Mortar Rounds Fired Into S. Ossetia, Russia Issues Warning

Russia warns Georgia as South Ossetia tension rises

Today, 15:59 | Reuters

TBILISI, Aug 1 (Reuters) – South Ossetia accused Georgian forces of firing mortars at the rebel territory on Saturday and Russia warned Tbilisi it reserved the right to use force to defend civilians a year after their five-day war.

Georgia denied any shooting took place and, amid rising tension ahead of the Aug 7 anniversary of the war, said the Russian statement suggested “aggressive intent”. Analysts warn of the risk of skirmishes boiling over into renewed hostilities.

South Ossetia said two mortar rounds were fired at a military observation post from the village of Ditsi on the Georgian side of the de facto border, which runs a few hundred metres from the southern edge of the rebel capital Tskhinvali.

South Ossetia made a similar accusation on Thursday, and a Reuters reporter heard two loud blasts from the rebel capital Tskhinvali but could not identify the cause.

“In the event of further acts of provocation threatening the population of the republic and the Russian military contingent based in the territory of South Ossetia, the Russian Defence Ministry reserves the right to use all available force and means to defend the citizens of the republic of South Ossetia and Russian servicemen,” the ministry said in a statement, Russia’s Interfax news agency reported.

Russia crushed a Georgian assault on South Ossetia last August after months of escalating tension, sending tanks deep into Georgia proper and shaking Western confidence in oil and gas routes running through the volatile South Caucasus.

The Georgian Interior Ministry said there had been no shooting from either side of the boundary. The Russian statement “clearly shows very aggressive intent,” said ministry spokesman Shota Utiashvili. He urged the West to pay attention.

“The international community should not allow Russia to fool itself,” he told Reuters.

Like the rebel Black Sea region of Abkhazia, South Ossetia threw off Georgian rule in wars in the early 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In an interview with Reuters, South Ossetia’s self-styled president Eduard Kokoity said he wanted Russia to send in more troops and “more serious weaponry”, and that his goal was to unite his people with Russia.

The West accused Russia of a “disproportionate” response during last year’s war, and the European Union brokered a ceasefire and sent in monitors.

Russia recognised the rebel territories as independent states, backed by thousands of Russian troops, although the ceasefire called for a withdrawal to pre-war positions.

The EU monitors are denied access to either rebel region.

Russia trumps U.S. with new Central Asia army base

Russia trumps U.S. with new Central Asia army base

Today, 17:57 | Reuters

MOSCOW, Aug 1 (Reuters) – Kyrgyzstan allowed Russia to open a second military base on its territory on Saturday, expanding Moscow’s military reach to balance against the U.S. presence in the Central Asian country.

The struggle for influence in the region intensified last month — days after U.S. President Barack Obama completed his visit to Moscow — as senior Russian officials travelled to Bishkek to press for the creation of a new Russian base.

The pressure from Moscow came after Kyrgyzstan allowed the United States to keep its air base at Manas, which is vital for supplying U.S. forces fighting in Afghanistan.

Kyrgyzstan had said in February that it was closing down the U.S. air base after receiving a promise of $2 billion in crisis aid from Russia earlier in the year. But Washington responded with a payment of $180 million to keep the base open.

On Saturday, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev laid out the framework for the new base’s creation in an agreement that will be valid for 49 years with a possible 25-year extension.

The agreement, posted on the Kyrgyz president’s Web site, said up to one battalion of Russian troops and a training centre for Russian and Kyrgyz personnel will be housed at the base.

But Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who travelled to Bishkek with Medvedev, suggested that these parameters may change when a more detailed agreement is hammered out by November 1.

“The total numbers will be decided by military specialists based on what is needed to ensure security in the region,” Lavrov said, Interfax reported.

He added that the two sides had agreed on “the expansion of the Russian military presence mainly in the southern regions of Kyrgyzstan.”

Russia’s existing base lies in the town of Kant in Kyrgyzstan’s far north, near the border with Kazakhstan. The U.S. air base in Manas is also in the north of the country, near the capital, Bishkek.

Saturday’s agreement comes three days after Medvedev endorsed Bakiyev’s re-election last week in a poll that caused opposition protests and was condemned by Western observers as undemocratic.

KEY VICTORY

Getting Bishkek to reverse its February decision to close the Manas air base was a crucial victory for Washington, which is seeking to more than double its presence in Afghanistan by year’s end to fight the Taliban insurgency.

Manas serves as a key refuelling point for aircraft used in Afghanistan, and supply routes through Pakistan have proven less secure due to persistent militant attacks.

Moscow has denied being behind the initial decision to close Manas, though it has made no secret of seeking to check U.S. interests in the former Soviet Union, which it regards as its sphere of influence.

During Obama’s first visit to Moscow as president last month, defence issues were at the top of the agenda, and a deal was reached to let U.S. troops and military hardware fly across Russia to Afghanistan. [ID:nL6567315]

Medvedev and Bakiyev signed the deal in the Kyrgyz resort of Cholpon Ata during an informal summit of the Russian-dominated Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), whose members also include Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Belarus and Armenia.

Lavrov said the new military training facility would be available to all members of the CSTO, which is also known by its Russian acronym as ODKB.

Six Christians Die in Riots with Muslims

Six Christians die in riots with Muslims

Christians chant slogans behind a banner reading, ‘Provincial government immediately take steps to arrest the culprits,’ during a rally to condemn the attacks on Christians by Sunni Muslims, in Lahore . -AP Photo

ISLAMABAD: Days of rioting between Christians and Muslims in eastern Pakistan following allegations that a Quran was defiled escalated Saturday, leaving six Christians dead, including a child, authorities said.

Members of a banned Muslim organization began torching Christian homes in the Punjabi city of Gora on Thursday after accusing them of desecrating pages from Islam’s holy book, Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti said.

‘There is no truth in the allegation,’ he told The Associated Press, adding that he had himself visited Gojra on Friday and asked police to provide protection to Christians who were facing threats.

He accused the police of ignoring his instructions and said hundreds of radical Muslims on Saturday burned more Christians homes and killed six, including four women and a child.

Television footage from the scene showed houses burning and streets strewn with debris and blackened furniture as mobs ran at each other. Local media also reported gunfights had broken out between Christian and Muslim communities and that rioters had blocked the local railway line.

Pakistan is predominantly a Sunni Muslim state where Christians are a tiny minority. Although the two sides generally live peacefully, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the US, pro-Taliban militants have periodically targeted churches and Christians, suspecting them of sympathizing with Washington.

Bhatti said the attackers belonged to the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba group, which is accused of launching attacks against the security forces and carrying out bombs attacks at public places in the country in recent years.

Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah said authorities had investigated the allegation of a Quran being defaced ‘and our initial reports say that there has not been any incident of desecration.’

Sanaullah said that although the situation had calmed down by Friday, ‘some miscreants and extremists entered the city today and pushed people toward armed clashes.’

Another minister, Dost Mohammad Khosa, said the issue of the alleged desecration had been settled.

‘Today, somebody opened fire at a peaceful rally that was passing by a Christian neighborhood. That made things worse. We are sure some miscreant elements have tried to exploit the situation,’ he said.

Faislabad Commissioner Tahir Hussain told local television that representatives of the two communities were to meet later Saturday in an effort to calm the situation.

‘Let’s hope for the best. The emotions of the Muslims are very high,’ he said. ‘And the Christians again they have faced the wrath and they have faced the casualties, and their emotions are also very high.’ -AP

Christians’ homes burnt over ‘desecration’

Christians’ homes burnt over ‘desecration’

By Tariq Saeed

A burnt house of a Christian family in Azafi Abadi at Chak 95-JB on Gojra-Faisalabad Road. –Photo by White Star

TOBA TEK SINGH: A mob burnt 75 houses of Christians over the alleged desecration of the Holy Quran in Azafi Abadi at Chak 95-JB on Gojra-Faisalabad Road, 32 kilometres from here, late on Thursday, Christian leaders said.

Christian leaders Atif Jamil Pagaan and Ashfaq Fateh told a press conference that 75 houses were burnt and two churches ransacked by the residents of a neighboring village over reports that Mukhtar Maseeh, Talib Maseeh and his son Imran Maseeh had desecrated the papers inscribed with Holy Quran verses at a wedding ceremony.

Dawn learnt from sources that 50 houses were damaged when the mob in a frenzy of rage held a jury where Talib Maseeh was asked to offer apology over the incident.

Talib, however, denied the incident and refused to offer apology. In the ensuing developments, hundreds of the people attacked Azafi Basti.

Before the arrival of the mob, the residents had fled which gave a walkover to the mob which put on fire 50 houses. The ablaze also burnt a few cattle.

District Police Officer (DPO) Inkisar Khan fielded MPA Bilal Asghar Warraich and Maulana Noor Ahmad to calm down the mob. The DPO also suspended the Gojra Sadar station house officer at the demand of the mob.

The mob blocked Gojra-Faisalabad Road to block the entrance of fire brigades to the village. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab Minorities and Human Rights Minister Kamran Michael visited the locality on Friday and urged both sides to remain peaceful.

They said the Christians would be compensated for their loss. Minority MPAs Rafiq Pervaiz and Khalil Tahir Sandhu also visited the village.

DPO Inkisar Khan said a case has been registered under section 295-B of the Pakistan Penal Code against Mukhtar Maseeh, Talib Maseeh and Imran Maseeh without any arrest.

Local ulema and traders demanded the arrest of the accused and announced a complete strike on Saturday (today). Former MNA M Hamza condemned the violence against Christians as well as the alleged desecration act. In a press statement, he demanded a judicial probe into the incident.

Labour Party leader Tariq Mahmood, National Workers’ Party Punjab Secretary Rana Azam, Labour Qaumi Movement’s Shabbir Ahmad and Kissan Committee President Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad condemned the violence.

Interfaith League

Expressing his anguish over the violence perpetrated by communal forces against Christian minorities, Interfaith League chairman Sajid Ishaq says it is condemnable to make religion a basis for committing violent acts against humanity.

He said that nation was trying to build a peaceful and stable society in Pakistan and such attacks hindered any progress in this regard.

He demanded that the thugs who carried out the attacks be strictly punished so that no one could dare again to commit such a crime.

WORLD’S WORST TERRORISM

WORLD’S WORST TERRORISM

~ A Holocaust Every Six Months ~

~ Ten 9/11′s Every Day ~

Dead children today:

Dead children this year:

Every day, 30,000 children under the age of five die around the world from hunger and/or preventable diseases.  That’s 11,000,000 children a year (2002 figures). Why do these children continue to die even as you read this? Injustice and the extreme poverty it causes: the global economic system designed and enforced by the United States (Bretton Woods, World Bank, IMF, GATT, WTO) ensures that 25% of the world’s people receive 75% of the income, and 20% of the world’s people own 86% of the wealth.

There’s simply not enough left over for the world’s other 4-5 billion people to survive.

This is deliberate mass murder on an unprecedented scale: true hyper-terrorism compared to which any other terrorist acts — however notorious — pale into insignificance.

Dead children since you
started reading this page:

Where are our religious leaders on this issue?!

The world hunger problem: Facts, figures and statistics


The world hunger problem: Facts, figures and statistics

  • In the Asian, African and Latin American countries, well over 500 million people are living in what the World Bank has called “absolute poverty”

  • Every year 15 million children die of hunger

  • For the price of one missile, a school full of hungry children could eat lunch every day for 5 years

  • Throughout the 1990′s more than 100 million children will die from illness and starvation. Those 100 million deaths could be prevented for the price of ten Stealth bombers, or what the world spends on its military in two days!

  • The World Health Organization estimates that one-third of the world is well-fed, one-third is under-fed one-third is starving- Since you’ve entered this site at least 200 people have died of starvation. Over 4 million will die this year.

  • One in twelve people worldwide is malnourished, including 160 million children under the age of 5. United Nations Food and Agriculture

  • The Indian subcontinent has nearly half the world’s hungry people. Africa and the rest of Asia together have approximately 40%, and the remaining hungry people are found in Latin America and other parts of the world. Hunger in Global Economy

  • Nearly one in four people, 1.3 billion – a majority of humanity – live on less than $1 per day, while the world’s 358 billionaires have assets exceeding the combined annual incomes of countries with 45 percent of the world’s people. UNICEF

  • 3 billion people in the world today struggle to survive on US$2/day.

  • In 1994 the Urban Institute in Washington DC estimated that one out of 6 elderly people in the U.S. has an inadequate diet.

  • In the U.S. hunger and race are related. In 1991 46% of African-American children were chronically hungry, and 40% of Latino children were chronically hungry compared to 16% of white children.

  • The infant mortality rate is closely linked to inadequate nutrition among pregnant women. The U.S. ranks 23rd among industrial nations in infant mortality. African-American infants die at nearly twice the rate of white infants.

  • One out of every eight children under the age of twelve in the U.S. goes to bed hungry every night.

  • Half of all children under five years of age in South Asia and one third of those in sub-Saharan Africa are malnourished.

  • In 1997 alone, the lives of at least 300,000 young children were saved by vitamin A supplementation programmes in developing countries.

  • Malnutrition is implicated in more than half of all child deaths worldwide – a proportion unmatched by any infectious disease since the Black Death

  • About 183 million children weigh less than they should for their age

  • To satisfy the world’s sanitation and food requirements would cost only US$13 billion- what the people of the United States and the European Union spend on perfume each year.

  • The assets of the world’s three richest men are more than the combined GNP of all the least developed countries on the planet.

  • Every 3.6 seconds someone dies of hunger

  • It is estimated that some 800 million people in the world suffer from hunger and malnutrition, about 100 times as many as those who actually die from it each year.

6 Pakistani Christians die in riots with Muslims

6 Pakistani Christians die in riots with Muslims

By MUNIR AHMED and ASIF SHAHZAD (AP) – 1 hour ago

ISLAMABAD — Days of rioting between Christians and Muslims in eastern Pakistan following allegations that a Quran was defiled escalated Saturday, leaving six Christians dead, including a child, authorities said.

Members of a banned Muslim organization began torching Christian homes in the Punjabi city of Gorja on Thursday after accusing them of desecrating pages from Islam’s holy book, Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti said.

“There is no truth in the allegation,” he told The Associated Press, adding that he had himself visited Gojra on Friday and asked police to provide protection to Christians who were facing threats.

He accused the police of ignoring his instructions and said hundreds of radical Muslims on Saturday burned more Christians homes and killed six, including four women and a child.

Television footage from the scene showed houses burning and streets strewn with debris and blackened furniture as mobs ran at each other. Local media also reported gunfights had broken out between Christian and Muslim communities and that rioters had blocked the local railway line.

Pakistan is predominantly a Sunni Muslim state where Christians are a tiny minority. Although the two sides generally live peacefully, since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in the U.S., pro-Taliban militants have periodically targeted churches and Christians, suspecting them of sympathizing with Washington.

Bhatti said the attackers belonged to the banned Sipah-e-Sahaba group, which is accused of launching attacks against the security forces and carrying out bombs attacks at public places in the country in recent years.

Punjab law minister Rana Sanaullah said authorities had investigated the allegation of a Quran being defaced “and our initial reports say that there has not been any incident of desecration.”

Sanaullah said that although the situation had calmed down by Friday, “some miscreants and extremists entered the city today and pushed people toward armed clashes.”

Another minister, Dost Mohammad Khosa, said the issue of the alleged desecration had been settled.

“Today, somebody opened fire at a peaceful rally that was passing by a Christian neighborhood. That made things worse. We are sure some miscreant elements have tried to exploit the situation,” he said.

Faislabad Commissioner Tahir Hussain told local television that representatives of the two communities were to meet later Saturday in an effort to calm the situation.

Elsewhere, police officials said Saturday they had arrested a member of an outlawed, al-Qaida-linked group that was suspected of involvement in the 2002 beheading of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl.

Rao Shakir, a purported member of Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, was arrested on the outskirts of Islamabad late Friday, a police official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release the information.

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is a banned Sunni Muslim militant group linked to both the Taliban and al-Qaida and has been blamed for killing scores of minority Shiites across Pakistan. Its members have been accused of attacks against Westerners in Karachi, including Pearl’s killing and the September 2008 truck bombing of the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad.

The group is also believed responsible for two failed assassination attempts against Pakistan’s former military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, as well as for several suicide bombings, including one that targeted a bus of Pakistan’s premier spy agency, the ISI.

Another investigator, who also spoke on condition of anonymity for the same reason, said police were questioning Shakir over five bombings. He said authorities believe he is also responsible for facilitating other terrorist attacks and that he provided safe houses for militants.

Pearl was abducted from Karachi in 2002 while researching a story on Islamic militancy. His remains were later found in a shallow grave on eastern outskirts of the city.

Stop the Blanket Militarization of Humanitarian Aid

[The Americans are crafty devils, first they show an interest in a particular state or area, to be quickly followed by a few "al Qaida" sightings, followed just as quickly by US military forces.  The military begins its humanitarian projects to demonstrate just what good guys we are, leading directly to "counter-insurgency" efforts to pursue imaginary terrorists and generally lay seige to the surrounding countryside.  All just steps on a stairway, leading to war and eventually total American domination.]

Stop the Blanket Militarization of Humanitarian Aid

The U.S. military has performed successful aid missions in war zones. But that doesn’t mean it will work everywhere.

BY WILLIAM G. MOSELEY | JULY 31, 2009

U.S. foreign aid has never been perfect, but the seeping of military and antiterrorism initiatives into development work threatens to take humanitarian efforts to a new low.

In an attempt to win the hearts and minds of local populations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. military reasoned that it must demonstrate the concrete benefits of collaborating with Americans in the fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban. They used soldiers and other military personnel to build schools and bridges in these countries — with mixed success. This engendered a tendency to apply the approach anywhere in the world where there was a whiff of al Qaeda activity. To this end, the percentage of U.S. foreign aid channeled through the military increased from 6 to 20 percent worldwide between 2002 and 2007. 

But though using the military as a development agency can make sense in a war zone, mixing their two very different missions is enormously problematic in most other contexts.

In the West African country of Mali, where I have been researching agricultural development issues for more than 20 years, there has been low-grade al Qaeda activity occurring in the northern frontier over the past few years. The marginal desert region between Mali and its neighbors is appealing real estate for would-be terrorists because it is difficult to control and monitor. It provides space for camps and opportunities for terrorist cells to tax cross-border trade and occasionally kidnap foreign nationals for ransom. The U.S. government provides assistance to Mali’s military to manage and contain the few, mostly foreign, al Qaeda bands in this small area of the country.

But now the U.S. military is getting involved in development work across Mali and in several other countries in the Sahel region of West Africa — as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan — despite the de minimis al Qaeda threat. Now, military personnel repair schools, wells, health centers, roads, and bridges. Army doctors provide basic treatment and vaccinations. In fiscal year 2008, the Defense Department gave the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission in Mali $9.5 million to run a counterterrorism program, with close coordination between the two. The program provides curriculum advice to Koranic schools and job training for young men (who are seen as highly susceptible to Islamist rhetoric). USAID has also built 14 community radio stations that broadcast programming on peace and tolerance.

But this reframing of aid to Mali within the fight against terrorism could prove counterproductive. The Pentagon has taken its conceptualization of the fight against al Qaeda in war zones and applied it broadly in a peaceful country. In the past, U.S. involvement in West African countries like Mali has focused intently on humanitarian assistance, not a geopolitical agenda.

And there is little reason to think military-supplied aid assistance will work better. Malians may resent it reflexively: The United States has a checkered history and a terrible reputation for its involvement in other African states, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (then Zaire) during the Cold War. It can also mean making development take a back seat to other goals — recipients sense that their welfare is not the real priority and fear political interference. Development aid for its own sake is the best way to maintain strong allies in the region and foster healthy, pluralistic societies.

The U.S. government has long provided such valuable help. Organizations such as the Peace Corps and USAID have worked in Mali for more than 40 years, since it gained independence from France. Volunteers live in villages, speak local languages, and have facilitated community development work for decades, cultivating friendships and lasting positive change. The gains are significant in healthcare, agriculture, forestry, sanitation, small-enterprise development, and education.

Malians have a mostly positive attitude toward the United States as a result — and President Barack Obama is very popular as well. In contrast, most Malians with whom I have spoken in recent months are deeply suspicious of al Qaeda, which they consider an outside organization dominated by foreigners with little interest in the Malian people.

There have of course been many problems with U.S. foreign assistance (including the provision of aid to dictators), but many of these failures occurred because lasting development was not the first priority. But skilled aid workers have the soft skills, historical and cultural knowledge, and technical expertise needed for effective development. The U.S. military, on the other hand, is good at fighting and building temporary infrastructure — not human development.

As such, recent attempts by the U.S. military to become involved in development in Mali and its neighbors make little sense. The United States is already viewed positively by the local population. Other agencies are better positioned to facilitate and have a track record of positive change. When the military becomes involved in development work, the local population comes to see these efforts as part of a larger military campaign. And that’s a dangerous precedent to set.

Disarm Israel

Disarm Israel

A Utopia or a Vision for Peace

July 28, 2009 By Ilan Pappe

[Contribution to the Reimagining Society Project hosted by ZCommunications]

Whenever the possibility of establishing an independent Palestinian state is mentioned by Israeli politicians, they take for granted that their interlocutors understand that the future state would have to be demilitarized and disarmed, if an Israeli consent for its existence is to be gained. Recently, this precondition was mentioned by the current Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in response to President Barrack Obama’s two states vision, presented to the world at large in his Cairo Speech this June. Netanyahu made this precondition first and foremost for domestic consumption: whoever has referred in the past to the creation of an independent state alongside Israel, and whoever does so today in Israel envisages a fully armed Israel next to a totally disarmed Palestine. But there was another reason why Netanyahu stressed the demilitarization of Palestine as a sine qua non: he knew perfectly well that there was no danger that even the most moderate Palestinian leader would accept such a caveat from the strongest military power in the Middle East.

In Israel, as in the West, the vision of a demilitarized Palestine is accepted as a feasible scenario, whereas a peace based on the demilitarization of Israel as well would be regarded as totally insane and unhelpful, indeed unimaginable. This disparity in the attributes of statehood is part of a much larger imbalance in the international community perception of and attitude towards Israel and Palestine.

Most Israelis would deem it sheer lunacy to contemplate a future without the army playing a dominant and supreme role in their lives. It is with good reason that scholars regard Israel not as a state with an army, but an army with a state. Their state appears in the works of some brave critical Israeli sociologists as a prime case study for a modern day militarized society; namely one in which the army deeply affects every sphere of life.

[i] Imagining an Israel without this influence is more than a utopian vision, it is really an end of time scenario.

And yet in the long run demilitarizing both Israel and Palestine may be the only way of ensuring a normal life for all who live there, and all who ought to live there, like the million Palestinian refugees who were expelled from their homeland in 1948 and ever since. But this article aims to extend the meaning of the verb Disarm, to a wider, and admittedly more fluid interpretation. The more extended definition, it will be argued here, turns the idea of Disarming Israel from a utopian scenario for a very distant future, when the peace of the prophets would prevail, into a concrete political plan.

Long before one can contemplate any significant reduction of arms, let alone disarmament of anyone involved in the Palestine issue, a very different kind of disarmament is required, as a pre condition for reconciliation in Israel and Palestine. The wider context of disarmament must focus on Israel and less on Palestine, at least in its initial stages. There are no other current political, economic and military imbalances such as exist between Israel and the few hundred Palestinian fighters (even the term fighters for these Palestinians begs some stretching of our imagination). As these imbalances were there already in 1948, it stands to reason that only a transformative process in the attitude and nature of the stronger party in the equation will kick off any significant reconciliation on the ground. Throughout the one hundred years or so of the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Zionist movement and later the state of Israel were the stronger party, and its policies towards the indigenous population of Palestine changed very little over that period.

This article is written under the premise that only a fundamental change in the basic Israeli policies towards the Palestinians and Palestine can lead to a change of attitude towards the Jewish settler community that came to Palestine in the late 19th century and colonized the land. Contrary to the conventional Israeli and Zionist narrative, still trumpeted proudly in the West today, the harsh anti-Arab and anti-Palestinian policies of the Jewish state are not a reaction to Palestinian hostility or general Arab animosity. These policies are in fact the cause of the regional antagonism towards Israel and Palestinian enmity towards it. Hence, since they are the source of the conflict and the reason for its persistence, disarming here is a quest for a way of exposing what lies behind the Israeli policies against the Palestinians. Since these policies have by now triggered the introduction of nuclear weapons to the region, the death of tens of thousands of Palestinians, thousands of people in the neighbouring Arab countries, almost twenty thousand Jews in Israel, inflamed a new wave of anti-Semitism as well as Islamophobia and finally strained unnecessarily the relationship of the West with the Muslim world, they are obviously a deadly weapon and must be revised

These policies are the product of a certain ideology, Zionism, or to be more precise of a certain interpretation of the Zionist ideology. Hence revising them would mean disarming Israeli Jews of the lethal version of the Zionist ideology, that which disables them to lead normal, quiet and secure lives in the country they have chosen at the end of the nineteenth century as their homeland.  (read full article here)

Musharraf faces exile in Britain: Report

Musharraf faces exile in Britain: Report

IANS

LONDON: Former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, who has been ruled guilty of illegally imposing

emergency two years ago, faces exile in

Britain because his presence may destabilise the country, a British newspaper reported on Saturday.

Musharraf, a former military general who was ousted from power in August 2008, has been in Britain for the past two months and is reported to be on a luxury cruise. He is also reported to have bought an expensive apartment in London.

Now, The Guardian said, he may have to extend his stay in Britain – a move made at the urging of Pakistan’s army chief General Ashfaq Kayani.

It said that although unlikely, Musharraf could be prosecuted on grounds of treason after Pakistan’s Supreme Court said this week the former president’s imposition of national emergency in 2007 was illegal.

Musharraf, who suspended the constitution as part of emergency provisions in November 2007, did not appear for the hearing, choosing to remain in London. However, the Supreme Court also turned down a petition by a lawyer to try the former president for treason.

Treason prosecution was also unlikely, said The Guardian, “because any move would have to be initiated by the government, which is keen to avoid confrontation with the powerful military”. Punishment for high treason in Pakistan includes death.

Talat Masood, a retired general and former Musharraf confidante, told the paper that Musharraf was unlikely to return to Pakistan soon. “He will stay away and the army will advise him to stay away. I hear he’s on a luxury cruise. I think that might be extended for some time,” Masood said.

Cyril Almeida, a political analyst, said: “My gut feeling is that Musharraf isn’t a guy to live in exile permanently. He will return at some point but right now the political heat is too much. His presence in the country is seen as being too destabilising.”

If the report is correct, Musharraf will join a long line of Pakistani political leaders who have had to seek exile in Britain because of political instability and threats to their lives in their home country.

These leaders have included former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated when she returned; her husband Asif Ali Zardari, the current president; the country’s main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif and Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) leader Altaf Hussain.

Hussain, a powerful figure in the province of Sindh who is blamed for fomenting violence in Pakistan, continues to live in London.

The United States and Iran: The Secret History: Part Three: Carter’s Bargain – The Islamic Bomb

The United States and Iran: The Secret History: Part Three: Carter’s Bargain – The Islamic Bomb

Friday, 31 July 2009 00:00 Joseph Trento and Susan Trento

For Jimmy Carter, the hostage nightmare in Iran was compounded by another Cold War disaster. Cheered on by Saudi Arabia’s intelligence service, the CIA was playing a very dangerous game. Secretly working with Pakistani strongman General Mohammed Zia ul-Haq and his intelligence service, Islamic fighters were making cross border raids into the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. These raids included attacks on Soviet bases where nuclear weapons were deployed. For the Soviets, the cross border attacks were indicative of a much bigger problem: the incitement of native Muslim extremists. But to the Carter administration, the Soviet Union massing troops along the Afghan border was interpreted as the first step toward the Russians’ desire to establish a warm water port on the Indian Ocean.
a974_carter_zia_brzezinski_2050081722-20904
President Carter with Muhammad Zia ul-Haq Photo by Wally McNamee / Corbis

Not understanding the fear the Soviets had of the Iranian Islamic revolution spreading to their own territory would be one of the great miscalculations of the Carter presidency.

Throughout the first half of 1979, the White House watched as Moscow ramped up support for the communist government in Kabul. When Saudi Arabia informed the CIA that the anti-Soviet Muslim rebel force it was financing was gaining strength, the CIA drafted a proposal for secret US backing of the anti-communist Afghan Muslim guerrillas soon to become widely known as the mujahedin. Such an effort, the agency reasoned, might not only slow down Soviet progress in Afghanistan but also help deflect some of the energy of Middle Eastern Muslims, inspired by the Iranian revolution, away from the United States and toward the Russians. But there were also risks. Any evidence of US interference in Afghanistan would surely lead to Soviet retaliation. The United States would have to operate through a “cutout,” a proxy through which money and weapons could be secretly supplied to the mujahedin. And the CIA had just the candidate: Pakistan’s ruthless secret service, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). The Pakistanis, in fact, had already approached the agency about providing assistance to the Afghan rebels, but indicated that without a solid commitment from the US they “could not risk Soviet wrath.”

The CIA’s proposal found a sponsor in Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Polish émigré and fierce anticommunist hawk. Brzezinski, an academic who had done work for the CIA, believed the Afghan situation offered the United States a rare opportunity to frustrate the Soviet’s expansionist goals in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He recommended covert assistance to the Islamic fighters. On July 3, 1979, President Carter signed a directive authorizing nonlethal support. On that same day, Brzezinski said he sent a note the president saying his actions would result in direct military intervention by the Soviets.

On November 20, 1979, as the Carter administration struggled in vain to help the more than four dozen American citizens held captive in the US embassy in Tehran, hundreds of armed Muslim fundamentalists seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the holiest site in all of Islam.

The militants, intent on overthrowing the Saudi royal family, engaged in a bloody, two-week battle with security forces. The fighting left hundreds dead, many hundreds injured, and the American-allied House of Saud grappling to maintain its hold on power.

more about “The United States and Iran: The Secre…“, posted with vodpod

An exclusive interview with Joe Trento about western knowledge of Pakistani nuclear proliferation

As the Mecca crisis began, a rumor flew from continent to continent that the United States and Israel were behind the Grand Mosque seizure. In Washington, the State Department, still reeling from the takeover of the American embassy in Tehran only a little more than two weeks before, sent out urgent cables to US diplomatic outposts worldwide, warning of possible attacks. Anti-American protests soon erupted across the Muslim world. The most violent by far was in Islamabad. There, the CIA station had learned weeks earlier that radical students at the city’s Quaid-i-Azam University might stage demonstrations at the American embassy in support of the hostage takers in Iran. The intelligence was correct. The Pakistani students were members of the youth wing of the fundamentalist Islamic political organization Jamaat-e-Islami, with which Pakistani strongman General Zia had aligned himself in the course of his Islamization campaign. Throughout the 1970s, Jamaat, like many other conservative Muslim groups, had received generous support from oil-rich Saudi Arabia. Now the Jamaat students, inspired by the embassy takeover in Tehran and inflamed by the mosque seizure in Mecca, were ready to show what they could do.

At noon on November 21, the day after the Grand Mosque takeover began, several hundred angry Jamaat students from Quaid-i-Azam arrived by bus at the gated American embassy in Islamabad and began a demonstration. After speaking with embassy officials, the protesters got back on their buses and drove off, seemingly having made their point. Just a few minutes later, however, the students returned, accompanied by many more busloads of demonstrators. Thousands of people now surrounded the embassy compound. The mood grew ugly — then violent. The crowd pushed past police and swarmed through the gates. The demonstration, orchestrated by Pakistani intelligence, became a riot. Embassy officials called for help. One hundred thirty seven people took shelter inside the steel-reinforced code room on the building’s second floor. Others fled to the nearby British embassy compound. The mob ran wild, rampaging through the grounds, wrecking everything it could, burning cars, and setting fire to the embassy itself. As smoke and flames filled the building, armed rioters climbed to the roof and began shooting down into the code-room vault, killing a young Marine corporal.

Throughout the afternoon, US officials pleaded with the Pakistani government to intervene. President Carter even put in an “impassioned” call for help to General Zia. And yet it would be nearly four hours from the time the rioting began until the Pakistani military responded. At 5:30 in the afternoon, a single Pakistani army unit arrived at the embassy. The rioters slowly dispersed. In the meantime, US installations in Rawalpindi, Lahore, and Karachi had also been attacked. In the end, one American Marine had been killed and the embassy compound had suffered twenty-three million dollars in damage.

That night, Zia went on television to address the nation. Realizing that he could not afford to alienate the Islamic fundamentalists on whom his political life depended, the general offered only a mild reproach to the rioters. While saying that he understood the “anger and grief” over the seizure of the Mecca mosque that had sparked the attack on the Islamabad embassy, he went on to suggest that the rioters’ actions had not been in keeping with “the lofty Islamic traditions of discipline and forbearance.”

In Washington, the response was quite different. American officials fumed at the failure of Zia’s troops to respond more quickly to the attack. The CIA later determined that Zia, believing those inside the embassy had perished in the flames, decided to let the riot run its course. The diplomatic relationship between the two countries was about to dramatically change.

A little more than four weeks after the Islamabad embassy attack, on Christmas Eve 1979, the Soviet army marched across the border into Afghanistan. The Russians had taken the bait and invaded, just as Zbigniew Brzezinski claims to have predicted. The Soviet action sent shock waves around the world. All hopes for a thaw in Cold War relations evaporated.

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Exclusive documents authored by Brzezinski

New fears now emerged that the East–West contest would turn hot. The Soviets’ primary objective in launching the attack had, at least in the beginning, been to remove the pro-Moscow but ineffective Afghan government and install a client that could stop the incursions into Soviet territory. Brzezinski and much of official Washington viewed the invasion as part of a possible Russian push toward the Indian Ocean. In that context, no longer was Zia’s military government a pariah to be shunned. Suddenly it was an ally to be embraced and protected. As one of Brzezinski’s staff members recalled, the administration’s attitude toward Pakistan, “overnight, literally . . . changed dramatically.” Small matters such as human rights, Islamic extremism, attacks on embassies, and nuclear weapons would no longer be allowed to stand in the way of good relations between the two countries.

In its newly rehabilitated guise, Pakistan would play a central role in Brzezinski’s plan for countering the Soviet invasion. Brzezinski, the eager Cold Warrior, hoped to punish the Russians for their action. The invasion, as he saw it, offered an opportunity “to finally sow shit in [the Soviets’] backyard.” It would, however, have to be done covertly. The United States and its allies would pay for the shit, the Pakistanis would deliver it, and the Afghanis would do the actual sowing.

Brzezinski laid out his scheme in a secret memo to Carter the day after Christmas, just two days after Soviet tanks first rolled into Afghanistan. The national security advisor cast the issue as a “regional crisis.” “If the Soviets succeed in Afghanistan,” Brzezinski wrote, “and if Pakistan acquiesces, the age-long dream of Moscow to have direct access to the Indian Ocean will have been fulfilled.” As such, the situation posed “an extremely grave challenge” for the United States. Unless the US somehow managed to “project both confidence and power into the region,” Pakistan would likely be intimidated and might eventually succumb to “some form of external Soviet domination.” With Iran already “destabilized,” there would no longer be a “firm bulwark” in the region against a “Soviet drive to the Indian Ocean.”

more about “The United States and Iran: The Secre…“, posted with vodpod

An exclusive interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski

On the other hand, Brzezinski argued, if the United States could project power into the region, there was a chance that Afghanistan would become “a Soviet Vietnam,” a quagmire from which the Soviet Union could not extract itself. As to what might be done to bring that about, Brzezinski offered some “preliminary thoughts.” The plan he outlined was, in essence, a beefed-up version of the strategy he had promoted earlier in the year that had helped lure the Soviets into Afghanistan in the first place. “It is essential,” Brzezinski wrote, “that the Afghanistani resistance continues. This means more money as well as arms shipments to the rebels, and some technical advice.” Toward that end, he added, the United States should “concert with Islamic countries both in a propaganda campaign and in a covert action campaign to help the rebels.” It should also “encourage the Chinese” to assist. But most important, for the plan to work, the administration would have to “both reassure Pakistan and encourage it to help the rebels.” That, Brzezinski wrote, “will require a review of our policy toward Pakistan, more guarantees to it, more arms aid, and, alas, a decision that our security policy toward Pakistan cannot be dictated by our nonproliferation policy.” In other words, the administration would have to put aside its concerns about Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program.

With that, Brzezinski had laid out the strategy that would guide American action in South Asia for the next decade. The United States and its allies would covertly enable a proxy Islamic holy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. To do so, it would turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. Carter had no way of knowing that hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid to Pakistan for the anti-Soviet effort would be diverted to AQ Khan, the head of Pakistan’s nuclear program. Nor could Carter anticipate that Pakistan would sell the Pakistan bomb technology to all customers – including Libya and the new Islamic regime in Tehran.

Instead, President Carter quickly got behind Brzezinski’s plan. The president viewed the invasion of Afghanistan as a major shift in Kremlin policy and an “extremely serious” threat to world peace. He declared the move “the greatest foreign policy crisis confronting the United States since World War II.” Already under attack in some quarters for his seemingly

timid response to the Iran hostage crisis, Carter believed strong, forceful action was needed to counter the Soviet move. In the days ahead, Carter would embargo wheat sales to Russia, order a boycott of the Olympic games scheduled to be held in Moscow in the summer of 1980, and withdraw from Senate consideration the second Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty (SALT II), painstakingly worked out with Moscow. But those public gestures were just for show. The real action would be covert.

more about “The United States and Iran: The Secre…“, posted with vodpod

David Armstrong talks about the role of the United States Promoting Pakistani nuclear proliferation.

At an NSC meeting on December 28, two days after receiving Brzezinski’s memo, Carter, in line with Brzezinski’s proposal, instructed the CIA to provide the mujahedin with weapons and ammunition as well as nonlethal supplies and support. Much of the hundreds of millions of dollars in US aid through Pakistan would be diverted into the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. Almost immediately Pakistan sought to raise additional funds by offering designs and components for nuclear weapons to North Korea, Libya and Iran.

Next: Part IV How three Iranian mullahs influenced the outcome of the 1980 US presidential election.


For more information on this subject see: America and the Islamic Bomb by David Armstrong and Joseph Trento.

Report from Malakand, Army and Taliban Destruction (EXCLUSIVE report from Swat)

DESTRUCTION OF LIVELIHOODS OF WAR RAVAGED PROVINCIALLY ADMINISTERED TRIBAL ARES OF SWAT AND MALAKAND.

Dr. Khurrum Shaukat Yusafzai.

Swat, which was once called the Switzerland of Asia, as mentioned in Famous Sherlock Holmes detective novels by when the famous Dr. Watson Character talks to Sherlock Holmes about his visit to Swat NWFP, which is part of Pakistan.

Famous Prime Minister of United Kingdom Sir Winston Churchill PM of Britain In world War-2, as a war correspondent, visited Swat too, while he served as Lieutenant in the British Army that fought the Malakand campaigns.

After Independence in 1947 from the British, it was Peaceful and it was booming a tourist spot and many Europeans and Foreigners would visit this place and it was filled with many Hotels. The tourist Industry was a Booming Multi Billion rupees industry in Swat.  People would stay here and then go to Chitral and to Gilgit. The Mountaineers would come here often as 40 highest peaks of the world are found in Northern Areas of Pakistan.  The two Highest as K-2 and Gasherbrum -2, are situated nearby.

Swat’s premier Pamir hotel chain initiated by renowned entrepreneur Late Haji Aziz Ur Rehman in 1980,s. Sadly this is history now, like many other historic and cherished landmarks destroyed by both Taliban and Pakistan Army .

Just Like the Million dollar Museum in Swat, made with International Aid, to preserve the past Gandhara and Buddhist History, in Swat which showcased the Precious Gandhara Culture. The Pakistan Army Established a military camp just opposite to it, and then the Army camp was a Target of Suicide Bomber, which destroyed the Museum too. This kind of Irresponsible Behavior can, be expected from Foreign Armies and not Pakistan’s own.

Now after current Military campaign to flush out Taliban and Militants of Fazullah, the son in law of Sufi Mohammed. The USA has established him as Wanted terrorist and Head money is placed on his head .

Army Operation was started in April 2009 to now about to finish in July 2009 have left the people bewildered that, What have they done wrong to get this Kind of Treatment by both Taliban and the Pakistan Army as well.

The, Irresponsible and Naïve operational Planning, by Pakistan Army is evident as Collateral damage is greater from the Army then from Taliban. Both caused complete destruction of their Livelihoods and their belongings. The Precious Heritage and culture, which was preserved for centuries is lost too, some of it on Unesco Protected List too.

The Swat, which lies in North West Frontier Province. NWFP is called Frontier as well, as the British Empire ended here and this was their last frontier, as they could not venture beyond this point.

Swat is Part of PATA NWFP, which is provincially administered Tribal Areas. This Area was deliberately kept as Tribal Area By British and even by Pakistani Government to suppress the Independent Pashtun People of these Areas. These Areas comprise of Swat, Malakand, Shangla, Buner , Lower Dir and Upper Dir.

The Pakistani courts and laws are not fully implemented here , according to article 247 and 246 of Constitution. There is complete Judicial Vacuum here .

No Pakistani Media and Journalist were given access to Swat and other places of Provincially administered Tribal Areas of NWFP , to enable the people of Pakistan to see what is Happening  during the current Operation .

The Journalist who ventured there like, The Famous Khyber News Pashto Local Language channel watched in both Pakistan , Afghanistan and as well as Globally ,  and the Urdu language AAJ TV, were denied access . The Khyber TV Vehicle was shot ,at by Pakistan Army when it tried to enter Swat . Talat Hussian Director of AAJ News was Threatened with Dire consequences by a Major when he tried to cover the operation even when he had the Permission from Local administrator the, Deputy Commissioner as reported in the News channels.

The Firebrand Islamic Cleric, Maulana Sufi Mohammed who belonged to Jammat Islami Pakistan Previously, and Fought election under their banner . JI ( Jammat Islami ) ,  whose head Quarter is in Lahore Punjab based Religious party .  Sufi Mohammed separated from Jammat Islami in 1994 and he established the TNSM Organization, (Tanzeem, Nifaz, Shareet Mohamadi).  Translated, as Organization to Enforce, Prophet Mohammad’s Islamic law) , he was a Taliban Supporter, and he had sent many to join Taliban in 1994,s as well as later in 2001 too, when USA invaded Afghanistan on war on terror.

The rise of this Organization destroyed the peace of Swat and many people did not come to swat for Tourism any more as Tourism gave way to Terrorism.

The Billion Dollar Tourism Industry, which flourished since independence all, was destroyed. Although locals from Pakistan would be coming to Swat for Tourism as late as year, 2000,s when there was relative quite.

During the time of Military rule of President General Musharaf, things went from bad to Worst.

The Islamist Parties like JI ( Jamiat Islami ) and JUI ( Jamaat Ullema Islami ) , which formed MMA in NWFP and Balucistan Province , the same parties which had helped the CIA and ISI fight the soviet Union in Islamic Jihads against Soviet Union in Afghanistan, ( Operation Cyclone of CIA ), ruled the NWFP through rigged elections of 2002 courtesy of Gen Musharaff.

They Helped General Musharaf in remaining in Power in Uniform, thorough 17 Amendment to constitution. They destroyed the Swat Peace and its people were victims of their atrocities. They were hand in Glove with these TNSM people and  put a blind eye when weapons were brought here.

Let me tell you the story of the , The Pamir hotel chain, began in 1981 with its first state of the art, 60 room, five storied, fully air-conditioned building in with a covered area of 40,000 sq ft. The imposing Pamir Hotel in Mingora city, of  Famous Swat .

It was a Novel and Historic Feature, as it was the first private business venture that invested in expensive imported fittings: a Hitachi, Japanese, centrally Air-conditioning Plant, a Swiss catering, Built-in lifts, Luxurious Bathroom sanitary Fittings imported from Japan.

This 4 star hotel was the most prolific in the entire Malakand division.  Owing to the booming tourist industry at that time, the management extended the Pamir chain to Maidam and Kalam, the other cities of Swat and Malakand Areas situated in provincially administrated areas of NWFP Province of Pakistan.  It was catering to the ever-increasing tourists from Europe and all over Pakistan at that time.

Swat was a tourist haven up to 1994, when, during Benazir Bhutto’s government, the TNSM spearheaded by Sufi Mohammad brought the tourism industry to a halt. The rise of Taliban led by Mullah Fazullah, who married his daughter, totally obliterated not only the flourishing tourism industry, but also the decimation of the entire infrastructure of the once idyllic holiday resort.

Peshawar, Swat or Malakand or the entire NWFP, once renowned for its rich heritage and habitat, abundant ecosystem or a thriving tourism industry, has now been destroyed beyond recognition with no hope of its returning to its pristine past.

Destruction of Pamir Hotel is just a small example of how the thriving tourism industry, besides its infrastructure, economy, livelihood and society as a whole has been wiped out because of the Great Game War between Super Powers, , and subsequent rise of Terrorism .

The tourism industry incurred incalculable losses running into billions. Thus, from being a premier hotel of its time, Pamir Hotel ran out of business.  Sensing the demise of tourism, the two Kalam and Maidam outlets were shut down.

Despite odds, the managements with it entrepreneurship instincts, and a new idea was incorporated and skillfully turned the Mingora Pamir Hotel into Pamir Hotel Education Campus, beginning “The Educators” School  , at its Premises.

The Project under the Beacon House Schooling system, which teaches in A and O levels, the British Oxford Schooling system, which teaches in English Medium to the Local population.

Many Branches of the New School which utilized the Hotel Building at first , it started spreading branches through out Swat  and Malakand Region.

Thus despite the poor security situation and lack of tourism Mingora Educators navigated successfully through the tough economic crisis and contributed to the socio economic development of the region, turning into a leading school system for the Locals.

With the rise of Taliban again in 2007, the education sector too, besides other industries was hit hard once again as now the TNSM and Taliban of Swat once a jewel of the entire Malakand division was soon destined to become a disaster zone.

A once prosperous and happy society became a hapless victim of violence . The so-called Jihad on its own people Started as war between the Pakistan Military and the Taliban began in 2009, April.

The Ruthless military operation destroying the edifice of tranquility and peace, War was Started without Warning many people left even their kettle’s on fire even for cup of tea, as no time was given to prepare . There was no advance warning.  People just fled with their clothes on.

The final round of military action and curfew was imposed in entire Swat district on May 4th. With the sudden surge in Taliban-government confrontation, the school was shut down as exams were in progress there.

The management vacated the premises and moved out to Peshawar, waiting for the operation to succeed and to restore peace.

After the operation was declared successful according to Government of Pakistan and the Army only recently, in July 2009 , when the owners of Pamir Hotel cum School , returned when the government announced ceasefire People started to return to their homes in Swat and Mingora.

The horrors of the collateral damage dawned on the residents. The apparently distressed Owner Mr. Anwar Iqbal, director of Pamir Campus lamented and said , “ As we returned it was discovered to his horror whole scale destruction of the infrastructure of Pamir Hotel Building, as well as the livelihoods of millions of people that will take a full Generations to rebuild”.

Although , The local Urdu language newspaper Mashriq” reported on 22nd May 2009 about Pamir Campus building being hit by heat seeking missiles fired by Cobra gunship helicopters of Pakistan Army and the Indiscriminate firing had totally destroyed the Building of Beautiful Building. But to see it was more disturbing.

All the claims of Army and Government of great care to save the Infrastructure were all Lies.  , “Two entire stories had been totally gutted, and the entire buildings was shelled and pock marked with holes from the missiles and mortars Fired by the Pakistan Military, Apparently to flush out the Taliban?

How does the government expect us to rebuild all this on our own? Who will assess and give us compensation worth billions loss?”, lamented Mr. Anwar Khan  the Current Owner said.

This is only a snap shot of the devastation of Malakand division. “Swat has been used as a cannon fodder for the Strategic depth policy of Pakistani Establishment and by Government of Pakistan and its help of USA in Fighting Soviet union and now the Taliban for being an ally of USA.

Its orchards, verdant fertile fields, and lush forests have been destroyed and denuded, of its ecosystem and the Ecosystem vandalized,” lamented The Official Khurshid Khan of the Environmental Protection Society based in Swat.

The Destruction of Environment, the Livelihoods, and the Psychological Damage to the people who are traumatized will take many many years to heal.

The people will not forget these atrocities of Taliban and the Pakistan Army as well too. Which it blames equally for this as General Musharaff was hand in Glove with these people, who were provided with Sanctuaries.

As Every one I met had the same words for me, that even with many Great sacrifices and laying down of Lives by Pakistan Army officers and Soldiers , to make the writ of Government strong in Swat , it is to blame for this state of affairs in the First places as well.

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Khurrumuk@gmail.com

TERRORISM AT WHERE THERE IS NO ROAD TO AFGHANISTAN (EXCLUSIVE Report from Peshawar)

[Excellent report from eyewitness in Peshawar, detailing precisely the criminal negligence of both Pakistani and American governments in their transshipment of hazardous materiels (fuel, explosives and weaponry) through the narrow crowded back roads of Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Not only is Pakistan forced to submit to American demands upon it, but the people of Pakistan are paid in the currency of suffering and death for their peaceful acceptance of these outrages.  Thanks Dr. Yusafzai.]

TERRORISM AT WHERE THERE IS NO ROAD TO

AFGHANISTAN:

Dr. Khurrum Shaukat Yusafzai.

When, Hillary Clinton and President Obama called the President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karazai.  They were talking about Afghan Transit Trade.  Afghanistan is Land Locked country, it does not have a Seaport, and it is totally dependant upon the seaports of Pakistan for its basic needs like fuel , food and medicines and other Essential of Life and as well as other imports .

Even the Total NATO and ISAF fuel, food, and other Essential and Military hardware about 96% is being transported to Afghanistan from Pakistan.

The Recent Frantic moves by American Establishment, which has been running from Pillar to Post towards the CIS countries of Kyrgyzstan, to Tajikistan and to most importantly to Georgia.  Only avoiding the, State of Iran only.

US is  trying to establish an alternate route, which is expensive and difficult to coordinate, as it is lengthier and difficult to man as it involves many Governments, as opposed to a single one, which is Pakistan.

Recently the Pakistani routes which are 2/3rd of Total to Afghanistan , running from the Khyber Pass through the Khyber Agency of FATA and then entering the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan.

1/3 rd from Chaman Pass , through Province of Balauchistan Province of Pakistan and entering  Afghanistan’s Kandhar Region which is difficult too as the convoys are hit by ambushes in Kandhar region too often by Taliban.

As 70% of the Total, supply of NATO and ISAF and whole Afghanistan is dependent upon the route of Khyber Agency, the Khyber Pass.  This Highlights the Extreme importance of Khyber Pass and the road, which links the Karachi Port to Khyber Pass.

After the Military and Non-Military Cargo which Unloads at Karachi Port, from Ships at Karachi Port, then it is loaded on trucks and then Transported from Sindh Province then Moves to the Punjab Province.

From Punjab Province then it enters the NWFP (North-Western Frontier Province), at the Attock, ultimately ending at Peshawar the last city of NWFP (North-Western Frontier Province), on way to Afghanistan.

From the Last City NWFP, the Peshawar City, it enters the, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), Khyber Agency, at City of Jamrud, which is bordering city of Khyber Agency with Peshawar city of NWFP, Just a , few Kilometers Apart.

The roads ultimately goes to Famous Khyber Pass and then towards Landikotal check Post, the last International Border post of Pakistan, as it enters the Nangarhar Province of Afghanistan.

Before the Road Traffic Enters the Khyber agency at Jamrud, it has to pass through the City of Peshawar. The city of Peshawar has only one road that connects it to Jamrud city of Khyber agency FATA called the Jamrud Road.

Jamrud Road is cramped with Traffic and with cars, which are bumper to bumper from Morning to Midnight even on weekends.

As there was a ring Road Planned all around, the Peshawar in Late 80,s and that is not reached  completion stage even now in 2009, as both the Northern Part of Bypass road has not reached Jamrud yet and the Southern Fails to Reach Jamrud as well .

Although these By Passes are known as “Ring Road “ , but it does not form a ring around the City of Peshawar and ring is just a small Crescent.

The Southern Bypass of the Ring Road, which passes through Hayatabad, Peshawar a Posh Residential area where all the Richer lot of Peshawarites Live.  It passes through Streets and Roads of Hayatabad Town ship.

The Heavy Trucks, which carry, sometime the Military hardware meant for war on Terrorism, the Humvees Military Jeeps, as well as Huge Tanks on Civilian Trucks, which are used by US army ISAF and NATO. Pass through the Streets of these Residential areas. It presents a strange sight.  As they pass through Small Streets in Between the Children schools and Small Peaceful houses.

The Road then Enters the Phase -2 of Hayatabad Town Ship and then it passes in Front of Main Central Park of Hayatabad and then Phase-4 of Haytabad Township and then joins the Jamrud road to enter the Jamrud City of Khyber Agency.

Hence there is no Proper Road existing which Connects the, M1- Motorway, coming from Karachi Port, and ending at Peshawar Khyber Pass exiting to Afghanistan.

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The Semi- Crescent Ring Road.

As this Ring Road is the only route to Afghanistan and it Transports, all the 2/3 rds whatever is consumed by whole Afghanistan, which is extreme Important to that country and to NATO and to ISAF.

If one closes this road, the War on Terror, the Afghan Government all can be brought to it knees literally.

Blockage of this road can lead to rising of Prices of Commodities, in the whole country of Afghanistan, Blockage of this Road can stop the fuel supply lines to NATO and USA, it can stop the Jets, and Helicopters to stop from flying as there will be no fuel. Seriously Denting the Effort of US.

As this is so very possible, still the Government of Pakistan has failed to construct it even after 200 to 300 Million in Aids, given specifically for this to Gen- Musharaf to construct the road links to FATA.

This kind of lack of Planning and implementation can lead to serious disastrous and Human Misery to many many People.

One the Southern Bypass of the Ring Road, which passes through Hayatabad, Peshawar something, happened on 13 July of this month, which was both harrowing and sad.  On that fateful day, it was 5 Am, and many people were peacefully sleeping in their homes.

A fuel Tanker was Just Passing through the Streets of Posh Haytabad Town Ships just as it neared the Portion of  road where there was hump created by Road which had caved in because of Heavy traffic for which the Town ship roads were not designed.

The Fuel Tanker, which was coming, in, from Islamabad after filling its Tanker with Jet Aviation fuel. The Fuel was filled in at Attock Refinery.  The driver and one helper drove fuel-laden truck. These Contracts of Trucks are, handled by NLC, National Logistic Cell of the Pakistan Army.

The truck when reached Hayatabad, it Blew out with a big Bang which shook the whole Hayatabad town and Resident of Hayatabad jumped out of their beds. A time bomb or some device probably was attached to the truck was responsible for Blasting the Fuel Tanker  or may be it is Rocket Propelled Grenade the RPG-7 ,  I asked the Drivers  Mr . Hakimat Ullah about the Incident, he told me that he has no idea what had happened.

He just heard the bang and the Trailer Tanker, which was filled with Fuel, had exploded, and all he could see that his rear-end was a Big Ball of Fire and he was towing the large Hind Part which on Fire.

The Intense Heat made Hakimat Ullah and His co –Driver to jump out of the Tanker to save their Life.  The Tanker was On Fire and nearby there was houses, which also caught fire, and then the next one and a whole Block of Hayatabad Township were on Fire.

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The Trees Burned, Birds dropped dead and were burned with Extreme heat, the fire burned the Nearby Houses on Both Sides of The road.  The Metal front gates were on Fire too.

The Fire Destroyed the Houses, just Near the Fuel Tanker was on the Road, in that house, luckily many occupants had left the House and were in Hospital to see their Daughter the two sons of Mr Anwar were sleeping the House. As the fire engulfed the House, his son could feel the heat and Air conditioner was melting in Front of His Eyes.

He ran out of the house, but the gate was on Fire too and he could not touch the Handle to open it as it was too hot and it was stuck because of the heat.  Both sons of owner of the House jumped out of the House by scaling the Wall by doing some quick thinking.

Right Next to the House there was Hostel where the College students, who were residing in the house as they were studying for the Exams.  They all came running out of the House and save their Lives. It was a Miracle that all the people were saved.

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The fire, which engulfed the whole Areas of Hayatabad Town ship of Peshawar, it is a Criminal Negligence of the Government of Pakistan, which is allowing these Transports to Move between, the Haytabad Township streets.  There is a complete disregard of the Lives of people of Hayatabad Peshawar , who are completely exposed, to these Dangers.

As this Incident happened at 5 Am, in the Morning it Saved the Lives of Many, people who were not on the road. The children were not at the schools and on the roads, as this saved many lives or it could have been a great Tragedy.

The Whole house of Mr. Anwar was destroyed and Gutted, He says that from whom he can claim the damages. His House His Money, his furniture, His Car and many Things burned.

As the  Fuel Tanker, although impounded by the Hayatabad Police, at the Station, with a case registered against it, Belongs to Just a Poor Sub-contractor, who just owns one Tanker only, and he would be out of business for next one year for no fault of his.

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Mr. Anwar House completely Gutted

The Sub-Contractor, then works for another Civilian Contractor, that civilian contractor work for NLC (National logistic Cell), this is a logistic Company run by Pakistan Military and its officers in Uniform and Serving.

The Dilemma of Mr. Anwar is this, whom should he approach for the Damages.  The Sub-Contractors who is very poor chap, and he is unable to pay but his tanker is apprehended by Police, or should he approach the Contractor who is a middle man, who is working for the NLC .

Should, the owner of the House approach the Un-touchables Army Chaps,

Yes the Untouchables the Pakistan Army, and its Department of logistics, the NLC (National Logistic Cell).

And there is another twist to the Story , the goods being Transported belongs to USA , yes the Jet fuel for Aero planes of USA , which was being carried in the Oil tankers. These are dangerous goods and were Transferred without any Proper Precautions and proper Standing Orders and there in no Road there on top of it take it to Afghanistan.

The Criminal Negligence has the Involvement of ISAF and the NATO and the US Government too.

As this Contract, for ISAF and USA and the NATO who own the Fuel, hence the Damages have to borne by them too, as they are responsible too.  All this will be off-course decided at some point in time.

All –Unanswered questions, has to be answered, but there are no Answers now!

A complete Disregard of Life exists for the People of Hayatabad and Peshawar. This is expected, from the Government of Punjabi and by the Punjabis. As long as it is not happening in Punjab, it is OK for Government for Pakistan.

Another Strange twist to the story is this that, these contracts are not brought, to Open in Pakistan and its media. The Government is completely, mum about these contracts and the foreign office has denied about these contracts too.

The people have suffered and will suffer again, but this Anomaly has to be addressed quickly.

What if there were schoolchildren had been , there as the Children Schools were nearby but were closed that day, nobody has thought about it. What if there were many cars filled with Innocent Passengers. I shudder with the Thought of it and Government of Pakistan sleeps on it, as if business as usual.

The In Competent, Minster of the State, for Communication of the Government of Pakistan, Mr.  Arbab Alamgir. Who is aloof from the Problems of this very important problem of His city Peshawar, to which he belongs?

Dr. Khurrum Shaukat Yusafzai.
Khurrumuk@gmail.com

Obama Faces Carter/Clinton Parallels

[SEE: The Subtle Seeds of the Terror War (1986)]

Obama Faces Carter/Clinton Parallels

by Robert Parry

Consortium News

After six months in office, Barack Obama’s presidency reveals striking parallels not only to Bill Clinton’s troubled first term, but to Jimmy Carter’s only term. And, how those dangers are reappearing show that the Democrats and American progressives have learned little over the past 30 years.
Many analysts already have noted the eerie similarities between Obama’s troubles and Clinton’s political woes 16 years ago. In both cases, the Democratic presidents started off by rebuffing calls for serious investigations of abuses committed by their Republican predecessors.
However, instead of showing reciprocity, the Republicans went on the offensive ginning up “scandals” and challenging the legitimacy of the two Democrats, for instance, by spreading rumors linking Clinton to “mysterious deaths” and by winking at slurs about Obama not being born in the United States.
Republicans also voted solidly against major policy initiatives advanced by Clinton and Obama. Faced with that unified GOP resistance, the Democratic majorities started to splinter, especially over the key issue of health-care reform which became Clinton’s first-term “Waterloo” much as Republicans hope it will be for Obama.
Yet, arguably, the parallels to Jimmy Carter’s one-term presidency may be even more on point. Unlike Clinton whose reckless sexual behavior fueled the Republican campaigns against him, Carter and Obama are viewed as men of personal discipline and morality.
Carter and Obama – unlike Clinton – also showed a readiness to pressure Israel into making important concessions for peace in the Middle East. That interest in playing the “honest broker” contributed to Carter’s undoing and now might do the same for Obama.
Indeed, it was Carter’s tenacity in pushing Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin to agree to the Camp David peace accords in 1978 – returning the Sinai to Egypt in exchange for what has turned out to be a lasting peace – that prompted a brazen Israeli intervention into U.S. presidential politics.
By spring 1980, an angry Begin had privately sided with the Republicans, whose fall campaign was to be led by right-wing candidate Ronald Reagan. Though hidden from the American people both then and now, this alliance was well known at the senior levels of both the Israeli and U.S. governments.
Begin – who had led a Zionist terrorist group before Israel’s independence in 1948 and founded the right-wing Likud Party in 1973 – decided he must take steps to prevent Carter from pushing for a broader Israel-Arab peace deal in a potential second term.
Begin’s views were described by Israeli intelligence and foreign affairs official David Kimche in his 1991 book, The Last Option. Kimche wrote that Begin’s government believed that Carter was overly sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and was conspiring to force Israel to withdraw from the West Bank.
“Begin was being set up for diplomatic slaughter by the master butchers in Washington,” Kimche wrote. “They had, moreover, the apparent blessing of the two presidents, Carter and [Egyptian President Anwar] Sadat, for this bizarre and clumsy attempt at collusion designed to force Israel to abandon her refusal to withdraw from territories occupied in 1967, including Jerusalem, and to agree to the establishment of a Palestinian state.”
Kimche continued, “This plan – prepared behind Israel’s back and without her knowledge – must rank as a unique attempt in United States’s diplomatic history of short-changing a friend and ally by deceit and manipulation.”
Begin particularly dreaded the prospect of a second Carter presidential term.
“Unbeknownst to the Israeli negotiators, the Egyptians held an ace up their sleeves, and they were waiting to play it,” Kimche wrote. “The card was President Carter’s tacit agreement that after the American presidential elections in November 1980, when Carter expected to be re-elected for a second term, he would be free to compel Israel to accept a settlement of the Palestinian problem on his and Egyptian terms, without having to fear the backlash of the American Jewish lobby.”
October Surprise
Begin’s fear of Carter’s reelection – and alarm over Carter’s perceived bungling in Iran where Islamic extremists took power in 1979 – set the stage for secret collaboration between Begin and the Republican presidential campaign, according to another Israeli intelligence official, Ari Ben-Menashe.
In his 1992 memoir, Profits of War, Ben-Menashe said the view of Begin and other Likud leaders was one of contempt for Carter.
“Begin loathed Carter for the peace agreement forced upon him at Camp David,” Ben-Menashe wrote. “As Begin saw it, the agreement took away Sinai from Israel, did not create a comprehensive peace, and left the Palestinian issue hanging on Israel’s back.”
Ben-Menashe, an Iranian-born Jew who had immigrated to Israel as a teen-ager, became part of a secret Israeli program to reestablish its intelligence network in Iran after it had been decimated by the Islamic revolution.
Ben-Menashe wrote that Begin authorized shipments to Iran of small arms and some spare parts, via South Africa, as early as September 1979. In November of that year, events in Iran took another troubling turn when Islamic radicals seized the U.S. Embassy and took 52 Americans hostage, prompting a U.S. trade embargo.
By April 1980, however, Carter had learned about the covert Israeli shipments, which included 300 tires for Iran’s U.S.-supplied jet fighters. That prompted an angry complaint from Carter to Begin.
“There had been a rather tense discussion between President Carter and Prime Minister Begin in the spring of 1980 in which the President made clear that the Israelis had to stop that, and that we knew that they were doing it, and that we would not allow it to continue, at least not allow it to continue privately and without the knowledge of the American people,” Carter’s press secretary Jody Powell told me.
“And it stopped,” Powell said. At least, it stopped temporarily.
Carter’s Judgment
Questioned by congressional investigators a dozen years later, Carter said he felt that by April 1980, “Israel cast their lot with Reagan,” according to notes I found among the unpublished documents in the files of the so-called October Surprise investigation by a House task force.
Carter traced the Israeli opposition to his reelection to a “lingering concern [among] Jewish leaders that I was too friendly with Arabs.”
Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski also recognized the Israeli hostility. Brzezinski said the Carter White House was well aware that the Begin government had “an obvious preference for a Reagan victory.”
Extensive evidence exists, too, that Begin’s preference for a Reagan victory led Israelis to join in a covert operation with Republicans to contact Iranian leaders behind Carter’s back and delay release of the 52 American hostages until after Reagan defeated Carter in November 1980.
In his book and in sworn testimony about this so-called “October Surprise” controversy, Ben-Menashe asserted that then-GOP vice presidential candidate George H.W. Bush personally participated in a key meeting in October 1980 in Paris. Bush denied that claim at two press conferences in 1992 but was never questioned under oath in any formal government inquiry.
One of the reasons I have devoted so much time over the years to this October Surprise mystery is that Election 1980 represented a key turning point for the United States and the world. That such a moment may have turned on a near-treasonous dirty trick represents not only an outrageous American political scandal, but an Israeli one as well.
Indeed, it appears that a key factor in the successful cover-up of this scandal was that the full story might not only have hurt the Republicans but could have alienated Americans from Israel – if it were known that Likud had intervened to usher out of office a U.S. President who was deemed insufficiently supportive of the Israeli cause.
When Israel’s secret roles in the Iran-Contra scandal (as well as its prequel, the October Surprise case) were threatened with exposure, influential neoconservatives in the U.S. news media – especially at The New Republic – mounted fierce counterattacks against journalists, investigators and witnesses who tried to pull back the curtain.
Allied with powerhouse Republicans, like Rep. Dick Cheney of Wyoming and Henry Hyde of Illinois, the neocons successfully beat back any full accounting of the two inter-related arms-for-hostages scandals, Iran-Contra and October Surprise. That success was aided and abetted by bipartisan-seeking Democrats, such as Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana. [For details, see Parry’s Secrecy & Privilege.]
Today’s Parallel
The parallel between the Carter experience and what is now facing Obama is that Israel’s current Likud government sees Obama as someone, like Carter, who might approach peace talks evenhandedly rather than with the pro-Israeli bias that has prevailed over the past three decades.
Reagan’s Inauguration – which coincided with the release of the 52 hostages in Iran – also marked the opening for many neoconservatives to be credentialed into the Executive Branch and from those positions to advocate hard-line pro-Israeli policies.
Many of those same neocons returned in force under George W. Bush. For instance, Bush put Elliott Abrams in a key Middle East policy role for eight years. despite his Iran-Contra conviction (and pardon from President George H.W. Bush). Abrams served on the National Security Council and became an architect of the Iraq War.
The broader neocon strategy was to use U.S. military might to compel “regime change” in Middle Eastern nations considered hostile to Israel. First on the list was Saddam Hussein’s Iraq to be followed by Syria and Iran, with the ultimate goal of starving close-in enemies, like Lebanon’s Hezbollah and Palestine’s Hamas, of outside financial support.
Then, the thinking went, Israel could consolidate its control of the best Palestinian lands seized in 1967 and dictate peace terms to the Arabs. But the grand neocon plan encountered greater than expected trouble in Iraq (leading to the deaths of more than 4,300 American soldiers as well as estimated hundreds of thousands of Iraqis).
Now, after the crushing Republican defeat in 2008, the new neocon game appears to be to help Israel wait out the Obama presidency. Central to that strategy will be to harass and wound Obama enough so that he will lack the political clout to force any significant concessions on Israel’s Likud government headed by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
That appears to be one of the reasons why leading neocons like The Weekly Standard’s William Kristol have surfaced so prominently in the health care debate. Normally, neocons are relatively moderate on social issues, reserving their intensity for foreign policy fights.
But Kristol urged the Republicans to “go for the kill” on Obama’s embattled health-care plan.
“With Obamacare on the ropes, there will be a temptation for opponents to let up on their criticism, and to try to appear constructive, or at least responsible,” Kristol wrote on July 20. “My advice, for what it’s worth: Resist the temptation. This is no time to pull punches. Go for the kill.”
If Obama suffers what Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, hopes will be his “Waterloo” on health care, the President will be weakened when it comes to other challenges. Rather than take on the formidable Israel Lobby, Obama might be more inclined to accede to Netanyahu’s demands related to a military strike against Iran.
Even if a weakened Obama won’t acquiesce to such an extreme action, Israel would stand a better chance at stalling peace talks with the Palestinians for the next 3 ½ years – until a more agreeable Republican might take the White House, much as Reagan replaced Carter.
‘Hussein’ Obama
Already, pro-Likud elements in the Israeli media have been riling up the population for a prolonged battle with Obama – and some of that anti-Obama animosity is spilling over into the American press as well.
On Tuesday, the New York Times devoted half its op-ed page to an article by Israeli journalist Aluf Benn complaining that Obama, as President, had not yet traveled to Israel to deliver a speech, although he has made a major address in Cairo to the Islamic world and has spoken elsewhere, such as Europe, Russia and Africa.
“But he hasn’t bothered to speak directly to Israelis,” Benn wrote, without bothering to note that Obama did visit Israel during the 2008 presidential campaign and, while there, denounced the rocket attacks that Hamas militants were firing into southern Israel. Nor did Benn note that Obama hasn’t addressed the people of China, India and many other countries.
Nevertheless, Benn’s article offered a window into how the Israeli media is reacting to Obama. “Israeli rightists have – in columns, articles and public statements – taken to calling the president by his middle name, Hussein, as proof of his pro-Arab tendencies,” Benn wrote.
Benn even cited criticism of Obama for his visit to the Nazi concentration camp at Buchenwald.
“Here [in Israel] we are taught that Zionist determination and struggle – not guilt over the Holocaust – brought Jews a homeland,” Benn wrote. “Mr. Obama’s speech, which linked Israel’s existence to the Jewish tragedy, infuriated many Israelis who sensed its closeness to the narrative of enemies like Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.”
Given the hostility that Obama has engendered among right-wing Israelis and the continued influence of neocons in the U.S. political/media system, Obama, like Carter, appears surrounded by powerful adversaries, also including many business interests and social conservatives.
Obama is further disadvantaged by the fact that over the past three decades since Carter’s presidency, the American Right has invested tens of billions of dollars to construct a vast media machine that disseminates its coordinated messages instantaneously all across the United States via print, radio, TV and the Internet.
Meanwhile, over that same period, American liberals and progressives essentially chose to ignore the need for a media infrastructure. Even old-time liberal outlets, like The New Republic and The Atlantic, were taken over by neocon moneymen.
So, the stage is set for a sustained war against Obama and his presidency, with what is likely to include both the ugliness of the personal assault on Clinton and the secret maneuvering that proved so devastating against Carter.

© 2009 Consortium News

Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek. His latest book, Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency of George W. Bush, was written with two of his sons, Sam and Nat. His two previous books are Secrecy & Privilege: The Rise of the Bush Dynasty from Watergate to Iraq and Lost History: Contras, Cocaine, the Press & ‘Project Truth’.

US Blackwater-Xe Mercenaries Spread Fear In Peshawar

US Blackwater-Xe Mercenaries Spread Fear In Peshawar

http://paknationalists.googlegroups.com/web/America-oil.jpg?gda=L6KB8EQAAABA1QUjtvc3E89f2UOw6gSz8Hdrn3pdPqU17JBit5ZGFQ8EDfGOmv7x4mmFtjMG609TCT_pCLcFTwcI3Sro5jAz5bIT5qJ-pLOFk1tclpjn4A

By Nadeem Sarwar and Aqeel Yousafzai

Deutsche Presse-Agentur [DPA]

Monday, 27 July 2009.

WWW.AHMEDQURAISHI.COM

PESHAWAR, Pakistan—Fear is spreading across University Town, an upmarket residential area in Pakistan’s north-western city of Peshawar, due to the overt presence of the controversial US private security contractor Blackwater.

Sporting the customary dark glasses and carrying assault rifles, the mercenaries zoom around the neighborhood in their black-colored armored Chevy Suburbans, and shout at motorists when occasionally stranded in a traffic jam.

The residents are mainly concerned about Blackwater’s reputation as a ruthless, unbridled private army whose employees face multiple charges of murder, child prostitution and weapons smuggling in Iraq.

‘Sometimes, these guys stand in the streets and behave rudely with the passers-by, sometimes they point guns at people without provocation’ said Imtiaz Gul, an engineer, whose home is a few hundred meters from the US contractor’s base on Chanar Road in University Town.

‘Who rules our streets, the Pakistani government or the Americans? They have created a state within the state,’ he added.

Repeated complaints to the authorities have been to no avail since, according to residents.

Blackwater provides security to the employees of Creative Associates International Inc. (CAII), an American company carrying out multi-million-dollar development projects in the country’s Islamic militancy-plagued Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA).

Founded in 1997 by Erik Prince, a former US Navy SEAL officer and a major contributor to Republican Party candidates, Blackwater has hired thousands of former military personnel from Western countries as well as other mercenaries from the Third World.

It emerged as the largest of the US Department of State’s private security companies, winning multi-million-dollar contracts globally, but attracted a lot of media attention in September 2007 when its personnel killed 17 civilians in an unprovoked shooting while escorting a convoy of US State Department vehicles to a meeting in Baghdad.

The firm is now facing a civil lawsuit filed in the US state of Virginia by those who were injured and who lost family members in the massacre.

The company faces charges of human rights violations, child prostitution and possible supply of weapons to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party, an Iraqi group designated by United Nations, European Union and NATO as a terrorist organization.  It has been declared persona non grata in Iraq.

To conceal its bad reputation, the shadowy company renamed itself Xe Worldwide in February 2009 and Prince resigned as its chief executive officer the following month.

In Pakistan, the Interior Ministry asked the regional governments of all four provinces to keep an eye on the activities of Blackwater in early 2008, immediately after it was believed to have been hired by CAII, according to a media report.

CAII works locally under the name of FATA Development Programme Government to Community (FDPGC).

Lou Fintor, a spokesman for the US embassy in Islamabad, said that Blackwater-Xe was not in any way associated with its missions in Pakistan. But the denial does not include the possibility that the security firm was working for a private US company.

Blackwater has recruited dozens of retired commandos from Pakistan’s army and elite police force through its local sub-contractors, said an intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some Pakistani security officials suggested that besides providing security to the aid workers, Blackwater was carrying out covert operations.

Among these were buying the loyalties of influential tribal elders and tracking the money flowing to al-Qaeda and Taliban through the national and international banks, something which perhaps goes far beyond the mandate of a private security firm.

Taliban and al-Qaeda militants who use the tribal regions to attack civilian and government targets inside Pakistan and NATO-led international forces in Afghanistan are also watching Blackwater’s moves.

On June 9, suicide bombers drove an explosive-laden vehicle into Peshawar’s sole five-star hotel, the Pearl Continental, after shooting the security guards, and detonated it at the side of the building where some Blackwater guards were staying.

Sixteen people died including four of the security firm’s personnel – two Westerners and the same number of locals.  Four more guards were injured.

The dead bodies and injured were moved quietly.  Neither the Pakistani government nor any foreign official admitted these deaths, apparently at the request of US officials.

‘Absolutely no comments,’ Qazi Jamil, the senior superintendent of police in Peshawar said abruptly when German Press Agency DPA asked him about the Blackwater deaths.

But a minister in the North-West Frontier Province government, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said he knew that some US private guards died but did not know how many and which firm they were from.

‘The provincial government was not directly dealing with the issue.  It’s the federal intelligence agencies that handled it,’ said the minister.

The possibility that Islamist militants might be plotting more attacks on the contractors is also a source of concern for many residents in University Town.

‘In the first week of July we requested the interior minister in a letter that targets like Blackwater should be kept away from the residential areas,’ said Ihsan Toro, a trader and member of council of citizens in University Town.

‘Al-Qaeda and the Taliban must be after them,’ added Toro.

This is a report by the German news agency DPA.