Lahore Bombings: Indians Are Suspects, So Are Americans

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US Ambassador complains to Pakistani Government that media reports have exposed the location of American residences inside Lahore’s military zone, but fails to mention why US personnel with diplomatic cover have been found at wrong places, sometimes carrying weapons that diplomats are not supposed to

Lahore’s military zone is not only exposed to covert Indian operatives but also to undercover US agents with their suspicious heavy-duty equipment placed in several houses inside a gated community right in the heart of the city’s military area. This has been going on since 2007.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—The eastern city of Lahore is exposed not only to the Indians who have been sending terrorists to plant bombs in public places for the past quarter of a century, but also to the Americans who expanded their covert presence inside Pakistan in the last three years of President Musharraf’s rule.  After the return to democracy in 2008, the US presence [beyond diplomatic requirements or disguised under diplomatic cover] is reported to have increased manifold.

Last year, Pakistanis were stunned to watch several incidents where US citizens were caught by the Military Police at checkpoints leading up to the city’s military zone known as Cantt.  Most of the time, these US individuals refused to say what business took them to the military area. The US Consulate in Lahore is located far away from this zone, which compounded the mystery. These US nationals also refused to allow the police to check their vehicles, which is a standard procedure that all Pakistanis undergo considering the terrorist attacks. On a couple of occasions, US vehicles whose drivers refused to cooperate with MP caused long queues at checkpoints. Military Police officers impounded these vehicles. This led to US officials complaining to their media that Pakistan was ‘harassing’ US diplomats.

But the truth is that the Americans have covertly maintained an outpost of several houses in a gated community right in the heart of the city’s military zone. This zone is so sensitive that a half-constructed Sheraton Hotel lies abandoned on one of Cantt’s main streets because the Pakistani military complained that the new hotel’s upper floors provided an easy view of the residence of the commander of the Pakistan Army Corp that guards Pakistan’s northeastern border with India.

This makes the covert US presence in this area intriguing to say the least. The exact location of these houses, in the elite Sarwar Colony, is shown in the pictures that accompany this report. Most of the residents of this colony are senior retired Pakistani military officers. A handful of them have apparently leased out their homes to the Americans at exorbitant rates that far exceed the normal level of leased property rates in the Colony, according to a fascinating expose published by TheNation and is reproduced below in full.

Why are we talking about a few houses rented out by Americans linked to US government in a sensitive part of the eastern city?

The reason is a wave of terror targeting Lahore over the past two years. This is not to suggest that the US government has something to do with this.  The suspicion centers on local terrorists indirectly or directly aided by intelligence operatives from multiple countries based in Afghanistan.  The point here is that the city of Lahore is exposed not only to local terrorists working with foreign handlers, but also to Indians and possibly to private American security contractors. These contractors expanded their presence in Pakistan in the past two years, mostly using diplomatic cover. The US Embassy in Islamabad under the incumbent Ambassador has been instrumental in pushing for an expanded role for private US defense contractors in Pakistan over the past two years.

Many Pakistanis feel that such penetration of Pakistan by foreign countries is detrimental to our national security and has unnecessarily exposed us to outsiders pursuing interests that may not overlap with our own.

Today, the US Embassy in Islamabad leaked key points of a letter that US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson has sent to Pakistan’s Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi. In the letter, Ambassador Patterson complained about TheNation report on the American presence in Cantt, Lahore. More interestingly, she made a veiled threat that Pak-US relations would suffer if those Americans became targets for a terror attack. The letter was leaked to the Dawn newspaper.

The most interesting part of her letter was an acknowledgement on her part that the security of US diplomats in Pakistan is the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan. This is important because it was Ms Patterson who only a year ago was lobbying the Pakistani government to allow US private defense contractors into Pakistan and was running from one government office to another to ensure that these private US contractors are allowed to carry banned weapons anywhere in the country.

When Ms. Patterson was asked why she needed these private security contractors, she said it was to protect US diplomats. Critics said that was the responsibility of the Government of Pakistan and that the Ambassador should not cross a line. Her acknowledgement of this indicates a shift. Probably it has to do with recent understandings between Army Chief Gen. Kayani and US military officials where the army chief reportedly asked US to stop indirect methods of coercion, including media leaks, the role of private contractors in Pakistan and Afghanistan and the role of CIA in the region.

So how did the Pakistani military allow such a breach to occur in a sensitive area of Lahore?
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Israel waging covert war across Middle East

Sheera Frenkel

Israel is waging a covert assassination campaign across the Middle East in an effort to stop its key enemies co-ordinating their activities. Israeli agents have been targeting meetings between members of Hamas and the leadership of the militant Hezbollah group, and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. They are also suspected of recent killings in Dubai, Damascus and Beirut. While Israel’s Mossad spy agency has been suspected of staging assassinations across the world since the 1970s, it does not officially acknowledge or admit its activities.

The current spate of killings began in December when a “tourist bus” carrying Iranian officials and Hamas members exploded outside Damascus. The official report by Syria claimed that a tyre had exploded but photographs surfaced showing the charred remains of the vehicle — prompting speculation that a much larger explosion had taken place. Several weeks later a meeting between members of Hamas, which controls Gaza, and their counterparts from Hezbollah in its southern Beirut stronghold in Lebanon was also attacked, resulting in several deaths. Hamas had sought to cover up the incidents because it was embarrassed, a senior Palestinian official in Ramallah told The Times.

“There has been growing co-operation between Gaza and Iran. Israel can read the writing on the wall and they know that with the help of Iran, the Hamas Government in Gaza will become stronger and will fight better. “But Israel is overstepping their boundaries. Other countries don’t want to become a killing field for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” Most recently, the top Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh was killed in Dubai on January 19, 2010. He is believed to have been poisoned by a woman who visited his room at the Al Bustan Rotana Hotel in Dubai. Israeli officials said that Mabhouh had been a key figure in procuring Iranian-made longer-range rockets for Hamas that could be fired at targets in central Israel. Read more of this post

CIT ‘X’ Operations: Mossad-RAW nexus

S M Hali

A recently declassified document of RAW has made startling revelations regarding a nexus between the intelligence agencies of Israel and India, namely Mossad and RAW. The nexus, according to the document has been to target Pakistan through a covert stratagem titled “CIT ‘X’ Operations”, to be executed through the ‘Dragon Policy’. These Operations were conceived “in retaliation to the alleged unending terrorist pursuits of Pakistan” a year earlier as the “Summer Offensive”. The salient features of CIT “X” operations comprise: Recruiting known international drug and mafia dons and training agents for covert operations in Pakistan. All possible international criminal and mercenaries, including Afghans were engaged for covert purpose during LK Advani’s tenure in the Home Ministry. Funding of CIT “X” covert operations has been through drug trafficking. Illegal poppy is being cultivated in bulk in Himachal Pradesh, Arunchal Pradesh, Mizoram and Uttar Pradesh.

Indian drug barons reportedly have close links with their Afghan counterparts, are completely controlled, and continuously monitored by various intelligence agencies. India today stands as the fifth largest country in the world in the production of illicit opium. Laos is 4th with 20 metric tons and has been known to be directly tied up with RAW and Indian drug barons. Some people of Indian origin living in Surinam and Holland have been engaged to facilitate Indian agencies in drug trafficking. Under the benign patronage of CIT “X” the business of drug trafficking is flourishing and the money earned is being directed towards covert activities in Pakistan. The “summer offensive” tactics comprise: The establishment of 57 training camps in Occupied Kashmir, East Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Assam to train and launch terrorists inside Pakistan. Trainees are generally drawn from the Indian hatched dissident groups of Mohajir Qaumi Movement (MQM), Jiye Sindh Mohaz, (JSM) Jiye Sindh Students Federation (JSF) and Balochi nationalists and other nationalists groups from various parts of Sindh, Balochistan and Tribal Areas.

The offensive under Diplomatic Cover (The Mossad Hands) modus operandi has been disclosed as: RAW Centers at London, Dubai, Iran, and South Africa operate against Pakistan jointly with Israeli MOSSAD. However, for its summer offensive RAW in a joint effort with MOSSAD has laid out a whole network around Pakistan to ensure success through destabilization. During Wana operations the miscreants were fed cash, weapons and ammunition indirectly by RAW operatives under cover of Al-Qaeda. Mossad and AMMAN have also contributed heavily towards the funding and material requirements for those operations.

Ministry of Information and Security (The Iranian Involvement) has been: Iran, having contiguous borders with Pakistan, is a hot bed of intrigues and constant source of support and inspiration to RAW functionaries. The Indian Embassy at Tehran and Consulates in Zahidan, Mashhad and Bandar Abbas are actively engaged in establishing links with disgruntled elements of Balochistan and Sindh for destabilizing these provinces. Read more of this post

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