, a man with a full mustache and medals across his uniformed chest. Mirzo said he didn’t talk to the media.

Rustam Nazarov, the director of the country’s drug control agency, said in a brief interview that the declining heroin and opium seizures suggested that there was less trafficking of those drugs through Tajikistan, an analysis that the facts on the ground would seem to contradict.

Nazarov, however, did allow that, “There is corruption in Tajikistan; no one denies that. Unfortunately, we have some civil servants who are corrupt.”

A few days later at the Afghan-Tajik border, as the sun began to dip below a horizon framed by jagged mountains, Mohammed Zahir, an Afghan truck driver, gave a simple explanation for how drugs get across the bridge.

“People involved with the drug business know the guards,” Zahir said. “Before sending their drugs across, they pay them money.”

A second driver, Qand Agha, chimed in: “If high officials on the border weren’t involved, then people like me couldn’t take drugs into their country.”

Down the road, a line of trucks was crossing the bridge.


Sitting in a $40,000 SUV with soft leather seats and a dark orange paint job, a man named Negmatullo hitched up his shirtsleeve to show the sore on his arm from the heroin he’d been shooting up. He fiddled with his designer sunglasses, absentmindedly brushed his hair and said in a junkie’s mumble that, “If you pay someone at the border, you can bring drugs up.”

Negmatullo, a thin man with dirty blond hair, had just come out of a drug treatment clinic in the town of Kurgan-Tyube, a halfway point between the border and the Tajik capital of Dushanbe. He asked that his last name not be used for his own security.

When Negmatullo was asked why guards and other Tajik law-enforcement officials would be susceptible to corruption, he rubbed his fingers together and muttered “dengi, dengi,” Russian for “money, money.”

The car’s license plate flashed by as Negmatullo pulled away; it was number 7777, a calling card of those connected to the president’s inner circle.

The spoils of the drug trade are as obvious as the shiny new BMWs speeding down the dusty roads that cut from south to north across the steppes of Tajikistan, passing hunched old men who tend the cotton fields with hoes. It’s an ancient setting: Alexander the Great and his men conquered parts of the territory in the fourth century B.C, and they’re said to have crossed the Panj River by floating on leather hides.

These days, in a nation where some 50 percent of the population makes less than $41 a month, there’s a steady stream of new Mercedes and Lexus sedans, not only in Dushanbe, but also in the hamlets that dot the way to the Afghan border.

Locals say the cars often are given in trade for loads of heroin shipped north to the Russian border. The stuff is easy to get.

“You can just take two bags over your back, walk across the Panj and bring them back filled with heroin. It’s no problem,” said Vazir, a Tajik who was released from a Russian prison last February after he was caught trying to take 600 grams of heroin through a Moscow airport. During an interview in Dushanbe, he asked that his last name not be used because he feared retribution.

Vazir continued: “You can give your bag of heroin to one of the guards, and he will carry it across for you.”


The supply chain appears to reach far beyond hustlers such as Vazir. Many Western officials and Tajik observers suspect that the Rahmon government controls the drug trade.

“I don’t know if the president is involved personally, but he gives the percentages to different groups for what they can do,” said one Western diplomat in Dushanbe, who like others spoke only on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of criticizing the regime. “Just go to the airport. There are bags of heroin going through unchecked. . . . People are pretty open about it. There’s more and more a culture of impunity.”

After the Soviet Union fell in 1991, Russian troops continued to patrol the Tajik border. They withdrew from the area in 2005 after the Tajik government demanded that they leave — though it allowed them to stay in other parts of the country — asserting that as a sovereign nation Tajikistan was capable of securing its own frontiers.

An assortment of local conscripts replaced the relatively professional Russian contingent, which trained and financed the Tajik officer corps.

“You have conscripts earning maybe $3 a month stretched out over 1,344 kilometers of border” — 835 miles — said another Western diplomat in Dushanbe, discussing the problem of drug dealers paying border guards to look the other way. “It’s obvious that if you need to eat, corruption is an option.”

Some Russian and Western officials said privately that the Tajik government wanted the Russians out of the way to ensure a larger supply of opium and heroin.

It was a move designed to gain “hold of a bigger part of the drug trade,” one Western diplomat in Dushanbe said.

“Frankly speaking, there were forces in the government of Tajikistan who wanted to replace the Russian troops with Tajik troops to allow more holes in the border,” said a Russian official in Moscow who travels regularly to Tajikistan and has high-level contact with the Tajik government. “It was to make the penetration of drugs easier.”

The State Committee for National Security, Tajikistan’s version of the KGB, took control of border enforcement in 2007 and almost immediately barred the country’s Interior Ministry and drug control agency from access to the border region.


When a McClatchy reporter drove to the border at Nizhny Panj to do interviews, troops turned him back because he didn’t have official permission. A border guard supervisor in plainclothes pulled the reporter’s driver aside and suggested in a menacing tone that the driver was a spy. The Tajik government later denied McClatchy permission to visit the southern border.

The reporter resorted to crossing the bridge into Afghanistan with a routine visa, and he saw no evidence that Afghan or Tajik officials were inspecting trucks for contraband.

Despite the public nature of the drug trade and related corruption in Tajikistan, however, the West has done relatively little to pressure President Rahmon.

Some Western officials acknowledge that it’s the result of a political tradeoff: No one wants to risk alienating Rahmon on the issue of drug corruption because his authoritarian regime’s cooperation is important for preventing Islamic militants from using the Tajik-Afghan border as a sanctuary.

“The Americans want to have a logistics base here, so do you think they’re going to pressure the government about corruption?” said William Lawrence, a chief adviser for a U.N. Afghan border-management program based in Dushanbe. “The answer is no.”

The U.S. Embassy in Dushanbe declined to comment, but a State Department official said that such balancing acts were common.

“There is always going to be a tradeoff based on different foreign-policy objectives, different security objectives, the tolerance for different types of corruption, different levels of corruption,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of diplomatic protocol. “I don’t think the situation in Tajikistan, frankly, is that much different than the rest of Central Asia in terms of these types of tradeoffs.”

A second Western diplomat in Dushanbe was more blunt about Western governments ignoring reports on Tajikistan’s official complicity in drug corruption.

“We send reports every month to our capitals, very negative, but they don’t (care),” said the diplomat, whose country has troops in Afghanistan. “Because it’s a so-called stable country leading to Afghanistan, we accept it.”

The diplomat said that his country had funded projects to help train and equip the Tajiks to deal with the drug problem. The United States and other Western nations have done the same.

This month, for example, the U.S. ambassador to Tajikistan broke ground on a $2.5 million project to overhaul the border guard training academy in Dushanbe. The American Embassy said in a recent news release that it had implemented more than $37.5 million of initiatives to help Tajik law enforcement since 1992.

However, the second Western diplomat said, there isn’t much arm-twisting to make sure the Tajik government cracks down.

“We don’t dare to say to the president, ‘We give you money for anti-corruption but the first thing you see on the streets is these police taking bribes,’ ” the diplomat said. “Nobody says, ‘We’ll give you money for border security, but in three years we want to see a reduction in drugs.’ ”


Afghan drug trade thrives with help, and neglect, of officials

Russian advice: More troops won’t help in Afghanistan

Taliban Changing the Army’s Game

Clashes in North Waziristan continue to intensify

The army operation in North Waziristan gains steam as the militants announced they were scrapping their ceasefire — AP/File photo. Pakistan 16 civilians, two policemen hurt in Buner bazaar blast SPECIAL COVERAGE Lack of funds threaten aid efforts

MIRAMSHAH: Clashes between security forces and militants intensified in the North Waziristan tribal region as local Taliban announced the scrapping of a 16-month old peace deal on Monday.

Sources said that the death toll from Sunday’s attack on a military convoy rose to 27 on the troops’ side. Locals said that Wacha Bibi where the convoy was ambushed was littered with burnt military vehicles.

On Monday helicopters pounded suspected positions in Wacha Bibi, a narrow pass in the mountainous region. Cobra helicopters were seen taking off from a helipad in Miramshah and flying towards the embattled area to run bombing missions.

Official sources said that five civilians were also killed in the choppers’ shelling of residential areas in Wacha Bibi. They said that two suspected cars were hit in Madakhel, and one vehicle in the Kherkamer area. These sources said that the army had retrieved the bodies and wounded soldiers from the area and shifted them to Islamabad.

Militants loyal to a local commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur had ambushed a military convoy on Sunday. A spokesman for the militants claimed killing about 60 soldiers and capturing several others. He also claimed destroying about 16 military trucks and pickups.

Inter Services Public Relations confirmed 12 deaths on the army side and claimed killing 10 militants in the ensuing gun battle.

Local Taliban Shoora announced the scrapping of a nine-point peace deal signed between the government and elders of Utmanzai tribe of North Waziristan on February 17, 2008.

A spokesman for the militants, Ahmadullah Ahmadi told journalists by phone that the Shoora had decided to continue guerrilla activities until the government stopped drone attacks and withdrew troops from the North Waziristan.

‘We will attack forces everywhere in Waziristan unless the government fulfills these two demands,’ he said, adding that the government had allowed US to carry out drone attacks in the tribal region.

Government had claimed that peace deal had been signed with elders not local Taliban in the North Waziristan led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Saddiq Noor. Under the nine-point agreement there would be no target killing and attacks on security forces in the area.

The agreement bound elders that nobody would set up parallel administration in the area and all issues and disputes would be resolved in accordance with the Frontier Crimes Regulation and with the consultation of political agent.

The elders of the Utmanzai tribe had also given guarantee to the government that there would be no cross border movement of militants into Afghanistan and foreigners would be expelled from the area. Sources said that elders could not control activities of the militants and agreement had apparently become dysfunctional.

U.S. supplied Afghan insurgents for ‘Al Qaeda’ in Iraq

U.S. supplied Afghan insurgents for ‘Al Qaeda’ in Iraq

By Wayne Madsen
Online Journal Contributing Writer

(WMR) — WMR has learned from an intelligence source who served in 2007 at the Tallil Air Base in Iraq, also known as Camp Adder by the U.S. Army and Ali Air Base by the U.S. Air Force, that United States intelligence services imported Afghan mercenaries into Iraq in order to attack Iraqi civilians and military personnel, as well as coalition forces, including U.S. service personnel. The Afghans were recruited from Taliban ranks and were paid for their services in Iraq.

WMR has learned that during 2007, Iraqi police stopped a truck hauling a 40-foot trailer on the Kerrada Bridge in Baghdad. When the Iraqi police officers checked the truck’s trailer, they were amazed to discover between 30 and 40 Afghan Taliban. They said they were brought into Iraq by the United States and were tasked with stirring up trouble in Iraq, much of it ascribed by U.S. military commanders as the work of the dubiously-named Tanzim Qaidat al-Jihad fi Bilad al-Rafidayn (Organization of Jihad’s Base in the Country of the Two Rivers) or more commonly known as “Al Qaeda of Mesopotamia.”

The Iraqi police were told by senior U.S. military commanders on the scene to allow the Afghani insurgents to depart the Kerrada Bridge without any further hindrance.

The Taliban cell in Iraq apparently operated in conjunction with a covert U.S. plan to look the other way as Mahdi Army cells planted bombs in Iraq. On April 9, 2009, WMR reported: “WMR has been informed by a former private military contractor in Iraq that the United States was aware of the identities and even the cell phone numbers of several bomb making operatives within Muqtada al Sadr’s Mahdi Army. The bomb cells were responsible for detonating a number of bombs in Iraq that targeted Sunnis and coalition personnel, including Americans.” The failure of Generals David Petraeus and George Casey to act against the bomb-making cell was to not put in jeopardy a six-month extension of a cease-fire agreement agreed to by the MNF-I [Multi-national Force-Iraq] and [Muqtada] al Sadr’s Shi’a militia in 2006.

One of the Shi’a bomb-making cells was located in the Kerrada district of Baghdad, the same area where the Taliban truck was stopped by Iraqi police. WMR has obtained a list [Part 1 and Part 2] provided to U.S. authorities by the coordinator of the Kerrada bomb cell. No action was taken by U.S. intelligence or military personnel to curtail the Shi’a militia bomb-making operation.

An English translation of the bomb-making cell list follows:

My name is Fadil Salim Naji of Jaderiya 923/43 Baghdad,Mobile 07901289687.

Before 2003 I was a Bathist party member and co-ordinator with the Iraqi government to the Iranian government. Since this time I have been working with the Iranian government in co-ordination with the Jeshil Mehdi army. My role has been to take money for arms purchases for the Mehdi army from the Iranian Intelligence and to place orders for weaponry. My meeting point with the Iranians was at the border point near to Maraghen City Iran. . . . My orders were always from Athora City in Kerrada where I had contact to the Medhi army leaders.

Akiel Salam Hamid nicknamed (Al Iranie) of Jaderiya Baghdad works with his father Hussein Salim Hamid who and are responsible for bomb making and arranging the planting of devices. Mobile 07702 668 185.,Land line govt issued – 7786495.

Hussein Salim Hamid is responsible for counting military vehicles in the area of Jaderiya and is the main planning officer for appointing targets and building roadside bombs including the use of mainly semtex. He made the recent bomb which exploded outside the ice cream shop on Jaderiya street. Mobile – 0780 341 1480.

Fathil Dabus, Basin Hyder/Salim N023 ? was told by Hussein Hamid he had three days to leave his job or he and his family would be killed. Fathil Mobile-079067 61723 of Athora City received two calls from Hussein Hamid 23/10/07 and 11/10/07.

Fathil Dabus wife also threatened by Hussein Hamid in front of the Azur Girls school Jaderiya.

Mr Rand Badri a supervisor teacher was killed a week ago by Hussein Salim Hamid and also Rand’s father the headmaster at the school was killed by Hussein Salim Hamid.

Fadil – Mobile 078016 575 66 Another leader of the Mehdi army.

Ziuna City – 079022 72814 – Mobile of an assassin working for Hussein Hamid.

The reg on the car N0.26888 BMW white test Baghdad. A car used to transport arms from the border meet point.

Saed Ahmed 07902272814 Enforcer for Hussein Hamid and responsible for many killings and bombs in the area

The use by U.S. special operations forces and covert U.S. intelligence agents of Taliban fighters from Afghanistan and Mahdi Army insurgents to foment violence and terrorism in Iraq represents yet another serious violation of international and domestic anti-terrorism treaties and laws by the Bush-Cheney administration. In the case of using Taliban fighters to stage attacks on U.S., coalition, and Iraqi targets and blaming them on “Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia,” the Bush-Cheney administration once again has demonstrated that “Al Qaeda” is as much an invention of the last administration as the billing of “9/11” as a foreign terrorist attack.

Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.

Copyright © 2009

Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).

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Email Online Journal Editor

Demonising Iran conveniently hides uncomfortable truths for the West

Demonising Iran conveniently hides uncomfortable truths for the West

Robin Yassin-Kassab

THE MAINSTREAM media narrative of events unfolding in Iran has been set out for us as clear as a fairytale: an evil dictatorship has rigged elections and now violently suppresses its country’s democrats, hysterically blaming foreign saboteurs the while. But the Twitter generation is on the right side of history (in Obama’s words), and could bring Iran back within the regional circle of moderation. If only Iran becomes moderate, a whole set of regional conflicts will be solved.

I don’t mean to minimise the importance of the Iranian protests or the brutality of their suppression, but I take issue with the West’s selective blindness when it gazes at the Middle East. The “Iran narrative” contains a dangerous set of simplicities which bode ill for Obama’s promised engagement, and which will be recognised beyond the West as rotten with hypocrisy.

Iran’s claims of Western incitement for the protests are roundly scorned in our media, and of course Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s scapegoating of foreigners and “terrorist groups” demonstrates an unhealthy denial of the very real polarisation within Iranian society.

Yet Iranians still have good reason to fear outside interference. It was, after all, British and American-orchestrated riots that brought down the elected Mossadeq government in 1953. And in 2007, Bush administration neocon John Bolton told the Telegraph that a US attack on Iran would be “a last option after economic sanctions and attempts to foment a popular revolution had failed”.

According to veteran journalist Seymour Hersh, ongoing US special operations in Iran include funding ethnic-separatist terrorist groups such as the al-Qaeda-linked Jundallah in Baluchistan. With some honourable exceptions, this dimension has not been touched by the mainstream media.

And Mir Hossein Mousavi’s vote-rigging allegations are accepted without scrutiny, despite there not yet being any hard evidence of organised cheating. The official result is similar to that in the second round of the 2005 elections, when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad received 61.7 % to former president Rafsanjani’s 35.9%.

Iran is troublesome not because it’s any more dictatorial than its neighbours but because it’s less submissive

A few weeks before the latest elections, a poll commissioned by the BBC and ABC News predicted a nationwide advantage of two-to-one for Ahmadinejad over Mousavi. Even Israel’s Mossad chief Meir Dagan reported that there were no more irregularities in the Iranian vote than in elections in liberal democracies.

I visited Iran in 2006, with a backpack and guidebook-standard Farsi. I noticed two things. First, Iran is far freer, fairer, less littered, and more literate than any of its neighbours. Second, very many Iranians are unhappy with their corrupt rulers and, unlike people in nearby Arab states, they are not afraid to say so openly. To an extent, the revolution has been a victim of its own success, having transformed a largely feudal land into a highly educated urban society, creating along the way a swollen middle class and an idealistic youth which chafes against the petty oppression of dress codes and state-enforced morality. But everyone I spoke to favoured evolution of the existing system over counter-revolution.

The Islamic Republic has been a great – if seriously flawed – experiment in economic and strategic independence, its engines oiled by class consciousness and national pride as much as by religion. Iran is at least a semi-democracy, and has held 10 presidential elections in 30 years. Iranian women are obliged to cover their hair, true, but women in US-client Saudi Arabia are obliged to cover their faces. In Saudi Arabia of course there are never any elections to dispute – but there are US military bases, so we don’t dwell on the issue.

Here’s the nub of it. Iran opposes the US military presence in the region, and vigorously supports resistance to Israeli expansionism. On these two points, the Iranian regime is closer than any other to the true sentiments of Middle Easterners.

And this, fundamentally, is why Iran is imagined to be such a problem in the West: because it’s a Venezuela or a Cuba of a country. Iran is troublesome not because it’s any more obscurantist or dictatorial than its neighbours, but because it is less submissive.

The world worries about Iran’s nuclear energy programme while keeping quiet about Israel’s 200 nuclear weapons. Israel occupies Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian territory. Iran has not attacked another country in its modern history.

Iran is accused of backing terrorism because it helps to arm Hizbullah and Hamas, grassroots anti-occupation groups with a legitimate, even legal, cause. Both groups have targeted civilians (rarely, in Hizbullah’s case) but not on as grand a scale as Israel, which is armed and funded by the United States. And Iran doesn’t export Wahhabi-nihilist terrorists of the Taliban or al-Qaeda-in-Iraq variety. Again, that would be our ally Saudi Arabia.

President Obama recently chose to address the Muslim world from Cairo, seat of a client regime which has “pre-emptively” arrested hundreds of democrats in recent months, fearing they may demonstrate.

Commenting on Iran, Obama called the “democratic process” a “universal value”. But obviously not quite universal enough to cover Egypt, or the elected Hamas government, what remains of it, in besieged Palestine.

Silences can be more significant than words. Is Obama also “deeply troubled” when Israel shoots unarmed protesters or arrests children as young as 12? Does he mourn “each and every innocent life that is lost” in Gaza as well as in the plusher streets of Tehran? If so, he still hasn’t told us.

At present our opinion-formers are blithely simplifying and demonising a complex culture, allowing illusions and half-truths to become shining certainties in our minds. This is how we arrived in Iraq.

Robin Yassin-Kassab was born in Britain to a Syrian father and English mother. He worked as a journalist in Pakistan before moving to Oman where he taught English. He now lives in Scotland. His novel, The Road From Damascus, is published by Penguin, £8.99

Obama Depopulation Policy Exposed!

Larouche researcher exposes Ezekiel Emanuel’s (brother of Rahm) cost-cutting measures that target life support for “useless eaters.”

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more about “Obama Depopulation Policy Exposed!“, posted with vodpod

Obama calls for cuts in Medicare and Medicaid

16 June 2009

Over the weekend, President Barack Obama called for cuts in funding for Medicare and Medicaid, the federal health insurance programs for the elderly and the poor, including the elimination of subsidies for hospitals that treat uninsured patients. This proposal, combined with plans to limit medical tests and treatments, underscores the reactionary, anti-working class character of Obama’s proposed “reform” of the health care system.

It is becoming increasingly clear that the essence of the administration’s health care policy, under the guise of universal coverage, is a downgrading of care for the majority of the population so as to cut health care costs for business and the government.

Administration spokesmen have also indicated that Obama is receptive to the idea of taxing workers for the health benefits they receive from their employers—something for which he denounced his opponent, Senator John McCain, during last year’s presidential election campaign.

In a speech before the American Medical Association (AMA) in Chicago on Monday, President Obama made it clear that his health care reform would in no way impinge on the profit interests of insurance companies, hospital chains and drug companies. He added that he was open to limiting the ability of patients to pursue medical malpractice suits.

As he has done before, Obama framed the health care issue entirely from the standpoint of containing rising costs that are fueling federal budget deficits and undermining the competitiveness of US corporations. The fact that nearly 50 million Americans are uninsured and tens of millions more cannot afford adequate health care was chiefly raised to point to the added costs of unpaid emergency room visits.

Rising health care costs, particularly for the government-run Medicare and Medicaid programs for the elderly and the poor, the president said, were a “ticking time-bomb for the federal budget” and “unsustainable.” If the health care system was not fixed, he warned, “America may go the way of GM,” referring to the bankrupt automaker.

The cost of his plan—estimated to be a trillion dollars over the next ten years—would be “budget neutral,” he said, and would be funded through cuts in Medicare and Medicaid, along with “modestly limiting the tax deductions the wealthiest Americans can take to the same level it was at the end of the Reagan years.”

The president plans to cut $313 billion over the next decade from the two federal health programs by limiting the growth of Medicare reimbursements to hospitals and health care providers. He also said he was open to expanding the role of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission—a body set up by the Newt Gingrich-led Republican Congress in 1997—to save another $200 billion.

As the Wall Street Journal noted Monday, “New York City offers a window into what could happen when payments to safety-net hospitals are cut. Already running at a deficit, the city’s public hospital system is looking at $150 million in state Medicaid cuts for next year. Next month, it will close some outpatient services, such as community-based primary and preventive-care offices.

“’We are in a position already where we are making painful decisions that require us to reduce access and services,’ said Alan D. Aviles, president and chief executive of the system, known as the Health and Hospitals Corp.”

Under the terms of Obama’s plan, the wealthy would still have access to the best medical care while tens of millions of working people would have a choice of lower standard plans available in a so-called Health Insurance Exchange, where coverage was limited to what one could afford. This would include a government-subsidized “public option,” he said, which “would inject competition into the health care market to force waste out of the system.”

Far from guaranteeing decent health care for the population, the program would create a system, dominated by private companies seeking to maximize their profits, where health care for working and poor people was rationed according to its “cost-effectiveness.” Doctors would be under intense pressure from government “advisory boards” not to order tests, use drugs or carry out medical treatments that were deemed too expensive.

Obama recently told the New York Times that prolonging the lives of terminally ill and very old people presently accounts for 80 percent of the total health care bill. He suggested that such outlays might not be cost-effective.

In his speech before the AMA—a body that opposed the establishment of Medicare in the 1960s—Obama gave assurances that his proposal for a public insurance option as part of his reform did not threaten private markets. He said, “The public option is not your enemy; it is your friend.” He denounced those who claimed it was a “Trojan horse for a single-payer system” like those in Europe, and said it was “important for us to build on our traditions here in the United States,” i.e., to maintain a system based on the profit principle.

Obama brought the AMA delegates to their feet by declaring that he was willing to provide relief to doctors facing the high cost of malpractice lawsuits—long a plank of the Republican Party. “I recognize,” he said, that “some doctors may feel the need to order more tests and treatments to avoid being legally vulnerable,” he said, assuring them that “evidence-based” guidelines established by the government would allow physicians to “scale back the excessive defensive medicine,” which supposedly plagued the health care system.

The socially destructive implications of Obama’s health care plan are spelled out in a recent book by Ezekiel Emanuel, brother of Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, and a medical advisor to the administration. In a review of the book, Health Care Guaranteed: A Simple, Secure Solution for America, the New York Review of Books wrote that under Emanuel’s proposal, “Employee-based insurance would disappear,” and “Medicaid would also end and Medicare would be gradually phased out.”

In opposition to this reactionary plan, the working class must advance its own answer to the health care crisis, based on the nationalization under workers’ control of the insurance and pharmaceutical giants and the hospital chains, and the establishment of a genuine system of socialized medicine to meet human needs, not private profit.

Jerry White

The author also recommends:

Obama chooses private profit over healthcare needs
[8 June 2009]

The Obama recovery
[6 May 2009]

Now We See You, Now We Don’t

Now We See You, Now We Don’t

June 29, 2009 By Kathy Kelly

In early June, 2009, I was in the Shah Mansoor displaced persons camp in Pakistan, listening to one resident detail the carnage which had spurred his and his family’s flight there a mere 15 days earlier.  Their city, Mingora, had come under massive aerial bombardment. He recalled harried efforts to bury corpses found on the roadside even as he and his neighbors tried to organize their families to flee the area.

“They were killing us in that way, there,” my friend said. Then, gesturing to the rows of tents stretching as far as the eye could see, he added, “Now, in this way, here.” The people in the tent encampment suffered very harsh conditions.  They were sleeping on the ground without mats, they lacked water for bathing, the tents were unbearably hot, and they had no idea whether their homes and shops in Mingora were still standing.  But, the suffering they faced had only just begun.

UN humanitarian envoy Abdul Aziz Arrukban warned on June 22nd that the millions of Pakistanis displaced during the military’s offensive against the Swat Valley would “die slowly” unless the international community started taking notice of the “unprecedented” scope of the crisis. (Jason Ditz,

UN agencies and NGOs such as Islamic Relief and Relief International report that many of the persons now living in tent encampments, or squatting in abandoned buildings, or crowded into schools designated as refugee centers, may soon start dying from preventable disease.

Health teams note increasingly frequent cases of diarrhea, scabies and malaria, all deadly in these circumstances, especially for young children. With so many people living so close to each other, these diseases are spreading fast.

Relief groups are concerned that as the monsoon season approaches, in July, these problems will get considerably worse. Monsoons bring regional floods and cause escalating rates of malaria and waterborne diseases. The impact, this year, is expected to be much more severe because so many people are living in crowded and unsanitary conditions.

Pakistan’s already rundown health care system, officials report, is now near collapse.  Hospitals in northern Pakistan have been overwhelmed, with exhausted doctors, depleted medicine supplies and avalanches of red tape blocking money and medicine for the crisis.

Writing for the Associated Press on June 7th, Kathy Gannon described the men’s ward in the Mardan District Hospital:  “30 steel beds lie crammed together, with two-inch mattresses and no pillows. Pools of urine spread on the floor, and fresh blood stains the ripped bedding…The one bathroom for 30 patients stinks of urine and faeces. The toilets are overflowing, the door to one cement cubicle is falling off and a two-inch river of urine covers the cement floor. In one corner, garbage is piled high.”

The annual budget for health care in Pakistan, this year, is less than $150 million, while Pakistan’s defense budget last year came to $3.45 billion, and is expected to reach $3.65 billion next year.

People in Shah Mansoor worry that the international community as well as their own government won’t notice the health care crisis they face.  But villagers yet to flee their homes in Waziristan agonize under constant military scrutiny from lethally-armed U.S. surveillance drones.

A villager who survived a drone attack in North Waziristan explained that even the children, at play, were acutely conscious of drones flying overhead.  After a drone attack, survivors trying to bring injured victims to a hospital were dumbfounded when a driver stopped, learned of their plight and then sped away.  Then it dawned on them that the driver was afraid the drone would still be prowling overhead and that he might be targeted for associating with victims of the attack.

The U.S. drone aircraft can see Pakistan – their pilots in air-conditioned Nevada trailers see the terrain even though they are physically thousands of miles away.

Writing about U.S. Air Force efforts to “meet the voracious need for unmanned aircraft surveillance in combat zones,” Grace Jean notes, in the June, 2009 issue of National Defense Magazine, that the Air Force’s 432nd Air Expeditionary Wing, at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, is expanding base operations.  “We have 34 video feeds over the battlefield right now,” says Col. John Montgomery, the wing’s vice commander. When operating a drone, Montgomery says, “You are part of the battlefield.” Commenting on the hundreds of combat sorties he flew over Sadr City, in Baghdad, Montgomery said he even knew where people hung out the laundry and when they took out the trash.  “I knew the traffic flow for the hours that I could see, and when that changed, I knew it. Once you know the patterns of life, when things are different or odd, that means something’s up, and that gives the battlefield commander, the joint commander on the ground, a heads up.”

On Tuesday, June 23rd, U.S. drones launched an attack on a compound in South Waziristan.  Locals rushed to the scene to rescue survivors.  The U.S. drone then launched more missiles at them, leaving a total of 13 dead. The next day, local people were involved in a funeral procession when the U.S. struck again. Reuters reported that 70 of the mourners were killed.

Drone operators and their commanders at Creech Air Force Base will become increasingly well informed about the movements of Pakistani people, but meanwhile the U.S. people will have lost sight of war’s human costs in Pakistan.

Now, we’re hearing of imminent army operations in South Waziristan that have already forced about 45,000 people to flee the region, joining about two million men, women, and children displaced by fighting in the Swat Valley and other areas. People from Waziristan who flee from their villages, trying to save their lives, trying not to be seen by the omnipresent drones, will likely join the unseen, the displaced people whose lives and hopes escape international notice as they die slowly.

President Obama has taken us into an expansion of Bush’s war on terror, presumably guided by the rationale that his administration is responsible to root out Al Qaeda terrorists.  But the methods used by U.S. and Pakistani military forces, expelling millions of people from their homes, failing to provide food and shelter for those who are displaced, and using overwhelmingly superior weapon technology to attack innocent civilians, — these methods will continue creating terrorist resisters, not defeating them.

If we want to counter Al-Qaeda, if we want to be safe from further terrorist attacks, we’d do well to remember that even when we don’t recognize the humanity of people bearing the brunt of our wars, these very people have eyes to see and ears to hear. They must be asking themselves, who are the terrorists?

Kathy Kelly ( co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (

CIA Crucified captive in Abu Ghraib Prison

CIA Crucified captive in Abu Ghraib Prison

by Sherwood Ross

The Central Intelligence Agency crucified a prisoner in Abu Ghraib prison near Baghdad, according to a report published in The New Yorker magazine.

“A forensic examiner found that he (the prisoner) had essentially been crucified; he died from asphyxiation after having been hung by his arms, in a hood, and suffering broken ribs,” the magazine’s Jane Mayer writes in the magazine’s June 22nd issue. “Military pathologists classified the case a homicide.” The date of the murder was not given.

“No criminal charges have ever been brought against any C.I.A. officer involved in the torture program, despite the fact that at least three prisoners interrogated by agency personnel died as a result of mistreatment,” Mayer notes.

An earlier report, by John Hendren in The Los Angeles Times indicted other torture killings. And Human Rights First says nearly 100 detainees have died in U.S. custody in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Hendren reported that one Manadel Jamadi died “of blunt-force injuries” complicated by “compromised respiration” at Abu Ghraib prison “while he was with Navy SEALs and other special operations troops.” Another victim, Abdul Jaleel, died while gagged and shackled to a cell door with his hands over his head.” Yet another prisoner, Maj. Gen. Abid Mowhosh, former commander of Iraq’s air defenses, “died of asphyxiation due to smothering and chest compression” in Qaim, Iraq.

“There is no question that U.S. interrogations have resulted in deaths,” says Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU. “High-ranking officials who knew about the torture and sat on their hands and those who created and endorsed these policies must be held accountable. America must stop putting its head in the sand and deal with the torture scandal.” At least scores of detainees in U.S. custody have died and homicide is suspected. As far back as May, 2004, the Pentagon conceded at least 37 deaths of prisoners in its custody in Iraq and Afghanistan had prompted investigations.

Nathaniel Raymond, of Physicians for Human Rights, told The New Yorker, “We still don’t know how many detainees were in the black sites, or who they were. We don’t fully know the White House’s role, or the C.I.A.’s role. We need a full accounting, especially as it relates to health professionals.”

Recently released Justice memos, he noted, contain numerous references to CIA medical personnel participating in coercive interrogation sessions. “They were the designers, the legitimizers, and the implementers,” Raymond said. “This is arguably the single greatest medical-ethics scandal in American history. We need answers.”

The ACLU obtained its information from the Pentagon through a Freedom of Information suit. Documents received included 44 autopsies and death reports as well as a summary of autopsy reports of people seized in Iraq and Afghanistan. An ACLU statement noted, “This covers just a fraction of the total number of Iraqis and Afghanis who have died while in U.S. custody.” (Italics added).

Torture by the CIA has been facilitated by the Agency’s ability to hide prisoners in “black sites” kept secret from the Red Cross, to hold prisoners off the books, and to detain them for years without bringing charges or providing them with lawyers.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, denounced the Obama administration for considering “prevention detention,” The New Yorker’s Mayer wrote. Roth said this tactic “mimics the Bush Administration’s abusive approach.”

From all indications, CIA Director Panetta has no intention of bringing to justice CIA officials involved in the systematic torture of prisoners. Panetta told Mayer, “I’m going to give people the benefit of the doubt…If they do the job that they’re paid to do, I can’t ask for a hell of a lot more.”

Such sentiments differ markedly from those Panetta wrote in an article published last year in the January Washington Monthly: “We either believe in the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, or we don’t. There is no middle ground.”

One way to discern who really runs a country is to look to see which individuals, if any, are above the law. In the Obama administration, like its predecessors, they include the employees of the CIA. Crucifixions they execute in the Middle East differ from those reported in the New Testament in at least one important respect: Jesus Christ had a trial.

Sherwood Ross formerly reported for major dailies and wire services. To contact him or contribute to his Anti-War News Service:

Kyrgyzstan says dead militant trained in Pakistan

[Uzbeks, trained in Pakistan by IMU, co-conspirators with TTP leaders Mehsud and Fazlullah.]

Kyrgyzstan says dead militant trained in Pakistan

BISHKEK (Reuters) – The leader of a group of Islamist militants killed last week by Kyrgyz security forces was trained in Pakistan, officials said on Monday.

The ex-Soviet Central Asian state, home to a U.S. military air base, reported two gunfights between security forces and Islamist militants last week, the first clashes with Islamists in Kyrgyzstan for three years.

The State National Security Committee said on Monday it had identified the body of the leader of three fighters killed in the southern region of Osh on Saturday.

“The leader of the destroyed terrorist group (was) Khasan Suleimanov, born in 1977 in Osh, Kyrgyzstan, trained at the international terrorist centres in Pakistan,” it said.

The committee said both Suleimanov’s group and five militants killed days before in the nearby town of Jalal-Abad likely had links to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU).  [Once again, the Uzbek, IMU connection to the International Islamic Front,  a.k.a., “al Qaida”]

Western security analysts say the IMU was largely wiped out during U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan. Some have pointed to a possible rise in its activity in recent months alongside a parallel resurgence in Taliban operations.

Kyrgyzstan borders Uzbekistan but not Afghanistan.

At least 27 killed in Waziristan, Kurram clashes

At least 27 killed in Waziristan, Kurram clashes

Nearly 45,000 civilians have fled from South Waziristan as fighting intensifies, according to military estimates. — AP/File photo.

DERA ISMAIL KHAN: Clashes and air strikes killed at least 27 militants, including three top Taliban commanders and five civilians, as fighting surged Monday across Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt, a Taliban stronghold, officials said.

Fighter jets pounded suspected insurgent hideouts in South and North Waziristan, where the military says it is using air raids to lay the groundwork for a full-scale assault against Pakistani Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud.

Pakistan has offered a 615,000-US-dollar reward for information leading to the capture, dead or alive, of Mehsud, who is holed up in South Waziristan and who has been blamed for some of the worst attacks in the country.

‘At least seven militants were killed after jet fighters pounded their hideouts in Saam village of South Waziristan,’ a security official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

In the region’s Tank district, three top commanders of the outlawed Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) were killed during clashes with security forces.

Official sources told DawnNews, the TTP Tank chief, Rasheedullah, and deputy amir Ikramullah were killed in a clash with security forces in Ghara Buddha area of Tank.

Security forces were on a routine search and cordon operation when militants opened fire on them.

The gunbattle continued for some time which left a number of militants, including their Tank amir Rashidullah and naib Amir Ikramullah, dead.

In another incident, the body of Baitullah’s aide Usman was recovered from the Gara Pathar area, after he had been shot dead by an unknown assailant.

Meanwhile, three houses and one school occupied by militants and a Taliban office, were targeted in the air strike in South Waziristan, the security official said.

The houses of Taliban commanders Zarbat Khan, Naseeb Khan and Umar Khan had been destroyed but there were no reports of any casualties.

More than 30 commanders and key supporters of Baitullah have been shot dead in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan since Turkistan Bhittani and the Abdullah Mehsud group announced they would rid the area of Baitullah’s group.

In North Waziristan, five militants were killed when helicopters shelled their hideouts in the town of Madda Khel in retaliation for an ambush which killed 12 soldiers Sunday, said a security official in the region’s main town Miramshah.

Overnight, 15 Afghan-bound Taliban fighters were killed in a gun battle with tribesman in the region of Kurram, which is also part of Pakistan’s tribal belt, officials said.

The clash erupted when militants were crossing an area dominated by the Toori tribe of Shia Muslims late Sunday, local administration official Siddiq Ahmed told AFP.

‘The gun battle left 15 militants and two Toori tribesmen dead,’ he said.

Security officials confirmed the casualties near the town of Parachinar, bordering Afghanistan, and said Tooris feared the Taliban had infiltrated the area.

At least three civilians were killed in the village of Kaloosha, about 17 kilometres west of Wana, the main town in South Waziristan.

‘First militants fired rockets at an army camp in Wana, after which troops responded with artillery fire,’ said local government official Ghafoor Shah.

‘One of the shells hit people coming out of a mosque in Kaloosha village and killed three people and wounded another seven,’ Shah told AFP.

It was not clear where the shell was fired from. Security officials in the area confirmed the death toll.

22 soldiers killed in Waziristan

22 soldiers killed in Waziristan

20 troops die as convoy comes under attack in NWA; 12 militants, two soldiers perish in SWA

By Mushtaq Yusufzai,

Malik Mumtaz Khan & Irfan Burki

PESHAWAR/MIRAMSHAH/WANA: Twenty-two soldiers were killed and thirty-five others injured in two separate attacks by militants in North and South Waziristan agencies on Sunday. Also a same number of militants were killed in the day-long blitz and retaliatory attacks by security forces in the restive region.

20 Pakistan Army soldiers, including a senior officer, were killed and 35 others sustained injuries, several of them seriously, when dozens of militants, affiliated with Taliban commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, ambushed a military convoy in Madakhel area of North Waziristan Agency on Sunday.

Also, 12 militants and two soldiers were killed in the ongoing offensive in neighbouring South Waziristan Agency.Ahmadullah Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led Taliban in North Waziristan claimed responsibility for the attack on the military convoy and warned to continue similar attacks on the security forces in the region till the US drone strikes were not stopped.

Ahmadi phoned The News from Miramshah and claimed 60 soldiers were killed and 15 vehicles were destroyed in the ambush.Pakistan Army spokesman Maj Gen Athar Abbas confirmed the attack and said 12 soldiers were martyred and 10 others seriously injured.

When reached by telephone, Athar Abbas told The News that 10 terrorists were later killed when the Pakistan Army gunship choppers pounded positions of the terrorists where they had ambushed the military convoy.

Official and tribal sources told The News from Miramshah that the military convoy was travelling from Madakhel to Wocha Bibi area near the border with Afghanistan when ambushed by the militants.

The convoy came under attack when it was passing through a narrow road surrounded by mountains.Almost in the same place earlier, militants had ambushed a military convoy and killed 16 soldiers in 2007.

The militants first attacked the military with an improvised explosive device (IED) and then started firing with heavy weapons.They said the militants used heavy weapons, including rocket-propelled grenades, mortar shells and AK-47 assault rifles.

After the attack, the militants reportedly took away weapons and other items from the slain soldiers.The area is away from main Miramshah town and it took some time when senior military officials came to know about the incident.

Almost two hours later, two military helicopters — a gunship and a transport — were sent to the troubled spot. The chopper shifted 20 bodies of the soldiers and 35 injured to Miramshah. Military officials, who airlifted the injured troops, said a majority of them were in a critical condition.

Some of them were later sent to Bannu and Peshawar in choppers and admitted to military hospitals. Maj Gen Athar Abbas said gunship helicopters later pounded militant positions in the area. It was the second attack on military convoy by the Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led militants in North Waziristan in a week. In an earlier attack near Miramshah, four soldiers were killed and 20 others injured.

Gul Bahadur, who was considered a pro-government Taliban commander after he signed a peace accord with the government on February 17, 2008, has suddenly changed his stance. The tribesmen fear after the attack the government might launch a military operation in North Waziristan.

Elsewhere in South Waziristan, 12 militants were killed and seven others sustained injuries as jetfighters bombed the suspected hideouts of the Taliban. Also, two soldiers were killed and four injured seriously in different parts of the tribal region.

The tribal sources said the gunship helicopters and jetfighters bombed hideouts of the militants at 10:00 am in Saam, Kacha Lungerkhel, Kuram Garhi, Ladha Serai, Tangi Budenzai, Makeen, Janata, Srarogha, Kotkai, Garhagah and suburbs of Ladha Tehsil, killing 12 militants and injuring seven others.

It was reported that six houses of civilians, including that of Dr Bashar Khan, Malik Saad, Noor Khan, Jalut Khan, Bachi Gul and Sher Dati, were bombed by the jetfighters in Saam area of Ladha Tehsil. A fort-shaped-house of Malik Nasir Khan was also destroyed in Garhagah area.

The sources said four compounds of the militants were also targeted by the gunship helicopters in the mountainous areas of the agency. Security forces used artillery while firing from the hilly area of Naray and hit different areas of the Mahsud tribes, including Badar, Sina Tera and Chalweshti.

Forces and militants also traded heavy gunfire in Sholam, Raghzai and Tanai, due to which two soldiers were killed and four others injured. Meanwhile, people started migration from the area amid shelling by security forces towards Tank and Dera Ismail Khan districts.

A Bloodless Coup:The Transition From Democracy To A Bank-run Society

A Bloodless Coup

The Transition From Democracy To A Bank-run Society

By Mike Whitney

June 28, 2009 “Information Clearing House” — The trouble started 24 months ago, but the origins of the financial crisis are still disputed. The problems did not begin with subprime loans, lax lending standards or shoddy ratings agencies. The meltdown can be traced back to the activities of the big banks and their enablers at the Federal Reserve. The Fed’s artificially low interest rates provided a subsidy for risky speculation while deregulation allowed financial institutions to increase leverage to perilous levels, creating trillions of dollars of credit backed by insufficient capital reserves. When two Bear Stearns hedge funds defaulted in July 2007, the process of turbo-charging profits through massive credit expansion flipped into reverse sending the financial system into a downward spiral which has just recently begun to decelerate.

It is inaccurate to call the current slump a “recession”, which suggests a mismatch between supply and demand that is part of the normal business cycle. In truth, the economy has stumbled into a multi-trillion dollar capital hole that was created by the reckless actions of the nation’s largest financial institutions. The banks blew up the system and now the country has slipped into a depression.

Currently, the banks are lobbying congress to preserve the “financial innovations” which are at the heart of the crisis. These so-called innovations are, in fact, the instruments (derivatives) and processes (securitization) which help the banks achieve their main goal of avoiding reserve requirements. Securitization and derivatives are devices for concealing the build-up of leverage which is essential for increasing profits with as little capital as possible. If Congress fails to see through this ruse and re-regulate the system, the banks will inflate another bubble and destroy what little is left of the ailing economy.

On June 22, 2009, Christopher Whalen, of Institutional Risk Analysis, appeared before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, and outlined the dangers of Over-The-Counter (OTC) derivatives. He pointed out that derivatives trading is hugely profitable and generates “supra-normal returns”  for banking giants JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and other large derivatives dealers.  He also noted that, “the deliberate inefficiency of the OTC derivatives market results in a dedicated tax or subsidy meant to benefit one class of financial institutions, namely the largest OTC dealer banks, at the expense of other market participants.”

Christopher Whalen:

“Regulators who are supposed to protect the taxpayer from the costs of cleaning up these periodic loss events are so captive by the very industry they are charged by law to regulate as to be entirely ineffective….The views of the existing financial regulatory agencies and particularly the Federal Reserve Board and Treasury, should get no consideration from the Committee since the views of these agencies are largely duplicative of the views of JPM and the large OTC dealers.”

Whalen’s complaint is heard frequently on the Internet where bloggers have blasted the cozy relationship between the Fed and the big banks. In fact, the Fed and Treasury are not only hostile towards regulation, they operate as the de facto policy arm of the banking establishment. This explains why Bernanke has underwritten the entire financial system with $12.8 trillion, while the broader economy languishes in economic quicksand. The Fed’s lavish gift amounts to a taxpayer-funded insurance policy for which no premia is paid.

Whalen continues:

“In my view, CDS (credit default swaps) contracts and complex structured assets are deceptive by design and beg the question as to whether a certain level of complexity is so speculative and reckless as to violate US securities and anti-fraud laws. That is, if an OTC derivative contract lacks a clear cash basis and cannot be valued by both parties to the transaction with the same degree of facility and transparency as cash market instruments, then the OTC contact should be treated as fraudulent and banned as a matter of law and regulation. Most CDS contracts and complex structured financial instruments fall into this category of deliberately fraudulent instruments for which no cash basis exists.”

No one understands these instruments; they are deliberately opaque and impossible to price. they should be banned, but the Fed and Treasury continue to look the other way because they are in the thrall of the banks. Insiders call this phenomenon “regulatory capture”.

Credit default swaps (CDS) are a particularly insidious invention. They were originally designed to protect against the possibility of bond going into default, but quickly morphed into a means for massive speculation which is virtually indistinguishable from casino-type gambling. CDS can be used to doll-up one’s credit rating, short the market or hedge against potential losses. CDS trading poses a clear danger to the financial system (The CDS market has mushroomed to $30 trillion industry) but the Fed and other regulators have largely ignored the activity because it is a cash cow for the banks.

Whalen again:

“It is important for the Committee to understand that the reform proposal from the Obama Administration regarding OTC derivatives is a canard; an attempt by the White House and the Treasury Department to leave in place the de facto monopoly over the OTC markets by the largest dealer banks led by JPM, GS and other institutions….

The only beneficiaries of the current OTC market for derivatives are JPM, GS and the other large OTC dealers…. Without OTC derivatives, Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers and AIG would never have failed, but without the excessive rents earned by JPM, GS and the remaining legacy OTC dealers, the largest banks cannot survive and must shrink dramatically.” (Statement by Christopher Whalen to the Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Subcommittee on Securities, Insurance, and Investment, United States Senate, June 22, 2009)

The Geithner-Summers reform proposals are an utter fraud. They’re a meaningless public relations scam designed to conceal the fact that the banks will continue to maintain their stranglehold on OTC derivatives trading while circumventing government oversight. Nothing will change. Bernanke and Geithner’s primary objective is to preserve the ability of the banks to use complex instruments to enhance leverage and maximize profits.

The banks created the financial crisis, and now they are its biggest beneficiaries. They don’t need to worry about risk, because Bernanke has assured them that they will be bailed out regardless of the cost. Financial institutions that have explicit government guarantees are able to get cheaper funding because lending to the bank is the same as lending to the state. And, so it goes. The underwriting of the banks with public resources changes the fundamental structure of the existing system. It’s the end of free markets and the beginning of state capitalism.

Destabilization 2.0: Soros, the CIA, Mossad and the new media destabilization of Iran


Destabilization 2.0: Soros, the CIA, Mossad and the new media destabilization of Iran

James Corbett

It’s the 2009 presidential election in Iran and opposition leader Mir-Houssein Mousavi declares victory hours before the polls close, insuring that any result to the contrary will be called into question. Western media goes into overdrive, fighting with each other to see who can offer the most hyperbolic denunciation of the vote and President Ahmadenijad’s apparent victory (BBC wins by publishing bald-faced lies about the supposed popular uprising which it is later forced to retract). On June 13th, 30000 “tweets” begin to flood Twitter with live updates from Iran, most written in English and provided by a handful of newly-registered users with identical profile photos. The Jerusalem Post writes a story about the Iran Twitter phenomenon a few hours after it starts (and who says Mossad isn’t staying up to date with new media?). Now, YouTube is providing a “Breaking News” link at the top of every page linking to the latest footage of the Iranian protests (all shot in high def, no less). Welcome to Destabilization 2.0, the latest version of a program that the western powers have been running for decades in order to overthrow foreign, democratically elected governments that don’t yield to the whims of western governments and multinational corporations.

Ironically, Iran was also the birthplace of the original CIA program for destabilizing a foreign government. Think of it as Destabilization 1.0: It’s 1953 and democratically-elected Iranian leader Mohammed Mossadegh is following through on his election promises to nationalize industry for the Iranian people, including the oil industry of Iran which was then controlled by the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company. The CIA is sent into the country to bring an end to Mossadegh’s government. They begin a campaign of terror, staging bombings and attacks on Muslim targets in order to blame them on nationalist, secular Mossadegh. They foster and fund an anti-Mossadegh campaign amongst the radical Islamistelements in the country. Finally, they back the revolution that brings their favoured puppet, the Shah, into power. Within months, their mission had been accomplished: they had removed a democratically elected leader who threatened to build up an independent, secular Persian nation and replaced him with a repressive tyrant whose secret police would brutally suppress all opposition. The campaign was a success and the lead CIA agent wrote an after-action report describing the operation in glowing terms. The pattern was to be repeated time and time again in country after country (in Guatemala in 1954, in Afghanistan in the 1980s, in Serbia in the 1990s), but these operations leave the agency open to exposure. What was needed was a different plan, one where the western political and financial interests puppeteering the revolution would be more difficult to implicate in the overthrow.

Enter Destabilization 1.1. This version of the destabilization program is less messy, offering plausible deniability for the western powers who are overthrowing a foreign government. It starts when the IMF moves in to offer a bribe to a tinpot dictator in a third world country. He gets 10% in exchange for taking out an exorbitant loan for an infrastructure project that the country can’t afford. When the country inevitably defaults on the loan payments, the IMF begins to take over, imposing a restructuring program that eventually results in the full scale looting of the country’s resources for western business interests. This program, too, was run in country after country, from Jamaica to Myanmar, from Chile to Zimbabwe. The source code for this program was revealed in 2001, however, when former World Bank chief economist Joseph Stiglitz went public about the scam. More detail was added in 2004 by the publication of John Perkin’s Confessions of an Economic Hitman, which revealed the extent to which front companies and complicit corporations aided, abetted and facilitated the economic plundering and overthrow of foreign governments. Although still an effective technique for overthrowing foreign nations, the fact that this particular scam had been exposed meant that the architects of global geopolitics would have to find a new way to get rid of foreign, democratically elected governments.

Destabilization 1.2 involves seemingly disinterested, democracy promoting NGOs with feelgood names like the Open Society Institute, Freedom House and the National Endowment for Democracy. They fund, train, support and mobilize opposition movements in countries that have been targeted for destabilization, often during elections and usually organized around an identifiable color. These “color revolutions” sprang up in the past decade and have so far successfully destabilized the governments of the Ukraine, Lebanon, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, among others. These revolutions bear the imprint of billionaire finance oligarch George Soros. The hidden hand of western powers behind these color revolutions has threatened their effectiveness in recent years, however, with an anti-Soros movement having arisen in Georgia and with the recent Moldovan “grape revolution” having come to naught (much to the chagrin of Soros-funded OSI’s Evgeny Morozov).

Now we arrive at Destabilization 2.0, really not much more than a slight tweak of Destabilization 1.2. The only thing different is that now Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and other social media are being employed to amplify the effect of (and the impression of) internal protests. Once again, Soros henchman Evgeny Morozov is extolling the virtues of the new Tehran Twitter revolution and the New York Times is writing journalistic hymns to the power of internet new media…when it serves western imperial interests. We are being asked to believe that this latest version of the very (very) old program of U.S. corporate imperialism is the real deal. While there is no doubt that the regime of Ahmadenijad is reprehensible and the feelings of many of the young protestors in Iran are genuine, you will forgive me for questioning the motives behind the monolithic media support for the overthrow of Iran’s government and the installation of Mir-Houssein “Butcher of Beirut” Mousavi.

Source: Corbett Report

Iraqi religous figure: US leads terrorist attacks

Iraqi religous figure: US leads terrorist attacks

shirsoleiman20090627115236500An Iraqi Friday prayers leader has accused the American forces of being behind the recent terrorist attacks in the cities of Baghdad and Kirkuk.

Just days before the day the US combat forces have to withdraw from the Iraqi cities on June 30, two huge bombs exploded in the Iraqi capital city on Friday and near the oil city of Kirkuk on Saturday.

On Friday, at least fifteen people were killed and 46 others sustained injuries in central Baghdad as a bomb-rigged motorcycle detonated at about 9 a.m. local time (0600 GMT),

At least 80 people were killed and more than 200 others were wounded in a Saturday truck bombing in the Turkmen town of Taza Kharmatu, about 30 km (20 miles) south of the northern oil hub of Kirkuk.

“The occupying forces lead the Baathist forces and Takfiri groups to carry out the terrorist attacks (In Iraq),” said Basra’s Friday prayers leader Sheikh Hani Mottiri.

Meanwhile, Chief of the Basra’s society of teachers said that the US forces play a key role in the terrorist attacks in Iraq, adding that the US does not want a powerful rule in Iraq to provide security in the country.

The violence in Iraq has escalated after the country experienced a period of relative calm in late 2008 and early 2009 after more than six years of chaos resulting from the US-led invasion of the country in 2003.

Thousands of Pakistanis hold anti-US rally


Thousands of Pakistanis hold anti-US rally

Thousands of Pakistanis march in the southern port city of Karachi to denounce the ‘unwelcome’ influence of the US in the nuclear-armed country.

About 10,000 participants, holding party flags, banners and placards, chanted anti US slogans and demanded the government to Washington’s policies on Sunday.

Member of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), a religious political party, also burnt American flags and chanted anti-US slogans.

The protesters also accused US president Barack Obama of pursuing the same policies of his predecessor in the volatile region.

The demonstrators chanted slogans like “Leave America, Leave!” and “Down with the US,” while holding banners which read “No to American Slavery,” a Press TV correspondent reported.

Addressing the rally, JI chief Munawar Hassan held US responsible for political and economic instabilities in Pakistan.

While condemning the US drone attacks in Pakistani tribal region, protestors held President Obama responsible for the killing of what they believe “innocent people”.

Washington says the drone attacks are aimed at suspected militants, but Pakistani media say only one-sixth of US missiles actually hit militant hideouts.

Hundreds of Pakistani civilians have lost their lives in such attacks, which started under the Bush administration. Islamabad has repeatedly condemned the US raids, demanding an immediate end to the imprecise drone attacks.

The demonstration comes as the Pakistani military is preparing to mount an all-out assault on pro-Taliban militants in the South Waziristan tribal region along the Afghan border.

At least Thirteen Pakistani troops and 18 Taliban insurgents were killed in clashes in the volatile region over some past 24 hours.

[Hariri, Israeli tanks, clashes with Hezbollah, It’s Been a Busy day in Lebanon.]

[Hariri, Israeli tanks, clashes with Hezbollah, It’s Been a Busy day in Lebanon.]

Armed Clashes Erupt in Beirut, 1 Killed, Several Wounded

At least one woman was killed and several other people were wounded Sunday when fighting broke out in Beirut between supporters of Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri and Mustaqbal Movement.

    The state-run National News Agency said a 30-year-old woman identified only as Zeina M. was killed in the fighting in the Aisha Bakkar district of Beirut.Security sources said the woman was killed by a stray bullet.

    There was no immediate word on what triggered the fighting with automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades.

    The Lebanese military ordered its forces to open fire on any armed man in the street as troops tried to restore calm.

    Local media said Lebanese troops managed around 9 p.m. to regain control of the situation.

    The fighting comes only a day after al-Mustaqbal Movement leader Saad Hariri was named as prime minister, with the support of his parliamentary bloc and Amal. It also followed the re-election of Nabih Berri as Parliament Speaker on Thursday.

    March 14 Forces, to which Hariri belongs, clinched 71 of the 128-seat Parliament in general elections on June 7, defeating the Hizbullah-led Opposition.

    In May 2008 after several months of political crisis and paralysis in Lebanon, Hizbullah backed by Amal seized control of mainly Sunni parts of west Beirut in sectarian clashes that killed more than 100 people.

UN group in Gaza over Israeli war crimes

UN group in Gaza over Israeli war crimes

UN group in Gaza over Israeli war crimes

A UN Fact-finding Committee has arrived in the Gaza strip to investigate violations committed during Israel’s offensive on the territory earlier this year.

The United Nations committee arrived in the Gaza Strip on Friday evening through the Rafah border terminal with Egypt, and would be holding hearing sessions with the residents and the victims of Israel’s war on Gaza.

Israeli authorities are refusing to allow investigators access through southern Israel. Public hearing sessions would be held on Sunday and Monday in Gaza City and on Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland.

Zionist Bullshit

Zionist Bullshit

1. It must be nice to be a member of a religion that allows, nay encourages, you to steal others people’s land and resources and feel good about it. Then, if anyone objects to your obnoxious disgusting behavior you get to label them as bigots. What  a great deal. Want to be an asshole – well here comes your role model.

Aron Raskas is a Baltimore lawyer and Israeli firster who believes that since he is a Jew he gets to live on land stolen from Palestinians and he thinks this is a “morally sound” thing to do.   I guess he must be fleeing all the anti-Semitism that is rampant in Baltimore. It’s so bad in Baltimore that Zionist slumlord Sam Zell had to buy the local newspaper – no not the Baltimore Jewish Times – but rather the Baltimore Sun – otherwise the Jews would have been driven out from their over forty synagogues there. Others would have had to seek refugee at the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall or hide out under their desks at the Baltimore Hebrew University. Of course, due to the rampant anti-Semitism in Baltimore, BHU has had to merge with Towson. This will no doubt cause a flood in refugees from Baltimore into the West Bank.  But I digress.

No doubt some others would have had to hide in the basement of the Jewish Museum of Maryland. Other hiding places have been fortified by 900 hundred thousand dollars in grants from the federal goverment to protect Jewish places from terrorism. Noted Islamofascist Senator Barbara Mikulski very proudly announced this grant in October of 2007. No doubt her colleague, also an Islamofascist, Senator Benjamin Cardin, approved.  Yup, Maryland is a tough place for a Jew to live. So it’s off to the West Bank.

That rascal Raskas had to flee to the “settlement” of Rimonim which he informs us is in the “heart of the West Bank.” (Please note, that means he is living on land acquired by Israel in the 1967 war that Israel started. Therefore he is in violation of the Geneva Conventions. )

Now, Raskas knows that he is doing something illegal and immoral. It pervades the piece he wrote for that great anti-Semitic newspaper known as the Baltimore Sun. So he has to justify it by telling us that there just aren’t any Palestinians there. Obviously, you can’t steal land from people who do not exist – right?

As one looks out from Rimonim, the most telling fact is what one does not see. Over the miles of rolling hills that unfold across the landscape, there is not a village, building, home or even a herd of sheep to be seen. The scene is the same at other Jewish settlements as well.

It would be sort of like going into Jewish parts of Germany or Poland after WWII and taking over empty Jewish houses because you just couldn’t find any Jews anywhere. But again, I digress.

Okay, so he tells us, it’s fine for him to live in Rimonim because the Palestinians do not live there. Nor do they live anywhere else, apparently.

He knows this is a lie, of course. So he has to back it up with – and I am not making this up – with a quote from Mark Twain. Here goes:

When Mark Twain walked this land in 1867, he described in his book, Innocents Abroad, this very same “deserted” and “desolate country” with its “rocky and bare” landscape. Today, despite Palestinian efforts to portray it differently, not all that much has changed outside the few towns and villages that dot the land.

Villages like Hebron with about 170 thousand people (this would make it the second biggest city in Maryland – the land of anti-Semitism) or Nablus with 135 thousand. Damn, I’m digressing again.

Again, Raskas knows he is deliberately misleading his readers. Any idiot, except members of Congress, can tell you that world population figures today are quite different than they were in 1867.  Egypt, for example, has about 80 million people today. In 1882, it’s populaton was 8 million.

So, lie upon lie, he were go:

Even the pro-Palestinian group Peace Now concedes that Israeli settlements – mostly bedroom communities of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv – occupy less than 3 percent of the West Bank.

His nose is growing bigger and bigger and he knows this. So we then are told that those nice Jews fleeing persecution in Baltimore – I guess – are really nice urban professionals who would not harm a flea.

Moreover, Israeli professionals living a suburban life with their children in the vast expanse of these territories do not threaten or harm Palestinians.

Good grief. He  knows that anyone who has ever been in the West Bank knows that the settlers hate the Arabs and make life hell for them whenever they can. Furthermore, those same people know what happens at the endless check points that only Palestinian Muslims and Christians must endure, but not Jews and certainly not upwardly mobile Jews fleeing anti-Semitism from Baltimore.  Therefore, Raskas blames the Palestinains for the check points:

Israeli checkpoints and security measures have been implemented because Palestinians have seemed more interested in destroying Israel and killing Jews than establishing an independent Palestinian state.

This guy hasn’t even peeked yet. Again, he knows that even the simplest research will show that he is completely and obviously deliberately misrepresenting the truth.  So he has to go existential on us. But first, let’s summarize the argument so far.

1. He can’t see any Palestinians from his house, therefore it is okay that he went there and lives in violation of the Geneva conventions.

2. Mark Twain was in Palestine in 1867 and he didn’t see many people. Since Palestinians are too stupid to know how to have sex, there aren’t any Palestinians today either.

3. Israeli settlements don’t take up much space anyway. Although about 5 per cent of the Israeli Jewish population lives in them, these lovely bedroom communities are just tiny little things and only vicious anti-Semitic murderous crazed Palestinians plus Mark Glenn and Michael Collins Piper could ever have an objection to these bedrooms.

4. The Jews who live in the settlements are professionals and it would never occur to any of them ever to do anything to  harm those goddamn Palestinians.

5. Palestinians are hell-bent on violence for no reason whatsoever. They have no grievances at all, therefore the Israelis have built hundreds of check points and the ungrateful Palestinians don’t even have the courtesy to say thank you.

Got all this? Now since he knows his arguments are just Hasbarah, which is the Hebrew word for “Pure, 100 percent unadulterated bullshit”, we now get yet another justification.

Nor are Jewish settlements the result of Israeli colonial aspirations. Most represent the return of the Jewish people to the cities of their ancestors.”

So if you take land for the hell of it, that’s being colonial. But if people who might have been related to your 2000 years ago lived there then its okay? Of course it is. Even Mark Twain – yes he is basing this part of his argument on Mark Twain too – would agree.

As Twain painstakingly reported, Jews have lived here since time immemorial, and a drive through these territories highlights the Jewish history – cities, tombs and other landmarks – rooted in this land.

Therefore, Jews today can go to Israel and do whatever the hell they want, which is exactly what they do.

“Yet it is not just ancient history that speaks to the great Jewish legacy. The Jewish presence has been a constant right up to modern times. While many bristle at the terms “Judea” and “Samaria,” dismissing them as propaganda invented by extremist “settlers” for political ends, maps, photographs, travel guides and other books have throughout history described these territories by those time-honored names. Even United Nations resolutions – including, notably, the 1947 Partition resolution – used those terms.”

Let’s see, the UN partition resolution uses the names Judea and Samaria, therefore the Jews have a right to Palestine. Of course Judea and Samaria were supposed to be part of the Arab state according to that partition plan,but damn, I’m digressing again. Oh and that Plan was never adopted by the UN Security Council either.

So the logical conclusion that anyone would draw from this is:

Given this history, the rights of the Jewish people in these lands are rich, historic and firmly enshrined. While negotiations about sharing this land may be necessary for the sake of peace, they cannot proceed from a premise that these are “Palestinian lands” or occupied “Palestinian territory.” They are, at most, “disputed territories.”

It is easy to see why so many people hate lawyers.

2. About 380 thousand Jews live on land confiscated from Palestinians. Over 120 Jewish-only settlements have been build on Palestinian land and over 100 other settlements called “outposts” have also been built. No Arab settlements have been built on Jewish land and the Arabs have not confiscated any Jewish land, whatever that is, to build Arab-only settlements. Israel’s population is about 7.5 million. About 5.5 million are Jews.

All of the settlements, all of them, are illegal.

International humanitarian law prohibits [an] occupying power [from transferring] citizens from its own territory to the occupied territory (Fourth Geneva Convention, article 49).

The Palestinians have lost control of 50 per cent of the West Bank land due to the settlements.

Israel has used a complex legal and bureaucratic mechanism to take control of more than fifty percent of the land in the West Bank. This land has been used mainly to establish settlements and create reserves of land for the future expansion of the settlements.

Israel uses the seized lands to benefit the settlements, while prohibiting the Palestinian public from using them in any way. This use is forbidden and illegal in itself.

How lovely. And Raskas feels good about it.

Maybe busing is what they need in the West Bank.

The Israeli administration has applied most aspects of Israeli law to the settlers and the settlements, thus effectively annexing them to the State of Israel…. This annexation has resulted in a regime of legalized separation and discrimination.

Under this regime, Israel has stolen hundreds of thousands of dunams of land from the Palestinians. Israel has used this land to establish dozens of settlements in the West Bank and to populate them with hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens. Israel prohibits the Palestinians as a group from entering and using these lands, and uses the settlements to justify numerous violations of the Palestinians’ human rights, such as the right to housing, to earn a livelihood, and the right to freedom of movement. The drastic change that Israel has made in the map of the West Bank prevents any real possibility for the establishment of an independent, viable Palestinian state as part of the Palestinians’ right to self-determination.

Literally hundreds of Israeli checkpoints have been built throughout the West Bank. These checkpoints cause great harm to the Palestinians making even the simplest of trips an absolute nightmare.

Many checkpoints are manned by heavily-armed Israeli soldiers and sometimes guarded with tanks. Others are made up of gates, which are locked when soldiers are not on duty. In addition there are hundreds of dirt or concrete roadblocks, which prevent the passage of all vehicles – family cars and ambulances alike.

Due in large part to the checkpoints and roadblocks, Palestinian movement is severely restricted. Journeys of short distances can stretch into hours when Palestinians are detained at checkpoints or forced to circumnavigate roadblocks or closed checkpoints.

The Palestinians have not built any checkpoints to stop Jews.

3. We at Mantiq al-Tayr dedicated the following selection to Noam Chomsky, the linguist whose theories on linguistics are filled with mathematical equations and who is an Israeli Lobby Denier.  We love it when language and math come together.

Pakistan’s Asif Zardari faces army rebellion over India detente

Pakistan’s Asif Zardari faces army rebellion over India detente

Pakistan’s president Asif Zardari is locked in a power struggle with his own army chiefs over his plans to ease tensions with its traditional enemy, India.

By Isambard Wilkinson in Islamabad and Dean Nelson in New Delhi
Published: 4:59PM BST 25 Jun 2009

Pakistan's Asif Zardari faces army rebellion over India detente

Mr Zardari is accused of yielding to British and American pressure. Photo: EPA

According to sources close to Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Kiyani, senior officers are alarmed at the president’s plans to divert troops and aircraft defending Pakistan’s border with India and deploy them in a new offensive against Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants.

Their rift emerged after Mr Zadari made a number of speeches earlier this week, in which he said India no longer posed a military threat to Pakistan and that his country’s greatest threat came from Islamic guerrillas in its tribal areas along its frontier with Afghanistan. Such militants have waged a campaign of suicide bombings throughout Pakistan’s major cities and control large swathes of its tribal areas.

His comments raised hopes of a new thaw in the frosty relationship between India and Pakistan, but were questioned by analysts who said it defied the two nation’s experience of three wars. They accused Mr Zardari of yielding to British and American pressure.

Both London and Washington escalated their lobbying of Pakistan to address Indian concerns after the November attack on Mumbai, in which more than 170 people were killed. It was blamed on the Pakistan-based Islamic militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Evidence showing the plot was hatched and launched from Pakistan brought the two countries close to war, and sparked an intense diplomatic campaign to persuade New Delhi and Islamabad to step back from the brink.

According to senior military figures, one Anglo-American gambit to Islamabad was a guarantee that India would not be allowed to attack Pakistan if its forces were redeployed to fight terrorists on its Western border.

Analysts last night said they did not expect President Zardari to win his fight to redeploy the army from the Indian border.

“Mr Zardari’s statements do not mean that Pakistan will withdraw its troops from the border. For this to happen there has to be a reciprocal action by India,” said Dr Hasan-Askari Rizvi, a political and defence analyst. “He meant that although India may represent a long-term threat, the immediate threat is from the Taliban,” he added.

Lieutenant-General Talat Masood, a respected political analyst, said Mr Zardari’s comments were a genuine attempt to shore up civilian-led government in the country by easing tension with India.

“He thinks civilian government will be consolidated if relations with India improve, he thinks it is in Pakistan’s interest and for him the militancy is a greater danger,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

Despite signals that India would welcome talks – possibly between their foreign ministers at a meeting of the G8 group of nations in Trieste, Italy, this weekend – New Delhi believes a willingness to deport terrorist suspects like Lashkar-e-taiba leader Hafiz Saeed would be a more meaningful statement.

Lt-Gen Masood said Pakistan’s military chiefs firmly believed that there must first be progress in finding a solution to their dispute over the Kashmir region before a better relationship could be considered worth having.

Until then, the army chiefs will focus on India’s vast military capability rather than its stated intentions. “Intentions can change, and you can’t rule out the possibility,” he said.

Iranian Turmoil Good Excuse To Act Like Zionist Warmonger

Though the situation in Iran has calmed considerably over the past few days, President Barack Obama used today as an opportunity to again lash out at the Iranian government for what he called the “outrageous” violence of the past week.

President Obama has made various non-specific proposals for direct diplomacy between the US and Iran in the past, but now says the chances of that happening have been harmed by the post-election violence and that he is waiting to see how the disputed election in Iran “plays itself out in the days and weeks ahead” before deciding whether or not to follow through on his repeated promises of talks.

The proposals for talks have been stalled by Iran’s election, as the candidates avoided committing to the US proposals for talks. Since then Iran has accused the US of meddling in its post election affairs in funding various dissident groups.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad has demanded an apology from Obama for his post election comments, which Obama today dismissed, saying Ahmadinejad “might want to consider looking at the families of those who’ve been beaten or shot or detained.”

Ominous Signs On The Israeli – Lebanese Border

Ominous Signs On The Israeli – Lebanese Border

(Click the Above Image to Enlarge)

From The Jerusalem Post:

In an effort to prevent a flare-up along the northern border, UNIFIL has increased its operations in southern Lebanon and has begun entering villages in search of Hizbullah weapons caches, according to information obtained recently by Israel.

In one recent successful operation in the eastern sector of southern Lebanon, UNIFIL peacekeepers uncovered close to 20 Katyusha rockets that were ready for launch.

UNIFIL operates under Security Council Resolution 1701, passed following the Second Lebanon War in 2006. Operations in villages have been a point of contention between UNIFIL and Israel, which said over the past three years that the peacekeeping force was failing to prevent Hizbullah’s military buildup in southern Lebanon since it refrained from entering villages.

War on Terror is Elite Mind Control

War on Terror is Elite Mind Control

April 21, 2006

WTC By Henry Makow Ph.D.

It is more effective to manage society by mind control than by physical coercion. The events of  9-11 and the “war on terror” mostly are exercises in mass brainwashing.

German psychiatrist Kurt Lewin, who became director of the elite-sponsored Tavistock Institute in 1932, developed the thinking behind 9-11. In the book “Mind Control World Control” (1997) Jim Keith writes:

“Lewin is credited with much of the original Tavistock research into mass brainwashing applying the results of repeated trauma and torture [of individuals] in mind control to society at large.”

“If terror can be induced on a widespread basis into a society, Lewin has stated, then society reverts to a tabula rasa, a blank slate, a situation where control can easily be instituted from an external point.”

“Put another way: By the creation of controlled chaos, the populace can be brought to the point where it willingly submits to greater control. Lewin maintained that society must be driven into a state equivalent to an ‘early childhood situation.’ He termed this societal chaos ‘fluidity.'” (Page 44)

Elite planners designed Sept. 11 for its shock value. In the aftermath, they were able to impose a security crackdown, a costly military build-up and a war in Afghanistan and Iraq on a stunned population.

Keith cites another Tavistock researcher Dr. William Sargent author of “Battle for the Mind: A Physiology of Conversion and Brain-Washing” (1957): “Various types of beliefs can be implanted after brain function has been sufficiently disturbed by …deliberately induced fear, anger or excitement.” (48)

This blueprint was laid out long before Sept. 11, 2001. The official story of that tragedy doesn’t bear scrutiny. There was no wreckage at the Pentagon. All three buildings were demolished by explosives. Our “leaders” are  accomplices to the murder of over 3000 Americans and the destruction of an American icon. The plan is to fold the US into a “world government” controlled by London-based central bankers. Our cultural, economic and political elite is complicit in the ongoing cover up.

Most political and cultural events are contrived by the elite for their psychological effect. JFK could have been disposed of in more humane ways. (He had many health problems.) Instead, for its shock value, they shot him down , in Mort Sahls’ words, “like a dog in the street.”

Jim Keith: “The Kennedy assassination was a British Intelligence, i.e. Tavistock hit, and its purpose was to shock the American consciousness into a near-comatose state for reprogramming, the standard Tavistock modus operandi.” (p.143)

The same can be said for the assassinations of Martin Luther King and Robert Kennedy. It all climaxed with the beatings of demonstrators at the 1968 Chicago Democratic convention. After that, my generation  turned inward as we were programmed to do. “Turn on, Tune in, Drop Out” said CIA funded pied piper Timothy Leary.

[“I mean who was I supposed to work for, the KGB?” Leary quipped. (Keith p.99) Leary didn’t realize that there wasn’t a big difference.]

Many young people became “dead heads” after Jerry Garcia’s Grateful Dead. Keith writes:

“An FBI internal memo from 1968 mentions the employment of the Grateful Dead as an avenue ‘to channel youth dissent and rebellion into more benign and non-threatening directions.’ [They] performed a vital service in distracting many young persons into drugs and mysticism, rather than politics.” (179)

Keith goes on to document CIA connections to the creation of mind control cults used to create “controlled chaos.” These include the Symbionese Liberation Army, Jim Jones, Charles Manson, Scientology, the Unification Church, Son of Sam and Heaven’s Gate. The John Lennon assassination also ties in. (183)

To bring the picture up to date, add the murder of Princess Diana, Columbine, the blowing of the levees in New Orleans, the burning of Black churches, and the bird flu scare. What we have is an ongoing secret war by the central bankers against society, a drumbeat of  psychological torture designed to keep society off balance or zoned out.

The most significant thing about our life is that we are victims of  elite mind control. We have been trained to be apathetic, trivia-minded and self absorbed. Apart from the political shocks,  we are hardly aware of  the vicious attack on our natural heterosexuality by a psy-op known as “feminism” masquerading as womens rights.

We get our values, identity, meaning and love from our family roles. Women were brainwashed to abandon the female role and compete for the male role. A woman who dedicated herself to husband, home and children was stigmatized. This is part of the long-term elite program to eliminate the institutions of marriage and family.

According to this web site,  “Tavistock Institute has developed such power in the USA, that no one achieves prominence in any field unless he has been trained in behavioral science at Tavistock, or one of its subsidiaries.” Read how Tavistock directs hundreds of elite think tanks and corporations in the United States. The degree of elite coordination is breath taking.

For example, Century 21 has a new ad where a real estate agent is greeting a middle class Chinese couple arriving to settle in America. The voice-over says something like: “This is the shape of the future. We are agents of change.”

Obviously this ad will not appeal to Americans looking for a realtor. Rather, it conditions them to embrace immigration. Central banker dupes and lackeys have used the term “change agents” to describe themselves for decades.

Mankind is in the grip of a satanic force and is sinking into a coma. Our “leaders” work for an occult cabal of super rich perverts and criminals who secretly plot the end of Western Civilization and world tyranny. They see us as animals to be trained or culled.

The good news is that the animals “owe” them a lot of money for their fiat currency. So if we can tune out their madness, we can relax. The chaos is controlled. Wars are all orchestrated and they love money too much to destroy us, at least not yet.

Keystroke Loggers Installed In New Laptop Computers (disinformation)


thanks Jeff.

Keystroke Loggers Installed
In All New Laptops
This one originated around 2005, and has returned…
screen snap from
For more info and images see Snopes’ account HERE

Rs 50m reward on Mehsud’s arrest live or dead announced


Rs 50m reward on Mehsud’s arrest live or dead announced

Rs 50m reward on Mehsud’s arrest live or dead announced

Announcing rewards running into crores of rupees on the arrests of Baitullah Mehsud and his accomplices live or dead, eleven more most-wanted persons’ ad has been released. The ads published in the newspapers announcing rewards on the arrests of most-wanted persons live or dead included three from South Waziristan, another three from Bajaur, two from Mohmand, two from Darra Adamkhel and one from Kurram Agency. A reward of Rs50 million has been announced for the arrest (dead or alive) of Baitullah Mehsud, according to the ad, while among others Bajaur’s Molvi Faqir’s head money has been fixed at Rs15 million besides the head money of Rs10 million each on the arrests (live or dead) of Abdul Wali of Mohmand Agency, Qari Shakeel of Mohmand Agency, Commander Tariq of darra Adamkhel, Hakimullah Mehsud and Qari Hussain of South Waziristan. Qari Ziaur Rahman of Bajaur, Fazal Saeed Utezai of Kurram Agency, Mufti Ilyas of Darra Adamkhel and Waliur Rahman of Bajaur’s arrests would be rewarded Rs5 million each. The government has released exclusive telephone numbers also for passing on information leading the arrests of most-wanted persons dead or alive.

Kurram clashes leave 33 dead

[SEE: The actual story of Parachinar Pakistan , Parachinar: The Valley of Death]

Kurram clashes leave 33 dead

Sixty five people were also injured in sectarian clashes between warring groups in various parts of Lower Kurram.—AP

PARACHINAR: At least 33 people were killed and 65 others injured in sectarian clashes between warring groups in various parts of the Kurram agency on Friday night and Saturday.

According to sources, fierce clashes shook parts of Lower Kurram and the two groups were consolidating their positions.

The local populace is bitter over the attitude of the administration, accusing it of giving a free hand to troublemakers.

Haji Rauf, a tribal leader in upper Kurram, said the local tribesmen had fought Taliban for more than two years.

‘We have had over 700 young people martyred but have not allowed these militants to secure a toehold in upper Kurram. Now the influx of Taliban from Swat, Dir and other areas is worsening the situation.’

Haji Rauf called upon the government to launch an action similar to the one under way in Malakand. He extended the assurance that local tribesmen would stand ‘shoulder to shoulder with our army and fight alongside our soldiers’.

Paramilitary forces deployed in different areas of the conflict-hit region have so far not acted, a group of affected people complained during conversation with journalists.

The fighting started in the region 12 days ago over a dispute on construction of bunkers in Khar Kali and Balishkhel.

There were unconfirmed reports about infiltration of outsiders from Waziristan and Hangu district, but could not be verified from independent sources. The 12-day long clashes have left about 89 people dead and 175 injured.

Both sides have been accusing each other of seeking assistance from outsiders. Local people said that fresh clashes had erupted in Balishkhel, Khar Kali, Sangina, Mangak, Kochi Parachamkani and Kirman.

Doctors said that out of 20 injured people brought to the agency headquarters hospital on Saturday, four died.

The Kurram agency has seen frequent clashes over the past two years. Residents said that ‘movement of the militants’ in the area had caused sectarian clashes.

The main road from Thall to Parachinar has been closed to traffic for the past five months, causing severe shortages of foodstuff and medicines in Upper Kurram.

Arrested ex-MNA carried Baitullah’s letter

Arrested ex-MNA carried Baitullah’s letter

By Rauf Klasra

ISLAMABAD: The case of ‘missing’ former MNA Maulana Shah Abdul Aziz, who was picked up by an intelligence agency after his meeting with Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz as it transpired later, took an alarming new turn with the damning revelation that he may have been carrying a letter of Baitullah Mehsud addressing to a former high profile ISI general, known for his strong pro-Taliban views, it was reliably learnt.

The former MNA belonging to the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) had contested and won the 2002 elections from Karak District after defeating PTI supremo Imran Khan. The alleged secret letter of Baitullah Mehsud recovered from Shah Abdul Aziz was reportedly in the possession of the top khaki spy outfit.

When asked about the contents of the letter, sources within the Interior Ministry said the TTP chief in this letter had expressed his deep gratitude for the justifications, the former general had been offering to the media while defending the Taliban and their philosophy. More importantly, sources said the TTP chief was really happy with the retired general for opposing the military operation against the Taliban.

The sources said the letter was however significant only to the extent that it was allegedly written by Baitullah and the fact that it was being carried by Shah Aziz confirmed the nexus between the two, but it did not in any manner whatsoever suggest any link, direct or indirect, between the retired general and Baitullah Mehsud. Also, it was told that in all probability, the general was not even aware of the existence of such a letter.

A top level source in the Interior Ministry claimed that despite the fact that Shah Aziz was being monitored closely for some time, the secret agency did not have any intention to formally arrest him solely on the basis of his perceived links with the Taliban, fearing his arrest could lead to serious agitation in the ranks of pro-Taliban religious parties both within and outside the parliament. But much to the surprise of these agencies, Shah Aziz was found travelling with Fidaullah, one of the Taliban leaders and considered to be the mastermind of the suicide bombing in Islamabad and other areas in the recent past. His presence in the company of Fidaullah had alarmed the intelligence agency, which decided to take him in for further interrogations.

The sources said even at the point of actual arrest of Shah Abdul Aziz, the agency was still toying with the possibility of letting him go out of sheer political considerations but it all changed when one of the officers searching the vehicle in which Shah Abdul Aziz was travelling with Fidaullah found the letter in Shah Aziz’s briefcase. Shah Abdul Aziz reportedly had been tasked with delivering this letter to the retired general.

The source said the recovery of Baitullah Mehsud’s letter addressing to a top former spymaster had surprised even those who were deputed to investigate the former MNA known for his close links with the Taliban.

The sources said this secret letter had actually confused the intelligence agency officials, as they were wondering how to produce this letter in the court of law to justify the custody of Shah Abdul Aziz, as they believed that it would open a Pandora box and might bring a bad name to the army itself.

The sources said such a decision could seriously jeopardise the state’s case in the court of law. The sources said the intelligence agency had only two charges to frame against Shah Aziz, if it was serious in punishing him for his links with the Taliban and their suicide bombers. The sources said one potential charge that could be brought against him was that he was travelling with a wanted terrorist, Fidaullah. The second charge could be that he was carrying a secret letter written by the top terrorist of the country. But, the sources said, the intelligence agency had decided not to produce this letter in any court of law for the image of the institution.

Sources close to the intelligence agency said that though the detainee admitted that the letter was written by Baitullah to the retired general, they were trying to get to the bottom of the matter. They said the letter can be fake or sent with ulterior motives. They said the agency officials are also trying to verify the statement of the detainee about the letter.

This correspondent could not contact the retired general despite efforts. However, the generalís close circle suspected a plot to fix up the general. They believed that such efforts were made in the past but remained futile.

Separately, after remaining quiet for over a month since Shah Abdul Aziz was picked up by the top secret agency, a writ petition was filed in the Islamabad High Court by his brother, seeking his release.

Mehboob Elahi, the brother of Shah Abdul Aziz, confirmed in his petition that his brother was arrested when he was with Fidaullah, a young man from NWFP. The Islamabad SSP in his press conference had claimed on June 1 that Fidaullah was involved in a number of terrorist activities. But Mehboob Elahi in his petition alleged that his brother was kept in illegal confinement in the Aabpara police station along with Fidaullah as both were arrested together. He said his brother was innocent and police did not register an FIR against those who he believed had kidnapped his brother. He rejects all kinds of charges against his brother.

This correspondent contacted ISPR DG General Athar Abbas and sought his comment on the report that Shah Abdul Aziz was arrested by a secret agency and that he was carrying the letter by Baitullah Mehsud, his reply was crisp and short as he said: “I have no information on this subject”.

16 killed as militants’ hideouts pounded in SWA

16 killed as militants’ hideouts pounded in SWA

Sunday, June 28, 2009

By Mushtaq Yusufzai & Irfan Burki

PESHAWAR/WANA: Sixteen more militants affiliated with Baitullah Mehsud were killed and six others sustained injuries in heavy bombing by warplanes and gunship helicopters on Taliban hideouts in parts of South Waziristan Agency on Saturday.

Also, the government took a serious note of Fridayís attack on the military convoy in Miramshah, North Waziristan, and warned the tribesmen in Miramshah to hand over the culprits within three days or face the consequences under territorial responsibility section of the laws of the Frontier Crimes Regulation (FCR).

The government continued the military operation against Baitullah Mehsud-led insurgents and sent fighter planes and gunship helicopters to pound their hideouts.

According to sources, three fighter planes and gunship helicopters blitzed militants’ positions in their strongholds of Ladha and Makeen and other villages, including Dwatoi, Kacha Langarkhel, Kotkai and Spinkai Raghzai.

The militants reportedly suffered losses when warplanes targeted their positions in Ladha and Makeen. Officials said 16 militants were killed and six others injured in the daylong air strikes on the Taliban positions. They said the injured militants were taken to private health centres in Makeen and Ladha, as the government has already withdrawn its machinery from most parts of South Waziristan inhabited by the Mehsud tribesmen.

Besides other government buildings, the government has also vacated most of the schools and roadside posts of the paramilitary Frontier Corps (FC), which are now occupied by the militants.

In August last year, the government vacated the British-era Ladha Fort, which was built in 1932 and housed hundreds of soldiers.

The FC authorities on that occasion said they had vacated the fort to convert its building into a hospital. However, no hospital was set up there and later the spacious building was occupied by the militants. Portions of the historic building were dismantled and strong iron bars and other building material were sold at throwaway prices. Presently, there are no security personnel in the entire Mehsud territory.

The only option with the government to target Baitullah Mehsudís positions is bombing by fighter planes and gunship helicopters and using long-range artillery guns from the distant FC camps in Manzai, Jandola and Serwakai areas.

Keeping in view the tough resistance offered by the militants, the government will require sufficient time to send ground forces to the Mehsud region. The troops after days of battle secured the Wana-Jandola Road up to Serwakai while the Taliban militants are still in control of Wana-Jandola Road between Serwakai and Jandola.

Like the adjoining North Waziristan, where Utmanzai Wazir Taliban led by Hafiz Gul Bahadur developed differences with the government and attacks on security forces started in their territory, situation started deteriorating in the Ahmadzai Wazir parts of South Waziristan where pro-government militant commander Mulla Nazeer had signed a peace accord with the government.

Both Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Mulla Nazeer were considered pro-government and anti-Baitullah earlier when the government launched a military operation against the banned TTP chief in South Waziristan on January 13, 2008. However, this time the attitude of both the pro-government militant commanders seems different. [Maybe it was all the drone attacks upon him, or perhaps it was because the Army revealed its own hand by placing tracking devices [SIMS] in Taliban cars and homes?  SEE: Who Controls the Predators?]
Hafiz Gul Bahadurís ties with the government have soured and he has threatened to scrap his peace accord with the government if the military operation in Janikhel and Bakakhel in FR Bannu was not stopped.

After North Waziristan, suspected militants have now started attacks on military installations in Wana, South Waziristan, where the Ahmadzai Wazirs are based.

On ground, Mulla Nazeer has nothing concrete to motivate his militants for fighting against the government. His lone and longstanding demand from the government was an end to the drone attacks in his region.  [My own position remains unchanged on this facet of the dilemma, Nazir is “turning against the government” out of self-defense, a matter of survival.  The Predator attacks against him drove him into an alliance with Mehsud.  The Army writing him off is a mistake, as was “pimping” Qari Zainuddin before the press instead of covertly solidifying his forces with Nazir’s and Bahadur’s.  More mistakes such as these and Pakistan will be reunited with India, under total American domination.]

Sources in Wana said suspected militants attacked the military camp with rockets on Friday night. Later, the troops returned their attack with mortar and artillery shelling.

Tribesmen in Wana and nearby Azam Warsak village said they could not sleep due to the heavy firing in the area throughout the night.

A tribesman, Anwar Ashrafkhel, was killed and some villagers sustained injuries when mortar shells hit their mud houses in Azam Warsak village, seven kilometres west of Wana.   Sources close to Mulla Nazeer said that he had gone underground after series of drone attacks in the region.

Gul Bahadur and Mulla Nazeer entered into an alliance with Baitullah when they formed ìShura Ittehad-ul-Mujahideenî or the council of holy warriors, promising to help each other in case anyone of them was in trouble.

Meanwhile, the political administration in North Waziristan on Saturday convened a Jirga of eight tribal elders and asked them to hand over the culprits involved in attack on the military convoy or face punitive action under the FCR.

Assistant Political Agent (APA) of Miramshah sub-division Asghar Khan called a meeting of tribal elders of Miramshah village and gave them a three-day deadline to hand over the culprits or face punishment.

The APA said security forces had decided to launch a strict military offensive in the area after their convoy was attacked. But, he said, they did not take action because of a nearby school as many children might have died had gunship helicopters pounded the militants’ positions.

Quoting senior military officials, APA Asghar Khan said the military in future would target the area where they were attacked.

In favour of Drone attacks

In favour of Drone attacks

Umar Khalid Dar
The phrase the enemy’s enemy is your friend is so true in today’s world and every nation is making alliances based on this theory. China and Russia are potential enemies but they have a common enemy i.e. America and hence creation of a bloc Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. Similarly Pakistan shall also take advantage if any other country is against our enemy and wants to eliminate it; if in American imposed “war on terror” Pakistan and America have encountered a common enemy then why should we object the use of American drones against our enemy and demand that our own Armed forces shall take action against them. As far as my knowledge goes, I think that major chunk of arms and ammunition being used by our armed forces is supplied by Americans; so what difference does it make who is the man behind the gun till the time the targets are mutual. Therefore, I see no logic or forceful argument from those segments of the society who are in favour of taking on Taliban but are against the use of drones for achieving the task. I am referring to latest use of drones by America on the stronghold of most wanted fugitive of Pakistan, Baitullah Meshud and his gang of terrorists. For me it is just rhetoric from the analysts who object to use of the drones on the plea that such targeted killing shall be carried out by Pakistan Armed forces, with American supplied weapons, and not by Americans by their drones. To me it is immaterial who carries out the elimination of Pakistan’s staunch enemy; Pakistan Army Artillery gun or American Army Drone till the time the action is done with minimum loss of innocent lives. I am no military expert but I know the fact that Artillery guns are much more inaccurate as compared to guided missiles used by American drones; therefore, an Artillery gun will take a lot of time and a lot of innocents’ lives before hitting the target. So if we as a nation are convinced (though I am not) that this war on terror is our’s war and not American war then we shall not object on the means of achieving the goal. One should criticise the drones attack if they are used for targeting innocent human being but if the same potent weapon is used for targeting the known criminals or their accomplices then I do not see any wrong in it. During Swat operation; when Mr Fazlullah started feeling the heat of the Pakistan Army brute force; he sent frenzied calls to Baitullah Mehsud to start sending suicide bombers to Pakistan main cities in order to divert the Army’s focus away from Swat and force the federal government to come on terms with him; similar tactics was used by the miscreants very successfully during previous operations. Baitullah Mehsud; who is thought to be an American pawn as he was never targeted by Americans when Pakistan provided his whereabouts, obliged and we saw a tremendous increase in the suicide attacks in Pakistan. This makes Baitullah Mehsud Pakistan’s enemy and a terrorist who is killing innocent human beings and is thus wanted “dead or alive” by our security forces. It is pertinent to mention that Baitullah Mehsud has always shown his unwillingness to attack “infidel” forces in Afghanistan, rather he has focused his attention in killing innocent Pakistanis and targeting its security forces. If, for some unknown reasons, he has outlived his utility for the Americans and they also want him out of scene and it also serve our purpose then as a nation we shall not object the use of drones on him. The safest and surest way of getting rid of Baitullah Mehsud is through intelligence network; either ground intelligence or electronic intelligence. Ground intelligence in native or stronghold of Baitullah Mehud is almost negligible; see the fate of Qari Zainuddin, so the only way to get him is to either send ground forces into his stronghold or to hit him from distance based on electronic intelligence through either air force, artillery or drone. The history of Mehsud people as was observed by Lord Minto’s wife that is “they fight for the love of fighting” tilts the balance in favour of use of the latter means. One must understand that there is lot of difference between the terrain and people of Swat and Waziristan. Ground forces were successful in Swat because the general public was less sympathetic towards the ‘Taliban’ and that’s why they left their homes when they heard about Army operation, leaving the ‘Taliban’ and Army to engage without the fear of collateral damage. Whereas, no such movement of public have been observed from Waziristan which makes ground forces action much more difficult and prone to a lot of collateral damage. This delicate situation asks for more imaginative policy to handle; the use of brute force as in Swat might not be a good option. Collateral damage will be there whether we go for ground forces or drones attack, only the scale will be different. In case of ground force being used a lot of our brave soldiers will embrace ‘shahadat’ at the hands of miscreants whereas this loss can be minimized if drones are used. Therefore, in my opinion, use of drone on confirmed hideouts of miscreants is not a bad option and shall be accepted by our public.

The al-Qaeda demon

The al-Qaeda demon

Ghulam Asghar Khan
Al-Qaeda, which in Arabic means the Base, was originally the name given by the CIA operatives in Saudi Arabia to the database that they shaped to keep track of the individuals and groups to which the US administration was providing funds for the Afghan Mujahideen against the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. The CIA also provided military training and logistic support to the Mujahideen. US arms dealers, CIA agents and the covert US military ‘Special Operation Troops’ were deeply involved in assisting the Afghan resistance to the Russian occupation. Part of the hardware provided were shoulder-launched anti-aircraft stringer missiles that enabled the Mujahideen to turn the tide of the battle that eventually defeated and expelled the Russian army from Afghanistan. All the war material from Washington for the Afghan Mujahideen was channelled through Pakistan with the tacit consent of the then military dictator Zia ul Haq. The arms training and the logistical support to the Mujahideen couldn’t have been possible without the active support of the ferocious tribesmen on the Pakistani side of the Durand Line. During the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, Osama bin-Laden was the Major Domo, who helped to funnel US arms and supplies to the Mujahideen force that had become an amalgamation of many foreign fighters from Saudi Arabia to Chechnya to push the Russian bear out of Afghanistan. In this pivotal role, bin-Laden was constantly in close contact with the CIA and was supposedly America’s only bet to defeat Russia on the Afghan front. He accomplished the mission of dissipating the USSR in a big way that Washington couldn’t have done in hundred years of its lingering “Cold War.” Al-Qaeda was nothing more than a bogey man, an invented invisible and non-existent phantom to frighten children and the ignorant populace and to provide an excuse for its unending war on terror. It is part of the US global policy to commit ‘false flag’ attacks like the 9/11, the Bali, Madrid, London and more recently the Mumbai carnage, providing Washington an excuse to step in to “rescue and protect” global community from the rampant terrorism that was actually perpetrated by the US itself. The Taliban did not grow out of the dark overnight; it in fact was a corollary to the US proxy war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It is the largest ethnic Pakhtun group that occupies a great swath of land and forms 80% of the total population of Afghanistan. Fiercely independent, the Pakhtuns have always defended their homeland from the foreign interlopers since 326 B.C. The region has a long history of invaders, who failed to overpower them. Among them were the Persians, Scythians (present day Ukraine), Kushans, Sakas, Huns, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, British, Russians, and most recently, Americans and their NATO allies. No alien power has ever been able to tame them in toto. They routed most of their invaders completely, or absorbed them into their tribes in such a way that they lost much of their identity with the passage of time. The adaptability of the Pakhtuns to the military strategies of their invaders had been par-excellent, which they used to fight among themselves until they confronted another alien threat to their sovereignty. It is this martial reorientation that has shaped the Pakhtun and Taliban outlook. The Afghans had their first encounters with a modern military power during the three Anglo-Afghan wars of 1839, 1878 and 1919. After failing to make any headway inside Afghanistan, the British Indian government established a porous boundary between Afghanistan and British India, the Durand Line that did not affect Afghans with strong ethnic and cultural bonds with the Pakhtuns living across the border. The British gave semi-autonomous status to the tribes on the eastern side of Durand Line by creating “tribal agencies” that morphed into FATA after independence in 1947. The FATA area generally remained calm until the last quarter of the 20th century. The Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in 1979 brought an end to this lull, when Afghanistan’s conservative religious majority rebelled against the occupation and a powerful group of Mujahideen emerged to lead the insurgency against the Soviets. In response, the Soviet army waged a brutal counterinsurgency crackdown that prompted the Mujahideen to call for jihad. During 10 years of occupation, Russian forces and their Afghan leftist allies reportedly killed 1.3 million Afghans, destroyed the infrastructure in the urban and rural areas and caused 5.5 million Afghans to flee to refugee camps in Iran and Pakistan where most of them found their way to the FATA. After a humiliating defeat and heavy loss of men and material, the Russians were forced to withdraw from Afghanistan in February 1989. Soviets left huge caches of arms and ammunition for their leftist allies in Kabul and sustained their material support for two years after the humiliating withdrawal. The leftist government the Russians left behind could not hold the fort against the might of the Mujahideen and fell in April 1992. The disorganised Mujahideen groups could not stick together and fell out. Each faction had a leader, or warlord with aspirations for power. Strife between the warlords and a war-wearing population led to an environment that allowed the Taliban’s radical ideas to have the sway. There is a quote that a Pakhtun is never at peace except when he is on war. The core of the Taliban grew from the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan and presented themselves as the righteous religious students in the march for peace. Their popularity rapidly spread in the Pakhtun populace and became their de facto leaders under the command of Mullah Omar, who claimed the right to lead not just all Afghans, but all Muslims. In November 1994, Taliban seized control of the southern province of Kandhar under Mullah Omar’s command and claimed to be the legitimate rulers of Afghanistan. They made lightning progress and by 1997 they established their hold over 95% of the country. Mullah Omar had a close liaison with bin-Laden, and the Taliban also hosted al-Qaeda training camps and leaders in areas under their control. At this time, they allegedly supported the militant fundamentalist sectarian groups in Pakistan. Amidst a myriad of transcontinental terrorists al-Qaeda predominantly gives the Taliban a religious cause and some legitimacy. It lends a helping hand to the Taliban information and warfare efforts and might as well provide money, personnel, advanced technology and tactical training. Also supporting or at least coordinating with the Taliban, are some Central Asian Islamist movements and other smaller militant groups. As an accident of history, the leadership of this movement has fallen to the Taliban as they had effectively dissipated the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Since the religious seminaries had played a predominant role in the anti-Soviet jihad, they acquired repute both as centres of learning as well as Mujahideen recruitment hubs. This aspect is crucial to the success or failure of Taliban insurgency. An uprising cannot maintain itself without the support of the people. The Pakhtun majority, rendered vulnerable by what they perceive to be a lack of influence in Kabul. Their suspicions and mistrust of the government were further heightened by the inability Afghan Transitional Authority (ATA) from the hostile Northern Warlords, the genocide and the persistent Human Rights violations by the US-led forces in Afghanistan and the Pakistani tribal belt. The contiguity of the Pakhtun tribes on both sides of the Durand Line, approximately 28 million Pakhtuns contribute recruits, support personnel, money, weapons and up-to-date intelligence to the Taliban insurgents. With more than two generations of war-hardened inhabitants, it is easy for the Taliban to recruit experienced fighters, who know the terrain and can survive in the harsh environment. An added bonus is the weaponry that fell to the Mujahideen during the war with Soviets in 1980s. And same tactics are in vogue in their war against US-led occupation since after 9/11. The Taliban strategy is one of patience, while the US-led coalition is in a hurry to wipe them out. And as a consequence to this hurried-approach, they have killed hundreds of thousands civilian on both the sides of Durand Line. History proves that such porous defences like the Maginot and Siegfried Lines, and even Roman Emperor Hadrian’s Wall failed against the hard-core determined freedom fighters. The Taliban strategy is one of patience. They are conducting a classic ‘war of the flea’ aimed at causing their enemy to suffer the ‘dog’s disadvantages; too much to defend against too small ubiquitous and agile enemy. If, the war continues long enough, the dog would certainly succumb to exhaustion. The oft quoted Taliban axiom is; “The Americans may have the watches, but we have the time.”

IDPs Funds being misappropriated

IDPs Funds being misappropriated

Updated at: 2201 PST,  Saturday, June 27, 2009
IDPs Funds being misappropriated PESHAWAR: President PML-Q NWFP Chapter Amir Muqam Saturday accused that the funds for the affected people of Swat and Malakand Operation are being largely manipulated by Baitul Maal.

He was giving away the relief checque to fund established for the lawyers of Malakand here.

Talking to Geo News, he said the Malakand affectees are not being fully helped, adding stopping the registration of affectees is quite regrettable.

Amir Muqam demanded that all the relief funds should be all spent on the affectees.

He said that Baitul Mall are embezzling the Rs5000 checques on a large scale, which is extremely condemnable.

US interference spawning terrorism in region

US interference spawning terrorism in region

Updated at: 2050 PST,  Saturday, June 27, 2009
US interference spawning terrorism in region LAHORE: Jamaat Islami (JI) Secretary General Liaquat Baloch Saturday said the US interference and its armed action is causing the whole region to be inflicted with terrorism.

Talking to various delegations at Mansoorah, he said after Pakistan and Afghanistan, the conditions are worsening in Iran.

Liaquat said the Asian countries will keep on suffering from lawlessness, until US is staying in Afghanistan, adding it is imperative for the global peace that US withdraws its troops from Afghanistan.

‘Engineered extremism was caused by drone attacks and bombardment at Lal Masjid, Jamia Hafsa and Darul Hifz in Bajaur,’ JI leader said warning that Pakistan will not be allowed to turn into a secular country.

New footage of deadly Afghan bombing

In the week that the US military pledged a new effort to avoid civilian casualties in Afghanistan, Channel 4 News has video evidence of an attack that may have killed up to 140 civilians.Airstrikes have long been a lethal coalition tactic, but the question of how targets are assessed refuses to go away.Late yesterday around 70 people were killed across the border in the south Waziristan region of Pakistan, when a US drone struck mourners attending the funeral of a militant. It is not known if civilians were among the dead.A previous attack in May saw up to 140 civilians die in Farah province in a US airstrike.The United Nations estimates that in 2007 there were over 1,500 civilian deaths in Afghanistan. In 2008 there was a 40 per cent increase, with over 2,000 deaths recorded, although over half of these were due to the Taliban.Our report by our diplomatic editor Jonathan Rugman contains some distressing images.

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Video: UN shoots at mourners during funeral for Father Gerard Jean-Juste in Haiti, June 18, 2009 :: :: informazione dall’Iraq occupato :: news from occupied Iraq :: – it

This is footage from Radio Teleginen, Haiti’s largest and privately owned television station, that captured the UN shooting at crowd level from the back of a small pickup truck on June 18, 2009. Mourners had just left Haiti’s national cathedral to begin a procession when Brazilian troops with the UN attempted to arrest one of their numbers. During the arrest they are followed by the crowd and they begin firing into the air.It is true that you don’t have one camera focused on the victim at the point of impact to see the bullet rip flesh and shatter bone. What you do have is a camera that captures a shot fired by Brazilian soldiers and a horizontal plume of gun smoke (showing the angle at which the firearm was discharged at crowd level) (1:19). This is followed by a second magazine flash fired in the direction of the camera and (1:21) towards the cathedral.Thirty seconds later it is clear that a victim is discovered (1:51) with what appears to be a gunshot wound to the head (other photographs and video will soon published that show more details of the victim).The trajectory of the shots, timing and condition of the victim is not consistent with the U.N. assertions:1. They ONLY fired into the air and therefore their troops are not responsible for the death2. That the victim was felled by a rock thrown by the crowd or was hit from behind by a blunt instrumentAt minimum, the U.N. must be held accountable by submitting to an independent autopsy of the victim’s body and the release of the full results of their own investigation and autopsy to the public. This should be done immediately as the corpse of the victim continues to decompose.This tragedy is another in a long list of shootings targeting Lavalas events and demonstrations in which the U.N. stands complicit and ultimately responsible. They stood by, watched and turned a blind eye for years as the Police Nationale d’ Haiti (PNH) and their sharpshooters picked off peaceful demonstrators with high-powered rifles. June 14 was the fifth anniversary of the current U.N. military mission in Haiti and four days later their presence is commemorated with blood in the streets once again.Read the complete story at: is not the first time the UN has murdered innocent Haitians in cold blood and tried to cover it up:

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TTP confirms 13 died in attack on its camp

TTP confirms 13 died in attack on its camp

By Abdul Sami Paracha

According to officials, jets pounded hideouts in remote Chappri Ferozkhel and Bezote areas in the agency and in camps run by TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud. –AP Photo/Emilo Morenatti

KOHAT: The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan confirmed on Friday that its camp in lower Orakzai Agency had been attacked on Thursday night.

Thirteen militants were killed in the attack and TTP sources said the toll could rise because the rubble of the camp was still being cleared. They, however, said no important TTP leader was killed or injured.

According to officials, jets pounded hideouts in remote Chappri Ferozkhel and Bezote areas in the agency and camps run by TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud, a prime suspect in suicide attacks on Peshawar’s Pearl Continental hotel and the Rescue 15 building in Lahore.

Hakimullah has also been accused of sending dozens of suicide bombers to Kohat, Thall, Darra Adamkhel and other parts of the country.

The officials had initially put the death toll at four.

Zionist Congressman Works on Iran’s Back Door

US strategy in Fata not working: Congressman

By Anwar Iqbal

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (C) and US Congressman Gary Ackerman (L) sit with Ashkelon Mayor Benny Vaknin.

WASHINGTON: The anger and desperation of the displaced people and the growing public outrage over civilian casualties in drone attacks show that the US strategy for fighting insurgency in Pakistan is not working, warns a key lawmaker.

Congressman Gary Ackerman, who chairs the House Subcommittee on the Middle East and South Asia, also warned that the US military and economic might could influence government policies but cannot change ground realities.

During a congressional review of US policies for South Asia, another lawmaker, Edward Royce, a California Republican, noted that excessive restrictions placed in a house bill for tripling US aid to Pakistan would stifle efforts to increase trade between the United States and Pakistan.

‘The anger and desperation of this population should give us pause if the continued growing public outrage about civilian casualties caused by our drone strikes was not enough,’ said Congressman Ackerman while referring to more than two million people displaced during the Swat offensive.

‘What is becoming clear is that while our own understanding of regional, security, ethnic and tribal dynamics is growing, so, too, is the popular backlash against the methods we’ve been using.’

Although Mr Ackerman strongly backed using force to defeat the extremists, he also underlined the need for changing the US strategy.

‘Something needs to change. Albert Einstein’s warning holds true today: We can’t solve our problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.’

Mr Ackerman also acknowledged that before 9/11 the United States did not have a ‘sustained, deep or serious’ commitment to either Afghanistan or Pakistan. ‘We used them and they used us, and we assumed their dysfunctional governments and failing economies were problems of little consequence to us,’ he said.

Congressman Royce pointed out that an administration-backed move to establish Reconstruction Opportunity Zones in Afghanistan and Pakistan could be useful in improving economic conditions in the troubled regions of those countries.

But ‘unfortunately, because of the way in which this legislation has been written in Congress – with the restrictions, with the burdensome requirements, I think that that legislation is not going to do anything to increase trade with Pakistan. And that trade with Pakistan right now should be an important goal.’

As the aid to Pakistan bill moves to conference with the Senate, Mr Royce urged both chambers of the US Congress to remove the clauses that were too restrictive. ‘This provision must be liberalised if it’s going to affect Pakistan,’ he said.

He then asked Robert Blake, the new Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs at the State Department, if he concurred with that judgment.

‘Sure,’ said Mr Blake, who appeared as the key witness before the panel.

The United States, Mr Blake said, was working more closely to knit Afghanistan and Pakistan with their neighbours and with their region and to open up foreign markets to their products.

The establishment of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones, he noted, would be an important step in stimulating economic growth in both countries and drawing people away from extremism.

Congressman Jim Costa, a California Democrat, said he believed that the ‘recent positive performance’ of the Pakistani government in the Dir and Swat valleys, was going to continue, notwithstanding the internal political differences between the Sharif brothers and President Zardari.

‘We’re very encouraged by the steps that President Zardari and his team have taken recently in Swat, in Buner and elsewhere. They’ve taken the fight to the Taliban, and that’s a very encouraging sign,’ said Mr Blake.

The offensive, he said, not only hurt the Taliban, it also had helped improve the Zardari government’s standing with their people. ‘And there’s much greater support now for the Zardari government, which, again, is a very positive sign,’ he added.

‘So as long as they continue to do that, as long as they continue to take concerted action, the United States will continue to support them.’

The State Department’s new pointsman for South Asia told the panel that a major new focus of the Obama administration ‘will be to dramatically increase economic assistance to – to help address a lot of the economic problems and also a lot of the governance problems that have plagued Pakistan.’

Congressman Ackerman noted that in a recent statement Pakistan’s army chief not only vowed to continue the military offensive but also said that the head of the Taliban organisation in Pakistan must be eliminated.

He wanted to know if the US administration believed the Pakistanis were serious and had the capacity to succeed.

‘I think there has been a turning point, sir, and we’re very encouraged by the progress that has been made in Swat valley,’ said Mr Blake. ‘Much more needs to be done still and I think they do have the capabilities to undertake that.’

Setting Waziristan ablaze

Setting Waziristan ablaze

Roedad Khan

Why doesn’t our military leadership learn from history? They are certainly making history on our western border by waging war against their own countrymen.

The nation is beginning to see the rapidly unfurling consequences of Gen Musharraf’s fateful decision to join the “coalition of the coerced.” Dragged into a proxy war at gunpoint, America’s dreaded war on terror has indisputably arrived on Pakistan’s soil. Pakistan is slipping into a Dantean hell. The belle époque days for us Pakistanis are over. Pakistanis cannot continue deluding themselves by the romantic notion that they could go on living happily and peacefully under the American umbrella. Pakistan stands on the brink of civil war. A perfect storm is looming on the horizon. Fasten your seatbelts. It will be quite a ride.

The irony is that far from being an autonomous power waging its own parallel war, Pakistan has been reduced to no more than a lackey. Jinnah’s Pakistan, I regret to say, has ceased to be a sovereign, independent state. Today it is not just a “rentier state,” not just a client state. It is a slave state with a puppet government set up by Washington.

Euripides said: “Whom the Gods destroy, they first make mad.” At a time when Pakistan is extremely ill-prepared for adventurism on any serious scale, with the war in Malakand still not conclusively won and over three million internally displaced persons–men, women and children–living under inhuman conditions in Mardan and Swabi, this government decided to open a second front against its own people in Waziristan. The match is lit, the blaze will soon spread like wildfire throughout the tribal areas and beyond. That is for sure. The decision to launch a military operation in this highly sensitive border region is ill-conceived, ill-advised, ill-timed, and would almost certainly turn into a prolonged bloody conflict and, in time, prove a massive self-inflicted wound.

Today the killing or capturing alive of Baitullah Mehsud has become a top priority for the Pakistani government. Anybody who knows anything about Waziristan will tell you that looking for Baitullah or Osama bin Laden in the rugged mountains is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Baitullah, the central focus of the current American and Pakistani military operation in Waziristan, is not the first warrior to confront the administration in the mountains of Waziristan. The Faqir of Ipi led a similar revolt against the British in Waziristan in 1936. It set Waziristan on fire, and this lasted until after 1947. The British failed to capture Ipi and the operation had to be called off.

In the early years after Waziristan’s annexation, the British maintained only a skeleton administration in the agencies. All this changed in 1919 when they decided to build regular garrisons in Waziristan. Consequently, troop movements became routine, which caused resentment among the tribes. Then came the fateful decision to send troops into the Khaisora valley in November 1936, which transformed Ipi’s agitation into a full-scale uprising almost overnight.

The judgment displayed by the British and the poor intelligence upon which they based their decisions were chiefly to blame for the disasters that followed. This was the last major rebellion in Waziristan which stemmed from an abrupt change of policy. The tribesmen’s unrivalled fighting record, their ability to intervene in Afghan affairs and to involve Afghans in their own affairs, were factors ignored by the British that made Waziristan different from other Frontier areas. This disastrous attempt to “pacify” Waziristan was the last of several major incursions into tribal territory during the hundred years of Britain’s presence in north-west India.

When the British left, Pakistan had reason to be glad that it had inherited a secure North-West Frontier. In September 1947 Mr Jinnah took a bold decision to reverse the “pacification” policy, withdrew regular troops from Waziristan and entered into new agreements with the tribes. Cunningham, the new governor of the NWFP appointed by Mr Jinnah was a Frontier expert. His disillusion with the “pacification” policy was complete. “I think that we must now face a complete change of policy. Razmak has been occupied by regular troops for nearly 25 years. Wana for a few years less. The occupation of Waziristan has been a failure. It has not achieved peace or any appreciable economic development. It ties up an unreasonably large number of troops, and for the last 10 years there have been frequent major and minor offences against the troops.” The change in policy produced dramatic results and paid rich dividends.

All this has now changed. Mr Jinnah’s Waziristan policy, which had stood the test of time, has been reversed under American pressure. Our troops are back in Waziristan in aid of American troops looking for Baitullah Mehsud and bin Laden! The result is a totally unnecessary and avoidable state of armed confrontation between the Army and the tribesmen. Those who know the Frontier are deeply concerned. Our civil and military leadership is playing with fire. By reversing Mr Jinnah’s Waziristan policy, at the behest of the Americans, they have alienated powerful tribes in Waziristan and unsettled our western border which had remained peaceful since the birth of Pakistan. Pakistan would be well advised to profit from the mistakes of its forerunners in Waziristan and to avoid any shift of policy which cares only for immediate advantage and takes no account of the ultimate effects.

It all started when Gen Musharraf succumbed to a telephone “ultimatum” from Washington and promised “unstinted” cooperation to the Americans in the so-called war on terror. The Afghans never stabbed us in the back when we were in trouble and at war with India. No Afghan government was as friendly to Pakistan as the Taliban government. By allowing Americans to use our territory as a platform for bombing Afghanistan, we antagonised the Afghans, especially the majority Pakhtun tribes who live in the Pakhtun belt along our border. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, a military government laid the foundation of permanent enmity with the Pakhtuns across the border. A civilian government has now compounded the problem by taking on our own tribesmen in Waziristan.

Said Voltaire: “I fear that in this world one must be either hammer or anvil, for it is indeed a lucky man who escapes the alternatives.” Waziristan has been on the anvil for centuries. The Mehsud and Wazir tribes living there are no strangers to foreign military interventions in their country. On each occasion the tribes and the mountains won a strategic victory, the troops were forced to withdraw back into the plains of the Indus Valley. The British soon learned that you can annex land but not people.

As they say, “it is a wide road that leads to war and only a narrow path that leads home again.” In the early 1900s, a crusty British general, Andrew Skeen, wrote a guide to military operations in the Pakhtun tribal belt. His first piece of advice: “When planning a military expedition into Pashtun Tribal areas, the first thing you must plan is your retreat. All expeditions into this area sooner or later end in retreat under fire.” Let us hope the current expedition ends differently.

Decision-making in today’s Pakistan is bizarre. Many questions swirl. Were other options available, only to be peremptorily rejected? Who decided to plunge Pakistan into a guerrilla war raising the spectre of a war on two fronts dreaded by military strategists and the general public alike? Who took the final decision to open a second front in Waziristan? The president? The prime minister? The cabinet? The Parliament? The Army? Who decides questions of war and peace in this country? In public perception, everything points to one inescapable conclusion: that the decision to open a second front in Waziristan was not an internal decision. It was taken in response to irresistible pressure from the United States.

Today we are experiencing a failure of leadership that bodes ill for the country. Nobody knows who is in command. The result is the mess that we are in today. How will it turn out to be tomorrow? “The morrow, as always, is with the Fates.” One is reminded of Stalin’s angry expletive which he uttered when the German army was only a few miles from Moscow and the very survival of the Soviet Union hung in the balance. “The great Lenin left us a great country,” Stalin told Mikoyan, “and we, his successors, have … up.” This is precisely what we have done to the great country left behind by Jinnah.

The writer is a former federal secretary. Email:,

Government Fighting Terror So Pakistani Children Will Be Welcome In West

Govt fighting terror to save future: Gilani

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said on Friday that the government was waging the war against terrorism and extremism to protect the youth from falling into depression, mistrust and negative activities so that they could become patriotic citizens and play their role in national development.

“To save the future of our youth, the government is confronting the menace of terrorism and extremism,” he said, while addressing an award-distribution ceremony in connection with national internship programme at the Prime Minister Secretariat.

He said the government would arrange an inter-provincial youth exchange programme so that they could share their experiences and develop understanding. “It will help eliminate misperception and bring harmony among the youth and develop brotherhood among the provinces,” he added.

He urged the youth to get technical and specialised education, which would benefit them and they would be able to have jobs abroad and the government would facilitate them.He said acquisition of technical education was imperative to meet the modern day challenges. He said the government was endeavouring to send the talented youth abroad on scholarships.

The prime minister said the new education policy would soon be finalised, and it would fulfil the requirements of the modern age.He said in this regard the draft of the policy had been sent to provincial governments and Azad Kashmir to take their input in the finalisation of the policy so that a vibrant policy would be evolved to benefit all the stakeholders.

Gilani said the government had constituted a sub-committee of the cabinet to finalise the draft of the Youth Policy. He said the government was endeavouring to develop the human resource sector with an aim to provide maximum facilities of education to the youth and in this connection a significant allocation of Rs 3.6 billion had been made in the budget. “It will provide an opportunity to about 30,000 youth to enrol in the internship programme.”

The prime minister directed the Finance Ministry to examine proposals to set up the Youth Fund for providing assistance to the youth. He rejected the request of Youth Affairs Minister Shahid Bhutto to increase the age limit for getting internship. At presently, the youth in the 19-25 age limit are eligible for internship.

“The Charade Cannot be Allowed to Go On”

[Which “charade” was Zardari referring to–the one where the militants pretend to be religious, the one where the Army and the militants pretend to be waging war against each other, the one where the Pakistani Army and the US Army pretend to be at cross purposes, or the one where the United States is not controlling both Pakistan and India?]

Zardari asks militants to surrender

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari has said the government is determined to take the ongoing drive against the militants to its logical end.

“The militants have to give up militancy and submit to the state authority or they should be prepared for physical extermination as the charade cannot be allowed to go on,” he said this while talking to NWFP Governor Owais Ahmed Ghani, who called on him at the Presidency on Friday.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said that matters pertaining to the ongoing drive against the militants in Waziristan, relief and rehabilitation of displaced persons and plans for the return of Swat IDPs were discussed during the meeting.

The president, reiterating the government’s determination to provide relief and rehabilitation to the IDPs, stressed that all necessary measures should be taken to ensure their smooth return to homes.

He also appreciated the provincial government’s contribution to relief efforts. The governor updated the president on relief and rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs). Meanwhile, President Asif Ali Zardari directed the NWFP government to devise a plan for providing financial assistance on a regular basis to the vocational training centres set up in the province for the dislocated people.

The National Vocational and Technical Training Commission is managing a number of vocational centres in the province for the IDPs.Babar said while going through different projects developed for the rehabilitation of the displaced persons, the president noted that the vocational training centres would not be sustainable if they were not linked up to some viable financial support programme.

President Zardari, therefore, directed the provincial government to devise a well-thought-out plan to link these vocational technical centres with some suitable financial support programme to make them viable and sustainable.

He said apart from exploring the financial support programmes in the public sector, the plan should also consider involving the private sector. He asked the NWFP government to keep the Presidency posted with the financial support programme for the vocational centres.

Convoy attack leaves four soldiers dead in NWA

Convoy attack leaves four soldiers dead in NWA

By Mushtaq Yusufzai & Irfan Burki

PESHAWAR/WANA: Seven people — four of them Armymen — were killed and 33 others, including 21 soldiers, injured in attacks on a military convoy in North Waziristan Agency (NWA) and air strikes in South Waziristan Agency (SWA) on Friday.

The attack on security forces’ convoy jeopardised the Feb 17, 2008 peace accord between the government and Hafiz Gul Bahadur-led Taliban militants in the volatile North Waziristan Agency, bordering Afghanistan’s restive Khost province.

Military officials based in the North Waziristan Agency blamed the local militants for the attack. They claimed to have intercepted conversations of senior militant commanders, asking their fighters to continue attacking security forces and government installations, as their peace accord with the government had already been scrapped.

They said militant commanders, however, decided not to make public their decision of scrapping the peace deal, as they could lose sympathies of tribesmen. “We were aware of their terrorist activities and attacks on security forces but we kept silence in the larger interest of poor tribesmen. But now I must say the government might launch a full-scale operation in the North Waziristan Agency,” said an official, wishing anonymity.

Official sources told The News a military convoy, which had left Miramshah, headquarters of the North Waziristan Agency, for Bannu came under attack near an abandoned flourmill in the town.

Militants had planted heavy explosives material close to the wall of the roadside factory, which went off when the heavily-guarded military convoy was passing through the area. Four soldiers died on the spot while 18 others were injured, some of them critically. The injured soldiers were later airlifted and shifted to a military hospital in Bannu.

Security forces immediately cordoned off the area and blocked the Bannu-Miramshah road for all kinds of traffic for four hours. Later in the day, security forces arrived in large numbers and started demolishing the factory building with the help of bulldozers so that the militants could not use it for terrorist acts in future.

The owner of the flourmill had closed it several years ago and portions of the building had been demolished by tribesmen. The same military convoy again came under attack when it reached the Naurak village in Mirali subdivision. Suspected militants attacked the military convoy through an improvised explosives device (IED). Three soldiers were injured in the blast, which caused damage to a few vehicles.

The military officials finally decided to stop their journey on the dangerous Bannu-Miramshah road when another IED was recovered near the Kajhori post in Mirali. The military convoy was then taken to a nearby FC camp and ordered not to leave the area till the situation became normal.

The violence-stricken Utmanzai Wazir tribesmen in the North Waziristan Agency were in great shock over the attack on the military convoy. They condemned the attack and termed it an invitation to disaster.

“Like the rest of the areas, the militants will remain safe but we will suffer in case of a military operation,” a seemingly-terrified tribal elder remarked when approached by The News in Miramshah.

Sources close to the militants said though the Taliban in the North Waziristan Agency had not yet claimed responsibility for the attack, they were demanding an end to the ongoing military operation in Janikhel and Bakakhel villages of FR Bannu.

Meanwhile, three suspected militants, including an Uzbek national, were reportedly killed and 12 others injured in air strikes carried out by PAF planes and gunship helicopters on alleged hideouts of Baitullah Mehsud in the adjoining South Waziristan Agency.

Official sources, however, claimed higher death toll in the bombing and artillery shelling. Three fighter jets pounded suspected positions of the Taliban commander at Ladha, Seegagarai, Ladha Sarai, Ashanki Gudawai, Makeen, Dwatoi and Piaza villages.

According to the sources, the PAF planes after making a few rounds of flights over the region started heavy bombing on the militants’ positions. The tribal region reportedly echoed with two dozen explosions. Tribesmen in Miramshah said they heard heavy explosions when the planes pounded Makeen in the South Waziristan Agency.

However, they were not aware of any human losses as communication to the area was suspended since the military operation was launched. Military officials said three militants, including an Uzbek, were killed in Makeen.

According to the sources, 12 injured militants were brought to a private health centre in Makeen, five of them in serious condition. The sources among the militants said they had now started burying their dead during night time after the recent drone attack on the funeral procession of slain militant commander Khwaz Wali Mehsud in Makeen. Tribal sources said several shops were destroyed in Shamankhel village of Ladha subdivision in the bombing.