Mike Vickers, Master of Low-Intensity Conflict, Visiting Lebanon

US Assistant Secretary of Defense in Lebanon: Any Mission?

Readers Number : 499

30/07/2010 US Assistant Secretary of Defense for Special Operations and Low Intensity Conflict Michael Vickers is in Beirut.

His “suspicious” visit is enough to raise tens of question marks about the “mission” the US Defense official is seeking to accomplish in Lebanon as well as the timing of his visit.

The visit comes after another tour made by US Assistant Secretary of Defense Alexander Vershbow in South Lebanon and his meeting with the UNIFIL leadership, given that there is no American unit within the international forces.

Yet, most Lebanese don’t know a lot about their latest American guest whose “suspicious visit” to their country is “calmly” taking place without serious media coverage.

Actually, Vickers’ main “mission” is that no body knows anything about his mission. He’s an ambiguous man, believed to be the expert in Special Operation that determines the course of any crisis or war.

Vickers served as a Special Forces NCO, later as a commissioned officer, and CIA paramilitary operations officer. In the mid-1980s, Vickers became involved with Operation Cyclone, the CIA program during the Soviet war in Afghanistan. He was the head military strategist for the US, coordinating an effort that involved ten countries and providing direction to forces made up of over 500,000 Afghan fighters.

Later he was Senior Vice President, Strategic Studies, at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments (CSBA), during which he provided advice on Iraq strategy to US President George H.W. Bush and his war cabinet. In July 2007 he was confirmed by the United States Senate as Assistant Secretary of Defense, where he is the senior civilian advisor to the US Secretary of Defense on such matters as “counter-terrorism” strategy and operational employment of special operations forces, strategic forces, and conventional forces.

Vickers, who’s believed to favor noisy wars such as those launched by Bush, believes in the theory stating that using a much smaller force is better in wars to accurately fight targets.

Before visiting Beirut, the US guest got the green light from the Pentagon. He formed since 2007 trained groups with the mission of ending organization classified by his administrations as terrorist, with the cooperation of local security authorities in a number of countries, including Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, Pakistan, Somalia and Philippines.

Finally, it might not be a “coincident” the concurrence of the visit of the “mafia man,” as labeled by one of those who worked with him for years, with the predictions of new assassinations in the upcoming stage.

Col. Imam: An Alternative View of the Afghan Campaign—(updated)

Brigadier Amir Sultan Tarar AKA ‘Colonel Imam’, a veteran Pakistan Army officer and Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) operative is widely believed to have played a key role in the formation of the Taliban.


Excerpts from the RT interview with Former Pakistani ISI Operative, Brigadier Amir Sultan Tarar

Brigadier Amir Sultan Tarar AKA ‘Colonel Imam’, a veteran Pakistan Army officer and Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) operative is widely believed to have played a key role in the formation of the Taliban, after having helped train the Afghan Mujahideen;on behalf of the United States in the 1980s. Tarar is a graduate of Pakistan’s Military Academy, he is a commando-Guerrilla warfare specialist, trained at the U.S. Special Operations School in Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Western intelligence sources suspect he continues to support the Taliban today, and is active among a group of ex-ISI officers.

010 Brig. Tarar broke silence giving rare interviews to local Pakistani, Western (New York Times) and Russian (Russian TV) media. The main cause of these interviews seem to be part of a Taliban attempt to deal with the new American strategy, that moves to convince the ‘people of Afghanistan’ to withdraw from the fight, lay down their arms and accept NATO’s terms. Part of this strategy was a U.S. offer to pay Taliban half a billion dollar to lay down their arms, an offer taken as a direct insult to the Afghan warfighters.

The military leaders are willing to negotiate with the U.S. over the current situation” Brig. Tarar said, but he immediately states that the Afghans will never be defeated. “This country has been the graveyard of empires.” Tarar opened, describing the Afghans as proud people, not scared to sacrifice their lives. “Afghanis take courage in defending their country and that’s what they are doing today” He said. When faced with overwhelming opponents, the Afghans just disappear in to the mountains, they were never subdued. In his interview in the Russian TV, Tarar complemented the Russians as a worthy enemy, much superior in ground battle to the current British, American and NATO troops. “The Spetznatz (Russian Special Forces) were formidable people.” Tarar said, “When they came on to the field the Afghans Mojahideens didn’t know how to handle them. For about six months the afghans were forced back, they could not carry out any actions because their fear of the Spetznatz. Ultimately, they revised their own techniques and all that and the Spetznatz were also reined in.”

Had the Americans not interfered after the Russian departure, things would have been totally different, Tarar complains, “America abandoned the Mojahideen, and supported the criminals against them – those Mujahideen who made America a superpower and this is where the problem occurred.” America has to give reassurance not to fight a war but helping with rehabilitation. A lot of damage has been done to this country. We need to extend a hand through Pakistan to these people.

Tarar highlights NATO’s main weakness in the fact that their people are not prepared to fight while the Taliban are prepared to die for their cause. “It is not the technology or money; it is the superior faith, the religious faith, the faith to defend one’s country, the stronger faith to defeat occupying forces, and a very superior faith to defend ones’ religion. This is a very strong thing – nobody can defeat them!”

As an experienced warfighter Tarar is realistic to admit that wars cannot be won by faith alone. “Apart from that (Taliban) they have a lot of experience, at present they have been at war for more than 30 years; a bulk of them – about 80% were born during the war. The terrain is most suited to defend the area, to defend the people, and this is what the Americans are facing. In their present surge, maybe they will kill more people, mostly civilian people, maybe some Talibans, but ultimately they will be finished.” Tarar is hopeful that negotiation between the right parties could lead to some kind of reconciliation. He is confident that the Taliban leader, Mula Omar is the one person the Americans should negotiate with, not hunt down.

Tarar is believed to have been the trainer of Mullah Omar and other Taliban factions back in his days with the Mojahideen. He has high appreciation to his former trainee: “Among all the (Afghan) leaders Mula Omar he is the most sensible man.” Tarar said, “That is why he is respected by the majority of the (Afghan) people. The (other) elder people have a lot of respect for them, they fought very well against the Soviets, but at this moment they have been negated, nobody has much of a following compared to Mula Omar Mujaheed… He is today the biggest leader, and highly respected, and people are with him. Surely he will listen to every negotiation attempt. But can Americans be trusted?” Asked Tarar, alluding to the recent proposal to ‘buy off’ Taliban for $500 million. “If they can carry out this bribe strategy it is a shameless conduct. This term will become part of a military strategy people will laugh at.” Tarar considers such offers an act of weakness “This will not work as people will see that their victory is coming.”

Brigadier Amir Sultan Tarar AKA ‘Colonel Imam’, a veteran Pakistan Army officer and Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) operative is widely believed to have played a key role in the formation of the Taliban.

What if Mula Omar is eliminated? Could such a loss shake the Taliban into a defeat? Tarar recommends talking, not shooting: “He is a man, if you do not talk to him how can you have success with dialog? You have to talk to the right person. If Mula Omar is not there, other people are there, they are going to come out. It is better that Mula Omar remains, otherwise there will be hell in this area. Tarar explains the unique belief that makes these leaders immortal in the hearts of their followers “The leadership has the soul of the holly prophet. Mula Mohammed who was martyred in ancient times, had the soul of Mula Umar, and people still respect him today. After they buried him they start fighting, at that time they were weak. Many people were killed – but they had a convincing and rightful cause, that kept their struggle. It is a credit to become a prisoner and to be killed is an honor.”

Tarar does not expect the current NATO offensive in Southern Afghanistan to be defeat the Taliban. “The Americans and NATO have enough bombs to kill everyone in Marja, they have been doing that for some time…but this will not defeat the Taliban… After a month or so, reinforcements will be coming from all over the world, Russians, Uzbeks and Tajiks, even without the approval of their governments or their families, they will come” Said Tarar. Tarar don’t think the Taliban or Mojahideen are capable of defeating the NATO forces as well. “They do not have the resources. The American soldier has the technology, but lack the faith – the sacrifice is not there, that’s why they can’t win the war. The Mojahideen have this superior factor, more superior than technology, but because of their other limitations – resources and finances, they cannot throw the Americans out of Afghanistan. But they can wear down the Americans, the way the Russians were worn down. It was then that Gorbachov gave orders to leave the area.” Tarar concludes. He explains that the Taliban knew to take advantage of the unique cultural background of Afghan people for their benefit “The vast majority of Afghans are not Taliban, but are tribal people that follow Pashtun culture that praise revenge. If somebody kills your men, you kill ten of his. Our religion (Islam) doesn’t say this. It says someone kills your men, you take revenge – you kill that man. These codes of action were quite effective when the Taliban took over the country and fought for domination against the oppositions. Religion, Pashtun culture and blood relations between each other unite many of the Afghans against outsiders.”

Mullah Omar steps in to save Col Imam

Former ISI official Colonel Imam. — File photo
[It came down to this for Pakistan and the US–free Col. Imam, or game over. (SEE: “Whatever game is being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America, I know about all of it.”)  It is very doubtful that the ISI thought it possible that Imam would ever make the ultimatum that he did.  Look for this old man to die in the very near future, now that he has become a serious threat.]

ISLAMABAD: Former ISI official Colonel Imam and a British journalist of Pakistani origin Asad Qureshi were released on Thursday in North Waziristan by a militant group calling itself the Asian Tigers.

The group belongs is believed to be operating in North Waziristan and kidnapped the two on March 26, 2010. Among the people abducted was former ISI official Khalid Khwaja, who was recently killed by the group.

Khwaja’s body was found near a stream in Karam Kot, about seven kilometres south of North Waziristan’s main town of Mirali.

Locals said they had seen Khwaja’s body, but did not pick it up for fear of attacks from the militants.

A senior official said a jirga of residents and clerics deputed by the local administration finally retrieved Khwaja’s body.

Officials said Khwaja’s body was taken to Islamabad and handed over to his family. A note was found with his body which said that Khwaja was working for the Americans and anybody working for them would meet the same fate. — DawnNews

Mullah Omar steps in to save Col Imam


PESHAWAR: Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Muhammad Omar has reportedly sent a jirga to negotiate the safe release of kidnapped former Inter Services Intelligence officials Colonel Imam, who was abducted along with his murdered ex-colleague Khalid Khwaja.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Javed Pracha claimed that a jirga sent by Mullah Omar has reached Miranshah to hold talks with the kidnappers without any preconditions. The Asian Tigers, the group which claimed to have kidnapped both Imam, Khwaja and a British journalist of Pakistan origin, had asked Pracha to negotiate with the government.

A leaking war

[Depending upon what happens in Kandahar, the scenario that finally plays-out in Afghanistan could be very similar to the one described in the following report.  In the end, the US may well leave behind a partitioned Afghanistan, with one half belonging to Sunni Taliban and the other to Tajik and Uzbek Northern Alliance.  If that is the American solution, then “Pashtunistan” would be the logical next step.]

A leaking war

Indrani Bagchi, TOI Crest

DRIVING IT HOME: A boy rides on a bike with his father in Afghanistan.Experts now suggest that the international community should work to secure the northern and western areas of the country,which still have a relatively thin Taliban presence
Sultan Amir Tarar,aka ‘Colonel Imam’,is a retired brigadier-general in Pakistan’s ISI.A self-confessed trainer and Taliban supporter,he apparently oversaw the first Taliban takeover of Herat in 1995,and is reputed to have trained the formidable Mullah Omar.Since 9/11,he has been an outspoken advocate of the Taliban.He was believed to have been captured in April 2010 by a splinter group of the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (earlier supported by the ISI,but now a big part of what is known as the Punjabi Taliban).On Tuesday,Col Imam released a video in which he threatened to reveal the weaknesses of the Pakistan government if they did not secure his release by freeing a clutch of LEJ terrorists from Pakistani jails.

Whether we have a Pakistan version of WikiLeaks in the making is secondary.What is of greater importance is the tangled web of Pakistan government assistance to the Taliban and associated terror groups,their apparent blowback inside Pakistan and the future of Afghanistan and the US-led war in there.And why,despite WikiLeaks,nothing will change.

The 92,000 US military documents made public by WikiLeaks,a whistle-blowing organisation,early this week were intriguing.They detailed the grim reality of the war: the hunt to kill insurgent leaders,the death of Afghan civilians,the unreliability of Afghan forces,the corruption of political leaders and Pakistan’s perfidy.One “knew this all along”,but somehow the proof in black and white still robbed you of your breath.

For the US,though,the leaks are not going to change policy on the ground in Afghanistan.This became clear when US president Barack Obama got Congress to clear a $59 billion war funding bill,a couple of days after the WikiLeaks expose.It may not be a “blank cheque”,but the cheque is nonetheless substantial.Moreover,experts point out that the revelations contain few surprises.Says terrorism analyst Bill Roggio,”The documents really do not shed any new light on the situation there,and I do not perceive the public to be upset enough to pressure the government over Pakistan’s complicity in the Afghan war.”

The US has been careful not to openly criticise Pakistan or its army chief Ashfaq Kayani (who was DG ISI during much of the time in question and,therefore,responsible for running the Taliban),because ultimately,the US needs Pakistan.It needs Pakistan’s cooperation to target Taliban/al-Qaida operatives and leaders in northwestern Pakistan;it needs to keep Pakistan stable;it needs Kayani on their side so he can go after some parts of the Taliban;most important,it needs him to ensure their supplies travel from Karachi to Khyber without being torched or attacked.

Despite the importance of Kayani,who got a three-year extension,there is a subtle shift in the US stance.It sent a strong signal when it banned some of Pakistan’s favourite terrorists in the Haqqani network.Politically,the pressure on Pakistan is only likely to intensify.Hillary Clinton fired off on the Pakistan government knowing where Osama bin Laden was.But a stronger message was sent via British prime minister David Cameron.”I choose my words very carefully.It is unacceptable for anything to happen within Pakistan that is about supporting terrorism elsewhere.It is well-documented that that has been the case in the past,and we have to make sure that the Pakistan authorities are not looking two ways,” he told BBC Today.These remarks were promptly endorsed by the US State Department,which means the UK and US may be reading from the same sheet of music.

But that’s pressure Pakistan has been able to withstand all these years.Certainly,under Kayani,there has been greater clarity that Pakistan would pursue its own interests regardless of what Washington thought of them.Ultimately,Pakistan wants to bring together all the Taliban/Islamist groups to form part of the power structure in Kabul.

Unfortunately for Pakistan,this goal is going to become more and more difficult to achieve,particularly as the Taliban groups – like the Afghan,Pakistani and Punjabi Taliban as well as non-Taliban groups like the Haqqani network and Lashkar-e-Taiba – slip in and out of each other’s lives.That’s how a group like Lashkar-e-Jhangvi,a creation of the Pakistan establishment,appears to have gone over to the dark side.The Haqqanis are close to the Pakistan army,but not so all the other Taliban groups.Pakistan’s balancing act will become more and more difficult as these groups make common cause in their dislike for the Pakistani establishment and as a new generation of Taliban leaders take over the reins,one with more tenuous links with the Pak army.

Antonio Guistozzi at The Century Foundation,who has written perhaps the most authoritative study in recent times,’Negotiating with the Taliban’,puts it clearly.”The Pakistani army clearly sees the Taliban as a useful tool for its geopolitical ambitions in Afghanistan,but among the Taliban,the Pakistani patron is far from popular.Apart from Haqqani and his network (always the closest to the Pakistanis),the other networks tolerate Pakistani influence rather than appreciate it.To some extent,the distinction between Afghan and Pakistani Taliban is arbitrary.”

Despite this,Pakistan will continue to play the Taliban and the US,because its ultimate enemy is India,and it needs to secure itself with US aid against what it believes is a rampaging India.To the extent that the US negotiates for an honourable exit from Afghanistan,the Americans will continue to play this game,intermittently letting their anger get the better of them.

George Friedman of Stratfor,a global intelligence company,puts it in a geopolitical context.The Taliban know they are not being defeated on home turf.Pakistan knows the US is leaving but will continue to need the US as their security against India.And the US will support Pakistan because it doesn’t want to have India as the sole regional power here.”Since the US wants neither an India outside a balance of power nor China taking the role of Pakistan’s patron,it follows that the risk the US will bear grudges is small.And given that,the Pakistanis can live with Washington knowing that one Pakistani hand is helping the Americans while another helps the Taliban.”

The churn on Afghan policy in the wake of WikiLeaks converges with a growing assessment among experts that the US is prosecuting affairs wrongly in Afghanistan.

In the past few years,Guistozzi points out,the Taliban have been extending their governance outreach in the southern and eastern provinces of Afghanistan,where they are in control.On the other hand,between the Nato-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and Afghan government,the record has been dismal because they’re spending more time securing themselves.In fact,many have suggested that the international community work harder to secure the northern and western areas of Afghanistan,which still has a relatively thinner Taliban presence.

Last week,this idea was sharply articulated by Robert Blackwill,former US ambassador to India and deputy national security adviser in the Bush administration.”Washington should move to ensure that north and west Afghanistan do not fall too,using,for many years to come,US air power and special forces – some 40,000-50,000 troops along with the Afghan army and the help of like-minded nations.Such a de facto partition would be a profoundly disappointing outcome to America’s 10 years in Afghanistan.But,regrettably,it is now the best that can realistically and responsibly be achieved.” This would be a de-facto partitioning of Afghanistan,enabling the US and the international community to arm and fund the erstwhile Northern Alliance or the non-Taliban Pashtuns (if any).

Pakistan won’t like it,because it could spawn the cancer of Pashtunistan again.But the idea has gathered resonance among many Afghan watchers,though there is no sign the Obama administration is anywhere close to that yet.Even if it isn’t,it’s a good way of ensuring greater Pakistani cooperation for the US project in Afghanistan.

But helping the non-Taliban forces in Afghanistan in the wake of a US withdrawal is exactly what countries like India,Iran,Uzbekistan,Tajikistan and Russia plan on doing.India will not countenance an extremist Sunni configuration in Kabul.Iran,though it has been funding some Taliban groups in the past couple of years,is equally clear that a Sunni dispensation in Kabul is against its interests as is Russia – a conclusion sharpened after the recent terror attacks in Moscow.China will continue to play the Pakistan card,so despite extremist threats to its Xinjiang province,China is not likely to get into the act here.

The WikiLeaks revelations are not about to change the course or direction of the war.The foreseeable future will depend on how the coming Kandahar offensive by General Petraeus plays out,not by whistleblowers.The damning truth is less the documents than the fact that most of this was known and the war continues to be lost.That’s the reality laid bare by WikiLeaks.

Nabucco Consortium Delays Bidding On Pipe and Valves for Project

Nabucco consortium postpones pre-qualification tender

Azerbaijan, Baku, July 30 / Trend A. Badalova /

Nabucco gas pipeline consortium, designed to transport gas from the Caspian region and the Middle East to the EU countries, postponed the pre-qualification tender for the supply of pipes.  Bloomberg reported that with reference to the representative of the “Nabucco” project in Vienna Gabriele Egartner that the cause of delay was the large number of applications for participation in the tender.

“Now we have more participants than expected”, Egartner said.

She said that the tender will be continued, as soon as a list of contenders is checked.

The consortium announced about the beginning of the pre-qualification tender for the supply of durable goods (pipes, valves) for the construction of Nabucco gas pipeline in April. The total cost of the tender package is 3,5 billion euros.

One of the parties which declared its interest in participating in the tender was German company Europipe.

The Nabucco gas pipeline project worth 7.9 billion euro envisages gas supplies from the Caspian region to EU countries. Participants are the Austrian OMV, Hungarian MOL, Bulgarian Bulgargaz, Romanian Transgaz, Turkish Botas and German RWE. Each has an equal 16.67-percent share.

Construction is planned to launch in 2011, with first supplies being commissioned in 2014.

Do you have any feedback? Contact our journalist at capital@trend.az

Hypocritical Congress Still Refuses To Provide Help For 911 Workers

9/11 responders bill fails, parties point fingers

From Jeff Simon, CNN

Washington (CNN) — A verbal flash-fire erupted on the House floor Thursday night over nine-year battle to pass a benefits bill for emergency workers who were first on the scene of the 9/11 attacks.

Frustrated with Republican votes against the $7.4 billion measure because Democrats suspended the rules to prevent them from offering unrelated amendments — and at the same time requiring a two-thirds majority to pass — Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner excoriated the minority party.

“It’s Republicans wrapping their arms around Republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heroes,” Weiner said during an impassioned, 90-second speech. “It is a shame. A shame! If you believe this is a bad idea to provide health care–then vote no! But don’t give me the cowardly view that ‘Oh, if it was a different procedure.'”

The bill failed to get the 291 votes it needed for passage, polling just 255 votes. But that 255 votes easily surpassed the 218 needed for a simple majority. Democratic New York Rep. Carolyn Maloney — the sponsor of the bill who has been working on the legislation since just after terrorist attacks — is working to convince her party’s leadership to hold a simple majority vote before the ninth anniversary of the attacks. She told CNN Friday that passing the bill under suspension rules was “a very high bar.”

“My goal is to have it on the floor again under regular rule, majority rule, which would require only 218 votes. We clearly had the 218 votes to pass it,” Maloney said.

Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, another Republican, opposed the legislation on the basis of cost. He called the bill an “irresponsible overreach” that “does not contain the necessary protections to safeguard taxpayer dollars from abuse, waste and fraud.”

“I think this is another example of the Democrats’ insatiable appetite for the taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars,” Smith said Thursday night on the House floor.

But Rep. Pete King, R-New York — who actually voted in favor of the bill — tipped the debate in another direction, focusing on the Democratic tactic that kept the Republicans from offering up an amendment on illegal immigration.

“But what we are doing tonight is a cruel hoax and a charade,” King said from the House floor, every bit as passionately as Weiner would moments later. “Everyone knows that this bill will not get the two-thirds majority required on the suspension calendar. Everyone also knows that this bill would pass with a clear majority if the Democrat leadership would allow it to come to the floor under the regular procedures of the House.

“The reason H.R. 847 is not being brought up under regular order is because the majority party is petrified of having its members face a potential vote on illegal immigration,” he said. “You can blame it on the Republicans — and I’ve been strongly critical on the Republican position on this issue — but the reality is you could pass this bill if you wanted to.”

King’s words set off Weiner.

“It takes great courage to wait until all Members have already spoken and then stand up and wrap your arms around procedure,” Weiner began. “We see it in the United States Senate every single day when Members say, ‘We want amendments. We want debate. We want amendments, but we’re still a ‘no.” And then we stand up and say, ‘Oh, if only we had a different process, we’d vote yes.

“You vote yes if you believe yes,” he said. “You vote in favor of something if you believe it’s the right thing. If you believe it’s the wrong thing, you vote no.”

King tried to interject, but Weiner refused to yield the floor.

“The gentleman gets up and yells, trying to intimidate people into believing he’s right — he is wrong!” Weiner shouted. “The gentleman is wrong! The gentleman is providing cover for his colleagues rather than doing the right thing!”

“I will not stand here and listen to my colleague say, ‘Oh, if only I had a different procedure that allows us to stall, stall, stall and then vote no.’ Instead of standing up and defending your colleagues and voting no on this humane bill, you should urge them to vote yes, something the gentleman has not done,” Weiner concluded, punctuating his final words with an index finger in the air.

King told CNN Friday that if the bill went to simple majority vote he “would sit with the Democrats all day and defend the bill against the Republicans.”

Weiner defended his outburst and acknowledged that many people are unhappy with what they see as partisan bickering in Congress, but he said that many people may not understand what’s actually happening. Suspending the rules for certain votes, he said, “is a common procedure … used all the time.”

“Frankly, it was beyond a lot of people’s understanding why anyone would want to politicize this and make it a long, drawn-out fight,” he told CNN.

ISI sent 1000 motorcycles to Mawlawi Jalaludin Haqqani

“On 25 April, 2007, ISI sent 1000 motorcycles to Mawlawi Jalaludin Haqqani for suicide attacks in Khowst and Lowgar Province.”


Cards of Pakistani Intelgence Ageces Men Involved Attack on JSQM Rally


KARACHI: Witnesses term Tahir Plaza attack ‘pre-planned arson’

Educationist shot dead by the BLA in Quetta

LeB claims responsibility for Pak naval base attack

The Motorcycle Assassins of Pakistan Strike Again and Again, With Impugnity

Our mission of self-destruction

Two BSO-Azad activists gunned down in Khuzdar

Acidifying two little sisters

Residence of police official attacked with grenade

Security forces apprehended four suspects

2 FC men among dozen injured in Quetta blast

11 dead, 30 hurt in Karachi blast

Third gun attack on brigadier in Islamabad

WikiLeaks Expose: Time to snub Pakistan and the US–(Sify)

WikiLeaks Expose: Time to snub Pakistan and the US

Ramananda Sengupta | 2010-07-30 12:59:18
​S M Krishna<br>

Iyou asked anyone in India, there’s nothing new in WikiLeaks’ recent revelations about Pakistani perfidy.

But what the leaks do give India, apart from a chance for the smug ‘I told you so’ act, is a valid excuse to stop all, and by that I mean all, contact with Pakistan.

Forget people to people contact, forget friendship trains and buses, forget ministerial-level meetings.  Recall our high commissioner from Islamabad, expel the Pakistani high commissioner from New Delhi.

After all, the leaks confirm that the Pakistan was involved in the July 2008 attack on the Indian Embassy in Kabul. Four Indians, including our defence attache, a press counselor, and two officers of the Indo-Tibetan border police, were among the 58 people killed. And that is a clear act of war.

After all, we don’t really need to wait for another WikiLeaks leak to conclusively prove that Pakistan orchestrated the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, apart from various other terrorist strikes across India.

“Why on earth are elements of the Pakistani military supporting the Taliban?” asks Time magazine columnist Joe Klein.

And here’s his answer: “In a word, India. India is, first and last, the strategic obsession of the Pakistani military. The US has come and gone from the region in the past; the perceived Indian threat is eternal.”

In other words, regardless of the number of times we sue for peace, we will always be seen as ‘Enemy Number 1’.

So given that, what is there to talk about?

Kashmir? It’s Indian territory. What’s there to discuss?

Afghanistan? They love us, and they hate Pakistan for foisting the Taliban on them, and the Taliban hates Pakistan for betraying it post 9/11.  Deal with it.

Talks? Only after terrorist swine like Hafiz Saeed are either hanged in public or locked up permanently. Only after the jihadi networks in Pakistan are completely, and convincingly shut down.

Only then can we actually work towards bridging the so-called ‘trust deficit’. If we don’t trust them, and they don’t trust us, what’s the point in talking?

Of course, we don’t have anyone in the government willing or able to take such a step.

But suppose we did… what would happen?

First, obviously, Pakistan would go crying to Uncle Sam, saying unless Washington forced India back to the negotiating table, it would have to divert troops currently fighting ‘extremists’ on the border with Afghanistan towards the Indian border.

Suppose New Delhi still refused. And pointed out that:

a) America plans to withdraw from Afghanistan by 2012 anyway.

b) The Wikileak expose clearly shows that America is – knowingly – giving money and military aid to a country that is using them to attack American interests in Afghanistan. Why should India be a part of this foolishness?

And c) Instead of asking India to step up to the plate each time for talks, why couldn’t Washington pressure it’s “front-line ally in the war against terror” to act against known terrorists like Hafiz Sayeed and co?

What could Pakistan’s next step be then?

To organise more terror attacks on India?

That happens regardless of peace talks, (in fact, every peace talk is usually followed by one, ostensibly by elements in Pakistan opposed to peace).

Kargil, after all, happened months after Prime Minister AB Vajpayee made his historic peace trip to Lahore.

Why should we continue to offer the olive branch, or beg and plead for peace each time, time after time?  Why should we send our foreign minister to be humiliated in Islamabad?

Then what? Would Pakistan make impassioned pleas at international forums about India’s intransigence? Let it. Any nation that prefers Pakistan to India, is welcome to it.

Would the much-maligned Inter-Services Intelligence then try to hit at Indian interests in Afghanistan? They’ve already done that, and will continue to do so, talks or no talks.

Islamabad believes Afghanistan is its fiefdom, that a friendly Afghanistan, like when the Taliban was in power, gives it ‘strategic depth’. In other words, plausible denial:

“Poppy cultivation? What can we do? It’s a free country!”

“Terrorism? Not us! it came from those pesky Talibs now ruling Afghanistan. If the all powerful US, and earlier the Soviet superpower, could not do anything, you expect us poor Pakistanis to fix it? Ok, ok, we’ll try… Could you please give us a submarine or three,  some F-16s, and of course truckloads of dollars, to fight them terrorists?”

But coming back to intransigent India, what else could Pakistan do? Run and whine to its all-weather friend China?

Would Beijing be willing to go to war with India, just because it refused to talk with Pakistan?

Would Pakistan then rattle its own nuclear arsenal? And tell the world that it was planning to nuke India because New Delhi was not talking to it?

In an earlier column, I had argued that we need to step away from the three-step routine we invariably follow when it comes to Pakistan:

“One: Pakistan (and let’s not fall for that nonsense about the ordinary Pakistani loving India, or the ISI being a rogue element outside the government’s control) initiates, aids and abets terror strikes in India.

Two: In response, India makes a lot of noise, pledges to hunt down the perpetrators, and insists that talks will not take place till the terrorists are dealt with by Pakistan.

Three: Following Pakistan’s nuclear sabre-rattling and US orders to act with restraint, India offers to forget the past and continue the talks. Public memory is short…”

Right now, our government believes that ‘dialogue is the only way forward’.

Right now, our television channels gleefully bring us sneering soundbytes from Hamid Gul, the former ISI chief and one of the key players in the Pakistan-Taliban nexus, and a known India-baiter.

Right now, some Pakistani terrorist swine is plotting yet another strike against India.

Although Washington is currently defending Pakistan, and asserting that Islamabad had actually been brought to heel, the WikiLeaks expose might just provoke, or force, the United States to rethink its Af-Pak policy.

Isn’t it time we too reviewed our Pakistan – and perhaps even our US – policy?

Damaged oil tanker may have hit old mine

[This one describes it as an air blast near the ship, which left some powder burns and a 60cm hole four meters above the water line.  After pointing-out the powder burns, the report goes on to then explain the lack of shrapnel holes by claiming the blast was not near the ship.  It was a missile bearing a focused lethality DIME munition, in my opinion.]

Damaged oil tanker may have hit a mine

Anna Zacharias, Loveday Morris and Eugene Harnan

Investigations are going on and the owners say the blast is “highly unlikely” to have been caused by an outside attack. Paulo Vecina / The National

FUJAIRAH // Officials said yesterday they suspected a stray mine or a collision damaged a Japanese oil tanker as it passed through the Strait of Hormuz.

Investigators are examining the M. Star, moored about 13 nautical miles off the Port of Fujairah, whose crew reported an explosion around 4.30am on Wednesday.

Its owner, Mitsui OSK Lines, said it was “highly likely” to have been caused by an outside attack, as some of the ship’s 31 crew members saw a flash on the horizon immediately before the blast.

Investigations by federal authorities, insurers and Mitsui OSK are expected to last two or three days. Damage to the ship was caused by a collision, said Capt Mousa Murad, the general manager of the Port of Fujairah.

“The cause of the collision is not clear from the dent in the ship,” he said, declining to rule out the possibility that it was struck by a mine or in a targeted attack. Windows and doors were blown out at deck-level, far above the waterline where the ship was dented. “The accommodation has been damaged, from the deck until the control room, especially aluminium doors.”

There was internal flooding in the crew’s quarters, but no water had entered from outside the ship, he said. There was one breach of the hull, a 60cm hole four metres above the waterline, under a lifeboat-storage station.

There was no oil or other pollution spilling from the damaged vessel. Manoj Mathew, the ship’s captain, said in a letter to Fujairah port’s harbour master that “the vessel is completely stable and seaworthy and proceeding safely”.

The letter said the second officer suffered minor injuries, which were treated onboard.

The ship arrived in Fujairah around 6.40pm on Wednesday. It was carrying 270,000 tonnes of crude oil from Qatar to Japan.

“What is certain is this is caused by an external force,” said Ravi Gupta, a ship repair expert for Clarkson Technical Services in Fujairah.

Mr Gupta discounted the possibility that there could have been a collision with another vessel. “This was definitely not a collision, as there is no scraping marks,” he said.

“Even if it was a submarine on the surface and the crew didn’t see it, there would be scratch marks.”

The damage to the superstructure and deck looked as though it had been caused by a strong force of air pressure, he said.

Ajit Shenoi, a professor in ship science at Southampton University in Britain, said the shattered windows and internal damage could have been caused by shockwaves from a collision. But the external damage was inconsistent with this explanation, he added.

“It looks as though an explosion in the air or water near the ship is the most likely cause,” he said. “Looking at the image of the ship, you’d expect more abrasion on the plating if it was a collision with a submarine or another ship, and there’s localised blackening on the red paint indicating an explosion.”

Mustafa Alani, a senior adviser on terrorism and security at the Gulf Research Centre in Dubai, said the damage to the ship’s starboard, near the stern, appeared to match that of a floating mine. Although sea mines were designed to cause more damage, one that was 20 years old would have lost some of its potency, he said.

“They tried to clear as many as possible, but there were many thousands put down during the Iran-Iraq war,” Mr Alani said.

“It’s not a [rocket-propelled grenade]. The collapsed area, if it were an RPG, would be a round spot. There would be more blackness. It doesn’t look like there was a direct impact point, which you would see with an RPG.” The damage at the water level also indicated a mine, he added.

A UAE-based ship surveyor, who asked not to be named, said: “It’s the kind of damage you might see from a ship hitting another ship, but it would have been hard for the crew to miss another ship, and anything that left an impact like that would have left scratch marks.

“The damage is just above the water line, so it’s something that’s floating on the water.
“It’s definitely not an internal explosion. A missile or an RPG would have pierced the hull. It’s probably a low-grade or old floating mine that has exploded some distance away from the ship.”

As a cheap and easy way of blocking sea access, mines were used extensively during the first Gulf War and the Iran-Iraq war.

Minesweeping operations continue in the region. In 2008, HMS Chiddingfold, a British minesweeper, was called to the northern Gulf by the Kuwaiti and Iraqi governments to find and dispose of leftover mines for shipping routes to be opened. Most mines in the region are thought to have been disposed of, but a few areas are still classed as dangerous.
Others discounted the theory that the ship hit a mine. Richard Skinner, the managing director of Orchid Maritime, a private security firm that specialises in maritime security, said there had probably been a collision.

“If it was a mine or something in the water, it is not really consistent with an explosion from a device like that,” he said.

It was unclear what type of vessel might have struck the tanker or what its fate might be. There have been collisions in the area in the past. In January 2007, a US Navy submarine collided with a Japanese oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz damaging its stern. Prof Shenoi said it was unlikely that the M Star would have failed to pick up another vessel, or a submarine on the surface, on its radar, or vice versa.

The US Fifth Fleet said no American or coalition vessels had been operating in the area at the time. “The investigation into the cause is ongoing and we are keeping abreast of the situation,” said Lt John Fage, a spokesman for the fleet. WAM, the state news agency, quoted Emirati and Omani officials who attributed the damage to a freak wave caused by a “tremor” on Wednesday night.

However, according to the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, there was no unusual seismic activity around the time of the incident. Mitsui OSK said yesterday that, based on its investigation so far, wave damage was “highly unlikely”.

“It is clearly not a natural incident because no wave could cause that type of damage,” Mr Skinner said. Mr Gupta agreed, saying: “As the damage is to the stern quarter of the ship, wave damage just to this location seems unlikely.”

* The National

Focused Lethality Munition Could Have Dented M. Star Supertanker

Focused Lethality Munition Could Have Dented M. Star Supertanker

[If this was a false flag incident, to provoke a conflict with Iran, then the flash of light on the horizon reported by the tanker crew (SEE: M. Star Tanker Reports Flash On Horizon Moments Before Explosion) could have been from a missile fired from an American or Israeli F-16, or any American plane.  The photo could show evidence of a possible blast wave, without leaving behind physical evidence of missile fragments or shrapnel holes.]


Speculation That A Submarine may have indented supertanker

[The argument given below to support the idea that a sub caused this dent is that the picture shows the supertanker after unloading, implying that the dent may have been below the waterline.  It appears that this tanker is still fully loaded, a similar photo below shows a loaded tanker (lower right) and the red line is still above water.  If it was a submarine, it was running on the surface.  It looks like it could have been a blast concussion of some type, on closer examination.  If it was caused by something fired on the horizon (SEE: M. Star Tanker Reports Flash On Horizon Moments Before Explosion), then it would have had to have been some sort of exotic weapon that expels no shrapnel.]

Submarine may have indented supertanker

MYSTICAL: Bulken the hull is clear, but shows no obvious burn marks or signs of an explosion. The crew, however, argue that they saw a bright light and heard an explosion during the event. Photo: SHE

Still unclear how the Japanese tanker was indented on the open seas.

– It is possible that in the case of a collision with a submarine or a mine, “said Captain Mousa Mourad today – the day after a mysterious incident.He is the chief port of Fujairah in United Arab Emirates, where the tanker has been built to further investigations.

Herje: Skirmish consequential tanker apparent damage even indoors.

Fear of terrorism

The Japanese super tanker M. Star was on the way from Qatar to Japan through the Strait of Hormuz off Oman, with over two milllioner barrels (270,200 tons) of crude oil, when it was struck by a violent collision.

First, did the crew of the tanker that hit a huge wave, and there were reports of an earthquake in the area. The shipping company Mitsui OSK said, however, that the ship was attacked, writes Svenska Dagbladet.

It is still unclear what really happened, and the incident has created fear of terrorist attacks in the strait, where 40 percent of the world’s oil transport by sea must go through, according to BBC News.

Threw AROUND: Furniture was tossed around, and the crew thought they were attacked.

S Korea Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan Tenders Resignation

S Korea Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan Tenders Resignation

South Korean new Prime Minister Chung Un-Chan attends the inauguration ceremony at government complex building on September 29, 2009 in Seoul, South Korea.  Chung is 63-year-old former president of Seoul National University (SNU) inaugurated as second prime minister under the Lee Myung-Bak government in the September shakeup that replaced six ministers.

SEOUL -(Dow Jones)- South Korean Prime Minister Chung Un-chan tendered his resignation Thursday, taking responsibility for the government’s failure to get parliamentary approval to develop a science-business hub in a central region.

“It’s regrettable that I wasn’t able to get the project past the parliament. I feel guilty that the failure may lead to a waste of national resources,” Chung said during a press conference.

Premiership is largely a ceremonial post in South Korea, where power is concentrated in the president’s office.

Chung’s fate as prime minister has drawn keen attention since the National Assembly last month voted down a revised bill aimed at constructing a business park instead of the originally planned administrative town in the central region of Chungcheong.

Formerly president of Seoul National University, Chung was named prime minister last September and was in charge of drawing up revisions for the planned town, called Sejong City, and to get the development plan passed in parliament.

He had expressed his intention to resign several times to President Lee Myung- bak following the ruling party’s defeat in general elections last month.

Lee is expected to accept his resignation, which will likely speed up the process of a widely anticipated Cabinet reshuffle, Yonhap news agency reported earlier Thursday.

Any reshuffle isn’t likely to affect Lee’s economic team, including finance minister Yoon Jeung-hyun, according to local media.

-By In-Soo Nam, Dow Jones Newswires; 822-3700-1902; In-Soo.Nam@dowjones.com

China’s Soft Power Is a Threat to the West

China’s Soft Power Is a Threat to the West

By Erich Follath


China may have no intentions of using its growing military might, but that is of little comfort for Western countries. From the World Trade Organization to the United Nations, Beijing is happy to use its soft power to get what it wants — and it is wrong-footing the West at every turn.

Former Chinese Foreign Minister Qian Qichen once told me, half with amusement and half with resignation, that military people around the world are all more or less the same. “They can only be happy when they have the most up-to-date toys,” he said.

If this is true, Beijing’s generals must be very happy at the moment. China has increased its military budget by 7.5 percent in 2010, making funds available for new fighter jets and more cruise missiles. Beijing’s military buildup is a source of concern for Western experts, even though the US’s military budget is about eight times larger. Some feel that China poses a threat to East Asia, while others are even convinced that Beijing is preparing to conquer the world militarily.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Unlike, say, the United States, the People’s Republic has not attacked any other country in more than three decades, not since it launched an offensive against Vietnam in 1979. And even though Beijing’s leaders periodically rattle their sabers against Taiwan, which they refer to as a “renegade province,” they have no intention of entering into any armed conflicts.

Unlike many in the West, they have long since recognized that bombs are little more than deterrents these days. In today’s asymmetric conflicts, it is difficult to hold on to territory captured in bloody battles. War is an instrument of the past, and Mao’s argument that “political power grows out of the barrel of a gun” no longer holds true today.

Soft Is the New Hard

It is, however, true that the Chinese are in the process of conquering the world. They are doing this very successfully by pursuing an aggressive trade policy toward the West, granting low-interest loans to African and Latin American countries, applying diplomatic pressure to their partners, pursuing a campaign bordering on cultural imperialism to oppose the human rights we perceive to be universal, and providing the largest contingent of soldiers for United Nations peacekeeping missions of all Security Council members. In other words, they are doing it with soft power instead of hard power.

Beijing is indeed waging a war on all continents, but not in the classical sense. Whether the methods it uses consistently qualify as “peaceful” is another matter. For example, the Chinese apply international agreements as they see fit, and when the rules get in their way, they “creatively” circumvent them or rewrite them with the help of compliant allies.

But why are politicians in Washington, Paris and London taking all of this lying down, kowtowing to the Chinese instead of criticizing them? Does capturing — admittedly lucrative — markets in East Asia and trying to impress the Chinese really help their cause?

The Communist Party leaders manipulate their currency to keep the prices of their exports artificially low. The fact that they recently allowed their currency, the renminbi, to appreciate slightly is evidence more of their knack for public relations than of a real change of heart. They are known for using every trick in the book when buying commodities or signing pipeline deals, with participants talking of aggressive and pushy tactics. Meanwhile, these free-market privateers unscrupulously restrict access to their own natural resources. They denounce protectionism, and yet they are more protectionist than most fellow players in the great game of globalization.

’21st-Century Economic Weapon’

Beijing recently imposed strict export quotas on rare earths, resources that are indispensable in high technology, where they are essential to the operation of hybrid vehicles, high-performance magnets and computer hard drives. Some 95 percent of metals such as lanthanum and neodymium are mined in the People’s Republic, giving Beijing a virtual monopoly on these resources. It clearly has no intention of exporting these metals without demanding substantially higher export tariffs. In fact, China apparently wants to prohibit exports of some rare earths completely, starting in 2015. Concerned observers in Japan have described the valuable resources are a “21st-century economic weapon.” The Chinese have dismissed protests from Washington and Brussels with the audacious claim that World Trade Organization (WTO) rules allow a country to protect its own natural resources.

China, a WTO member itself, is now playing a cat-and-mouse game with the organization. Despite several warnings, Beijing still has not signed the Agreement on Government Procurement, and it continues to strongly favor domestic suppliers over their foreign competitors in government purchasing. To secure a government contract in China, an international company has to reveal sensitive data as part of impenetrable licensing procedures and even agree to transfer its technology to the Chinese — often relinquishing its patent rights in the process.

China, for its part, is waging a vehement campaign in the WTO to be granted the privileged status of a “market economy.” If it succeeds, it will be largely spared inconvenient anti-dumping procedures in the future. But do China’s Communist Party leaders seriously believe that the rest of the world will actually reward them for their dubious trading practices?

The answer is yes, and they have good reason to be optimistic. When it comes to diplomacy, Beijing knows how to win. Whether it’s at the WTO, the United Nations or other international organizations, China is in the process of outmaneuvering the West everywhere.

In recent years, China’s leaders have frequently joined forces with up-and-coming India, such as when the two countries jointly managed to torpedo UN climate negotiations and the Doha trade talks. More importantly, China’s leaders have gained the support of African, Latin American and Central Asian countries with their major projects, gifts and goodwill.

The Chinese have paid particular attention to nations with large oil and natural gas reserves, such as Venezuela, Kazakhstan and Nigeria, but they also cultivate relations with third-tier countries — countries that the West tends to ignore but that have voting rights in international bodies like anyone else. Beijing has forgiven billions in loans to African nations and pampered them with infrastructure projects. It has generally tied its assistance merely to two conditions that are relatively painless for the countries in question, namely that they have no official relations with Taiwan and that they support the People’s Republic in international organizations.

What Beijing is not demanding of these countries is even more telling. Unlike Washington, London or Berlin, the Chinese do not tie their development aid to any conditions relating to good governance. While the West punishes authoritarian behavior by withholding funds (and, in some cases, indirectly threatens “regime change”), Beijing has no scruples about pampering the world’s dictators by building them palaces and highways to their weekend villas — and assuring them territorial integrity, no matter what human rights violations they are found guilty of.

Opportunity, not Problem

China has friendly relations with some of the world’s most problematic countries, including failed states and countries on the brink of failure such as Zimbabwe, Sudan, Myanmar and Yemen. “For the West, failed states are a problem. For China, they’re an opportunity,” writes American expert Stefan Halper in the magazine Foreign Policy, referring to these countries as “Beijing’s coalition of the willing.”

The diplomatic weapon is having its intended effect. Already, the pro-Chinese voting bloc led by African nations has managed to obstruct progress in the WTO. Meanwhile in the United Nations, the People’s Republic’s influence is clear: Within the last decade, support for Chinese positions on human rights issues has risen from 50 percent to well over 70 percent.

Washington, in turn, is no longer even included in certain key groups. The United States was not invited to take part in the East Asia Summit, and it was denied the observer status it had sought in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a sort of anti-NATO under China’s de facto leadership that includes Russia and most of the Central Asian countries. Iran, on the other hand, was.

A Model Worth Emulating

Of course, none of this means that the West has already lost the battle for influence in Africa, Latin America and Asia. While Beijing cozies up to dictators, an approach the West cannot and should not take, America and Europe can compete, and even excel, in another area: by offering the ideal model of a democracy worth emulating.

There has been much speculation in recent months that developing countries could be increasingly eyeing China’s blend of a market economy and Leninism, economic diversity and strict one-party control as an attractive alternative to democracy. The United States engages too little in self-reflection while the Europeans are too involved with themselves, and both make themselves less attractive as a result, says former Singaporean diplomat and political science professor Kishore Mahbubani. He believes that China’s momentum is ultimately unstoppable. Many people in the West who have always viewed trade unions as disruptive and given little heed to human rights violations agree with him.

But even though the People’s Republic may have become more attractive for some authoritarian rulers, only a few see it as a model. Beijing has already installed more than 500 Confucius Institutes around the world, in hopes of promoting what it views as China’s cultural superiority. One of the results of a 10-fold increase in scholarships at Chinese universities is that almost twice as many Indonesians are now studying in China as in the United States.

But whether it’s Harvard, high-tech cell phones or Hollywood, people in many parts of the world still see the West as the home of everything desirable. Besides, many who flirt with Chinese-style dirigisme see it only as a transitional phase that makes sense from an economic point of view, and that ultimately — as in South Korea, for example — leads to a democracy with functioning institutions.

More Forceful Approach Required

What no one in Asia, Latin America or Africa wants is another messianic US president in the vein of George W. Bush, who believed that he could forcefully impose the American model on other countries. Many people in developing countries can easily distinguish between pompous arrogance and healthy self-confidence. And especially in China, people tend to regard an excessive willingness to compromise as a weakness, and the stubborn adherence to one’s own positions as a strength.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, the woman at the helm of the world’s former top exporting nation, ought to take a much more forceful approach to dealing with the leaders of the current export champion than she did during her recent visit to Beijing. She ought to point out that Germany has to draw the line somewhere: for instance, that it will not support China’s bid for preferential status in the WTO as long as Beijing violates its rules. She should also make clear that Germany will not condone the ongoing industrial espionage activities of Chinese agents in German high-tech centers, the continued illegal copying of patents and the fleecing of German small and mid-sized companies in China.

When China asks for the lifting of visa restrictions, Germany should ask the Chinese what it can expect in return. And Berlin needs not be concerned that China could react to such criticism by no longer doing business with Germany. The People’s Republic acts out of self-interest and needs the West about as much as the West needs China. Besides, the Chinese are used to playing hardball.

How Taiwan Gets What It Wants

Ironically, Taiwan serves as a prime example of how to deal with Beijing. In a SPIEGEL interview 15 years ago, then Prime Minister Lien Chan complained to me that the People’s Republic was cutting the ground from under Taipei’s feet. He said that, although only 30 nations recognized Taiwan at the time, that would change. But it didn’t. In fact, the total is now only 23 nations.

Nevertheless, Taiwan’s new leadership is taking a pragmatic approach and, realizing that it cannot win against China, has decided to embrace the mainland Chinese. After tough negotiations, the Taiwanese are now making deals with their big brother. In a trade agreement signed in late June, Taiwan achieved a reduction in Chinese tariffs on $13.8 billion (€10.6 billion) worth of goods it sells to China each year, while Beijing came away from the trade deal with a reduction of tariffs on only $2.9 billion of the goods it exports to Taiwan.

“We did not make any compromises when it comes to our independence, and we achieved a favorable agreement,” says Wu-lien Wei, Taiwan’s representative in Berlin. Perhaps one needs to be Chinese in order to avoid being ripped off by Beijing.

Translated from the German by Christopher Sultan

The Afghan Pipeline By Steve Galster. – 2

The Afghan Pipeline- 2

By Steve Galster

Never ending Flow: The Afghan Pipeline By Steve Galster [1988]

General Akhtar Abdul Rahman Former ISI Chief under US Backed General Zia

General Hamid Gul Former ISI Chief under US Backed General Zia

Leaks in the Pipeline

As the pipeline was expanded it began to spring big leaks. Problems with the pipeline had existed from the beginning, but by 1985 they were becoming more obvious. Twenty nine of the forty Oerlikon anti aircraft guns the CIA had purchased in Switzerland at over $1 million a piece never made it to Afghanistan. Somewhere along the line these and many other weapons were put to other uses by either the Afghans, the Pakistanis, or the CIA itself. A significant amount of the leaking was (as it stiff is) coming from within Pakistan, where corrupt government and rebel officials have suddenly become quite rich. Pakistani General Akhtar Abdul Rahman, head of the ISID up to 1987, and his successor, General Hamid Gul, are suspected to have been prime benefactors of the pipeline. They and their subordinates within the ISID’s National Logistics Cell (NLC) could easily have made a fortune off CIA supplies.

Since the genesis of the pipeline, the NLC has had the sole responsibility of transporting newly arrived weapons from Karachi to Quetta and Peshawar (weapons that come by plane, especially those that are American or British made, are flown directly to these cities).

NLC trucks have special passes that allow them to travel unharassed by customs or police officials on their several hundred mile drive. Along the way it is very easy for the NLC officials to exchange the new weapons and other supplies for old ones from the government’s stock.

Widespread corruption also exists among the rebel leaders but has gone practically unnoticed in the U.S. thanks to CIA propaganda. The same kinds of things that tarnished the contra’s image, such as killing civilians, drug smuggling and embezzlement are practiced by many Afghan rebels. Taking no prisoners, assassinating suspected government collaborators, destroying government built schools and hospitals, killing “unpious” civilians are just a few of the inhumane acts they have carried out. But the picture we receive of the rebels in the U.S. is of an uncorrupt, popular group of freedom loving people who aspire toward a democratic society.

The CIA and the State Department have worked hard to project this image. In 1984 Walter Raymond, on loan to the NSC from the CIA, “suggested” to Senator Humphrey (RNH) that Congress finance a media project for the rebels that would shed favorable light on the rebels’ side of the war.

Humphrey got Congress to easily approve the new “Afghan Media Project” which was handed over to the United States Information Agency (USIA) and Boston University. AA Boston University the project was headed up by a man named Joachim Maitre, an East German defector who had close connections with International Business Communications and the Gulf and Caribbean Foundation (both of which served important roles in illegally raising funds for the Nicaraguan contras). He also had worked closely with Oliver North to make TN’ commercials attacking Congressmen who had opposed aid to the contras.

Maitre escaped criticism for his contra connections and proceeded to train Afghan rebels to report on and film the war. Since it is illegal for the USIA to disseminate information in the U.S., the Afghan Media Project’s films and reports were to be sold only to foreign news agencies. However, American journalists who have a quick story to write or don’t want to enter Afghanistan have often found the rebels’ information too tempting to pass up. CBS, the station that has covered the Afghan war the most and in a very pro-rebel light, may have been one guilty party. CBS used footage provided by the rebels claiming that it was taken by its cameraman, Mike Hoover.

Corruption surrounding the CIA’s Afghan program has begun to surface during the last several years. For example, the fact that the rebels have been harvesting a large amount of opium was brought to light by the New York Times in 1986.

And DEA officials have privately admitted recently that the shipment of CIA weapons into Pakistan has allowed the trade in heroin three tons of which reaches the U.S. every year to flourish as never before.

One DEA official noted that virtually no heroin was refined in Pakistan before 1979, but “now Pakistan produces and transships more heroin than the rest of the world combined.” Neither U.S. nor Pakistani drug enforcement officials are any match for these heavily armed drug dealers.

In spite of these problems, from 1986 to the present, the CIA has expanded the pipeline to handle over $1 billion in new monies. As part of this package the CIA is sending the rebels highly sophisticated American made weaponry. Ironically, the CIA particularly its former Deputy Director John McMahon originally opposed this idea and insisted on continuing the supply of average Soviet styled weapons.

But by March 1986 the impasse was broken. On March 4, McMahon resigned from the CIA; one week later UN negotiator Diego Cordovez announced that he had “all the elements of a comprehensive settlement of the Afghan problem.”

With McMahon gone and the prospects for peace again on the horizon, members of the 208 Committee, with the President’s approval, decided immediately to send the rebels several hundred of the world’s most sophisticated anti aircraft gun, the American-made Stinger.

Although the Stingers are delivered more carefully than other weapons (they are flown on U.S. airplanes through Germany en route to Pakistan), once in Pakistan they can easily fall into dangerous hands. Initially the Stingers were safeguarded by keeping them from the rebels. Although the media began in April 1986 to report on the rebels’ immediate successes with the Stingers, the rebels hadn’t even touched one yet. Ethnic Pushtuns in the Pakistani Special Forces, disguised as rebels, were the ones firing the Stingers then, and many probably still are today.

Meanwhile, a group of “ex-Army specialists” hired by the CIA were training the rebels to use the new weapon. Once the rebels were adequately trained, the politics of the pipeline began to come into play. The ISID distributed a disproportionate amount of the Stingers to the more radical fundamentalist groups.

ISID has skewed the distribution of weapons to favor the fundamentalists all along, but it took the Stinger issue to highlight this fact. These are the groups that were responsible for selling nearly a dozen Stingers to Iranian Revolutionary Guards in July 1987 and who are stockpiling their weapons to continue their jihad if and when the U.S. cuts off its supply.

The CIA was aware of the Iran connection two months before it was revealed and before Congress approved sending more Stingers. It is also aware now that by arming these same groups, the U.S. is setting the scene for a major post withdrawal bloodbath.

But today President Reagan is flaunting the covert operation in Afghanistan as the prize of the Reagan Doctrine. The Soviets are finally negotiating in “good faith,” he claims, because U.S. aid allowed the “freedom fighters” to keep up their fight. Although the War has had its costs, the benefit of driving the Soviets out will make them worth it. The costs of intentionally prolonging the Afghan war have been a flourishing drug trade, an estimated one million dead, and the provisions for a bloody Islamic revolution. Unfortunately, in light of the administration’s hardening stance in the current negotiations, we must wonder whether the “bleeders” are really ready to end it now.


Philadelphia Inquirer, February 28, 1988.

Newsweek, March 23,1987

United States Department of State Special Report, no. 112, December 1983.

See James Carter, Keeping Faith: Memoirs of a President (Bantam: New York, 1982), pp. 473,475.

Miami Herald, June 5, 1983.

Boston Globe, January 5, 1980; Daily Telegraph (London), January 5, 1990.

Wall Street Journal, April 19,1994.

Washington Post, February 2, 1979; Maclean’s (Toronto), April 30, 1979.

ABC News, “20/20,” June 18,1981.

Sam Bamieh told of this deal during his sworn testimony before the U.S. House Foreign Affairs committee in July 1987; also see. Bruce Amstutz, Afghanistan: The First Five Years (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1986), p. 202; the information about the Omani and Pakistani bank accounts came from several confidential sources.

See Bamieh testimony, ibid.

Baltimore Sun, April 4,1982.

Richard Cronin, “Pakistan: U.S. Foreign Assistance Facts,” Congressional Research Service, July 20,1987, p. 2.

This inadequate accounting process was discovered in January 1986 when, at the request of Senators Humphrey (Rep. New Hamp.) and Chic Hecht (Rep. Nev.), a group of Senate intelligence staffers visited Pakistan (Confidential Source).

Philadelphia Inquirer. February 29, 1988; The Nation (Pakistan), January 8, 1987.

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 29,1988.

Washington Post, September 25,1981.

Classified State Department Cables, May 14 and August 9, 1979, Spynest Documents, op. cit., n. 9, vol. 29; Selig Harrison, “The Soviet Union in Afghanistan in Containment: Concept and Policy (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1986), p. 464

New Republic, July 18,1981; Daily Telegraph, January 5,1980.

Le Monde, in Joint Publication and Research Service (JPRS) (U.S. Gov.), October 9, 1981; Chicago Tribune, July 23, 1981.

New York Times; May 4, 1983; Eight Days (London), in JPRS, October 31, 1981.

Philadelphia Inquirer, March 1, 1988.

New York Times, July 24,1982.

New York Times, May 4,1983.

Richard Cronin, “Afghanistan: United Nations Sponsored Negotiations,” Congressional
Research Service, July 23, 1986, p. 8.

New York Times, May 4, 1983.

Christian Science Monitor, May 10, 1983.

Some of the more radical fundamentalist groups have already succeeded in carrying out cross border attacks against the Soviets and have vowed to continue (Arab News, April 6,1987). For a more thorough discussion of the goals of the resistance see Olivier Roy, Islam and the Afghan Resistance (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986)

Washington Post, March 30, 1983.

This news was leaked by the Soviets to the United News of India, cited in Christian Science Monitor, May 10, 1983.

New York Times, May 4,1983.

New York Times, May 27,1983.

Washington Post, December 29,1983.

New York Times, July 4,1983.

Washington Post January 13, 1985.

This was the Tsongas resolution which was finally passed on October 4,1994.

Washington Post, January 13, 1987.

Afghan Update (published by the Federation for American Afghan Action), July 13,1985.

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 29,1988.

Confidential source who travelled with the resistance and showed the author photographs of explosives with the name of this company on them.

FBIS, May 14,1985.

New York Times, June 19,1986.

Wall Street Journal, February 16,1988.

Thames Television (London), “The Missile Trail” on This Week, September 17,1987.

Rumor has it that Nigeria was the third country, but it could have been Chile who sold Blowpipes to the CIA for its operation in Nicaragua.

Joint Senate Congressional Hearings on the Iran Contra Affair, May 20,1987; Exhibit
JKS 6. The proposed plan would allow the CIA to acquire Soviet bloc weapons for the Afghan rebels, the contras, UNITA and other “freedom fighters” without Congressional appropriations or approval.

The Wall Street Journal on February 16, 1988 revealed that weapons for the rebels had been purchased from Poland. A confidential source informed the author that Stettin was the port they were being shipped out of.

The Nation (Pakistan), January 8, 1987.

Jack Anderson in the Washington Post, May 12,1987.

Washington Post, January 13,1987.

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 28, 1988.

The Nation (Pakistan), January 8, 1988.

Columbia Journalism Review May/June, 1987; it is also worth noting that Maitre was a senior editor for CIA connected Axel Springer Publishing Company in Germany. He also, for no apparent reason, has military clearance. After the bombing of Libya, Maitre was one of the people who debriefed the American pilots.

Announced at USIA conference on Afghanistan in Washington, D.C., May 5,1987.

Los Angeles Times, January 13, 1988. CBS contract journalist Kurt Lohbeck also has strong ties to “Behind the Lines News Service,” an operation set up by arch conservatives Hugh Newton and Antony Campaigne.

New York Times, June 6,1986.

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 28,1988.

McMahon was the focus of attacks by rebel supporters on the CIA’s Afghan program (especially by the Federation for American Afghan Action which claimed responsibility for McMahon’s eventual resignation). Also see Bob Woodward, Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981 1997 (NY: Simon and Schuster, 1987).

FBIS, March 18,1986.

Warren Carroll, “The Freedom Fighter,” (Heritage Foundation), cited in Afghan Update, May 27, 1986.

Washington Post, February 8, 1987.

Strategic Investment Newsletter, March 9, 1987; Philadelphia Inquirer, March 1, 1988.

Independent (London), October 16, 1987.

Philadelphia Inquirer, February 28,1988


Hamid Gul Calling Baitullah Mehsud “Mujahid” (Freedom Fighter)

Hamid Gul callling Baitullah Mehsud and Faqir Muhammad “Mujahids”

Watch this video clip (submitted by Zalaan) which shows Hamid Gul in 2008 calling Baitullah Mehsud and Faqir Muhammad “Mujahid” and well wishers of Pakistan.

Isn’t this treason?

Now explain how and why our talk show hosts persist in inviting Hamid Gul on their shows to provide “analysis” on political events. For example, in this video of Dunya Today of July 27 with Dr. Moeed Pirzada, observe how Dr. Pirzada invites Hamid Gul on his show in order to assist him in clearing his name from allegations against him in the Western media. Note how innocently Dr. Pirzada asks Hamid Gul why everytime the discussion of Afghan Taliban is brought up in the international media, why his name is brought up as if Dr. Pirzada has been asleep for the last 16 years and has no idea why Hamid Gul’s name would be associated with the Taliban.

Protecting Terrorists: Lessons for NATO?

Protecting Terrorists: Lessons for NATO?

Author: Dr. Greg Austin
From: EastWest Institute

The chasm between certain political values in Europe and those in the United States was exposed yet again this past week in the ruling of seven judges of the European Court of Human Rights that a particular American prison regime (at ADX Florence) may be a treatment too harsh even for people who might be convicted of terrorism charges.
The Court was happy enough for four people indicted on terrorism charges to be extradited from the UK to the United States, and so dismissed a number of their pleadings. Yet the Court upheld, temporarily at least, the claims of three of them about just how ugly prison life would be for them. The Court kept in place a restraining order against their extradition until it studied the matter more closely.
On top of that, the court also held that the term of imprisonment that the four faced was so long – life without parole or 50 years for one – that their appeal against extradition on those grounds alone was admissible for further hearing. The cases have been in and out of the Court beginning in 2007 for two of the applicants and since 2008 for the other two.
The European judges are troubled by the United States application of “special administrative measures” (SAMs) in the Federal Bureau of Prisons. According to the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, SAMs are applied “when there is a substantial risk that a prisoner’s communications or contacts with persons could result in death or serious bodily injury” to others. The main feature of the prison regime in ADX Florence that is under challenge is a more or less permanent form of solitary confinement applied selectively to certain prisoners.  Its opponents regard this as inhumane in the extreme or at best counter-productive for the purposes it is intended to serve.
Human rights organizations, doctors, criminologists, and prisoners’ rights groups in the United States have long railed against the conditions in supermax prisons like ADX Florence.  It houses some 40 or so convicted terrorists and almost 400 other serious criminals.
This latest example of an Atlantic “values” gulf in the court has a lesson for NATO. There is not a strong political and social consensus in Europe that matches the commitment of United States national officials to fight international terrorism the way the American government is doing it. There is ample other evidence of this gulf in values, not least the political furore in Europe over extraordinary renditions of terrorist suspects. The same sort of divide is appearing in the policies of key NATO members in respect of fighting terrorism in Afghanistan with military forces.
What is the real problem here? NATO has seen far more serious challenges in the past to its cohesion and solidarity from differences across the Atlantic. Not too many of Europe’s citizens really feel any sympathy for the four indicted prisoners.
But the new mood at a political level may be different. There are signs that the traditional solidarity of NATO among security elites and among political and social leaders may be in some sort of serious decline. We need to study this question and, if the above diagnosis is correct, find explanations and ways to address it. More importantly, there has to be a better answer for it than we are hearing from some as to why it should still matter.
NATO solidarity matters for good reasons of hard international security that have little to do with political values. An over-emphasis on values in the new NATO security concept to the relative neglect of solving the concrete security problems as we will face them outside Europe or on its periphery in the coming decade may be to the long term detriment of NATO solidarity.

Why most Pakistanis label U.S. “enemy” despite alliance


U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds talks with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad on July 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton holds talks with Pakistan Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Islamabad on July 19, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

by Matthew Rusling

WASHINGTON, July 29 (Xinhua) — A new report found a majority of Pakistanis consider the United States an enemy, in spite of Pakistan’ s role as a key ally in the U.S. fight against radicalism.

Regard for the United States in Pakistan ranks lowest among 22 countries surveyed in the Pew Global Attitudes survey, with nearly 60 percent of Pakistanis describing the United States as a nemesis and only 17 percent expressing a favorable view of the country.

“America’ s overall image remains very negative in Pakistan,” said Andrew Kohut, president of the non-partisan Pew Research Center.

The Pew Research Center report, titled “America’ s Image Remains Poor: Concern About Extremist Threat Slips in Pakistan,” comes at a time when the Obama administration is trying to strengthen ties with Pakistan.

Indeed, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton earlier this month visited Pakistan and pledged 1.5 billion dollars a year over a five-year period in a bid to beef up Islamabad’ s capacity to aid U.S. strategic goals.

But despite the official line of warming ties, the study found that U.S. President Barack Obama is widely unpopular in Pakistan — a sentiment that bucks the trend of many other countries’ admiration for the U.S. president.

That in spite of his outreach to the Muslim world since taking office and a speech from Cairo, Egypt last year that sought to mend fences in light of U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A mere eight percent of Pakistanis expressed confidence that the U.S. president will make the right choices in world affairs — his lowest rating among 22 nations, the report found.

“Obama’ s famous global popularity does not extend to Pakistan,” Kohut said.

Kamran Bokhari, regional director of Middle East and South Asia at global intelligence company Stratfor, said the president initially generated much hope in the Muslim world as a result of his outreach efforts.

But the U.S. surge policy in Afghanistan, which has increased civilian casualties, has undermined Pakistanis’ expectations of Obama. Pakistanis now view him in the same negative light as they did former President George W. Bush.

“Whatever expectations were there are gone now,” Bokhari said.

Many hold the view that Obama will ultimately do what is in the United States’ best interest, which is not always in line with what Pakistan wants, he added.

The recent WikiLeaks fiasco– more than 90,000 U.S. military documents were this week leaked and posted on the Internet– has also re-enforced feelings of mistrust.

Some of the documents charged Pakistan with playing double agent and providing sanctuary to Taliban fighters while objecting to U.S. forces entering parts of Pakistan where Taliban are holed up.

“WikiLeaks has eroded a good deal of the goodwill and trust that had been built up,” Bokhari said. “I don’ t want to exaggerate the extent to which it is a setback, but it does complicate cooperation.”

Pakistanis’ support for the United States in the fight against radicalism has declined since last year. Fewer want Washington to provide support for Pakistani troops, although around half of those surveyed are still in favor of such efforts, the study found.

Pakistanis widely oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan and nearly two-thirds want U.S. and NATO forces to withdraw as soon as possible, the survey said.

Few believe the conflict across the border could seriously impact Pakistan and 25 percent said a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan would be bad, whereas 18 percent said it would be good. Twenty-seven percent said it would not matter and 30 percent expressed no opinion, the report found.

But despite a panoply of negative opinions, most Pakistanis want better relations with the United States, and the number of those for whom an improving relationship is important rose to 64 percent from 53 percent last year.

The findings are based on face-to-face interviews taken last spring with 2,000 Pakistani adults, mostly in urban areas.

“There’s a lot of conspiracy theory that informs the opinions of the Pakistanis,” Bokhari said, adding that such thinking can be found across all facets of society, including the political and military elite.

There also exists an overall fear that India ranks higher on the U.S. list of friends than Pakistan — a reflection of a pre-existing negative opinion of the United States, he said.

U.S. Making Power Play In South China Sea

[Once again, we see American naval forces being positioned and used to coerce weak foreign governments and to grab newly discovered gas and oil deposits.  (SEE:  China discovers 180 oil and gas fields in South China Sea) The armada amassed in the S. China Sea, like the 4th Fleet now parked in Costa Rica, are muscle to enforce American demands.   China has now sent in its own Navy, which is currently staging simultaneous war games with the US/S. Korean task force.  (SEE: PLA Navy conducts live-ammunition training in South China Sea)]

U.S. involvement will only complicate South China Sea issue


by Xinhua writers Wu Liming, Chen Yong

BEIJING, July 27 (Xinhua) — The United States has played up the South China Sea issue again in the international arena.

At the ASEAN Regional Forum Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Hanoi last week, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton talked at length about U.S. “national interests” in the South China Sea.

Hintting there is what she called “coercion” in the region, Clinton called for consistence with customary international laws, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) in particular.

It is ironic that the United States is asking others to abide by the UNCLOS while itself still shunning a UNCLOS full membership.

It is known to all that the U.S. Senate has not yet ratified the UNCLOS, as some U.S. politicians insist that the ratification would “diminish” U.S. “capacity for self-defense.”

While disputes remain between China and several countries around the South China Sea, they have already concluded the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in accordance with the UNCLOS.

Thanks to the DOC, the situation in the South China Sea remains peaceful, and no party has ever used “coercion” and posed any threat to regional peace or navigation security in the South China Sea.

Ignoring the advise of the Chinese delegation, Clinton, with a prepared script at hand, tried to make an issue of the South China Sea at the meeting, claiming she was objecting to the “use or threat of force” in this ocean area.

The question is: as the situation in the South China Sea is peaceful, what is the logic in Clinton’s “objection? ”

So her real intention is questionable.

History has repeatedly proven that the involvement of a superpower in disputed areas did, more often than not, complicate the situation and bring tragedy to parties concerned.

Superpowers often adopted the strategy of “divide and rule.” They stired up tensions, disputes and even conflicts, then set foot in to pose as a “mediator” or a “judge” in a bid to maximize their own interests.

In the 19th century, the British empire adopted the tactics of “divide and rule” to fight powers in the European continent.

Nowadays, the United States is resorting to the same old trick when dealing with some disputes and conflicts in the international arena.

PLA Navy conducts live-ammunition training in South China Sea

English.news.cn 2010-07-29 23:33:19

A missile mosquito craft moves during a live-ammunition military drill held by the South China Sea Fleet of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the South China Sea July 26, 2010.  (Xinhua/Zha Chunming) (wy)
A missile mosquito craft moves during a live-ammunition military drill held by the South China Sea Fleet of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy in the South China Sea July 26, 2010. (Xinhua/Zha Chunming)

BEIJING, July 29 (Xinhua) — The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy had conducted a large scale of live-ammunition training exercise in the South China Sea, according to a front-page report on Thursday’s PLA Daily newspaper.

The exercise, which was carried out on July 26, brought together a large group of warships, submarines and combat aircraft.

During the exercise, warships and submarines from the Navy’s South China Sea Fleet performed precision strikes on surface targets by firing guided missiles while surface warships conducted anti-missile air defense operations, said the PLA’s official newspaper.

A naval aviation fleet also participated in air control operations, according to the report, which did not specify the exact location of the training or the number of participating warships.

In overseeing the training, General Chen Bingde, PLA’s chief of the General Staff, said that the PLA should “pay close attention to the development of situation and tasks” and make “solid preparation for military struggle which depends on massive military training” .

Editor: yan

Hillary Clinton Changes America’s China Policy

Hillary Clinton Changes America’s China Policy

Gordon G. Chang

The Secretary of State pulls a 180 on Beijing.


On Friday Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced that the peaceful resolution of competing sovereignty claims to the South China Sea is a U.S. “national interest.” “The U.S. supports a collaborative diplomatic process by all claimants for resolving the various territorial disputes without coercion,” she said in Hanoi during a regional security conference, the Asean Regional Forum. “We oppose the use or threat of force by any claimant.”

Beijing quickly reacted. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi characterized Clinton’s comments as “an attack on China,” and in a sense he was right. China has claimed virtually all that body of water as its own. By doing so, Beijing has said it has sovereignty over the continental shelves of the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Vietnam. Most of China’s claims there are baseless, and some are ludicrous. That is perhaps why the Chinese have resorted to force to grab islands and islets from other claimants. China seized the western Paracels from Vietnam in 1974 and Mischief Reef from the Philippines in 1995.

Beijing opted for the softer approach by signing a multi-nation code of conduct in 2002. It was seen as largely succeeding in its recent efforts to gain control by preventing other claimants from banding together. China had shrewdly maintained a policy of participating in only bilateral negotiations so that it could use its heft to maximum advantage.

Yet it was nonetheless meeting resistance from nations in the region–especially Vietnam–and so it changed tack recently. When Jeffrey Bader, the top Asia official at the National Security Council, and James Steinberg, deputy secretary of state, traveled to Beijing in March, Chinese officials for the first time said the South China Sea was one of their country’s “core interests” and that they would brook no American interference there.

Beijing has tried to paint Clinton’s words as the U.S. inserting itself into the region, but that could not be further from the truth. Up until now, Washington has been largely oblivious to Chinese attempts to make the South China Sea a “Chinese lake.” It ignored Beijing’s seizure of territory and even did little to protect ExxonMobilXOM – news – people ) when China, in 2008, tried to intimidate the company from entering into an exploration deal with PetroVietnam, the state energy company, in the South China Sea. In adjacent areas it has done virtually nothing to prevent China’s navy from harassing Japanese warships, as it did most recently in April, and to stop Chinese submarines from regularly violating Japanese waters, which they have been doing for most of this decade.

In short, America looked like it was acceding to Chinese demands for control over the South China Sea. Beijing had overplayed its hand in recent months, however, and nations in the region were looking to oppose the Chinese. Nonetheless, all of them were seeking safety in numbers, with none wanting to aggravate Beijing by leading from the front.

Up until now, the U.S. was reluctant to confront China as it waited for Beijing to assume a constructive role as a great power. The Chinese, however, interpreted Washington’s hope and patience as evidence of American weakness and decline. But in a few short sentences on Friday, Clinton changed that perception, both inside and outside China.

Her South China Sea declaration has been called a “landmark” and a “pivot.” It is, and it may end up as the moment she redirected not only America’s China policy but the China policies of nations in the region.

Beijing’s unimpeded advance to global domination has just hit resistance. And it’s about time.

Gordon G. Chang is the author ofThe Coming Collapse of China. He writes a weekly column for Forbes.

Peshawar Region Devastated By Monsoon Flooding

Floods kill at least 313 in KP, AJK

The tolls from the deluge were expected to rise because many people were still missing. — Photo by AFP

PESHAWAR: The death toll in three days of flooding in Pakistan reached at least 313 on Friday, rescue and government officials said, as rains bloated rivers, submerged villages, and triggered landslides.

The rising toll from the monsoon rains underscore the poor infrastructure in Pakistan, where under-equipped rescue workers were struggling to reach people stranded in far-flung villages. The weather forecast was mixed, with some areas expected to see reduced rainfall and others likely to see intensification.

Television footage showed striking images of people clinging to fences and other stationary items as water at times gushed over their heads.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa appeared to be the hardest hit, and Mian Iftikhar Hussain, the information minister for the province, said it was the worst flooding in the region since 1929. The highway connecting Peshawar to Islamabad was shut down after the water washed away bridges and other links.

At least 291 people died in various parts of that province over the last three days, said Mujahid Khan of the Edhi Foundation.

In Pakistani-administered Kashmir, at least 22 people had been confirmed dead as of Thursday evening, the region’s prime minister, Sardar Attique Khan, told reporters.

The tolls from the deluge were expected to rise because many people were still missing. Poor weather this week also may have been a factor in Wednesday’s Airblue plane crash that killed 152 people in Islamabad.

In the Swat Valley, residents were forced to trudge through knee-deep water in some streets.

A newly constructed part of a dam in the Charsadda district collapsed, while the UN said it had reports that 5,000 homes were underwater in that area. Hussain estimated 400,000 people were stranded in various northwest villages.

”A rescue operation using helicopters cannot be conducted due to the bad weather, while there are only 48 rescue boats available for rescue,” he said on Thursday.

Pakistan’s poorest residents are often the ones living in flood-prone areas because they can’t afford safer land.

Balochistan province has also been hit hard by the recent rains. Last week, flash floods in the region killed at least 41 people and swept away thousands of homes. The UN statement Thursday said 150,000 people were affected there.

The UN said Punjab province was also hit by some flooding. Crops were soaked in farmlands throughout the country. The UN said the humanitarian community was trying to put together a proper response, but the rains were making many roads impassable, complicating efforts to assess needs.

New M. Star Tanker Photo Shows Proof of Collision

The evidence is clearly that of a collision with another vessel.  Notice the large paint scrapes.

Tanker probe eyes possible Persian Gulf collision

By ADAM SCHRECK (AP) – 7 hours ago

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Investigators in the UAE are looking into whether a Japanese tanker damaged at the mouth of the Persian Gulf was involved in a collision, backing away from an earlier theory that natural causes were to blame, the top port official where the vessel is moored said Thursday.

But the ship’s owner refused to speculate on what had set off Wednesday’s incident, which it originally had described as an explosion on the tanker, until there was more information. The company initially said it suspected the ship had been attacked as it entered the tense Strait of Hormuz — a possibility that has not been ruled out.

Captain Musa Murad, director general of the port of Fujairah, said damage to the ship’s hull and interior is being investigated, but that clues point to a crash of some sort. The ship dropped anchor at the Emirati port for inspections late Wednesday.

“There was a collision. … What it is, we don’t know. That’s why the investigation is going on,” he told The Associated Press.

Emirati state media reported the previous day that an unusually large swell caused by a tremor damaged the ship. Officials elsewhere in the region also pointed to large waves or seismic activity in the area.

Murad dismissed those theories Thursday, saying they came from erroneous reports by local authorities before the ship had been examined in port. “It’s not correct,” he said.

A photo released by the Emirates state news agency WAM after the tanker arrived in Fujairah showed a large, square-shaped dent near the waterline on the rear starboard side of the ship’s hull. Murad said he also saw damage to crew quarters inside the vessel.

Setsuo Ohmori, deputy chief of mission at Japan’s embassy to the UAE, said “relevant people” were examining the tanker in Fujairah.

“We are waiting for the results of the investigation,” he said.

Wednesday’s incident aboard the M. Star supertanker happened shortly after midnight as the ship entered the Strait of Hormuz, heading out of the Gulf, Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said.

Mitsui said earlier the explosion seemed to be caused by “an attack from external sources” while the tanker passed through the western part of the strategically vital waterway, a narrow chokepoint between Iran and an enclave of Oman surrounded by Emirati territory.

The company has hired a group of “experts on explosives” as part of the investigation, which could take some time to complete, said Yuki Shimoda, an official at Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism.

The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which patrols the region, said it is monitoring the situation but does not know what caused the blast. It ruled out a collision involving its fleet.

“We didn’t have any U.S. or coalition ships in the vicinity of the tanker at the time,” said fleet spokeswoman Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost. She said the Navy is not involved in the investigation for now but is willing to assist.

If the tanker was attacked, it would be a rare assault on a merchant ship in the Gulf or at the Strait of Hormuz, a transit point for about 40 percent of oil shipped by tankers worldwide.

Al-Qaida has in the past carried out attacks on oil infrastructure on land in nearby Saudi Arabia, as well as a 2002 suicide bombing against a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen and the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole in the Yemeni port of Aden.

One of the tanker’s 31 crew members noticed a flash of light right before the explosion, suggesting something may have struck the vessel. The explosion occurred at the back of the tanker, near an area where rescue boats are stored, causing cuts to a crew member who was struck with broken glass.

The Marshall Islands-flagged tanker, loaded with 270,000 tons of oil, was heading from the petroleum port of Das Island in the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba outside Tokyo, the ministry said.

Associated Press writers Mari Yamaguchi and Shino Yuasa contributed from Tokyo.

Dangerous Conspiracy Theories

Dangerous Conspiracy Theories

By:  Peter Chamberlin

How could a bunch of “lone wolf” researchers be considered dangerous to the United States?  The official explanation given is that we confuse those who hear or read what we have to say, undermining the national unity and trust in government which is necessary to wage war.  That is as good an excuse as any to explain why the American people have not rallied around this war of terror.  The national unity that politicians whine about was achieved only once in the beginning of this war, before the politicians and the corporations revealed the war for what it has always been–a war to control oil and gas.

The great danger posed by conspiracy theorists is that we will finally wake the people up to the fact that we have been deceived, in order trick us into allowing the armed forces of the United States to be used as a mercenary force, an army of conquest, to be used to rob the people of Asia of their God-given natural resources.  The danger of the “conspiracy theorist” is that he will awaken the people from their trance-like slumber which binds them,  trapped somewhere between the waking world and the dream state.   In this state, most of us meekly “support the troops” as they mercilously clear the ground of resisters to the great conspiracy.  The danger is that we will shock them and turn their thoughts toward  this ugly reality of the waking world.

The “conspiracy theorist” is discredited because he or she dares to look for alternatives to the idiotic official excuses given for key events like the 911 and London subway bombings, or for historic, pivotal political assassinations.  Researchers who dare to look beyond explanations which are obviously lies automatically become delegated to the lunatic fringe.  With the Internet becoming the researchers’ primary source of information, it has became possible for national security organizations to control nearly all critical information, thus insuring that no one would find any hidden proof of the crimes of the past.  This federal oversight meant that it became necessary for theorists to switch tactics and shift our focus from looking for evidence of government crimes in the past (which have had time to be covered-up), to rooting-out proof of ongoing crimes and criminal plans for the future.  In today’s environment of massive social and political discontent, hard proof of either ongoing war crimes or of criminal conspiracies to commit future crimes, could very likely prove to be the spark that lights the “prairie fires” of a grass roots revolution.  This is the real danger of uncontrolled research.

The sudden and widespread popular reactions to the Wikileaks story which contains proof of US and NATO war crimes, demonstrates the potential powderkeg to be tapped by the right torcher-bearer.  Government leaders undoubtably understood the great potential danger risked by allowing the release of the Wiki documents, but, being the practitioners of Nazi mind-science that they are, they fully understood the potential rewards to be reaped by the correct handling of the leaks and Western reporting on them.  Popular emphasis upon the Pakistani angle of Wiki revelations could help create a national consensus for attacking Taliban bases in Pakistan.

The Wikileaks were a document dump, intended to overwhelm researchers and to preoccupy they, studying the Empire’s past moves, in order to distract us from our new focus upon the present, looking towards the future.   Look for the release of an even greater document dump from Wikileaks in the near future, as they dump their Iraq files onto the Internet.  Another effect of the Wiki document dump is that it has flooded search engines with countless new variations on the search for “American war crimes,” or info on important key battles or screw-ups, making it even more impossible to find information on Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or anything covered in the leaks.  This will muddy the waters for us even more and make it even less likely in the future that we will stumble across important evidence of ongoing criminal activity.

The nature of our conspiracy research is searching to find preventative answers, evidence to reveal overlooked evidence which could possibly preempt ongoing conspiracy plans.  My focus for several years now has been to find preventive evidence of America’s true intentions in Pakistan.  I have chosen Pakistan because I figured it to be the primary focus of the whole ongoing criminal American conspiracy (which involves many foreign co-conspirators), the critical component to the entire pipeline scheme.  No matter how far into Central Asia the evidence has gone, it always relates back to Pakistan, certainly as the port for the pipeline plans, but also, just as important, to the thirty-year old scheme to create an army of “Islamists,” created to serve the Empire builders’ plans.  Without Pakistan, none of the current plans for Empire would have even been possible.

For this unshakeable loyalty, if nothing else, we owe Pakistan a great debt.  But Pakistan has gone far beyond mere loyalty in serving American interests, risking everything to serve as America’s secret sword.  Pakistan risked its very existence in this capacity, standing alone on the lofty Himalayan peaks, toe-to-toe against the intimidating Soviet Union.  They exposed their entire population to thermonuclear blackmail or potential elimination, to serve as the American stand-in for the historic confrontation which brought the Communist empire to its knees.  Pakistan has given and risked so much for us that our leaders have decided to sacrifice the Nation on the altar of self-aggrandisement.  The greatest service we could do to them and to ourselves today would be to throw a monkey wrench into their plans for our Pakistani friends.

Sadly, the ongoing insidious criminal plans of the Empire extend far beyond Pakistan, reaching into every country on the earth, extending its tentacles like some great octopus, grasping to control every life within its reach.  In the past, many researchers who got too close to the “Octopus” were eliminated, usually in an unconventional manner, usually in bizarre “suicides” .  Now, our numbers have grown so great that it has altered the equation a bit, there are too many of us to kill today.  The idea of using anti-Empire activists, such as myself, to help advance their plans and to agitate the public into a frenzy, has been a risky one.  When the time comes to flip right-wing and left-wing activists towards the Empire’s preferred “consensus” there has always been a great inherent danger that the activists would not follow the trail of breadcrumbs leading us into new American police state.

That is the great weakness in the Empire’s plan–by continually operating in a Hegelian manner (always manipulating both left and right, to force a consensus), every argument put forth by politicians or behaviorists, seeking to confine us within a narrow political spectrum, reaches a flipping point, where both synthesis and antithesis change direction, heading towards, instead of away from each other.  It is at this flipping, or tipping point, where the original argument fizzles-out, losing its steam and forward momentum, and the threat we represent becomes the greatest.  The greatest danger in allowing us to access inconvenient or incriminating evidence from the Internet comes just at the point of flipping.  This is why the Internet has not yet been pulled out from under us.

This is why the Wikileak leaks are like a two-edged sword, they could just as easily cut the legs out from under us as they could undercut the criminal war for resources.  Instead of following the game plan and jumping on the national bandwagon of a “patriotic” war on Pakistan, we must find the strength to muster our own groundswell of support by exposing the criminal intentions which have underwritten this war from the beginning, bringing the American people together to oppose the planned expansion of the war.

We are a threat if we start to come together.  The ideas that bind us all here in the alternative media are exactly the sort of thinking that must be eliminated.  The path to either victory or defeat for the anti-Empire side, just as it is for the bad guys, lies in changing the thinking of the people.  The bad guys are intent on erasing the polluting ideas of freedom, liberation and individualism from the human lexicon, replacing all of these cherished concepts with ideas of hopelessness, terror and submission (SEE:  Bombing Improper Thoughts).  We must be just as committed to reinforcing visions of hope, fighting terror with truth and reason, building the fires of resistance within the beseiged minds of our countrymen and our fellow man.

The greatest danger to the Empire is that you will refuse to lie down and submit.  If enough people begin to feel this way, then the tide will turn towards freedom’s shore.


Afghan war exposed

Afghan war exposed

The Hindu

The governments of the United States and the United Kingdom have reacted with predictable shock and dismay to the appearance on the non-profit website WikiLeaks of some 92,000 U.S. military documents on the calamitous war in Afghanistan. Material on the conduct of German, French, and Polish troops — fellow-members of the International Security Force in Afghanistan (ISAF) — is a sort of bonus. The New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegelcollaborated in analysing and placing substantial amounts of the information on the Internet, though they have withheld details that are likely to heighten the danger to U.S. troops and their partners. The White House, however, says the leaks might put American lives and those of partners at risk and could threaten national security. The U.K. expresses similar concerns. The documents show that intelligence is unreliable and often unverifiable; that ISAF communications frequently break down; that there are technical problems with equipment, including drone aircraft; and that troops are so frightened of suicide bombers and Taliban collaborators that they have killed hundreds of civilians by shooting and bombing indiscriminately. Furthermore, large numbers of ordinary Afghans fear and hate the foreign troops and are victims of the corruption and brutality that pervade the U.S-backed Hamid Karzai government. Taliban forces, for their part, are increasingly well-trained and adept, and their roadside bombs have killed over 2,000 civilians.

The WikiLeaks exposé has been likened to the 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers, the contents of which significantly strengthened worldwide opposition to the Vietnam war, and also to the publication of pictures of U.S. torture at Abu Ghraib in Iraq. It turns out that the CIA has its own secret operation to kill suspected Taliban leaders, that incident reports conceal civilian deaths and other failures, and that the U.S. military has covered up the Taliban’s acquisition of heat-seeking missiles. Politically speaking, there is deepening international concern that the ISAF presence is not doing anything other than wrecking Afghanistan and strengthening the Taliban. The U.S., in particular, has persistently underestimated the weakness and incompetence of the Afghan government. Therefore, prosecuting anyone found responsible for the leak amounts to nothing more than shooting the messenger. That will address neither the chaos in Afghanistan nor the fact that a war effort that has already cost over $300 billion is totally directionless. The very concept of a victory, military or political, is now completely unintelligible and the official lies about Afghanistan can no longer be sustained.

U.N. declares access to water a basic human right

U.N. declares access to water a basic human right


The U.N. Millennium Development Goal is to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who cannot reach or afford safe drinking water. File photo
AP   The U.N. Millennium Development Goal is to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who cannot reach or afford safe drinking water.   File photo

The United Nations has adopted a resolution, which recognises access to clean water and sanitation as a human right.

The U.N. General Assembly resolution, sponsored by Bolivia, received 122 votes in favour and 41 countries abstained. The resolution states that “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life.”

There are currently 884 million people without access to safe drinking water and more than 2.6 billion do not have access to basic sanitation. Around 1.5 million children die each year of water and sanitation related diseases.

The resolution also called on member states and international organisations to offer funding, to help poorer countries scale up their efforts to provide clean, accessible and affordable drinking water and sanitation for everyone.

Most developing countries voted for the resolution but several developed countries abstained on the grounds that the resolution did not clearly spell out the nature of the obligations.

“This resolution describes a right to water and sanitation in a way that is not reflective of existing international law; as there is no “right to water and sanitation in an international legal sense as described by this resolution,” said John F. Sammis, a diplomat speaking on behalf of the U.S., which abstained.

British delegate Nicola Freedman also said that didn’t exist “at present sufficient legal basis under international law to either declare or recognise water or sanitation as free-standing human rights.”

The Millennium Development Goal of the U.N. is to halve by 2015 the proportion of people who cannot reach or afford safe drinking water and halving the number who do not have basic sanitation.

“We can survive quite a long time without food, but only several days without water,” said Pablo Solon, the Bolivian ambassador. “More people die from the consequences of unclean water than the total of all deaths from AIDS, malaria and measles.”

Today’s resolution also invited Catarina de Albuquerque, the U.N. Independent Expert on the issue of human rights obligations related to access to safe drinking water and sanitation, to report annually to the General Assembly.

Countries like China, Russia, Germany, France, Spain and Brazil supported the resolution, which does not have any legal force. However, a General Assembly resolution carries moral and symbolic value.

WikiLeaks document release endangers lives–US

[The photo below is not new; it was added at the source site.  It is only a matter of time before they find a real victim to pin upon the leaks, when they do, the axe is sure to fall.  It may prove in the end that this is the great dividing instrument, to separate the dangerous “conspiracy theorists” from the rest of decent society.  Don’t forget…We are Scum.]

WikiLeaks document release endangers lives: US

WASHINGTON: Informants whose names appear in the documents posted on the whistleblower site WikiLeaks have reason to fear for their lives, a Pentagon spokesman said yesterday.

At least one person who named appeared in the documents has already complained to US officials in Afghanistan, said Colonel David Lapan.

“Anyone whose name appears in those documents is potentially at risk,” he said.

“It could compromise their position, it could be a threat on their life, and it could have an impact on their future conduct,” Lapan said, referring to fears the massive leak could dry up intelligence sources.

The more than 90,000 classified military files span a period from 2004 to 2009 as the US and NATO war effort in Afghanistan ran into a rising Taliban insurgency.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said earlier this week that the documents were checked for named informants and that 15,000 such documents had been held back. But the British newspaper The Times reported that after just two hours of combing through the documents it was able to find the names of dozens of Afghans said to have provided detailed intelligence to US forces. The Times cited one 2008 document that included a detailed interview with a Taliban fighter considering defection. The man, who names local Taliban commanders and talks about other potential defectors, is identified by name, along with his father’s name and village. In another case from 2007, a senior official accuses named figures in the Afghan government of corruption.

“The leaks certainly have put in real risk and danger the lives and integrity of many Afghans,” a senior official at the Afghan foreign ministry, who declined to be named told The Times.

“The US is both morally and legally responsible for any harm that the leaks might cause to the individuals, particularly those who have been named. It will further limit the US/international access to the uncensored views of Afghans,” the Afghan official told the newspaper.

Major General John Campbell, head of the 101 Airborne Division and in charge of a key regional command in eastern Afghanistan, said that the leaks have not resulted in any changes in military operations.

Campbell, speaking to reporters via satellite from Afghanistan, said that most of the information he has seen from the leaks was “not new news.” afp

M. Star Tanker Reports Flash On Horizon Moments Before Explosion

Tanker Incident Raises Concerns About Oil Transit Through Persian Gulf

Thursday, July 29, 2010
By Patrick Goodenough, International Editor

In this photo released by the Emirates News Agency (WAM), damage is seen on the side of the M. Star supertanker as it arrives at Fujairah port in the United Arab Emirates on Wednesday, July 28, 2010. (AP Photo/Emirates News Agency)
(CNSNews.com) – Mystery surrounds an incident in which a laden oil tanker was damaged in the Strait of Hormuz Wednesday. Maritime and shipping officials are at odds over whether the cause was an intentional explosion or a freak wave caused by seismic activity.

Whatever turns out to be the case, the incident again highlights the vulnerability of the world’s most important energy waterway, one which Iran has periodically threatened to block, in retaliation for international pressure over its nuclear program.

Up to 40 percent of the world’s daily oil supply – including three-quarters of Japan’s needs – traverses the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz chokepoint en route to markets in the West and Asia. Situated between Iran, Oman and the United Arab Emirates, the channel is less than 30 miles across at its narrowest point.

The 160,000-ton M. Star, a Japanese-owned, Marshall islands-flagged supertanker, was anchored off Fujairah in the UAE on Thursday, undergoing inspection of its damaged hull.

A photo released by the UAE’s WAM news agency showed a large, square-shaped dent in the vessel’s hull, near the waterline.

The unexplained incident in Omani waters early Wednesday morning was first described by the owners, Mitsui O.S.K. Lines (MOL), as “an explosion which seemed to be an attack from external sources.” The statement that prompted speculation that pirates, terrorists or a military force may have been responsible.

MOL said one of the crew was lightly injured, but none of the 270,200 tons of crude oil taken onboard in the UAE the previous day had leaked from the damaged hull.

The “explosion” theory appeared to be backed up by a statement from the Japanese transportation ministry, which said one of the 31-member crew reported seeing “a flash on the horizon immediately before the blast.”

But maritime officials in the UAE, Iran and Oman said that the M. Star had been hit by a large wave.

A UAE port captain was quoted as telling local media the wave was “a result of seismic shock” while an Iranian official cited an “earthquake.” One report cited the Omani coastguard as saying the wave was triggered by a 3.2 magnitude earthquake in the Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.

The U.S. Geological Survey, which monitors earthquakes worldwide and lists all events 2.5 magnitude and bigger, has no report of any quake in that region in recent days. The most recent quake in the region was a 4.8 magnitude tremor on Saturday, July 24, in southern Iran.

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center also has had no tsunami warnings in the entire Indian Ocean region since June 12.

Prof. Mike Sandiford, earthquake expert and director the Melbourne Energy Institute at the University of Melbourne in Australia, said Thursday there was “zero chance” of a wave being caused by a quake four days earlier. A “submarine slope failure” – an underwater landslide – could be a possibility, he said.

MOL was sticking to its guns Thursday, with an official telling a briefing in Tokyo a quake-induced wave was unlikely the cause of the incident, and that the damage suggested the ship had been hit from the outside.

A spokesman for the U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, said the ship had reported by radio that an “explosion” had occurred. The Navy had offered assistance, but the ship’s master determined it was not necessary. The ship made its way to Fujairah under its own steam.

The spokesman said the M. Star incident did not affect the shipping lane.

State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said the U.S. had no information to suggest that the event was anything other than an accident but would be “watching carefully as more information comes in on that.”

Piracy, terrorism, military action

Maritime security experts have long warned of the danger of a terrorist or pirate attack on a supertanker in one of the world’s strategic sea chokepoints, which include the Strait of Hormuz, the Malacca Strait between Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia, Gibraltar and the Panama and Suez canals.

Apart from the environmental impact should a tanker’s hull be intentionally or accidentally breached, the economic cost and disruption of an incident blocking a crucial waterway for a period of time would be massive.

The Strait of Hormuz is hundreds of miles away from the area where pirates have been operating in recent years – the Red Sea and mouth of the Gulf of Aden and the coast of Somalia.  (read HERE)

Japanese tanker examined in Fujairah

[As you can see from the first photo below, there is no obvious scorching or point of blast.  Apparently, whatever hit the side of the double-hulled ship did not explode.  Considering the location of the attack, it is probably a false flag incident, staged to implicate Iran. ]

Japanese tanker examined in Fujairah

Loveday Morris

The damaged M. Star arrives in Fujairah to be examined.WAM

ABU DHABI // Investigators were combing a Japanese oil tanker docked in Fujairah last night after it was damaged by what its owners claimed was an explosion.

The M. Star was travelling from Al Ruwais to Japan when the blast occurred in the Strait of Hormuz early yesterday. The cause is unknown but the ship’s operator, Mitsui OSK Lines, and the Japanese transport ministry said it was “highly likely” to have been an outside attack. However, Emirati and Omani officials attributed the damage to a freak wave.

According to the US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, the explosion hit the starboard side of the Marshall Islands-flagged vessel at about 4.30am yesterday. A lifeboat was blown off the ship in the blast and hatches were damaged.

Kazumi Makamura, a spokeswoman for Mitsui OSK, said the galley windows were damaged and “the bridge wing door was buckled … there is other damage we are checking. We do not know when the investigation will be completed”.

She confirmed one of the ship’s 31 crew members suffered minor injuries. As for the cause of the blast, “There is nothing that can explode in that part of the vessel,” a different company spokeswoman, Eiko Mizuno, told The Associated Press.

A crew member saw a flash of light before the explosion, indicating a possible external attack, she said.

The ship, which was loaded with 270,000 tonnes of oil, arrived in Fujairah about 5pm yesterday, and investigators boarded the tanker to assess the damage.

No oil was spilled in the incident, officials said. A port source said the company’s Britain-based insurance carrier was sending a surveyor and a weapons expert to examine the ship.

The UAE’s state news agency, WAM, cited a UAE official as saying there was no possibility the damage was caused by an attack, adding that no trace of explosives was found on its outer body structure. It said a large wave that resulted from a “seismic shock” was responsible.

There was no unusual seismic activity in the region, according to a spokesman for the National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology.

The Omani transport ministry also attributed the damage to a large wave. “There’s no reason to suspect foul play,” a spokesman for the ministry said. “Our information from the Omani coast guard officers, who have been at the vessel, said that it was a strong wave that caused the damage. It has already docked in Fujairah for inspection.”

Dr Mustafa Alani, the senior adviser for security and terrorism at the Dubai-based Gulf Research Centre, said initial investigation will focus on the nature of the damage to the ship. “It’s very easy to tell if it’s an external attack or not from whether the damage is pushing inside or internal,” Dr Alani said.

He said there were three possibilities for an attack: piracy, a state-sponsored attack or terrorism, the first two of which he discounted.

“If this was piracy, it would have been followed by an attempt to hijack the ship and there are no reports of an attempt to board.”

Pirates are unlikely to travel into the highly patrolled Strait of Hormuz, where the US and other international navies are active, Dr Alani added.

Monsoons in the Gulf of Aden also make the seas too rough for pirate skiffs at this time of year. About 40 per cent of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, one of the world’s most important waterways.

Riad Kahwaji, the chief executive of the Dubai-based Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis, said it is difficult to draw conclusions until a full investigation has been done but discounted the theory that a wave could have been responsible in the relatively sheltered waters.

Built in 2008, the M. Star is a double-hulled tanker. Single-hulled vessels have been gradually phased out since the Exxon Valdez accident in 1989 that resulted in one of history’s most devastating oil spills.

* With additional reporting by Eugene Harnan, Anna Zacharias and Saleh al Shaibany

Spain approves a drug whose active ingredient marijuana

España aprueba un medicamento cuyo principio activo la marihuana

Spain approves a drug whose active ingredient marijuana

Por: Agencia EFE
“Sativex”, is a drug for the treatment of spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients.

Spanish health authorities authorized the marketing of “Sativex, a cannabis-derived medicine to treat spasticity in multiple sclerosis patients.

The Spanish Minister of Health, Trinidad Jimenez, said that the therapeutic use of cannabis has been discussed since “many years”, so there’s “trials and scientific evidence” of its utility in certain diseases.

The use of the substance to alleviate symptoms of several diseases is a very controversial but the truth is that some patients with diseases that present with pain turn to marijuana to alleviate the suffering.

From now on, multiple sclerosis patients with muscle spasms from mild to severe may consume this product by an oral spray, if prescribed by a specialist.

Companies Almirall and GW Pharmaceuticals will market the drug in Spain, but before the Ministry of Health must approve the price and reimbursement, a process that is expected before the fourth quarter end of the month.

The minister denied that the medical use of this drug is spreading to other ailments, as it could be cancer, and emphasized that in this case, is “a very specific use, if other treatments have failed, always given by a specialist and for a very small group of patients. ”

Jimenez recalled that the product is first used in Canada and from there, has been imported to Spain in a “very controlled” and for a number of “very small” patients.

Both before and now, “Sativex” will have to be approved by the specialists, provided that did not work other drugs indicated for such illness.

The owner of Health said that Spain allows certain drugs can be prescribed, in very specific cases, for a different use for which they were originally authorized, alluding to other possible treatments with cannabis.

“You could study whether it is appropriate medical specialist and when they have failed other medications, but it would be case by case for a tightly controlled group of patients”, detail.

GW Pharmaceuticals has started registration procedures for the approval of “Sativex” in other EU member countries, including major markets like Germany, France and Italy.

For Justin Gover, the director general, the approval and launch the drug in the UK, in June 2010, regulatory approval in Spain and the submission of application for approval in other European countries mark the beginning of the international expansion of the product.

  • Agencia EFE | Elespectador.com

Turkmenistan is interested in a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan and the construction of the TAPI

[The fact that Nabucco, Europe’s salvation from Gazprom, depends upon Turkmenistan for the bulk of its gas, even though there is no reliable data on Turkmen gas reserves, shows the dicey nature of the whole pipeline pipe dream.  They are in such a hurry to make the pipelines a reality before the total American economic and military collapse that they are trying to build pipelines without knowing beforehand that sufficient quantities of gas will be available.]

Turkmenistan is interested in a peaceful settlement in Afghanistan and the construction of the TAPI


At a July 23 meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of Turkmenistan PresidentGurbanguly Berdymukhammedov pleased briefed the Foreign Minister, Deputy Prime Minister Rashid Meredov on the participation of the Turkmen side in a number of international meetings and conferences: an informal meeting of foreign ministers of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Alma-Ata, International Conference on Afghanistan in Kabul, as well as the regional meeting on the issue of water management in Central Asia in Ashgabat, the State News Agency of Turkmenistan (TDH).
The President drew particular attention to issues relating to Afghanistan, noting that Turkmenistan actively supports the peaceful settlement of the situation in the neighboring country, offering the development of new political and diplomatic mechanisms for solving existing problems and to stabilize the situation in this country, in particular, their willingness to provide the political space for inter-Afghan peace talks under UN auspices.

As the Foreign Minister of Turkmenistan, in this regard, special significance in the context of the forum in Kabul was to discuss the possibility of the project for the construction of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI), which promises, according to the Turkmen side, an enormous socio-economic benefits not only the direct project participants, but also all countries in the region.

As is known, the TAPI gas pipeline project worth $ 8 billion, the length of 1,68 square kilometers and a capacity of about 30 billion cubic meters. m per year discussed with the 1990’s. Originally, construction was scheduled for 2010 and 2015, the pipeline was supposed to earn. The project is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). U.S. supports a plan to build TAPI as an alternative to export gas to Pakistan and India from Iran.

Directly project prevented at least three reasons: the unstable situation in Afghanistan, the Indo-Pakistan conflict and the lack of reliable data on gas reserves of Turkmenistan.

France declares war against Algerian Militant Group

PARIS – The Associated Press
France embraces a US-like strategy on terrorism as the country declares war against al-Qaeda after the terror network killed a French aid worker in Islamic Maghreb. Although the PM refuses to say how France will act, the French-backed Mauritanian forces have attacked an al-Qaeda camp on the border with Mali, killing at least six suspected terrorists
French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech during a limited security and defence council at the Elysee Palace. AP photo.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy delivers a speech during a limited security and defence council at the Elysee Palace. AP photo.

France has declared war on al-Qaeda, and matched its fighting words with a first attack on a base camp of the terror network’s North African branch, after the terror network killed a French aid worker it took hostage in April.

The declaration and attack marked a shift in strategy for France, usually discrete about its behind-the-scenes battle against terrorism. “We are at war with al-Qaeda,” Prime Minister Francois Fillon said Tuesday, a day after President Nicolas Sarkozy announced the death of 78-year-old hostage Michel Germaneau.

The humanitarian worker had been abducted April 20 or 22 in Niger by al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and was later taken to Mali, officials said.

The killers will “not go unpunished,” Sarkozy said in unusually strong language, given France’s habit of employing quiet cooperation with its regional allies – Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Algeria – in which the al-Qaeda franchise was spawned amid an Islamist insurgency.

The Salafist Group for Call and Combat formally merged with al-Qaeda in 2006 and spread through the Sahel region – parts of Mauritania, Mali and Niger. Officials suggest France will activate accords with these countries to stop the terrorists in their tracks.

“It’s a universal threat that concerns the entire world … not just France or the West,” Defense Minister Herve Morin said Tuesday on France-2 television. “We will support local authorities so these assassins and (their) commanders are tracked, judged and taken before justice and punished. And, yes, we will help them.”

Algeria, Mauritania, Mali and Niger in April opened a joint military headquarters deep in the desert to respond to threats from traffickers and the al-Qaeda offshoot. U.S. Special Forces have helped the four nations train troops in recent years.

The United States said it would help the French “in any way that we can” to bring those who killed Germaneau to justice, according to U.S. State Dept. spokesman P.J. Crowley. “There is no religion that sanctions what can only be described as cold-blooded murder,” Crowley said Tuesday.

Fillon refused to say how France would act. “But we will,” he said in an interview with Europe 1 radio. And perhaps it already has. On Thursday, the French backed Mauritanian forces in attacking an al-Qaeda camp on the border with Mali, killing at least six suspected terrorists. It is the first time France is known to have attacked an al-Qaeda base.

France said it was a last-ditch effort to save its citizen, while Mauritania said it was trying to stop an imminent attack by fighters gathering at the base.

For the French, the move may have backfired. The al-Qaeda group said in an audio message broadcast Sunday that it had killed Germaneau in retaliation for the raid. However, French officials suggested, however, that the hostage, who had a heart problem, may already have been dead. Even now, “We have no proof of life or death,” Morin said.

“We can expect an increase in the French riposte,” said Antoine Sfeir, an expert on Islamist terrorists who has traveled in the region. An estimated 400-500 such fighters are thought to roam the Sahel region, a desert expanse as large as the European Union.

Despite meager numbers, the region’s al-Qaeda fighters pose a clear threat. Among the more recent victims, a British captive was beheaded last year and two Spanish aid workers were taken hostage in Mauritania in November. Spain is working to free them. Mauritanian soldiers also have fallen in numerous attacks.

The head of the French Institute of Strategic Analysis suggested the French government’s rhetoric was normal. “It’s important to make that kind of announcement,” Francois Gere said. “I think it’s made of the same stuff” as former U.S. President George W. Bush’s tough line on al-Qaeda.

But “a government has to make clear it must respond strongly” while maintaining the discretion needed to ensure cooperation, Gere said. In the past France has been cautious because those governments don’t want the appearance of interference from the West, he said.

Spain has maintained a low profile as videos by the al-Qaeda franchise regularly call for the conquest of “al-Andalus” – a reference to the period of Muslim rule of much of Spain in medieval times.

US Envoy to Azerbaijan Talks-Up Old TAPI Pipeline Project–(Turkmen., Afg., Pak., India)

U.S. Special Envoy: Trans-Afghani gas pipeline project is interesting from commercial point of view

You can read the rest of the American diplomat’s enlightening comments on the Trans-Afghani gas pipeline (TAPI, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India) if you are a paid subscriber to Trend news service.

Since I am not, I dug-up the following link that confirms that the original pipeline planned by Texas oil companies and supported by the Taliban, at one time.  TAPI remains a reality and its scheduled completion date is for 2015, one year after the end of “Enduring Freedom.”

It has always been about war and we have always known it.   Pretending from the beginning that we were in Afghanistan for reasons of self-defense, the American people have simply played along because we wanted the gas and oil.

The world now knows that this has all been a big monstrous lie.  It remains to be seen whether the rest of the world is also without morals, or whether we will be called to task for the war crimes that are being revealed on a daily basis.

Trio sign up for Turkmen gas

Alternative source: Turkmenistan

related stories

Representatives of Pakistan, India and Afghanistan signed a framework deal in Islamabad yesterday to buy natural gas from Turkmenistan, Pakistani media reported.

Upstream staff

The US-backed deal allows India to join a pact signed in 2002 to begin importing gas from Turkmenistan by 2015, Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper said in its online edition.

The agreement, which will require the building of a pipeline projected to cost $7.6 billion, is seen as an alternative to the so-called Peace pipeline plan to bring Iranian gas to India and Pakistan via Afghanistan.

The US is opposed to the Peace pipeline because it hopes to isolate Iran over its controversial nuclear programme.

The newspaper said uncertainty about the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) pipeline continued amid ongoing disputes between the partners about transportation fees and tariffs.

The Turkmenistan pipeline will supply 90 million cubic feet of gas per day to the Dauletabad field to Fazilka on the Pakistan-India border.

Under today’s deal, Afghanistan is proposing to tap 5 million cubic metres per day from the pipe during the first two years of operation and 14 MMcm per day thereafter. India and Pakistan will split the remaining capacity.

However, Pakistan and India both reportedly said following the signing that they remained commited to the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline.

“There is no pressure on us over the IPI and we will move forward on the project,” Pakistani Oil Minister Khwaja Asif said at a press conference, Iran’s official IRNA news agency said.

Indian Energy Minister Morli Deora was quoted as saying: “We are still committed to the IPI”.

The pair said they would discuss the IPI pipe in talks in Islamabad today.

Asia Development Bank director Peter Fedon said the bank had assisted in the signing of the Turkmenistan pipe deal. However, he reportedly would no say whether the bank would play a role in the Iranian pipe project.

The Worst Idea Ever–Indian Troops In Afghanistan

Indian boots in Afghanistan?

Bidanda Chengappa

US Special Representative for AfPak Richard Holbrooke’s recent statement that Pakistan is critical to stabilise Afghanistan has serious implications for Indian security interests. Considering he was also dismissive of New Delhi’s concerns over reconciliation with the Taliban, calls for a radical review of India’s Afghanistan policy.

New Delhi can no longer afford to kowtow to US policy interests, given Pakistan’s insecurity vis a vis India. With the ground being laid for the creeping return of the Taliban to Kabul, India faces a far greater threat to its national security interests from Afghanistan than the US. New Delhi therefore seriously needs to consider the possibility of military deployment in Afghanistan to support and strengthen the US led coalition military efforts against the Taliban terrorists.

India has never flexed its military muscles against Pakistani-sponsored cross border jehadi terrorism —except occasionally for some shallow penetration trans-border commando raids — besides the December 2002 coercive diplomacy through military mobilisation. A sizeable and powerful Indian military presence in Afghanistan could however rattle Pakistan, support /strengthen US /ISAF force levels and help to hit the Taliban harder.

Today President Hamid Karzai is being coerced by Islamabad and Washington to talk to the Taliban, mainly because Washington is dependent on Islamabad for support in logistics, intelligence and operations. Evidently Islamabad’s rationale in pursuing such a policy is to ensure that Afghanistan continues to remain under its sphere of influence and a sanctuary for cross border terrorism against India.

For India therefore to curtail Pakistan’s capability to foster cross border terrorism in Jammu & Kashmir, the first step would logically be to fight the Taliban in Afghanistan. With the US led NATO/ISAF forces making little headway against the Taliban, Indian military participation would certainly contribute to the counter-insurgency effort underway.

It can be argued that Indian involvement should be avoided because the Taliban would massacre our troops deployed there. The Indian experience in Sri Lanka notwithstanding, the Indian Army is not a para-military force that the Taliban can easily slaughter. It did succeed in Somalia where even the US Army Rangers failed to deliver in 1992.

The case for military intervention can be buttressed with the argument that while Western forces have an option to exit Afghanistan, considering their countries are not vulnerable directly to cross border terrorism, India has no such luxury.

It goes without saying that only strict rules of engagement for Indian troops would prevent indirect or direct clashes with Pakistan soldiers to avoid a shooting match between them.

Objections about a shortage of military manpower to secure our territorial interests are equally invalid. India has massive para-military forces trained for precisely these tasks unlike the army which fights wars. The almost 9000 Indian troops deployed on UN peace keeping missions could easily be re-deployed in Afghanistan.

The US picked Pakistan as its primary entry point into landlocked Afghanistan. However after the US-led global war on terror gained momentum in 2001, India’s attempt to dilute Pakistan’s monopoly as a gateway into Afghanistan began by building a strategic corridor that connects the hinterland of Afghanistan with the Iranian port city of Chahbahar. The 280-km road from Delaram on the Kandahar-Herat highway to Zaranj on the Afghanistan-Iran border brings the landlocked country 1,000 km closer to the sea. From an Indian security perspective this strategic road implies that New Delhi, with the concurrence of Iran, can transport military logistics overland to support a war fighting role in Afghanistan after reaching it to Chahbahar by sea. That Iran too wants the Americans out of Afghanistan but not at the cost of seeing the Pakistan backed Taliban re-entry is another factor.

Clearly, Afghanistan forms part of India’s neighbourhood and New Delhi needs to work against the US and Pakistan’s Taliban-centric policy by involving other neighbours like Iran and the Central Asian states to counter Pakistan’s strategy in Afghanistan to keep India out as far as possible. Its time India asserted itself as the regional power that it is.

(The writer is a Visiting Fellow with the Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi)

India politician held over murder in Gujarat

India politician held over murder in Gujarat

Amit ShahMr Shah is a close ally of the chief minister Narendra Modi

A former minister in India’s Gujarat state has been arrested in connection with the 2005 killing of a man by police.

Amit Shah, former junior home minister in the state’s Hindu nationalist BJP government, has been remanded in custody.

He said the charges against him were “fabricated and politically motivated”.

The Gujarat police have said that Sohrabuddin Sheikh, a Muslim civilian, was killed in a staged gun-battle.

At least three top policemen in the state were charged with the murder of Mr Sheikh.

They are alleged to have attempted to cover up the killing by claiming he belonged to an Islamic militant group.

The Gujarat government, headed by Mr Narendra Modi, then admitted that the missing wife of Mr Sheikh, Kausar Bi, was also killed and her body was burnt.

‘Fake encounter’Mr Shah was detained shortly after appearing in public to protest his innocence. He resigned on Saturday when the charges against him were first filed.

A close ally of Gujarat’s chief minister, Narendra Modi, he said the charges of murder and kidnap are politically motivated

Mr Sheikh and his wife had been travelling by bus when they were taken away by the Gujarat police in November 2005.

At the time, police claimed Mr Sheikh belonged to a banned militant group and was plotting to assassinate Mr Modi.

Gujarat has been heavily criticised for the treatment of its religious minorities.

According to official figures, more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims, were killed during the riots that broke out after nearly 60 Hindus were killed when a train was set on fire in Godhra town, allegedly by a Muslim mob, in 2002.

The state administration was accused of not doing enough to stop the riots.

Security forces in India have on occasion admitted to extra-judicial killings – described by the local media as “fake encounters” – in which they had at first said they had killed militants after coming under gunfire.

More on This Story

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Japanese Tanker Attacked Leaving the Strait of Hormuz

In this undated photo released by Mitsui O.S.K. Lines in Tokyo, Japan’s shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines’ tanker M. Star is shown. The Japanese shipping company said Wednesday, July 28, 2010, an explosion, suspected to be an attack, has damaged the oil tanker near the mouth of the Persian Gulf, causing one minor injury but did not cause an oil leak. (AP Photo/Mitsui O.S.K. Lines)

Explosion rocks Japanese tanker in Persian Gulf

By ADAM SCHRECK (AP) – 45 minutes ago

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — An explosion damaged a Japanese oil tanker as it exited the Persian Gulf on Wednesday. Though the cause of the blast was not immediately known, the ship’s owner said the vessel may have been attacked.

If an attack, it would be a rare assault on a tanker in the Gulf or at the Strait of Hormuz, a transit point for about 40 percent of oil shipped by tankers worldwide. Al-Qaida has in the past carried out attacks on oil infrastructure on land in nearby Saudi Arabia, as well as a 2002 suicide bombing against a French oil tanker off the coast of Yemen.

The blast onboard the M. Star supertanker happened shortly after midnight as it entered the strait, heading out of the Gulf, Japanese shipping company Mitsui O.S.K. Lines said.

Mitsui said the explosion at the back of the ship was believed to be caused by “a suspected attack from the outside” while the ship was passing through Omani waters in the western part of the strategically vital strait, a narrow chokepoint between Oman and Iran at the Gulf’s mouth.

“We believe it’s highly likely an attack,” Mitsui spokeswoman Eiko Mizuno said. “There is nothing that can explode in that part of the vessel.”

One of the ship’s 31 crew members noticed a flash of light right before the explosion, she said, suggesting something may have struck the vessel. The explosion occured at the back of the tanker, near an area where rescue boats are stored, causing cuts to a crew member who was struck with broken glass.

Yuki Shimoda, an official at Japan’s Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said the ministry was not immediately suspecting an attack, but added that the possibility cannot be ruled out.

The tanker, loaded with 270,000 tons of oil, was heading from Das island in the United Arab Emirates to the Japanese port of Chiba outside Tokyo, the ministry said. It said the tanker is registered in the Marshall Islands.

It was not immediately clear what caused the blast.

The Strait of Hormuz is a vital shipping lane for crude oil and other goods headed out of the Persian Gulf. It is far from areas where Somali pirates typically prey on slow-moving ships, though smugglers are known to operate in the area between Iran and an enclave of Oman on the other side of the strait.

The Japanese ministry said none of its ships has been attacked by pirates in the area.

Omani officials couldn’t immediately be reached. Officials in the UAE, whose waters ships cross on both sides of the strait, said they had no immediate information.

Iran has in the past threatened to close the strait if the United States attacks it over Tehran’s disputed nuclear program, though there were no immediately signs of Iranian involvement.

The U.S. Navy’s Bahrain-based 5th Fleet, which patrols the region, said it is investigating the explosion but does not know what caused it.

“We’ve heard about it. We’re still in the process of trying to get details,” said Commander Amy Derrick-Frost.

Initial reports from the ship’s owner say one life boat was blown off the ship, and some starboard hatches were damages, according to the Navy. It said it offered to assist the tanker after the explosion but was told no help was needed.

After the blast, the tanker was headed to the Emirati port of Fujairah under its own power.


Associated Press writer Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed reporting.

(This version corrects headline to say tanker was in the Persian Gulf instead of near)

“Whatever game is being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America, I know about all of it.”

Forget about the Wikileaks scandal for a moment and focus on the real threat to the games being played to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes..  The Wikileaks have brought the story of the kidnapping of Pakistani ISI agent Col. Imam to a head, and it is about to pop.  The proof of the importance of this issue is found in the way that the story is being reported in the media.  There is a strange consistency in all of the reports, regardless of where the story is surfacing in the “legitimate press.”

Every news site reports quotes this sentence, [I] will reveal all the weaknesses of our nation,” as though it reflected the real meaning of Col. Imam’s message.  Coincidentally (?), every report omits Imam’s next sentence naming the weaknesses that he threatens to reveal:

“Whatever game is being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America, I know about all of it.”

The fact that the message is being censored in both the Pakistani press and in all the Western media, reveals that it is not only Pakistan that wants to hide from Col. Imam’s secret revelations.  If he spills his guts, then the world will know that the Afghan war has been nothing more than a massive “wild goose chase,” or an international “snipe hunt,” wasting billions of dollars and thousands of lives in pursuit of the dead terrorist mastermind and his merry band of alleged super-terrorists.

I hope that Col. Imam sings like a big bearded canary!

The following news is censored:








Irked BHC Takes Suo Moto Action Against Missing Person’s Killing

The Baloch Hal News

QUETTA: The Balochistan High Court (BHC) has taken suo moto notice of the killing of two “missing persons” and directed the concerned Station House Officer to submit a complete report about the incident.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice of Balochistan High Court Justic Qazi Faez Isa and Justice Noor Miskanzai passed this orders on a petition regarding missing of Ashfaq Ahmed Mullazai whose dead body was found along with dead body of Farooq Mengal from Qambrani Road area of Quetta city a day earlier on Monday.

The court directed that the report should include copies of FIR, medical report, progress made in the matter and any statements recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. by or before the next date of hearing. Issue notice to learned DAG and AG.

The petition was filed by the father of Ashfaq Ahmed. The petitioner stated in the petition that his son, namely Ashfaq Ahmed who was a student of Baluchistan University was picked up on 28.05.2010 by some unknown persons and he was not seen ever since.

The court had issued notice to the respondents and the matter was fixed for August 3, 2010.

“It is brought to our attention that the said Ashfaq Ahmed was found dead in the area of Killi Qambrani within the jurisdiction of Police Station Shalkot, Quetta. Mr. Zahoor Baloch, learned counsel for the petitioner further points out that the body of Ashfaq Ahmed was discovered along with the body of Farooq Mengal in respect of whom another petition i.e. C.P. No.356 of 2010 was filed. Learned counsel has placed on record the news report in this regard published in daily ‘Mashriq’ and ‘Jang’ of 27th July 2010,” court observed.

Chief Justice said “We are extremely perturbed with the deaths of Ashfaq Ahmed and Farooq Mengal and the same are of great concern.”

Accordingly, SHO Shalkot, within whose jurisdiction the said bodies were found, is directed to submit complete report about the said incident. Such report should include copies of FIR, medical report, progress made in the matter and any statements recorded under Section 161 Cr.P.C. by or before the next date of hearing. Issue notice to learned DAG and AG.

Office is directed to fix both petitions, i.e. the instant petition and CP No.356/2010 together on the next date of hearing.

Another two Baloch forced-disappeared persons found dead

Another two Baloch forced-disappeared persons found dead

on 2010/7/27 0:00:00 (73 reads)
ccupied Balochistan: The bullet-riddled bodies of two men who had been missing since May 2009 were found on Qambrani Road here on Monday morning.

According to officials, residents of Qambrani Road spotted the two bodies lying in a field and informed local police. Police said the victims’ hands and feet were bound.

The bodies were taken to Bolan Medical College for an autopsy and were later shifted to Provincial Sandeman Hospital, where they were identified as 25-year-old Ashfaq Mullahzai and 30-year-old Farooq Mengal.

The victims received multiple bullet wounds on their heads and died on the spot, Dr Noor Baloch of Sandeman Hospital told The Express Tribune.

According to families of the victims, both men had been missing for more than two months. “Farooq Mengal was picked up by secret agencies from Lakh pass area, at the exit point of Quetta city, on May 10, this year,” claimed one of his relatives. The relative added that Ashfaq had been whisked away from Saryab area of Quetta on May 21. The victims were residents of Jail Road Hudda.

A case has been registered against unknown persons at New Saryab police station and officials say they are investigating the murders.

Meanwhile, the advocacy group Voice for Baloch Missing Persons (VBMP) held a demonstration before the Quetta Press Club on Monday, demanding that authorities trace the whereabouts of missing persons immediately.

Protestors carried placards and photographs of missing persons and chanted slogans against the government and judiciary, condemning them for their failure to locate missing people.

Addressing the protestors, VBMP Chairman Nasurrallah Baloch said the ‘democratic’ government and the ‘independent judiciary’ did not seem to be sincerely invested in the plight of missing persons and their relatives.

“Missing persons are being killed and the list of deaths has been increasing every day,” Baloch claimed, adding that “after the killing of Najeebullah Lango, Faiz Baloch and Farooq Mengal there is threat to the lives of other missing people.”

Other relatives at the protest also criticised the United Nations and international humanitarian organisation for their silennce regarding issue of missing persons.

They warned that if the missing persons issue was not taken up by the UN soon, they would organise a long march in protest and attempt to disrupt Nato supply lines from Pakistan to Afghanistan.


Army Arrests German Suspected of Spying for Israel

Army Arrests German Suspected of Spying for Israel

The Lebanese army intelligence has arrested a German engineer on suspicion of spying for Israel in eastern Lebanon, media reports said Tuesday.
An Nahar daily said the army raided “Liban Lait” dairy factory in the town of Talya on the Riaq-Baalbeck road at 1:30 pm Monday and arrested Manfred Peter Mog, the engineer in charge of maintenance of the factory’s machines.

As Safir said the army is questioning Mog, 58, over his use of transmitters.

Lebanon on Edge after Hizbullah Revelation on STL Findings

Lebanon on Edge after Hizbullah Revelation on STL Findings

Hizbullah chief Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah’s disclosure that his party is likely to be implicated in the assassination of ex-premier Rafik Hariri could send the country sliding back to chaos, analysts warn.

“This new situation is very alarming,” said Paul Salem, head of the Beirut-based Carnegie Middle East Centre.

“Hizbullah is in a very worrisome position and the tribunal is just one symptom of this position,” Salem told AFP in reference to the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL).

“If there is movement towards peace in the region, then Hizbullah has a problem,” he added. “If there’s movement toward war, Hizbullah has a problem. And now if the tribunal moves forward, they will also have a problem.”

Oussama Safa, who heads the Lebanese Center for Policy Studies, estimates Lebanon has a “50-50 chance” of descending into yet another round of violence in the light of Nasrallah’s surprise announcement late on Thursday.

In a rare press conference, the Shiite leader said Prime Minister Saad Hariri, son of the slain ex-premier, had informed him months ago that Hizbullah members would be accused by the STL.

He said Hariri had also assured him that he would publicly avow that it was “undisciplined” Hizbullah members, and not the party itself, who were implicated.

“The country could go towards a confrontation and it could also go towards a way to contain this — certainly not by stopping the indictment,” Safa told AFP. “But I think all parties have an interest in containing this.”

Politicians and judges, including STL president Antonio Cassese, have said they expect an indictment by the end of the year, sparking fears of a repeat of the violence in May 2008 that brought Lebanon close to a new civil war.

More than 100 people were killed that month when Hizbullah staged a spectacular takeover of mainly Sunni west Beirut following a crackdown on the party.

Omar Nashabe, a specialist in criminal justice and columnist with Lebanese daily al-Akhbar, said Nasrallah’s speech on Thursday was a well-timed wake-up call.

“He is calling for a revision … by the group that chose the wrong path by accusing Syria, and now that same group is moving toward Syria,” Nashabe said, referring to Hariri’s alliance.

“They should think carefully if they want to accuse Hizbullah to avoid repeating the same mistake as with Syria,” he added.

“At a time when Hizbullah feels under attack and Nasrallah is making these statements, Hariri is in Syria meeting and making agreements and I think Hizbullah is wondering where Syria is going,” Salem said.

Safa believes the newfound rapprochement bodes well for stability in Lebanon.

“I think the better Hariri’s relationship with Syria gets, the more detente we will see and the more we are able to keep a lid on any violent reaction,” he said.

Political blogger Elias Muhanna for his part says the commotion surrounding the U.N. tribunal’s finding could well be a ploy to defuse tension.

“By the time that the STL gets around to indicting Hizbullah members a few months from now… the development will be old news, already dissected, analyzed and picked over by Beirut’s punditocracy,” Muhanna wrote on his blog Qifa Nabki.

“No one will be surprised and (if Nasrallah and others get their way), no one will really care.”(AFP)

US, Israel Threaten Lebanon as Arabs Prepare to Visit Beirut

[The new crisis point that is nearing “critical mass” in Lebanon (just like the new crisis brewing in Pakistan over the Wikileaks and revelations of ISI support for the Taliban) is a smokescreen which hides the larger question–“Why is it acceptable for Israeli leaders to openly threaten to bomb their civilian neighbors?”   (In the Wiki case it is–“Why is it acceptable for the US to provide indirect support to the Taliban?”) No other nation on the earth can get away with this brazen verbal terror and not be treated as a terrorist state.  Why does Israel enjoy special rights to act outside of acceptable norms?]

US, Israel Threaten Lebanon as Arabs Prepare to Visit Beirut

Hussein Assi Readers Number : 764

27/07/2010 Once again, Lebanon found itself in the middle of the storm…

Nothing is new. The current stage is difficult and sensitive. Lebanon didn’t enter it as usual from the gate of an Israeli war or an internal sedition, but from the gate of the international tribunal, the latest Israeli scheme.

It’s the tribunal believed by a Lebanese main bloc to be nothing but an Israeli project, a logic rejected by another bloc insisting that the tribunal constitutes a “red line” and therefore it’s forbidden to doubt its credibility.

It’s the tribunal that awakened the Israelis from their long and deep sleep and made them remember the language of “threats” they used to be expert in before their humiliating defeat in July 2006 in Lebanon.

Armed with the tribunal’s “hopes” to achieve the “unachieved” Israeli goals of disarming and dismantling Hezbollah, Israel threatened Lebanon and the US backed its “self-defense right” amid a suspicious international silence.

The newest Israeli threat was launched by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak who warned that the next time violence breaks out, Israel would strike directly at the Lebanese government, which he said is allowing Hezbollah to rearm. “If Hezbollah fires a rocket into Tel Aviv, we will not run after each Hezbollah terrorist or launcher,” Barak told The Washington Post. “We will see it as legitimate to hit any target that belongs to the Lebanese state, not just to Hezbollah,” he claimed.

Barak’s threats got a direct approval from the United States. In this context, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley expressed his administration’s full support for the Israeli threats and said that every country has a right to defense itself.

However, the Arabs won’t remain silent. They actually decided to act and expressed their “concern” for the current situation.

Thus, Beirut started preparations to receive Syrian President Bachar Assad and Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz who would arrive in the Lebanese capital after visiting Egypt and Syria, in a tour in which the Lebanese files would be a priority according to Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit who simply joined the political internal club, confirming himself a side in Lebanon by claiming that the May 7 events should not be repeated.

Free the Wiki-Leaker

Mike Gogulski on July 16th, 2010

Florida attorney and Bradley Manning supporter James Cerveny wrote the letter below and sent it to the editors of a number of newspapers in Florida.

Let’s hope it gets published. Letters such as these do not change public opinion or government policy overnight, but sustained campaigns have long used them as one tool in the kit that’s both cheap and potentially powerful.

Why not send a letter to the editors of papers in your area? You can find a substantial directory of their email addresses here: http://www.mapinc.org/perl/directory.pr

Bradley Manning, currently held in a military gulag by the US government, is an American hero. His “crime” was to release to WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website, a suppressed videotape of a blatant war crime in which US soldiers chortle with glee as they gun down unarmed civilians, including children.  Manning has also allegedly released numerous diplomatic cables exposing massive corruption involving US officials as well as those of the puppet government we have installed in Iraq.

The government, and Manning’s detractors, claim that the release of the video jeopardizes “national security.”  This rings false, as the video is over three years old.  Rather, the government is charging him under draconian laws, including a statute typically used in espionage cases, to make an example of him for embarrassing our ruling class and for breaking through the tight censorship that has been increasingly successful in shielding the American people from exposure to the harsh realities of our illegal wars of aggression.

In case it hasn’t sunk in, the man was charged with espionage for revealing information to the American people that they should be entitled to have.  This is what our “republic” has come to.

Two “journalists” from Wired magazine (both convicted felons), using grossly unethical methods of selection and omission in writing their article, conspired with each other as well as the government to silence Manning and to smear him as a “traitor.”  Not surprisingly, the substance of this Orwellian hit piece has been parroted unquestioningly by our sycophantic mainstream media. Readers desiring a balanced approach to the Manning story should read the excellent article by Glen Greenwald in Salon.com.

The actions of the US government in prosecuting Manning, instead of the moral cretins in the helicopter and their superiors, are those of a tyrannical state.  The actions of our media in their “reporting” of the story are like those of their counterparts in North Korea.

God help this nation.

James Cerveny
Gainesville FL

Afghanistan Asks, Why the Silence?

Afghanistan questions U.S. silence over Pakistan’s role

A soldier with an injured ankle from the US Army's 1-320 Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division is assisted past his burning M-ATV armored vehicle after it struck an IED on a road near Combat Outpost Nolen in the Arghandab Valley, July 23, 2010. None of the four soldiers in the vehicle were seriously injured in the explosion. REUTERS/Bob Strong

A soldier with an injured ankle from the US Army's 1-320 Field Artillery Regiment, 101st Airborne Division is assisted past his burning M-ATV armored vehicle after it struck an IED on a road near Combat Outpost Nolen in the Arghandab Valley, July 23, 2010. None of the four soldiers in the vehicle were seriously injured in the explosion. REUTERS/Bob Strong

By Sayed Salahuddin

KABUL | Tue Jul 27, 2010 10:24am EDT

(Reuters) – The United States has pursued a contradictory policy with regard to the Afghan war by ignoring Pakistan’s role in the insurgency, the Afghan government said on Tuesday, following the leak of U.S. military documents.

The classified documents released by the organization, WikiLeaks, show current and former members of Pakistan’s spy agency were actively collaborating with the Taliban in plotting attacks in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, in its first reaction to the leak, Afghanistan’s National Security Council said the United States had failed to attack the patrons and supporters of the Taliban hiding in Pakistan throughout the nine-year conflict.

“With regret … our allies did not show necessary attention about the external support for the international terrorists … for the regional stability and global security,” the council said in a statement.

Afghanistan has long blamed Pakistan for meddling in its affairs, accusing the neighbor of plotting attacks to destabilize it. Islamabad, which has had longstanding ties to the Taliban, denies involvement in the insurgency and says it is a victim of militancy itself.

The National Security Council did not name Pakistan, but said use of terrorism as an instrument of state policy was a dangerous gamble and had to be stopped.

“Having a contradictory and vague policy against the forces who use terrorism as a tool for interference and sabotage against others, have had devastating results,” it said.

At a news conference later on Tuesday, council head Rangeen Dadfar Spanta was more specific, questioning the billions of dollars in cash aid and military assistance Washington has given to Pakistan over the years.

“It is really not justifiable for the Afghan people that how come you give to one country $11 billion or more as help for reconstruction or strengthen its security or defensive forces, but from other side the very forces train terrorism,” he said.

He warned that the war would not succeed unless there was a review of Afghan policy by Washington that focuses on Taliban sanctuaries and bases in Pakistan and their supporters.

Those supporting militants should be punished rather than be treated as an ally, said Spanta, who served for years as foreign minister in President Hamid Karzai’s government until last year.

The White House has condemned the WikiLeaks disclosures, saying it could threaten national security. Pakistan said leaking unprocessed reports from the battlefield was irresponsible.

The documents numbering tens of thousands also said that coalition troops had killed hundreds of Afghan civilians in unreported incidents and often sought to cover up the mistakes that have shaken up confidence in the war effort among many in Afghanistan.

On Monday, the Afghan government said it had spoken in private and in public meetings with its Western allies about the need to stop civilian deaths.

“In the past nine years (since Taliban’s fall) thousands of citizens of Afghanistan and from our ally countries have become victimised,” it said.

(Editing by Sugita Katyal)

Turkey to follow UN sanctions on Iran, not tougher EU or US bans

ANKARA – Hürriyet Daily News
Turkey will not follow US or EU sanctions on Iran but will apply the ones imposed by the United Nations. We will fully implement U.N. resolutions, but when it comes to individual countries’ demands for extra sanctions, we do not have to [follow suit], says Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek
'The facilitation of trade that is not prohibited under the UN resolution should and will continue,' says Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek.
‘The facilitation of trade that is not prohibited under the UN resolution should and will continue,’ says Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek.

Turkey has said it will abide by U.N. sanctions against Iran, but not the more sweeping restrictions imposed on Tehran by the United States and the European Union.

“We will fully implement U.N. resolutions, but when it comes to individual countries’ demands for extra sanctions, we do not have to [follow suit],” Finance Minister Mehmet Şimşek said in an interview published Sunday in the daily Financial Times.

“The facilitation of trade that is not prohibited under the U.N. resolution should and will continue,” he was quoted as saying. “If a trade deal needs to be financed, we will have to find a way to pay for it.”

Şimşek’s comments came as the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that a state-owned Turkish refiner, Tüpraş, had stepped in to supply Iran after several international companies stopped selling the country refined petroleum.

Turkey’s foreign economic relations board has meanwhile said the country’s ports, notably Mersin and Trabzon, would try to handle some of the trade with Iran that has been going through Dubai, the daily reported. The Gulf emirate is steadily restricting its economic ties with Tehran.

The U.S. Congress passed legislation last month shutting any banks with ties to Iran – or any companies selling petroleum products to the country – out of the American market. These measures were followed Monday by unilateral EU sanctions, new measures that restrict trade related to Iran’s nuclear program.

The sanctions limit financial assistance and funding and allow EU members to inspect all cargo going to or from Iran.

Eager to promote trade with its neighbors, Turkey has been following a more assertive and independent foreign policy when it comes to Iran, to the frustration of Washington. Ankara was one of only two U.N. Security Council members, along with Brazil, to oppose Resolution 1929, which tightened sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Sources close to the Turkish government suggest that Ankara will watch the behavior of Russia and China to gauge the extent to which it can afford to ignore unilateral U.S. sanctions, the Financial Times wrote.

Chinese companies have also been supplying Iran with petroleum.

Greece, Bulgaria to await environment report on pipeline plan

[If the environmental impact report kills the Bulgaria-Greece pipeline, then Turkey plans to obtain legislation to make tanker traffic the Bosphorus Strait too expensive for tanker traffic, leaving only the pipeline routes through Turkey.  Russia and Turkey may part ways over this one.]

Greece, Bulgaria to await environment report on pipeline plan

SOFIA, Bulgaria – Bloomberg

Greece and Bulgaria agreed to wait for the results of an environmental impact report on a planned oil pipeline that bypasses Turkey’s crowded Bosphorus Strait before deciding whether to scrap the plan.

Turkey is using the environment damage caused by BP’s Gulf of Mexico spill to press its case that oil traffic through the straits is unsafe and potentially dangerous. Turkey said on July 1 it has broad support from 20 oil companies for steps that would make use of the Bosphorus straits for oil traffic more expensive than pipelines.

Bulgaria has threatened to back out of the project to construct the Burgas-Alexandroupolis pipeline on concern an oil spill would harm the Balkan country’s Black Sea resorts. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his Bulgarian counterpart, Boiko Borissov, met on Tuesday in Sofia to discuss the disagreement.

Russia, Bulgaria and Greece agreed in 2007 to build the 285-kilometer oil pipeline from the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas to the Greek port of Alexandroupolis on the Aegean Sea. The 1 billion-euro ($1.25 billion) pipe, with a capacity of 35 million metric tons of oil a year, would bypass the Bosporus and Dardanelles straits, saving shipping costs.

“Greece understands Bulgaria’s environmental concerns, and we still think the pipeline project is important for the region,” said Papandreou after the meeting. “But we will accept the environmental assessment.”

EU conservation

A referendum held in the Burgas region in 2008 opposed the pipeline on grounds there was a high risk of an oil spill from tankers filling the pipe, which could damage Bulgaria’s biggest Black Sea resorts.

The projected pipeline route violates a European Union directive for conservation of wildlife, known as Natura 2000, because it passes through protected areas. This alone would allow Bulgaria to pull out of the project without paying penalties, according to Borissov.

He said at the Sofia briefing that the contract was signed without a proper assessment by his predecessor. “It is important for Bulgaria have the pipeline, but the environment safety is more important,” Borissov said. “We will take a final decision after the environmental impact assessment is done.”

The project competes with a similar $2.5 billion pipeline agreed between Russia, Italy and Turkey last year to carry oil from the Turkish Black Sea port of Samsun to the Mediterranean port at Ceyhan.

Latest video of Colonel Imam

[Like a dam holding back a flood of putrid water, the deadly Pakistan/American secrets have allowed the stinking game to go on and on and on.  The Wikileaks revelations are making the secret players act, which explains the timing of this video, coming after the leaks.  Pakistan creates the Taliban to fight the Americans in the great psy-op, while the Americans create the anti-Taliban, the TTP, to fight the Pak Army, thus justifying the war of Pakistan on Pakistanis, and the American war upon everybody else.

The whole thing is a great “cluster fuck,” as the American military such things.]

Breaking News: Latest video of Colonel Imam Sultan Amir Tarar kidnapped by the Sipah-e-Sahaba terrorists

Flashpoint Exclusive: Captive Pakistani Intel Officer Threatens to Reveal “Secret Game” Behind Afghan Conflict in His Video Recorded on 24 July 2010
By Evan Kohlmann

Here is an evidence of how extremist Deobandis (terrorists of the Taliban and Sipah-e-Sahaba) are now attacking the very institution, i.e., the ISI, which once groomed and nurtured them. Yet, Generals Kayani and Pasha are unable to liberate themselves from the God forsaken good Taliban and strategic depth theories. In the following video, Colonel Imam, an envoy of Pakistan’s ISI and General Hamid Gul to the Taliban threatens the ISI to spill the beans unless certain demands of his captors (terrorists of the Sipah-e-Sahaba) were met by the Pakistan government. Obviously, the ISI chicken are coming home to roost.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In the wake of the latest embarrassing disclosures about Pakistan’s unhelpful role in the Afghan conflict, Flashpoint Global Partners has obtained an unpublished video of retired Pakistani military and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) officer Colonel Imam Sultan Amir Tarar, who has been held hostage by militants in Pakistan’s tribal region since March 2010, when he arrived in the area alongside another former ISI officer Khalid Khwaja.

Tarar, a veteran of the Soviet-Afghan war and a reputed expert on guerilla warfare, has acknowledged a long relationship with the Afghan Taliban and its leader Mullah Mohammed Omar—but has been far more critical of the Pakistani Taliban movement. During a recent New York Times interview, Tarar admonished the TTP and its leadership as “troublemakers” who should be “neutralized.”

In his latest video-recorded message, Colonel Imam Tarar claims that he has been kidnapped by “Lashkar Jhangvi al-Alami, Abdullah Mansour” faction and insists that the Pakistani government has done nothing to facilitate his release. If the government continues to refuse negotiations for his freedom, Tarar further threatens to disclose highly sensitive information about “the weaknesses of our nation” and the secret “game being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America.”

Still images and an English transcript of the video of Colonel Sultan Amir Tarar are now available via the website of Flashpoint Global Partners – http://www.flashpoint-intel.com.

In his latest video, Colonel Imam claims that he has been kidnapped by Lashkar-e-Jhangvi-Al Almi Abdullah Mansour (Sipah-e-Sahaba International) and insists that the Pakistani government has done nothing to facilitate his release. If the government continues to refuse negotiations for his freedom, Tarar further threatens to disclose highly sensitive information about “the weaknesses of our nation” and the secret “game being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America.” In prior statements and videos about the kidnapping, Tarar’s captors had identified themselves simply as “the Asian Tigers.”

Complete English transcript

“Today is July 24, and tomorrow, it will be July 25. I am Sultan Amir, son of Ghulaam Amir, and people know me as Colonel Imam. I am in the custody of Lashkar Jhangvi Al Alami, Abdullah Mansoor. I sent my statements and CD messages to the government several times, but no
attention has been given until now.”

“You know what mentality these people have and what are they up to. Khalid Khwaja has already been killed and we might receive an even harsher treatment, which will be damaging for Pakistan.”

“They cannot be pressured by anyone. They are well organized.

According to them, my previous statements have not been released to the media either. I appeal, Mr. President, Mr. Prime Minister, DG ISI (General Pasha), General Hamid Gul (ex-DG ISI) and General Aslam Beg (ex army chief), to accept the demands of Lashkar Jhangvi Al Alami as soon as possible.”

“You people know about the services I rendered for my country. If the Pakistan government does not care about me, then I don’t have any reason to care about the nation either, and [I] will reveal all the weaknesses of our nation.”

“Whatever game is being played with Afghanistan, India, Russia, and America, I know about all of it. It is now for the Pakistani government to decide. Four months have now passed but you don’t care about me. I am fed up of spending my whole life all the time in a basement.

“It should be conveyed to my family to pray for me and to take care of the children. I also want it to make it clear to my son Nauman Umar to resign from his government post. At the moment, they don’t seem to care about me, so why would they make a fuss over him in the future either.”

“Wasalam, your well wisher, Sultan Amir.”

Songs of the Saints, With Love, From Pakistan

[Here is the joyfulness of Islam.  Take note of the happy women joining in the celebration of life.  These merrily spinning women provide a stark contrast to the usual image of dour fearful women dominated by the dark fundamentalists.  The image of Muslim women burned into the minds of Western audiences is normally that of two beautiful, though terrified, eyes peering from beneath the sanitizing blackness of the burka.]

Songs of the Saints, With Love, From Pakistan

The Soung Fakirs at the New York Sufi Music Festival on Tuesday in Union Square.

By JON PARELES, July 21, 2010

Hands waved overhead. Voices shouted lyrics and whooped with delight. Children were hoisted onto parents’ shoulders. In the tightly packed crowd a few dancers made room to jump. T-shirts were tossed to fans from the stage.

Yet in the songs that Abida Parveen was singing, saints were praised. They were Islamic saints, the poets and philosophers revered by Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam. It was the first New York Sufi Music Festival, a free three-hour concert on Tuesday in Union Square, and it had music from the four provinces of Pakistan, including traditional faqirs who perform outside temples, Sufi rock and a kind of rapping from Baluchistan.

The concert was presented by a new organization called Pakistani Peace Builders, which was formed after the attempted bombing in Times Square by a Pakistani-American. The group seeks to counteract negative images of Pakistan by presenting a longtime Pakistani Islamic tradition that preaches love, peace and tolerance.

Music fans at the festival.

Sufism itself has been a target of Islamic fundamentalists; on July 1 suicide bombers attacked Pakistan’s most important Sufi shrine. Pakistan’s ambassador to the United Nations, Abdullah Hussain Haroon, spoke between sets on Tuesday. “What we’re here to do today,” he said, is “to be at peace with all of America.”

The music’s message was one of joyful devotion and improvisatory freedom. Ms. Parveen, one of Pakistan’s most celebrated musicians, was singing in a Sufi style called kafi. Like the qawwali music popularized worldwide by Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, kafi sets classical poems — about the love and intoxication of the divine, about seeking the spirit within — to visceral, handclapping rhythms and vocal lines that swoop and twist with passionate volatility.

Ms. Parveen carried songs from serene, hovering introductions to virtuosic euphoria. Long, sustained notes suddenly broke into phrases that zigzagged up and down an octave or more; repeated refrains took on an insistent rasp and became springboards for elaborate leaps and arabesques; quick syllables turned into percussive exchanges with the band. Each song was a continual revelation, making the old poems fully alive.

Abida Parveen at the New York Sufi Music Festival.

While the crowd was there for Ms. Parveen’s first New York City performance in a decade, the rest of the program was strong. The Soung Fakirs, from Sachal Sarmast Shrine in Sindh, danced in bright orange robes to devotional songs with vigorous, incantatory choruses. Akhtar Chanal Zehri, though he was introduced as a rapper, was backed by traditional instruments and seemed more of a folk singer, heartily intoning his rhythmic lyrics on a repeating note or two and, eventually, twirling like a Sufi dervish.

Rafaqat Ali Khan, the heir to his family’s school of classical singing (khayal), was backed only by percussion, pushing his long-breathed phrasing into ever more flamboyant swirls and quavers. The tabla player Tari Khan, who also accompanied Rafaqat Ali Khan, played a kinetic solo set that carried a 4/4 rhythm through variants from the Middle East, Europe, New York City and (joined by two more drummers) Africa. There was also instrumental music from the bansuri (wooden flute) player Ghaus Box Brohi.

On the modernizing side, Zeb and Haniya, two Pakistani women who started their duo as college students at Mount Holyoke and Smith, performed gentler songs in the Dari tradition, a Pakistani style with Central Asian roots, with Haniya adding syncopated electric guitar behind Zeb’s smoky voice. Under wooden flute and classical-style vocals the Mekaal Hasan Band plugged in with reggae, folk-rock and a tricky jazz-rock riff. But the lyrics quoted devotional poetry that was 900 years old, distant from the turmoil of the present.

“If a man like Muhamed (pbuh) were to assume the dictatorship of the modern world, he would succeed in solving its problems that would bring it the much needed peace and happiness.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.”
– George Orwell

“Do not worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are watching you”
– Robert Fulghum

“The accomplice to the crime of corruption is often our own indifference”
– Bess Myerson

“Civilization begins with order, grows with liberty, and dies with chaos.”
– Will Durant

“Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.”
– Will Durant

“Democracy is a form of government that substitutes ‘election by the incompetent-many’ for ‘appointment by the corrupt-few’.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.”
– George Bernard Shaw

“May you live every day of your life.”
– Jonathan Swift

“Pity the nation… that welcomes its new ruler with trumpeting, farewells him with hooting, only to welcome another with trumpeting again.”
– Khalil Jibran

“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”.
– Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.”
– Angela Monet

“Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains.”
– Jean-Jacques Rousseau

“Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.”
– Voltaire

“The West won the world not by the superiority of its ideas or values or religion but rather by its superiority in applying organized violence. Westerners often forget this fact, non-Westerners never do.”
– Samuel P. Huntington (author The Clash Of Civilisations)

US announces special projects for Balochistan

[It is very revealing that the American side sent a Special Forces general to the ceremony in Balochistan, especially an intelligence officer who is a specialist in direct action operations intended to force a reaction from militants.  Former CIA chief Michael Hayden called the process “tickling.”  (See: CIA HAS BEEN TICKLING PEOPLE TO DEATH FOR YEARS) Expect such US “tickling” operations to add to the misery of the Baloch people in the near future, or perhaps this has been going on for a while.]

The Baloch Hal News

QUETTA, July 26:- US Consul General Karachi William J. Martin has reiterated to open American consulate in Quetta for working more closely with provincial government and NGOs in designing and implementing assistance projects for the people of Balochistan and said that his government was working with Balochistan government for building water stoage dams besides helping QESCO to improve services to public.

US diplomat made these remarks in a recention on 234 anniversary of Independence of United States of America which first time in the history to celetrate in the provincial capital of Quetta. The US Ambassador Patterson could not attend the function due to some her engagement in Islamabad.

The U.S. Army General Michael Nagata and other diplomatic staff including head of Public Affairs Dr. Carton were also present. The US Independence day celeration was also attended by Speaker Balochistan Assembly Mohammad Aslam Bhootani, the provincial ministers, the representatives of political parties, bureaucrats and staff colleage foriegn and local student-officers.

US Consul General said that in addition to a national high efficiency irrigation project that also included Balochistan, US government were working with Balochistan Government on providing a system of water storage dams. The project, he said, would support plans by the provincial government and would enhance existing programs for irrigation and distribution while also promoting watershed enhancement and integrated crop management.

He said that energy was also a matter of concern in Balochistan and his government already had a program with the Quetta Electricity Supply Company to help it improve service to the public, reduce losses, and increase efficiency. He said that the U.S. Geological Survey would also provide assistance in identifying natural gas resources and their development in Balochistan. He assured that there would be more projects for Balochistan announced by the U.S. Government in the coming months.

Mr. Martin said USA would also provide assistance to help Pakistan improve it regulatory and fiscal regimes in order to attract more investment to develop this critical resources and that would most certainly create more opportunities in Balochistan.

He said that he was pleased to note that US would soon open an American consulate in Quetta in the near future which would allow US government to work more closely with our Balochistan government and NGO colleagues in designing and implementing assistance projects that meet the needs of the people of Balochistan. He said that the proposal for a new consulate clearly demonstrated Americans long terms commitment to the people of Pakistan and, specially to the people of Balochistan. He said that by working together, both Pakistan and United Sattes of America could learn from each other and strengthen the relationship, strengthen the partnership and build a brighter future for our nations.

He said that in Quetta, his government proud to work alongside our Pakistani colleagues in their efforts to improve health, education, and energy. Last week,he said , Secretary of State Hilary Clinton visited Pakistan, and announced several new assistance programs costing many millions of dollars and many of these projects would directly benefit the people of Balochistan. He informed that during meetings with U.S officials, the government and people of Balochistan told them the most important need in the province which was water.

US diplomat said that he was very pleased to note the presence of U.S. Army General Michael Nagata in the function of celerations in Quetta and a decorated general’s presence reflectd the close working relationship of our two great military forces, as did the recent visit of our top soldier, Admiral Mullan to Islamabad and the delivery of advanced F-16 fighter planes. He said that there should no doubt that United States deeply appreciated the struggles and sacrifices of Paksitan’s security forces in their efforts to make the country safe and secure for all and it applauded Pakistan’s elected officials, civil servants, and community activists who spoke out against extremism, and worked for a better future for all Pakistanis.

“Our two countries share many of the same goals and ideals. We embrace not only freedom and democracy, but also family, religion, education and hard work. By working together, we can learn from each other and strengthen the relationship, strengthen the partnerships, and build a brighter future for our nations”, he said.

Mr. Martin said that with great appreciation for the challenges facing both countries, with deep gratitude for the men and women who served in US armed forces, and with ehartflet respect for the friendship between the United States and Pakistan, he was honoured to celebrate American’s 234th Independence Day with all of them.

He said that on July 4th, 1776, in Philadelphia, American’s founding fathers adopted the declaration of indpenedence which enunciated clearly the basis for new nation, saying “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” He said that these words had inspired many generations, and continued to be the guiding principles for United States in the present tiem. He said “We believe that these principles are universal and there is no doubt that the Pakistani people hold these values to be paramount as well.