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 WayneMadenReport.com

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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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.”

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, Anti-War.com)

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 (Kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org)

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: sherwoodr1@yahoo.com

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

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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

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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.