Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Blackwater Bribing in Pakistan?

US private contractor Blackwater, renamed Xe after it gained notoriety in Iraq, is now facing charges of secret payments of about $1 million to Iraqi officials that were intended to silence their criticism and buy their support.

The New York Times is reporting that "Blackwater approved the cash payments in December 2007, the officials said, as protests over the deadly shootings in Nisour Square stoked long-simmering anger inside Iraq about reckless practices by the security company’s employees".

There have been strong rumors swirling about the arrival of Blackwater personnel in Pakistan in recent months. The rumors and the opposition have gained strength with a November 4 report in the Nation newspaper alleging the arrival of 202 Blackwater personnel in Islamabad.

“Of the 274 passengers, who boarded Pakistan’s national flag carrier-PIA, flight PK-786 from Heathrow Airport UK, 202 were foreigners but they were fluently speaking Urdu language,” the paper said. The report quoted officials on duty at Shaheed Benazir International Airport Islamabad as saying, “We had instructions to allow the foreigners entry without custom procedure.”

It seems that the Blackwater personnel have been on Pakistani soil for years before the current rumors surfaced. From a secret division at Blackwater's North Carolina headquarters, it has assumed a role in Washington's most important counterterrorism program: the use of drones to kill Al Qaeda's leaders, according to government officials and current and former employees who talked with the New York Times.

The division's operations are carried out at hidden bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan, where Blackwater contractors assemble and load Hellfire missiles and 500-pound laser-guided bombs on remotely piloted Predator aircraft, work previously performed by C.I.A. employees. They also provide security at the covert bases, the officials said.

Last month, the CIA disclosed that it had hired Blackwater to kill senior al-Qaida leaders. The targeted assassination program has come under strong criticism in Washington. However, German publication Der Spiegel has learned that the level of cooperation between the CIA and the paid mercenaries at Blackwater has been deeper than previously known. The firm has also been heavily involved in CIA's secret rendition program of kidnapping, jailing and torturing terrorism suspects, according to persistent reports.

In addition to the increasing drone attacks and rising suspicions about the role of the CIA, there are new and explosive revelations about the role and the strength of Blackwater contractors in the region. A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine have alleged that Blackwater chief Erik Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life." The number of US contractors working for the US military and the CIA in the region exceeds the total strength of the US troops and CIA personnel, according to estimates by Jimmy Scahill who has researched and written extensively about Blackwater. The presence of over 80,000 US military and intelligence contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan makes the level of privatization of war unprecedented.

There have also been credible reports by Jeremy Scahill in the Nation that Blackwater has been working with US special forces JSOC on American forward operating bases (FOBs) in various parts of Pakistan, including Karachi, on "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive actions inside and outside Pakistan.

The stakes are now much higher in Pakistan than in Afghanistan or Iraq. The elite commandos of US Navy Seals, mentioned recently by Seymour Hersh in his New Yorker article, are reportedly part of a US team allegedly training to "secure" Pakistani nukes. Blackwater, renamed Xe, was founded in 1998 by former Navy Seals. Xe is on record as saying it has prepared tens of thousands of security personnel to work in hot spots around the world, without naming such hot spots. Soon after 911 terrorist attacks, the Bush-Cheney administration deployed private security firms on an unprecedented scale. Almost overnight, Blackwater transformed itself into a huge business funded to the tune of $1 billion by US taxpayers. The company obtained 70 percent of its contracts without going through the normal bidding process.

With the resources and backing of the US government agencies, Blackwater, aka Xe, has developed a lot of clout using a combination of large bribes and US government pressure. Given the well-known and widespread lack of transparency in Pakistan, is it possible that Blackwater is using the same combination of money and power to persuade Pakistani politicians and officials to allow it operate with impunity? Only time will tell. But the signs are clearly troubling.

Here's a video about Blackwater mercenary army activities:



Here's another video clip about Blackwater by Jeremy Scahill:



Related Links:

Corruption in South Asia

America's Covert War in Pakistan

Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder

Bush's Shadow Army

Erik Prince Interviewed By Adam Ciralsky - Vanity Fair

Zardari Convicted of Corruption in Switzerland

Zardari Corruption Probe

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

riaz

It is the internal difference which is being manipulated by outsiders.

i feel pakistan must talk across to all people to form an inclusive society not broken by tribes and linguistics. Further aspiration of all major creeds and tribes needs to be honoured to ensure that history does not repeat when the pakistan did not accomodate the apsiration of bengali muslim leading to bangadesh.

Further pakistan must be carefull with any body including usa and must chart out their own course of action for self reliance in all sphere starting from economics to military

Anonymous said...

My friend somebody is giving bribe means there are people to receive. Unless that is stopped and exposed, nothing can be stopped.

Every institution in pakistan is corrupt to core whether it is army or politicians. Somebody is not taking it becuase he has not got the opportunity.

People must be aware of this and start moving on their own direction for the individual development which will give the countyr the required development rather than looking upon the government ot deliver.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a report in Dawn today about how the Sharif brothers, waiting the wing to grab power, engaged in "money laundering", according to Ishaq Dar, a close associate and PML leader:

NAB Court documents have recently emerged which show that Senator Dar made some interesting revelations in an accountability court in April 2000.

The court was hearing the famous Hudaibiya Paper Mills case against the Sharif brothers.

The 43-page confessional statement of Senator Ishaq Dar was recorded on April 25th 2000 before the District Magistrate Lahore. Dar was produced before the court by the then Assistant Director Basharrat M Shahzad, of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

Dar, in his statement had admitted that he had been handling the money matters of the Sharif family and he also alleged that Mian Nawaz Sharif and Mian Shahbaz Sharif were involved in money laundering worth at least $14.886 million.

The statement by Senator Ishaq Dar is irrevocable as it was recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).

Senator Ishaq Dar is a high-profile PML-N leader and has always been considered close to the Sharif brothers as his son, Ali Dar, is married to Nawaz Sharif’s daughter, Asma.

But in April 2000 the top PML-N leadership had hit a rough patch by then and some of their loyal lieutenants were busy developing a new political system for General (retired) Pervez Musharraf after his October 1999 military coup.

In this context, Ishaq Dar accused Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif of money laundering in the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case.

Interestingly, Ishaq Dar also implicated himself by confessing in the court that he – along with his friends Kamal Qureshi and Naeem Mehmood – had opened fake foreign currency accounts in different international banks.

He said that the entire amount in these banks finally landed in the accounts of Hudaibiya Paper Mills Limited.

Senator Ishaq Dar was the main witness against Nawaz and Shahbaz Sharif in the case.

The Hudaibiya Paper Mills case is still pending in the National Accountability Bureau.

Since the statement made by Dar was recorded under section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the statement has become a permanent part of the case against the top PML-N leaders.

If the case is opened again, the Sharif brothers may discover that the tightening noose around them was originally prepared by one of their own family members and trusted lieutenant Senator Ishaq Dar.—DawnNews

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/13+sharifs+accused+of+money+laundering-za-08

Anonymous said...

here is not so good news about India.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=actOfrvxzK3I

while it hurts me so much to see India far ahead of us in exports, i am glad that they are digging their own grave by strikes. Pretty soon they will become like Pakistan - useless in all aspects . InshaAllah.

Riaz Haq said...

anon: "Pretty soon they will become like Pakistan - useless in all aspects . InshaAllah."

I disagree with you. Pakistanis should not wish ill upon India to heal their own self-inflicted wounds. Besides, strikes are a normal part of industrial sector, and can be manged.

Anonymous said...

Riaz

Balanced view. Today if few students are getting attacked in australia does not mean that nobody is doing business with australia.

In a similar manner a single incident would not create any major concern unless otherwise it is a continuous series.

Further if you look upon all these companies they are no interested in export but to exploit the local market the middle class which will spend.

So what is required for pakistan is to create a consistent market and that will pull all toward it.

further the wise of the other gentlemen were clearly acknowledges that pakistan is failing and india will join them is a wishfull thinking

Riaz Haq said...

A Washington publication the Hill" has a report on Pak Ambassador Haqqani's "candid assessment" of US-Pak relations:

Husain Haqqani offered a candid assessment of where Pakistan stands at my IFE / INFO Global Connections Public Policy Roundtable last Friday. In addition to being Pakistan’s youngest ambassador to the U.S., Haqqani was a strong advocate of the late Benazir Bhutto, who stood as a symbol of democracy in a country where dictatorship has long prevailed. 



Pakistanis, Haqqani noted, believe that the U.S. has long used their country, not engaged it. Hillary Clinton’s trip there was significant to the extent that they saw a different side of our country. In attending town halls and visiting colleges and universities, she tried to demonstrate that the U.S. is genuinely concerned with Pakistan’s welfare. Polls showed that Pakistani approval ratings of the U.S. went up by 7 percent after her visit. Unfortunately, though, one high-profile visit is unlikely to do much, because many of the country’s woes are historically rooted. Pakistanis had no idea what suicide bombers were prior to 9/11. The U.S. supported radical Islamists in their fight against the Soviet Union, but it’s precisely those Islamists who are now waging jihad across the globe, including in Pakistan; many Pakistanis regard the Taliban as an existential threat to their country.

Although Pakistan’s economy is back on track (largely due to IMF lending), insecurity limits its ability to achieve sustained economic growth. It shares a border with a hostile neighbor (India), with a desperately poor country in which the Taliban is reasserting its influence (Afghanistan), and with a nation that’s in the midst of tremendous domestic upheaval (Iran). Being in a near-constant struggle against internal and external threats, real and imagined, has its consequences: Pakistan spends far more on defense than education, with the result that the country has only a 38 percent literacy rate. As both Ambassador Said Jawad of Afghanistan and Ambassador Husain Haqqani say, "We live in a dangerous neighborhood."



Haqqani noted that India is perhaps the biggest elephant in the room. Pakistan is wary of the Indo-U.S. relationship, which is robust and multifaceted. He mentioned that India is Boeing’s largest customer, and also that 26 members of the Obama administration are Indian-American; facts like these naturally make Pakistan nervous.



As much as it’s concerned with India, Pakistan is also anxious to see how its relationship with the U.S. evolves. Haqqani noted that Pakistanis want to receive credit for their counterterrorism efforts; Pakistan has killed or captured more al Qaeda leaders than has any other country. He concluded by saying that the U.S. won’t truly be able to win hearts and minds there until it adopts a more comprehensive engagement strategy — one that has a political element and a socioeconomic element. Haqqani encouraged American companies to invest in Pakistan, offering a Thomas Friedman-like thought that Pakistanis need to be making boxer shorts for Wal-Mart, not boxes of bombs.



Whether or not that hope is realized will depend a lot on how Pakistan’s military fares against the Taliban. Let’s hope that it succeeds.


Kathy Kemper is founder and CEO of the Institute for Education, a nonprofit foundation that recognizes and promotes leadership and civility locally, nationally and in the world community.
Source:
http://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/foreign-policy/67203-diagnosing-pakistan

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some interesting excerpts from a piece by Anjum Niaz in Pakistan's Daily Dawn today:

‘If I were a Pakistani, I would worry… there are frightening times ahead,’ Seymour Hersh warned. ‘You guys are next after Iran,’ he told me when I asked about American designs on our nukes. ‘Your nuclear programme is the target.’ Well wired with intelligence sources, not just in the American CIA, but the Mossad in Israel, RAW in India and the ISI in Pakistan; the Pulitzer Prize winner operates via sources crawling around these intelligence agencies who have over the years gladly handed him classified information.

‘If Musharraf was to go down south (exit),’ Hersh said four years ago, ‘there’ll be a traffic jam! There’ll be the CIA, Mossad and RAW jumping in to grab your nuclear facilities. It will be a free-for-all. The ISI and the Pakhtoons are terribly concerned.’ Earlier, he alleged in a November 2001 New Yorker article that Al Qaida was founded at a 1988 meeting in Peshawar. He quoted a former Pakistani diplomat who said, ‘If you go through the officers’ list, almost all of the ISI regulars would say of the Taliban, ‘They are my boys.’’

I pressed on with my questions on Pakistan’s security issues vis-à-vis Iran and India. How would a nearly nuclear armed Iran react if India and Pakistan were to go to war? In his typical New York accent, he answered, ‘Iran is not making nuclear weapons. It’s Israel you should be worrying about. With 600 nukes bristling under its arm, Tel Aviv is the greatest threat to the regional security. Other than Pakistan, there’s no Muslim country with a bomb.’

Castigating the New York Times, Hersh continued, ‘I throw a challenge to the Times to do a critical piece on Israel’s foreign policy and how it influences America. We must separate ourselves from Israeli interests and stop Israel from confusing the issue.’

Except for two walkouts, the rest of the audience, a 1000-strong, clap and cheer when he speaks of Israeli lobbyists infiltrating the power corridors in America to successfully mind-control policy-makers.

‘Hezbollah is not a terrorist organisation nor is it threatening our security one iota! Why then are the NYT and Washington Post pursuing the Israeli storyline? Israeli agents have infiltrated the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) in Vienna. ‘Muslims are not terrorists, as Israel alleges.’

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/the-newspaper/columnists/what-sy-said

Riaz Haq said...

Here's more on the corrupt politicians and their families abusing power in Pakistan as reported by Daily Dawn today:

ISLAMABAD: Although the wife of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had settled her default case with the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), she had been given ‘undue favour’ and asked to pay only Rs45.5 million against total liabilities of Rs570 million, sources in the NAB alleged on Saturday in an interview with Dawn.

A scrutiny of Fauzia Gilani’s case revealed that she had obtained two loans totalling Rs200 million from Zarai Taraqiati Bank Limited (ZTBL), but she settled the case after committing ‘wilful default that prevailed over a decade’.

According to documents, the sources said, the principal of Rs200 million had swelled to Rs570 million as non-payment of instalments spanned a decade. However, she managed to settle the case by paying back Rs45.521 million.

The sources said she had obtained a loan of Rs120 million for Multan Edible Oil Extraction and another loan Rs77 million for Pak Green Fertilisers.

According to the NAB press release, the cases were settled by the ZTBL in pursuance of the Sindh High Court’s order of Oct 2, 2006, and March 17 of last year and a circular of the State Bank.

In consequence, ZTBL forwarded a request to NAB for withdrawal of the cases.

http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/pakistan/12-pms+wife+paid+rs455m+against+rs570m+liabilities--bi-07

Riaz Haq said...

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has unanimously declared NRO null and void ab initio, according to Dawn News:

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has declared the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) null and void in a short order.

In a landmark decision, the apex court unanimously decided that the ordinance was unconstitutional.

All old cases that had been dismissed under the NRO stand revived and can now be reopened as per the court orders.

The court said that all orders that were passed and all acquittals under the NRO were illegal and never existed.

The apex court in its order also said that all convictions that were held prior to the enactment of the NRO stand revived as well.


Now the Zar dari camp is expected to argue that, under the constitution of Pakistan, President Zardari is immune from prosecution as long as he is in office.

Related Links:

Swi ss Corruption Probe Against Zardari

NRO, Democracy and Corruption in South Asia

Pakistan's Intelligence Failure Amidst Daily Carnage

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a World Bank assessment that corruption retards investment in Pakistan:

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank finds corruption a serious and growing obstacle to the investment climate in Pakistan besides expressing dissatisfaction over the issue of governance in the country.

In its 128-page draft report on Pakistan’s Investment Climate dated March 16, 2009, the WB said that corruption is largely associated with business-government interface and reveals that the menace is more widespread here as compared to other countries though the bribe rates here are lower. Referring to a survey conducted for the formulation of the draft report, the Bank says that results show that perceptions about corruption in Pakistan are based on actual experiences with paying bribes by the investing firms. It reveals that the firms making investment in Pakistan have to pay bribes even to get water, telephone and electricity connections.

In view of WB clarification to The News Wednesday’s report on power sector and its observation that this correspondent has drawn inferences from the Bank’s draft report, select portions of the report pertaining to governance and corruption are being reproduced to end any confusion being deliberately created about the findings of WB in its draft report.

On the issue of government, the report in its page 64 and para 135, said, “Consistent interpretation and application of rules and regulations is an important reflection of good governance. Discretion or lack of predictability and consistency in the interpretation of rules and regulations (by government officials) is indeed a severe problem in Pakistan. Only 46 per cent of firms in Pakistan believe that the officials interpret rules consistently, compared with 60 per cent in comparator countries.”

On the issue of corruption, the report’s para 136 states, “Corruption, a serious and growing obstacle to the investment climate, is largely associated with business-government interface. Corruption is considered a severe constraint by more than half of all the firms (57 per cent) in Pakistan, significantly higher than the 40 per cent figure from 2002 and much higher than those of the comparator countries, with the exception of Brazil and Bangladesh. It is common for firms in Pakistan to pay informal payments to government officials to get things done. In 2006, three out of every four firms strongly agreed or tended to agree with the preceding statement.”

Para 137 of the report says, “Results show that perception about corruption in Pakistan are based on actual experiences with paying bribes. In other words, the probability that a firm reported corruption as a serious obstacle rises by 29-percentage point (against 57 per cent in the full sample) if the firm experienced at least one incident of bribe. As with perceptions of corruption, bribe incidence in Pakistan has increased 20 per cent over time-from 40 per cent in 2002 to 48 per cent in 2007.”

Riaz Haq said...

Jeremy Scahill has published in the Nation some serious allegations, including claim that Erik Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe."

A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine who has worked as a security operative for the company have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia. The two men claim that the company's owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life."

Riaz Haq said...

In addition to the increasing drone attacks and rising suspicions about the role of the CIA, there are new and explosive revelations about the role and the strength of Blackwater contractors in the region. A former Blackwater employee and an ex-US Marine have alleged that Blackwater chief Erik Prince "views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe," and that Prince's companies "encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life." The number of US contractors working for the US military and the CIA in the region exceeds the total strength of the US troops and CIA personnel, according to estimates by Jimmy Scahill who has researched and written extensively about Blackwater. The presence of over 80,000 US military and intelligence contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan makes the level of privatization of war unprecedented.

There have also been credible reports by Jeremy Scahill in the Nation that Blackwater has been working with US special forces JSOC on American forward operating bases (FOBs), like the one in Khost, in various parts of Pakistan, including Karachi, on "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive actions inside and outside Pakistan. The US FOBs in the region are known to recruit and create an informants network, as confirmed by the accounts of what happened with suicide bombing and killing of CIA agents at Khost FOB in Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a story about Helen Thomas' persistence in seeking answers on the core question as to "why do they want to harm us?"

After Obama briefly addressed L'Affaire Abdulmutallab and wrote "must do better" on the report cards of the national security schoolboys responsible for the near catastrophe, the President turned the stage over to counter-terrorism guru John Brennan and Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano.

It took 89-year old veteran correspondent Helen Thomas to break through the vapid remarks about channeling "intelligence streams," fixing "no-fly" lists, deploying "behavior detection officers," and buying more body-imaging scanners.

Thomas recognized the John & Janet filibuster for what it was, as her catatonic press colleagues took their customary dictation and asked their predictable questions. Instead, Thomas posed an adult query that spotlighted the futility of government plans to counter terrorism with more high-tech gizmos and more intrusions on the liberties and privacy of the traveling public.

She asked why Abdulmutallab did what he did.

Thomas: "Why do they want to do us harm? And what is the motivation? We never hear what you find out on why."

Brennan: "Al Qaeda is an organization that is dedicated to murder and wanton slaughter of innocents... They attract individuals like Mr. Abdulmutallab and use them for these types of attacks. He was motivated by a sense of religious sort of drive. Unfortunately, al Qaeda has perverted Islam, and has corrupted the concept of Islam, so that he's (sic) able to attract these individuals. But al Qaeda has the agenda of destruction and death."

Thomas: "And you're saying it's because of religion?"

Brennan: "I'm saying it's because of an al Qaeda organization that used the banner of religion in a very perverse and corrupt way."

Thomas: "Why?"

Brennan: "I think this is a - long issue, but al Qaeda is just determined to carry out attacks here against the homeland."

Thomas: "But you haven't explained why."

Neither did President Obama, nor anyone else in the U.S. political/media hierarchy. All the American public gets is the boilerplate about how evil al Qaeda continues to pervert a religion and entice and exploit impressionable young men.

There is almost no discussion about why so many people in the Muslim world object to U.S. policies so strongly that they are inclined to resist violently and even resort to suicide attacks.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from an opinion piece from Tom's Dispatch about CIA's information and self-deception about its drone war in Pakistan:

"...there’s a deeper, more dangerous level of deception in Washington’s widening war in the region: self-deception. The CIA drone program, which the Agency’s Director Leon Panetta has called “the only game in town” when it comes to dismantling al-Qaeda, is just symptomatic of such self-deception. While the CIA and the U.S. military have been expending enormous effort studying the Afghan and Pakistani situations and consulting experts, and while the White House has conducted an extensive series of seminars-cum-policy-debates on both countries, you can count on one thing: none of them have spent significant time studying or thinking about us.

As a result, the seeming cleanliness and effectiveness of the drone-war solution undoubtedly only reinforces a sense in Washington that the world’s last great military power can still control this war -- that it can organize, order, prod, wheedle, and bribe both the Afghans and Pakistanis into doing what’s best, and if that doesn’t work, simply continue raining down the missiles and bombs. Beware Washington’s deep-seated belief that it controls events; that it is, however precariously, in the saddle; that, as Afghan War commander General Stanley McChrystal recently put it, there is a “corner” to “turn” out there, even if we haven’t quite turned it yet.

In fact, Washington is not in the saddle and that corner, if there, if turned, will have its own unpleasant surprises. Washington is, in this sense, as oblivious as those CIA operatives were as they waited for “their” Jordanian agent to give them supposedly vital information on the al-Qaeda leadership in the Pakistani tribal areas. Like their drones, the Americans in charge of this war are desperately far from the ground, and they don’t even seem to know it. It’s this that makes the analogy drawn by TomDispatch regular and author of Halliburton’s Army, Pratap Chatterjee, so unnerving. It’s time for Washington to examine not what we know about them, but what we don’t know about ourselves. Tom"

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a recent expose about Blackwater owner Erik Prince publihed by the Nation magazine:

Despite Prince's attempts to shield his speeches from public scrutiny, The Nation magazine has obtained an audio recording of a recent, private speech delivered by Prince to a friendly audience. The speech, which Prince attempted to keep from public consumption, provides a stunning glimpse into his views and future plans and reveals details of previously undisclosed activities of Blackwater. The people of the United States have a right to media coverage of events featuring the owner of a company that generates 90% of its revenue from the United States government.

In the speech, Prince proposed that the US government deploy armed private contractors to fight "terrorists" in Nigeria, Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia, specifically to target Iranian influence. He expressed disdain for the Geneva Convention and described Blackwater's secretive operations at four Forward Operating Bases he controls in Afghanistan. He called those fighting the US in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan "barbarians" who "crawled out of the sewer." Prince also revealed details of a July 2009 operation he claims Blackwater forces coordinated in Afghanistan to take down a narcotrafficking facility, saying that Blackwater "call[ed] in multiple air strikes," blowing up the facility. Prince boasted that his forces had carried out the "largest hashish bust in counter-narcotics history." He characterized the work of some NATO countries' forces in Afghanistan as ineffectual, suggesting that some coalition nations "should just pack it in and go home." Prince spoke of Blackwater working in Pakistan, which appears to contradict the official, public Blackwater and US government line that Blackwater is not in Pakistan.

Prince also claimed that a Blackwater operative took down the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at President George W Bush in Baghdad and criticized the Secret Service for being "flat-footed." He bragged that Blackwater forces "beat the Louisiana National Guard to the scene" during Katrina and claimed that lawsuits, "tens of millions of dollars in lawyer bills" and political attacks prevented him from deploying a humanitarian ship that could have responded to the earthquake in Haiti or the tsunami that hit Indonesia.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some recent revelations from Washington Post security blog about ideas of CIA dirty tricks contemplated against Saddam and Osama Bin Laden:

During planning for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the CIA's Iraq Operations Group kicked around a number of ideas for discrediting Saddam Hussein in the eyes of his people.

One was to create a video purporting to show the Iraqi dictator having sex with a teenage boy, according to two former CIA officials familiar with the project.

“It would look like it was taken by a hidden camera,” said one of the former officials. “Very grainy, like it was a secret videotaping of a sex session.”

The idea was to then “flood Iraq with the videos,” the former official said.

Another idea was to interrupt Iraqi television programming with a fake special news bulletin. An actor playing Hussein would announce that he was stepping down in favor of his (much-reviled) son Uday.

“I’m sure you will throw your support behind His Excellency Uday,” the fake Hussein would intone.

The spy agency’s Office of Technical Services collaborated on the ideas, which also included inserting fake “crawls” -- messages at the bottom of the screen -- into Iraqi newscasts.

The agency actually did make a video purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys, one of the former CIA officers recalled, chuckling at the memory. The actors were drawn from “some of us darker-skinned employees,” he said.

Eventually, “things ground to a halt,” the other former officer said, because no one could come to agreement on the projects.

They also faced strong opposition from James Pavitt, then head of the agency’s Operations Division, and his deputy, Hugh Turner, who “kept throwing darts at it.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a USA Today report about US looking for Wikileaks founder for leaking secret videos about alleged misconduct by US personnel resulting in civilian deaths in Afghanistan (and probably Pakistan, Iraq and elsewhere):

More intrigue involving the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks and "secret" documents and combat video allegedly passed by Army Spc. Bradley Manning, who was arrested at his base in Iraq three weeks ago. (On Deadline flagged this story earlier in the week.)

The Daily Beast reports that Pentagon investigators are trying to track down Julian Assange, the elusive Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks, who they believe is preparing to publish several years of State Department cables allegedly passed by the 22- year-old Manning, now being detained in Kuwait. The cables contain "information related to American diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq," and they could do "serious damage to national security" if made public, government officials told the Beast.

But even if they find him, it's not clear what they could do to stop publication.

Daniel Ellsberg says Assange "is in danger." And he should know: Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the government's secret plans for the Vietnam War. The Nixon administration called him "the most dangerous man in America." (Ellsberg was hunted, arrested, tried and convicted, but the Supreme Court overturned the verdict in a landmark ruling against government secrecy.)

Meanwhile, Wired's Threat Level blog, which broke the Manning story, is reporting that Assange, who has no permanent home, is arranging Manning's legal defense and says Manning is no spy.

Assange, who first gained notoriety as a computer hacker, canceled an appearance today at an International Reporters and Editors conference in Las Vegas.

Keep an eye on this fascinating story.

Riaz Haq said...

The US is seeking to expand CIA's presence for large scale covert war in Pakistan, according to Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON—The U.S. is pushing to expand a secret CIA effort to help Pakistan target militants in their havens near the Afghan border, according to senior officials, as the White House seeks new ways to prod Islamabad into more aggressive action against groups allied with al Qaeda,

The push comes as relations between Washington and Islamabad have soured over U.S. impatience with the slow pace of Pakistani strikes against militants who routinely attack U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan. President Barack Obama has said he will begin to withdraw troops from Afghanistan in July, increasing the urgency to show progress in the nine-year war against the Taliban.

The U.S. asked Pakistan in recent weeks to allow additional Central Intelligence Agency officers and special operations military trainers to enter the country as part of Washington's efforts to intensify pressure on militants.

The requests have so far been rebuffed by Islamabad, which remains extremely wary of allowing a larger U.S. ground presence in Pakistan, illustrating the precarious nature of relations between Washington and its wartime ally.

The number of CIA personnel in Pakistan has grown substantially in recent years. The exact number is highly classified. The push for more forces reflects, in part, the increased need for intelligence to support the CIA drone program that has killed hundreds of militants with missile strikes. The additional officers could help Pakistani forces reach targets drones can't.

There are currently about 900 U.S. military personnel in Pakistan, 600 of which are providing flood relief and 150 of which are assigned to the training mission.

A senior Pakistani official said relations with the CIA remain strong but Islamabad continues to oppose a large increase in the number of American personnel on the ground.

The Obama administration has been ramping up pressure on Islamabad in recent weeks to attack militants after months of publicly praising Pakistani efforts. The CIA has intensified drone strikes in Pakistan, and the military in Afghanistan has carried out cross-border helicopter raids, underlining U.S. doubts Islamabad can be relied upon to be more aggressive. Officials have even said they were going to stop asking for Pakistani help with the U.S.'s most difficult adversary in the region, the North Waziristan-based Haqqani network, because it was unproductive.

The various moves reflect a growing belief that the Pakistani safe havens are a bigger threat to Afghan stability than previously thought.

When senior Pakistani officials visited Washington this week, Obama administration officials signaled they are willing to push for a long-term military aid package. But they also have made clear to Pakistani officials they expect tangible results, and they threatened that current cash payments to Pakistan could be reduced if things don't improve in tribal areas such as North Waziristan.

The current efforts to expand CIA presence are meant to expand intelligence collection and facilitate more aggressive Pakistani-led actions on the ground. Some U.S. officials, however, remain hopeful that Islamabad will allow a greater covert presence that could include CIA paramilitary forces.
----------
Much of the on-ground intelligence in Pakistan is gathered by the country's Inter-Services Intelligence agency. Some U.S. officials believe Pakistan wants the U.S. to remain dependent on the ISI for that intelligence.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a report by a Washintington journalist Wayne Madsen alleging that Blackwater is behind TTP attacks in Pakistan:

WMR has learned from a deep background source that Xe Services, the company formerly known as Blackwater, has been conducting false flag terrorist attacks in Pakistan that are later blamed on the entity called “Pakistani Taliban.”

Only recently did the US State Department designate the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), also known as the Pakistani Taliban, a terrorist group. The group is said by the State Department to be an off-shoot of the Afghan Taliban, which had links to “Al Qaeda” before the 9/11 attacks on the United States. TTP’s leader is Hakimullah Mehsud, said to be 30-years old and operating from Pakistan’s remote tribal region with an accomplice named Wali Ur Rehman. In essence, this new team of Mehsud and Rehman appears to be the designated replacement for Osama Bin Laden and Ayman Zawahiri as the new leaders of the so-called “Global Jihad” against the West.

However, it is Xe cells operating in Karachi, Peshawar, Islamabad and other cities and towns that have, according to our source who witnessed the U.S.-led false flag terrorist operations in Pakistan. Bombings of civilians is the favored false flag event for the Xe team and are being carried out under the orders of the CIA.

However, the source is now under threat from the FBI and CIA for revealing the nature of the false flag operations in Pakistan. If the source does not agree to cooperate with the CIA and FBI, with an offer of a salary, the threat of false criminal charges being brought for aiding and abetting terrorism looms over the source.

The Blackwater/Xe involvement in terrorist attacks in Pakistan have been confirmed by the former head of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), General Hamid Gul, according to another source familiar with the current Xe covert operations. In addition, Pakistani ex-Army Chief of Staff, General Mirza Aslam Beg, reportedly claimed that while serving as president, General Pervez Musharraf approved Blackwater carrying out terrorist operations in Pakistan. Blackwater has been accused of smuggling weapons and munitions into Pakistan.

Earlier this year WMR reported that ”intelligence sources in Asia and Europe are reporting that the CIA contractor firm XE Services, formerly Blackwater, has been carrying out ‘false flag’ terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Somalia, the Sinkiang region of China, Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq, in some cases with the assistance of Israeli Mossad and Indian Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) personnel . . . A number of terrorist bombings in Pakistan have been blamed by Pakistani Islamic leaders on Blackwater, Mossad, and RAW. Blackwater has been accused of hiring young Pakistanis in Peshawar to carry out false flag bombings that are later blamed on the Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan. One such bombing took place during the Ashura procession in Karachi last month. The terrorist attacks allegedly are carried out by a secret Blackwater-XE/CIA/Joint Special Operations Command forward operating base in Karachi. The XE Services component was formerly known as Blackwater Select, yet another subsidiary in a byzantine network of shell and linked companies run by Blackwater/Xe on behalf of the CIA and the Pentagon. On December 3, 2009, the Pakistani newspaper Nawa-i-Waqtreported: ‘Vast land near the Tarbela dam has also been given to the Americans where they have established bases for their army and air forces. There, the Indian RAW [Research and Analysis Wing] and Israeli Mossad are working in collaboration with the CIA to carry out extremist activities in Pakistan.’”

Riaz Haq said...

Here is a Christian Science Monitor report on wikileaks early reaction in Pakistan:

Long derided in liberal Pakistani circles as a fanciful conspiracy theory, the notion that the US has designs on Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal will likely gain traction here following a report that the US has mounted a secret effort to remove highly enriched uranium from a Pakistani reactor since 2007....
The perception that America is attempting to rob Pakistan of its nuclear capability has long been touted by Islamists and hardliners in Pakistan, and is frequently brought up alongside the theory that the security firm Xe (formerly known as Blackwater) is responsible for a spate of suicide bomb attacks on civilian targets over the past few years. The US, for its part, has been keenly aware of the sensitivity of the issue, so much so that in May 2009, Ambassador Anne Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts for fear of stoking the Pakistani media’s suspicions.

According to security analyst Gen. (ret.) Talat Masood, the WikiLeaks revelations will prove a boon to hardliners in Pakistan.

“It really reinforces [what until now] has been a conspiracy theory – that America has always been after nuclear assets and gives a big handle to the right and those who have been saying America is not a our friend and saying they are following a dual policy: with India they are friends but with Pakistan they are trying to simultaneously undermine us.”

General Masood predicts the WikiLeaks cable report will have a serious short-term and long-term impact on US-Pakistan relations, and undermine those Pakistanis who have spoken up in favor of closer cooperation with the US in recent times.

“It places such people on the defensive – it looks like the US is trying to get close to Pakistanis who are more Westernized but who are compromising Pakistan’s national interest,” he says.

According to Pervez Hoodbhoy, an eminent Pakistani nuclear physicist based at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad, the report probably refers to the highly enriched uranium Pakistan received from the US in the late 1960s as part of the "Atoms for Peace" program, before its weapons program began.

“As far as I can guess, the leak refers to highly enriched uranium that Pakistan received from the US in the late 1960's or early 1970s for running the small 5-mw research reactor at PINSTECH,” he says, in reference to a research center based close to Islamabad that is aimed at producing atomic energy. “There is no other reactor in Pakistan that runs on HEU. I suppose that the US wants it back because of fears that Al Qaeda might get its hands on it somehow.”

Pakistan gained its own nuclear enriching capability in 1976, therefore the removal of some highly enriched uranium by the United States would not eliminate its ability to create nuclear weapons.

Attempt to create misperceptions?
Separate WikiLeaks cables concerning Pakistani politicians could also prove embarrassing to its allies.

In one cable, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia derides President Asif Ali Zardari as the biggest hurdle to progress, stating, “When the head is rotten, it affects the whole body.”

President Zardari however received a tepid lukewarm "endorsement" from Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed, "Zardarni [sic] is dirty but not dangerous," while… Sharif is “dangerous but not dirty – this is Pakistan. Sharif cannot be trusted to honor his promises,” a reference to Pakistan’s foremost opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif.

Farhatullah Babar, the president’s spokesman, said via text message that “President Zardari regards Saudi King Abdullah as his elder brother. The so called leaks are no more than an attempt to create misperceptions between two important and brotherly Muslim countries.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a nation.com report excerpts on wikileaks regarding American covert war in Pakistan:

...In response to the Nation story, Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell called it "conspiratorial" and explicitly denied that US special operations forces were doing anything other than "training" in Pakistan. More than a month after the October 2009 cable from the US embassy in Pakistan confirming JSOC combat missions, Morrell told reporters: "We have basically, I think, a few dozen forces on the ground in Pakistan who are involved in a train-the-trainer mission. These are Special Operations Forces. We've been very candid about this. They are—they have been for months, if not years now, training Pakistani forces so that they can in turn train other Pakistani military on how to—on certain skills and operational techniques. And that's the extent of our—our, you know, military boots on the ground in Pakistan." According to the October 2009 cable, Morrell's statement was false.

In one operation in September 2009, four US special operations forces personnel "embedded with the [Pakistani] Frontier Corps (FC)…in the FATA," where the Americans are described as providing "ISR": intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance. The support from the US forces, according to the cable, "was highly successful, enabling the FC to execute a precise and effective artillery strike on an enemy location." A month later, according to the cable, the Pakistan Army again "approved deployment of US special operation elements to support Pakistani military operations." To the embassy staff, this was documented in the cable as a "sea change" in Pakistan's military leaders' thinking, saying they had previously been "adamantly opposed [to] letting us embed" US special ops forces with Pakistani forces. According to the cable, "US special operation elements have been in Pakistan for more than a year, but were largely limited to a training role," adding that the Pakistani units that received training from US special operations forces "appear to have recognized the potential benefits of bringing US SOF personnel into the field with them."

In another operation cited in the cables, the US teams, led by JSOC, were described as providing support to the Pakistani Army's 11th Corp and included "a live downlink of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) full motion video."....

The ability of US special operations forces to operate in Pakistan is clearly viewed as a major development by the US embassy. "Patient relationship-building with the military is the key factor that has brought us to this point," according to the October 2009 cable. It also notes the potential consequences of the activities leaking: "These deployments are highly politically sensitive because of widely-held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil. Should these developments and/or related matters receive any coverage in the Pakistani or US media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance."

Such statements might help explain why Ambassador Richard Holbrooke lied to the world when he said bluntly in July 2010: "People think that the US has troops in Pakistan, well, we don't."

Riaz Haq said...

Is the alleged US diplomat assuming the identity of "Raymond Davis" a Blackwater or JSOC (Joint Special Ops Command commando) contractor? Here's a report from Press TV:

Pakistani media say the US embassy official charged with the murder of two Pakistani citizens is an agent for the notorious security firm, Blackwater.


The US official identified by police as Raymond Davis shot dead two men riding on a motorcycle in Lahore on Thursday in what he claimed was self-defense during an attempted robbery.

A third Pakistani was run over and killed in the incident after being hit by a US consulate vehicle rushing to the scene to the American's aid.

The US embassy in Islamabad has confirmed the man involved was a consular official and says it is carrying out an investigation.

Trying to avoid an anti-American reaction, US State Department spokesman Philip Crowley said Thursday that Washington will fully cooperate with Pakistani authorities and will explain about the incident to the Pakistani people.

The issue of American diplomats carrying weapons inside Pakistan was a hot-button subject last year among certain politicians and sections of the media purportedly worried about the country's sovereignty.

Many Pakistanis regard the United States with suspicion or outright enmity because of its occupation of neighboring Afghanistan

Riaz Haq said...

There is a strong suspicion in Pakistan that the arrested man operating under the pseudonym "Raymond Davis" is either a CIA or JSOC operative, probably a Navy Seal commando, conducting covert war in Pakistan on behalf of US interests.

JSOC is of particular concern, because JSCO commandos will likely be deployed to relieve Pakistan of its nuclear arsenal if and when the US decides to do.

It is believed that there are hundreds of Raymond Davises in Pakistan who operate from FOBs (Forward Operating Bases) in Pakistan's major cities.

This suspicion is reinforced by credible reports by Jeremy Scahill in the Nation that Blackwater and other contractors have been working with US special forces JSOC on American forward operating bases (FOBs), like the one in Khost, in various parts of Pakistan, including Karachi, on "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive actions inside and outside Pakistan. The US FOBs in the region are known to recruit and create an informants network, as confirmed by the accounts of what happened with suicide bombing and killing of CIA agents at Khost FOB in Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

The American who shot dead two men in Lahore, triggering a diplomatic crisis between Pakistan and the US, is a CIA agent who was on assignment at the time, according to The Guardian newspaper. Here are some excerpts:


Based on interviews in the US and Pakistan, the Guardian can confirm that the 36-year-old former special forces soldier is employed by the CIA. "It's beyond a shadow of a doubt," said a senior Pakistani intelligence official. The revelation may complicate American efforts to free Davis, who insists he was acting in self-defence against a pair of suspected robbers, who were both carrying guns.
-----------
The Pakistani government is aware of Davis's CIA status yet has kept quiet in the face of immense American pressure to free him under the Vienna convention. Last week President Barack Obama described Davis as "our diplomat" and dispatched his chief diplomatic troubleshooter, Senator John Kerry, to Islamabad. Kerry returned home empty-handed.
----------
A third man was crushed by an American vehicle as it rushed to Davis's aid. Pakistani officials believe its occupants were CIA because they came from the house where Davis lived and were armed.

The US refused Pakistani demands to interrogate the two men and on Sunday a senior Pakistani intelligence official said they had left the country. "They have flown the coop, they are already in America," he said.

ABC News reported that the men had the same diplomatic visas as Davis. It is not unusual for US intelligence officers, like their counterparts round the world, to carry diplomatic passports.
-------
But Washington's case is hobbled by its resounding silence on Davis's role. He served in the US special forces for 10 years before leaving in 2003 to become a security contractor. A senior Pakistani official said he believed Davis had worked with Xe, the firm formerly known as Blackwater.

Pakistani suspicions about Davis's role were stoked by the equipment police confiscated from his car: an unlicensed pistol, a long-range radio, a GPS device, an infrared torch and a camera with pictures of buildings around Lahore.

"This is not the work of a diplomat. He was doing espionage and surveillance activities," said the Punjab law minister, Rana Sanaullah, adding he had "confirmation" that Davis was a CIA employee.

A number of US media outlets learned about Davis's CIA role but have kept it under wraps at the request of the Obama administration. A Colorado television station, 9NEWS, made a connection after speaking to Davis's wife. She referred its inquiries to a number in Washington which turned out to be the CIA. The station removed the CIA reference from its website at the request of the US government.

Some reports, quoting Pakistani intelligence officials, have suggested that the men Davis killed, Faizan Haider, 21, and Muhammad Faheem, 19, were agents of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence spy agency (ISI) and had orders to shadow Davis because he crossed a "red line".
-------------
Tensions between the spy agencies have been growing. The CIA Islamabad station chief was forced to leave in December after being named in a civil lawsuit. The ISI was angered when its chief, General Shuja Pasha, was named in a New York lawsuit related to the 2008 Mumbai attacks.

Although the two spy services co-operate in the CIA's drone campaign along the Afghan border, there has not been a drone strike since 23 January – the longest lull since June 2009. Experts are unsure whether both events are linked.

Davis awaits his fate in Kot Lakhpat jail in Lahore. Pakistani officials say they have taken exceptional measures to ensure his safety, including ringing the prison with paramilitary Punjab Rangers. The law minister, Sanaullah, said Davis was in a "high security zone" and was receiving food from visitors from the US consulate.

Riaz Haq said...

Following the story in The Guardian story yesterday, both NY Times and Washington Post are now confirming that the American operating as "Raymond Davis" is a US spy working under cover.

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/world/asia/22pakistan.html?_r=1&hp

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/21/AR2011022102801.html?hpid=topnews

Riaz Haq said...

Here's more on "Raymond Davis" case in today's Wall Street Journal:

WASHINGTON—The American detained in Pakistan in the killing of two armed men was working secretly in the country for the Central Intelligence Agency, U.S. officials say.

The disclosures about Raymond Davis, a former Army Special Forces soldier who worked as a contractor in Pakistan for the CIA, might complicate U.S. efforts to secure his release and exacerbate growing tensions between between U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies. Pakistani intelligence officials say they weren't informed by the U.S. about Mr. Davis's role with the CIA and warned that ties may have been damaged beyond repair by the case.
---------------
A senior official with Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency, or ISI, said Pakistan wasn't initially aware Mr. Davis was working for the CIA. The official said he believes the U.S. could be using other undeclared operatives like Mr. Davis as a way of circumventing visa restrictions imposed by Islamabad on the U.S. spy agency. The ISI's decision to reveal Mr. Davis's CIA ties reflect Pakistani anger over U.S. conduct in the case. Comments last week by CIA Director Leon Panetta that relations between the two agencies were among "the most complicated" he has ever seen also rankled the ISI.

"We didn't even know about him," the ISI official said. "We don't know how many Raymond Davises there could be running around."

The CIA has "acted with arrogance toward ISI which has resulted in weakening the relationship on which it is entirely dependent," the senior ISI official added. "Irrespective of the commonality of objectives in this war on terror, it is hard to predict if the relationship will ever reach the level at which it was prior to the Davis episode."
--------------
According to excerpts from a preliminary Pakistani police report obtained by U.S. officials and shared with The Wall Street Journal, the two dead Pakistani men were found with pistols, live rounds and five stolen cell phones. According to police documents, one of the dead Pakistani men had "cocked his pistol and pointed it towards [the] American."

Little is known about where Mr. Davis has traveled in Pakistan on behalf of the CIA. He arrived in Lahore as a short term contractor for the CIA in January 2010, but U.S. officials say he has done multiple tours as a security employee for the agency over the past four years.

Police in Lahore say eyewitnesses who recognize his photo remember seeing him late last year in a northern suburb of the city where Afghan refugees live.

Senior police officers in Lahore have said Mr. Davis is likely guilty of murder even though they have yet to formally charge him. They deny the men were planning to attack Mr. Davis and say they may have been armed because of a feud in which one of the men's elder brothers had recently been killed.

U.S. officials say such comments by police officials leading the investigation mean Mr. Davis is unlikely to get a fair hearing if the case goes to trial.

Mr. Obama, in his first comments on the incident last week, said Mr. Davis is covered by a 1961 treaty on diplomatic immunity to which the U.S. and Pakistan are both signatories. U.S. officials said Mr. Davis's status working with the CIA in no way diminishes his right to immunity.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a shocking report in The Express Tribune about the possible involvement of "Raymond Davis" with the terrorists of the Pakistani Taliban, the TTP:

“The Lahore killings were a blessing in disguise for our security agencies who suspected that Davis was masterminding terrorist activities in Lahore and other parts of Punjab,” a senior official in the Punjab police claimed.

“His close ties with the TTP were revealed during the investigations,” he added. “Davis was instrumental in recruiting young people from Punjab for the Taliban to fuel the bloody insurgency.” Call records of the cellphones recovered from Davis have established his links with 33 Pakistanis, including 27 militants from the TTP and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi sectarian outfit, sources said.

Davis was also said to be working on a plan to give credence to the American notion that Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are not safe. For this purpose, he was setting up a group of the Taliban which would do his bidding.

Riaz Haq said...

Here is an excerpt from an EU Times report on serious allegations of nuclear proliferation against "Raymond Davis":

While all eyes in the West are currently trained on the ongoing revolution taking place in Egypt, Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) is warning that the situation on the sub-continent has turned “grave” as it appears open warfare is about to break out between Pakistan and the United States.

Fueling this crisis, that the SVR warns in their report has the potential to ignite a total Global War, was the apprehension by Pakistan of a 36-year-old American named Raymond Allen Davis (photo), whom the US claims is one of their diplomats, but Pakistani Intelligence Services (ISI) claim Raymond Davis is a spy for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
---------
Most ominous in this SVR report, though, is Pakistan’s ISI stating that top-secret CIA documents found in Davis’s possession point to his, and/or TF373, providing to al Qaeda terrorists “nuclear fissile material” and “biological agents” they claim are to be used against the United States itself in order to ignite an all-out war in order to reestablish the West’s hegemony over a Global economy that is warned is just months away from collapse.
---------
Today, as the US Department of Homeland Security has just issued a grim warning that the threat of terror strike on America is at a higher level than it has been since September 11, 2001, and the WikiLeaks release of secret US government cables reveals that al Qaeda is on the brink of using a nuclear bomb, a new President stands between his people and the CIA warmongers with the only question being will he protect them like Kennedy did?

The answer to that question, sadly, appears to be “no” as new information recently obtained by US journalists show that not only has Obama failed to discipline those CIA officers who have led the United States to near total collapse, he has promoted them in numbers never before seen in history.

Mayraj said...

Pakistani and Indian Newspapers Say US CIA Contractor Raymond Davis is a Terrorist

http://www.truth-out.org/pakistani-and-indian-newspapers-say-us-cia-contractor-raymond-davis-a-terrorist68084

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt from a piece by Jack Hunter titled "Peter King's Radical Ignorance" in The American Conservative magazine:

This is not unlike when we are told that terrorists simply “hate our freedom,” as President Bush and his Republican supporters like Rep. King have always considered a satisfactory explanation for our problems with radical Islam. Yet using two of the very examples cited at King’s hearings—Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan and the Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad—what can we deduce about what actually causes domestic Islamic terrorism? If virtually every would-be domestic Islamic terrorist cites the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan as their primary motivation—which virtually all of them do including Hasan and Shahzad—and yet we are still fighting wars in both countries allegedly in the name of fighting terrorists… might it be time to reexamine and perhaps reassess our foreign policy? Are we attacking the problem of radical Islam or helping to create it? Has the War on Terror actually become a war for it?

Yet few dare raise these most pertinent questions. When longtime DC-based tax activist Grover Norquist suggested in January that conservatives should begin to have a conversation about the wisdom of our war in Afghanistan, he was swiftly denounced by many on the Right for even daring to discuss the matter. Norquist defended his suggestion: “I’m confident about where that conversation would go. And I think the people who are against that conversation know where it would go, too.” Addressing some of his harsher critics, Norquist shot back: “Shut up is not an argument… Many of the people who want us to stay in Afghanistan are smart people. There are good arguments for their position. So let’s hear them.”

But hearing any serious cost/benefit analysis about our current foreign policy is about as likely to happen as Washington leaders addressing and correcting our reckless domestic policy of trillion dollar deficits and debt. It is simply assumed that the status quo, whatever it may be, is somehow beneficial and necessary by its own volition. Or perhaps worse, politicians fear that the many special interests involved could potentially be jeopardized by any substantive examination of the way Washington conducts its business.

This characteristic intellectual laziness among the political class is particularly troubling when it comes to the threat of terrorism, domestic or otherwise. We continue to fret over the Islamic terror effect while steadfastly refusing to even consider the cause of Islamic terrorism, making King’s hearings last week little more than another example of Washington’s typical grandstanding buffoonery. Yes, King and his allies on this issue are indeed right that the problem of domestic Islamic terrorism is a concern—but their ongoing blindness toward the primary cause of their concern prevents them from even attempting to examine this issue comprehensively. Peter King might as well have called for congressional hearings on the problem of teenage sex while leaving raging hormones completely out of the equation. And let us hear no more from Washington leaders who want to “keep us safe” until they are first willing to look at the policies of their own making that continue to endanger us the most.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting Op Ed warning Obama about possible loss of Pakistan to Chinese influence:

The United States and Pakistan are becoming increasingly divided over the fight against the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. There are strong elements in Pakistani intelligence (ISI) who openly back the Taliban. And there is deep resentment against the United States for drone strikes and attacks against Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan. Now the Pakistani government is warming up further to China in the hopes of counterbalancing US strength in the region. Pakistan has already invited China to deploy 11,000 troops in their country. A high-ranking Chinese PLA delegation visited the Pakistan-Afghan border last year. At the same time, Pakistan is pushing for the Chinese to become more heavily involved in Afghanistan and they are actively buying Chinese weapons, aircraft and ships.

The fate of Pakistan matters not just because of how it will affect the fight against radical Islam. It also matters because Pakistan has nuclear weapons. And China is the source of nuclear reactors for Pakistan. Were Pakistan to move into firmly China’s orbit, it would be a big geopolitical win for Beijing. It would give the Chinese a foothold in the Middle East. It would give Pakistan a protector, with China providing cover much as it already does for North Korea. And we all know how loose the leash is for Kim Jung Il. Hello, but do we really want a nuclear-armed Pakistan where we have little or no influence?

The Obama Administration needs to stand tough and firm before we lose Pakistan to China.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan Tells U.S. It Must Sharply Cut C.I.A. Activities. NY Times

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Pakistan has demanded that the United States steeply reduce the number of Central Intelligence Agency operatives and Special Operations forces working in Pakistan, and that it put on hold C.I.A. drone strikes aimed at militants in northwest Pakistan. The request was a sign of the near collapse of cooperation between the two testy allies.
---------
In all, about 335 American personnel — C.I.A. officers and contractors and Special Operations forces — were being asked to leave the country, said a Pakistani official closely involved in the decision.
------------

A C.I.A. spokesman, George Little, called the meetings “productive” and said the relationship between the two services “remains on solid footing.”
------------
The Pakistani Army firmly believes that Washington’s real aim in Pakistan is to strip the nation of its prized nuclear arsenal, which is now on a path to becoming the world’s fifth largest, said the Pakistani official closely involved in the decision on reducing the American presence.
-----------
In a rare public rebuke, a White House report to Congress last week described the Pakistani efforts against the militants as disappointing.

At the time of his arrest, Mr. Davis was involved in a covert C.I.A. effort to penetrate one militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, which has ties to Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment, has made deepening inroads in Afghanistan, and is perceived as a global threat.
------------
In addition to the withdrawal of all C.I.A. contractors, Pakistan is demanding the removal of C.I.A. operatives involved in “unilateral” assignments like Mr. Davis’s that the Pakistani intelligence agency did not know about, the Pakistani official said.

An American official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said without elaborating that the Pakistanis had asked “for more visibility into some things” — presumably the nature of C.I.A. covert operations in the country — “and that request is being talked about.”

General Kayani has also told the Obama administration that its expanded drone campaign has gotten out of control, a Pakistani official said. Given the reluctance or inability of the Pakistani military to root out Qaeda and Taliban militants from the tribal areas, American officials have turned more and more to drone strikes, drastically increasing the number of attacks last year.

The drone campaign, which is immensely unpopular among the Pakistani public, had morphed into the sole preserve of the United States, the Pakistani official said, since the Americans were no longer sharing intelligence on how they were choosing targets. The Americans have also extended the strikes to new parts of the tribal region, like the Khyber area near the city of Peshawar.
-----------
“Kayani would like the drones stopped,” said another Pakistani official who met with the military chief recently. “He believes they are used too frequently as a weapon of choice, rather than as a strategic weapon.” Short of that, General Kayani was demanding that the campaign return to its original, more limited, scope and remain focused narrowly on North Waziristan, the prime militant stronghold.
----------
General Kayani’s request to reduce the number of Special Operations troops by up to 40 percent would result in the closing of the training program begun last year at Warsak, close to Peshawar, an American official said.
.....

Riaz Haq said...

For readers who find it hard to believe RAW or CIA working with Taliban, here are a few questions:

1. Do you know that Hamas was created by Mossad?

2. Do you know that CIA has infiltrated al Qaeda and Taliban ranks?

3. Do you know that Raymond Davis was working with LeT when he was arrested in Lahore?

4. Did you ever hear about the Khost incident where a CIA recruit to infiltrate AQ turned against the CIA and killed several CIA agents and contractors?

Answers to the above can found in the same media, ranging from NY Times, Wall St Journal, Haaretz, New Yorker, that are often quoted as credible.

As a sample of reports on Mossad-Hamas close ties, here's one story by the Wall Street Journal:

Surveying the wreckage of a neighbor's bungalow hit by a Palestinian rocket, retired Israeli official Avner Cohen traces the missile's trajectory back to an "enormous, stupid mistake" made 30 years ago.

"Hamas, to my great regret, is Israel's creation," says Mr. Cohen, a Tunisian-born Jew who worked in Gaza for more than two decades. Responsible for religious affairs in the region until 1994, Mr. Cohen watched the Islamist movement take shape, muscle aside secular Palestinian rivals and then morph into what is today Hamas, a militant group that is sworn to Israel's destruction.

Instead of trying to curb Gaza's Islamists from the outset, says Mr. Cohen, Israel for years tolerated and, in some cases, encouraged them as a counterweight to the secular nationalists of the Palestine Liberation Organization and its dominant faction, Yasser Arafat's Fatah. Israel cooperated with a crippled, half-blind cleric named Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, even as he was laying the foundations for what would become Hamas. Sheikh Yassin continues to inspire militants today; during the recent war in Gaza, Hamas fighters confronted Israeli troops with "Yassins," primitive rocket-propelled grenades named in honor of the cleric.


http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123275572295011847.html

Riaz Haq said...

Is there a difference between "infiltrating" and "working with" as reported about Raymond Davis and LeT?

Let's not forget that CIA moles also facilitate the work of the "bad guys" in the orgs they infiltrate, as was the case with Switzerland's Tinner family, Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, Urs and Marco, who infiltrated the AQ Khan network and helped him for years in nuclear proliferation for personal profit, according to NY Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/24/world/europe/24nukes.html?_r=1

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts from a CNN report on the closure of Shamsi airfield in Pakistan used by the CIA to launch drone strikes in FATA region:

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- A senior Pakistani intelligence official told CNN Friday that U.S. military personnel have left a southern base said to be a key hub for American drone operations in the country's northwestern tribal areas.

It is the Shamsi Air Base in Pakistan's Balochistan Province, from which drones are said to take off and where they are refueled for operations against Islamic militants.

The development comes amid a public furor over American drone attacks, which have killed civilians.

A suspected U.S. drone strike Friday in the Pakistani tribal region killed 25 people, including eight civilians and 17 militants, a Pakistani intelligence source said. This came after another strike on March 17 killed 44 people, most of them civilians.
---------
The departure of American personnel -- if confirmed -- would be significant because of increasing strain between Islamabad and Washington sparked by the continuing drone attacks and by the Raymond Davis affair, in which a CIA contractor fatally shot two Pakistani men in a Lahore neighborhood.

It has always been unclear how many drone bases the United States operates in or near Pakistan. But the Friday attack in North Waziristan that killed 25 people would indicate the United States maintains the capability to strike tribal areas with drones.

Carl Forsberg, research analyst at the Institute for the Study of War think tank, said he doesn't think the alleged move will affect the effort using drones to target the Haqqani Network and other militant groups holed up in the tribal region.

That's because many strikes have been conducted from closer bases, such as those across the Pakistani border in eastern Afghan provinces. He said the Pakistanis could be making the alleged move to appease a populace angry at the United States.

The southern air base, he said, doesn't appear to be integral to the tribal area fight and is probably a supporting base.

"It's not like the Pakistanis shut down the program," he said. "It's possible they want to do this as a means of pre-empting drone strikes in Balochistan," where there is a Taliban presence.

"The United States has an interest in going after the Taliban in Balochistan" he said, and in an ideal world the United States would like to target Taliban sanctuaries in that region with drones.

Also, he said, it's possible the Pakistanis are using pressure on the United States to offset any U.S. pressure on them.

He said it's no coincidence that the development emerged after Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, visited Islamabad.

In an interview that aired Wednesday on Pakistan's Geo TV, Mullen spoke forcefully about the Haqqani Network, which he said "very specifically facilitates and supports the Taliban who move in Afghanistan, and they're killing Americans."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an LA Times story about new Wikileaks disclosures worsening already bad CIA-ISI ties:

Authorities at the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, regarded Pakistan's national intelligence agency, or ISI, as either involved in or supporting terrorism, according to leaked documents made public Monday, a designation that could anger leaders in the nuclear-armed Muslim country and worsen a relationship already marred by deep distrust.
-----------
But the latest disclosure, made in a new round of documents obtained and released by the website WikiLeaks that focuses on U.S. handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, comes at a time when relations between Washington and Islamabad are at one of their lowest points.

The September 2007 document, entitled "Matrix of Threat Indicators for Enemy Combatants," lists the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, Pakistan's main intelligence agency, as one of 65 "terrorist and terrorist support entities." The list, which also includes Al Qaeda, Hamas, Hezbollah and the Taliban, was drafted to help interrogators at Guantanamo determine a detainee's linkage with terrorist organizations and what future threat the individual may pose.

"Through associations with these groups and organizations," the document states, "a detainee may have provided support to Al Qaeda or the Taliban, or engaged in hostilities against U.S. or coalition forces."

Pakistani intelligence officials refused to comment Monday on the document. The country's intelligence community previously has denied any links with militant groups.

The ISI has been long said to have nurtured ties with Afghan mujahedin groups who years ago battled Soviet forces and later evolved into insurgents fighting U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. The ISI also fostered the growth of militant groups fighting Indian troops in the disputed region of Kashmir — groups that have carried out terrorist strikes within Pakistan and coordinate with Al Qaeda.

The CIA has channeled hundreds of millions of dollars directly to the ISI since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, some of which is supposed to help pay for the capture or killing of Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.
--------
In recent months, there has been a near-freeze in cooperation between the CIA and the ISI, a conflict fueled largely by the case of Raymond Davis, the American who shot to death two Pakistani men in Lahore on Jan. 27. Davis has said the men were trying to rob him. Angered by the revelation that Davis was a CIA contractor, the ISI put joint operations with the CIA on hold and later demanded a sharp reduction in the number of the American intelligence agency's operatives in Pakistan, as well as detailed information on the assignments of its remaining personnel.
------------
U.S. frustration with Pakistan has centered on Washington's long-held suspicions that the ISI provides support and sanctuary to the Haqqani network, believed responsible for many of the attacks on U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty Organization forces in eastern Afghanistan.

Among the documents disclosed by WikiLeaks was a report on the interrogation of Guantanamo detainee Harun Afghani, an Afghan militant who talked of direct support given by the ISI to militants fighting in Afghanistan in 2006. Afghani told interrogators that an ISI officer paid $11,700 to a militant who was transporting ammunition to a weapons depot operated by the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Afghani also told interrogators about a meeting in August 2006 between Pakistani military and intelligence officials and commanders from Al Qaeda, the Taliban and the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba to discuss ratcheting up attacks in the provinces of Kapisa, Kunar, Laghman and Nangarhar in eastern Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

A Guardian newspaper report says that "An al-Qaida operative accused of bombing two Christian churches and a luxury hotel in Pakistan in 2002 was at the same time working for British intelligence, according to secret files on detainees who were shipped to the US military's Guantánamo Bay prison camp."

Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili
CIA believed Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili ‘withheld important information’ from British intelligence, the files reveal.

Adil Hadi al Jazairi Bin Hamlili, an Algerian citizen described as a "facilitator, courier, kidnapper, and assassin for al-Qaida", was detained in Pakistan in 2003 and later sent to Guantánamo Bay.

But according to Hamlili's Guantánamo "assessment" file, one of 759 individual dossiers obtained by the Guardian, US interrogators were convinced that he was simultaneously acting as an informer for British and Canadian intelligence.

After his capture in June 2003 Hamlili was transferred to Bagram detention centre, north of Kabul, where he underwent numerous "custodial interviews" with CIA personnel.

They found him "to have withheld important information from the Canadian Secret Intelligence Service and British Secret Intelligence Service … and to be a threat to US and allied personnel in Afghanistan and Pakistan".

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an Op Ed by a retired Indian diplomat KH Bhadrakumar published in The Hindu:

The fact of the matter is that the U.S. has been holding direct talks with the Taliban. It has been able to do this largely because of the extensive intelligence network it has created in Pakistan — which became possible because Islamabad allowed it to happen. That, ironically, enables Washington to dispense with the good offices of the Pakistani military and the ISI, and opt for direct interaction with the insurgent groups. The U.S. intelligence network within Pakistan has penetrated the range of insurgent groups — the Afghan Taliban, the “Pakistan Taliban,” and non-Taliban (Afghan and Pakistani) militant groups. Evidently, if the drone attacks are becoming more “result-oriented,” it is due to real-time intelligence inputs. During the six weeks of gruelling interrogation of U.S. intelligence operative Raymond Davis, the Pakistani military caught on to a host of home truths. By now, the Pakistani military would have a fair idea of the extent of the American intelligence network and its potential to play merry havoc by splintering insurgent groups, pitting one group against another, manipulating factionalism within groups, monitoring the terror network and, conceivably, even turning some of the insurgent groups into instruments of U.S. regional policies. (Tehran insists that the U.S. is indulging in covert operations in Pakistan and Iran.)

Suffice it to say the Pakistani military leadership wishes to draw a redline for the U.S.' covert operations so that Washington will be compelled to deal with militant Afghan groups through the single window of the ISI — within the parameters set by what old-timers call the “[Ronald] Reagan rules” during the Afghan jihad of the 1980s. There is hardly any leeway for Pakistan to compromise on this demand, which aims at revising the ground rules of the U.S.-Pakistan strategic partnership in the conduct of the Afghan war (based hitherto on unspoken, unwritten, ever-deniable and flexible templates of collaboration).
-----------
Of course, Pakistan is justified in wondering what is there for it in this scenario. This wasn't how the war was supposed to end. Obviously, Washington's priorities will change once the intensity of the fighting declines. For one thing, the U.S. aid flow will decline. Once the U.S. strengthens its direct line to the insurgents, its dependence on the Pakistani military can only decline. But Pakistan's objective of gaining “strategic depth” in Afghanistan remains elusive. Equally, Pakistan will be left grappling with an assortment of militant groups along its long, disputed border with Afghanistan that have been highly radicalised by the U.S.-led war. These include some groups which have been alienated one way or the other by Pakistan's role as the U.S.' “key non-NATO ally.”

Pakistan faces an existential crisis in its Pashtun tribal tract that has borne the brunt of the U.S.-led war. As last Saturday's London Times report shows, there will be all sorts of attempts to muddy the waters. It suits the U.S. strategy to give the Afghan endgame the exaggerated overtones of an India-Pakistan turf war. The Indian establishment acted wisely to open dialogue with Pakistan in Mohali.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Wall Street Journal report saying Pakistan wants Karzai to dump US:

Pakistan is lobbying Afghanistan's president against building a long-term strategic partnership with the U.S., urging him instead to look to Pakistan—and its Chinese ally—for help in striking a peace deal with the Taliban and rebuilding the economy, Afghan officials say.
----------
Pakistan enjoys particular leverage in Afghanistan because of its historic role in fostering the Taliban movement and its continuing support for the Afghan Taliban insurgency. Washington's relations with Pakistan, ostensibly an ally, have reached their lowest point in years following a series of missteps on both sides.

Pakistani officials say they no longer have an incentive to follow the American lead in their own backyard. "Pakistan is sole guarantor of its own interest," said a senior Pakistani official. "We're not looking for anyone else to protect us, especially the U.S. If they're leaving, they're leaving and they should go."
-----------
The leaks about what went on at the April 16 meeting officials appear to be part of that effort. Afghans in the pro-U.S. camp who shared details of the meeting with The Wall Street Journal said they did so to prompt the U.S. to move faster toward securing the strategic partnership agreement, which is intended to spell out the relationship between the two countries after 2014. "The longer they wait…the more time Pakistan has to secure its interests," said one of the pro-U.S. Afghan officials.
-------

Yet in a reflection of U.S. concerns about Pakistan's overtures, the commander of the U.S.-led coalition, Gen. David Petraeus, has met Mr. Karzai three times since April 16, in part to reassure the Afghan leader that he has America's support, and to nudge forward progress on the partnership deal, said Afghan and U.S. officials.
----------
Formal negotiations on the so-called Strategic Partnership Declaration began in March. Details of talks between U.S. and Afghan negotiators so far remain sketchy. The most hotly contested issue is the possibility of long-term U.S. military bases remaining in Afghanistan beyond 2014 to buttress and continue training Afghan forces and carry on the fight against al Qaeda.
-----------
The opening of talks in March was enough to raise alarms among Afghanistan's neighbors. Senior Iranian and Russian officials quickly made treks to Kabul to express their displeasure at the possibility of a U.S. military presence after 2014, Afghan officials said. The Taliban have always said they wouldn't sign on to any peace process as long as foreign forces remain.
------------
Mr. Gilani repeatedly referred to America's "imperial designs," playing to a theme that Mr. Karzai has himself often embraced in speeches. He also said that, to end the war, Afghanistan and Pakistan needed to take "ownership" of the peace process, according to Afghans familiar with what was said at the meeting. Mr. Gilani added that America's economic problems meant it couldn't be expected to support long-term regional development. A better partner would be China, which Pakistanis call their "all-weather" friend, he said, according to participants in the meeting. He said the strategic partnership deal was ultimately an Afghan decision. But, he added, neither Pakistan nor other neighbors were likely to accept such a pact.
----------
Although a U.S. ally, Pakistan has its own interests in Afghanistan, believing it needs a pliant government in Kabul to protect its rear flank from India. Pakistani officials regularly complain of how India's influence over Afghanistan has grown in the past decade. Some Pakistani officials say the presence of U.S. and allied forces is the true problem in the region, not the Taliban.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story about shifting loyalties of a Libyan who has gone from being a US ally to an adversary and back to being an ally in Libya again:

For more than five years, Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu was a prisoner at the Guantánamo Bay prison, judged “a probable member of Al Qaeda” by the analysts there. They concluded in a newly disclosed 2005 assessment that his release would represent a “medium to high risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies.”

Today, Mr. Qumu, 51, is a notable figure in the Libyan rebels’ fight to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, reportedly a leader of a ragtag band of fighters known as the Darnah Brigade for his birthplace, this shabby port town of 100,000 people in northeast Libya. The former enemy and prisoner of the United States is now an ally of sorts, a remarkable turnabout resulting from shifting American policies rather than any obvious change in Mr. Qumu.

He was a tank driver in the Libyan Army in the 1980s, when the Central Intelligence Agency was spending billions to support religious militants trying to drive Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. Mr. Qumu moved to Afghanistan in the early 1990s, just as Osama bin Laden and other former mujahedeen were violently turning against their former benefactor, the United States.

He was captured in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a member of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and sent to Guantánamo — in part because of information provided by Colonel Qaddafi’s government.

“The Libyan Government considers detainee a ‘dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts,’ ” says the classified 2005 assessment, evidently quoting Libyan intelligence findings, which was obtained by The New York Times. “ ‘He was known as one of the extremist commanders of the Afghan Arabs,’ ” the Libyan information continues, referring to Arab fighters who remained in Afghanistan after the anti-Soviet jihad.

When that Guantánamo assessment was written, the United States was working closely with Colonel Qaddafi’s intelligence service against terrorism. Now, the United States is a leader of the international coalition trying to oust Colonel Qaddafi — and is backing with air power the rebels, including Mr. Qumu.

The classified Guantánamo assessment of Mr. Qumu claims that he suffered from “a non-specific personality disorder” and recounted — again citing the Libyan government as its source — a history of drug addiction and drug dealing and accusations of murder and armed assault.

In 1993, the document asserts, Mr. Qumu escaped from a Libyan prison, fled to Egypt and went on to Afghanistan, training at a camp run by Mr. bin Laden. At Guantánamo, Mr. Qumu denied knowledge of terrorist activities. He said he feared being returned to Libya, where he faced criminal charges, and asked to go to some other country where “You (the United States) can watch me,” according to a hearing summary.

Nonetheless, in 2007, he was sent from Guantánamo to Libya and released the next year in an amnesty for militants.

Colonel Qaddafi has cited claims about Mr. Qumu’s past in statements blaming Al Qaeda for the entire Libyan uprising. American officials have nervously noted the presence of at least a few former militants in the rebels’ ranks.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an ABC News report on Navy Seals operation to kill Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan:

The Navy SEAL team of military operatives who killed Osama bin Laden in a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan on Sunday night was made up of some of the best-trained troops in the world. SEAL Team Six, the "Naval Special Warfare Development Group," was the main force involved in Sunday's firefight.

The daring operation began when two U.S. helicopters flew in low from Afghanistan and swept into the compound where Osama bin Laden was thought to be hiding late Sunday night Pakistan time, or Sunday afternoon Washington time. Twenty to 25 U.S. Navy SEALs disembarked from the helicopters as soon as they were in position and stormed the compound. The White House says they killed bin Laden and at least four others with him. The team was on the ground for only 40 minutes, most of that was time spent scrubbing the compound for information about al Qaeda and its plans.

The Navy SEAL team on this mission was supported by helicopter pilots from the 160th Special Ops Air Regiment, part of the Joint Special Operations Command. The CIA was the operational commander of the mission, but it was tasked to Special Forces.

U.S. Navy Sea, Air and Land Teams, commonly known as SEAL Teams, are the best of the best. Their creed is to be "a special breed of warrior ready to answer our nation's call."


In an interview with ARY TV, retired Pakistani Army chief Aslam Beg speculated that the Americans may have jammed Pakistani air defense system to avoid detection during the operation reportedly carried out by US helicopters flying in from Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of an Op Ed by former Indian diplomat K. Bhadrakumar published in The Hindu:

It all goes back to the detention of the U.S. intelligence operative and former army man, Raymond Davis, in Lahore in January in circumstances that are not still quite clear. At any rate, ever since Mr. Davis' detention in January, the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has been in disarray. Mr. Davis was kept under detention for two months and subjected to intense grilling. It stands to reason that the Pakistani authorities got to know all that they wanted to know and were afraid to ask their American allies for quite some time about the gamut of their covert activities in Pakistan — vis-à-vis insurgent groups and the Pakistani military and security establishment. The chilling truth is that U.S. President Barack Obama personally intervened to get Mr. Davis released but Pakistan held on to him for yet another month in an extraordinary display of defiance. Suffice to say, the alchemy of the U.S.-Pakistan relationship has since changed almost unrecognisably — from both ends.

Pakistan promptly began acting on Mr. Davis' revelations and drew the famous “red lines” — asking the U.S. (and the British) military personnel to leave; demanding that the U.S. cease its covert operations on Pakistani soil; insisting that future cooperation in intelligence should be based on explicit ground rules. In short, Pakistan understood that the U.S. had gone about establishing direct talks with the Taliban, keeping it out of the loop. A fundamental contradiction has arisen. Pakistan's cooperation in the U.S.-led war — starting from the seminal understanding reached between the two countries following the crucial visit by Secretary of State Colin Powell to Islamabad on October 16, 2001 — has been predicated on the American pledge that Islamabad would be a key player in any Afghanistan settlement and Washington would accommodate Pakistan's legitimate security interests.

But then, the war has transformed, the regional environment has changed and U.S.' priorities have changed. What began as a Texan-style revenge act against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington is today imbued with the hidden agenda of the U.S.' regional strategies. It has become imperative for the U.S. to deal directly with the Taliban and not through intermediaries. Admittedly, the U.S. is looking for an end to the war and is willing to accommodate the Taliban, provided the latter acquiesces to its military bases in Afghanistan.

However, Washington has factored in that after the Davis affair, there is no way Pakistan would cooperate with a U.S. strategy to establish a permanent military presence in Afghanistan. Put simply, Pakistan can never trust the U.S.' intentions and Washington is aware of that. Thus was born the U.S. counterstrategy to turn the table on Pakistan. The sudden pullout of U.S. troops from Pech valley in the province of Kunar in eastern Afghanistan began on February 15 while Mr. Davis was under detention, and it was completed in two months' time. What followed since then was entirely predictable — various insurgent groups ranging from the Afghani and Pakistani Taliban, Hizb-i-Islami, al-Qaeda affiliates and the Lashkar-e-Taiba have consolidated their safe haven in Kunar. Unsurprisingly, the U.S. intelligence has already made contacts with some of them. Therefore, what began happening since May along the Durand Line can be aptly described as a “low-intensity war” against Pakistan.

Cross-border attacks, shelling, terrorist strikes and wanton destruction have become a daily occurrence. Armed groups come down from Kunar and neighbouring provinces to attack Pakistani forces, which retaliate with artillery fire; ....


http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/lead/article2216759.ece

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Wired.com article describing US Navy Seals raids in Pakistan as routine:

U.S. special operations forces have regularly and “surreptitiously” slipped into Pakistan in recent years, raiding suspected terrorist hideouts on Pakistani soil. The team that killed Osama bin Laden — those guys alone had conducted “10 to 12″ of those missions before they hit that infamous compound in Abbottabad.

In a remarkable story for this week’s New Yorker, Nicholas Schmidle puts together the most detailed picture so far of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. But the most combustible component of the explosive article might be the disclosure that U.S. commandos sneak into Pakistan on the regular.

Over the last week, current and one-time top officials have debated the wisdom of the U.S. launching unilateral strikes in places like Pakistan. Former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told a gathering of security professionals in Aspen that the attacks weren’t worth the local antipathy they generated. Retired Gen. Doug Lute, who oversees Afghanistan and Pakistan strategy at the White House, admitted that there was a major “humiliation factor.” But he told the conference that now was the time to “double down” on the raids, with al-Qaida in disarray. “We need to go for the knockout punch.”

Most people in the audience assumed Lute was talking about additional drone attacks. Perhaps Navy SEALs would deliver the hit, instead.

In many minds, that decisive blow landed last May, when Navy SEALs took out the world’s most wanted terrorist. Schmidle’s piece confirms much of what we already knew about the bin Laden raid: yes, they used a stealthy spy drone and a radar-evading Black Hawk and a particularly ferocious dog; yes, bin Laden was unarmed; yes, the SEALs found his porn.

But Schmidle reveals tons of new details, too. One SEAL bear-hugged bin Laden’s wives, to keep them from detonating suicide vests (an unnecessary precaution, it turns out). The commandos considered tunneling into the compound — until overhead imagery showed that the water table would prevent any digging. At least three of the SEALs were part of the operation that rescued Maersk Alabama captain Richard Phillips from Somali pirates.

Since the bin Laden raid, the government of Pakistan claimed it was kicking dozens of U.S. military trainers out of the country. Islamabad made noises about shutting down a base from which U.S. drones took off. Generally, relations between the two countries have gone into the toilet.

But the drone attacks haven’t let up. Will the special operations raids continue, as well? Or was the bin Laden operation the final mission?



One side note: at last week’s Aspen Security Forum, Special Operations Command chief Adm. Eric Olson refused again and again to answer questions about the bin Laden raid. Too much had been disclosed already. “For the special operations community, the 15 minutes of fame lasted about 14 minutes too long,” Olson said. But the admiral – who oversaw the mission, is responsible for all special operations forces, and almost certainly approved Schmidle’s access to his troops – did offer one thought: the raid was routine. A “dozenish” of these kill-or-capture missions were launched every night, mostly in Afghanistan. “Eleven went left,” Olson noted, “one went right.”

Interestingly, a senior Defense Department official talking to Schmidle used almost identical language. “Most of the missions take off and go left,” he said. “This one took off and went right.” Perhaps it’s not so bad if those 15 minutes last another second or two longer.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an MSNBC report about US contingency plans to "secure" Pakistani nuclear weapons:

It’s no secret that the United States has a plan to try to grab Pakistan’s nuclear weapons -- if and when the president believes they are a threat to either the U.S. or U.S. interests. Among the scenarios seen as most likely: Pakistan plunging into internal chaos, terrorists mounting a serious attack against a nuclear facility, hostilities breaking out with India or Islamic extremists taking charge of the government or the Pakistan army.

In the aftermath of the bin Laden raid, U.S. military officials have testified before Congress about the security of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and the threat posed by “loose nukes” – nuclear weapons or materials outside the government’s control. And earlier Pentagon reports also outline scenarios in which U.S. forces would intervene to secure nuclear weapons that were in danger of falling into the wrong hands.

But out of fear of further antagonizing an important ally, officials have simultaneously tried to tone down the rhetoric by stressing progress made by Islamabad on the security front.

Such discussions of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, now believed to consist of as many as 115 nuclear bombs and missile warheads, have gotten the attention of current and former Pakistani officials. In an interview with NBC News early this month, Musharraf warned that a snatch-and-grab operation would lead to all-out war between the countries, calling it “total confrontation by the whole nation against whoever comes in.”

“These are assets which are the pride of Pakistan, assets which are dispersed and very secure in very secure places, guarded by a corps of 18,000 soldiers,” said a combative Musharraf, who led Pakistan for nearly a decade and is again running for president. “… (This) is not an army which doesn't know how to fight. This is an army which has fought three wars. Please understand that.”

Pervez Hoodboy, Pakistan’s best known nuclear physicist and a human rights advocate, rarely agrees with the former president. But he, too, says a U.S. attempt to take control of Pakistan’s nukes would be foolhardy.

“They are said to be hidden in tunnels under mountains, in cities, as well as regular air force and army bases,” he said. “A U.S. snatch operation could trigger war; it should never be attempted.”

Despite such comments, interviews with current and former U.S. officials, military reports and even congressional testimony indicate that Pakistan’s weaponry has been the subject of continuing discussions, scenarios, war games and possibly even military exercises by U.S. intelligence and special operations forces regarding so-called “snatch-and-grab” operations.

“It’s safe to assume that planning for the worst-case scenario regarding Pakistan nukes has ready taken place inside the U.S. government,” said Roger Cressey, former deputy director of counterterrorism in the Clinton and Bush White House and an NBC News consultant. “This issue remains one of the highest priorities of the U.S. intelligence community ... and the White House.”


http://openchannel.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2011/08/03/7189919-us-prepares-for-worst-case-scenario-with-pakistan-nukes

Riaz Haq said...

Leaked emails by wikileaks suggest that dead Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad was working for the CIA. The emails show Stratfor's web of informers, pay-off structure, payment laundering techniques and psychological methods:

Email-ID 1644311
Date 2011-06-01 15:50:16
From burton@stratfor.com
To sean.noonan@stratfor.com, hoor.jangda@stratfor.com, secure@stratfor.com
The most interesting aspect is the killing of a journalist. Fine line
between an investigative journalist and spy. When you rattle around
topics nobody wants aired, you pay the price. Truth tellers always get
shot. Its much easier to lie or make up stories.

On 6/1/2011 8:46 AM, Sean Noonan wrote:

http://www.amazon.com/Bloodmoney-Novel-Espionage-David-Ignatius/dp/0393078116/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1306935919&sr=8-1

i don't think we're going anywhere with this SSS thing, though it is
interesting.
On 6/1/11 8:41 AM, Fred Burton wrote:

The poor bastard went down the rabbit hole and was neutralized.

ISI is fully infiltrated by sympathizers and operatives. So, he was
killed by ISI. Will we find a smoking gun? No. Will anybody care
about this dude? Not really. The Agency lost an asset. Life goes
on. There is a reason the CIA set up unilateral operations in
Pakistan.

Suggest everyone read David Ignatius new book on CIA NOC and front
company operations in Pakistan. Once again, he has gotten dead
right.

On 6/1/2011 8:06 AM, Sean Noonan wrote:

the question, though, is still who did it.

It means very different things if it is the ISI, the traditional
military, or the jihadists. Then a question of who within those
groups can also mean different things. Not saying we can answer that
very easily, but who specifically killed who (with the support of
who) would explain if there is an issue or not. Operating between
the intelligence services and jihadists is a very, very dangerous
place- so it's not all that surprising that these deaths occur. And
as tensions go up, so will those deaths. But we would have to know
the same people were involved in the deaths to really know what 'the
issue' actually is.
On 6/1/11 7:59 AM, Kamran Bokhari wrote:

The issue is not the man himself (though I am personally spooked
out because I knew him and we met not too long ago and he wrote on
my fb wall a day before he went missing). Instead the issue is the
growing number of deaths of people who have been supportive of
jihadists. Recall KK and Col Imam and now Triple-S. The other
thing is that each of these 3 people were with the ISI at one
point. A former army chief confirmed to me that SSS was at one
point on the payroll. Each of these guys had a falling out with
the official ISI but maintained links deep within the service.
These guys have also had ties to jihadists of one type while
pissing off other more radical types.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T


http://wikileaks.org/gifiles/docs/1644311_re-pakistan-journalist-vanishes-is-the-isi-involved-.html

http://books.google.com/books?id=fQLfrQzfpxsC&printsec=frontcover&dq=bloodmoney&hl=en&sa=X&ei=vdZcT_CSDu3KiAKNzb2ECw&ved=0CDoQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=bloodmoney&f=false

Riaz Haq said...

Washington: Leon Panetta as head of the CIA had sought setting up a parallel spy body inside Pakistan hidden from its premier intelligence agency ISI, a noted Pakistani author has disclosed, adding that the recommendation along with others were accepted by the Obama Administration.

In his latest book "Pakistan on the Brink: The Future of America, Pakistan and Afghanistan", noted Pakistani author Ahmed Rashid said on Monday such a recommendation by Panetta, who then headed the CIA, was given sometime after September 2009, when the White House was conducting a long assessment of his options.

http://ibnlive.in.com/news/panetta-sought-parallel-intelligence-body-in-pak/240770-2.html

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times blog post by Huma Yusuf on conspiracy theories in Pakistan:

As the security situation in Pakistan continues to deteriorate, trading conspiracy theories has become the new national pastime. Nothing is more popular on the airwaves, at dinner parties or around tea stalls than to speculate, especially about American activities on Pakistani soil.

According to many Pakistanis, the C.I.A. used a mysterious technology to cause the devastating floods that affected 20 million people in 2010. Washington had the teenage champion for girls’ education, Malala Yousafzai, shot as part of a campaign to demonize the Pakistani Taliban and win public support for American drone strikes against them. The terrorists who strike Pakistani targets are non-Muslim “foreign agents.” Osama bin Laden was an American operative.

The Pakistani penchant for conspiracy theories results from decades of military rule, during which the army controlled the media and the shadowy Inter-Services Intelligence agency controlled much of everything else. The lack of transparency and scarcity of information during subsequent democratic rule has further fueled rumors.

Mostly, however, conspiracy theories persist because many turn out to be true.

A few years ago, Pakistan’s independent media denounced the presence in Pakistan of C.I.A. agents and private security firms like Blackwater. While U.S. and Pakistani government officials denied any such infiltration, private television channels broadcast footage of the homes of Westerners, allegedly Blackwater agents. One right-wing newspaper, The Nation, even named one Wall Street Journal correspondent as a C.I.A. spy, forcing him to leave the country.

For a time liberal Pakistanis condemned this as a witch hunt and decried poor journalistic ethics. But soon the international media disclosed that Blackwater was in fact operating in Pakistan at an airbase in Baluchistan used by the C.I.A.

Then it was revealed that the American citizen who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in January 2011 — an American diplomat, the U.S. government claimed initially — turned out to be a C.I.A. agent, just as many conspiracy theorists had surmised.

And what about those U.S. drone strikes targeting militants in Pakistan’s tribal belt? It turns out those suspicious Pakistanis were right to imagine that their own government was complicit. That became clear when, in November 2011, to protest a NATO airstrike that killed Pakistani soldiers near the border with Afghanistan, the Pakistani government ordered the C.I.A. to leave the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan, from where the drone attacks were being launched.

Other rumors concern India, Pakistan’s long-time rival. Zaid Hamid, a jihadist-turned-policy analyst, alleges that the Indian spy agency R.A.W. funds and arms the Pakistani Taliban. Some Pakistani officials accuse New Delhi of facilitating the separatist insurgency in Baluchistan.

This paranoia was confirmed this week by Chuck Hagel, the new U.S. secretary of defense. A video clip from 2011 that circulated during his confirmation hearings shows Hagel claiming that India uses Afghanistan as a “second front” against Pakistan and “has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.”

The allegation outraged the Indian government and undermined liberal Pakistanis who believe India wants a stable Pakistan and support improved bilateral ties. Meanwhile, of course, it validated those conspiracy mongers who have long warned that India wants to culturally subsume, colonize or destroy Pakistan.


http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/28/the-truthers-of-pakistan/

Riaz Haq said...

In an open society, it's very easy for #US #CIA covert operatives to penetrate and corrupt it. #democracy #Pakistan

http://n.pr/GPMWrl