Leaderless Resistence

The US govt. has followed a policy of leader targeting since the days of SDS and the Black Panthers. The policy probably extended to anyone exhibiting the wrong leadership qualities–like Jim Morrison, William Cooper, Steve Kangas.This policy extends to military policy. See the New Afghan Paradigm

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India not to wind-up Kabul mission

India not to wind-up Kabul mission

PTI

NEW DELHI: India is looking at various options including scaling down operations of its missions in Afghanistan in the wake of terror attacks on Indians there.

Government is also planning to put all the Indians working in projects like power and road together to ensure their safety, reliable government sources said today.

This follows an assessment made by National Security Adviser Shivshankar Menon’s visit to Kabul last week in the wake of terror attack on Feb 26 on guest houses frequented by Indians in which seven Indians were killed.

Apart from the embassy in Kabul, Indian has consulates in Herat, Kandahar, Mazar-e-Sharif and Jalalabad.

The sources said that an advisory may also be issued asking all Indians in Afghanistan to return home.

They recalled that the operations of the Indian medical mission has already been put on hold after the Feb 26 attack in which the hand of Pakistan based LeT operatives is suspected.

Taliban terrorists, with backing from Pakistan’s ISI, had targeted the Indian embassy twice in the past. On July 7, 2008, 60 people, including four Indians–one IFS official and a brigadier-ranked official were killed in the attack, while on Oct 8 last year, four ITBP jawans were among those injured.

Understanding the New Afghan Paradigm

The key to understanding what

is going on in Afghanistan

 

The Obama/Kayani new deal for Afghanistan doesn’t acknowledge the breadth of cooperation and shared criminal conduct that went in to creating the Afghan turmoil, but it creates an agreement for taking advantage of what has gone down in the past.  Old assets are being revived, in order to transfer the war on Afghanistan’s southern front to the north.

 

Understand that the world’s terrorism problem which has been laid at Pakistan’s feet is an American creation.  The ongoing exposure of American terror operations in Iran, which originated on Pakistani soil, is not an isolated incident, but a key pattern followed by American foreign policy for decades.  The terror we imported to Yugoslavia is another case in point (SEE:  HERE ).  The Obama Administration, under the influence of the militant policy’s creator, Zbigniew Brzezinski, is embracing that past and taking advantage of some of those militant leaders to create new turmoil in northern Afghanistan to replace the war that is being temporarily repressed around Helmand, with Kandahar next.

The most vicious militants from S. Waziristan, mostly Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), were secretly moved by someone with large helicopters to northern Afghanistan over the past six months.  The trouble they have stirred-up there has created an opening for the introduction of the “new paradigm” troops of Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.  The arrest of Taliban commanders from this region has made it all possible.

TTP leaders evacuated by mysterious airlifts

At an October 11 news conference in Kabul, President Hamid Karzai had himself claimed that “some unidentified helicopters dropped armed men in the northern provinces at night.”

Could IMU Chief’s Death Curb Rebel Force in Afghanistan?

Uzbek fighters from the IMU have been stirring up trouble in northern Afghanistan for the past several months, according to security officials.

“Tahir Yuldash’s men have come to northern Afghanistan and have caused much of our recent insecurity,” said General Khalilullah Aminzada, security chief in Jowzjan province.

UN Lifted Taliban Travel Restrictions for Secret Meeting In Maldives

Hekmatyar’s Forces Attack Taliban In North Afghanistan

Colonel Imam: Key to the New Afghan Paradigm

The New Pakistan/American Afghan Paradigm

Arresting Taliban To Cover America’s Ass

Karzai due today in Pakistan

[SEE: The New Pakistan/American Afghan Paradigm]

Karzai due today in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Afghan President Hamid Karzai will arrive here today. This will be President Karzai’s first visit to Pakistan after his re-election last year.

During his stay, Karzai will meet President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani.

The visit will contribute towards further strengthening brotherly ties between Pakistan and Afghanistan and in deepening and broadening multifaceted cooperation, the Foreign Office statement said.

Colonel Imam: Key to the New Afghan Paradigm

[SEE: Hekmatyar’s Forces Attack Taliban In North AfghanistanArresting Taliban To Cover America’s Ass ;

The New Pakistan/American Afghan Paradigm]

Colonel Imam: Ideologue or pragmatist?

By Wasif Khan
Amir Sultan Tarar also known as Colonel Imam. — File photo

In a recent interview with the New York Times, the once renowned Colonel Imam made some very insightful remarks and dire predictions. For those unfamiliar with the name, Colonel Imam was an ISI operative who played a prominent role in recruiting and training resistance fighters during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. His list of students includes prominent ‘mujahideen’ commanders such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Ahmed Shah Masood. The Colonel worked closely with the Americans and Saudis to train, arm, and support the mujahideen throughout the Soviet occupation and beyond.

Following the emergence of the Taliban, he provided crucial tactical advice and training to this new and potent force, helping them sweep across the rugged country in a series of decisive battles. By his own admission, Colonel Imam was very close to Mullah Omar and spent a considerable amount of time with the Afghan Taliban leader following the September 11 terrorist attacks.

All told, the Colonel spent over two decades straddling the dangerous Pak-Afghan border and was deeply ingrained in the tumultuous affairs of Afghanistan and the border areas. He is undoubtedly an expert on the region and some would argue that his insight is invaluable. His views on the current state of affairs in the region are also certainly worth considering.

Colonel Imam’s last visit to Afghanistan ended right before the US invasion and his final advice to Mullah Omar was to engage the invading forces in a prolonged struggle using guerrilla tactics, instead of taking them head on. So far, it seems that the Taliban leader heeded his advice. From the initial US-led invasion to the recent operations in southern Afghanistan, the Taliban seem to have avoided direct large-scale confrontations with coalition forces. And for the most part, they have vacated their strongholds such as Marjah ahead of major operations.

The Taliban have focused on utilising guerrilla tactics such as ambushing convoys, attacking isolated outposts, and deploying IEDs to target western forces. Of course, they have also relied heavily on other tactics such as suicide bombings. Some would argue that the methods used by the Taliban reflect their weakness, since they have been unable to hold any territory against US-led attacks. On the flip side, and according to the view espoused by Colonel Imam, it can be argued that the Taliban have consciously chosen to operate in this manner. Realising that they cannot match western forces in terms of firepower and technology, the insurgents have decided to employ a strategy similar to the one used by mujahideen commanders against the Soviets: bleed the enemy to death with small cuts instead of a single decisive blow.

Consider this. Every time the Taliban successfully attack ISAF forces, they cause damage worth thousands if not millions of dollars, depending on the kind of equipment they destroy and the number of casualties they inflict. In the process, they lose a handful of men (that are easily replaced by a seemingly endless flow of recruits), some assault rifles, and perhaps a few hundred rounds of ammunition.

Similarly, with every successful suicide attack, they cause immense damage in terms of life and property and put a serious dent in the coalition forces’ morale — all this, at the expense of a brainwashed youth and a few kilograms of explosive material.

According to Colonel Imam, the recent arrests of senior Taliban commanders will not weaken the insurgency. He claims that the Afghan Taliban have evolved into a decentralised force, with field commanders leading self-sufficient units that operate independently. He predicts that President Obama’s troop surge will end in failure, since the increased number of American soldiers will only serve to provide the militants with bigger and more diverse targets, such as supply convoys, planes, and vehicles. Furthermore, he also believes that efforts to fracture the Taliban movement by weaning commanders away with bribes will not succeed, since committed militant commanders will not trade their loyalty for cash.

In an interview with the New York Times, Colonel Imam was full of praise for Mullah Omar and the Taliban movement. He described them as a force that brought stability to the war-torn country and all but ended the drug trade. He denied providing support to the insurgents, as some observers have suggested, but stressed the need to negotiate with the Taliban leadership, a view he has reiterated in a number of interviews over the past few years.

It is interesting to note that time and again the Colonel has insisted that Mullah Omar is a reasonable man who would be willing to negotiate and compromise with the Americans, given the right terms and conditions. In an interview with McClatchy in January, he even hinted at the possibility of acting as a liaison between the Americans and the Afghan Taliban leadership. Given his history of close links with both sides, it is entirely conceivable that Colonel Imam might play an important role in any future or ongoing talks with the Afghan insurgents. Of course, any such role would require the approval and active support of the ISI.

With rumours of secret negotiations and potential deals doing the rounds in the international media circuit, some reports already suggest that the US is actively seeking a compromise with the Afghan Taliban. Speculations of Saudi involvement in this process have also been made and it will be interesting to see if anything concrete develops over the next few months, and if so, how Pakistan and the Colonel would fit into the equation.

On his part, Colonel Imam makes no effort to conceal his ideological support for the Afghan Taliban. This support can possibly account for his particular views and predictions. That being said, his in-depth knowledge of the region and vast experience with key players involved in the conflict cannot be overlooked. If his predictions prove to be accurate, the implications for the region will be crucial. In the end, only time will tell if the enigmatic Colonel Imam is an ideologue dwelling in the past (as suggested by his detractors) or a grounded pragmatist with profound foresight.

The New Pakistan/American Afghan Paradigm

[SEE: UN Lifted Taliban Travel Restrictions for Secret Meeting In Maldives]

Taliban and Afghan Government held secret talks in the Maldives: report

Pakistan, US agree on new Afghan set-up

News Analysis By Absar Alam

ISLAMABAD: A strategic shift in Pakistan’s three-decade old Afghan policy has taken a quiet but effective shape as Islamabad has successfully negotiated a peace plan with Mustafa Zahir Shah, the grandson of late King Zahir Shah, who would play a key role in future political dispensation comprising all ethnic groups. “It is a strategic coup by Pakistan against rising Indian influence in Afghanistan,” an analyst tartly remarked commenting on the development. As Islamabad has agreed to untangle the complicated jihadist network fabricated by General Ziaul Haq in 1979, it has acquired ‘iron-clad’ guarantees from Washington and other world capitals to gain advantages not only in regional political and economic affairs but also to get peaceful nuclear technology related benefits, sources privy to the most significant development taking place in the region in more than quarter a century, claimed.

Prime Minister Gilani’s spokesperson Shabbir Anwar, when contacted, said Pakistan wanted peace in Afghanistan. “We will do whatever we can in strengthening of the political institutions in Afghanistan.”

Anwar, however, said the Foreign Office would be in a better position to comment on such a development. The foreign office spokesman could not be reached despite repeated attempts as his cell phone was switched off.

“Karzai is fast becoming a seat-warmer for Mustafa Zahir Shah,” a diplomat commented. “But the young leader will have to perform a very complicated balancing act by satisfying both sides of the ethnic divides in the world’s one of the least governable countries.”

To continue to have a political foothold in Afghanistan and counter Pakistan’s thriving liaison with Mustafa Zahir Shah and the Northern Alliance, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went to Saudi Arabia to get help in establishing contacts with Taliban. Saudi Arabia reportedly has refused to oblige.

According to the clinched deal, Islamabad would help cobble together a consensus political dispensation in Kabul comprising all ethnic groups, help ensure its stability, dismantle the dreaded militant infrastructure and carefully comb its security apparatus to avert the rise of radicalism. On all counts, Pakistan has already started delivering and brick-by-brick demolition of Jehadi infrastructure has already set in motion. A high-level Pakistani delegation held a final round of negotiations with Mustafa Zahir Shah and Northern Alliance in Kabul a couple of weeks ago.

Islamabad’s diplomatic circles are abuzz with this new, exciting development taking shape during the last few weeks. “To convince Mustafa Zahir Shah to lead, and make the leaderships of Northern Alliance and Taliban share power among themselves is a major breakthrough successfully engineered by Pakistan to reclaim its lost position in Afghanistan,” the sources said.

In addition to winning over the confidence of Mustafa Zahir Shah, the weaning off Northern Alliance from India is the most important milestone in Pakistan’s foreign policy as ties between the two sides had been strained for Islamabad’s tilt towards Taliban. As final touches are being given to level the rough contours of this win-win policy, the diplomatic sources in Islamabad are attributing great significance to the sudden dash of Chief of Army Staff General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani to Kabul over the weekend.

In return for the success of this policy, the sources claimed, Washington has given guarantees to Islamabad that it would support Pakistan’s efforts to buy nuclear power plants from France for peaceful purposes, limit India’s political role in Afghanistan and Pakistan would have the right to buy oil and gas on less-than-market price from the proposed oil and gas pipelines originating from Central Asia and Afghanistan to India. The royalty that Pakistan would earn on these energy pipelines passing through its territory would be in addition to the above benefits.

DG ISPR Maj-Gen Athar Abbas, when contacted to ask if Pakistani officials were engaged in negotiating such an understanding with the help of the US and the Nato in return for political and economic benefits of the country, he said: “It is a political issue and I have no comments”.

When asked about the high level contacts between Pakistani officials and Mustafa Zahir Shah and Northern Alliance leaders, Abbas said: “Not to my knowledge.” The arrests of top Taliban commanders from Mulla Abdul Ghani Baradar two weeks ago to Abu Yehya Gadan over the weekend is a testament to Islamabad’s sincere commitment with this new approach.

In his weekend visit Gen Kayani met Afghan President Hamid Karzai to, what the sources said, discuss his role, if any, in the new setup. Almost a week prior to Kayani’s visit to Kabul, a high-level delegation comprising officials who have been handling the Afghan strategy for decades, visited Kabul and met Mustafa to finalise the future peace plan for Afghanistan. The success has been reached following a series of behind-the-scene meetings in and outside Pakistan between Pakistani officials, Mustafa Zahir Shah, Saudi and US officials, and key leaders of Northern Alliance who have earlier been sceptical of Islamabad’s intentions.

The difference this time would be that Pakistan would ensure the acceptance of this new formula both by the Northern Alliance and Taliban with Mustafa Zahir Shah leading the brood. Sources claimed that the new plan would guarantee Pakistan’s political and economic interests in the region as well as the existence of a peaceful Afghanistan after the withdrawal of the US and the Nato troops.

The sources claimed that the establishment is quite serious now in reigning in radical elements who have been creating difficulties for Pakistan in the past. “Now they will not be given a free hand anymore and the elements within the establishment supporting such ideologies and activities would be sidelined in the next round of promotions starting from next month,” source said.

Lawmakers’ tiff reveals complex US-Pakistan ties

Lawmakers’ tiff reveals complex US-Pakistan ties

Experts point out that any newfound cooperation from Pakistan is not uniform across the government and its institutions, citing tensions between the military and President Asif Ali Zardari, the weak civilian president. — Photo by Reuters

WASHINGTON: A weekend tiff involving lawmakers from Pakistan’s tribal areas and airport security personnel in the United States underscores how tough it is to reverse years of US-Pakistani mistrust.

The six lawmakers were en route from Washington to New Orleans on Saturday when two were tagged for further screening at the capital’s airport — scrutiny they found insulting. They scrapped their two-week US trip, which was sponsored by the State Department, and went home midway through.

The airport incident was splashed across Pakistani media on their return, with the parliamentarians claiming they were told they would not be subject to full-body electronic scans.

Washington says those assurances were not given.

“This situation could have been avoided,” said an official at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said he regretted how the procedures were perceived by the lawmakers. A US airport security official said the measures were “an essential part” of the multilayered approach to keep the public safe.

Either way, the outcome was embarrassing for the Obama administration and feeds into a pattern of Pakistani hostility and suspicions over US intentions in the region.

“We are genuinely trying to improve relations but it doesn’t mean there will not be misunderstandings along the way,” said Larry Schwartz, a senior spokesman for the US Embassy in Islamabad, who accompanied the parliamentarians.

While in Washington, the group met State Department officials, including the special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, as well as members of Congress.

The program is one of many by the United States to boost people-to-people ties but the discordant ending to the visit underlines how hard it is to reach that goal.

“It is impossible to characterise the US-Pakistan relationship both historically and today in anything but the most complex and contradictory terms,” said Alexander Thier from the US Institute of Peace.

“Behaviour on both sides is duplicitous. The Pakistanis do not feel they are equal or respected partners by the United States. They feel mistreated.”

Security cooperation

The trust deficit, said former US ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlin, is one of the chief obstacles to improvements in the relationship.

“The majority of Pakistanis distrust the United States because they believe we favour military dictators over civilian leaders and we are quick to abandon economic aid once we have achieved our security goals,” she said.

There have been signs recently of better understanding, with Washington praising Pakistan after the arrest in Karachi of a top Afghan Taliban commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar.

But the high-level arrest raised questions over whether the detention had more to do with Pakistan securing its own interests in the region than helping Washington as it fights militants in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Why Pakistan chose to arrest Baradar at this time and the circumstances of the detention are also unclear, with a variety of explanations from apparent promises by Washington to put more pressure on India to a role for Islamabad in reconciliation talks with the Taliban.

Experts point out that any newfound cooperation from Pakistan is not uniform across the government and its institutions, citing tensions between the military and President Asif Ali Zardari, the weak civilian president.

Moreover, any shift in government and military ties has not yet translated into a boost in public sentiment, with deep suspicion over US-funded projects after Congress passed $1.5 billion a year in new civilian aid over the next five years.

“I don’t think the Obama administration has found the key yet towards more favourably influencing public opinion,” said James Dobbins, an expert on the region with Rand Corporation.

What Pakistan’s government says in public is often not reflected in private conversations with US officials.

For example, Pakistan’s government does not broadcast support for US pilotless drone attacks against militants because of public anger over those strikes but US officials say it has endorsed them privately.

Japan confirms Cold War-era secret nuclear pacts with US

Japan confirms Cold War-era secret nuclear pacts with US

It’s a good thing for democracy, given that previous governments have been telling blunt lies to the public’

Wednesday, March 10, 2010
TOKYO: Japan confirmed for the first time on Tuesday the existence of once-secret Cold War-era pacts with the US that tacitly allowed nuclear-armed warships to enter Japanese ports in violation of Tokyo’s postwar principles.

While declassified US documents have already confirmed such 1960s agreements, Tuesday’s revelation broke with decades of official denials.

The investigation by a government-mandated panel is part of Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama’s campaign to rein in the power of bureaucrats and make his government, which was elected to power last year, more open than that of the long-ruling conservatives, who repeatedly denied the existence of such pacts.

“It’s regrettable that such facts were not disclosed to the public for such a long time, even after the end of the Cold War era,’’ Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada told a news conference, adding that the investigation was meant to restore public trust in Japan’s diplomacy.

The panel examined documents surrounding four pacts, including Tokyo’s tacit permission that US nuclear-armed warships could make calls at Japanese ports – a violation of Japan’s so-called three non-nuclear principles not to make, own or allow the entry of atomic weapons.

There is strong aversion to nuclear weapons in Japan, the only country to suffer atomic bombings – in Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of World War II.

Speculation about the existence of such secret agreements have been swirling in Japan for years so the panel’s findings most likely will simply confirm public suspicions rather than shock or anger people. Some are also aware of US documents about these matters.

Analysts welcomed the move as a positive step toward more transparency in the Japanese government but said it probably won’t revive the sagging popularity of Hatoyama’s government or affect US-Japan ties, which have grown strained recently because of a dispute about relocating a key Marine base on the southern island of Okinawa.

“It’s a good thing for Japanese democracy, given that the previous governments have been telling blunt lies to the public,’’ said Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University in Tokyo.

“But I don’t think it’s going to have a short-term impact on the government’s popularity,’’ he said. “A lot of people look at this as something that belongs to history.’’

Under a security alliance with the US, some 47,000 American troops are stationed in Japan, and the US protects the country under its nuclear umbrella.

Okada said it was possible that before 1991, when the US stopped carrying battle-ready nuclear weapons, American warships might have had nuclear weapons as they entered Japanese waters or entered Japanese ports.

Reacting to the six-member panel’s findings, summarised in a 108-page report, Hatoyama said there would be no changes to Japan’s non-nuclear policy.

The panel, led by University of Tokyo professor Shinichi Kitaoka, said that while documents showed that Washington and Tokyo appeared to have differing interpretations about allowing nuclear-armed ships into Japanese waters, it was likely that Tokyo and Washington shared an unspoken understanding permitting them to make port calls in Japan without consent.

US concerned over Ahmadinejad’s Afghan visit

US concerned over Ahmadinejad’s Afghan visit

BAGHDAD: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived on Wednesday for a visit to Afghanistan, after Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said he was wary of Tehran’s influence in the country.

With careful timing that Gates described as “clearly fodder for all conspiratorialists,” Ahmadinejad arrived in Kabul just before Gates departed at the end of his own three-day visit.

Earlier this week, Gates accused Tehran of playing a “double game” in Afghanistan, professing support for President Hamid Karzai’s government while trying to undermine the U.S.-led military effort that protects it.

Gates also said the Afghanistan visit by the Iranian president is quite troublesome.

Speaking to reporters before departing on Wednesday, Gates said he had told Karzai Washington wanted Kabul to have “good relations with all of its neighbors.”

“But we also want all of Afghanistan’s neighbors to play an up front game dealing with the government of Afghanistan.”

Washington, which will have 100,000 troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year, says it believes Iran provides some support for militants there, although not nearly on the same scale as in Iraq, another Iranian neighbor where U.S. troops are fighting.

The Afghan insurgency is mainly led by Sunni Islamists, who are long sworn enemies of Shi’ite Iran.

Iran has wide and growing influence in Afghanistan, especially in the west of the country where it has important economic ties.

Millions of Afghans were refugees in Iran during three decades of war, and a dialect of Iran’s Farsi language is one of the two state languages in Afghanistan.

Tehran blames Western military intervention in Afghanistan for causing instability. Iran was the only major regional country to reject an invitation to an international conference on Afghanistan in London in January.

However, despite their suspicions, Western countries have praised Tehran’s efforts in combating the drug trade. Iran has a serious heroin addiction problem, while Afghanistan produces nearly all the world’s opium used to make the drug.

Karzai is due to fly to Pakistan later on Wednesday, meeting the leadership of another big neighbor.

Toyota/GM Trash-Talking Heats Up

California Prius incident probed; GM offers criticized

BY JUSTIN HYDE
FREE PRESS WASHINGTON STAFF

WASHINGTON — As Toyota sought to contain the fallout from a California sudden-acceleration case caught on camera, its dealers accused General Motors of offering predatory incentives using federal money.

The Japanese automaker and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration dispatched investigators to San Diego to analyze the 2008 Toyota Prius belonging to James Sikes, 61. Sikes called the California Highway Patrol on Monday evening reporting that his Prius was accelerating out of his control, hitting speeds of up to 94 m.p.h.

“I pushed the gas pedal to pass a car and it did something kind of funny,” Sikes said at a news conference. “It jumped and it just stuck there.”

An officer pulled alongside the Prius, and over a loudspeaker told Sikes to pull the emergency brake and press the regular brake hard. Sikes was able to slow the car and shut it off after 20 minutes.

The incident happened a few miles from the site of the Santee crash last August that spurred Toyota to recall 5.6 million vehicles for mechanical defects that could lead to sudden acceleration — including Sikes’ Prius, which was covered by the floor-mat recall.

But Sikes said he had taken his Prius to his Toyota dealer and was told it wasn’t covered. Toyota said in a statement that the repairs for the Prius had not yet been sent to dealers. The automaker had told owners to remove the driver’s-side floor mats until the repairs could be made, but Sikes had left the floor mat in his vehicle.

Toyota reiterated Tuesday that the Prius was under recall. It had said last year that it could take months for all of the recalled vehicles to be fixed.

In another sign of the pressure facing Toyota, its national dealer panel accused GM of using “taxpayer dollars to fund … a nationwide predatory advertising campaign.” Shortly after Toyota began its recalls last month, GM began incentives for Toyota owners that now include zero-percent financing and up to $1,000 cash back.

“It is outrageous that GM is using our taxpayer dollars against us, making me and other Toyota dealers pay to undermine our own businesses,” said Paul Atkinson, president of Toyota’s U.S. dealer council.

GM’s move was matched by other automakers. Last week, Toyota launched an incentive campaign of its own after a 9% drop in February sales.

“We understand why Toyota dealers would be frustrated, but they know better,” said GM spokesman Kerry Christopher. “Incentives have always been a part of the auto business.”

Contact JUSTIN HYDE: 202-906-8204.