Leaders they better would have not

But isn’t it expecting too much from an Islamabad hierarchy that has demonstrated itself such a spineless pack of self-styled leaders who the nation would better have not and would certainly be much better off without.

A hubristically arrogant British Prime Minister David Cameron chimes cheekily that Pakistan is exporting terrorism and then picks up thunderous cheers from his Indian audience and a purchase order for dozens of trainer jets worth over whopping $one billion from the Indian government. A disputed Afghan President Hamid Karzai whose authority has stayed confined throughout his nine-year rule to his presidential palace’s outer gate and his government’s writ to Kabul municipality leaps up to the Wikileaks’ leaks of US military files and screams for taking out Afghan Taliban’s “sanctuaries” in Pakistan. And what is the response of a cringing and servile hierarchy of Islamabad to these audacious outpourings of Cameron and Karzai? That this would impact negatively the “war on terror”, bleats the whole ruling clan of Islamabad sheepishly. President Zardari mumbles it; so does prime minister Gilani; foreign minister Qureshi too. And so do all the rest.

But who will tell these ignoramuses the street gives a damn if this war is affected or not or even if it goes all haywire when it has become such a sore wound on our body politic? It has cost the nation dearly in blood and treasure, without drawing it any honest gratitude from anywhere and getting it only pillory and abuse from everywhere. For this war, over 3,000 of our soldiers have sacrificed their precious lives. In this war, thousands of our civilian compatriots, including children and women, have been slaughtered in US drone attacks and terrorist strikes of thugs bred, nurtured, funded and armed by the CIA-led evil axis of Indian RAW and Afghan NDS intelligence agencies. For this war, our economy is tottering cripplingly with losses amounting to some $40 billion or more it has inflicted on it. For the insecurity that proxies and agents of this evil axis of alien agencies has spawned with their thuggery in the country, domestic investments are fleeing out and foreign investment dread coming in. For this war, our sovereignty stands rubbished and our national solidarity in tatters.

Given this, one thought reaction to Cameron’s and Karzai’s audacities would be severe, strong and manly in Islamabad . It is not, appallingly. The response is effeminate, befitting a woman and decidedly not a man. It appears Islamabad’s hierarchs are not even aware how the street is boiling with anger over impudence of Cameron as also of Karzai, a staunchly loyalist CIA asset who did its bidding so blindly slavishly, even to anoint Indians as his own senior advisors and his governors’, themselves CIA appointees. People had hoped President Zardari would at least postpone, if not cancel, his London visit to register his nation’s outrage at Cameron’s filthy inanity. He has not.

Perhaps, to him coronation of a prince regent, who he is touting up as the nation’s upcoming ruler, counts for more than does his people’s popular sentiment. Yet if he is so loath to crown his prince at home among the people he intends foisting on to rule, he could have done the coronation ceremony in France , which too he is visiting at the Pakistani taxpayer’s expense. But if he so resolved staging this regal coronation in London under the shadows of tall palaces of kings and queens at any rate, he may have this pleasure.

But in his meeting with Cameron will he pluck up the guts and ask a few relevant questions? Will he ask Cameron that Britain had taken upon it the responsibility of freeing occupied Afghanistan from drugs? Instead, it has become the world’s biggest drugs producer and supplier. Why? Will he ask him that the occupiers had pledged pacifying the post-Taliban Afghanistan , yet British troops stayed put for years in their secured bases in Kabul and Bagram. Why? Will he tell him that when finally the British troops ventured moving out, in 2006, to Helmand , the then British defence secretary squawked they would wrest it from Taliban without firing a shot? Yet four years on, they failed to capture even a mentionable portion of it, and the American marines in thousands had to be deployed, although they too have spectacularly failed in the task. Will he ask Cameron why American soldiers ridicule British troops’ fighting mettle playfully, calling them derisively chickens? And why even British troops’ command has been taken away from the British commander and given to American officers, amid report that the British contingent had been bribing local Taliban not to attack it.

But isn’t it expecting too much from an Islamabad hierarchy that has demonstrated itself such a spineless pack of self-styled leaders who the nation would better have not and would certainly be much better off without. They are worse than dictator Pervez Musharraf who danced like a red-light area dancing girl before his American patrons and threw this poor nation in such a demeaning condition.

– The Frontier Post

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Running out of steam

Massive Protests against Indian Occupation Forces in Srinagar, Indian Occupied Kashmir

Soumitro Das,
Hindustan Times

Journalism is not about patriotism. It is not about ‘my country right or wrong’. Journalism is about the Truth. In India, however, far too often a journalist’s first commitment is to his country rather than to the truth. Nowhere is this more evident than in our reportage on Kashmir and Pakistan. To talk about Kashmir first, we are in complete denial, we toe the government’s line unquestioningly: that everything in Kashmir would be hunky-dory if Pakistan stopped meddling; that Kashmir is actually madly in love with the Indian Army and it is only Pakistan which is holding Kashmiris back from expressing their true feelings about the army, the paramilitary forces and the J&K Police in good measure; that India has done nothing to deserve the violence and turbulence in that state; that the stone-pelters are just paid agents of the Lashkar-e-Tayyeba.

What is the truth? The truth could be that many Kashmiris are sick and tired of the Indian security forces; the truth could be that Kashmiris are looking for deliverance from the cycle of brutality in which they are caught. The truth could be that India had for years foisted corrupt and venal regimes in Srinagar through rigging and other acts of skullduggery. The truth could be that India had a chance to redeem itself when it brought in Sheikh Abdullah as chief minister of the state, but apart from fostering yet another political dynasty, the Abdullahs have had little impact on the climate of political feeling in the state. The truth could be that the stone pelters are the vanguard of a ‘revolution’ whose immediate political expression is the rejection of India and everything that India has come to represent in Kashmir.

As far as Pakistan is concerned, our media are even more slavishly patriotic. All the usual clichés and stereotypes are summoned whenever our journalists and intellectuals write on the subject. Pakistan is a rogue nation; it is a failed State; it is almost a criminal enterprise; its democracy is a sham…

Everything we say about Pakistan speaks of our hatred and resentment against the country. And yet, we see that Pakistan does not disappear from the map of the world and definitely won’t in a hurry. The Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) may not be accountable, but how accountable is India’s Research and Analysis Wing (R&AW) and the Intelligence Bureau?

It’s also the naivete of it all. I remember a journalist on national TV saying, “We (India) are better than them (Pakistan).” What does that mean? That Pakistan is an Islamic republic and India, even with its pogroms against Sikhs in 1984 Delhi and against Muslims in 2002 Gujarat is a shining example of democracy? It is India, if my figures are right, that has more than 50 per cent of its children suffering from various effects of malnourishment. India’s regular free-and-fair elections may be the only thing that should genuinely make us proud as citizens.

History has been kind to us. It has provided us with a stick with which to beat Pakistan: cross-border terrorism. So, we can use it as a pretext for not talking about Kashmir where our position is weak. Take the ruckus over Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief Hafeez Sayeed. We want him gagged, arrested, tried and, ideally, executed, no matter what the legal position might be in Pakistan. We insist that Pakistan knows everything about Sayeed’s involvement in 26/11 and that Pakistan is resorting to lies and deception to evade taking responsibility. However, now, according to Home Secretary G.K. Pillai’s recent statement, it’s not Sayeed but the ISI “from start to finish”. What is germane is that no court in the world will convict a mass murderer only on the basis of what two major felons have to say about him. Ajmal Kasab’s and David Headley’s statements need corroboration. Read more of this post

Time for America to introspect

by Asif Haroon Raja

Gen Petraeus has taken over same lot of demoralized coalition troops with little heart left to fight purposeless war. US military and NATO have never remained in sync; misunderstanding among them is likely to increase in coming months. Synchronized coordination among six intelligence agencies is lacking. Afghan Army and paramilitary forces are another headache needing emergent refurbishment. Introduction of Blackwater in security and military affairs has its own set of ramifications. He plays with the same battle plan conceived by his predecessor Gen McChrystal and approved by him. He is bounded by Af-Pak plan to draw a wedge between Taliban and Al-Qaeda, divide Taliban and defeat the hardliners. He too is keen for operation in NW for he feels that move into Kandahar with a heavy force would expose his southern flank and rear to militants in NW.

The Soviets had withdrawn from Afghanistan exactly one year after Gorbochov announced his intentions on 09 February 1988. None had believed that Soviets would ever withdraw since the big bear had no history of retracing its steps. Taliban rightly feel that they have in principle achieved the second miracle within a span of three decades. The day Americans pull out, it will be like the history of rise of Islam under Holy Prophet (pbuh) in 6th century getting re-enacted when the two super powers of the time, the Persians (Sassanian Empire) and the Byzantine Empire under Romans, having fought with each other for a longtime finally got defeated at the hands of ill-equipped Muslim Arabs on horsebacks.

Notwithstanding that Taliban have an influence over more than 70% of territory in Afghanistan, yet they are far from taking over reigns of country. Until and unless they capture Kabul and dismantle US bases in Baghram and Kandahar, which are the main power centres of coalition forces and Karzai regime, victory will remain illusive. Kabul’s fall is obligatory to achieve total victory. Kabul can capitulate if focus of terror attacks is shifted to the capital city, northern route towards Salang Pass is blocked, supplies coming from Pakistan are disrupted, and like IEDs and suicide attacks which have taken maximum toll of ISAF ground troops, means to combat aerial power acquired. Russia would be too willing to provide latest version of SAMs as a quid pro quo to stingers provided to Mujahideen by Americans in 1987-88, which accelerated the rot of Soviet forces.There is growing skepticism among policy makers in USA. The critics say that US military and civil officials associated with Afghanistan lack clarity, vision and have no set goals and their benchmarks are based on vague assumptions making achievement of goals that much unattainable. Shadow boxing for authority is continuing between Pentagon under Robert Gates cum CIA and State Department under Hillary Clinton cum White House. For Obama, next one year period is crucial to achieve some measure of stability in Afghanistan since it will have a direct bearing on the outcome of elections in USA in 2011-12.

It is time for USA to introspect and to perform postmortem as to why today the US finds itself in such a sorry state. Washington should make a candid assessment as to what the US gained in blindly trusting India and Israel and what it lost in distrusting Pakistan. Isn’t it ironic that after punishing Pakistan for nine years on fabricated charges, the US has now begun to realize that stability of Pakistan is critical to stability of Afghanistan, South-Central Asia and for US national security? Who will account for immeasurable human and economic losses suffered by Pakistan? Had the US played a fair game with Pakistan and co-opted the Army and ISI in its war plans, it could have emerged as a victor. At this critical stage, the US needs a General like Gen Patton or Gen McArthur to steady the ship and snatch the victory from the jaws of sure defeat. Like McChrystal, Petraeus too is a spent cartridge with nothing to gloat about. He is no match to one-eyed Mullah Omar who has proved his mettle and has all the qualities of a great leader. Petraeus will swim with the tide but doesn’t have the aura and drive to lift the sagging morale of 46-nation troops he commands, galvanize them into a well-knit team and kindle in them requisite warrior spirit to push back the surging tide and turn it in favorable direction. I may hazard to add that best of military plans fail under an indecisive and weak leader while an average plan succeeds under a dynamic leader.

Therefore rather than wasting time in hatching conspiracies against Pakistan, focus should be on selecting the right man and giving him full liberty of action to run the show. He should dispassionately take stock of the obtaining situation, resources available, go about refurbishing grey areas, revise battle plans in accordance with ground realities and see if pitched battles are desirable. Any military leader with little grey matter would conclude that it is pointless to reinforce failure and would advise that from henceforth all efforts should be made towards salvaging the precarious situation through dialogue only and not through a mix of dialogue and use of force since it would prove counter productive.

The intellectually bankrupt think tanks in USA instead of publishing anti-Pakistan articles scripted by Indian writers in US newspapers and magazines should critically examine as to why the US failed to usher in democracy, political stability and economic prosperity in war-torn Afghanistan? They should seek answers as to why USA could not win over the Afghans or train ANA and police despite spending trillions of dollars? An answer should be found as to why colossal amount was wasted on futile chase of Osama and other high profile militant leaders without any success? They should search their hearts and come out with honest opinion whether efforts wasted on dividing and killing Taliban will prove productive and whether it will be desirable to waste time and resources on propping up dead horse of ANA.

The US strategists must now ponder over the coming withdrawal phase of coalition troops, starting in July 2011, whether it will be a clean break under a Geneva like accord or it will be a running battle, or total airlift of manpower leaving behind all the heavy baggage, tanks, guns, mines, explosives and ordnance. They must contemplate upon northern outlet through Central Asia and southern outlet through Pakistan as to what steps are required to make them safe for supplies as well as rearward road moves. The civil leaders like James Jones, Holbrooke, Eikenberry and others in the meanwhile should also do their homework and stick to their domain rather than poking their noses in military affairs and trying to become military strategists. As a matter of fact it was because of hardnosed Holbrooke’s aggressive attitude which gave rise to civil-military tensions. He was behind making Af-Pak policy, which was devised to balkanize Pakistan on Yugoslavian model. He tried to assert his authority in Pakistan but his inflated ego was deflated by Lt Gen Shuja Pasha in April 2009 and ever since he has put on the guise of affability. However, beneath the mask of friendliness, he remains firm in his set goals. Read more of this post

Video: Al-Qaeda Does not Exist

Al Qaeda Doesn’t Exist is the forthcoming documentary by The Corbett Report. It interrogates the theory that Al Qaeda is a centrally-operated terrorist organization run by Osama Bin Laden that perpetrated the attacks of 9/11. The documentary looks at Al Qaeda’s roots, its ties to western intelligence agencies and the fictions that have been created to enhance its myth in the corporate-controlled media.

Al Qaeda — the Database

Shortly before his untimely death, former British Foreign Secretary Robin Cook told the House of Commons that “Al Qaeda” is not really a terrorist group but a database of international mujaheddin and arms smugglers used by the CIA and Saudis to funnel guerrillas, arms, and money into Soviet-occupied Afghanistan. Courtesy of World Affairs, a journal based in New Delhi, WMR can bring you an important excerpt from an Apr.-Jun. 2004 article by Pierre-Henry Bunel, a former agent for French military intelligence.

Wayne Madsen Report

“I first heard about Al-Qaida while I was attending the Command and Staff course in Jordan. I was a French officer at that time and the French Armed Forces had close contacts and cooperation with Jordan . . .

“Two of my Jordanian colleagues were experts in computers. They were air defense officers. Using computer science slang, they introduced a series of jokes about students’ punishment.

“For example, when one of us was late at the bus stop to leave the Staff College, the two officers used to tell us: ‘You’ll be noted in ‘Q eidat il-Maaloomaat’ which meant ‘You’ll be logged in the information database.’ Meaning ‘You will receive a warning . . .’ If the case was more severe, they would used to talk about ‘Q eidat i-Taaleemaat.’ Meaning ‘the decision database.’ It meant ‘you will be punished.’ For the worst cases they used to speak of logging in ‘Al Qaida.’

“In the early 1980s the Islamic Bank for Development, which is located in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, like the Permanent Secretariat of the Islamic Conference Organization, bought a new computerized system to cope with its accounting and communication requirements. At the time the system was more sophisticated than necessary for their actual needs.

“It was decided to use a part of the system’s memory to host the Islamic Conference’s database. It was possible for the countries attending to access the database by telephone: an Intranet, in modern language. The governments of the member-countries as well as some of their embassies in the world were connected to that network.

“[According to a Pakistani major] the database was divided into two parts, the information file where the participants in the meetings could pick up and send information they needed, and the decision file where the decisions made during the previous sessions were recorded and stored. In Arabic, the files were called, ‘Q eidat il-Maaloomaat’ and ‘Q eidat i-Taaleemaat.’ Those two files were kept in one file called in Arabic ‘Q eidat ilmu’ti’aat’ which is the exact translation of the English word database. But the Arabs commonly used the short word Al Qaida which is the Arabic word for “base.” The military air base of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia is called ‘q eidat ‘riyadh al ‘askariya.’ Q eida means “a base” and “Al Qaida” means “the base.”

“In the mid-1980s, Al Qaida was a database located in computer and dedicated to the communications of the Islamic Conference’s secretariat.

“In the early 1990s, I was a military intelligence officer in the Headquarters of the French Rapid Action Force. Because of my skills in Arabic my job was also to translate a lot of faxes and letters seized or intercepted by our intelligence services . . . We often got intercepted material sent by Islamic networks operating from the UK or from Belgium.

“These documents contained directions sent to Islamic armed groups in Algeria or in France. The messages quoted the sources of statements to be exploited in the redaction of the tracts or leaflets, or to be introduced in video or tapes to be sent to the media. The most commonly quoted sources were the United Nations, the non-aligned countries, the UNHCR and . . . Al Qaida.

“Al Qaida remained the data base of the Islamic Conference. Not all member countries of the Islamic Conference are ‘rogue states’ and many Islamic groups could pick up information from the databases. It was but natural for Osama Bin Laden to be connected to this network. He is a member of an important family in the banking and business world.

“Because of the presence of ‘rogue states,’ it became easy for terrorist groups to use the email of the database. Hence, the email of Al Qaida was used, with some interface system, providing secrecy, for the families of the mujaheddin to keep links with their children undergoing training in Afghanistan, or in Libya or in the Beqaa valley, Lebanon. Or in action anywhere in the battlefields where the extremists sponsored by all the ‘rogue states’ used to fight. And the ‘rogue states’ included Saudi Arabia. When Osama bin Laden was an American agent in Afghanistan, the Al Qaida Intranet was a good communication system through coded or covert messages. Read more of this post

American double game

Leaks Destroy The American Case Against ISI

> US tries to hide American war crimes & shift focus to Pakistan
> 90,000 documents on US military & CIA failures, only 180 on ISI
> How safe are US nuclear, chemical and biological secrets
> Most of the American propaganda on Pakistan is “Rumors, bullshit and second-hand information”

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—Since late 2006, United States government, military, intelligence and media have been orchestrating regular attacks against Pakistan, creating a false alarm about its nuclear capability and portraying its premier spy agency, the ISI, as a threat to world peace.

The weak and apologetic reactions by Pakistan’s political and military officials encouraged this American double game.

But here comes the smoking gun, more than 90,000 leaked US intelligence documents, which prove how the Washington establishment has been running a vilification campaign against Pakistan both under Bush and Obama administrations, without any evidence except malicious intent.

Here is a chance for Pakistan to use these documents to argue its own case more confidently.

As soon as the classified documents were leaked over the weekend, US government sprung into action to minimize damage by shifting the focus toward Pakistan.

US government and military officials succeeded in making Pakistan and ISI the main story and hide the massive and spectacular US failures in Afghanistan, including evidence on war crimes and civilian carnage. It’s an exercise that bears the hallmarks of a CIA-style public diplomacy [a la Iraq invasion].

Instead of brooding over the American failures and war crimes that have been neatly hidden from the world for eight years, the mainstream US media chose once again to indulge in anti-Pakistanism which is rampant and endemic within the US media and among think-tank types. A British journalist, Declan Walsh, couldn’t help but notice this anti-Pakistan streak in how the Obama administration handled the leaks.

“In issuing such a strongly worded statement with implicit criticism of the ISI,” Mr. Walsh wrote in The Guardian, “the White House may be trying to keep ahead of a tide of US opinion that is hostile towards Pakistan.”

A TASTE OF AMERICAN DECEIT

Here’s a quick look at how ISI and Pakistan are a small part of the story blown out of proportion:

  • Out of more than 90,000 classified US documents, only about 180 mention ISI, and only about 30 or so charge the legendary Pakistani spy service of wrongdoing in Afghanistan
  • The whole case built by US against Pakistan and ISI is based not on evidence but on information sourced to ‘informants’, ‘sources’, initials [like A.E.], and sources linked to either the new US-created Afghan intelligence or the Indians. Both Karzai’s spies and the Indians have been telling anyone who’d listen that they are the preeminent source for any credible information on Pakistan
  • Many of these classified US documents carry a disclaimer added by the authors or their handlers in the US military and intelligence. The disclaimer emphasizes that information in these reports can’t be trusted, is unverified, is sourced to people working for monetary gain or are linked to biased parties such as the Indians and Karzai’s intelligence
  • Most importantly, many of these documents carry a warning that US policymakers should not rely on information in the reports to formulate policy
  • According to the Guardian, most of the American propaganda on Pakistan is “Rumours, bullshit and second-hand information”

THE REAL STORY

The real story, the one hidden in the bulk of the 90,000 leaked documents, is this:

  • How the US government, military and CIA have hidden a US military disaster in Afghanistan from the American public and the world
  • How the mainstream US media is complicit in misleading the American public and the world
  • How the United States is involved in war crimes in Afghanistan, especially in mass murder of innocent Afghan civilians
  • How the US and its allies within the Pakistani government and military are most probably hiding similar tales of mass murder of Pakistani citizens in Pakistan’s tribal belt who fell victim to CIA-run drones

Read more of this post

Will “PakMil” recognise the real foe?

By Dr Shireen M Mazari

It is ISI bashing time again and this comes easy for the Western and Indian media especially, but also for the media at home since the ISI has figured as a larger than life organisation since the US-led war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. And undoubtedly the ISI has at times been highly controversial in the activities it has undertaken especially domestically. Both during period of civilian democracy and military rule, the ISI has been used by those in power and even today the ruling party is not devoid of this temptation, unfortunately.

Of course, like all intelligence agencies with an external agenda, such as CIA and RAW, the ISI has its own external agenda. But it needs to also be understood that the ISI is not an independent entity and the decision-making hierarchy of the organisation comes on routine postings from the military, primarily the army. So its external activities reflect the policies of the government, but especially the military. Be that as it may, post-9/11, the ISI has had to pay for its past sins in seeing itself demonised by the US and India – even though the former is supposed to be an ally of this country. Every time the chips are down for the US in Afghanistan, somehow or the other the ISI is lambasted by “leaks” to the Western, especially the compliant US media. It would appear that the CIA’s failures, as well as the US and NATO military failures, are all a result solely of the ISI! Now if only the ISI was really so effective, efficient and powerful, India’s occupation of Kashmir would have ended and Afghanistan’s future would have been moulded according to its desires! Unfortunately, that is not the case and the ISI is as riddled with inefficiencies as any large bureaucratic organisation is, but undoubtedly, it has better ground intelligence in this region than the US and its CIA since the latter has a blunderbuss approach to human intelligence gathering and has no sensitivity to nuances of any kind.

Be that as it may, the latest round of ISI bashing rather obviously sponsored by the CIA to hide its own failures in Afghanistan, once again, has come with the WikiLeaks’ story. Apart from The Guardian newspaper which showed some healthy scepticism about the leaked information, for the biased US media like The New York Times this was a journalistic feast – enough to feed the deep-seated anti-Muslim and especially anti-Pakistan bias that now dominates the American media. But let us get some facts straightened first and one has to concede that WikiLeaks itself is credible anti-war site. But what the media has done in terms of factual distortions of even these unverifiable leaks is dangerous and cannot simply be ignored by Pakistan because we are once again the targets. First of all, the leaked documents are based entirely on field reports filed by a variety of operatives in Afghanistan, allegedly primarily belonging to the Northern Alliance. Second, out of the 92,000 leaked documents, only 180 contain ISI references and of these only 30 mention the ISI in negative terms regarding Taliban-supporting activities. Third, of these 180 documents with references to the ISI, most of these reports have a disclaimer by the author at the end where the source was referred to simply as an “informant” and it was stated that this source was either not reliable or working only for monetary gains for either the Afghan intelligence, Indians or Afghan warlords! Or else the source was referred to simply by initials! Interestingly where the ISI is mentioned, it also states in the disclaimer that the information cannot be verified and therefore cannot be “used to make policies” (all this is on the website). So where does that leave the actual content of these leaked reports?

Officials in Pakistan are convinced that the CIA, when it found out about the leaks, sought to divert the expansive details of its own failures in Afghanistan by shifting the focus on to the ISI – a favourite bete noir of the Western media. According to WikiLeaks the source for the leaked documents sought to prevent the publication of some of them for fear of sensitive information! There is also a feeling in some quarters that the CIA has deliberately chosen to once again target the ISI because of the rising anti-war tide within the US. Most observers in the know now recognise that the US and NATO have lost the war militarily in Afghanistan and bad intelligence is certainly one of the causes. So what better way to escape blame than to put everything on the ISI. The timing of the “leaks” is not without purpose.

Be that as it may, the fact is that it is time for Pakistan to sever its links and cooperation with the US. How can we have information and intelligence sharing with a country that has systematically done and continues to do a hatchet job on our premier intelligence agency, as well as the Pakistan military in general? From our nuclear programme to the ISI, there is a continuous ongoing war being waged on us by the US. It may not be a military war but it has economic, political, diplomatic and psychological components. What is simply absurd is why the “PakMil” – a term Mullen has coined to show his intimacy with General Kayani and is used only by him when he meets the COAS apparently – is not seeing the ground realities? Instead of the ISPR issuing press releases now suddenly condemning the drone attacks in an attempt to fool the Pakistani nation, when they know only too well that these are being carried out with the support of the Pakistan civil and military leadership, the military should take a long hard look at what the US is doing to Pakistan on all fronts. If the Pakistani government, including the military, sees the drones as doing more harm than good, why do they remain complicit in this policy? Should they not send a clear message to the US by downing one of these drones? Read more of this post

Why Afghanistan?

There are other reasons for the US to be involved in Afghanistan,al Qaeda not being the most important.Control of Afghanistan give the United States access to Iran to the north are many of the ” Stans” Afghanistan is a very Strategic area.

__________________________________________
By Timothy V. Gatto

Lately, I’ve been listening to folks like Rachel Maddow and Richard Holbrooke talk about the situation in Afghanistan. I’ve been hearing that the rate of illiteracy in that country runs in the area of 70 to 80%. The government is having a hard time enforcing the law because in cities like Kandahar, there are only 9 magistrates to hear court cases. I’ve also heard about the government, along with the military forces from NATO, have seemingly stopped cutting down Afghan poppy and marijuana fields so that farmers can stay afloat selling these crops.

I’ve heard that the primary mission of the NATO forces is to prevent “collateral damage” to civilians as they relentlessly hunt down the Taliban. It’s been reported that the Taliban gave al Qaeda a free hand to operate in this poor, backwards country which led to the September 11th attacks on the United States in 2001, and that this is the primary reason that the United States and NATO operate on the premise that if we don’t develop a strong central government in Kabul, that more attacks will surely hit the United states “Homeland” after being planned in Afghanistan.

During an interview with Rachel Maddow, Special Envoy to the nations of Pakistan and Afghanistan Richard C. Holbrooke remarked that NATO must create a strong central government in order to get the majority of the populace to align themselves with the government in Kabul. This supposedly, would break the grip that the Taliban holds over the people that live in the rural areas. Since a hefty majority or the Afghan population live in the rural areas, this becomes a very tall order.

While listening to Holbrooke pontificate on the problems that the central government faces in winning “the hearts and minds” of the Afghan people, I couldn’t help but remember the rhetoric that came out of Vietnam over 40 years ago. There too, we were involved in winning “the hearts and minds” of the Vietnamese people and there too, Richard C. Holbrooke was involved in that strategy.

Listening to Holbrooke discuss the reasons we are in Afghanistan made me think about what a wonderful nation the United States truly is. Even though we are experiencing a recession that is akin to the Great Depression of the 1930’s, with official unemployment figures running about 9 percent on average (while the true figures are obscured because so many have come off the unemployment rolls due to these people no longer being eligible for unemployment benefits due to the length of time they have been unemployed and many have ceased looking for work, while some economists claim the real figures are between 20 and 25%), we valiantly spend our nation’s treasure to “help” these unfortunate Afghan people to build a nation free from corruption and rule by tribal warlords.

Holbrooke claims that we are making substantial progress in opening schools while training the Afghan Army and police forces to bring about a nation run by law. Even though the main cash crop in that country is opium that accounts for something like 95% of Europe’s heroin supply and most of its hashish, we are asked to believe that soon Afghanistan will be a major supplier of corn and other foodstuffs after the central government “rehabilitates” the farmers that make their livings off of narco-agriculture. After all, why would farmers willingly grow poppies and marijuana when they could grow eggplants, melons and corn?

Listening to government officials like General Ben Hodges describe the Taliban’s way of settling disputes in Kandahar made me wonder if the military leadership over there are sampling the hashish being grown by the farmers. (). The truth as I see it, there is so much corruption and so little support from the government in Kabul, the idea of bringing Afghanistan into the twenty-first century could take decades.

The true nature of our involvement in Afghanistan is something that has yet to be defined. The obvious question is why are we there? What makes this nation (and I use the term loosely), so important that we need 150,000 troops from the U.S. (and almost as many mercenaries), and tens of thousands of troops from NATO as well as Mongolia, South Korea and other non-NATO countries, to perform the task of “nation-building”? Is it because of the TAPI petroleum pipeline that will run from the Caucuses to ports in India, thus bringing oil from the Caucuses without having to go through Russia, and insuring petroleum to Western Europe without the inconvenience of having it controlled by Russia and thus holding Western Europe hostage? Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia on the pipeline;

“The new deal on the pipeline was signed on 27 December 2002 by the leaders of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. In 2005, the Asian Development Bank submitted the final version of a feasibility study designed by British company Penspen. ‘Since the US-led offensive that ousted the Taliban from power,’ reported Forbes in 2005, “the project has been revived and drawn strong US support” as it would allow the Central Asian republics to export energy to Western markets “without relying on Russian routes”. Then-US Ambassador to Turkmenistan Ann Jacobsen noted that: “We are seriously looking at the project, and it is quite possible that American companies will join it.”[5] Due to increasing instability, the project has essentially stalled; construction of the Turkmen part was supposed to start in 2006, but the overall feasibility is questionable since the southern part of the Afghan section runs through territory which continues to be under de facto Taliban control.”

There are other reasons for the U.S. to be involved in Afghanistan, al Qaeda not being the most important. Control of Afghanistan gives the United States access to Iran to the west and China to the east whiles to the north are many of the “Stans”. Afghanistan is a very strategic area. Read more of this post

Can aggressors be peacemakers?

An Afghan homeless boy sleeps on a street in Kabul

by Mahboob A Khawaja

Wars are planned and orchestrated by the few, the privileged ruling elite, the humanity becomes the targeted victims of the few for global hegemonic governance. Throughout the ages, the conscientious mankind searched for ways to undo the war and strive for peace, the real aim for the establishments of international institutions. But now the global institutional capacity to deal with peace and conflict management appears in ruin with the continued onslaught of the American led so called War on Terrorism in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Like the failed League of Nations, the UNO is an umbrella institution for debate and time consuming dialogue – a new nuisance model of the 21st century institutional failure. Most UN funding is covered by I.O.U. paper notes by the leading powers. They decide and control what the UN can and should do, not the UN itself. It is a dummy and silent spectator organization witnessing all the global catastrophic disasters in progress. A global puppet show to deceive the humanity with visual illusions of intentions, discussions, complemented by lies and deceptions assuming new titles for the international politics. Bush and Blair have been replaced by Obama and Cameron to overtake the wars of aggressions in Iraq and Afghanistan. With changed faces, strategies and aims remain the same to continue the war against Islam. Today, there was an allied global conference in Kabul to talk about its reconstruction and future. The question is, why was Afghanistan invaded and destroyed?

Realizing the eminent defeats by the handful forces of Talaban, the allies are gathered to make their presence known for propaganda purposes to the beleaguered people of Afghanistan and global audience. Talaban fighting the intruders are not the foreigners but people of the land. The US, British and others paid agents are foreigner mercenaries fighting in a foreign land, culturally unknown and unconquerable by their armed forces. Piety and peacemaking vis-à-vis aggression and wickedness cannot be combined as credible attributes in one mindset and one character. Now, the issue is, how conveniently, the aggressors want to redefine their strategic role and ambitions in Afghanistan as peacemakers as if they have achieved the goals of their aggression. Imagine, Adolph Hitler while occupying France and continuing bombing of London, wanted to organize a peace conference. Would it have been a logical discourse for the French and British people to talk peacemaking with the aggressor? Bush and Hitler had lot in common as both claimed to have the divine support for their mission. Both tried to destroy the living humanity but fell in disgrace and met defeats.

A week earlier, Talaban while talking to the BBC reporter in Kabul, made it clear that they believe in peacemaking but all the foreign forces must leave Afghanistan. The same logic that French and British politicians would have implied to Hitler. Could the facts of human life be changed, be it Iraq, Afghanistan or the occurrences of the 2nd World War?

The “war on terror” was a bogus war planned by the US neoconservatives to occupy Iraq and other oil rich Muslim countries for their strategic goals. Both the US and its allies failed miserably to conquer the people of these lands. The people of Iraq and Afghanistan need change for peace and normalcy. The change can only happen if the US led occupying forces leave immediately and compensate the victim nations for the war damages. The same formula used at the end of the WW2. The same legal principle is needed that the aggressors be brought to legal and political accountability in an international war tribunal such as Nuremberg tribunal after the end of the WW2. E. H Carr, the famous historian, had emphasized that history has learning role for the future. Those who defy the logic of learning were lost without a trace.

Would the aggressors tell the humanity, when would they end the aggression? And when would their armed forces finally leave Iraq and Afghanistan? So that the victims could think openly and plan for change and peaceful transfer to making of their own future. This is the issue that the current gathering of the 70 or so nations avoided to discuss. The assembly was not for peacemaking but for prolonging the failing war efforts. The leaders wanted to discuss the developmental aid, a typical western materialistic scenario to help the impoverished nations. The aid gimmick is an attractive illusion to entrap the poor nations and exploit their resources for the good of the colonial masters. The US and Britain survive on borrowed money from the future generations as their own financial institutions have collapsed and so are the political powerhouses and working agencies. But the aid’s long term purpose is to create more beggars and poverty and dependent nations asking for external aid and to survive on borrowed future and resources. The discussion developmental aid and withdrawal of the foreign forces from Afghanistan sends a clear signal of defeat and prospective surrender to the Talaban fighting for the freedom of their homeland.

Future must be anew, not the repetition of the past. Future making does not lie with the aggressors nor with the failed international institutions, it is with the will and resolve of the people of Iraq and Afghanistan to oust the aggressors and recover their homes and habitats for rebuilding their lives and human dignity. The US led forces went to Iraq and Afghanistan in pursuit of freedom, liberty and justice for the people. Instead they planned and developed the institutions of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq and Belgrham prison in Afghanistan. Facts speak for themselves. All you need to do is to see the outcomes, the triumphs of the American version of liberty, human rights and justice role models, the inhuman treatment and horrifying photos of the prisoners are easily available from the internet, and the photos speak their own language depicting the American-British civilized achievements in the Arab-Islamic world. Mr. Karzai, the self-made president of Afghanistan, claimed that he and the participating members of the Arab-Islamic world represent the Islamic version of the civility and not terrorism. Mr. Karzai or others in attendance, the Arab-Muslim staged actors do not represent the interest and priorities of the Muslim Ummah.

The people of the Islamic world see them all as a pan on the global political chessboard being financed, supported and kept in office to steal the future of the people of Afghanistan and the Muslim world. He is viewed as part of the problem, not part of any workable solution. If the US and its comrades in arms the UNO, NATO and others were honest and responsible institutions, they should have outlined the priorities for immediate withdrawals of the forces from Iraq and Afghanistan. More importantly, if there are concerned Arab-Muslim leaders, they should set the agenda for the resolution of the Arab-Israeli problem, the making of an independent State of Palestine and the removal of the illegal Israeli settlements in East Jerusalem. Apparently, there is no conference scheduled to deal with the real issues facing the global humanity. The states, the main puppet actors in the global political arena can be found existing on legal papers, not in the real world actions, and certainly not in a responsive manner to the concerned international community. Read more of this post

The Great Hat-trick of Uncle Sam

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North Waziristan, Pakistan fixation betrays Washington’s sincerity of intentions

By Asif Haroon Raja

In accordance with the chalked out plan, terrorism was intentionally pushed into Pakistan to destabilize the country. The two extreme flanks of Pakistan , FATA and Balochistan were inflamed to make things difficult for Pak Army, fundamentally poised to guard eastern border. Apart from CIA and FBI gaining a strong foothold in Pakistan under the pretext of chasing and nabbing terrorists’ right up to Karachi , the US Administration increased its influence inside Pakistan so comprehensively that Boucher and Negroponte started to micro manage its domestic affairs including local bodies’ elections and 2002 general elections and reduced the parliament into a rubber stamp. American intelligence agencies helped RAW to make inroads in trouble spots.

Pakistan was first harried on account of nuclear proliferation in 2004. Hue and cry was made over AQ Khan Network, and Iran and Libya put under intense pressure to establish a connection. Although Pakistan refused to make available Dr AQ Khan for interrogation after he made a public confession under duress; Pakistan inadvertently accepted that nuclear proliferation had taken place. It assured USA and IAEA that network had been effectively disabled. Pakistan thought that the matter was closed but it was never let off the hook and its nuclear program came under unceasing vicious smear campaign.

After 2005, The US began to change colors and became more intrusive and difficult. This change occurred because of resurgence of Taliban in southern and eastern Afghanistan , development of Gwadar Port with Chinese assistance, Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project, and Pakistan economy getting robust. Pakistan was whipped by USA , India and even landlocked Afghanistan holding it responsible for their difficulties in Afghanistan . Pakistan bore the pain of whips and degradation to ensure US support and flow of US dollars. Pakistan kept chasing the faceless enemy without a comprehensive plan, intelligence, low intensity conflict training, counter terrorism equipment and motivational program. These shortcomings became serious impediments in tackling terrorism and allowed the Tehrik-e-Taliban to gather strength and expand its influence.

Having sufficiently embroiled the Army in war on terror and weakened its institutions the US started to inch closer towards achieving its goals and became more demanding. It repeatedly asked Pakistan to do more without compensating it for the immense sacrifices it was rendering. Instead of rewarding Pakistan for taking the main brunt of war on terror, the US awarded India in the form of lucrative civil nuclear and defence deals, well knowing that instead of curbing terrorism India had inflamed it through covert means. Ironically Pakistan didn’t raise even an eyebrow on this grave development. Its lackadaisical stance resulted in materialization of Indo-US nuclear agreement in 2008.

After vainly trying to put the ISI under Ministry of Interior in August 2008, the US exerted extreme pressure on Pakistan leadership to let its military intrude into FATA. Several aerial raids, artillery fire and a ground attack in Angoor Adda in September 2008 were carried out. These blatant intrusions indicated American growing impatience and their desperation to directly meddle in Waziristan . While Pakistan gave its tacit approval to drone attacks since this understanding had already been given by Gen Musharraf, Pak military under new commander Gen Kayani did not agree to the proposal of joint operation or any unilateral action and took a firm stand. Had this proposal been ceded to it would have amounted to allowing the head of a camel to enter the tent. Entry in FATA would have encouraged US military to keep creeping forward and to gradually envelope whole of Pakistan under the pretext of striking non-state actors. Mention of Quetta , Peshawar and Karachi as hiding places of high profile terrorists and main base of Al-Qaeda in FATA and Taliban Shura in Quetta exposed its intentions.

While attitude of US officials became belligerent, Indo-Israeli-US propaganda campaign became fiercer. Mumbai drama was stage managed on 26 November 2008 to give an excuse to India to heat up eastern border. Throughout 2009 India remained in a highly offensive mood. Pakistan’s policy of appeasement was taken as sign of weakness and subjected to unabated pressure to make Pakistan agree to Indian unfair demands of proceeding against suspects without evidence and to dismantle Indian specific terrorist network. The US instead of acting in a fair and unbiased manner brazenly supported Indian stance.

None of the accusers took into account the hard fact that Pakistan had suffered as no other country in the world had from foreign sponsored terrorism. Its economy suffered a loss of over $45 billion and it lost over 8000 lives in the blowback of the militants in retaliation to military operations. Pakistan bore maximum brunt of foreign sponsored terrorism during the years 2008-09 and is still suffering. After targeting Peshawar incessantly, Lahore is the current target of RAW. From March 2009 onwards, dozens of terrorist and suicide attacks have taken place in capital city of Punjab and hand of RAW was visible in each incident.

Slight change in Indo-US-Afghan belligerence occurred after Pak Army’s successful fight against well-entrenched militants in Malakand Division, Swat, Bajaur and South Waziristan (SW) at a heavy price. These successes were achieved at a time when nothing was going right in Pakistan . Political situation was in a mess, economy had become fragile, law and order had worsened and Pak Army’s image had been badly dented due to an orchestrated smear campaign. Pakistan was being viewed as a failing state unable to protect its nuclear assets. Stories of balkanization or break up were in circulation and a very gloomy picture was painted. It was propagated that Pakistan ’s security forces were incapable of fighting the militants and protecting nuclear assets. US Special Forces started to fine tune their contingency plans to take away the nukes before falling into wrong hands. Indian strike formations had taken up a forward posture and Indian military had started beating drums of war. Read more of this post

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