“Radio Mullah” Fazlullah Ordered the Attempted Murder of Malala Yousufzai



Taliban’s ‘Radio Mullah’ sent hit squad after Pakistani schoolgirl

PESHAWAR: One of the Taliban’s most feared commanders, Maulana Fazlullah, carefully briefed two killers from his special hit squad on their next target.

The gunmen weren’t going after any army officer, politician or western diplomat. Their target was a 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl who had angered the Taliban by speaking out for “western-style” girls’ education.

Tuesday’s shooting of Malala Yousufzai was the culmination of years of campaigning that had pitted the fearless, smiling young girl against one of Pakistan’s most ruthless Taliban commanders.

Their story began in 2009, when Fazlullah, known as Radio Mullah for his fiery radio broadcasts, took over Swat Valley, and ordered the closure of girls’ schools, including Yousufzai’s.

Outraged, the then-11-year-old kept a blog for the BBC under a pen name and later launched a campaign for girls’ education. It won her Pakistan’s highest civilian honour and death threats from the Taliban.

Yousufzai was not blind to the dangers. In her hometown of Mingora, Fazlullah’s Taliban fighters dumped bodies near where her family lived.

“I heard my father talking about another three bodies lying at Green Chowk,” she wrote in her diary, referring to a nearby roundabout.

A military offensive pushed Fazlullah out of Swat in 2009, but his men simply melted away across the border to Afghanistan. Earlier this year, they kidnapped and beheaded 17 Pakistani soldiers in one of several cross border raids.

Yousufzai continued speaking out despite the danger. As her fame grew, Fazlullah tried everything he could to silence her. The Taliban published death threats in the newspapers and slipped them under her door. But she ignored them.

The Taliban say that’s why they sent assassins, despite a tribal code forbidding the killing of women.

“We had no intentions to kill her but were forced when she would not stop (speaking against us),” said Sirajuddin Ahmad, a spokesman of Swat Taliban now based in Afghanistan’s Kunar province.

He said the Taliban held a meeting a few months ago at which they unanimously agreed to kill her. The task was then given to military commanders to carry out.

The militia has a force of around 100 men specialized in targeted killing, fighters said. They chose two men, aged between 20-30, who were locals from Swat Valley.

The gunmen had proved their worth in previous assassinations, killing an opposition politician and attacking a leading hotelier for “obscenity” in promoting tourism.

Their trademark is to kill by shots to the head. Such hits, although dangerous, are also a badge of honour among the Taliban. The fighters who carry them out often receive personal calls of congratulations from senior leaders and may also get cash or guns.

Now it was Yousufzai’s turn. “Before the attack, the two fighters personally collected information about Malala’s route to school, timing, the vehicle she used and her security,” Ahmad said.

They decided to shoot her near a military checkpoint to make the point they could strike anywhere, he said.

On Tuesday, the two men stopped the bus she was riding home in. They asked for Yousufzai by name. Although the frightened girls said she wasn’t there, the men fired at her and also hit two other girls in the van. One of them remains in critical condition.

Shot in the head and the neck, Yousufzai still lies unconscious in hospital, unaware that world leaders from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to UN President Barack Obama have pledged support. Schoolchildren in Swat prayed for her recovery.

“The American people are shocked by this deplorable shooting of a girl who was targeted because she dared to attend school,” a statement from the White House said.

On Wednesday, the singer Madonna dedicated a song to Yousufzai during a LA concert. In a gesture that bemused many Pakistanis, she performed a striptease that revealed Yousufzai’s first name, Malala, written across her back.

Her would-be killers said they had no idea their attack would propel their victim, already a national hero, into a global icon.

“Actually the media gave it so much importance and now even Ban Ki-moon used dirty language against us,” Ahmad said. The international community stayed silent when the Pakistani security forces killed women during a crackdown, he complained.

Now that they had failed to kill Yousufzai, they would target her father, Ahmad said.

Ziauddin Yousufzai, the headmaster of a girls’ school, is on their hit list for speaking against them, his activities to promote peace in the region and for encouraging his daughter.

“We have a clear-cut stance. Anyone who takes side with the government against us will have to die at our hands,” Ahmad warned. “You will see. Other important people will soon become victims.”

Google Routinely Blurs Map Images To Help Governments Hide Their Secrets, Even Old Ones

[The ongoing issue of Apple being asked to blur its images of a top-secret Taiwanese radar facility offered the opportunity for me to touch upon my ongoing attempts to expose the old Oliver North “secret Contra airstrip,” located illegally in northern Costa Rica.  The documentation that I have posted below, in the form of snapshots, of the ever-changing Google Map images of this site, prove irrefutably that Google Maps are censored.  The site was first marked on a map, then it mysteriously moved to another site.  Next, a Google “expert” emailed me that I had identified the site wrong, allowing him to pull the pin from the map.  I then replaced it, changing the title of the pin to “abandoned jungle airstrip” and it remained in place.  Next, photographic layering of clouds blotted-out the site.  After posting a few articles on the controversy, it was then altered to what you see in the last two photos below, complete disregard for surrounding jungle images, giving the appearance of a dried-out brown layer which crops-off the ends of two large lakes.   Finally, a road was added over the original airstrip site.  It is no wonder that the spot is still embarrassing to the CIA, since the current and former Costa Rican Presidents Are Still Arguing Over Secret Contra Airstrip Near Murcielago.] 

Taiwan requests Apple blur images of its new radar facility in Maps app

“Ministry spokesperson David Lo told the Associated Press, ‘Apple should follow its rival Google in using only low-resolution satellite pictures.’

Google has made a practice of blurring out images of such high-security locations, and has even been known to do so upon request.”

Secret Contra Resupply Airstrip In Costa Rica–a.k.a., “Point West”

Ultimately, the secret airstrip was constructed at Santa Elena, Costa Rica, by one of Secord’s companies, Udall Corporation, and was known as “Point West.’


Saudis Consider Free Speech and Revolutionary Ideas A Threat To “Public Order”

[There are some dangerous ideas like freedom of religion and the inalienable rights of individuals, that tend to blow apart the tyrannies which are foolish enough to let them enter into the national dialogue.  Saudi Arabia is in great danger of self-destructing because of the global conversation about the Inalienable Rights of Man.  Rather than seeing their brutal Wahhabi dictatorship challenged by talk of freedom and Rights, the Saudi “Royals” are ready to use their considerable wealth to squash the freedom of the Internet.  It would be better for the Royal Family in the long run, if they would invest their fortunes back into reforming the Arabian nation, so that Saudi society conforms itself to accommodate those revolutionary concepts like human rights and democracy, rather than trying to keep the people repressed.]

Saudi Arabia Suggests Global Internet Regulations To Preserve ‘Public Order’

When an anti-Islam video sparked deadly protests all across the Muslim world last month, it raised new questions about the role of the Internet in a divided society. How do we regulate a medium that opens up global lines of communication? What happens when acceptable discourse in one country is considered blasphemy in another?

And if free speech leads to a loss of human life, should it be abridged?

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is one of many nations searching for answers to these tough questions.  And as one of the most tightly controlled conservative Muslim countries on earth, it has quite a stake in the issue.

The kingdom recently called for an international discussion to lay down new guidelines for Internet accessibility. This marks a new approach for the Saudi Arabia, which has already resorted to drastic measures to limit free communication within its own borders.

Under Wraps

The current uproar began in September, when a YouTube clip produced in America was dubbed in Arabic and went viral in the Middle East. The video, called “Innocence of Muslims,” was created by an Egyptian Coptic Christian residing in California.

The 55-year-old Mark Basseley Youssef — who was once known as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula and produced the video under the pseudonym Sam Bacile — first uploaded the clip in July. It portrayed Mohammed, the prophet of Islam, as a buffoon and sexual deviant. Protests erupted in countries as diverse as Bangladesh, Sudan and Oman. Dozens have died as a result of the ensuing clashes.

In Saudi Arabia, the government demanded that Google, which owns YouTube, block its citizens’ access to the video. Google complied on Sept. 19; it had already done the same for Libya, Egypt, India and Indonesia.

For Saudi Arabia, that was nothing new. Hundreds of thousands URLs are currently blocked by domestic telecommunications companies, including “immoral” sites that feature pornographic material, as well as sites that allegedly threaten national security.

This Internet censorship is line with the kingdom’s muzzling of its national media. Overall restrictions have worsened since the Arab Spring popular revolutions of 2011, one of which occurred — but did not succeed — in neighboring Bahrain.

Outside the Box

Saudi Arabia is now seeking a broader approach — not only to prevent its people from seeing the “Innocence of Muslims” clip, but to head off similar incidents in the future.

The country is looking ahead to the World Telecommunication/Information and Communication Technology Policy Forum, or WTPF. This annual

Only the Pakistani Women Are Ready To Wipe-Out the Big Men Who Call Themselves “Mujahedeen”

Tehrik of Taliban against Pakistan?

Tehrik of Taliban against Pakistan?Awami National Party (ANP) leader Bushra Gohar succinctly summed up the very intentions of the Taliban, yesterday, when she said “the militants are even scared of children now.” Thehorrendous act of terror showed that there are no limits to whom and where the Taliban can strike – even in regions that have been given the green signal by the government and law-enforcement agencies as being Taliban free.

It wasn’t until late into the night on Tuesday thatpolitical parties issued statementscondemning the attack. Even then, most leaders decided against issuing an all-out condemnation of the Taliban or calling for action against them. Barring the ANP, none of the party’s representatives said the Taliban should be dealt with forcefully in order to restore peace in the country.

The violence and terror unleashed by the Taliban and their various factions over the last half a decade is there for everyone to see. Countless innocent lives have been lost to bomb blasts, IED attacks, suicide attacks, targeted killings and other similar variants of violence. Why, then, has it been so difficult for the mainstream political parties to openly voice their opposition to the Taliban?

How many more lives will be lost before the decision makers and power brokers go all out against these men who have committed so many heinous crimes?

In the 24 hours, or more, that have transpired since the attack on the brave young girl there have been widespread peaceful protests across the country and abroad, against the act. People have also taken to social media to register and voice their disgust.

Has the time come for the political parties, the elected representatives, the military and other law-enforcement agencies to unite against the Taliban and launch an all-out operation against them?

How long will it take until the decision makers put their foot down and condemn the terrorists without mincing their words?

Dawn.com invites its readers to share their opinions and debate over this issue…

“Any Female Playing A Role In War Against Mujahideen Should Be Killed.–Official TTP Statement

[The people of Pakistan, ALL OF THEM, are confronted with a choice which they must make–Will Pakistan be ruled by the animals who take pride in the murder of children, throwing acid in little girls’ faces and the burning of their schools, or will they join hands with the rest of the human race?  Altaf Hussain said “the attack on Malala as an attack on all humanity.”  He is absolutely correct.  If Pakistanis do not join hands in a national crusade for their children, then they will be handing them over to the animals who think themselves to be modern-day Prophets of God.  Any Muslim man, who has been faithful to the real word of the Quran and not just selected quotes taken out of context, could easily refute all of the pious-sounding words of the ignorant Taliban as they murder and maim the innocent in favor of serving a false “shariah.”  They could do that, if they weren’t afraid to defend themselves, their families and the word of God itself against the criminal gangs who roam the countryside, calling themselves “mujahedeen.”]

Altaf urges all workers to collect details on muftis, ulemas


KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Friday urged all office bearers, party workers and peace loving citizens of Karachi and the country to submit within a week the details of all muftis and ulemas (clerics) in their localities, regardless of their sectarian affiliations, with the party’s unit and sector offices situated in their respective areas, DawnNews reported.

The MQM chief said that the particulars of all religious leaders holding different positions and titles such as mufti, imam, aalim and khatib would then be collected from the units and sectors at the zonal level from where they would be immediately consolidated at the MQM headquarter Nine Zero in Karachi.

He further instructed all sector and unit office bearers to note down the names and addresses of all those who refuse to share their particulars so that the list of their names could be sent to the government which could then itself obtain the details. The MQM chief said the measure would benefit the country and its innocent citizens.

Earlier on Thursday, Altaf Hussain had given a 24-hour-long ultimatum to all top muftis and ulema (clerics) of the country to openly denounce the cowardly attack on Pakistani child activist Malala Yousufzai and vowed to expose all those who failed to condemn the attack by banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).

Altaf gives muftis, ulema 24 hrs to condemn attack on Malala


MQM Chief Altaf Hussain. — File Photo

KARACHI: Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) chief Altaf Hussain on Thursday gave 24 hours ultimatum to all top muftis and ulema (clerics) of the country to openly denounce the cowardly attack on young Pakistani children’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai or else he will ‘expose’ them, DawnNews reported.

In a statement, issued by the party, Hussain vowed to expose all clerics, who will fail to condemn the attack by banned Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), in his scheduled speech at the party’s workers convention on Sunday.

The MQM chief had declared the attack on Malala as an attack on all humanity and said that perpetrators of the vile act should be swiftly brought to justice.

Malala along with two other schoolmates sustained bullet injuries when armed assailants opened fire on their school van in Mingora city, Swat on Tuesday.

The TTP had taken responsibility for attacking the national peace award winner on the same day.

The Taliban, who have killed thousands of people across Pakistan in the last five years and destroyed hundreds of girls’ schools, have issued a statement saying that any female who opposes them should be killed.


NATO must have U.N. mandate for post-2014 Afghan mission: Russia

Adrian Croft

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Russia will stop cooperating with NATO over Afghanistan after 2014 unless the alliance gets U.N. Security Council authorization for its new training mission in Afghanistan, a senior Russian diplomat said on Wednesday.

A NATO official said only that it would be “helpful” to have a U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing the post-2014 training mission, but stopped short of saying it was essential.

Nikolay Korchunov, Russia’s acting ambassador to NATO, did not specify what any halt to Russian cooperation with NATO on Afghanistan after 2014 would mean, but Russia will be an important transit route for NATO as it ships out billions of dollars of equipment from Afghanistan in the next few years.

NATO defense ministers meeting in Brussels gave military experts the go-ahead on Wednesday to begin detailed planning of the post-2014 training and advisory mission that will start after NATO ends combat operations in Afghanistan.

“Let’s proceed from the assumption that any such mission should be based on an international mandate,” Korchunov said in written emailed replies to questions sent by Reuters.

“It is a pre-condition both for carrying on the operation and for our cooperation with NATO on that issue post-2014.”

Korchunov told Reuters that by international mandate he meant a new United Nations Security Council resolution.

The current mission of the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan is endorsed by the U.N. Security Council.

But the nature of the mission will change after 2014, when ISAF is due to hand over security duties in the whole country to Afghan forces, possibly requiring a new resolution.

The new training and advisory mission is expected to be much smaller, but NATO has given no details yet.


Responding to Korchunov’s comments, a NATO official said it would be “helpful” to have a U.N. Security Council resolution in support of NATO’s planned post-2014 mission.

Pressed on whether NATO could go ahead with the post-2014 without a U.N. resolution, the official said: “NATO of course takes its decisions autonomously based on the consensus of its allies. All its missions are based and conducted according to the principles of the United Nations charter.”

“Clearly it is in the interest of the whole international community and of countries in the region, including Russia, to have a stable Afghanistan with the right training, advice and assistance for the Afghan security forces,” the official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said.

German Defence Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters that an invitation from the Afghan government was a “pre-condition” for the post-2014 NATO mission.

“And we would want to have a U.N. resolution, a resolution of the U.N. Security Council, too,” he told reporters at the NATO meeting on Tuesday evening.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a regular critic of NATO. But he has backed cooperation with NATO on Afghanistan, allowing the use of Russian territory for transit and supplies.

However, any wrangling involving the Security Council could prove problematic. International pressure on Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, has been curbed after by Russia and China blocking Western-backed draft U.N. resolutions.

NATO must send home or dispose of 200,000 shipping containers and vehicles as it scales down its combat mission in Afghanistan over the next few years and the Russian route is important to lessen its dependence on Pakistan.

Pakistan re-opened NATO transit lines through its territory in July after months of closure over a NATO air strike that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

(Additional reporting by Angelika Stricker)

Mexican Warlordism and Their Dialogue of Weapons

The use of symbolic violence in Mexico’s drug war

Despite taboos and lost legitimacy, armed groups around the world  engage in extreme acts of violence, symbolic and otherwise. In order for  decision-makers to understand what can be done about the increasing  brutality, they must understand what’s behind it. In the fourth  installment of Baker Institute Viewpoints, an institute postdoctoral  fellow in drug policy and two outside scholars conducting doctoral  research on these issues explain why some armed groups utilize extreme  symbolic forms of violence, and how they justify their actions.  In the final post of the three-day series, Nathan Jonesthe institute’s Alfred C. Glassell III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy, explores the underpinnings of drug-related violence in Mexico.

Extreme and symbolic violence has become a form communication in the context of weak Mexican state capacity and the presence of powerful organized crime groups.  It is important not to exaggerate the use of symbolic violence in the Mexican “drug war,” as it can lead to false understandings.  Before explaining how extreme violence is used in the context of Mexico, we must first understand Mexican drug violence in comparative and historical context.

Homicide rates in comparative perspective

Based upon media accounts in the United States, many believe that Mexico is extremely violent.  Indeed in comparison to United States’ homicide rates of less than 5 per 100,000, Mexico does appear high. It should noted that these homicides are often highly localized and vary by region. Violence must be kept in perspective. Mexican homicide rates of about 24 per 100,000 (preliminary data 2011) are a fraction of other Latin American countries such as Venezuela (49 per 100,000 in 2009), Honduras (82.1 per 100,000 in 2010) and El Salvador (66 per 100,000 in 2010).  As Harvard doctoral candidate Viridiana Rios has argued, Mexico suffers from “mediatic violence” that is more likely to grab headlines and capture public attention.

Why do once relatively peaceful Mexican cartels now use extreme and symbolic forms of violence?

Let me begin by ruling out common causal explanations. I am extremely skeptical of cultural explanations of violence in Mexico. Mexico’s homicide rates were on a downward trend for decades — until the end of the administration of President Vicente Fox (2000-2006), according to Rios’ dissertation.  Nor do I believe that the drug war has tapped into some mythical violent pre-Hispanic past, given those previously descending rates of violence and other stronger structural explanations.

Structural explanations of violence

Structural explanations about the changes in the government and society better align with the timing of increased violence. Many blame President Felipe Calderon’s crackdown on drug trafficking organizations for the violence. As Rios has shown, the problem was simmering before he took office. He simply pulled the lid off an already boiling-over pot and through kingpin strategies exacerbated inter- and intra-cartel conflicts.

Mexico’s higher levels of violence stem from a change in the macro state-cartel relationship and took decades to become apparent.  In the 1980s the relationship could be characterized as “collusive,” as Shirk and Astorgaargue.  But following the death of American DEA agent Enrique Camarena, the U.S. government put incredible pressure on its Mexican counterpart to capture those responsible and disband the corrupt Direccion Federal de Seguridad, which had hitherto managed drug traffickers. This led to what Duran Martinez and Snyder argue is a more violent equilibrium caused by the presence of many trafficking groups and many law enforcement agencies that could no longer easily negotiate with each other.

However, in the United States we also possess many law enforcement agencies and many street and prison gangs — yet have low levels of violence.  The primary difference is the strength of state institutions.  Those committing crimes in the United States can be relatively certain that they will be prosecuted and spend time in prison at some point.  This is why Skarbek argues prison gangs can dominate and demand a “tax” from street gangs as he illustrates with La Eme in Southern California.  On the other hand, a study from Mexico’s prestigiousInstituto Tecnologico de Monterrey estimates the Mexican legal system resolves less than 2% of all crimes, leading to widespread impunity.

The Calderon administration has already begun instituting important judicial reforms, though these will take decades to be fully implemented.  Americans should remember our own history of addressing organized crime.  The end of Prohibition did not witness the end organized crime power in America.  It did, however, deny organized crime significant profits, which weakened it and allowed the U.S. government to strengthen its own law enforcement apparatus, turning organized crime into a manageable problem. This process took decades.

Challenging the drug prohibition regime

An understanding of this history makes it all the more understandable that Latin American leaders such as Guatemalan President Perez Molina are calling for a fundamental reevaluation of the global drug prohibition regime. Faced with weak state capacity and powerful organized crime actors, they believe they must both change the global prohibition regime and strengthen state capacity to hasten the moment when their nations can enjoy low violence equilibriums.

In the context of weak state institutions and a confrontational relationship with the state, Mexican traffickers fight among each other for control of territory to traffic drugs and extort local populations.  These organized crime groups have entered an equilibrium, in which, as Michael Hampson argues, symbolic violence has become a cost-effective mechanism of control of local populations and a language to signal dominance in territories where other drug trafficking organizations are present or considering encroachment.

The role of technology

Technology has magnified the effect and reach of symbolic violence.  Traffickers have utilized youtube and social media to spread their acts and notoriety.  Traffickers time their killings to maximize media coverage and leavenarco-mantas or notes for local populations and/or rival traffickers.  Social media has proven of limited utility in reporting on criminal actions where traffickers enforce media blackouts.  Traffickers have targeted social media users who denounce drug violence with symbolic assassinations.

Whereas established organized crime groups can enjoy the reputation for violence established by previous acts or predecessors, newly organized crime groups must establish a reputation for violence from scratch.  Thus, hyper-violent acts like the five severed heads thrown onto a nightclub dance-floor in 2006 announced the emergence of La Familia Michoacana.  One of the unfortunate unintended consequences of Calderon’s kingpin strategies has been the creation of more new and reputation hungry organized crime groups as they splinter-off from decapitated “cartels.”

Stronger state capacity will take decades for full implementation

The Calderon Administration sees 2011 as a turning point in which violence levels appear to have stopped their steep climb and it hopes will begin a steady decrease.  Unfortunately this may not lead to a significant improvement in the perception of violence because the use of extreme violence by ever more desperate groups facing stronger state institutions are likely to continue until these institutions are sufficiently effective to deter them — a process that will take decades, just as it did in the United States.

Nathan Jones is the Alfred C. Glassell III Postdoctoral Fellow in Drug Policy at the Baker Institute. His areas of interest include U.S.-Mexico security issues, illicit networks and cross-border flows.