Not just terrorism!

By Farooq Hameed Khan

When the DG ISI recently briefed the Parliamentary Committee on National Security, about foreign powers trying to destabilise Pakistan by sponsoring terrorist acts, the alarm bells should be ringing louder in the government corridors. Most significant was his remark that security forces were vigilantly monitoring the situation to forestall any ‘major eventuality’ that could threaten national security.

In the wake of the deteriorating internal security situation and the recent well coordinated anti-Pak army and ISI onslaught by the international media and London School of Economics, the ISI chief’s remarks reinforced the commonly held view that happenings all over Pakistan were more than just acts of terrorism.

The recent spate of target killings in Karachi is aimed to create political, ethnic and sectarian strife to weaken the country. Anti-state elements have destabilised Karachi, the country’s economic hub to an extent that both the federal and provincial governments appear helpless to control this mad killing spree.

How would one explain the reported blatant display of the provocative billboard of the Sindh Liberation Army (SLA) in Karachi? The billboard carries the picture of a SLA leader with a Kalas-hnikov, sporting a jacket and a Sindhi cap, urging people to join the movement for the liberation of so-called Sindhudesh. Is RAW up to its old mischief again in Sindh?

Quetta and interior Balochistan continue to witness attacks on Punjabi settlers and security personnel on a dangerous scale by the RAW,. CIA and RAAM funded and armed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA). Articles by foreign writers circulating on the internet, debate the ‘final solution’ for Pakistan, including the envisaged carving out of an international corridor from Gwadar up north into Balochistan.

It seems the nation has forgotten the infamous Blackwater phenomenon that emerged mysteriously in our major towns and cities in the last two years or so? Operating under the new banners of Xe/Dyn Corp, these hundreds of private foreign security contractors and their secret network must now be well entrenched in Pakistan’s major cities. It cannot be dismissed as a mere coincidence that wherever these foreigners moved, that city soon got engulfed in terrorist acts that appear to instigate sectarian and ethnic violence and civil strife.

Is the Baghdad model, that involves attacks on religious shrines to provoke confrontation between different Muslim sects, being replicated in Lahore? Here the question is, does this ‘Xe network’ have links with our banned extremist organisations and ethnic groups? It is true that those who execute these violent acts appear to be well trained and brainwashed religious fanatic Pakistanis with a mix of Afghan nationals. But are the foreign contractors, with support from their friends across our eastern borders, the real masterminds of these bloody events? Even the Honourable Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court has sought a report from the Punjab government regarding any covert involvement of these shady security personnel in the ongoing terror wave in Lahore.
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Nothing is going right for USA in final phase in Afghanistan


By Asif Haroon Raja

Washington and Kabul were marching in step till end 2009. As the final phase in Afghanistan drew nearer, the two fell out of steps and so far they have been unable to get back in steps. Major reason for this is Washington ’s unhappiness over Karzai’s performance and latter’s conflicting views on solving Afghan imbroglio. Obama’s straight talk with him advising him to improve and produce results caused heart burns to Karzai. He got miffed at the role of USA and UK in last presidential election and feels convinced that it had been purposely made controversial to weaken his position. He has become aggressive and has been off and on giving anti-US statements and even threatening to join the ranks of Taliban.

Karzai is not in favor of Kandahar operation and wants reconciliation with all without making a wedge between reconcilable and irreconcilable. In this respect he has been making repeated overtures to Pakistan which has been resented by several segments in Washington , India , Northern Alliance leaders and Israel . He suspects that rocket attack on the jirga he hosted at Kabul on 2 June was conducted either by intelligence chief Amrullah whom he subsequently sacked or Blackwater at the behest of USA . Sacking of Amrullah and interior minister by him was a major blow to USA in the given troubled times since the two were their loyalists. Seething with rage that he has been unseated at the behest of Pakistan , anti-Pakistan Amrullah organized an attack on an isolated post in Mohmand Agency held by paramilitary troops to cause embarrassment to Pakistan.

According to US Congressional subcommittee investigations led by John Tierney D-Mass, US military is paying millions of dollars to insurgents, Afghan warlords and corrupt government officials to ensure safe passage of supply of convoys. It is part of Pentagon’s $2.1 billion transport contract for food, water, fuel and ammunition to US troops serving at 200 forward bases. Reportedly Afghan security firms have been extorting as much as $4 million a week from contractors and then dishing out the booty to warlords and Taliban. Watan Risk Management Security firm under scrutiny contends it has to pay $1000 to $10000 in monthly bribes to every Afghan governor, police chief, local military unit whose territory is trespassed. Trucking companies maintain that for safe passage payments have to be made to local security firms with ties to Taliban, or warlords who control the roads. Such undesirable activities are undermining larger US objectives of curtailing corruption and strengthening effective governance in Afghanistan . Interestingly, in Pakistan instead of extorting money, militants torch supply convoys.

Another problem area is the flourishing drug trade which has doubled since 2005 and has helped finance insurgents and encouraged corruption. In Marjah , US troops stopped Afghan officials from destroying poppy fields. Read more of this post

Pentagon Seeks Contractor to Move Weapons Through Pakistan/Afghanistan

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by Jeremy Scahill

The United States military is in the process of taking bids from private war contractors to secure and ship massive amounts of US military equipment through sensitive areas of Pakistan into Afghanistan, where it will then be distributed to various US Forward Operating Bases and other facilities. According to thecontract solicitation (PDF), “There will be an average of 5000″ import shipments “transiting the Afghanistan and Pakistan ground lines of communication (GLOC) per month, along with 500 export shipments.” The solicitation states that, “This number may increase or decrease due to US military transportation requirements,” adding, “The contractor must maintain a constant capability to surge to any location within Afghanistan or Pakistan” within a 30-day period. Among the duties the contractor will perform is “intelligence, to include threat assessments throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

And while it seems the United States is trying to put a Pakistani or Afghan face on the work, the terms of the contract mandate that US personnel will be involved with inherently risky and potentially lethal operations. Among the firms listed by the Department of Defense as “interested vendors” are an Afghan company tied to a veteran CIA officer and run by the son of Afghan defense minister, General Abdul Rahim Wardak, and a Pakistani outfit with links to Blackwater.

Perhaps most striking about this US military contract solicitation is the admission by the military that contractors are being used for shipping and guarding military hardware as a runaround to the current official policy of the US and Pakistan governments that the US military does not conduct operations in Pakistan. “Due to current limitations on having US military presence in Pakistan and threat levels precluding US Military active involvement with the contractor ‘outside the wire’ in Afghanistan, the contractor must be proactive at identifying appropriate methods for obtaining the necessary in-transit visibility information,” according to the contract solicitation.

Many of the companies that have currently expressed interest in the contract are registered as Pakistani or Afghan businesses. It is well established that the US military depends on Pakistani and Afghan intermediaries to pay off the Taliban and other resistance groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan to allow safe passage of US military hardware and other supplies, meaning the United States is effectively funding both sides of the war. As my colleague Aram Roston reported last year for The Nation, “US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon’s logistics contracts–hundreds of millions of dollars–consists of payments to insurgents.” Other US military sources have told me the number might be as high as 20 percent.

The current contracting arrangement for which the DoD is soliciting bids is essentially a more formalized way of doing the same thing. But while the contractor may place a Pakistani or Afghan stamp on the paper trail and allow the United States and Pakistan to deny that US personnel are involved, the security language of the solicitation actually mandates that US personnel work the operations.

According to the solicitation, the contractor must provide personnel “capable of facilitating, coordinating, obtaining, and reporting critical movement control data and information from the appropriate US government personnel at multiple locations.” The personnel must “have the ability to obtain necessary identification…to gain access to base camps within Afghanistan without escort.” Most importantly, “Personnel must have a valid US Secret Security Clearance.” That level of clearance—”Secret”—cannot be issued to a foreign citizen, meaning that the contract actually necessitates US citizens working on the contract, presumably in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

This arrangement is not new. In fact, this is precisely the arrangement I reported on last year for The Nation (See “The Secret US War in Pakistan“). According to Blackwater and US military sources, US military shipments were being protected on a contract with Kestral Logistics, a powerful Pakistani firm, which specializes in military logistical support, private security and intelligence consulting. It is staffed with former high-ranking Pakistani army and government officials. A former senior Blackwater executive with experience in Pakistan told me that Kestral subcontracted to Blackwater and that “Blackwater has provided convoy security for Defense Department shipments destined for Afghanistan that would arrive in the port at Karachi. Blackwater, according to the former executive, would guard the supplies as they were transported overland from Karachi to Peshawar and then west through the Torkham border crossing, the most important supply route for the US military in Afghanistan.” Blackwater, he said, was paid by the Pakistani government through Kestral for consulting services. “That gives the Pakistani government the cover to say, ‘Hey, no, we don’t have any Westerners doing this. It’s all local and our people are doing it.’ But it gets them the expertise that Westerners provide for [counterterrorism]-related work,” according to the former Blackwater executive.

All of this is consistent with the US military’s current contract solicitation. What’s more, Kestral is listed as an “interested vendor” on the current DoD contract. According to federal lobbying records, Kestral has hired former Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Roger Noriega, who served in that post from 2003 to 2005, to lobby the US government, including the State Department, USAID and Congress, on foreign affairs issues “regarding [Kestral’s] capabilities to carry out activities of interest to the United States.” Noriega was hired through his firm, Vision Americas, which he runs with Christina Rocca, a former CIA operations official who served as assistant secretary of state for South Asian affairs from 2001 to 2006 and was deeply involved in shaping US policy toward Pakistan. Since late 2009, Kestral has paid Vision Americas and a Vision Americas-affiliated firm, Firecreek Ltd., at least $60,000 to lobby on defense and foreign policy issues. Read more of this post

This Is How US Agents Sneak Into Pakistan

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For a few hundred dollars, low-paid border guards are allowing entry into Pakistan to spies and agents of multiple foreign intelligence agencies operating in Afghanistan. In this story and video, see how a US lady entered Pakistan through Torkham on Saturday, Mar. 13, 2010, without visa and without the knowledge of Pakistani intelligence officers posted there. This happens in a country that faces terrorism exported by both US-controlled Afghanistan and its Indian ally.

BY SYED FAWAD ALI SHAH:

TORKHAM, Pakistan—Rampant corruption and a weak Pakistani state are helping the entry into Pakistan of spies and terrorists from multiple foreign intelligence agencies operating in Afghanistan. Almost all terror in Pakistan is coming from Afghanistan.

This American woman tried to sneak into Pakistan through Torkham on Afghan border today, Saturday, Mar. 13, 2010, around early afternoon. She was wearing an Afghan woman’s burqa and apparently spoke local dialects. She would have successfully crossed into Pakistan safely hidden among a group of Afghan women but something about her demeanor raised the suspicion of a Pakistani border guard.

However, the border guards, known as Khasadars, made sure that Pakistani intelligence officers posted in the area are not told about this arrest. Torkham is considered a hot station within Kasadar tribal force circles. With salaries that go less than PKR 10,000 per month [less than US$ 130], major checkpoints such as Torkham provide an extra source of income for the Khasadars through bribes from travelers.

The guards kept the woman in a room for about thirty minutes and then let her enter Pakistan in her burqa. She paid the Khasadar guards a handsome amount of money as bribe. According a source in the Khasadar Force who witnessed the whole thing, the woman didn’t panic. She appeared composed and familiar with the ways of the border guards. She knew what to do in such a situation.

Thanks to my contacts in the border force, I was able to make a cell phone video of her passport while the Khasadar chief at the checkpoint talked to her.

Her name on the passport was Zohra Rehmati, which makes her an American from either Iranian or Tajik-Afghan extract.

Over the past four years, a large number of US agents have entered Pakistan through Afghanistan. Several have been arrested in different parts of the country disguised as Afghan men, complete with beards and Turbans and fluent in Pashto, Dari and Urdu. Unfortunately, much of this covert American activity was sanctioned first by the Musharraf government and now by the pro-US Zardari-Haqqani combine in the incumbent government.

Ms. Rehmati, if that is her real name, may or may not be a CIA operative, or one of its private contractors associated with either DynCorp or Xe International. But such lax security in a country that is a target of terrorism, DynCorp managed to create quite a covert network in Pakistan before being busted by Pakistani security last year. DynCorp remains in Pakistan, thanks to backing from both the US Embassy in Islamabad and the pro-US government, despite repeated attempts by the country’s security officials to force the US defense contractor to wrap up its operations here. Xe International, formerly known as Blackwater, also operated in Pakistan until 2005 before being moved to Afghanistan, according to an earlier report in the New York Times. But going by the number of incidents in Pakistan over the past couple of years where US private agents were seen operating in major Pakistani cities, it is safe to say that both contractors continue to quietly operate in Pakistan in one

Private contractors help give CIA the benefit of deniability if an agent is arrested on foreign territory.

CIA has been known to send US citizens of foreign descent to their home countries for espionage.

The most recent example is Roxana Saberi, an Iranian-American who was busted in Tehran carrying sensitive documents handed to her by an informant. Ms. Saberi was sent to Iran posing as a journalist. CIA even managed to get her newspaper accreditation from a major American newspaper. The US government was embarrassed at the arrest because Ms. Saberi was arrested red handed receiving official documents from a contact.

In Pakistan, a State that is falling apart at the seams, with no central figure or department to control the rot, is providing the perfect environment for meddling in the country not only by the United States, UK, India and other established powers based in Afghanistan, but also by a puppet regime like that of Mr. Hamid Karzai and his spymasters, who in eight years are in a good position today to wreak mayhem inside Pakistan while the politicians in Islamabad and the military in Rawaplpindi have little recourse beyond words of appeasement or caution during closed-door meetings with foreign powers in Afghanistan that are never translated into action to reestablish Pakistan’s writ domestically and in the region.

Mr. Shah is an independent journalist based in Peshawar.

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VIDEO: Iraq for Sale; The showing of this video was banned in the US Congress

On May 10th, 2007, this video was banned in Congress. Robert Greenwald, the director of IRAQ FOR SALE, was invited to testify before Congress by Rep. Jim Moran. He prepared four minutes from the documentary to show. Republicans insisted this not be shown.

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Light at the End of the Afghan Tunnel?

Is it finally light at the end of the Afghan tunnel, or an oncoming express train?

Total confusion erupted last week as the US, NATO, the UN and the Kabul government all issued differing views on new plans to end the nine year Afghan war by bombarding Taliban with tens of millions in cash instead of precision bombs.

One thing is clear: the US and its NATO allies are losing the war in Afghanistan in spite of their fearsome arsenal of high-tech weapons and war chests of billions of dollars.

Lightly-armed Pashtun tribesmen are living up to their legendary reputation of making Afghanistan the graveyard of empires.

So Washington and London, both in dire financial straits, say they are now ready for a possible peace deal with the Pashtun Taliban and its nationalist allies. But, in spite of a $1.4 trillion deficit, President Barack Obama is asking Congress for an additional $33 billion more for the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan.

If you can’t bomb them into submission, then try buying them off.

A conference was held in London last Thursday to raise tens of millions of dollars to try to bribe lower-level Taliban to cooperate with the western occupation and/or lay down its arms.

Bribery is a time-honored tool of war. But it’s not the answer in Afghanistan. The bloody Afghan conflict can only be ended by genuine peace negotiations and withdrawal of all foreign troops.

US commanders in Afghanistan admit they have lost the military initiative. The resistance is steadily gaining ground. Obama’s increasing US and allied troops to 150,000 won’t be enough to defeat Taliban. By year end, US and NATO forces will only equal the number of Soviet forces committed to Afghanistan in the 1980’s.

Meanwhile, Pakistan, without whose cooperation the US cannot wage war in Afghanistan, is in turmoil. The US is infiltrating Xe (formerly Blackwater) and DynCorp mercenaries into Pakistan to protect US military supply routes north from Karachi to Afghanistan, and to operate or defend US air bases in Pakistan.

US mercenaries are also reportedly being used to assassinate militants and enemies of Pakistan’s US-installed government, and to target Pakistan’s nuclear installations for future US action. This, and increasing attacks by US killer drones, have sparked outrage across Pakistan and brought warnings of creeping US occupation.

US and NATO forces in Afghanistan are like a man trying to fix a chimney on the roof of a burning house. Read more of this post

Blackwater may train Afghan securitymen

ISLAMABAD – Afghan security forces would be receiving training, as announced in London Conference, but there is strong possibility that Blackwater will supervise their training in alliance with NATO and ISAF.

This newspaper’s investigations based on the audit report about Blackwater by the US State Department’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) and informal discussions with intelligence sources and some insiders from the UN office in Afghanistan support the notion that a well-staged secretive arrangement has been reached to give Blackwater a ‘legalised’ role in Afghanistan.

One may recall here that Blackwater Lodge and Training Centre had changed its name to US Training Centre (USTC) in 2004. In August last, OIG had issued an audit report to shower endless praises on USTC. The Inspector General in the particular report had not only appreciated the operations of USTC but had also given it a clean-chit saying USTC was not involved in violence and killings.

With regard to the USTC’s operations in Afghanistan, the report observes, “US Government representatives need to meet regularly with their Afghan counterparts. Regional security staff stated to OIG that USTC was essential in ensuring the holding of such meetings.”

In complete disregard to human causalities and blatant violations of human rights, which Blackwater has inflicted in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Inspector General reported very high about Blackwater’s operations in Iraq, besides Afghanistan. The report which is available at OIG’s website with some of its extracts reported in a section of Western press says, “State Department Bureau of Diplomatic Security had been highly effective in ensuring the safety of diplomatic personnel in Iraq. There have been no casualties among US diplomatic and civilian officials protected by contractors under the bureau’s supervision.

In addition, the OIG had recommended increase in Blackwater personnel, particularly USTC, in Afghanistan with all the necessary support to be provided to it.

Given that the report was released in August last and its recommendations strongly supported USTC to signify it as a competent training centre, and the name of Blackwater Lodge and Training Centre was changed to USTC in a bid to disassociate the covert organisation with its infamous dark past, it is crystal clear that Blackwater or ‘USTC’ would be offered a lucrative covert contract to train Afghan National Army and troops. Reports regarding such kind of contract being in the pipeline have also been received from UN office in Afghanistan and intelligence sources.

The London Conference laid the roadmap for the training programmes of Afghan National Army and NATO’s troop surge. However, some 37,000 military troops that would be landing in Afghanistan would be taking charge of on-field duties.

Ironically enough, no clear mechanism has been devised regarding training programmes and notorious Blackwater or USTC would be keen to give training to the same in alliance with ISAF and NATO forces.

A US court has recently charged two Blackwater personnel for killing two civilians and seriously injuring the third one last year. Dozens of incidents of second-degree murders at the hands of Blackwater have surfaced in Afghanistan and Iraq ever since the notorious organisation has been given the evil role by the US government in both the countries.
By: Sikander Shaheen

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Nuclearisation of South Asia

Victory in East Pakistan made the Indian leaders euphoric and megalomaniac. They ventured upon an ambitious force modernization program and also conducted nuclear test in 1974 which impinged upon the security of Pakistan. It impelled Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to lay the foundations of uranium enrichment plant at Kahuta on 31 July 1976 under Dr. AQ Khan. He pursued the nuclear option despite host of barricades built around him and for this act he was made a horrible example.

Late President Ziaul Haq took full advantage of the favorable phase of Pak-US close relations because of US high stakes in Afghan war and allowed the nuclear program to develop at Kahuta with speed. He announced in December 1982 that Pakistan had achieved the capability to enrich uranium. This miracle was brought about in six years in the face of total ban imposed by the West on transfer of nuclear technology or import of any part related to it. To keep this sensitive project secret from the world was in itself a commendable effort on part of all those associated with it. By the time the western powers got the wind of it, the project had reached an advanced stage and there was no turning back. The significance of the feat becomes more distinguished and inestimable when one realises that this breakthrough was made by a third world country where even needles and ball bearings are not indigenously produced.

Zia made several proposals to make South Asia free of nuclear weapons but India spurned all his offers. No sooner the Soviet troops withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989 and the threat of communism evaporated in the thin air, it brought about fundamental change in the policies of USA in South Asia. Pakistan lost its strategic significance and its nuclear program once again became an eyesore. In order to restrain Pakistan from pursuing its peaceful nuclear program, the US Administration stopped the flow of arms supply and economic aid through infamous Pressler Amendment in 1990. The US on becoming sole super power after the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, sidelined Pakistan and took India on board. Taking advantage of growth of close ties with Washington and souring of Pak-US relations, India stepped up its propaganda campaign to convince Washington to declare Pakistan a terrorist and a nuclear proliferating state. Obsessed by its security concerns and in anticipation to the fourth round, Pakistan strove hard to keep the widening military balance within limits. It was in the context of its extreme security concerns that Pakistan was forced to make its nuclear deterrence credible by conducting six successful nuclear tests on 28 May 1998 in response to Indian five tests on 12 May. These tests were undertaken in spite of extreme pressure put by the US and other world powers.

Even the Indo-Israeli axis exerted pressure by trying to put into action its long conceived plan of a surgical air strike from Srinagar airbase against Kahuta on the night of 27 May 1998.Vested groups within Pakistan did not lag behind in trying to discourage the leadership from giving a tit for tat response to India and strained their lungs asserting that such a venture would be suicidal for Pakistan.

Irrespective of the colossal internal and external pressures, Pakistani nation stood like a rock and urged the government to go ahead with nuclear blasts whatever be the cost. Pakistan under Nawaz Sharif rose to the occasion and lived up to the expectations and aspirations of the nation.

Nuclearisation of Pakistan poured cold water on the aggressive designs of India. The US started to vainly exert pressure on Pakistan to sign CTBT unilaterally since India refused to do so. Pakistan also kept up with its missile development program which was initiated by Benazir Bhutto and produced series of short and medium range guided missiles much superior to Indian missiles. Once Pakistan got caught on the wrong foot due to AQ Khan’s confession obtained under duress in 2004, the Americans started exerting greater pressure and succeeded in not only penetrating into our sensitive areas but also collecting sensitive data like number of warheads and triggers and storage through aerial photography, infra red snaps and satellite triangulation. They succeeded in making our managers separate warheads from delivery means and from triggers and storing the three components separately, all under the pretext of safety and security. Realising that it can no more blackmail Pakistan or wage an open war, India in connivance with USA, UK and Israel is now trying to achieve its sinister objectives through sabotage and subversion as well as psychological and cultural onslaughts. A vile Indo-US-Israeli campaign has been mounted expressing serious concerns about the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear program. Irrespective of assurances given by Pakistani leaders, they keep stressing that nukes would be stolen by extremists or by officials working inside nuclear installations. In actuality, the trio is striving hard to steal Pak nukes through Blackwater.

The US is least concerned about Indian nuclear program which has worst safe keeping record in the world because of numerous incidents of pilferage and smuggling of fissile material as well as accidents.

Consequent to Indo-US civilian nuclear deal, output of India’s 22 nuclear power reactors would jump to 10,000 megawatts by 2012 and manufacturing rate of nuclear bombs would leap to 40 per year. India has also inked nuclear deal with Russia, which has promised to set up 4 new reactors. India’s agreement to place only 4 nuclear reactors under safeguards of IAEA by 2014 is inconsequential. In next five year time, it would be able to manufacture 200 additional nuclear bombs thereby doubling existing stock level. It is a purposeful move to pressurize Pakistan to do the same well knowing that US influenced IAEA has double standards when dealing with Muslim and non-Muslim countries. Indian lobby in USA succeeded in making Kerry Lugar aid bill for Pakistan harmful. Apart from other insulting conditions, the bill seeks freeze of Pak nuclear program. Despite achieving quantum jump in nuclear field, Indian leadership remains worried over Pakistan’s nuclear capability. While Indian Army Chief Kapoor is threatening to wage war against Pakistan and China, on the other he and naval chief are fretting and sweating that Pakistan has exceeded minimum nuclear deterrence level and improved its nuclear capability. Blackwater outsourced by CIA and RAW is being used to create anarchy in major cities and to gain access to nukes. Reportedly, Blackwater has begun to make diagrammatical drawings and video films of nuclear installations as well as available routes.

Pentagon had conducted a war game in 2000 in which it was brainstormed that whenever Indo-Pakistan war takes place and Pakistan Army is on the verge of throwing up its cards and is preparing its nukes, US Special Forces would swoop in to destroy them during the assembly of warheads and triggers or while on the move. Currently, the US is busy giving final touches to its sinister plan how to quietly extract Pakistan’s nuclear teeth after giving heavy dozes of anesthesia.

It is desperate to gain access to our nuclear arsenal under the garb of making it safe and secure from accidents, proliferation and theft. It wants its special marine force to create secure parameter around each site, or evolve a joint control system. Notwithstanding that acquisition of nuclear and missile capability by Pakistan has greatly minimised the risk of war with India, however, it has earned Pakistan the perpetual hostility of India, Israel and USA in particular and western world in general since possession of nukes with a Muslim country is unacceptable to them. New ways are now being devised by our adversaries to denuclearise Pakistan without having to wage a war.by Asif Haroon Raja

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US and Pakistan, strange allies

Dr Huma Mir | President Obama’s inaugural pledge to defeat Al Qaeda and Taliban appears in stark contrast to the ground realities in Afghanistan. Obama’s much hyped AF PAK policy is believed to have been practically castigated to history after multiple reviews. The US military’s assessment of the war in Afghanistan too paints a bleak picture. The Taliban today control more than half of Afghan Provinces where they have installed their own shadow Governors.

Despite having suffered the most due to the US adventure in Afghanistan, Pakistan today remains the most vibrant and loyal US ally. US, NATO and Pakistan are mutually dependant. The US and Western Forces operating in Afghanistan are dependent on Pakistan for 80% or more of their logistic support and of course they need vital intelligence. Pakistan needs US financial support, weapons and technology and some specialized training to fight the menace of terrorism. Unfortunately, Pakistan is taken for granted by the US; our blind support has drawn little sympathy for our own national concerns. There have been continued nasty outbursts by US leadership and officials against Pakistan, the “Do More” mantra has become a sickening buzzword.

As the US mounts pressure on Pakistan to open a new front in North Waziristan and around Quetta and to thin out troops from the Eastern Borders to commit on Afghan border, in last few weeks, there appears to be a diabolical worsening in US attitudes. First comes, Mr. McCain who says that the US would continue to use Drone Attacks, saying words to the effect that they care little for Pakistan’s sovereignty and cries from Pakistani leadership that Drone Strikes were counterproductive. Now comes Mr. Gates, the US Secretary Defence who states that in case of another terrorist strike in India, India would be justified in its military response against Pakistan. While Mr. Gates was conveying this not so veiled Indian threat, India committed two border violations. In this scenario, Mr. Gates plays the exact opposite of ground reality and says that he does not see any Indian threat to Pakistan. Mr. Gates made no reference to Indian involvement in terrorism in Pakistan and its support to the terror outfits in Baluchistan and FATA.

That much for Pakistan being a frontline US ally, remember US trumpets that Pakistan is their closest and most Valued Ally in the War on Terror. Meanwhile, against Pakistani protests the US drone strikes continue. More sinister is the fact that armed US diplomats and security contractors like Blackwater (XE), DynCorp etc travelling in vehicles with fake number plates and documents roam around our violating Pakistani laws with impunity.

The pressure being brought on Pakistan is because of the state of paralysis that US and allies are suffering in Afghanistan. In seeking a scapegoat for their pathetic military performance, the US continues to accuse Pakistani Military and the Intelligence Services of linkages with their Taliban and Al Qaeda adversaries in Afghanistan. Most absurd and illogical feature of these accusations is that while accusing the ISI and our military of playing ball with their enemies, they seek our military and intelligence cooperation and support. The latest figment of imagination is the “Quetta Shura”. Soon we will hear about the Chichawatni and Bhai Pheru Shuras too.

In routine, every few weeks, the US leadership, officials, think tank, newspaper, TV Channel or a court jester expresses DEEP CONCERN at the security of Pakistani Nuclear Arsenal and indicates fears of it falling into the hands of extremists. Often such CONCERNS are followed by controlled information leakage that the US has plans to TAKE OUT Pakistani Nukes if threatened by extremists. As our leadership starts responding to these absurd revelations, a kind hearted US official or political leader provides a verbal certification that Pakistani Nukes were safe as if he or she knew the way our nukes are deployed and secured. Pakistan has given more than its share to support the US operations. It opened its airspace and airbases, ports and allowed use of land route for logistic support of US and ISAF forces in Afghanistan. It has committed more than 100,000 troops along the Afghan Border in a very expensive low intensity conflict which has had devastating effect on our bankrupt economy and internal stability. What has the US given to our nation in return? The US has even held back our due share of Coalition Support Funds worth almost 2 Billion Dollars. US has not contributed a dollar to maintenance of our road network under their use. What happened to the promised ROZs in tribal belt, what has the US done to check flow of weapons and money to the Pakistani extremists from Afghanistan, what have the US done to stop the Indian managed training camps for Baluch nationalists on Afghan soil, what about preferential access to Pakistani goods in US and EU markets, etc etc. US has balked from providing the drone technology to Pakistan, they hav’nt given the additional helicopter gunships and ground mobility vehicles and vital spares that Pakistan has been asking for. Even the carrot in the form of Kerry – Luger Bill of a few billion dollars has been strangled and tied to notions which can only appeal to those who framed the policy.

US has been persistently demanding from Pakistan to shun its traditional threat perception and shift additional troops from Indo Pak border to the Afghan border to battle the Taliban extremists in North Waziristan. The US wants to use Pakistani forces as bait, US planners visualize that Pakistani action in North Waziristan could draw Taliban fighters from Afghanistan thus relieving the pressure there on US and NATO forces while Pakistan executes its dirty work. Pakistani security establishment has its own threat perception and have refused the US pressure. We have many options and Pakistan doesn’t have the time pressure which the US has. Pakistan Army’s categorical statement that it shall not open a new front till it has consolidated its gains in Malakand and South Waziristan is absolutely apt response. The timings of Pakistani assault in North Waziristan would be dictated by the speed of our consolidation and preparations and probable speed of US administration to meet Pakistani military demands rather than be synchronized to US desires.

It would be extremely interesting to follow the operations in North Waziristan as and when they come and its impact on the Afghan security scene. Will the Pakistani assault provide any relief to the Western Forces in Afghanistan or will it confirm the Pakistani viewpoint that the Afghan problem needs an Afghan solution. Demonizing Pakistan won’t win the war for the Western Forces in Afghanistan.

Terror: The facts US media ignore

Paul Craig Roberts |  THE “Underwear Bomber” case indicates that whoever is behind these bomb scares is laughing at our gullibility.

How realistic is it that Al-Qaeda, an organization that allegedly pulled off the most fantastic terror attack in world history, would in these days of heightened security choose for an attack on an airliner a person who is the most conspicuous of all? Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab had a one-way ticket, no luggage, no passport, and his father, reportedly a CIA and Mossad asset, had reported him to the CIA and Mossad. Does anyone really believe that Al-Qaeda would choose as an airliner bomber a person waving every red flag imaginable?

This obvious question has escaped the US media, a collection of salespersons marketing full body scanning machines for airports.

Would Al-Qaeda, with its extensive knowledge of explosives, have armed Umar with a “bomb” that experts say couldn’t have blown up his own seat?

It is difficult to imagine a more gullible population than America’s, but do even Americans believe this story?

Since 9/11 the FBI has been busy enticing people, who lack organizational skills, into “terrorist plots” that consist of FBI-initiated hot air talk. These ridiculous stings are then taken to trial, and the media fans the flames of fear of “home-grown terrorist plots against Americans.”

There is little doubt that those interested in leading the US deeper into a police state and deeper into a “war on terror” are active in adding orchestrated events to whatever real ones real terrorists manage to accomplish. The paucity of real terrorists has caused the US government and its Ministry of Truth to promote the Taleban to terrorist rank. The problem is that these “terrorist acts” are taking place thousands of miles away in lands that the average American cannot find on a map and, thus, lack scare value. To keep the peril alive for Americans, we have the Underwear Bomb Plot.

What will be next? An elaborate head of hair laced with nano-thermite?

The “war on terror” is a far greater threat to Americans than all the terrorists in the world combined. This is so because the “war on terror” has destroyed the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights. American citizens are now helpless in the event someone in government decides that some constitutionally protected behavior, such as free speech, or a contribution to a children’s hospital in Gaza, where Hamas, a US-declared “terrorist organization,” happens to be the elected government, constitutes aiding and abetting terrorism.

On Jan. 5 a ruling by the Federal Appeals Court in the District of Columbia gave away the most essential protection of liberty by declaring that the US government is not bound by law during war. The ruling absolves Washington from complying with America’s own laws and from complying with international laws, such as the Geneva Conventions. It makes a mockery of all war crime trials everywhere. By elevating the executive branch above the law, the court gave the government carte blanche.

The rationale offered by the court for refusing to uphold the law came from Judge Janice Rogers Brown, who said that America had been pushed by war past “the leading edge of a new and frightening paradigm, one that demands new rules be written. War is a challenge to law, and the law must adjust.” By “adjust” she means “be set aside” or “be thrown out.”

The US Supreme Court has refused to defend both the Constitution and the principle that government is not above the law. Last Dec.14 the Supreme Court refused to review a ruling by the Federal Appeals Court in the District of Columbia, which dismissed a torture case with the argument that “torture is a foreseeable consequence of the military’s detention of suspected enemy combatants.” In other words, neither US nor international laws against torture can be enforced in US courts. The opinion was written by Judge Karen Lecraft Henderson.

The “war on terror,” which is enriching Halliburton, Blackwater (now operating under an alias), and the military/security complex, while denying Americans health care, is running up debt that is a threat to Americans’ purchasing power and living standards. The contrast between America’s sanctimonious rhetoric and the murder of civilians and torture of prisoners has destroyed America’s reputation and caused Europeans as well as Muslims to despise the United States.

The sacrifice of the Constitution and rule of law to a hyped “theorist threat” has destroyed the heart and soul of America herself.

As a poet wrote, “our world in stupor lies.”

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