Saturday, April 25, 2015

Who Killed Sabeen Mahmud? Why?

Who killed Sabeen Mahmud? Why did she have to die? Is she just another casualty of multiple wars raging in Pakistan today?  Did her assassins try to kill two birds with one stone? Amplify the Baloch insurgency coverage and demonize the ISI? These and other questions are being asked by many who loved and supported her and miss her badly. Will these questions ever be answered? I wouldn't hold my breath given Pakistan's history of high-profile assassinations since its birth. I'll still try and put some context around this tragedy.

Sabeen Mahmud 

The ink on China-Pakistan agreements was barely dry when western media and foreign-funded NGOs in Pakistan started playing up the Baloch insurgency. Is it a mere coincidence? Or a well thought-out plan to try to sabotage Pak-China alliance and massive Chinese investment in Pakistan?

Two key events have made headlines in Pakistan and elsewhere to coincide with President Xi Jinping's Pakistan visit. First, "Un-silencing Balochistan" gathering took place in Karachi at T2F NGO headed by Sabeen Mahmud after it was cancelled at LUMS. Second, an interview of Bramdagh Bugti, the man who is running the insurgency in remote parts of Balochistan from a Swiss hotel room, was widely published by western media.

Un-silencing Balochistan:

It is unfortunate that the tragic assassination of Sabeen Mahmud, a sincere and dedicated social activist, has served to divert public attention from the real issue of western-funded NGOs pushing foreign agendas to conspiracy theories about ISI plotting her assassination. Instead of discussing the reason for the Un-silencing Balochistan event coinciding with the Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Pakistan, the discussion has turned to demonizing the "big bad ISI".

Bramdagh Bugti Interview:

Bramdagh has been running a low-level insurgency in Balochistan from a Swiss hotel room for several yeas now. He was interviewed there by a German Deutsche Welle reporter and the interview was widely carried by multiple western news organizations. As expected, Bugti claimed that recent multi-billion dollar economic corridor "deal between Pakistan and China is aimed at colonizing the Balochistan province, and must be resisted".

Foreign-Funded NGOs:

There has been extensive documentation of US government funding of NGOs for the purpose of pushing US agenda around the world. The most detailed description of it became public with revelations contained in "Who Paid the Piper" by Frances Stonor Saunders. More recently, an investigative reporter Robert Parry has documented the role played by US-funded National Endowment for Democracy in destabilizing Ukraine in a piece titled "A Shadow of US Foreign Policy".

In "The Mask of Pluralism", author Joan Roelofs describes certain CIA-designated organizations, using the funds from the “dummy” foundations, funding pro-American NGOs to advance US policies.

Many countries, including India, have made several attempts to regulate foreign funding of NGOs. Just recently, Modi government has frozen the accounts of Green Peace India and put Ford Foundation on its watch list.

There are hundreds of foreign-funded NGOs operating in Pakistan. Many of them provide much needed service but some are likely being used as cover to push foreign agendas. It has been established that the CIA used one such organization to fund a fake polio vaccination campaign in Abbotabad as part of its hunt for Usama Bin Laden.

The Clinton Foundation, headed by former US President Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary, the former secretary of state, has come under severe criticism for accepting millions of dollars from foreign contributors. American media are demanding full disclosure and transparency from the couple. Shouldn't it also apply to foreign donations flowing into NGOs in Pakistan?

Baloch Insurgency Facts:

Balochistan insurgency is much bigger phenomenon in the media than its reality on the ground in Pakistan. In spite of well-known foreign funding and support, the fact is that Baloch insurgency is made up of a few insurgents who are deeply divided among themselves. So far, it's been little more than a nuisance for Pakistani military, according to Col. Ralph Peters, a US intelligence operative who has worked closely with BLA leadership.

Here's an excerpt of a Huffington Post Op Ed on Baloch insurgents:

According to Peters, one of the most serious issues with the Baloch independence movement is "deeply troubling" infighting. In fact, he is emphatic in his condemnation of such bickering; going so far as to assert: "they are quickly becoming their own worse enemies." 

In his view, individual Baloch simply don't understand that their personal feuding undermines the larger movement: "Certain Baloch fail to understand that their only hope in gaining independence is if they put their own egos and vanity aside and work together. This is the cold hard fact. They are already outgunned and outmanned. Pakistan will continue to to exploit their differences until they realize this." 

So long as the Baloch continue to engage in "petty infighting," including "savaging each other in emails," (Ralph) Peters is pessimistic they can garner widespread support in the West. In fact, he warns that such infighting could eventually put off even their staunchest supporters. 

As a result, he recommends that the Baloch leadership and activists set the example and halt their public bickering: "The Baloch leaders need to stop their severe personal attacks on each other and others. In the military, we say that you don't let an entire attack get bogged down by a single sniper. But, there are individuals out there who are causing divisions and attacking people. They tend to look at the debate as if you don't agree with me completely then you're my enemy. This undermines their cause." 

Until these leaders and activists "support the big picture," Peters offers little hope that the broader Baloch nation will be able to "work together, put aside their deep divide, and unify." This troubles Peters as he confides: "At this point, do I believe they have a good chance of achieving independence? No. But, it would be much higher in the future if they just start working together. It's frustrating that the leaders can't unite." 

Peters is also bothered by the Baloch tendancy to blame such infighting on covert operations by Pakistan's military and security services: "The region as a whole tends to blame conspiracy theories. But, I have come to believe that you never accept conspiracies when something can be explained by incompetence..."

Balochistan East Pakistan Comparison:

Balochistan is sometimes compared by some with East Pakistan. Balochistan has nothing in common with East Pakistan.

 1. Only a third of the population of Balochistan is Balochi speaking. The Baloch Nationalists are too few in number, highly disorganized and deeply divided among themselves.

2.  Almost as many ethnic Baloch people live outside of Balochistan province (in Sindh and Southern Punjab) as in Balochistan, according to Anatol Lieven (Pakistan-A Hard Country).  They are quite well integrated with the rest of the population in Pakistan. Asif Zardari, the last president of Pakistan, is an ethnic Baloch, as was former President Farooq Laghari and recent interim Prime Minister Mir Hazar Khan Khoso.  Pakistan's COAS Gen Musa was a Hazara from Balochistan.

 3. In East Pakistan, there was an election won by Sheikh Mujib with heavy mandate. Nothing like that has happened nor likely happen with a bunch of fractious Baloch tribesmen who represent only a few districts in Balochistan.  They have no political party nor do they participate in any elections as the Awami League in East Pakistan did. Even if they do so in the future, they are unlikely to win a majority in the provincial legislature given the demographics of Balochistan.

4.  Former US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said in a speech that "India has always used Afghanistan as a second front against Pakistan. India has over the years been financing problems in Pakistan".  BLA is being armed, trained and funded by India's RAW just as Mukti Bahini was in  East Pakistan. But the creation of Bangladesh required an outright Indian invasion which is highly unlikely to happen to nuclear-armed Pakistan.


Indian and western spy agencies will try and ratchet up the pressure on China and Pakistan by further fueling the insurgency in Pakistan. The issue will be played up by western and Indian media and some foreign funded NGOs in Pakistan as the work on China-Pakistan corridor proceeds and Chinese investment in Pakistan materializes.  This cynical effort could claim more innocent and well-meaning victims like Sabeen Mahmud who get caught up as pawns in the cross-fire of  international geopolitics. Pakistani leaders and people need to be aware of it and be prepared to deal with it intelligently.

Here's a video discussion on this subject:

Who killed Sabeen Mahmud? NA-246 Results prove what. Yemen from WBT TV on Vimeo.

Who killed Sabeen Mahmud- What do NA-246... by faizan-maqsood

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pak-China Industrial Corridor

American Hypocrisy on Dr. Afridi's Sentence

Post Cold War World: Pakistan-China-Russia Vs India-US-Japan

How Strategic Are China-Pakistan Ties?

Alaska Permanent Fund: A Model For Balochistan?

Has Modi Stepped Up India's Covert War in Pakistan?

Serious Issues Undermining Baloch Insurgency


Anonymous said...

Even Indian think tanks are working hard to destabilize Balochistan. Yet, some misguided Pakistanis play to emotional whims and don't see what's really going on. Source:

Nazgul Baloch said...

Sir u were right on spot bt missd da part where BLF & BLA killing each other & who's getting the blame?

Malik Siraj Akbar said...

The End of Pakistan's Baloch Insurgency?

Since its beginning in 2004, the Pakistan's Baloch insurgency is caught up in the worst infighting ever known to the general public. Different left-wing underground armed groups that had been fighting Islamabad for a free Baloch homeland have now started to attack each other's camps. If the infighting exacerbates, Islamabad will have solid reasons to rejoice the end of one of the two deadly insurgencies it has been facing for nearly a decade (the other being the Taliban insurgency).

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan as Hong Kong West: China’s New Silk Road & US Failure

Chinese President Xi Jinping made a state visit, full of pomp and circumstance, to Pakistan on Monday, but its centerpiece was a $46 billion investment in the country, dwarfing the US Congress’s $7.5 bn. program initiated in 2008. Whereas the US likes to sell useless weapons systems that either rust in warehouses or foment wars like that in Yemen, China’s investment is divided between $11 bn. in infrastructure and $35 bn. in energy.
President Xi underscored that Pakistan had been his country’s friend back in the 1960s when China was isolated on the world stage, and called Pakistan China’s “Iron Brother.” (In the 1960s India and China had had a brief border dispute, and Pakistan and India have had a long term set of struggles over Kashmir, so Pakistan and China allied, in part against India).
But the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is less about India and more about regional development for China and stabilization for Pakistan. The northwestern Xinjiang Province (pop. 22 mn.) has faced marginalization and a small separatist movement by the Uygur Muslim minority, which China sees as stirred up by the US CIA. Some Uygurs went to Afghanistan to join the Taliban. Beijing has dealt with that separatism in part by settling Han Chinese there in large numbers and in part by crackdowns. But the Communist Party now seems to hope that new forms of economic advance with bring prosperity and tranquillity. Xi said, “Our cooperation in the security and economic fields reinforce each other, and they must be advanced simultaneously.”
China’s enormous northwest is much closer to the Arabian Sea than to the port of Shanghai. It is about 2800 km. from Urumqi (pop. 4 million, the size of Los Angeles inside city limits) to Karachi, but twice as far to Shanghai. China has decided to develop its northwest by turning Pakistan into a sort of Hong Kong West. Hong Kong played, and perhaps still plays an important role as a gateway for certain kinds of foreign investment into China. In the same way, Pakistan can be a window on the world and a conduit for oil and trade into northwestern cities such as Urumqi and the smaller Kashgar (pop. 1 mn.)

Riaz Haq said...

How to Make Proxy War Succeed in BaluchistanBy Dr Amarjit Singh Issue Net Edition | Date : 20 Dec , 2014

Proxy Wars in Pakistan: Baluch Focus
Now, move to Baluchistan, which is the main site of India’s proclaimed proxy war in Pakistan. The British and Americans also have strong interest in creating an independent Baluchistan, not to mention Iran’s interest because Baluchistan is predominantly Shia, like Iran. British Prime Minister Tony Blair apparently put the idea into America’s ear that having an independent Baluchistan would solve America’s overland route problem into Afghanistan. The British SIS (or MI6) consequently initiated clandestine action with the CIA post 10/11 to foment rebellion in Baluchistan, once American troops displaced the Taliban from power in Afghanistan. Hence requisite 2 went into action. The numerical size of the rebels was relatively small when the Western powers started, but that got built to some 4-6,000 rebels, about the size of two brigades, and enough to cause turmoil, blow up army depots, harass military convoys, and launch surprise attacks at military bases. Seeing an upswing in Baluch rebellion in 2004, Musharraf sent in one division and two brigades to quash the rebellion. Soon, the octogenarian leader of Baluchistan, Nawab Akbar Bugti, Oxford-educated, and a former Governor of Baluchistan, was assassinated by Musharraf in 2006, who claimed it a victory for the Pakistani people1. In 2007, the Pakistani army resorted to indiscriminate civilian attacks in the regions of Kahan and Dera Bugti; over 200 houses were razed, and more than 100 civilians, women and children killed. In addition, Pakistani forces poured into more than a dozen cities to suppress pro-independence protests; the army further used helicopter gunships and carpet bombed entire villages in Kahan, Taratani and Kamalan Kech areas. Dozens of Baluch were shot dead in cold blood by executing squads, 400 were arrested, another 500 were kidnapped. The human rights violations were appalling.

FH said...

Riaz bhai

no constipated theories please.

She was a business owner and probably refused to pay Bhatta.

That's all.

Baloch issue is just a red herring.

Tambi Dude said...

So Pak can do it in Kashmir, Punjab and even in rest of India, but India can't return the favor ?

Riaz Haq said...

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is due to begin his first state visit to New Delhi this Monday. Almost seven months after becoming president, the three-day visit is a chance for Ghani to win hearts and minds in New Delhi.
Over the last few months, Kabul has sent confusing signals to New Delhi by its dramatic shift in foreign policy and efforts to appease Islamabad in an unprecedented way.
It is imperative that during this important visit, Ghani convince the Indian leadership that ameliorating relations with Pakistan will never undermine New Delhi's unique and historic role in Afghanistan. His message must be clear: India will remain Afghanistan's historic and strategic partner.

Ties that bind
From the moment he assumed office, Ghani endeavoured to maintain closer contacts and ties with Pakistan's military establishment.
Sending Afghan cadets for military training to Pakistan, allowing Pakistani intelligence officers to interrogate detainees in Afghan detention facilities, conducting military operations on Afghan soil at the request of Pakistan's military, are but a few examples.
According to Pakistan's interior minister and local sources in Afghanistan, Kabul has also allowed Pakistani security forces to conduct "joint military operations" in the eastern parts of Afghanistan (Nangharhar, Kunar), which Kabul and Islamabad both later rejected.
What has Kabul achieved so far in return for its sincere cooperation? Knowing that Pakistan has its grip over the leadership of the Afghan Taliban on its soil, how much has Islamabad delivered in terms of facilitating genuine peace talks with the Afghan Taliban? The answer is - as usual - only empty promises.
Today, the security situation in Afghanistan is seriously deteriorating and there are more and more terrorist attacks in different parts of the country on a daily basis. In a recent terrorist attack in the eastern city of Jalalabad, at least 35 civilians were killed and more than 100 others wounded. Two among the victims were young brothers who had been newly married.
The Afghan president's policy of appeasement towards Islamabad not only impedes the improvement of the security situation in Afghanistan but also seems to have caused a U-turn in Kabul's relations with New Delhi. Recent media reports on Ghani's upcoming trip to India suggest that New Delhi has lost ground in Afghanistan to its rival Pakistan.
Looking at India's role in Afghanistan over the last decade, one can clearly see that New Delhi's assistance to Afghanistan has been focused mainly on education, agriculture, institution-building and other areas that benefit the people of our war-torn country.

In his first state visit to India, Ghani should reinject confidence in the bilateral ties between the two South Asian neighbours and assure New Delhi that Afghanistan is committed to maintaining close and friendly relations with India as its historic friend and partner.
Ghani should emphasise that Afghanistan will never accommodate Pakistan's wish to control Afghanistan's foreign policy, especially in regard to India.
For its part, India should consider Afghanistan as its strategic priority and build upon the solid foundation of its bilateral relations with Afghanistan laid and strengthened under Ghani's predecessor, president Hamid Karzai.

Pervez said...

Yet another terrorist cell connected to Pakistan and targeting women and Shias.

ROME—Italian police arrested nine people and issued arrest warrants for nine others suspected of belonging to a group that organized attacks in Pakistan, saying the group may have also considered an attack on the Vatican and sites in Italy.

The militant group, most members of which were from Pakistan or Afghanistan, was in direct contact with former al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden before his death in 2011 as well as with the Taliban movement in Pakistan, police said Friday.

“Some of the suspects were part of the inner circle of bin Laden’s affiliates,” said Mario Carta, an officer with the security police on the island of Sardinia, which carried out the investigation. The group was based in Sardinia, but included members in seven Italian provinces, police said.

The investigation, which began in 2005, was mainly based on wiretaps of the suspects’ phone conversations.

Investigators believe the group was involved in organizing attacks in Pakistan, including a 2009 explosion in a market in the northern city of Peshawar that killed over 100 people. A car bomb ripped through the crowded Meena Bazaar, a market selling women’s clothes that Taliban zealots deemed insufficiently conservative.

The wiretaps also included mention of the Vatican and indicated the presence in Italy of a Pakistani militant who was attempting to organize attacks in Italy, Mr. Carta said.

The man left Italy without carrying out an attack there, apparently after realizing he was being monitored, police said.

“The clues indicated that the Vatican was among the possible targets,” Cagliari prosecutor Mauro Mura said at a news conference.

Mr. Mura said, however, that authorities don’t have direct evidence of that and the suspects weren’t being investigated further in relation to that angle.

The Vatican played down the threat, pointing out that it dated back five years. “It’s not a relevant fact at present and it isn’t causing any particular concern,” Vatican spokesman Rev. Federico Lombardi said.

With nine of 18 arrest warrants were carried out, police were searching for other suspects, some of whom are believed to be in Pakistan, Mr. Carta said. No one has been charged.

According to the police investigation, the network financed some of its activities through people smuggling. “They provided false employment contacts and logistic help to migrants arriving in Italy and then involved them in their illegal activities,” Mr. Carta said, but he didn’t elaborate.

Investigators said the suspects could earn as much as €7,000 ($7,600) for each migrant smuggled into Italy. Thousands of euros were carried to Pakistan by members of the group or using mediators based in other countries.

Among those arrested was an imam in the northern city of Bergamo who is suspected of collecting funds that were used to finance the group’s illegal activities in Pakistan.

Write to Giada Zampano at

masadi said...

Riaz Hack WW, you are still writing half digested, badly comprehended crap. Why are you so eql sey paidal?

Muhammad Rizwan Bhatti said...

Nice article

Unknown said...

Its a false flag operation

Anonymous said...

HAD PAKISTAN BEEN A NUCLEAR POWER IN 1971, INDIA WOULD HAVE NEVER DARED TO ATTACK EAST PAKISTAN, AND WE WOULD HAVE REMAINED UNITED FOR EVER, WITH ALL THE REGIONAL PROBLEMS RESOLVED AMICABLY. Mutinies and treasons do occur in sovereign countries, whatever the reasons may be, but all the countries crush their rebels instead of adorning them with garlands and allowing them separation. The glaring example is that of American Civil War of 1861, wherein 11 Southern States of U.S.A unilaterally declared independence from the mainland, and formed a separate Union Republic. The rebels framed their own constitution and House of Legislation, elected a President of their Union, and raised a huge regular army under the command of General Lee. Abraham Lincoln, the then President of USA, rejected the independence of 11 Southern States, and directed his Federal Army, under the command of General Grant to crush the rebels with full might. After 5 years of unprecedented bloodshed, in which about more than one million people were killed, the Federal Forces completely destroyed the rebels and restored Federal Authority over the 11 Southern States.
In Nigeria, the rebels created a separate state named as Biafra, which remained operative for sometimes, until the Federal Forces crushed the rebels, in which thousands of people were killed. After occupation of Federal Forces, Biafra ceased to exist.
Even Siri Lanka, a very small country, refused to yield to the rebels for giving them separate homeland in the South. After 27 years of bloody wars with the rebels, in which about 2 million people including 2 Prime ministers of Siri Lanka were killed, crushed its rebels completely
In 16 indian states(vibrant democracy), freedom movements are in progress, which indian army is trying to crush by ruthless massacre of the people(vibrant democracy). The whole world knows what india did in East Punjab, when the Khalistanis won a landslide victory in 1985 general elections. india dismissed their government, imposed a Presidential rule in Punjab, in utter disregard of people's mandate and then let loose indian army to commit unprecedented genocide of Sikh freedom fighters, in the process completely destroyed the Golden Temple Amritsar, due to which Sikhs rightly killed Indira Gandhi..
If all the sovereign countries of the world have a right to crush their rebels then why Pakistan cannot exercise that right????????????????

Anonymous said...


Riaz Haq said...

Excerpt From NY Times:

Who is responsible for her murder?

As Sunday’s editorial in the English-language Dawn newspaper makes plain, the answer will be hotly debated. “Clearly, in the tumultuous city of Karachi and given the variety of causes Ms. Mahmud championed, the security agencies are not the only ones perceived as suspects in her assassination. Ms. Mahmud’s work had attracted criticism and threats in the past, particularly from sections of the religious right, which viewed her promotion of the arts, music and culture with great hostility.”

The police have offered a number of possibilities. “It is a clear case of targeted killing and police are working on few possible motives of the murder,” Karachi-South Deputy Inspector General Jamil Ahmed said on Saturday. He added that an “enemy country or its intelligence agency” may have wished to give Karachi’s law-and-order situation a “complicated turn” by targeting someone like Sabeen. This is, of course, a reference to the U.S. or India—it is common for non-government organizations and rights activists in Pakistan to be accused of being “Indian agents” or dollar greedy and out to “malign” Pakistan’s interests.

At the same time, Ahmed has also said police are investigating whether Sabeen’s murder is related to “personal enmity.” According to Dawn, Sabeen’s friends and relatives informed the police that she had been receiving threats for the last “four to six weeks.”

To counter the popular belief that the intelligence agencies targeted Sabeen, the army’s public relations wing issued a rare rejoinder to critics via Twitter on Saturday, the day of the funeral.

But other narratives are also being aired: The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan have denied any involvement in the murder, and the group’s spokesperson said on Sunday that “investigation by the Taliban’s intelligence wing suggests government agencies are behind the killing.”

Sabeen was shot by two men on a motorbike, who pulled up to her car as she stopped at a traffic light near T2F. Police say there are no CCTV cameras at this traffic signal, so the identities of those two men remain a mystery. It’s a climate in which the government, the army, or the hardline militants they say they are fighting can plausibly be accused of the murder of one woman guilty of nothing more than political engagement.

We know that many are criticizing Sabeen once more, asking why she bothered to risk her own life by highlighting the cause of the Baloch activists. But I also know this: this is not the first time that Sabeen acted in a way that her critics called foolish.

In 2007, when demonstrators against then-president Pervez Musharraf needed a space to plan their next move against the dictatorial regime, Sabeen welcomed them into T2F. When warned against holding a launch for a book about Pakistani military interests, Sabeen and her partner-in-protest Zaheer Kidwai invited those threatening them to come to the café to talk about what was bothering them. “Don’t bring guns; don’t bring anything. Just come,” said Zaheer, at the time.

When Punjab governor Salmaan Taseer was shot dead in 2011 for speaking out against Pakistan’s repressive blasphemy laws, Sabeen did not shy away from welcoming talks and events at T2F to discuss what had happened. “The only thing we have said no to is motivational talks,” she said wryly at the time. When I asked her why she couldn’t just give politics and political discussion a rest, if only for a little while, she replied, “There’s politics in everything. What kind of politics are we going to tell people not to talk about? People have become apathetic and they’ve given up on their right to be political.”

Riaz Haq said...

The Indian Ministry of Home Affairs cancelled the licenses of 8,975 NGOs receiving foreign funds as they failed to comply with the rules, according to news reports on Monday (BBC, NDTV, Times of India, Economic Times). Under the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA), NGOs receiving foreign funds are required to annually provide details of the contributions received, their purpose, and source. In October last year, the government sent letters to 10,343 NGOs to submit their pending documents under FCRA. As only 229 NGOs responded, the licenses of 8,975 organizations have been cancelled. India has taken a tough stance against NGOs in the past few months. Last week, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs put grants from U.S.-based Ford Foundation on its watch list in the interest of national security. Last year, Greenpeace India was barred from accepting foreign funds.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistani lawyer Shahzad Akbar, who represents 150 victims of American drones and was twice denied entry to the U.S. to speak about them, told my Intercept colleague Ryan Devereaux how two of his child clients would likely react to Obama’s “apology” yesterday:

“Today, if Nabila or Zubair or many of the civilian victims, if they are watching on TV the president being so remorseful over the killing of a Westerner, what message is that taking?” The answer, he argued, is “that you do not matter, you are children of a lesser God, and I’m only going to mourn if a Westerner is killed.”

The British-Yemeni journalist Abubakr Al-Shamahi put it succinctly: “It makes me angry that non-Western civilian victims of drone strikes are not given the same recognition by the US administration.” The independent journalist Naheed Mustafa said she was “hugely irritated by the ‘drone strikes have killed good Westerners so now we know there are issues with drones’ stories.” The Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson this morning observed: “It is all too easy to ignore … the dubious morality of the whole enterprise — until the unfortunate victims happen to be Westerners. Only then does ‘collateral damage’ become big news and an occasion for public sorrow.”

This highlights the ugliest propaganda tactic on which the War on Terror centrally depends, one in which the U.S. media is fully complicit: American and Western victims of violence by Muslims are endlessly mourned, while Muslim victims of American and Western violence are completely disappeared.

When there is an attack by a Muslim on Westerners in Paris, Sydney, Ottawa, Fort Hood or Boston, we are deluged with grief-inducing accounts of the victims. We learn their names and their extinguished life aspirations, see their pictures, hear from their grieving relatives, watch ceremonies honoring their lives and mourning their deaths, launch campaigns to memorialize them. Our side’s victims aren’t just humanized by our media, but are publicly grieved as martyrs.

I happened to be in Canada the week of the shooting at the Parliament in Ottawa, as well as a random attack on two Canadian soldiers days earlier in a parking lot in Southern Quebec, and there was non-stop media coverage of the victims, their families, their lives:

Anonymous said...

India is doing what it should do. America is doing what it can do. So are Iran and Russia. The game will go on.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan to seek extradition of top Baloch insurgents

The government is all set to approach five countries and the United Nations to seek extradition of top Baloch insurgents accused of fomenting unrest in Balochistan which has been in the throes of a low-profile separatist insurgency since 2006.

The security agencies have identified 161 training camps of Baloch insurgents, nearly two dozen of them are believed to be located in Afghanistan and two in Iran.

“We are taking up the issue of Baloch insurgents with five countries [India, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Iran and Afghanistan],” said a top security official, who did not want to be named in this report. Dr Allah Nazar, Hyrbyair Marri, Brahumdagh Bugti, Javed Mengal
and some other wanted insurgents are commanding their fighters in the province, he added.

Hyrbyair Marri, the head of the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), has been living in self-exile in the United Kingdom where he has been granted political asylum. The BLA has been responsible for most violence in Balochistan.

Army chief General Raheel Sharif and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had taken up Marri’s issue with British officials and sought his repatriation to Pakistan, the security official said.

Brahumdagh Bugti, the founder of the Baloch Republican Army (BRA), has been living in Switzerland seeking political asylum. The BRA has been involved in attacks on security forces, national installations and civilians in Balochistan.

The security official said Islamabad through diplomatic channels was also in contact with Swiss authorities to bring Brahumdagh back to Pakistan. “The Afghan government has assured Pakistan its full support to stop Baloch insurgents from operating from its soil,” he added.

The government has requested Iran through its Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi to make maximum efforts to block the influence of some Baloch separatists operating from Iranian soil, he added. “Pakistan is considering taking up the issue of Indian involvement in Balochistan unrest at the United Nations,” he added.

Earlier this month, the government quietly expanded the scope of a targeted military operation in Balochistan with the consent of the provincial government in an effort to dismantle the training camps of insurgents, the security official said. “We have expanded the military operation in Balochistan.”

The paramilitary Frontier Corps is assisting the military in targeted operations against separatists. “IGFC Balochistan Maj Gen Sher Afgun had briefed Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan on such operations earlier this week,” he added.

The expansion of the operation came under the National Action Plan against terrorism, which is being executed by the armed forces across the country to wipe out militancy from the country, another senior official of the interior ministry told The Express Tribune.

BalochNation said...

The government is all set to approach five countries and the United Nations to seek extradition of top Baloch insurgents accused of fomenting unrest in Balochistan which has been in the throes of a low-profile separatist insurgency since 2006.


Let me tell you something. First Pakistan, sorry ISI, will have to explain the disappearance of some tribal leaders in addition to the thousands of other Balochs.

Foreign Diaspora like yourself are considered Military stooges or speak ISI talk in your blogs.

Riaz Haq said...

BN: "Let me tell you something. First Pakistan, sorry ISI, will have to explain the disappearance of some tribal leaders in addition to the thousands of other Balochs. Foreign Diaspora like yourself are considered Military stooges or speak ISI talk in your blogs."

Have the western governments accounted for all the missing in their foreign wars led by their intelligence agencies? What moral authority do they have on this issue?

As to your allegation let me quote a couple of "ISI stooges" named Malik Siraj Akbar, a Baloch separatists sympathizer, and US REtd Col Raplph Peters who supports Baloch insurgency:

First Akbar: " Since its beginning in 2004, the Pakistan's Baloch insurgency is caught up in the worst infighting ever known to the general public. Different left-wing underground armed groups that had been fighting Islamabad for a free Baloch homeland have now started to attack each other's camps. "

Second, Peters:"The Baloch leaders need to stop their severe personal attacks on each other and others. In the military, we say that you don't let an entire attack get bogged down by a single sniper. But, there are individuals out there who are causing divisions and attacking people. They tend to look at the debate as if you don't agree with me completely then you're my enemy. This undermines their cause."

Rob said...

Unknown Commentator "Even Indian think tanks are working hard to destabilize Balochistan. Yet, some misguided Pakistanis play to emotional whims and don't see what's really going on."

Please watch, Balochistan : Pakistan's other War on Aljazeera World.

The above documentary is considered very valuable since no other US or Western media was and still not allowed access unlike Qatar's Aljazeera.

This is also the 'go to documentary' because of it's neutrality and in depth analysis for foreign bureaus and correspondents in the US or the West. You will just have to take my word on it.

Riaz Haq said...

Summary of "Free Speech for Sale"

The major points of the 1999 video which explores how granting corporations free speech has allowed them use huge financial resources to manipulate media and in effect have propaganda-like power to shape public interest:

Makes its asserstions via examples of hog farming in North Carolina and tobacco industry subverting legislation and media influence on the Telecommunications Act of 1996
Shows how push polls, pseudo polls with loaded questions -- not scientific polls -- are used to call attention to a special interest issue.

Then the special or corporate interest broadcasts a blizzard of TV advertisements (called "issue ads) oriented to their particular interest and aimed at shifting attention away from important elements of the issue and refocusing them on areas that will benefit the special or corporate interest.

Front groups are groups backed by powerful interests and having a nice-sounding name. The group creases the sense that there is a growing concern of the "issue."

Issue ads are advertisements, primarily on TV, that say they are about issues and lead viewer up to the point of saying vote for the candidate supporting the view of the special interest but not mentioning the person's name -- thus, they do not fall under election campaign contribution laws

Attorney Bert Neuborne -- asserts that unfairness comes from corporations being treated like people and being given some of the same rights. Corporations were given the same free speech rights as people by a 1978 Supreme Court decision. However, they have huge amounts of money to spend in the democratic process, thus unbalancing the fairness.

The issue ad campaigns saturate TV and cable (ex. tobacco companies) and target the propaganda message at the public -- and at public officials (by suggesting in ads that people phone the officials)

This influence changes the framework of the debate. It can make it acceptable for officials to vote against a bill regulating the special interest because the ads portray the bill as being for something evil and as just another excess of big government

Phone banks are used to make mass calls to people and describe the issue (ex., bill to regulate tobacco) in a false way and patch the people through to the officials' offices.

Video argues that the intent of the First Amendment is being subverted by these tactics and that the ideas of James Madison and the founders of the nation has been changed to mean freedom of speech for those who can afford to buy media access -- and that can be afforded only by large corporations.

Also media corporations themselves contribute to the problem by being oriented toward profit and having similar business interests, especially in gaining control of the digital spectrum (which is a public resource and could have been auctioned off for billions of dollars).

Example of the selling out of who got control of that spectrum via the Telecommunications Act of 1996 --because media did not cover it, the people never knew.

Other examples used included --
a liberal talk show personality challenged the ABC/Disney merger on his show run by ABC, which then cut his show; the shrinking ownership of media, such as ESPN and ABC, Disney; Fox, FX, etc; NBC and MSNBC and CNBC; of TCI, Comcast,QVC, linked to GE and Time Warner and Sony and PBS News Hour -- now being owned by AT&T; and a segment critical of media ownership on "Saturday Night Live" being cut from reruns of the episode because it "didn't work comedically."

"They (corporate media owners) have so many deals with each other...they are more of a club"

A tremendous danger to American society exists because of all this, the video concludes. However, it says this is not a dark conspiracy -- but simply willful people uniting to acquire wealth and power.[the same two forces cited by Bagdikian in Chapter 1]

Riaz Haq said...

NY Times on foreign funding of Washington Think Tanks:

More than a dozen prominent Washington research groups have received tens of millions of dollars from foreign governments in recent years while pushing United States government officials to adopt policies that often reflect the donors’ priorities, an investigation by The New York Times has found.

The money is increasingly transforming the once-staid think-tank world into a muscular arm of foreign governments’ lobbying in Washington. And it has set off troubling questions about intellectual freedom: Some scholars say they have been pressured to reach conclusions friendly to the government financing the research.

The think tanks do not disclose the terms of the agreements they have reached with foreign governments. And they have not registered with the United States government as representatives of the donor countries, an omission that appears, in some cases, to be a violation of federal law, according to several legal specialists who examined the agreements at the request of The Times.

As a result, policy makers who rely on think tanks are often unaware of the role of foreign governments in funding the research.

Joseph Sandler, a lawyer and expert on the statute that governs Americans lobbying for foreign governments, said the arrangements between the countries and think tanks “opened a whole new window into an aspect of the influence-buying in Washington that has not previously been exposed.”

“It is particularly egregious because with a law firm or lobbying firm, you expect them to be an advocate,” Mr. Sandler added. “Think tanks have this patina of academic neutrality and objectivity, and that is being compromised.”

The arrangements involve Washington’s most influential think tanks, including the Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Atlantic Council. Each is a major recipient of overseas funds, producing policy papers, hosting forums and organizing private briefings for senior United States government officials that typically align with the foreign governments’ agendas.

Most of the money comes from countries in Europe, the Middle East and elsewhere in Asia, particularly the oil-producing nations of the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Norway, and takes many forms. The United Arab Emirates, a major supporter of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, quietly provided a donation of more than $1 million to help build the center’s gleaming new glass and steel headquarters not far from the White House. Qatar, the small but wealthy Middle East nation, agreed last year to make a $14.8 million, four-year donation to Brookings, which has helped fund a Brookings affiliate in Qatar and a project on United States relations with the Islamic world.

Riaz Haq said...

Right in the heart of Balochistan, there are islands of excellence in education, service to the community and devotion to nation-building. Unfortunately, they don’t get media attention or national recognition. The commitment of these men and women so devoted to the development of Balochistan needs to be acknowledged. My visits twice to the Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering and Management Sciences (BUITEMS), Quetta, over the past two years, reveal a very different Balochistan than the picture we usually get about the standard of higher education or about the institution-builders in our most backward province.

The university is merely 12-year-old. It is amazing to see how this institution has transformed itself into one of the outstanding places for learning in the country. The university, first housed in an abandoned textile mill on the outskirts of the city, has re-engineered and converted the buildings into an architectural marvel. Words cannot explain this change that houses some of the best facilities, laboratories, classrooms, auditoriums and sunlit corridors, lobbies and halls. Important as they are, the physical structures tell very little about the human development they facilitate.

Having visited so many of the universities in Pakistan, old and new, BUITEMS makes a lasting impression of positive change taking place in Balochistan. First, it has highly qualified faculty members, mostly with foreign degrees, and opting to serve in their home province. The congenial atmosphere of the university also continues to attract teachers from other provinces. Just to give you an idea, it has 49 PhDs working and 137 more enrolled in some of the best universities abroad. Second, it has 7,523 students from various parts of the province with representation from other provinces and Afghanistan, facilitating provincial and national diversity. Third, more than 33 per cent of the students receive financial assistance from the university. It is refreshing to see that BUITEMS is free of disruptive student politics that have ruined a good number of national universities in Balochistan and other provinces.

It is the vision, commitment and hard work of the faculty and the Vice-Chancellor, Engineer Farooq Ahmad Bazai, who have contributed to the rise of this university that offers hope and opportunity to young men and women in Balochistan to excel. There is more. Starting with the University of Balochistan, the first-ever university to be established in the province in 1972, Balochistan now has six universities in the public sector with a lot of support from the Higher Education Commission for infrastructural development and scholarships for training of faculty in foreign universities. The present Balochistan government of Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has shown far greater commitment and ownership of public education than any government in the history of the province. It now spends about 26 per cent of the budget on education.

The point is that the usual prism and the lenses we often use to look at Balochistan and the country require some dusting and realigning. Fixed views and fixed lenses never help grasp the reality of change anywhere.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan launches 'massive' air and ground anti-#Taliban offensive. #TTP via @Reuters The heavily forested ravines of the Shawal Valley are pockmarked with Taliban hideouts and the valley itself is a key smuggling route into neighbouring Afghanistan.

Pakistani jets began bombing the valley in the early hours, killing between six and 15 militants, four intelligence sources told Reuters.

"It is a massive military action against the Taliban militants and their allies in the Shawal mountains," said a government official who asked for anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about military operations.

The Pakistani Taliban controlled almost all of North Waziristan until troops launched a long-awaited offensive there in June. The Taliban still maintain control of Shawal Valley and have used it as a launching pad for attacks on Pakistani forces.

Riaz Haq said...

While a political ado is being witnessed in Pakistan on the suspected change of the Pak-China Economic Corridor route, Chinese authorities have cautioned local authorities of a possible terror attack aimed at making the project a failure.

According to them, insurgents in Balochistan have prompted security fears for the 3,000-kilometre-long route in the province, a senior security official told The Express Tribune on Friday.

He said in addition to the insurgents, many foreign hostile intelligence agencies could also extend their support to the militants to sabotage some key projects particularly on the eastern alignment — Gwadar to Quetta — where work has already started.

Read: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor: Lines of development – not lines of divide

“The Chinese have sounded a note of ‘caution’ soon after reports suggested foreign agencies’ support to militants,” said the official, who attended an important meeting discussing key issues relating to Gwadar Port and Economic Corridor at the Ministry of Defence this week.

He further said, “Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), with other hostile agencies, is at the frontline to sabotage this project – that is what Chinese intelligence agencies shared with us.”

He added that the meeting also discussed concerns the Chinese authorities reminded Pakistan’s military and civilian government about an attack on state-run installations in Gwadar district last month, which were conveyed last month.

Security measures

Meanwhile, a special security division consisting of more than 8, 000 military personnel (nine army battalions) has been trained and will guard key projects linked from Hyderabad to Karachi and Gwadar through N-10 East Bay Expressway along the coastal line, officials overseeing the security of this route said.

They further said that an estimated 9, 000 security personnel – comprising Rangers, Levies, police, scouts – making up six wings will assist the military to guard more than 15,000 Chinese workers on this route.

Moreover, a major-general-rank officer will command the entire unit. Apart from guarding the economic corridor, an estimated 8,000 security officials have already been deployed for more than 8,112 Chinese workers executing 210 projects in Pakistan.

Gwadar Airport

An official of the Ministry of Interior revealed that the security layer around the Gwadar International Airport — a project costing $230 million to start this month — has been doubled following recent threats.

A similar case of security is with China-Pakistan Friendship Hospital and Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute falling under the jurisdiction of Balochistan, he added.

Security will have to be strengthened further as around 7, 000 additional Chinese workers are expected to join the already engaged teams to execute multi-billion projects around the route connecting Kashgar with Pakistan at Kunjarab – a point from where China wants to link to Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea.

Commenting on the complex situation, former caretaker interior minister Malik Habib said the reported presence of foreign elements in Balochistan poses a big challenge for law enforcement agencies to provide security to Chinese workers.

“The economic corridor is strategically very important — many hostile agencies have started backing Baloch militants,” he said.

According to Director Pakistan Institute of Strategic Studies Amir Rana, “China’s main worry seems to be the overall security of the corridor in the near future.”

Substantiating his point, Rana said threats such as tribal feuds, militants in Diamer, Baloch insurgents, political issues, nationalist and separatists groups link directly to the corridor security.

Riaz Haq said...

#UN removes two anti-#Pakistan #NGOs from its roster in spite of no votes by #India #Israel #USA. #Balochistan …A UN committee has voted to withdraw the roster status of two Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOS) -- African Technology Development Link and African Technical Association -- which were engaged in anti-Pakistan propaganda, especially about the situation in Balochistan.

The Committee on Non-Governmental Organization, which has 19 members, vets applications submitted by non-governmental organizations, recommending general, special or roster status on the basis of such criteria as the applicant’s mandate, governance and financial regime.
Organizations enjoying general and special status can attend meetings of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) and issue statements, while those with general status can also speak during meetings and propose agenda items.

A recorded vote was held on a proposal by the delegation of Pakistan to withdraw the roster status of two accredited non-governmental organizations, African Technology Development Link and African Technical Association, with 13 members voting in favour of the withdrawal of the latter to 5 against (India, Israel, United States, Greece and Uruguay) and one member absent (Burundi).

As for African Technology Development Link, the Committee voted 12 in favour to 5 against (India, Israel, United States, Greece and Uruguay), with two members absent (Burundi, Sudan), to withdraw roster status.

Pakistan had called for consensus, not a vote but since US opposed the move, it went to a vote.

The decision will be confirmed when ECOSOC holds its session next month.

Diplomats noted that all African countries voted against these so-called African NGOs, whose credentials were dubious.
In fact, Guinea's delegate announced from the floor that the NGO "African Technology Development Link" was not registered in his country.

Taking the floor prior to the first vote, the Pakistani delegate said that the organizations in question were “maligning the good name of Africa”, as they had made false statements against other member states.
China and Sudan also supported withdrawing the consultative status of the organizations.
The Chinese delegate said that, while he was in favour of increasing the voice of civil society from developing countries at the United Nations, the organizations in question had conducted activities that smacked of political intentions and had launched “wanton political attacks” against other member states.

But the Indian representative said that a more detailed consideration was required.
“We still don’t know much about these organizations,” he said.
Every organization should follow the principles of the United Nations Charter, and India was against any organization that engaged in “naming and shaming”.
However, every group should be given a fair chance to respond to the queries of the Committee, and no decisions should be taken in a hasty manner.

The US delegate agreed that much was not known about the two organizations in question, but said withdrawing the status of two organizations from Africa — which was underrepresented — was a “drastic step”, and she wished to see the process undertaken in a more transparent manner.
The representatives from Greece, Israel and Uruguay said they shared those concerns.

Riaz Haq said...

How NGOs Became Pawns in the War on Terrorism

Independent humanitarian action, commonly if not entirely accurately thought to have begun with the so-called ‘French Doctors’ in Biafra in the late-'60s, was never as independent as either relief groups like Oxfam, Doctors Without Borders, or the International Rescue Committee, themselves liked to claim or as the general public assumed them to be. U.S. organizations in particular, despite their efforts to develop an individual donor base, were always and remain too dependent on American government funding for the claim to stand up to scrutiny. Nor were the actions of relief groups ever as apolitical as many of them liked to pretend (often including to themselves, I think). To the contrary, the formative Biafra experience itself was an exercise in the NGOs taking sides, and following their own government’s agenda in the process. Bernard Kouchner, who would go on to be one of the co-founders of Doctors Without Borders and is now the (increasingly marginalized) French foreign minister, was as pro-Biafran secession as General De Gaulle’s government in Paris. Indeed, Kouchner’s original idea was not for Doctors Without Borders to be an independent group, but rather that it stand ready as a resource at the service of governments in times of relief ‘emergencies.’

And even in the so-called ‘golden age’ of humanitarianism, the identification of NGOs with military action dates back at least to the support relief groups gave to the Afghan mujahideen during the Soviet war in Afghanistan between 1978 and 1989. In the 1990s, as Kouchner’s doctrine of so-called humanitarian intervention gained adherents in the capitals of the major NATO member states, aid in places like Somalia, Kurdistan (during and in the aftermath of the First Gulf War), and Kosovo was linked to Western political and military aims.

But not all linkage is created equal. Between the end of the Vietnam war, during which, the Quaker American Friends Service Committee apart, the mainline U.S. relief groups were largely instrumentalized to provide the ‘hearts and minds’ dimension to U.S. counterinsurgency operations, and September 11, 2001, it was not unreasonable to assume that there had been at least some shift toward an interaction between governments and NGOs that was both more nuanced and more ambiguous. But in late 2001, after the invasion of Afghanistan, then Secretary of State Colin Powell, in a speech to NGO representatives, articulated a view of their role, at least in conflict zones where U.S. forces were fighting and areas where the country had a strong national interest, that were straight out of the civil affairs-oriented counterinsurgency strategy pioneered by General Edward Lansdale in the Philippines in the 1950s and Vietnam in the early '60s. The NGOs, Powell said, were a tremendous “force multiplier” for the U.S. military, and, by extending the reach of the U.S. government, would do much to help accomplish the intervention’s goals.

As with Afghanistan, so with Iraq. In June 2003, in the aftermath of the fall of Baghdad, the administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, Andrew Natsios, instructed another audience of NGO officials that if they wanted to continue to be funded by the U.S. government they needed to emphasize their links to the government, and that, if they were not willing to do this, he would find other NGOs or for profit contractors that were, and fund them instead. Their work in the country was inextricably linked to America’s strategic goals, he said. In fairness, Natsios was not offering this Faustian bargain on a global basis–only in the theater of war, and, by extension, where the ...

Riaz Haq said...

The Islamabad headquarters of Save the Children were padlocked by police while a government notification told the group to wind up its operations and ensure that expatriate staff left within 15 days.

The expulsion of one of the world’s best known non-governmental organisations (NGOs) follows years of growing distrust towards foreign charities that security services suspect are often used as covers for intelligence work.

“There were some intelligence reports suggesting some of the international NGOs funded by US, Israel and India were involved in working on an anti-Pakistan agenda,” interior minister Chaudhry Nisar told a press conference on Friday, at which he also launched a tirade against overseas rights activists campaigning against the growing use of the death penalty by the country.

“Let me clarify: offices of any international NGO found doing anti-Pakistan activities would be shut down,” he said.

Save the Children first attracted official wrath after becoming embroiled – the organisation has always claimed unwittingly – in the CIA’s efforts in 2011 to pinpoint the location of former al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden to a compound in the town of Abbottabad.

In 2012 Islamabad gave foreign staff working for Save the Children just a week to leave the country after the country’s top spy agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), linked it to a bogus hepatitis B vaccination programme conducted in the town by a doctor called Shakil Afridi.

Under the cover of injecting householders with hepatitis B vaccine, Afridi had tried to collect DNA samples from Bin Laden family members living in the walled compound during the months before US special forces raided the building.

To the fury of US politicians, Afridi was arrested shortly after the killing of Bin Laden and sentenced to 33 years in jail by a tribal court for charges unrelated to the CIA or Bin Laden.

A leaked version of the official inquiry into the Bin Laden affair revealed Afridi told investigators a senior Save the Children official introduced him to female CIA officers, with whom he held secretive meetings in warehouses.

Afridi said they instructed him to organise a vaccination programme in Abbottabad with a particular focus on the part of town where Bin Laden’s compound was located.

Afridi insisted he had no idea he was being used by a foreign intelligence agency. Save the Children said the doctor had never been employed by them.

In a statement on Friday, the charity said it strongly objected to the sealing of its office in Islamabad and said it would raise its concerns at the highest levels.

“All our work is designed and delivered in close collaboration with the government ministries across the country and aims to strengthen public service delivery systems in health, nutrition, education and child welfare,” the statement said.

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan bans #SaveTheChildren, Warns international #NGOs: no working ‘against national interests’ via @WSJ

The U.S. State Department said late Friday that Pakistan’s dealings with international NGOs was creating difficulties for aid donors, which often implement their programs through these organizations.

“We are concerned about Pakistan’s crackdown on international charitable organizations and other NGOs,” State Department spokesman John Kirby said in a statement. “Save the Children is one of many such organizations that has long operated with transparency and in close coordination with the government of Pakistan.”

The U.S. has provided around $5 billion in civilian aid to Pakistan since 2009, with much of that money channeled through NGOs.

Pakistani authorities have been concerned in recent years that NGOs are being used as cover for espionage, especially after it was revealed in 2011 that the Central Intelligence Agency had secretly recruited a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, as part of its hunt for al

Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

According to Pakistan’s official inquiry into the bin Laden raid, the then-head of Save the Children in Pakistan introduced Dr. Afridi to CIA operatives. The doctor was recruited by the CIA to carry out a fake door-to-door vaccination campaign in Abbottabad in early 2011, to try to track down bin Laden weeks before a U.S. special-operations team found and killed the al Qaeda chief there. As a result of this purported link—denied by the charity—Save the Children’s foreign staff was ordered out of the country in 2012.

In a press briefing in September 2012, the U.S. State Department’s Patrick Ventrell, at the time acting deputy spokesman, said in answer to a question about the expulsion of Save the Children’s foreign staff members amid Pakistani allegations it played a role in the death of bin Laden: “Like other donor countries, the U.S. strongly supports the work of Save the Children in Pakistan. We are deeply concerned and have raised this issue with the Government of Pakistan and urged it to allow Save the Children to continue its important work. Independent NGOs are among the essential building blocks of any healthy democracy. So in Pakistan, as in other countries, we urge governments to help create an environment in which they can operate productively.”

NGOs in Pakistan have been accused for years by religious leaders and conservative politicians of not only spying for countries they consider enemies, but also of imposing Western values and culture on Pakistani society and working against Islam.

Pakistan began monitoring international and local NGOs last year, the Pakistani interior minister said, with the stated aim of ensuring that all organizations work within the law and the scope of operations approved by the government. Senior officials at two major international organizations said Friday they had been concerned about a government crackdown on NGOs for months.

“We want to create an environment in which all positive NGOs can work in Pakistan,” Mr. Khan said. “But we won't allow any NGO to work under the table, against Pakistan’s interests, Pakistan’s culture, Pakistan’s values.…No country would allow it.”

Riaz Haq said...

#Balochistan separatist leaders seek #Israel help amid #Pakistan crackdown - Opinion - Jerusalem Post

- from Jpost

Last July, former Balochistan communications and works minister Hyrbyair Marri, who is widely believed to be the operational commander of the Baloch Liberation Army, termed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s statement in support of an independent Kurdistan a positive step.

Marri said just like Kurds are a very important factor for the peace and stability in the Middle East, Baloch are a necessary factor to establish peace and stability in the region situated between Gulf, Central Asia and Middle East. As if to hint at a strategic alliance with Israel, Marri said an independent Balochistan will have diplomatic relations with all nations including Israel and as a responsible and dignified state will strive for peace and stability in the world alongside other peace-loving nations. He also cautioned the world against the dangers of Pakistan’s nuclear arms.

Riaz Haq said...

Brahumdagh Bugti expected soon to return to #Pakistan after 9 year self-exile to end #Balochistan insurgency. …

a source in the inner circles of Balochistan governement told RFE/RL’s Gandhara website that Bugti is months away from returning to Pakistan, marking an end of his nine-year exile which had followed the killing of his grandfather, Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti, by Pakistani security forces in 2006.

“He has agreed to come [back to Pakistan],” the website quoting an anonymous source said. “We have reached an agreement on 90 per cent of the issues.”

The source, a senior politician within Balochistan’s ruling coalition claimed Bugti indicated his willingness to return in a series of meeting with Balochistan chief minister in Switzerland this summer.

“There were two or three meetings [in July]. He [Bugti] has asked for respect and an end to all cases against him [as a pre-condition for his return],” the source was further quoted as saying.

Earlier in August, Bugti agreed to hold talks with the government on the Balochistan issue, hinting at the possibility of withdrawing demands of separation — provided that was what the people in the province wanted.

“We are ready to stay with Pakistan if our friends, well-wishers, majority of the Baloch people and political allies want the same,” the self-exiled separatist leader told the BBC Urdu in an interview in Switzerland.

This was the first time that the BRA leader, who is the grandson of former Balochistan governor and chief minister Nawab Akbar Bugti, voiced his support for talks with the government.

Riaz Haq said...

Times of India Editorial:

A year or so before Ajit Doval became national security adviser, he famously warned Pakistan that a repeat of the Mumbai 26/11attack could lead to Pakistan losing Balochistan. The Doval Doctrine – as it has now come to be known – involves what he calls a “defensive-offensive” strategy where India’s security establishment acquires a sub-conventional secondstrike capability, to be wielded as and when needed.
The Pakistan military establishment is aware that Balochistan is a natural weakness India could exploit with telling impact. In May last year, the Pakistan army’s media machinery all but accused India of fermenting secessionism there.
But here lies the twist. China – as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) – sees the Balochistan port of Gwadar as an integral part of its One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative. Indeed, as former foreign secretary Shyam Saran recently wrote, Gwadar is significant precisely because it is where China’s Maritime Silk Route (“the Road”) meets its Eurasian landbased connectivity project (“the Belt”).
The geopolitical significance of Gwadar to China makes any Indian subconventional response in Balochistan exceedingly complicated. The reality is that the same Balochi rebels who want to secede from Pakistan have also opposed Chinese activities.
This was evident last March when Balochi rebels set fire to five oil tankers servicing a Chinese company. However, it is likely that unrest in that region, organic or manipulated, that hurts Chinese interests could be viewed by Beijing (or could be sold to them), as Indian provocation.
It is also inconceivable that China would sit idle if the separatists, allegedly backed by India, move from being a mere nuisance and acquire the potential to seriously jeopardise their prize – Gwadar – of the $46 billion CPEC investment. China could initiate and enhance its support for militants in the Indian northeast, or worse, encourage and abet Pakistan’s proxy warriors.
Meanwhile, an assertive US AsiaPacific re-balance in the region – in response to China’s naval activism in the South China Sea – is likely to ensure greater US control of the Malacca Strait in order to deter the Chinese from revising marine territorial borders.
China, therefore, seeks alternative routes for its energy supply and goods, which would connect the Strait of Hormuz to a port in the Arabian Sea, along with better land connectivity through the Eurasian landmass.
Even as these new realities reshape multiple arrangements in the region, the challenge for India is to ensure that Balochistan does not transform from being Pakistan’s quagmire to another thorn in the Sino-Indian relationship. India must wean China away from the Gwadar port, and CPEC in general, by offering credible alternatives.
India could fast track its commitment to the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) corridor and invite the Chinese to set up a land connectivity corridor from Kolkata to Gandhinagar, passing through Mumbai. It should also offer to partner with the Chinese to refurbish the NH-6 linking Kolkata to Mumbai.
Finally, it should get the Chinese on-board the Sagarmala initiative, and allow the Chinese to co-develop a port off the coast of Gujarat, which would link up with the Indian-Chinese land connectivity corridor running roughly parallel to the Tropic of Cancer. The financial model for this land initiative could be along the lines of what has been proposed for the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor in collaboration with Japan, and implemented through the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank in which India is the second-largest shareholder.

I think Pakistan currently has the upper hand in both corridor diplomacy and proxy wars in the region, particularly since 2014 when Pakistan Army started acting forcefully against India's proxies, the TTP and the Baloch insurgents.

I expect India to continue to counter Pakistan in both more forcefully as CPEC nears reality.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are a few excerpts on Sardar Akbar Bugti from Economist Magazine in 2006:

To reach the cave Mr Bugti calls home, your correspondent trekked for a week through scorched valleys and moonlit hills, circumventing army pickets. Though half-crippled by thrombosis, Mr Bugti, who claims to have killed his first man at the age of twelve, was in good spirits. “It is better to die quickly in the mountain than slowly in bed,” he said, surrounded by a silent crowd of Bugti gunmen. A fan of Nietzsche and Genghis Khan, he speaks perfect English and delights in punctiliously-pronounced discourses on the love-life of camels and wreaking horrible revenge on his foes. “What is better than seeing your enemies driven before you and then taking their women to bed?” he says.

While Bugti tribesmen harry the army, a mysterious outfit, the Baluchistan Liberation Army, which the government says is also run by the sardars, is attacking policemen and soldiers across the province. Both groups are believed to have received assistance from India, across the nearby porous border with Afghanistan. In the past few years, 400 Pakistani soldiers have been killed in the conflict, as well as several hundred people in army attacks. Pakistan's Human Rights Commission has documented government atrocities, including a massacre of 12 civilians in January.

Mr Bugti has a dreadful history of oppressing his people, yet the grievances he claims to be fighting for are real. Moreover, Pakistanis see the conflict as an extension of an even more unpopular campaign General Musharraf is waging against Pushtun Islamic fundamentalists in the northern tribal areas. In the past two years, for no obvious gain, over 600 soldiers have been killed there—including six on June 26th in a suicide bomb attack in North Waziristan tribal agency.

General Musharraf is believed to be sincere in wanting to bring greater prosperity to Baluchistan—and to make it the hub of Pakistan's energy sector. Yet he seems convinced that to end its insurgency, he has only to crush the bothersome sardars. In that, though, he is wrong.

Riaz Haq said...

The Bargain Basement Sale of #Modi's #India's Sovereignty to #Washington … via @thewire_in

By drawing even closer to the United States and signing binding agreements, India is giving up years of carefully calibrated balance in its foreign policy.

This is the first of a three-part series on India’s foreign policy.

In two lacklustre years of governance the BJP has done very little to fulfil its promise of economic revival and vindicate the trust that the people of India had bestowed upon it. That may be why its propagandists have worked overtime to portray the signature of the Logistics and Supply Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) with the USA, and President Obama’s designation of India as a “major defence partner” as a huge success in his foreign policy.

With very few exceptions, commentators in the national media have fallen in line with this assessment. Only a few have noticed that in his eagerness to cement a closer defence relationship with the US Modi had given away India’s most prized asset – its zealously guarded independence of foreign policy – in exchange for a barrage of flattery and a bunch of verbal assurances that do not even add up to the proverbial thirty pieces of silver .

Declaring India a major defence partner has cost the US nothing. Unlike NATO or the US’s defence treaty with Japan, it is not a mutual defence pact and does not bind the US to coming to India’s aid if it is attacked. The most that India can possibly aspire to is a relationship somewhat similar to that of the US with Israel, where the US constantly reiterates its determination to come to Israel’s aid if it is attacked, but not via a defence treaty.

But India is not Israel. Its India-born American community is rich, and becoming politically more influential by the day. But it can never, even remotely, aspire to the power to shape US policy. American military power is not, therefore, ever likely to be deployed against India’s two main adversaries, Pakistan and China: Pakistan because it too is ‘a major non-NATO ally’, and China because it is simply too big for an already war-weary nation to take on.

In sharp contrast, the commitments that India has made to become worthy of this award (for that is all it is) are concrete, onerous and, worst of all, open-ended. Indian diplomats who have been involved in the negotiations insist that, unlike the Logistics Supply Agreement (LSA) that the US has signed with its other allies, it does not give the US Navy and Air Force an automatic right to use Indian bases while waging its wars. What it will facilitate automatically is the refuelling, restocking and repair of their craft at Indian naval and air bases during joint exercises, anti-piracy and other UN-sanctioned operations in the Indian Ocean.

This is the assurance that Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar had rushed to Beijing to give to the Chinese after postponing the signature of LEMOA at the last minute during US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter’s visit to Delhi in April. But in practice, these caveats against automatic involvement in America’s wars are hollow because Delhi will find it exceedingly difficult to deny these facilities to the US once the latter has committed itself to a military operation – because of the angry reaction that will provoke in the US media, and the Congress.

LEMOA is also only the thin end of a rather fat wedge. The US has made it clear that signing it will make it easier to acquire sensitive dual-use technologies. But to get the most out of it, India will have to sign two supplementary “foundational” agreements, the Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA).

The US needs these to ensure that sensitive technological information shared with India does not get passed onto ‘unfriendly’ countries. But this concern will cut both ways. Its immediate result will therefore be to cut India off from access to cutting edge Russian armaments and technology.

Riaz Haq said...

The rise of NGO's and their harmful impact on Pakistan

The extraordinary growth that NGOs have experienced in recent years in their numbers, their outreach and their resources is unprecedented even by Pakistani standards. The number of active NGOs in the country is, at the very least, anywhere between 100,000 to 150,000, investigations by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP), a certification organisation for NGOs and charity institutions, reveal. By this count, there is at least one NGO for every 2,000 people. Way back in 2001, a Civil Society Index put together by the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan, in coordination with Civicus, an international alliance of civil society groups, put the number of “active and registered NGOs in Pakistan” at “around 10,000 to 12,000”.

The phenomenal rise in the number of NGOs could be linked to the massive injection of foreign money, especially donations and grants – and sometimes even loans – into Pakistan since 2001 (the United States alone has provided more than 10 billion dollars during these years). A major part of this money came into Pakistan due to the peculiar political and economic situation in the country. We have been through multiple violent conflicts during the last decade and a half; we have been transitioning from a dictatorship to a controlled democracy to a fully functional democracy, and our economy has been undergoing massive liberalisation. All this necessitated that foreigners came in to help with expertise and money to take Pakistan and Pakistanis through this troubled period of our history.


If money is any guide, charitable NGOs, which live on the generosity of local donors, receive an estimated 70 billion rupees every year, according to Malik Babur Javed, a senior programme manager at PCP. These organisations do not include all those thousands of NGOs which receive money from the Pakistani government, international charities, the governments of other countries and multilateral forums like the United Nations institutions.

Sadiqa Salahuddin, the director of Karachi-based NGO Indus Resource Centre, which has been active in poverty alleviation and disaster relief and mitigation in rural Sindh for more than 20 years, says the presence of large amounts of money creates major issues of both capacity and corruption within NGOs, even when they genuinely want to carry out development activities. She cites the instance of her own NGO which received an unprecedented amount of funds to provide relief to the victims of the 2010 floods.

The disaster called for quick disbursal and management of vast resources which her NGO was not prepared for, she says. Having her base in Karachi but working in Dadu district, she found coordination and management a tough task. “It drove me crazy. I would go to Dadu myself every week.” Even this was not always helpful. In one instance, going through the statement of expenses spent on flood relief, she found “83,000 rupees spent on toothpastes”. She would find many errors in computation of prices and other procedural irregularities, simply because she did not have enough skilled and motivated staff to handle such assignments in a challenging post-disaster environment.


Critics have been quick to point out that NGOs themselves don’t practice what they preach. They say NGOs avoid accountability and transparency as much as they possibly can and, therefore, are quite averse to any form of regulation or oversight. With some large NGOs having become heavily corporatised entities, where staff earn market-based salaries and where foreign money flows in regularly, it is natural to expect some kind of transparency and accountability — to be able to ask if all those salaries are being paid to the right people and for the right purposes as well as to ensure that foreign funds are spent on the projects they are meant for.

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump's #Afghanistan policy set to hinder #war on #polio in #Pakistan. #CIA #drones

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the big obstacle, experts say, is not lack of money to fight it, but mistrust of the western governments who bankroll the vaccines.

Now Donald Trump could be about to deepen that mistrust. If the president makes good on his bellicose threats to take a harder line on Pakistan, he will undoubtedly incite anti-US sentiments, which in the past have led to attacks on polio workers and prompted tribal leaders to ban vaccination campaigns.

It would not be the first time the US got in the way of the war on polio.

The fight against polio suffered its biggest blow in 2011 when the CIA concocted a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign as part of its efforts to find Osama bin Laden. The ruse, exposed in the Guardian, only confirmed Taliban claims that inoculation campaigns were smokescreens for espionage. The Taliban issued fatwas and murdered dozens of health workers. In 2014, Pakistan recorded more than 300 polio cases.

But even before the vaccination ploy, polio was gaining ground, coinciding with an intensified US drone campaign. As attacks spiked in 2008, so did polio cases. When drone strikes hit a high of 128 in 2010, the number of polio cases reached 198 the following year.

Drone strikes in Pakistan have now become rare and since 2014, the fight against polio has bounced back. In 2016, only 37 cases were recorded worldwide, 20 of them in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in his recently announced South Asia strategy, Trump signalled a tougher line on Pakistan:

“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately,” he said.

Trump has shown a penchant for airpower. In Afghanistan, the US is dropping more bombs than at any point since 2012.

It is hard to predict how local communities will respond to health workers if bombings pick up, said Monica Martinez-Bravo, a researcher at CEMFI and co-author of a new paper on mistrust of vaccines in Pakistan.

But she has documented a clear correlation between support for Islamist groups, at times a result of air campaigns, and decline in immunisation rates.

“Everything the US does that reduces trust will damage the vaccination campaigns,” Martinez-Bravo said.

Bombings complicate access for immunisers, and insurgents have used polio to demand a halt to air strikes in return for allowing vaccinations.

This year, in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, the Taliban banned inoculators for 15 months, relenting only when a 14-month girl contracted polio.

Polio primarily affects children under five, and is incurable. The virus causes paralysis, sometimes within hours of infection. It often hits the legs and spine, but can also kill victims by immobilising breathing muscles.

Since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988, an estimated 16 million people have been saved from paralysis, and 1.5 million children from death.

Yet, without sustained efforts, polio could flourish and spread quickly. For every known case, about 200 people carry the disease without symptoms.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan orders expulsion of 29 international NGOs

“In Pakistan, India and Nepal, space is closing in which NGOs are able to operate,” said Binaifer Nowrojee, head of Asia-Pacific for Open Society Foundations, one of the groups banned by Pakistan.

“It comes along with a growing national pride and economic confidence in these countries. They feel that the era of being dictated to by the west is coming to an end.”

A doctor in Pakistan who helped track down bin Laden told investigators he had been introduced to the CIA by a senior Save the Children official. The charity said it had never employed the doctor but the organisation was thrown out of the country in 2012.

Pakistan’s government two years ago announced a registration regime for all international NGOs and cancelled agreements with 15 of them.

However, the latest expulsions are different because many of the organisations affected are not involved in promoting human rights or good governance — activities that frequently irritate authoritarian governments.

Officials at Pakistan’s home ministry said some of the groups had attracted the government’s attention because they operated in parts of the country where militancy was high and where Pakistan suspected western intelligence agencies also operated.

One senior government official told the Financial Times that the government had also grown suspicious of the high salaries paid by some organisations, and wondered whether they were being used to fund intelligence work on behalf of foreign governments. All the charities contacted by the FT denied this was the case.

The Pakistani move follows a similar push by its neighbour India to restrict NGOs that receive foreign funding.

In 2015 New Delhi put the Ford Foundation on a watch list and suspended Greenpeace India’s licence. This year it banned foreign funding for the Public Health Foundation of India, a group backed by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, saying it used foreign donations to “lobby” for tobacco-control policy issues.

Human rights campaigners say the moves to hamper foreign NGOs are part of a broader move against civil society across the region, which includes what campaigners say are forced disappearances of activists who upset governments.

In Pakistan hundreds of activists have disappeared over the past few years. But while the disappearances were previously mainly limited to restive areas of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they now appear to be spreading into the country’s big cities.

Raza Khan, a peace activist who has advocated a rapprochement with India, went missing from Lahore this month.

Similar disappearances have occurred in Bangladesh. The most recent case involves Mubashar Hasan, an assistant professor at a Dhaka university who researched terrorism. His friends say they suspect he is being held by security forces — a claim authorities deny.

Riaz Haq said...

Stephen Kinzer, author of "The (John Foster and Allan Dulles) Brothers", says the brothers preferred " open society" in foreign lands because is "very easy for covert operatives to penetrate that society and corrupt it".

On the Dulles' ability to overthrow regimes in Iran and Guatemala but not in Cuba or Vietnam

They were able to succeed [at regime change] in Iran and Guatemala because those were democratic societies, they were open societies. They had free press; there were all kinds of independent organizations; there were professional groups; there were labor unions; there were student groups; there were religious organizations. When you have an open society, it's very easy for covert operatives to penetrate that society and corrupt it.

Actually, one of the people who happened to be in Guatemala at the time of the coup there was the young Argentine physician Che Guevara. Later on, Che Guevara made his way to Mexico and met Fidel Castro. Castro asked him, "What happened in Guatemala?" He was fascinated; they spent long hours talking about it, and Che Guevara reported to him ... "The CIA was able to succeed because this was an open society." It was at that moment that they decided, "If we take over in Cuba, we can't allow democracy. We have to have a dictatorship. No free press, no independent organizations, because otherwise the CIA will come in and overthrow us." In fact, Castro made a speech after taking power with [Guatemalan President Jacobo] Árbenz sitting right next to him and said, "Cuba will not be like Guatemala."

Riaz Haq said...

The rise of NGO's and their harmful impact on Pakistan
Faiza Shah

The extraordinary growth that NGOs have experienced in recent years in their numbers, their outreach and their resources is unprecedented even by Pakistani standards. The number of active NGOs in the country is, at the very least, anywhere between 100,000 to 150,000, investigations by the Pakistan Centre for Philanthropy (PCP), a certification organisation for NGOs and charity institutions, reveal. By this count, there is at least one NGO for every 2,000 people. Way back in 2001, a Civil Society Index put together by the Aga Khan Foundation in Pakistan, in coordination with Civicus, an international alliance of civil society groups, put the number of “active and registered NGOs in Pakistan” at “around 10,000 to 12,000”.


Such focus on NGOs, as mentioned in the index, has made civil society synonymous with NGOs — in Pakistan, as well as in most of the third world. Many academics feel NGOs are actually part of the neo-liberal agenda to roll back the state, open international borders for globalised commerce, deregulate labour markets to make hiring and firing easy and push all service provision into the hands of the private sector. In such a situation, the third sector no longer remains distinct from the public and the private sectors.

“Our civil society has become hegemonic in itself. Certain highly funded NGOs and consortiums of NGOs dominate the civil society scene to such an extent that even the state seems much less powerful as compared to them,” says Dr Rubina Saigol, a Lahore-based sociologist and independent analyst who has vast experience of working with the third sector. Whereas civil society, as a broad term, is understood to play an important role in pushing society towards an egalitarian and progressive path, in its NGO avatar it is no longer just an informal or incidental component of society. It, indeed, is another word for highly bureaucratised institutions, with a lot of resources to do good work but suffering from all the ills that bureaucracy brings in its wake: inertia, mismanagement and corruption.


Of course, such systemic weaknesses cannot be wholly ascribed to corrupt practices by NGOs or the political agendas of the donors. But their impact is immediately felt in the form of missing development work that otherwise should have been carried out. A press release announcing that USAID will provide 1.6 billion dollars to Pakistan for development activities over a five year period will be carried in all international newspapers and could be seen as a way to disburse the money in a transparent manner, but there won’t be any headlines when that money is stuck at a high level programme director’s office, not converted into the amenities or infrastructure that it was meant for, such as schools or hospitals. “This is where a lot of NGOs are not as effective as they could be because of poor systems and governance,” says a development activist without wanting to be named.

Riaz Haq said...

Exclusive: Aid charities reluctant to reveal full scale of fraud
Tom Esslemont

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - With fraud rife in conflict and disaster zones, aid charities are under pressure to be open about corruption but one third of the world’s 25 biggest aid charities declined to make their fraud data public in a Thomson Reuters Foundation investigation.

Data collected from 12 of the 25 humanitarian non-governmental organizations (NGOs) with the greatest expenditure shows annual losses of $2.7 million - or just 0.03 pct of annual turnover based on data supplied for the years 2009-2014.

Transparency experts said the real figure would likely be far higher if data was available with these major aid relief groups estimated to spend $18 billion a year globally.

Eight of the biggest NGOs questioned in a pioneering survey on accountability in charitable aid declined to elaborate, saying they reported their losses to regulators. Five of the biggest NGOs said they had not experienced any diversions of funds during this period.

“Most NGOs in many cases will not report fraud as fraud because they will have a long paper trail coming after them,” said transparency and development researcher, Till Bruckner, author of the book “Aid Without Accountability”.

The 2010 Haiti earthquake - which saw Haitians accuse local authorities of deliberately holding up aid distributions - forced a rethink in the NGO sector, says Craig Fagan, head of policy at global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International.

“I would say in the last five years there has been a turning of the tide,” Fagan told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“[There has been] a realization, at least at a global level, that this is part of their licence to operate, that charities need to be accountable in a 360-degree way with people they are working with and those funding them.”

Mercy Corps said it had been defrauded in its Afghanistan program in 2011, when a staff member absconded with funds worth $257,670 after cashing a check he had altered.

A spokeswoman said the loss, which was recovered through the charity’s insurance policy, accounted for 0.09 percent of that year’s total revenue and that Mercy Corps altered its banking relationship to prevent the problem recurring.

World Vision International, the largest humanitarian NGO in the world in expenditure terms, said $1 million (0.01 percent) of its resources went missing between 2009 and 2013.

A spokesman for the charity said this was largely down to two significant incidents, both in World Vision’s Zambia office.

The first, amounting to $262,000, resulted from collusion between staff and outside vendors and bankers, while the second, amounting to $306,000, was related to internal staff fraud in procurement transactions.


The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) revealed 14 cases of financial irregularities in nine countries, including Liberia, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Its biggest financial loss was in Colombia, where $50,000 worth of building materials did not reach the intended beneficiaries.

“A staff member admitted to having misappropriated the funds and was dismissed,” an NRC spokesman explained.

Those defrauded said the problem was not simply one of theft.

“Corruption includes cases where the organization faces theft, bribery, embezzlement, nepotism, facilitation payments, deception, extortion, abuse of power,” said a spokesman for the medical relief charity MSF.

The MSF spokesman said in a separate incident, $790,000 of material goods were looted or stolen from its premises in the Central African Republic in 2014.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex-CIA officer arrested after US spy network is exposed in China
It was one of the worst intelligence failures for years

Andrew Buncombe New York @AndrewBuncombe a day ago


Last spring, The New York Times reported that as many as 20 US intelligence assets had been killed by China since 2010, destroying years worth of intelligence efforts in the country. One operative was allegedly shot and killed in front of his colleagues and his body left in the car park of a government building as a warning to others.

US officials described the losses as “one of the worst” intelligence breaches in decades, comparing it to the number of assets lost in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and 1990s, when two prominent US assets worked as double agents for the Soviets. Officials said the breach has destroyed years of network-building within the country.

The arrest of Mr Lee come as China is looking to increasingly spread its international influence – economically, diplomatically and militarily. At the same time, the US, under the America First strategy adopted by Donald Trump, appears to be retreating from many areas, such as the environment and international security, it once led.


A former CIA officer has been arrested and charged as part of an alleged espionage scandal investigators claim resulted in the collapse of the US spying network in China and the deaths or imprisonment of up to 20 agency informants.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, a naturalised US citizen, was arrested earlier this week after arriving at JFK International Airport in New York. Mr Lee, who currently lives in Hong Kong, appeared in court and was charged with illegally retaining classified records, including names and phone numbers of covert CIA assets.

Mr Lee, who served in the US Army from 1982-86, joined the CIA in 1994 and worked as a case officer trained in covert communications, surveillance detection, and the recruitment and the handling of assets.

“[Mr] Lee began working for the CIA as a case officer in 1994, maintained a Top Secret clearance and signed numerous non-disclosure agreements during his tenure at CIA,” according to a statement released by the US Department of Justice.

The arrest of Mr Lee, who has not offered a plea, is said to have marked the culmination for more than five years of intense counter-espionage operation launched by the FBI. That investigation was established in 2012, two years after the CIA started losing assets in China.

Reports in the US media said investigators were initially unsure whether the agency had been hacked by the Chinese authorities or whether the losses were the result of a mole.

According to an eight-page affidavit, Mr Lee, who left the CIA in 2007 and has been working for a well-known auction house, travelled from Hong Kong to northern Virginia, where he lived from 2012 to 2013 – apparently having been lured there with a fake job offer.

When he flew to Virginia, the FBI obtained a warrant to search Mr Lee’s luggage and hotel room. The court documents say agents found two small books with handwritten notes containing names and numbers of covert CIA employees and locations of covert facilities.

Mr Lee left the US in 2013 after being questioned on five different occasions by FBI agents. He never mentioned his possession of the books containing classified information, say the court documents.

The FBI affidavit makes no allegations of espionage against Mr Lee, only alleging illegal retention of documents. Any conviction on that offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Riaz Haq said...

The Russians Tried to Destabilize American Politics the Same Way They’ve Destabilized Their Own

Among the many striking passages in special counsel Robert Mueller’s indictment against the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency and other Russian individuals for interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election is the description of how the defendants allegedly sponsored both pro- and anti-Trump rallies shortly after his election:

After the election of Donald Trump in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators used false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies in support of the president-elect Trump, while simultaneously using other false U.S. personas to organize and coordinate U.S. political rallies protesting the results of the 2016 U.S. presidential election. For example, in or around November 2016, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally in new York through on ORGANIZATION-controlled group designed to “show your support for President-Elect Donald Trump” held on or about November 12, 2016. At the same time, Defendants and their co-conspirators, through another ORGANIZATION-controlled group, organized a rally in New York called “Trump is NOT my President” held on or about November 12, 2016. Similarly, Defendants and their co-conspirators organized a rally entitled “Charlotte Against Trump” in Charlotte, North Caroline, held on or about November 19, 2016.

The notion of backing both the president and his ostensible opponents simultaneously is one that feels very reminiscent of Russia’s own “managed democracy.”

Specialists known as “political technologists” have been a feature of politics in Russia and other former Soviet countries since the early post-Communist parties. They are not quite the same as the “spin doctors” of democratic politics, or the blunter propagandists of totalitarian systems. Rather than just promoting their own favored candidates, they manufacture entire political narratives, including opposition, to keep them in power. As the British scholar Andrew Wilson puts it in his book Virtual Politics, the technologists act as “political meta-programmers, system designers, decision-makers, and political controllers all in one, applying whatever technology they can to the construction of politics as a whole.”

There’s some similarity to proud American political traditions like “astroturfing”—manufacturing fake grassroots movements—or “ratfucking,” using dirty tricks to undermine or discredit your opponents. (Roger Stone, confidant of Nixon and later Trump, is famous for doing things like sending donations to Nixon’s Republican rivals in the name of the Young Socialists Alliance. But the Russian variant is more precise and comprehensive.)

The best known political technologist today is Putin’s Tupac- and Allen Ginsberg–loving aide and chief ideologue Vladislav Surkov. Journalist Peter Pomerantsev describes the methods of Putin’s “grey cardinal” as follows:

One moment Surkov would fund civic forums and human-rights NGOs, the next he would quietly support nationalist movements that accuse the NGOs of being tools of the West. With a flourish he sponsored lavish arts festivals for the most provocative modern artists in Moscow, then supported Orthodox fundamentalists, dressed all in black and carrying crosses, who in turn attacked the modern-art exhibitions

Surkov recently took his postmodern provocateur act to a new extreme by writing a novel under a pseudonym (he denied, unconvincingly, being the author) that satirizes the Russian political system he himself created, then attacking the author under his own name in print.

Riaz Haq said...

Foreign Aid as Foreign Policy Tool

The majority of countries around the world are engaged in the foreign aid process, as donors, recipients, or, oftentimes, both. States use foreign aid as a means of pursuing foreign policy objectives. Aid can be withdrawn to create economic hardship or to destabilize an unfriendly or ideologically antagonistic regime. Or, conversely, aid can be provided to bolster and reward a friendly or compliant regime.

Although foreign aid serves several purposes, and not least among them the wish to increase human welfare, the primary reason for aid allocations or aid restrictions is to pursue foreign policy goals. Strategic and commercial interests of donor countries are the driving force behind many aid programs. Not only do target countries respond to the granting of bilateral and multilateral aid as an incentive, but also the threat of aid termination serves as an effective deterrent. Both the granting and the denial of foreign assistance can be a valuable mechanism designed to modify a recipient state’s behavior.

Donors decide which countries will receive aid, the amount of aid provided, the time frame in which aid is given, and the channel of aid delivery. The donor’s intentions and the recipient’s level of governance determine the type or sector of foreign aid. States can choose between bilateral or multilateral methods of disbursing foreign assistance in order to pursue their interests. Although bilateral disbursements allow the donor state to have complete control over the aid donation, the use of multilateral forums has its advantages. Multilateral aid is cheaper, it disperses accountability, and it is often viewed as less politically biased


Bilateral aid can be delivered through the public sector, NGOs, or public-private partnerships with the recipient country. Those who advocate the use of foreign aid as a geopolitical foreign policy tool prefer bilateral foreign aid because of the strategic objectives to be gained. With bilateral aid, the donor retains control over the funds and determines who will be favored with aid and under what conditions. Most foreign aid is overseen, and frequently managed, by the donor (Riddell, 2014). Donors do not like to give up control of their aid4 by channeling it through a multilateral agency, unless, of course, they have significant influence over the decision-making operations of the agency. The receipt of bilateral foreign assistance leaves the recipient obligated to the donor.

Riaz Haq said...

1) NGOs undermine, divert, and replace autonomous mass organizing.

NGOs have come to occupy a central role in social movements and political activism in the US and elsewhere —what Arundhati Roy calls the “NGO-ization of resistance.”

Sincere people often believe that they will be able to “get paid to do good,” but this is a fantasy. Nina Power writes that “there is no longer any separation between the private realm and the working day,” contending that “the personal is no longer just political, it’s economic through and through.” While she does not explicitly make this connection herself, the mushrooming of “social justice” and political NGOs is a good example of the erosion of this separation.

For those of us involved in organizing, there is an eerily familiar pattern: Some atrocity happens, outraged people pour into the streets, and once together, someone announces a meeting to follow up and continue the struggle. At this meeting, several experienced organizers seem to be in charge. These activists open with radical language and offer to provide training and a regular meeting space. They seem to already have a plan figured out, whereas everyone else has barely had time to think about the next step. The activists exude competence, explaining—with diagrams—how to map out potential allies, as they craft a list of specific politicians to target with protests.

They formulate simplistic “asks” to “build confidence with a quick win” and anyone who suggests a different approach — perhaps one involving the voices of people other than the mysterious default leaders — is passive-aggressively ignored. Under their guidance, everyone mobilizes to occupy some institution or the office of a politician, or to hold a march and rally. The protest is loud and passionate and seems quite militant, yet, the next thing you know, you find yourself knocking on a stranger’s door, clipboard in hand, hoping to convince them to vote in the next election.

There are certainly variations on this theme, but the central point remains: NGOs exist to undermine mass struggle, divert it into reformist dead ends, and supplant it. For example, at many “Fight for $15” demonstrations in Miami, the vast majority of participants were paid activists, employees of NGOs, CBOs (Community Based Organizations), and union staff seeking potential members. Similarly, some Black Lives Matter protests in Miami have been led and largely populated by paid activists who need to demonstrate that they are “organizing the community” in order to win their next grant.

Activism is being capitalized and professionalized. Instead of organizing the masses to fight for their interests, NGOs use them for their own benefit. Instead of building a mass movement, they manage public outrage. Instead of developing radical or revolutionary militants, they develop paid but ineffective activists along with passive recipients of assistance.

2) NGOs are a tool of imperialism.

Military invasions, or the threat of invasion, still play an indispensable role in aiding imperialist1 countries in their quest to extract and exploit resources and labor in the global periphery. But the “boots on the ground” tactic has more and more become a measure of last resort in a broader, more comprehensive strategy of control that today also includes less costly and socially disruptive methods.

NGOs, like missionaries, are used to penetrate an area to prepare favorable conditions for agribusiness for export, sweatshops, resource mines, and tourist playgrounds. While these days military action is usually characterized (at least to the home population) as a humanitarian intervention, the ostensibly humanitarian character of NGOs seems to justify itself. But it is essential to apply the same critical eye to NGO interventions that we do to military interventions.

Riaz Haq said...

Aid charities ActionAid and Plan 'to be turfed out' of #Pakistan. Pakistan's #intelligence services have viewed #NGOs with increased suspicion since the discovery in 2011 of a fake vaccination program in Pak run by the #CIA to track down Osama bin Laden.

Eighteen charities have been expelled from the country, ActionAid told the BBC.

The move comes amidst increasing concerns by human rights activists and press freedom campaigners about freedom of expression in the country.

Pakistan's intelligence services have viewed NGOs with increased suspicion since the discovery in 2011 of a fake vaccination programme in the country run by the CIA aiming to track down Osama bin Laden.

Officials have previously accused "Save the Children" of links to the scheme, though the charity denies that.

ActionAid and a number of other international NGOs were ordered to leave Pakistan in December 2017. But following pressure from Western governments were allowed to stay in the country whilst they appealed against the decision.

ActionAid and Plan International confirmed that they had both now received letters informing them their appeal had been unsuccessful but said no reason had been given.

ActionAid's Acting Country Director Abdul Khaliq told the BBC he understood there was no further possibility of an appeal against the ruling. He added he was concerned about the impact on the "thousands" of vulnerable and marginalised people the charity works with.

In a statement, Plan International said it currently supports "over 1.6 million children" in Pakistan and was "saddened" by the decision.