[Is that a Boeing drone circling the launch pad?]
Shailaja Neelakantan |
The Pakistan government, which is facing international isolation+ following the terror attack on India last month, has again done itself no favours by restricting a journalist’s movements.
Almeida reported an exclusive story last week for Dawn newspaper that the civilian government in Islamabad told the all-powerful Pakistan army to clamp down on terrorists+ or risk facing international isolation.
Then, yesterday, an enraged Islamabad restricted Almeida’s movements, by putting him on an ‘Exit Control List’, a move that is likely to isolate Pakistan even more.
Oh, the irony.
A stoic Almeida today tweeted:
Puzzled, saddened. Had no intention of going anywhere; this is my home. Pakistan.
He even seems to have retained a sense of humour.
“Ur very famous in the airport. Ur name plastered at each immigration officer’s desk. A big A4 sheet with just your name.” – ‘sources’ say
In a note on its website, Dawn said it stood by its story, and added that “the elected government and state institutions should refrain from targeting the messenger”. Clearly, its advice fell on deaf years.
Just yesterday, Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif ordered “stern action”+ against those responsible for publishing the Dawn article, or what the PM called a “fabricated” story, PTI reported.
It issued a statement after a meeting yesterday, which was attended by Pakistan’s chief of army staff General Raheel Sharif+ , PM Sharif, finance minister Ishaq Dar, interior minister Nisar Ali Khan, Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif and top spy, the ISI’s Lieutenant General Rizwan Akhtar.
“The participants (at the meeting) were unanimous that the published story was clearly violative of universally acknowledged principles of reporting on national security issues and has risked the vital state interests through inclusion of inaccurate and misleading contents which had no relevance to actual discussion and facts,” the statement read.
‘Onlookers describe a stunned room’
In the October 6 exclusive report, Almeida reported that government officials complained that when action was taken against suspected terrorists “the security establishment has worked behind the scenes to set the arrested free.”
Almeida’s report was published a week after India conducted surgical strikes on terrorist camps in Pakistan-Occupied-Kashmir. The September 29 strikes were in retaliation for the September 18 terrorist attack in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir by Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Muhammad terrorists. As many as 19 soldiers died in the assault on the Uri army post.
The Dawn journalist reported that the civilian Sharif government’s officials openly confronted army officials – in what he called an “extraordinary exchange” – at a secret meeting last week on Tuesday.
Pakistan’s foreign secretary Aizaz Chaudhry said in a presentation at the meeting that despite recent diplomatic outreach, Islamabad “faces diplomatic isolation and that the government’s talking points have been met with indifference+ in major world capitals.”
Following that presentation, the civilian government gave a clear message to the army – “Military-led intelligence agencies are not to interfere if law enforcement acts against militant groups that are banned or until now considered off-limits for civilian action… (and) fresh attempts be made to conclude the Pathankot investigation and restart the stalled Mumbai attacks-related trials in a Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court,” Dawn wrote.
Further, foreign secretary Chaudhry reportedly shocked those at the meeting by saying that “while China has reiterated its support for Pakistan, it too has indicated a preference for a change+ in course by Pakistan.”
Almeida was told by source who were at the meeting that the tone and content of what civilian government officials said to the army was unprecedented.
“Astounded onlookers describe a stunned room that was immediately aware of the extraordinary, unprecedented nature of the exchange,” his report said.
The site of the funeral airstrike in Sana’a on October 8, 2016.
MK-82 GRAVITY BOMB FRAGMENT, recovered by police officer from site of Sana funeral massacre
Fragments of what appear to be U.S.-made bombs have been found at the scene of one of the most horrific civilian massacres of Saudi Arabia’s 18-month air campaign in Yemen.
Aircraft from the Saudi-led coalition on Saturday bombed a community hall in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital city, where thousands of people had gathered for a funeral for Sheikh Ali al-Rawishan, the father of the rebel-appointed interior minister. The aircraft struck the hall four times, killing more than 140 people and wounding 525. One local health official described the aftermath as “a lake of blood.”
Multiple bomb fragments at the scene appear to confirm the use of American-produced MK-82 guided bombs. One fragment, posted in a picture on the Facebook page of a prominent Yemeni lawyer, says “FOR USE ON MK-82 FIN, GUIDED BOMB.”
ITV News correspondent Neil Connery visited the site shortly after the attack, and found a similar bomb fragment. Connery said he was told by a Yemeni official that it appeared to be a MK-82 bomb.
The MK-82 is a 500-pound explosive weapon manufactured in the United States. The code “96214” indicates that the bomb was produced by Raytheon, the third-largest defense contractor in the United States.
Saudi Arabia’s bombing campaign in Yemen began in March 2015 after Houthi rebels deposed the U.S.- and Saudi-backed dictator, Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi. Since the war began, Saudi Arabia has intentionally targeted numerous homes, factories, markets, schools, and hospitals.
The U.S. has supplied Saudi Arabia with more than $20 billion worth of weapons during its Yemen campaign, including thousands of MK-82 bombs. In November, the State Department approved the sale of 8,020 new MK-82 bombs as part of a $1.29 billion transfer of more air-to-ground weapons.
Throughout his presidency, President Obama has sold more than $115 billion worth of weapons to the Saudis – more than any other President. But after Saturday’s massacre, the Obama White House issued its first public threat to cut its support.
“U.S. security cooperation with Saudi Arabia is not a blank check,” Ned Price, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said in a statement. Price added that the administration is “prepared to adjust our support so as to better align with U.S. principles, values and interests.”
On Monday, Reuters reported that Obama administration lawyers have not reached a conclusion on whether the U.S. is a “co-belligerent” in the conflict according to international law, a distinction that might raise legal risks and obligations. But since the U.S. has flown refueling missions for Saudi aircraft and supplied Saudi Arabia with weapons and targeting intelligence, it is complicit in Saudi Arabia’s atrocities by any normal definition.
As Bruce Riedel, a 30-year CIA officer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, said in April, “If the United States and the United Kingdom, tonight, told King Salman [of Saudi Arabia] ‘this war has to end,’ it would end tomorrow. The Royal Saudi Air Force cannot operate without American and British support.”
[The pics supplied for this story are old, taken in the USA years ago, but the US has had fighters painted like would-be adversaries for decades. But that doesn’t refute the concept of “false flag attacks,” they have been used by the US since the beginning. “Operations Northwoods” stands out as the most easily proven example of this. Odds are high that the UN aid convoy attack in Syria could have been by mis-painted “Russian” or “Syrian” aircraft, dropping bombs scavenged from the Syrian Arab Air Force. Just another example of the Pentagon’s “intelligence-driven” warfare come to light. Whenever such things happen, revelation of CIA plots, it is a sign that things are almost out of hand, beyond anyone’s ability to influence. In which case, we see runaway war as a result of plots gone bad, the apparent objective of the false flag plots. But is it really their intention to cause world war, or are we already on an inescapable path to total destruction, and all of these failed plots we have seen have been attempts to get a handle on the chaos?]
The pictures of the US jets were posted by a Canadian journalist last week on his Twitter account.
Although the journalist noted that painting fighter jets in the colors of potential adversaries is standard practice, they caused a stir among conspiracy theorists.
Many of them accused the US of preparing a false flag attack aimed at framing Russia in Syria.
One Twitter user said the practice is reminiscent of Washington’s past actions regarding Cuba.
Another called false flag operations a “US trademark.”
The publication of the images fell on fertile ground. Relations between Russia and the US over the Syria conflict are at an all-time low, with both countries exchanging threats and warnings with each other over their involvement in Syria.
The US and other militaries are known for using aggressor squadrons, which act as opposing forces in military war games. In addition to being painted in an adversary’s colors, they also use enemy tactics to provide realistic simulations of air combat.