Georgian policemen. Archive
© AFP/ Vladimir Valishvili
Georgian police said on Monday they had arrested 24 members of an armed group that was planning attacks in an attempt to destabilize the situation in the country, the Gruziya Online news agency reported.
Police said the group was headed by former Georgian foreign minister Temur Khachishvili, who currently lives in Russia. They also said a member of the group had said that Badri Bitsadze, the husband of Nino Burdzhanadze, the opposition People’s Assembly leader and parliamentary speaker, was also one of the main figures.
“The group was preparing a number of armed provocations on the territory of Georgia to destabilize the situation,” police said in a statement.
The Georgian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that leaders of the People’s Assembly party had planned to arm protesters calling for the resignation of President Mikheil Saakashvili.
Riot police used water cannons, rubber bullets and teargas to disperse opposition activists who gathered late on Wednesday on Tbilisi’s main street in an attempt to prevent an Independence Day military parade. Georgia said Russia was behind the rally.
MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti)
[The US can always count on Malik to say what it wants him to say.]
Lahore, May 30 (IANS) After squabbling over the killing of Osama bin Laden, Washington and Islamabad have decided to jointly target “high value targets” among Islamists inside Pakistan, a minister has said.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik gave this indication Sunday after announcing that an independent commission is to be set up in a day or two to probe the Osama killing May 2.
Associated Press of Pakistan quoted Malik as saying that it seemed the Taliban had intensified their attacks in Pakistan after Osama’s killing by American commandos.
He indicated that joint operations with the US against “high-value targets” — he did not say from which group — would be launched in future inside Pakistan.
Osama was gunned down by US Navy commandos who sneaked into Pakistan using stealth helicopters and stormed the Al Qaeda leader’s hideout in Abbottabad city.
The minister also announced a prize of Rs.5 million for any information leading to the arrest of Islamists who attacked a huge Pakistani navy base in Karachi May 22.
Terrorists took virtual control of the PNS Mehran base for about 16 hours before security forces seized control. The attackers destroyed two costly surveillance aircraft sold by the US.
GERMANY has announced plans to become the first major industrialised power to shut down all its nuclear plants, with the last to be closed by 2022.
Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen announced the government’s “irreversible” decision, which was prompted by the Japanese nuclear disaster.
Germany has 17 nuclear reactors, eight of which are currently off the electricity grid. Seven of those off-line are the country’s oldest nuclear reactors, which the government shut down for three months pending a safety probe after the Japanese disaster at Fukushima. The eighth, in northern Germany, has been mothballed for years because of technical problems.
Most of the plants are to be off-line by 2021, sources said, but three plants were to serve as a back-up in case of energy shortages and would be closed a year later.
The decision comes after the environment ministers from all 16 German regional states on Friday called for the temporary order on the seven plants to be made permanent. The agreement emerged after 12 hours of negotiations between Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the three government parties — Dr Merkel’s Christian Democrats, the Christian Social Union and the pro-business Free Democrats. Also involved in the talks were the chiefs of the two main opposition parties.
Dr Merkel has said she wants to set a policy to end a dispute that has split Germans since the 1970s.
The decision is effectively a return to the timetable set by the previous Social Democrat-Green coalition government a decade ago.
It is a humbling U-turn for Dr Merkel, who at the end of 2010 decided to extend the lifetime of the reactors by an average of 12 years, which would have kept them open until the mid-2030s. That decision was unpopular in Germany even before the earthquake and tsunami in March that severely damaged the Fukushima nuclear facility, prompting Dr Merkel’s review of nuclear policy.
Her zigzagging on the highly emotive issue has cost at the ballot box. Dr Merkel herself has blamed the Fukushima disaster for recent defeats in state elections.
In the latest election, on May 23, the anti-nuclear Greens pushed her conservative party into third place in a vote in the northern state of Bremen, the first time they had scored more votes than the conservatives in a regional or federal election.
The decision means Germany will have to find the 22 per cent of its electricity needs covered by nuclear reactors from another source.
Business supporters of the centre-right government of Dr Merkel had urged caution, warning that power shortages could cripple the country’s industry.
The government is considering keeping 2000 megawatts of capacity — equivalent to two power stations — on standby after the shutdown in case of emergency, an idea that experts consider difficult to put into practice.
■In Japan, the Tokyo Electric Power Co said two of its Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant workers had high levels of radiation in their thyroid glands. The power utility is assessing the level of exposure, according to a company statement issued yesterday.
Pakistan will launch a military offensive in North Waziristan, a newspaper reported on Monday, days after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the Muslim country.
An understanding for an offensive in North Waziristan, one of the main opposition center in Pakistan against US-led invasion in Afghanistan, was reached when Clinton and Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen visited Pakistan last week, Pakistan’s the News newspaper reported.
The United States has long demanded that Pakistan attack its own region to eliminate the Haqqani network, one of the most important Afghan factions fighting U.S. troops occupying Afghanistan.
The News quoted unidentified “highly placed sources” as saying Pakistan’s air force would soften up opposition targets under the “targeted military offensive” before ground operations were launched. There was no timetable given.
The newspaper cited the sources as saying that a strategy for action in North Waziristan had been drawn up some time ago and an “understanding for carrying out the operation was developed” during the Clinton visit.
(Supporters of the political party Tehreek-e-Insaf hold placards as they shout anti-American slogans during a protest rally against the visit of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in Lahore May 27.)
Pakistani officials were not immediately available for comment. A U.S. embassy official had no immediate comment.
Foreign troops on Pakistani soil?
The newspaper said a “joint operation” with allies had been discussed but no decision had been taken because of sensitivities.
“In case the two sides agreed to go for a joint action, it would be the first time in the present war (on opponent fighters) that foreign boots will get a chance to be on Pakistani soil with the consent of the host country.”
That could be highly risky for Pakistan’s generals.
The military, long regarded as the most effective institution in a country with a history of corrupt, inept civilian governments, suffered a major blow to its image when U.S. special forces killed bin Laden deep inside Pakistan.
Some analysts say any joint U.S.-Pakistani operation would subject the army to even more public criticism in a country where hate against U.S. runs deep.
“The reaction could be even more vociferous, just because everybody is so suspicious — as well as dismissive — of American interference,” said Imtiaz Gul, an author.
“People already feel so humiliated because of this Osama bin Laden thing and now they will have another reason to react.”
Pakistan maintains about 140,000 troops in the northwest, including about 34,000 in North Waziristan, but says they are too stretched fighting Pakistani pro-Taliban insurgents in other parts of the region to tackle North Waziristan.
But analysts say Pakistan sees the Haqqani network as an asset to counter the growing influence of rival India in occupied Afghanistan.
Aside from strategic concerns, an attack on the Haqqani network could further threaten Pakistan’s security as it faces a new wave of attacks by the Pakistani Taliban to avenge the killing of bin Laden by U.S. special forces on May 2.
Pakistan could pay a heavy price if Haqqani’s formidable fighters, believed to number in the thousands, and their allies, turn on Pakistani security forces.
[I had decided to ignore Western media reports that Pakistan had agreed to launch the long-awaited clean-up operation into North Waziristan, until I read the following Chinese report. Of course, the CIA and Special Forces spooks would want to protect their most useful anti-Pakistan assets. The same thing allegedly took place before the Pak Army invaded the previous "nerve center of the Taliban" in S. Waziristan, according to retired Gen. Aslam Beg (SEE: Gen. Beg Claims US Helicopter Flew Hakeemullah to Safety). Since there is ZERO chance that any Western media will pick up on this story, this Chinese report is all we will hear on the subject.
Sorry to admit this, but it looks like it might really be time for the Pakistani Army to cut its own throat in North Waziristan. The complete subjugation of the top military brass must be complete (SEE: Pakistan to launch operation in North Waziristan ).
The big stinking question that remains is: How is it, that Special Forces could easily capture 5 TTP leaders without killing them, unlike the alleged bin Laden affair?]
ISLAMABAD, May 30 (Xinhua) — Unconfirmed news from intelligence sources said on Monday that five Pakistan Taliban ( TTP) leaders were arrested Monday morning in the Gorvait area of North Waziristan by NATO forces and later taken away by two NATO helicopters to Afghanistan.
According to the sources who asked to remain anonymous, the action was taken by the NATO forces without informing the Pakistani government. If so, this is another Abbottabad-like operation taken by the foreign forces on the Pakistani soil without the knowledge of the Pakistani side.
Political agent of North Waziristan also confirmed the news.
So far, there is no official report about the Monday morning’s operation taken by the NATO forces in North Waziristan, a tribal area in northwest Pakistan, which is believed to be a stronghold of militants in the country, who often launch attacks on the NATO forces in Afghanistan across the border.
On May 2, the U.S. forces conducted a raid in Pakistan’s northwestern city of Abbottabad, during which the former al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden was killed in his compound. As the U.S. side did not inform the Pakistani side until the raid was over, it led to a strong protest from the Pakistani side as Pakistan considers the unilateral action taken by the United States has seriously violated its sovereignty.
Editor: Yang Lina
[Yemeni govt. troops, backed by tanks, just broke-up Yemen's longest running sit-in, killing 20 peaceful protestors and removing the wounded from hospitals, just like the Saudis in Bahrain. Saudi Oil outweighs human rights, any day. How long can Obama resist the urge to protect the democratic movement in Yemen or Bahrain? Will American/NATO bombers enforce Yemeni "no fly zone," to end government bombardment of political opposition? Yeah, sure they will. (SEE: Yemeni jets 'target rival tribal group' ).]
By Hammoud Mounassar (AFP)
SANAA — Forces loyal to the embattled Yemeni president killed 20 protesters as they dispersed a sit-in in Taez, an organiser said on Monday, as suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen killed six soldiers in the south.
Security service agents backed by army and Republican Guard troops stormed the protest against President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Freedom Square in the centre of Yemen’s second-largest city during the night, shooting at the demonstrators and setting fire to their tents, protesters said.
“At least 20 protesters have been killed,” one of the protest organisers said.
Troops backed by tanks stormed a field hospital and detained 37 of the wounded receiving treatment there, among hundreds of people rounded up as security forces pursued the protesters into nearby streets, medics and organisers said.
“This was a massacre. The situation is miserable. They have dragged the wounded off to detention centres from the streets,” activist Bushra al-Maqtari told AFP.
Protesters said that the square had been entirely cleared, while security forces stormed a nearby hotel and arrested several journalists.
The Common Forum opposition coalition condemned the “crimes against humanity” committed by Saleh’s “remaining military and security forces and armed militias.”
It warned the veteran president he would be “held personally responsible for his continued crimes against the people.”
“These crimes do not get forgotten with time. They are being monitored and documented, and those who have committed them, and who provided arms and money, will not escape justice.”
The four-month-old sit-in in Taez was the longest-running protest against Saleh’s rule.
The clashes erupted on Sunday evening outside a nearby police station as some 3,000 people gathered to demand the release of a detained protester.
Police fired warning shots then fired into the crowd when the demonstrators refused to leave, a local committee of the “Youth of the Revolution” group said.
On March 18, 52 people died when regime loyalists attempted to break up a similar protest against Saleh’s rule in University Square in the capital Sanaa. The president declared a state of emergency after the bloodshed.
More than 200 demonstrators have been killed since the protests first erupted in Yemen. Scores more have died in armed clashes between loyalist troops and dissident tribesmen.
In the south, meanwhile, suspected Al-Qaeda militants killed six Yemeni soldiers, an army officer and a security official said.
The officer said that two soldiers from the 25th mechanised brigade, the headquarters of which is under siege in Zinjibar, were killed by a rocket-propelled grenade.
The security official said that militants ambushed a military convoy outside Zinjibar during the night, killing four soldiers. At least seven soldiers were wounded, a medic said.
A security official said on Sunday that suspected Al-Qaeda gunmen had taken control of most of Zinjibar, the capital of Abyan province, in three days of fighting during which officials and medics said at least 21 people were killed.
Witnesses said that aircraft were carrying out strikes on suspected Al-Qaeda positions to the east of the city on Monday, while there were also unconfirmed reports of naval shelling in the area of Zinjibar, which sits a few kilometres (miles) from the coast.
Four suspected Al-Qaeda fighters were killed in overnight fighting in Zinjibar, another security source said, but a source close to the gunmen who control much of the city said that only two were killed.
Dissident army commanders accused Saleh of surrendering the province to “terrorists.”
The Common Forum charged that he had “delivered Zinjibar to groups that he has formed and armed, to continue to utilise the spectre of Al-Qaeda to frighten regional and international parties.”
The opposition grouping signed up to a deal brokered by impoverished Yemen’s wealthy Gulf neighbours under which Saleh, in power since 1978, would hand power to the vice president within 30 days in return for a promise of immunity from prosecution.
The president initially agreed to the plan but then repeatedly set new conditions for signing it, prompting the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council to suspend its mediation efforts.
As the purported assassination of Osama bin Laden has placed the focus on Pakistan, it is vital to assess the changing role of Pakistan in broad geostrategic terms, and in particular, of the changing American strategy toward Pakistan. The recently reported assassination was a propaganda ploy aimed at targeting Pakistan. To understand this, it is necessary to examine how America has, in recent years, altered its strategy in Pakistan in the direction of destabilization. In short, Pakistan is an American target. The reason: Pakistan’s growing military and strategic ties to China, America’s primary global strategic rival. In the ‘Great Game’ for global hegemony, any country that impedes America’s world primacy – even one as historically significant to America as Pakistan – may be sacrificed upon the altar of war.
Part 1 of ‘Pakistan in Pieces’ examines the changing views of the American strategic community – particularly the military and intelligence circles – towards Pakistan. In particular, there is a general acknowledgement that Pakistan will very likely continue to be destabilized and ultimately collapse. What is not mentioned in these assessments, however, is the role of the military and intelligence communities in making this a reality; a veritable self-fulfilling prophecy. This part also examines the active on the ground changes in American strategy in Pakistan, with increasing military incursions into the country.
Imperial Eye on Pakistan
In December of 2000, the CIA released a report of global trends to the year 2015, which stated that by 2015, “Pakistan will be more fractious, isolated, and dependent on international financial assistance.” Further, it was predicted, Pakistan:
Will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive politics, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction. Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. Further domestic decline would benefit Islamic political activists, who may significantly increase their role in national politics and alter the makeup and cohesion of the military – once Pakistan’s most capable institution. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the central government’s control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi.
The report further analyzed the trends developing in relation to the Pakistan-India standoff in the region:
The threat of major conflict between India and Pakistan will overshadow all other regional issues during the next 15 years. Continued turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan will spill over into Kashmir and other areas of the subcontinent, prompting Indian leaders to take more aggressive preemptive and retaliatory actions. India’s conventional military advantage over Pakistan will widen as a result of New Delhi’s superior economic position.
In 2005, the Times of India reported on a US National Intelligence Council report, written in conjunction with the CIA, which predicted a “Yugoslavia-like fate” for Pakistan, saying that, “by year 2015 Pakistan would be a failed state, ripe with civil war, bloodshed, inter-provincial rivalries and a struggle for control of its nuclear weapons and complete Talibanisation.”
In November of 2008, the US National Intelligence Council released a report, “Global Trends 2025,” in which they outlined major trends in the world by the year 2025. When it came to Pakistan, the report stated that, “Ongoing low-intensity clashes between India and Pakistan continue to raise the specter that such events could escalate to a broader conflict between those nuclear powers.” It stated that Pakistan “will be at risk of state failure.” In examining potential failed states, the report stated that:
[Y]outh bulges, deeply rooted conflicts, and limited economic prospects are likely to keep Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and others in the high-risk category. Spillover from turmoil in these states and potentially others increases the chance that moves elsewhere in the region toward greater prosperity and political stability will be rocky.
The report referred to Pakistan as a “wildcard” and stated that if it is “unable to hold together until 2025, a broader coalescence of Pashtun tribes is likely to emerge and act together to erase the Durand Line [separating Pakistan from Afghanistan], maximizing Pashtun space at the expense of Punjabis in Pakistan and Tajiks and others in Afghanistan.”
In January of 2009, a Pentagon report analyzing geopolitical trends of significance to the US military over the next 25 years, reported that Pakistan could face a “rapid and sudden” collapse. It stated that, “Some forms of collapse in Pakistan would carry with it the likelihood of a sustained violent and bloody civil and sectarian war, an even bigger haven for violent extremists, and the question of what would happen to its nuclear weapons,” and as such, “that ‘perfect storm’ of uncertainty alone might require the engagement of U.S. and coalition forces into a situation of immense complexity and danger.”
A top adviser to former President George Bush and current President Obama warned in April of 2009, that Pakistan could collapse within months, and that, “We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we’re calling the war on terror now.” The adviser and consultant, David Kilcullen, explained that this would be unlike the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, which each had a population of over 30 million, whereas “Pakistan has  million people and 100 nuclear weapons, an army which is bigger than the American army, and the headquarters of al-Qaeda sitting in two-thirds of the country which the Government does not control.”
Going back to the later years of the Bush administration, it is apparent that the US strategy in Pakistan was already changing in seeing it increasingly as a target for military operations as opposed to simply a conduit. In August of 2007, newly uncovered documents revealed that the US military “gave elite units broad authority” in 2004, “to pursue suspected terrorists into Pakistan, with no mention of telling the Pakistanis in advance.”
In November of 2007, an op-ed in the New York Times stated categorically that, “the United States simply could not stand by as a nuclear-armed Pakistan descended into the abyss,” and that, “we need to think — now — about our feasible military options in Pakistan, should it really come to that.” The authors, Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon are both well-known strategists and scholars at the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution, two of the most prominent and influential think tanks in the United States. While stating that Pakistan’s leaders are still primarily moderate and friendly to the US, “Americans felt similarly about the shah’s regime in Iran until it was too late,” referring to the outbreak of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. They warn:
The most likely possible dangers are these: a complete collapse of Pakistani government rule that allows an extreme Islamist movement to fill the vacuum; a total loss of federal control over outlying provinces, which splinter along ethnic and tribal lines; or a struggle within the Pakistani military in which the minority sympathetic to the Taliban and Al Qaeda try to establish Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.
They state that the military solutions are “daunting” as Pakistan is a nation of 187 million people, roughly five times the size of Iraq. They wrote that, “estimates suggest that a force of more than a million troops would be required for a country of this size,” which led them to conclude, “Thus, if we have any hope of success, we would have to act before a complete government collapse, and we would need the cooperation of moderate Pakistani forces.” They suggested one plan would be to deploy Special Forces “with the limited goal of preventing Pakistan’s nuclear materials and warheads from getting into the wrong hand.” However, they admit that, “even pro-American Pakistanis would be unlikely to cooperate.” Another option, they contend:
would involve supporting the core of the Pakistani armed forces as they sought to hold the country together in the face of an ineffective government, seceding border regions and Al Qaeda and Taliban assassination attempts against the leadership. This would require a sizable combat force — not only from the United States, but ideally also other Western powers and moderate Muslim nations.
The authors concluded, saying that any state decline in Pakistan would likely be gradual, therefore allowing the US to have time to respond, and placed an emphasis on securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and combating militants. They finished the article with the warning: “Pakistan may be the next big test.”
In December of 2007, the Asia Times Online ran a story about the US plan to rid Pakistan of President Musharraf, and that the US and the West, more broadly, had begun a strategy aimed at toppling Pakistan’s military. As part of this, the US launched a media campaign aimed at demonizing Pakistan’s military establishment. At this time, Benazir Bhutto was criticizing the ISI, suggesting they needed a dramatic restructuring, and at the same time, reports were appearing in the US media blaming the ISI for funding and providing assistance to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. While much of this is documented, the fact that it suddenly emerged as talking points with several western officials and in the media does suggest a turn-around against a long-time ally.
Both Democratic and Republican politicians were making statements that Pakistan represented a greater threat than Iran, and then-Senator (now Vice President) Joseph Biden suggested that the United States needed to put soldiers on the ground in Pakistan in cooperation with the “international community.” Biden said that, “We should be in there,” and “we should be supplying tens of millions of dollars to build new schools to compete with the madrassas. We should be in there building democratic institutions. We should be in there, and get the rest of the world in there, giving some structure to the emergence of, hopefully, the reemergence of a democratic process.”
In American policy-strategy circles, officials openly began discussing the possibility of Pakistan breaking up into smaller states, and increasing discussion that Musharraf was going to be “removed,” which obviously happened. As the Asia Times stated:
Another worrying thing is how US officials are publicly signaling to the Pakistanis that Bhutto has their backing as the next leader of the country. Such signals from Washington are not only a kiss of death for any public leader in Pakistan, but the Americans also know that their actions are inviting potential assassins to target Bhutto.
If she is killed in this way, there won’t be enough time to find the real culprit, but what’s certain is that unprecedented international pressure will be placed on Islamabad while everyone will use their local assets to create maximum internal chaos in the country.
Of course, this subsequently happened in Pakistan. As the author of the article pointed out with startlingly accurate foresight, “Getting Bhutto killed can generate the kind of pressure that could result in permanently putting the Pakistani military on a back foot, giving Washington enough room to push for installing a new pliant leadership in Islamabad.” He observed that, “the US is very serious this time. They cannot let Pakistan get out of their hands.”
Thus, it would appear that the new US strategic aim in Pakistan was focused on removing the Pakistani military from power, implying the need to replace Musharraf, and replace him with a new, compliant civilian leadership. This would have the effect of fracturing the Pakistani elite, threatening the Army’s influence within Pakistani politics, and undertaking more direct control of Pakistan’s government.
As if on cue, in late December it was reported that, “US special forces snatch squads are on standby to seize or disable Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the event of a collapse of government authority or the outbreak of civil war following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.”
The New York Times ran an article in early January 2008, which reported that, “President Bush’s senior national security advisers are debating whether to expand the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to conduct far more aggressive covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan.” The article stated that the new strategy was purportedly in response to increased reports of Al-Qaeda and Taliban activity within Pakistan, which “are intensifying efforts there to destabilize the Pakistani government.” Bush’s National Security team supposedly organized this effort in response to Bhutto’s assassination 10 days previously.
Officials involved in the strategy discussions said that some “options would probably involve the C.I.A. working with the military’s Special Operations forces,” and one official said, “After years of focusing on Afghanistan, we think the extremists now see a chance for the big prize — creating chaos in Pakistan itself.” Of pivotal importance to the strategy, as the Times reported: “Critics said more direct American military action would be ineffective, anger the Pakistani Army and increase support for the militants.” Perhaps this is not simply a “side-effect” of the proposed strategy, but in fact, part of the strategy.
As one prominent Pakistani political and military analyst pointed out, raids into Pakistan would expand anger and “prompt a powerful popular backlash” against the Pakistani government, losing popular support. However, as I previously stated, this might be the intention, as this would ultimately make the government more dependent upon the United States, and thus, more subservient.
On September 3, 2008, it was reported that a commando raid by US Special Forces was launched in Pakistan, which killed between 15 and 20 people, including women and children. The Special Forces were accompanied by five U.S. helicopters for the duration of the operation.
In February of 2009, it was reported that, “More than 70 United States military advisers and technical specialists are secretly working in Pakistan to help its armed forces battle Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the country’s lawless tribal areas.” So not only are U.S. Special Forces invading Pakistani territory; but now US military advisers are secretly advising the Pakistani Army on its own operations, and the advisers are themselves primary made up of Special Forces soldiers. They provide the Pakistani Army “with intelligence and advising on combat tactics,” and make up a secret command run by US Central Command and Special Operations Command (presumably JSOC – Joint Special Operations Command).
In May of 2009, it was reported that, “the U.S. is sending Special Forces teams into one of Pakistan’s most violent regions as part of a push to accelerate the training of the Pakistani military and make it a more effective ally in the fight against insurgents there.” The Special Forces were deploying to two training camps in the province of Baluchistan, and “will focus on training Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force responsible for battling the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.” Further, the project “is a joint effort with the U.K.,” which helps “fund the training, although it is unclear if British military personnel would take part in the initiative. British officials have been pushing for such an effort for several years.”
In December of 2009 it was revealed that, “American special forces have conducted multiple clandestine raids into Pakistan’s tribal areas as part of a secret war in the border region where Washington is pressing to expand its drone assassination programme,” which was revealed by a former NATO officer. He said these incursions had occurred between 2003 and 2008, indicating they go even further back than US military documents stipulate. The source further revealed that, “the Pakistanis were kept entirely in the dark about it. It was one of those things we wouldn’t confirm officially with them.” Further, as the source noted, British “SAS soldiers have been active in the province” of Bolochistan in 2002 and 2003 and “possibly beyond.”
The “Balkanization” of Pakistan: Blaming the Pakistanis
Selig S. Harrison is a director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy, senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and former journalist and correspondent. “His reputation for giving ‘early warning’ of foreign policy crises was well established during his career as a foreign correspondent. In his study of foreign reporting, Between Two Worlds, John Hohenberg, former secretary of the Pulitzer Prize Board, cited Harrison’s prediction of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war eighteen months before it happened.” Further, “More than a year before the Russians invaded Afghanistan, Harrison warned of this possibility in one of his frequent contributions to the influential journal Foreign Policy.”
On February 1, 2008, Selig Harrison threw his renowned “predictive” abilities on Pakistan in an op-ed for the New York Times in the run-up to the Pakistani elections. He started by stating that, “Whatever the outcome of the Pakistani elections, now scheduled for Feb. 18, the existing multiethnic Pakistani state is not likely to survive for long unless it is radically restructured.” Harrison then went on to explain that Pakistan would likely break up along ethnic lines; with the Pashtuns, concentrated in the northwestern tribal areas, the Sindhis in the southeast uniting with the Baluch tribesmen in the southwest, with the Punjab “rump state” of Pakistan.
The Pashtuns in the north, “would join with their ethnic brethren across the Afghan border (some 40 million of them combined) to form an independent ‘Pashtunistan’,” and the Sindhis “numbering 23 million, would unite with the six million Baluch tribesmen in the southwest to establish a federation along the Arabian Sea from India to Iran,” presumably named Baluchistan; while the rump state of Pakistan would remain Punjabi dominated and in control of the nuclear weapons. Selig Harrison explained that prior to partition from India, which led to the creation of the Pakistani state in 1947, Pashtun, Sindhi and Baluch ethnicities had “resist[ed] Punjabi domination for centuries,” and suddenly:
they found themselves subjected to Punjabi-dominated military regimes that have appropriated many of the natural resources in the minority provinces — particularly the natural gas deposits in the Baluch areas — and siphoned off much of the Indus River’s waters as they flow through the Punjab.
The resulting Punjabi-Pashtun animosity helps explain why the United States is failing to get effective Pakistani cooperation in fighting terrorists. The Pashtuns living along the Afghan border are happy to give sanctuary from Punjabi forces to the Taliban, which is composed primarily of fellow Pashtuns, and to its Qaeda friends.
Pashtun civilian casualties resulting from Pakistani and American air strikes on both sides of the border are breeding a potent underground Pashtun nationalist movement. Its initial objective is to unite all Pashtuns in Pakistan, now divided among political jurisdictions, into a unified province. In time, however, its leaders envisage full nationhood.
… The Baluch people, for their part, have been waging intermittent insurgencies since their forced incorporation into Pakistan in 1947. In the current warfare Pakistani forces are widely reported to be deploying American-supplied aircraft and intelligence equipment that was intended for use in Afghan border areas. Their victims are forging military links with Sindhi nationalist groups that have been galvanized into action by the death of Benazir Bhutto, a Sindhi hero as was her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
This passage is very revealing of the processes and perceptions surrounding “Balkanization” and “destabilization.” What I mean by this, is that historically and presently, imperial powers would often use ethnic groups against each other in a strategy of divide and conquer, in order “to keep the barbarians from coming together” and dominate the region.
Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in his 1997 book, “The Grand Chessboard,” that, “Geopolitics has moved from the regional to the global dimension, with preponderance over the entire Eurasian continent serving as the central basis for global primacy.” Brzezinski then gave a masterful explanation of the American global strategy, which placed it into a firm imperialistic context:
To put it in a terminology that hearkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.
While imperial powers manipulate, and historically, even create the ethnic groups within regions and nations, the West portrays conflict in such regions as being the product of these “ethnic” or “tribal” rivalries. This perception of the East (Asia and the Middle East) as well as Africa is referred to as Orientalism or Eurocentrism: meaning it generally portrays the East (and/or Africa) as “the Other”: inherently different and often barbaric. This prejudiced perspective is prevalent in Western academic, media, and policy circles. This perspective serves a major purpose: dehumanizing a people in a region that an imperial power seeks to dominate, which allows the hegemon to manipulate the people and divide them against each other, while framing them as “backwards” and “barbaric,” which in turn, justifies the Western imperial power exerting hegemony and control over the region; to “protect” the people from themselves.
Historically and presently, Western empires have divided people against each other, blamed the resulting conflict on the people themselves, and thus justified their control over both the people, and the region they occupy. This was the strategy employed in major recent geopolitical conflicts such as the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan genocide. In both cases, Western imperial ambitions were met through exacerbating ethnic rivalries, providing financial, technical, and military aid and training to various factions; thus, spreading violent conflict, war, and genocide. In both cases, Western, and primarily American strategic interests were met through an increased presence militarily, pushing out other major imperial and powerful rivals, as well as increasing Western access to key economics resources.
This is the lens through which we must view the unfolding situation in Pakistan. However, the situation in Pakistan presents a far greater potential for conflict and devastation than either Yugoslavia or Rwanda. In short, the potential strategy of “Balkanization” and destabilization of Pakistan could dwarf any major global conflict in the past few decades. It’s sheer population of 187 million people, proximity to two major regional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, its strategic location as neighbor to India, China, and Iran with access to the Indian Ocean, and its nuclear arsenal, combine to make Pakistan the potential trigger for a much wider regional and possibly global war. The destabilization of Pakistan has the potential to be the greatest geopolitical catastrophe since World War II.
Thus, Selig Harrison’s op-ed in the New York Times in which he describes the “likely” breakup of Pakistan along ethnic lines as a result of “ethnic differences” must be viewed in the wider context of geopolitical ambitions. His article lays the foundation both for the explanation of a potential breakup, and thus the “justification” for Western intervention in the conflict. His “predictive” capacities as a seasoned journalist can be alternatively viewed as pre-emptive imperial propaganda.
The war in Afghanistan is inherently related to the situation in Pakistan. From the days of the Afghan-Soviet war in the 1980s, arms and money were flowing through Pakistan to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. During the civil war that followed, Pakistan armed and financed the Taliban, which eventually took power. When the U.S. and NATO initially attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, this was primarily achieved through cooperation with Pakistan. When the war theatre was re-named “AfPak,” the role of Pakistan, however, was formally altered. While the previous few years had seen the implementation of a strategy of destabilizing Pakistan, once the “AfPak” war theatre was established, Pakistan ceased to be as much of a conduit or proxy state and became a target.
In September of 2008, the editor of Indian Defence Review wrote an article explaining that a stable Pakistan is not in India’s interests: “With Pakistan on the brink of collapse due to massive internal as well as international contradictions, it is matter of time before it ceases to exist.” He explained that Pakistan’s collapse would bring “multiple benefits” to India, including preventing China from gaining a major port in the Indian Ocean, which is in the mutual interest of the United States. The author explained that this would be a “severe jolt” to China’s expansionist aims, and further, “India’s access to Central Asian energy routes will open up.”
In August of 2009, Foreign Policy Journal published a report of an exclusive interview they held with former Pakistani ISI chief Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, who was Director General of the powerful intelligence services (ISI) between 1987 and 1989, at a time in which it was working closely with the CIA to fund and arm the Mujahideen. Once a close ally of the US, he is now considered extremely controversial and the US even recommended the UN to put him on the international terrorist list. Gul explained that he felt that the American people have not been told the truth about 9/11, and that the 9/11 Commission was a “cover up,” pointing out that, “They [the American government] haven’t even proved the case that 9/11 was done by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.” He said that the real reasons for the war on Afghanistan were that:
the U.S. wanted to “reach out to the Central Asian oilfields” and “open the door there”, which “was a requirement of corporate America, because the Taliban had not complied with their desire to allow an oil and gas pipeline to pass through Afghanistan. UNOCAL is a case in point. They wanted to keep the Chinese out. They wanted to give a wider security shield to the state of Israel, and they wanted to include this region into that shield. And that’s why they were talking at that time very hotly about ‘greater Middle East’. They were redrawing the map.”
He also stated that part of the reason for going into Afghanistan was “to go for Pakistan’s nuclear capability,” as the U.S. “signed this strategic deal with India, and this was brokered by Israel. So there is a nexus now between Washington, Tel Aviv, and New Delhi.” When he was asked about the Pakistani Taliban, which the Pakistani government was being pressured to fight, and where the financing for that group came from; Gul stated:
Yeah, of course they are getting it from across the Durand line, from Afghanistan. And the Mossad is sitting there, RAW is sitting there — the Indian intelligence agency — they have the umbrella of the U.S. And now they have created another organization which is called RAMA. It may be news to you that very soon this intelligence agency — of course, they have decided to keep it covert — but it is Research and Analysis Milli Afghanistan. That’s the name. The Indians have helped create this organization, and its job is mainly to destabilize Pakistan.
He explained that the Chief of Staff of the Afghan Army had told him that he had gone to India to offer the Indians five bases in Afghanistan, three of which are along the Pakistani border. Gul was asked a question as to why, if the West was supporting the TTP (Pakistani Taliban), would a CIA drone have killed the leader of the TTP. Gul explained that while Pakistan was fighting directly against the TTP leader, Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani government would provide the Americans where Mehsud was, “three times the Pakistan intelligence tipped off America, but they did not attack him.” So why all of a sudden did they attack?
Because there were some secret talks going on between Baitullah Mehsud and the Pakistani military establishment. They wanted to reach a peace agreement, and if you recall there is a long history of our tribal areas, whenever a tribal militant has reached a peace agreement with the government of Pakistan, Americans have without any hesitation struck that target.
… there was some kind of a deal which was about to be arrived at — they may have already cut a deal. I don’t know. I don’t have enough information on that. But this is my hunch, that Baitullah was killed because now he was trying to reach an agreement with the Pakistan army. And that’s why there were no suicide attacks inside Pakistan for the past six or seven months.
An article in one of Canada’s national magazines, Macleans, reported on an interview with a Pakistani ISI spy, who claimed that India’s intelligence services, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), have “tens of thousands of RAW agents in Pakistan.” Many officials inside Pakistan were convinced that, “India’s endgame is nothing less than the breakup of Pakistan. And the RAW is no novice in that area. In the 1960s, it was actively involved in supporting separatists in Bangladesh, at the time East Pakistan. The eventual victory of Bangladeshi nationalism in 1971 was in large part credited to the support the RAW gave the secessionists.”
Further, there were Indian consulates set up in Kandahar, the area of Afghanistan where Canadian troops are located, and which is strategically located next to the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, which is home to a virulent separatist movement, of which Pakistan claims is being supported by India. Macleans reported on the conclusions by Michel Chossudovsky, economics professor at University of Ottawa, that, “the region’s massive gas and oil reserves are of strategic interest to the U.S. and India. A gas pipeline slated to be built from Iran to India, two countries that already enjoy close ties, would run through Baluchistan. The Baluch separatist movement, which is also active in Iran, offers an ideal proxy for both the U.S. and India to ensure their interests are met.”
Even an Afghan government adviser told the media that India was using Afghan territory to destabilize Pakistan. In September of 2009, the Pakistan Daily reported that captured members and leaders of the Pakistani Taliban have admitted to being trained and armed by India through RAW or RAMA in Afghanistan in order to fight the Pakistani Army.
Foreign Policy magazine in February of 2009 quoted a former intelligence official as saying, “The Indians are up to their necks in supporting the Taliban against the Pakistani government in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” and that, “the same anti-Pakistani forces in Afghanistan also shooting at American soldiers are getting support from India. India should close its diplomatic establishments in Afghanistan and get the Christ out of there.”
The Council on Foreign Relations published a backgrounder report on RAW, India’s intelligence agency, founded in 1968 “primarily to counter China’s influence, [however] over time it has shifted its focus to India’s other traditional rival, Pakistan.” For over three decades both Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies have been involved in covert operations against one another. One of RAW’s main successes was its covert operations in East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh, which “aimed at fomenting independence sentiment” and ultimately led to the separation of Bangladesh by directly funding, arming and training the Pakistani separatists. Further, as the Council on Foreign Relations noted, “From the early days, RAW had a secret liaison relationship with the Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency.”
Since RAW was founded in 1968, it had developed close ties with the Afghan intelligence agency, KHAD, primarily to do with intelligence sharing on Pakistan. In the 1980s, while Pakistan was funding, arming and training the Afghan Mujahideen with the support of Saudi Arabia and the CIA, India was funding two covert groups which orchestrated terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, which included a “low-grade but steady campaign of bombings in major Pakistani cities, notably Karachi and Lahore.” RAW has also had a close relationship with the CIA, as even six years before RAW was created, in 1962, the CIA created a covert organization made up of Tibetan refugees, which aimed to “execute deep-penetration terror operations in China.” The CIA subsequently played a part in the creation of RAW. In the 1980s, while the CIA was working closely with the ISI in Pakistan, RAW, while wary of their relationship, continued to get counterterrorism training from the CIA.
In October of 2009, the New York Times reported that the US strategy “to vastly expand its aid to Pakistan, as well as the footprint of its embassy and private security contractors here, are aggravating an already volatile anti-American mood as Washington pushes for greater action by the government against the Taliban.” The U.S. gave Pakistan an aid deal of $1.5 billion per year for the next five years, under the stipulation of “Pakistan to cease supporting terrorist groups on its soil and to ensure that the military does not interfere with civilian politics.” President Zaradari accepted the proposal, making him even more unpopular in Pakistan, and further angering Pakistan’s powerful military, which sees the deal as interfering in the internal affairs of the country.
America is thus expanding its embassy and security presence within the country, as the Embassy “has publicized plans for a vast new building in Islamabad for about 1,000 people, with security for some diplomats provided through a Washington-based private contracting company, DynCorp.” The NYT article referred to how relations were becoming increasingly strained between Pakistan and the US, and tensions were growing within the country exponentially, as “the American presence was fueling a sense of occupation among Pakistani politicians and security officials,” and several Pakistani officials stated that, “the United States was now seen as behaving in Pakistan much as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Futher:
In particular, the Pakistani military and the intelligence agencies are concerned that DynCorp is being used by Washington to develop a parallel network of security and intelligence personnel within Pakistan, officials and politicians close to the army said.
The concerns are serious enough that last month a local company hired by DynCorp to provide Pakistani men to be trained as security guards for American diplomats was raided by the Islamabad police. The owner of the company, the Inter-Risk Security Company, Capt. Syed Ali Ja Zaidi, was later arrested.
The action against Inter-Risk, apparently intended to cripple the DynCorp program, was taken on orders from the senior levels of the Pakistani government, said an official familiar with the raid, who was not authorized to speak on the record.
The entire workings of DynCorp within Pakistan are now under review by the Pakistani government.
As revealed in the Wikileaks diplomatic cables, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson wrote in September of 2009 that the U.S. strategy of unilateral strikes inside Pakistan “risk destabilizing the Pakistani state, alienating both the civilian government and military leadership, and provoking a broader governance crisis in Pakistan without finally achieving the goal.”
In an interview with Press TV, Hamid Gul, former Inter-Services Intelligence chief revealed more of what he sees as the US strategy in Pakistan. He explained that with the massive expansion of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, and alongside that, the increased security staff, the Chinese are becoming increasingly concerned with the sovereignty and security of Pakistan. He claimed that the money that the US government offered (with heavy conditions) to Pakistan, $1.5 billion every year for five years, will be spent under the direction of the Americans, and that “they are going to set up a large intelligence network inside Pakistan,” and ultimately “they really want to go for Pakistan’s nuclear assets.” He further claimed that the Indians are trying to destabilize Pakistan; however, he explained, this does not necessarily mean disintegrate, but rather:
they are trying to destabilize Pakistan at the moment so that it feels weak and economically has to go begging on its knees to Americans and ask for succor and help. And in that process they will want to expect certain concessions with regards to nuclear power and also with regards to setting up their facilities here in Pakistan.
When he was asked what America’s long-term goal was in regards to Pakistan, Gul responded that the goal:
for America is that they want to keep Pakistan destabilized; perhaps create a way for Baluchistan as a separate state and then create problems for Iran so that this new state will talk about greater Baluchistan… So it appears that the long-term objectives are really to fragment all these countries to an extent that they can establish a strip that would be pro-America, pro-India, pro-Israel. So this seems to be their long-term objective apart from denuclearizing Pakistan and blocking Iran’s progress in the nuclear field.
In Part 2 of ‘Pakistan in Pieces’, I will examine the specific ways in which the American strategy of destabilization is being undertaken in Pakistan, including the waging of a secret war and the expansion of the Afghan war into Pakistani territory. In short, the military and intelligence projections for Pakistan over the next several years (discussed in the beginning of Part 1 above) are a self-fulfilling prophecy, as those very same military and intelligence agencies that predict a destabilized Pakistan and potential collapse are now undertaking strategies aimed at achieving those outcomes.
 NIC, Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts. The Central Intelligence Agency: December 2000: page 64
 Ibid, page 66.
 PTI, Pak will be failed state by 2015: CIA. The Times of India: February 13, 2005: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pak-will-be-failed-state-by-2015-CIA/articleshow/1019516.cms
 NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council: November 2008: page x
 Ibid, page 45.
 Ibid, page 65.
 Ibid, page 72.
 Peter Goodspeed, Mexico, Pakistan face ‘rapid and sudden’ collapse: Pentagon. The National Post: January 15, 2009:http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=1181621
 PAUL MCGEOUGH, Warning that Pakistan is in danger of collapse within months. The Sydney Morning Herald: April 13, 2009: http://www.smh.com.au/world/warning-that-pakistan-is-in-danger-of-collapse-within-months-20090412-a40u.html
 Scott Lindlaw, AP: U.S. gave troops OK to enter Pakistan. USA Today: August 23, 2007: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-08-23-pakistan-engagement_N.htm
 Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon, Pakistan’s Collapse, Our Problem. November 18, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/opinion/18kagan.html
 Ahmed Quraishi, The plan to topple Pakistan’s military. Asia Times Online: December 6, 2007: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IL06Df03.html
 Ian Bruce, Special forces on standby over nuclear threat. The Sunday Herald: December 31, 2007: http://www.heraldscotland.com/special-forces-on-standby-over-nuclear-threat-1.871766
 Steven Lee Myers, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, U.S. Considers New Covert Push Within Pakistan. The New York Times: January 6, 2008:http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/washington/06terror.html
 Farhan Bokhari, Sami Yousafzai, and Tucker Reals, U.S. Special Forces Strike In Pakistan. CBS News: September 3, 2008:http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/03/terror/main4409288.shtml
 Eric Schmitt and Jane Perlez, U.S. Unit Secretly in Pakistan Lends Ally Support. The New York Times: February 22, 2009:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/world/asia/23terror.html
 YOCHI J. DREAZEN and SIOBHAN GORMAN, U.S. Special Forces Sent to Train Pakistanis. The Wall Street Journal: May 16, 2009:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124241541672724767.html
 Declan Walsh, US forces mounted secret Pakistan raids in hunt for al-Qaida. The Guardian: December 21, 2009: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/21/us-forces-secret-pakistan-raids
 CIP, SELIG S. HARRISON. Center for International Policy: http://www.ciponline.org/asia/Seligbio.html
 Selig S. Harriosn, Drawn and Quartered. The New York Times: February 1, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/opinion/01harrison.html
 Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. (New York: Perseus, 1997), page 39
 Ibid, page 40.
 Bharat Verma, Stable Pakistan not in India’s interest. Indian Defence Review: September 11, 2008: http://www.indiandefencereview.com/2008/09/stable-pakistan-not-in-indias-interest.html
 Jeremy R. Hammond, Ex-ISI Chief Says Purpose of New Afghan Intelligence Agency RAMA Is ‘to destabilize Pakistan’. Foreign Policy Journal: August 12, 2009:http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2009/08/12/ex-isi-chief-says-purpose-of-new-afghan-intelligence-agency-rama-is-%E2%80%98to-destabilize-pakistan%E2%80%99/
 Adnan R. Khan, New Delhi’s endgame? Macleans: August 23, 2009: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/04/23/new-delhi%E2%80%99s-endgame/
 Ibid. See also Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Pakistan, Global Research, December 30, 2007
 Imtiaz Indher, Afgan MPs call for early withdrawal of foreign troop. Associated Press of Pakistan: April 1, 2009: http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=72423&Itemid=2
 Moin Ansari, Proof: Captured TTP terrorists admit to being Indian RAW agents. Pakistan Daily: September 20, 2009: http://www.daily.pk/proof-captured-ttp-terrorists-admit-to-being-indian-raw-agents-11015/
 Laura Rozen, Can the intel community defuse India-Pakistan tensions? Foreign Policy: February 16, 2009:
 Jayshree Bajoria, RAW: India’s External Intelligence Agency. The Council on Foreign Relations: November 7, 2008: http://www.cfr.org/publication/17707/
 Jane Perlez, U.S. Push to Expand in Pakistan Meets Resistance. The New York Times: October 5, 2009:http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/world/asia/06islamabad.html
 US embassy cables, Reviewing our Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, The Guardian, 30 November 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/226531
 US military bases ‘will destabilize Pakistan’. Press TV: September 13, 2009: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=106106§ionid=3510302
|Andrew Gavin Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research.NOTE:THIS IS A CROSS POST FROM GLOBAL RESEARCH|
[Electroshock works by overstimulating the electrical circuits of the mind until they shut down, or "reboot." It calms agitated minds by silencing part of the mind itself. In extreme examples of electroshock, the mind is literally erased, at least the short-term memory is disrupted, leaving a blank slate that "psychologists" or "hypno-therapists" can then re-write, with whatever new thoughts they choose. The dangers of using this "medical procedure" (which was first used extensively by Nazi scientists in terminal experiments in the death camps) to erase or recondition human minds cannot be overstated. I say this as a family member of a former electroshock patient (SEE: Human Nature Is the Enemy of the State). It is obvious that this treatment causes massive permanent brain damage. To use this technique upon a fitful, unruly, or autistic child to calm whatever it is that agitates them, is criminal, in my opinion. How much of their minds and their future memories will be destroyed? No one bothers to mention that the alleged "therapeutic" benefits gained in the sessions are only temporary, needing to be reinforced at approximately two week intervals to maintain the new balance (SEE: Electric shock therapy blanked out parts of my life says Erdington man).]
Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is a controversial practice of dealing with mental disorders and one that has attracted its fair share of detractors. Despite the fact that it was first used as long ago as 1938, it still carries with it a stigma that some find difficult to overlook. One might believe this method is one as harebrained as those employed in the middle ages to rid people of the demons that had possessed their minds. Unlike holes drilled into the skull, the use of ECT as a form of psychiatric treatment has continued into the present day. However, the ethical questions and legislations governing its practice mean that its use in the resolution of the severe symptoms of mental disorders in children is bound to be a delicate topic.
In recent years, the research on the effective ECT has been extended to its application in pediatrics. A recent study provides hope that the may be beneficial in the treatment of the more severe symptoms of autism as well as mood disorders in children. This study, undertaken by Wachtel, Jaffe and Kellner, examined the effectiveness of pediatric ECT in treating the symptoms exhibited by an autistic prepubescent boy with bipolar affective disorder. The 11-year-old child had been diagnosed with autism when he was two and a half years old. This combined with his unpredictable mood swings had resulted in him behaving aggressively towards his own family and caregivers. However the damage meted out to those who looked after him in no way compared to that he inflicted on himself. Photographs included with the research show the child with his face and hands bloodied from self-abuse.
A slew of pharmaceuticals prescribed to subdue these symptoms had no discernible effect on his behavior. As an inpatient, he was put on a new combination of drugs that led to some improvement but the violent symptoms returned in full force shortly after he was discharged. It was possibly the severity of the situation that led to his case being accepted as a candidate for pediatric ECT.
Eight ECT treatments were conducted on a three-times-a-week basis. By the fourth treatment, the child who had been unable to go to school or interact with other children due to “safety concerns” and needed two adult supervisors around him at all times, could now enjoy family outings and community interaction. He was reported to be “happy and calm” and, for what might have been the first time, could sleep soundly through the night. The paper closes with a recent picture of this boy we know only as J., sliding down a tunnel in a public playground smiling broadly for the camera. Following the end of J.’s ECT treatment he still required “maintenance” ECT on a weekly or fortnightly basis to prevent the symptoms from returning. While his therapists work on weaning him off the treatment entirely, his parents and carers continue to report on his ever-increasing cache of achievements, most recently spending five days away at summer camp.
Lee Wachtel has done some extensive work in the field of autism and the catatonic symptoms that accompany it in its more severe forms. She tends to focus her research on disorders that affect children and adolescents and the effectiveness of ECT on cases that are exceptionally severe. In addition to this study, Wachtel together with Griffin, Dhossche and Reti also put together a paper documenting their work with 14 year old autistic boy who was exhibiting the standard symptoms of catatonia including waxy flexibility, mutism and unresponsiveness. In this case, the symptoms were non-violent but more resistant to treatment. A number of variants of electroconvulsive therapy were utilised before a change in behavior was evident. However, those changes in behavior include independent performance of all activities of daily living, an active return to academics via home-schooling, and participation in sports including running, swimming, basketball and even horse-riding as a component of equine therapy.
The use of ECT in pediatrics is inadequately researched, not just because of the stigma associated with the practice,, but also because of legislation that governs the administration of this form of therapy on minors due to ethical concerns. In addition, Croarkin et al say that most psychologists who deal with adolescent and child psychiatry are not sufficiently trained in the use of ECT. Even more sparsely researched are the long term effects of ECT on its recipients. Though a handful of longitudinal studies do exist that attempt to cover this, the standard of the research methods employed remains ambiguous. Studies such as those conducted by Wachtel and others like her demonstrate the almost immediate benefits ECT has to offer in the field of pediatric mental health. However the question remains as to whether these benefits will hold in the long run without causing in any additional damage to the brain. Unfortunately, the answer is one we will have to wait for, but till then we can hope.
Avery D, & Winokur G (1977). The efficacy of electroconvulsive therapy and antidepressants in depression. Biological psychiatry, 12 (4), 507-23 PMID: 889984
Croarkin, P., McCaffrey, P., McClintock, S., Rodez, C., & Husain, M. (2009). Electroconvulsive Therapy in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Current Psychiatry Reviews, 5 (4), 298-305 DOI: 10.2174/157340009789542141
Greenberg RM, & Kellner CH (2005). Electroconvulsive therapy: a selected review. The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry, 13 (4), 268-81 PMID: 15845752
Payne NA, & Prudic J (2009). Electroconvulsive therapy: Part I. A perspective on the evolution and current practice of ECT. Journal of psychiatric practice, 15 (5), 346-68 PMID:19820553
Wachtel LE, Griffin MM, Dhossche DM, & Reti IM (2010). Brief report: Electroconvulsive therapy for malignant catatonia in an autistic adolescent. Autism : the international journal of research and practice, 14 (4), 349-58 PMID: 20591959
Wachtel LE, Jaffe R, & Kellner CH (2011). Electroconvulsive therapy for psychotropic-refractory bipolar affective disorder and severe self-injury and aggression in an 11-year-old autistic boy. European child & adolescent psychiatry, 20 (3), 147-52 PMID: 21249407
Ms. Takru has a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Psychology, a Postgraduate Degree in Media, and is currently working on a Masters degree by research from Monash University on digital media and its effects on individual behavior and socialisation. She moonlights as a music critic.
He had been posted at PNS Mehran and PNS Iqbal.
ISLAMABAD: Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan bureau chief of Asia Times Online, went missing Sunday evening, DawnNews reported.
Days before his disappearance, Shahzad had authored an article that alleged links between navy officials and al Qaeda.
Ali Imran, a Coordinator at the South Asia Free Media Association (Safma) in an email stated that Mr Shahbaz had left his house in Islamabad to participate in a television program but that he did not reach the TV station.
He did not contact his family and friends either, Mr Imran said, adding that Mr Shahzad’s mobile phone and car had not been traced yet.
TRIPOLI: Two French lawyers said they planned to initiate legal proceedings against French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Monday for crimes against humanity over the NATO-led military campaign in Libya.
A Libyan justice ministry official Ibrahim Boukhzam told reporters in Tripoli that Jacques Verges and Roland Dumas had offered to represent families he said were victims of the NATO bombing campaign.
“The two lawyers are going to file a complaint in the French courts in the name of the Libyan families,” Boukhzam said, at a press conference on Sunday attended by 30 representatives of the families.
Verges, whose past clients include Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie and Carlos the Jackal, denounced a “French state led by hoodlums and killers.
“We are going to break the wall of silence,” he added.
Dumas, a former socialist minister, said the NATO mission, which was meant to protect civilians, was in fact killing them.
He denounced what he described as “a brutal assault against a sovereign country” and said he was ready to defend Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi should he ever be brought before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
Earlier this month, ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo asked for arrest warrants for Gaddafi, his son Seif al-Islam, and his brother-in-law Abdullah Senussi as part of an investigation into crimes against humanity.
On March 19, Sarkozy announced the launch of military action in Libya, backed by Western countries and Arab allies, as Gaddafi’s forces threatened the rebel-held city of Benghazi.
A French warplane was the first to enforce a UN resolution calling for a no-fly zone and protection of civilians in Libya.
Dumas and Verges were speaking at the end of a two-day visit to Libya. They said they would begin legal proceedings on their return to France on Monday.
[A friend in Pakistan (retired military) sent me the following.]
I met an officer of my unit at a wedding on Sunday 29 may ’11. As my unit is in Malir, I asked him if he had any knowledge of the Mehran attack. He said, his company was the one called in for the operation as it was on rapid deployment force duty. He gave me a blow by blow account of what happened. I shall only give the gist of what he said.
The runway of Shahrah e faisal is shared by the Navy as well as the PAF. The runway is the dividing line.
At the perimeter of the naval base is a nullah about 15-20 meters wide. This is full of shrubs and trees and bushes. The terrorists had parked their vehicles about two KMs down and walked along the far side of the nullah. At exactly 90 degrees from the Orions they built a proper infantry fashion Assault Bridge. They crossed the nullah over the assault bridge, and made a bee line to the Orions. Four of the attackers went round from the PAF side and took up positions facing the Orions, across the runway.
They fired all the seventy rocket launchers they had brought onto and into the two parked Orions. The destruction was total. The officer said except for two pieces of tyres of an aircraft which he saw, everything else was total ashes.
The attackers had come in totally undetected. When they fired the rockets simultaneously, the local naval security forces rushed to the point. They ran in along the runway. The firing went on for about 12-15 mns. Immediately after the fire the attackers on the Naval side withdrew across the assault bridge and disappeared. No one knows how many they were. Figures quoted are only conjectures.
When the local security forces rushed along the runway, they inadvertently cut off the route of withdrawal of the four attackers. And a cross fire started between the two sides.
In the meantime, this officers company had reached the mehran base by about 11 pm. However, they had orders ‘from above’, to not to enter the base. They could hear the firing but were not allowed to move in.
At 1:30 in the morning they were allowed to move in but were prohibited to open fire. At this stage I asked him if they had been sent in to sell pakoras! He was quite cut up and said the troops were very upset about it too. But their orders were very strict – no fire.
By this time all fire had stopped before they were allowed to move in.
They knew that four attackers were still there in the PAF area. An area search was carried out but no one was found because of the night. After first light along with the Zarrar company of SSG the grounds were scoured. An officer with a jawan were searching for a lost magazine, as they neared a large bush, they were fired upon. The sepoy was injured. The officer fired back and killed the attacker. Thereafter three more were killed in an exchange of fire. No more bodies were found
While this company was being held outside the Base, the officer said he saw Rahman malik on the TV giving a running commentary on the action as if he was standing in the witness stand!! He also stated that before they were allowed in, RM was announcing very happily “all the terrorists have escaped. No one has been killed or captured”. The troops and officers were all aghast at his attitude and his glee!!
All the weapons and equipment found on the site and attackers was of Russian origin.
The attackers were in the middle of two bases and all the aircraft of the PN and PAF were within their beat. They could have destroyed or incapacitated most of the PAF aircraft and helicopters including Lamas. But nothing else was touched.. They had concentrated their total fire power onto the total destruction of the two Orions only.
The Americans on the base were flown out the same night.
I have tried to reproduce what the officer said, verbatim.
These Orions had been used for surveillance in Baluchistan where the Americans are actively involved in terrorist activities. All their activities were monitored and the wireless messages were recorded. This is the capacity of the Orion. And therefore that could have been a great embarrassment for the Americans if it leaked out. Hence the Orions had to be destroyed so much that the recorders and black boxes were destroyed too along with the nefarious evidence.
The attackers came direct onto the two parked Orions because they were guided through Satellite GPS. The Americans at the base were acting as FACs to direct them. They had finished their jobs and were no longer required. Their safety demanded they be not available for any interrogation etc.
RM was in charge of the operations, and thus the peculiar orders to the army unit, ostensibly for the safety of his American friends
Another revealing news I got was that the Americans are paying USD 500millions each annually to Asif, Rahman and Nawaz Sharif to keep their mouths shut and look after US interests. One of the bankers being quoted said he had been involved personally in the transaction of $500 M in the case of Nawaz!
The photo of one attacker killed shows a full tattoo on his left arm fro stout shoulder to hand. This excludes the person being a Taliban, a Muslim, Pakistani or even Indian. Its not part of our culture. Russian or Europeans would have a single tattoo. The full arm or body tattoos are only American culture. Draw your own comclusions.
I thought you should know.
( Name removed )