Friday, November 25, 2011

BlackBerry Transcripts Sealed Haqqani's Fate in Memogate

Ambassador Husain Haqqani has recently been forced to quit his post in Washington amidst allegations that he sought US help to rein in Pakistani military. This was done amidst fears of a coup against his boss in Islamabad last May in the aftermath of Osama Bin Laden's assassination in Abbotabad by US Navy Seals that was highly embarrassing for Pakistan's military brass.

The totality of evidence and data so far available in the public domain suggests that Haqqani did indeed invite American intervention in Pakistan's internal affairs. And given how close Haqqani and his wife have been to President Asif Ali Zardari, it is highly likely that this was done with Zardari's personal blessing. The revelations in Ijaz Mansoor's BlackBerry transcripts also make explicit reference to "the circumstances that led to May 1 (US raid in Abbottabad) and your (Haqqani's) role in all that".

Plausible Deniability:

Ambassador Haqqani has denied that he asked anyone to deliver the alleged letter on his or President Zardari's behalf. He has argued that if he, or President Zardari, wanted to deliver such a message to Admiral Mullen or anyone else in US government, it could have been done in person because of their close contacts in Washington.

I think Ambassador Haqqani is being disingenuous. It is inconceivable that a diplomat of his stature and posting has not heard of the use of back channels for "plausible deniability". According to a Wikipedia entry, "the term (plausible deniability) most often refers to the denial of blame in (formal or informal) chains of command, where upper rungs quarantine the blame to the lower rungs, and the lower rungs are often inaccessible, meaning confirming responsibility for the action is nearly impossible. In the case that illegal or otherwise disreputable and unpopular activities become public, high-ranking officials may deny any awareness of such act or any connection to the agents used to carry out such acts".

In this particular instance, the backchannel for "plausible deniability" was established through a Pakistani-American businessman Ijaz Mansoor and former US National Security Advisor James Jones.

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) Transcripts:

It appears from publicly available information that there was a falling out between Haqqani and Mansoor. Incensed by Haqqani's disparaging public remarks about him, Mansoor went public with a Financial Times article that included the details of the memo, and later also released the transcripts of the BlackBerry chats he had with Haqqani as part of the entire process of drafting and delivery of the memo.

Haqqani now claims that the BlackBerry Messenger transcripts have been doctored, a ridiculous claim for any one who knows that BlackBerry's key selling point to governments and corporations is its secure communications feature. Even the highly resourceful governments cannot break the encryption of Blackberry devices, which poses serious national and homeland security issues.

Haqqani is the Fall Guy:

An essential goal of "Plausible Deniability" is that, in the event of public exposure, the lower ranks end up taking the fall to protect the people at the top. In this case, Ambassador Haqqani has taken the fall to protect his boss President Asif Zardari, at least in the short term. Zardari may survive this blow for now, but he will be a significantly weakened leader for the rest of the current term. And it is highly unlikely that he would be able to retain his office beyond his current term which will end in 2013.

BlackBerry Messenger (BBM) Transcripts:

Here are the BBS transcripts of Haqqani(HH)-Ijaz(MI) conversations as obtained and published by GeoTV:

05/09/2011 12:31 HH: Are you in London? I am here just for 36 hours. Can we meet for after dinner coffee or s'thing?

05/09/2011 12:32 MI: I'm in Monaco but it's no problem for me to fly up. Takes 90 minutes. What time did you have in mind? Where do you want to meet?

05/09/2011 12:35 HH: Pls call me. I'm at the Park Lane Intercon +442071060900 room 430

05/09/2011 12:35 HH: Waiting for ur call now 05/09/2011 13:37 MI: Could access to the 3 stooges who widow the man be arranged as part of the bigger picture?

05/09/2011 13:39 HH: I am sure that can be arranged upon formal demand

05/09/2011 13:40 MI: That is critical to breaking apart the system outside - and understanding what was going on inside. Would we get candor and truth or some brainwashed jargon?

05/09/2011 13:40 MI: The calls to Isphani's people have been made. Very very receptive reaction so far

05/09/2011 13:44 HH: If my friend and I feel sufficiently empowered in relation to the bad boys, I will ensure we get candor

05/09/2011 13:45 MI: Got it. Let me see if we can't get you a sledge hammer with a golden handle

05/09/2011 13:47 HH: Would be nice

05/09/2011 13:47 MI: I'm sending you a PIN message that others cannot see. Please respond. Thanks

05/09/2011 13:48 HH: Okay. Thx

05/09/2011 13:54 MI: Message by PIN sent

05/09/2011 13:56 HH: Okay

05/09/2011 14:22 MI: Message has been delivered to Isphani. Receptiom positive but I need you to agree to do something. Can I call you?

05/09/2011 15:02 MI: Please PING when you can talk and on what number. Time sensitive

05/09/2011 15:05 HH: Entering No 10. Can speak on cell after an hour

05/09/2011 15:05 MI: Okay. I'll wait for your PING

05/09/2011 16:09 HH: PING!!!

05/09/2011 16:09 HH: PING!!!

05/09/2011 16:09 HH: Pls call on cell now +16179532835

05/09/2011 16:10 HH: PING!!!

05/09/2011 16:19 MI: Sorry. Was stuck on call to DC. Pls ping again when ready

05/09/2011 18:26 HH: PING!!!

05/09/2011 18:27 MI: Tried you. Phone says unavailable

05/09/2011 18:38 MI: The message I sent is what MM will see. It will be given directly to him and no one else

05/09/2011 18:59 MI: My friend in DC simply said too many people have been burned in the past two years on the US side and he wanted to insure that on such a sensitive subject, the data and proposal are clear. This is you to me, me to him. He trusts me enough to know I won't bring it forward unless it has top level approval. He does not need it with any email addresses etc. He will scrub that in any event. If you want names to be mentioned, yours, JK, MD, etc, I will do that in person. So get whatever message you want delivered back to me and I'll insure it gets in MM's hands. Best. M

05/09/2011 19:02 MI: By the way, the interesting thing is that they consider AZ's approval of the message worth more than anyone else in country right now. How do you like that?

05/09/2011 20:43 MI: I have additional information you need to hear. Ping when I can call you please

05/09/2011 21:10 MI: Would it be safe to say that you don't want to run this up your flagpole because you need to work this deal from the middle out? Tell me if that's the case and I'll use a different approach that does not require something in writing. What would then be helpful is if I could simply have a BBM saying my talking points are correct, or not, and then you set your table, I'll set my table and make sure you are an honored guest at my table when the party begins. If you're good with that, I just need your okay on the talking points. No need to run it up the az-pole, if you get my drift. M

05/10/2011 00:29 HH: Msg recvd. Tweaking. Middile of road option sounds good. Will call morning.

05/10/2011 00:29 HH: PING!!!

05/10/2011 00:37 MI: Will you be sending me your tweaks or am I to use my copy as final? If tweaks are short, I can call you to get them

05/10/2011 08:47 MI: You have mail from two of my mailboxes. Please read, respond and then we have one last short discussion before I put everything in motion. Thanks. M

05/10/2011 12:45 MI: I was just informed by senior US intel that GD-SII Mr P asked for, and received permission, from senior Arab leaders a few days ago to sack Z. For what its worth

05/10/2011 13:08 HH: Thanks. Very useful 05/10/2011 13:09 HH: My friend and I agree with middle option. Go ahead

05/10/2011 14:57 MI: Message delivered with caveat that he has to decide how hard to push - we only set the table. He must decide if he wants one course meal or seven course meal. Ball is in play now - make sure you have protected your flanks

05/11/2011 12:33 MI: I've been asked to find out what time your meeting is today. Response so far indicates they are having a hard look, although they find it nearly impossible to believe anyone could deliver such results... to be expected, I suppose. Hope you got home okay. Did you see Mush while in London?

05/11/2011 14:59 MI: PING!!!

05/12/2011 00:36 HH: Call me on my cell

05/12/2011 00:37 HH: Also, M in ur msgs above referred to the Admiral, right?

05/12/2011 00:37 MI: Yes

05/12/2011 00:54 MI: Clarification. M at the end of a message is Mansoor. M or MM in the text of a message is the admiral. Apologies for any confusion. BBM when free. I'll call you. Whether it is shattering news or not is up to you to decide

05/12/2011 01:47 MI: I just received an email from my link to MM independently confirming what you told me by phone. He says MM was appreciative of our intervention and utilized the data to advise and consent

05/12/2011 02:47 HH: Thanx. On way to Isloo. Will touch base on return

05/12/2011 02:54 MI: Good luck. Let me know at any time if you need any help

Details of chat between MI and HH after his Financial article was published until the first week of November, 2011:

HH: you can keep saying you delivered a message and show bbm convos to prove it

HH: Basically you don't get it

HH: You have given hardliners in Pak Mil reason to argue there was an effort to get US to conspire against Pak Mil

HH: You are a US citizen

HH: You are supposed to look after US interests

MI: I wrote one article. Have not said one word on the record since then to anyone. I think your press is working both sides against the middle, trying to force something out of anyone they can. Period. I don't play in that game

HH: In Pak political situation, getting burned as a US stooge undermines one's effectiveness

HH: I will make sure FO shuts up

HH: Let this die down

HH: We are in the right

HH: We will still make things happen

MI: Okay, well I know my IQ is pretty low so you are probably correct in saying I just don't get it.

HH: The Pak press be damned

HH: I stand by you as a man of integrity werving his country

HH: You don't let ppl back home argue I play for your team, not ours

MI: But from my point of view, if there was a real threat, as you stated at the time, it is clear you were trying to save a democratic structure from those hawks

HH: You get to write the book on how you changed US-Pak dynamic and won the war in A'tan (w/ some help from a Paki nerd) :D

MI: I was happy to get the message in the back door because it served American interests to preserve the democratic civilian setup and the offers made, if achieved, were very much congruent with American objectives in the region

HH: True that, friend. But you know premature revelation ain't good

MI: As far as I can see, we did right. Unless there is something I don't see here. But then I'm sorta dumb from down on the farm where them hillbillies live

HH: Hey! Don't run down hillbillies

HH: Even the smartest can miss a piece of the puzzle

HH: You are assuming there are no powerful men in Pak willing to break w/ US. Premature revelation gives those ppl reason to claim 'conspiracy', 'treason'

HH: That is all you missed. Period.

HH: And no one else might tell you this, you're becoming irritable and losing your sense of humor as you grow old

HH: Let this one go. There is much to do. MUCH. And then, there's the beach where I've been waiting to be invited, the slum boy visiting the millionaire

MI: I'm not a millionaire. But I do know a nice piece of beach!

HH: I'm not a slum boy either but I know how to make friends with smart people with a sense of history :P

MI: Jesus, then what the -- are you doing hanging around with me? =D

HH: We'll make things happen and if we can't, we'll write a book about it

HH: Who said I was hanging around with you. A minute ago I thought you were about to hang me :D

MI: :O MI: Really?

HH: Look, Isloo is a mess. Journos gone wild. Politicos scared of mil. Mil scared of Yanks.

MI: Tell me one important thing. Who likes you and who hates you in the US establishment? Who wants you to stay and who wants to -- you up?

HH: The debate abt your oped has caused my detractors to put pressure on my boss

HH: In US estab, I can count on Leon and Petraeus

MI: I thought YOU were the boss!

MI: Who is against you?

HH: Folks at State don't like me

MI: Why?

MI: Too close to AZ?

HH: They think I am too mixed up w/ DoD and others and do not help them cut deals w/ Pak mil

HH: Close to AZ bit too

HH: They are wrong re DoD and others.

HH: It is just that becoz of A'tan, they are more imp than State

MI: I always thought HRC was one of your fans. She even has a lady from our parts working with her

HH: It is folks at State who got pissed off by your mission

HH: She may be but I was Holbrooke's buddy so everyone who hates him hates me

HH: I have no time for just pushing paper around

HH: State likes process

MI: Which mission? Sudan, Kashmir, there were so many they got pissed off about. I showed them how to do real American diplomacy and that was like a big pile of shit on their desk they couldn't swallow

HH: Conferences, statements-with nothing changing

HH: The latest one

MI: Yeah, I got it. You're right!

MI: Anyway, State will always hate me because I don't accept their muddling way of doing things

HH: I don't know for a fact but I won't be surprised if the FO statement was prompted by someone here

HH: Robin Raphel is back as Grossman's deputy

HH: You stepped on her toes w/ Kashmir mission

MI: That would be typical. But Grossman knows me and he knows how serious I am. Raphael still hates me for the Kashmir intervention where she did everything she could to fuck me up

HH: And now they hate me more when folks back home who hate me tell them you and I might have been together on s'thing (whether we were or not is irrelevant to them)

HH: Grossman is good but he doesn't like anyone playing a larger than life role. Old school

HH: That's why I have been requesting you to let this one go

MI: Yeah I know. Found that out when he was our lobbyist. But he's a good guy

HH: That takes attention off me

MI: Hmmmmmmmmm....... Not sure anything could take attention off you

HH: I try and make peace with State and focus on battles at home

HH: HaHa :D MI: Diplomacy at its finest!!! HH: Yeah, right! But at least I shd not be painted as playing for your team

MI: Why not? You were a good quarterback for those three days!!

HH: I want to solve -***ing problems not fight a rearguard action all the time

HH: :x

HH: Let us wait and see if Hillary's latest foray changes things in any direction

MI: Did we really solve a true problem or was this all smoke and mirrors?

MI: I mean on those days of stress...

HH: View here is that everyone in Isloo sucks!

MI: That's pretty much true!!!!

HH: Too early to say re solution

MI: But if they all suck, then what did we save - a sinking ship that was going to sink anyway???

HH: And there is a genetic problem at that end, predisposed to going round and round in circles

MI: Yup!! That's for damn sure

HH: I think we save the situation from an extremely violent outcome

MI: How can you solve the problems you understand so well from here if all the people in charge over there are wrong? It's only one year til we have a change in the US. Then you really won't like who we have here!

HH: I mean, Iran might have done better if the Shah had been saved AND some true reform introduced

HH: Actually, I think the new ppl here might be better to deal with

HH: They won't take lies easily

MI: Don't bet on it. We have a lot of extremists cropping up and seeping into the system

MI: They don't trust anything Pakistani

MI: Don't matter what it is

HH: Well, in that case find me a cheap piece of beach :)

MI: Cain, Romney (who hates Muslims), Perry - its all the same crap

MI: Hmmmmm, yes, I can arrange that

MI: Why is Z such an idiot?

HH: But don't go off writing opeds abt arranging piece of beach w'out consulting first :P

HH: HaHa! Tough question

HH: I have a speech in 20 mins so let's keep that for later

HH: Bye for now

MI: Okay. Good luck.

HH: Thank you!

MI: Hi buddy, I understand you/ your foreign office hacks are commissioning hatchet pieces against me. Unfortunate.... very unfortunate

HH: I will enquire and stop them. There's no need for any of this.

HH: You haven't helped by engaging so much w/ Pak media.

HH: What happened to the 'silent soldier'?

MI: I issued a statement that was designed to put an end to all of this after Imran Khan's rally nonsense. But be that as it may, I'm not going to tolerate character assassination in any of this

HH: I agree

HH: Will do my best to prevent it

MI: Roger that

HH: Focus on your policy message instead of who did what and we can turn this around

MI: Please remind your boss that his beloved wife, who later became a good friend of mine, tried the same bullshit tactics in 1996 when Maleeha was envoy - result: her government was dismissed in Nov 1996.

MI: I'm not someone he can mess around with. He better get that message from me and really understand it

HH: My response to Imran was very simple and true: I did not write a treasonous letter and if Imran has a copy, he should present it

HH: I don't think your threatening helps

MI: That's true from my point of view as well. But politicians are politicians

MI: I don't make threats. I state facts. Your boss needs reminding of the facts

HH: Are you sure your side won't deny?

MI: No, maybe they will. But that would also be a mistake. Too much proof on that side as well.

HH: But does "proving" help anything?

HH: Is it not the nature of a private mission that officials deny it?

MI: Don't know. Don't care. My point is simple - I've said what I was going to. Attacks on my person will not be tolerated. And my statement stands. Stop telling lies about me and I might just stip telling the truth about you

HH: If you were to listen to my advice, you would let this blow over and prove yourself afterwards. You are the one who will outlast the flying shit :)

HH: That is usually my strategy: be there when the others have self-destructed or blown over

MI: I've kept to my word - if everyone wants to call it a fabrication and make me the fall guy, then gloves come off and it's not going to be fun or pretty for anyone

MI: You did something you thought was right outside channels because you felt it would be the most effective way to get the job done. I helped you execute. I haven't thrown you under the bus. But be damn sure I won't let anyone do that to me

HH: I'll do what I can to keep it pretty

HH: I haven't. I won't.

MI: By the way, I know a lot more than you give me credit for about the circumstances that led to May 1 and your role in all that. Just FYI

HH: Honorable ppl stick with one another. Take care.

MI: ;)

HH: I am maintaining silence so pls check with me before reacting if some Pak journo attributes anything to me

MI: It's interesting (and heartening) to see that many of the proposals made in the memo are now being implemented in the bilateral relationship. Very good

Sent from my BlackBerry(r) wireless device

The secret memorandum to Mike Mullen Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff by Pakistan’s envoy to the United States Hussain Haqqani allegedly on behalf of President Asif Ali Zardari


Briefing for Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff

During the past 72 hours since a meeting was held between the president, the prime minister and the chief of army staff, there has seen a significant deterioration in Pakistan’s political atmosphere. Increasingly desperate efforts by the various agencies and factions within the government to find a home – ISI and/or Army, or the civilian government – for assigning blame over the UBL [Osaama bin Laden] raid now dominate the tug of war between military and civilian sectors. Subsequent tit-for-tat reactions, including outing of the CIA station chief’s name in Islamabad by ISI officials, demonstrates a dangerous devolution of the ground situation in Islamabad where no central control appears to be in place.

Civilians cannot withstand much more of the hard pressure being delivered from the Army to succumb to wholesale changes. If civilians are forced from power, Pakistan becomes a sanctuary for UBL’s legacy and potentially the platform for far more rapid spread of al Qaeda’s brand of fanaticism and terror. A unique window of opportunity exists for the civilians to gain the upper hand over army and intelligence directorates due to their complicity in the UBL matter.

Request your direct intervention in conveying a strong, urgent and direct message to Gen Kayani that delivers Washington’s demand for him and Gen Pasha to end their brinkmanship aimed at bringing down the civilian apparatus – that this is a 1971 moment in Pakistan’s history. Should you be willing to do so, Washington’s political/military backing would result in a revamp of the civilian government that, while weak at the top echelon in terms of strategic direction and implementation (even though mandated by domestic political forces), in a wholesale manner replaces the national security adviser and other national security officials with trusted advisers that include ex-military and civilian leaders favorably viewed by Washington, each of whom have long and historical ties to the US military, political and intelligence communities. Names will be provided to you in a face-to-face meeting with the person delivering this message.

In the event Washington’s direct intervention behind the scenes can be secured through your personal communication with Kayani (he will likely listen only to you at this moment) to stand down the Pakistani military-intelligence establishment, the new national security team is prepared, with full backing of the civilian apparatus, to do the following:

1.President of Pakistan will order an independent inquiry into the allegations that Pakistan harbored and offered assistance to UBL and other senior Qaeda operatives. The White House can suggest names of independent investigators to populate the panel, along the lines of the bipartisan 9-11 Commission, for example.

2.The inquiry will be accountable and independent, and result in findings of tangible value to the US government and the American people that identify with exacting detail those elements responsible for harboring and aiding UBL inside and close to the inner ring of influence in Pakistan’s Government (civilian, intelligence directorates and military). It is certain that the UBL Commission will result in immediate termination of active service officers in the appropriate government offices and agencies found responsible for complicity in assisting UBL.

3.The new national security team will implement a policy of either handing over those left in the leadership of Al Qaeda or other affiliated terrorist groups who are still on Pakistani soil, including Ayman Al Zawahiri, Mullah Omar and Sirajuddin Haqqani, or giving US military forces a “green light” to conduct the necessary operations to capture or kill them on Pakistani soil. This “carte blanche” guarantee is not without political risks, but should demonstrate the new group’s commitment to rooting out bad elements on our soil. This commitment has the backing of the top echelon on the civilian side of our house, and we will insure necessary collateral support.

4.One of the great fears of the military-intelligence establishment is that with your stealth capabilities to enter and exit Pakistani airspace at will, Pakistan’s nuclear assets are now legitimate targets. The new national security team is prepared, with full backing of the Pakistani government – initially civilian but eventually all three power centers – to develop an acceptable framework of discipline for the nuclear program. This effort was begun under the previous military regime, with acceptable results. We are prepared to reactivate those ideas and build on them in a way that brings Pakistan’s nuclear assets under a more verifiable, transparent regime.

5.The new national security team will eliminate Section S of the ISI charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network, etc. This will dramatically improve relations with Afghanistan.

6.We are prepared to cooperate fully under the new national security team’s guidance with the Indian government on bringing all perpetrators of Pakistani origin to account for the 2008 Mumbai attacks, whether outside government or inside any part of the government, including its intelligence agencies. This includes handing over those against whom sufficient evidence exists of guilt to the Indian security services.

Pakistan faces a decision point of unprecedented importance. We, who believe in democratic governance and building a much better structural relationship in the region with India AND Afghanistan, seek US assistance to help us pigeon-hole the forces lined up against your interests and ours, including containment of certain elements inside our country that require appropriate re-sets and re-tasking in terms of direction and extent of responsibility after the UBL affair.

We submit this memorandum for your consideration collectively as the members of the new national security team who will be inducted by the President of Pakistan with your support in this undertaking.

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Bin Laden's Death in Broader Perspective

Mutiny in Pakistani Military?

US-Pakistan Military Confrontation Inevitable?

Twitter Revolution in Pakistan

ISI Rogues: Real or Imagined?

Pakistan's Tax Evasion Fosters Foreign Aid Dependence

Daily Carnage Amidst Intelligence Failures in Pakistan

Can US Aid Remake Pakistan?

ISI Rogues-Real or Imagined?


Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a story in The News about Mansoor Ijaz offering his telephone records of conversations with Amb Haqqani:

WASHINGTON: US businessman Mansoor Ijaz, who is at the centre of the Mullen Memo-gate controversy, Friday released another chunk of evidence-his phone records of calls made to and received, allegedly, from the Pakistani Ambassador to US Husain Haqqani and his US contact between May 9 and 10, when the controversial memo was prepared and sent.

Reacting to Pakistani ambassador's statements on the issue, in which Mr Haqqani said the SMS record was fake, Mansoor Ijaz sent what he said was an authenticated copy of the telephone company record of calls.

"I presented my original telephone company records to the senior Pakistani official whom I met to verify and validate the evidence in my possession," Mr Mansoor said adding that "I asked him (the official) to independently verify and check that the numbers of the individuals concerned were in fact their telephone numbers. I further asked him to put the calls in sequence with both e-mail and BlackBerry Messenger messages that had been sent to the ambassador and my US contact so that he could develop a comprehensive picture of the entire set of events." Mr Mansoor claimed that "the data was transferred to his (the official's) secure e-mail address directly from my computer, and he verified in front of me that the original telephone bills and original e-mail and BBM traffic were authentic and forensically unaltered."

The US businessman also recalled a Blackberry Message conversation in which Mr Haqqani had stated: "Husain Haqqani: you can keep saying you delivered a message and show BBM convos (conversations) to prove it... Basically, you don't get it."

In another such conversation, this time by SMS, on November 11, 2011, Mr Haqqani says: "I have just changed BBs...I may never trust you or your judgment again..."

The telephone record released by Mansoor shows the dates, time, phone numbers, duration of the calls made and received. "All calls were made from or received into my GSM number, +44 7730 33 --."

The following is the record. Name and phone numbers of the US contact have been deleted (IN indicates incoming call, OUT indicates outgoing call):


05-09-2011,12:35:49, +442071060900, 16:03, OUT, Husain Haqqani at Intercontinental London, Room 430

05-09-2011, 12:58:06, +1703----, 02:25, OUT, US CONTACT, Home (spoke to wife, left message)

05-09-2011, 13:54:31, +1703----, 19:26, IN, US CONTACT, returning phone call from mobile phone

05-09-2011, 17:51:41, +16179532835, 00:23, OUT, Husain Haqqani mobile

05-09-2011, 18:28:45, +16179532835, 02:34, IN, Husain Haqqani mobile calling in

05-09-2011, 18:36:41, +1703----, 00:48, OUT, US CONTACT mobile, relaying essence of Haqqani call

05-09-2011, 21:20:11 +442071060900, 00:31, OUT, Husain Haqqani at Intercontinental London, Room 430

05-10-2011, 00:30:55, +16179532835, 01:17, IN, Husain Haqqani mobile calling in

05-10-2011, 00:33:05,+1703----, 01:39, OUT, US CONTACT mobile

05-10-2011, 09:06:16, +442071060900, 11:16, OUT, Husain Haqqani at Intercontinental London, Room 430

05-10-2011, 14:51:33, +1703----, 02:55, OUT, US CONTACT mobile

Shams said...

Couple of problems with your "anal ysis" not that I care about HH or MI

1 - The transcript does not prove what HH said to MI to place in the so-called memo.
2 - Blackberry hatching is not a tough thing to execute if the US in fact created this entire scandal, not that there is anything incriminating in the transcript anyway.
3 - Even if HH wanted US help in protecting Zardari against the army coup, every Pakistani should support it, since Army has to be reduced to its size.
4 - The "thing after May 1" is probably only a reference to Zardari's oped in Washington Post (or was it another daily).

Riaz Haq said...


The evidence so far has shown that Mansoor Ijaz's version of events is much more credible than Husain Haqqani's.

Anonymous said...

BBM can be hacked by countries with a large number of BB users like US,China,India etc.

BB is LEGALLY OBLIGED to give security agencies of these countries codes to monitor messages or else be shut down last year they gave access codes to RAW/IB in India so to say its unhackble is wrong.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon:"BB is LEGALLY OBLIGED to give security agencies of these countries codes to monitor messages or else be shut down last year they gave access codes to RAW/IB in India so to say its unhackble is wrong."

Your info is incorrect.

Here's an update on Indian govt's efforts to get access to BlackBerry Enterprise Servers:

In the last couple of years RIM has faced problems in India from the Government, over security concerns. The Blackberry USP of providing top-quality encrypted data sharing services is the same the reason for the trouble as well, with the Indian Government wanting RIM to provide them access to the data or setup a local server in India. And then the Big Outage fiasco took place. Last month for more than three days all the Blackberry services were down and this incident has created skeptics out of fans. The fact that it took RIM more than three days to restore services is extremely worrying :( . Amidst declining sales forecasts, RIM had to come up with a $100 apology pack containing premium apps, including games and a Siri replica. :D

Besides India, Blackberry has faced similar issues in other countries as well. Saudi Arabia is a prime example. The Saudi Arabia Government had banned the BBM (Blackberry Messenger) service, but then rolled it back after RIM agreed to some of the conditions put forth by the Government. UAE, Lebanon and Indonesia are some of the other countries who have expressed concerns about the Blackberry services and the threat to security. Ironically, these are the same countries where popularity of Blackberry has increasing rapidly and RIM would have hoped that these markets will boost its flagging fortunes.

RIM has once again reiterated that the concerns about security over encrypted data is an industry wide concern and not specific to Blackberry. Recently Sunil Lalvani, who is the director of enterprise sales in India, said that RIM is constantly in touch with the Indian Government and has had several discussions with their representatives. He stated that RIM is currently waiting for the Telecom Policy 2011 to be finalized, which will direct the next step. Mr. Lalvani further impressed the point that India is an important market for Blackberry devices. International Data Corporation figures say that Blackberry phones have a 15% share of the Indian smartphones pie. Blackberry has started launching new phones in India within a week or so of its international debut. They are banking heavily on their new Blackberry 7 OS and the apps based on the NFC technology.

Shahid Khan said...

Memogate: Must Read- Eye Opener

Interesting read.

Anonymous said...

Now what?

Mohammad Malick
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

According to informed sources, armed with highly incriminating communication data evidence, the non-civilian part of the power equation has already worked out a national charter of demands in which Haqqani’s removal is a minimum starter. Word has it that the military establishment, while weary of seeking any direct role is also conscious of the public sentiment of being held responsible for helping the marauding government stay in the saddle. It wants the system to work without stepping in, if possible. A middle ground may yet be found in case Haqqani is made to walk his resignation talk and the matters reach level two. In such an eventuality and still holding a smoking gun, in the first phase the Rawalpindi chaps may ask the government to cause massive changes in top managements of various state institutions and corporations being headed by known incompetent and corrupt government cronies. If this covert effort of restoring some sanity to governance fails then we could well see a renewed effort to find out the accomplices in this dirty-memo case. You get it, right?

Talking of state functionaries suffering the Napoleon syndrome. In June this year, Haqqani reportedly played dinner host to a couple of prominent former federal ministers along with their spouses. One former minister in particular stands out as he has remained a close associate of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, served twice in her cabinet, and was once fairly close to Mr. President who at that time was just Mr. Zardari. The dinner guests also included a few Americans including a leading functionary of the Homeland Security Department. The dinner conversation flowed the way of drinks. Tongues loosened up. Guards came down. At one point, Ambassador Haqqani reportedly told his rather startled Pakistani friends that the Americans had identified 362 military targets in Pakistan, including 28 in and around Islamabad alone, and asked our prominent friend to share his address so in case he was near one of the chosen targets he could be told to move away to safety. These targets, according to the shared discussion, included even the residences of irritating military decision makers and not just security affairs related installations.

Haqqani, according to one of the many dinner guests, then talked rather boisterously about his extremely close links with the US administration and at one point reportedly told his guests that whenever he went to have a meeting with his US counterparts he decided unilaterally what he had to say and not what his government wanted him to. “Every time I have a candid discussion with them, and that is why they trust me. At the end of my meetings, I leave the FO brief telling them it was my official duty to hand over this pack of official lies,” he reportedly told his Pakistani guests.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excepts from NY Times on Haqqqani and his replacement Sherry Rehman:

Pakistan quickly appointed a new ambassador to the United States on Wednesday, a day after the previous envoy was forced out over allegations that he sought American help in reining in the country’s powerful military, which now appears to be solidifying its role in managing Pakistan’s foreign affairs and national security policy.
In the new ambassador, Sherry Rehman, the generals get a longtime Pakistani politician who knows the United States — she studied at Smith College in Massachusetts — and broadly shares their views on the country’s biggest foreign policy and national security challenges: the need to be treated as an equal in the fraught alliance with the United States and the necessity of securing Pakistani interests in neighboring Afghanistan as the American withdrawal there picks up pace.

“The military had been cultivating her” since she stepped down as information minister in 2009 over differences with President Zardari, Mr. Ziauddin said.

At the same time, Ms. Rehman, a lawmaker from the governing Pakistan Peoples Party, has strong relationships with Pakistan’s political elite. She remains on good terms with Mr. Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, who never warmed to Mr. Haqqani.

Ms. Rehman also carries proven credentials as a social progressive; she’s advocated for women’s and minority rights. She was forced last year to live under police guard after receiving death threats from Islamist extremists over her opposition to Pakistan’s draconian blasphemy laws, which are often used to settle personal scores, especially against minority Christians and Hindus.

American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be seen as meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs, said they hoped Ms. Rehman’s range of contacts within Pakistan’s military and its government and among rights groups could potentially make her a more effective interlocutor than her predecessor, who was very much seen as Mr. Zardari’s man, although he did argue the military’s case when needed.
But experts in Pakistan and the United States cautioned that American officials should not view Ms. Rehman’s social liberalism, which is common among Pakistan’s elite, as a sign that she will fall in line with Washington’s views on what is best for Pakistan.

“Folks in Washington will expect her national security agenda to be as liberal as her domestic agenda,” said Shamila N. Chaudhary, a South Asia analyst at the Eurasia Group who previously served as the director for Pakistan and Afghanistan at the National Security Council.

“She’s coming here to represent the government, and that includes the military,” Ms. Chaudhary said.

Mr. Haqqani, in contrast, at times behaved as “a one-man think tank,” said one American official. The ambassador would often privately voice criticism of the military that he had publicly laid out before taking on his role, the official said.

Mr. Haqqani’s eagerness to share his own views, which often dovetailed American criticisms of Pakistan’s military and its longstanding ties to militant groups, had over the past year led to a diminishing of his influence in Washington, especially in the White House, said a pair of American officials. “There were questions about his influence at home and whether he could be trusted to accurately convey what his principals were thinking,” said one of the American officials.

Riaz Haq said...

US-Pakistan relations in crisis after NATO attacks and kills at least 24 Pakistani soldiers, according to Reuters:

NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops and plunging U.S.-Pakistan relations, already deeply frayed, further into crisis.

Pakistan retaliated by shutting down vital NATO supply routes into Afghanistan, used for sending in just under a third of the alliance's supplies.

The attack is the worst single incident of its kind since Pakistan uneasily allied itself with Washington in the days immediately following the September 11, 2001 attacks on U.S. targets.
"Close air support was called in, in the development of the tactical situation, and it is what highly likely caused the Pakistan casualties," said General Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

He added that he could not confirm the number of casualties, but ISAF is investigating the "tragic development."

"We are aware that Pakistani soldiers perished. We don't know the size, the magnitude," he said.

The Pakistani government and military brimmed with fury.

"This is an attack on Pakistan's sovereignty," said Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani. "We will not let any harm come to Pakistan's sovereignty and solidarity."

The Foreign Office said it would take up the matter "in the strongest terms" with NATO and the United States.

The powerful Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, said in a statement issued by the Pakistani military that "all necessary steps be under taken for an effective response to this irresponsible act.

"A strong protest has been launched with NATO/ISAF in which it has been demanded that strong and urgent action be taken against those responsible for this aggression."

Two military officials said that up to 28 troops had been killed and 11 wounded in the attack on the outposts, about 2.5 km (1.5 miles) from the Afghan border. The Pakistani military said 24 troops were killed and 13 wounded.
A similar incident on Sept 30, 2010, which killed two Pakistani troops, led to the closure of one of NATO's supply routes through Pakistan for 10 days.

NATO apologized for that incident, which it said happened when NATO gunships mistook warning shots by the Pakistani forces for a militant attack.

U.S.-Pakistan relations were already reeling from a tumultuous year that saw the bin Laden raid, the jailing of a CIA contractor, and U.S. accusations that Pakistan backed a militant attack on the U.S. embassy in Kabul.

The United States has long suspected Pakistan of continuing to secretly support Taliban militant groups to secure influence in Afghanistan after most NATO troops leave in 2014. Saturday's incident will give Pakistan the argument that NATO is now attacking it directly.

"I think we should go to the United Nations Security Council against this," said retired Brigadier Mahmood Shah, former chief of security in the tribal areas. "So far, Pakistan is being blamed for all that is happening in Afghanistan, and Pakistan's point of view has not been shown in the international media."

Other analysts, including Rustam Shah Mohmand, a former ambassador to Afghanistan, said Pakistan would protest and close the supply lines for some time, but that ultimately "things will get back to normal."

Paul Beaver, a British security analyst, said relations were so bad that this incident might have no noticeable impact.

"I'm not sure U.S.-Pakistan relations could sink much lower than they are now," he said.

Anonymous said...

NATO Gangsters: U.S. plays with fire infuriating nuclear Pakistan

Haseeb said...

Riaz, Great fact based analysis. Haqqzni and his boss (Zardari) are guilty as charged. A caretaker government must be installed to protect Pakistan from these leaders and election held in 6 months.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting perspective by Saleem Ali on Sherry Rehman as published in The Express Tribune:

The announcement of Sherry Rehman as the ambassador-designate less than 24 hours after the resignation took many by surprise. For socially progressive liberals, Sherry Rehman’s impeccable credentials of courage in advocating women’s and minority rights had to be acknowledged in this selection. Yet, there were others who could not concede being mistaken in their predictions and immediately began to suggest that the new ambassador-designate is somehow also hand-picked by the military. Particularly strident in this line of thinking have been Canadian-Pakistani activist and talk-show host Tarek Fatah and Norwegian-Pakistani academic Farhat Taj. The main anchor for their critique is a report on Afghanistan-Pakistan that was published by the Jinnah Institute, a think tank that Sherry Rehman led until her appointment.

The report in question is titled Pakistan, the United States and the End Game in Afghanistan: Perceptions of Pakistan’s Foreign Policy Elite. But for those who suggest that the report was somehow surreptitiously supported by the military, please note that the co-sponsor of the report is the United States Institute of Peace, a Congressionally-mandated independent organisation. The report is meant to be an observational document synthesising perspectives rather than an empirical study. Thus to critique it on academic grounds is inappropriate and the findings are fairly self-evident in terms of how the public views American involvement in the region. Why should the findings of this report be somehow indicative of Ms Rehman being in cahoots with the military? What is troubling is that even leading reporting outlets such as The New York Times, in their news story reporting Ms Rehman’s appointment, hinted at this connection.

Independent American think tanks such as the New America Foundation have done studies of views regarding issues such as drone strikes in Fata and the findings indicate overwhelming opposition to such interventions. Surely, the New America Foundation is not under the influence of the Pakistani military! Furthermore, even if Ms Rehman’s views at times may come across as ‘pro-military’, why must that be suggestive of some anti-democratic trajectory for her selection and her forthcoming leadership? It is high time that liberal analysts not use their disagreements with particular views as a means of conspiratorial thinking — for which they often accuse their conservative counterparts.

The demonisation of the military is not likely to serve the cause of democracy. No doubt the military has played a disproportionately powerful role in Pakistan’s history and has often been errant in their interventions. But, as with other countries living in stressed security locales, this is not unusual and there are paths to democracy by more cautious conciliatory approaches with military ranks. Note that countries such as Brazil, South Korea or Turkey followed a similar path for many years with strong military governments, but transitioned to democracy after a friendly alliance was formed between civilian and security forces.

Ways by which pluralistic nations negotiate matters with multiple constituencies should not be dismissed with cynicism but rather allowed to proceed as a means of democratisation. That is the path which Sherry Rehman will likely follow and for which she deserves our support in improving ties between Pakistan and the United States.

Mehul George said...

"....... Muslim Pakistan, if bullied and scorned for long enough by its western mentors, could yet morph through external trauma and internal collapse into quite a different animal. The future paradigm here is not another well-trained Indonesia or Malaysia. It is the Islamic Republic of Iran."

The 'morphing of Pakistan" began a long time ago starting few years after the country became independent. Poor leadership military and civilian instilled a constant undue paranoia about India

Aid was duly accepted regardless of future repercussions, institutions were dominated by military which propagandized hatred towards India and that allowed easy access to funds and western aid. It was as if government could be bought by flashing some western aid in front of it.

Of course, aid came with strings attached but the short sighted military didn't mind because the ultimate enemy was India and if military was strengthened in the process it was all good.

Through the years, the military had it's hand in the judiciary too installing justices that favored the military machine. All the while the military was the de facto government if not the government itself.

The morphing continues through the Religious Fundamentalism which originally was prevalent only in the outlying tribal areas but now has it's fangs in Punjab and is firmly established in Karachi. This was the natural outcome because for so long valuable funds that could have been used to improve literacy and fight poverty was diverted towards the military machine.

Today, Pakistan is not a country, it has become the world's badlands where if you want you can train and polish your skills to become a terrorist. It gave birth to the Taliban to keep Afghanistan in it's grasp and keeping that country out of reach of India.

Pakistan has been morphing itself for a while and ordinary Pakistanis are paying a very high price for that.

Suhail said...

The attack is in line with demands contained in the memo of HH/MI. It is improbable that Americans are acting on the memo; more likely they're independently pursuing the line of action and the memo a supporting part of the bigger picture. Most likely the Americans will apologize which will be face saving for Pakistani leadership, but such events will likely continue.

Please see below article which appeared in November 2007; the contents of which are quite plausible and many a time predictive of the events unfolding. The Americans may be sticking with carrying out the plan to whatever extent possible. This will depend on how much the Pakistani counter strategy allows them to. With the concentration span of Pakistani leadership, which may be slightly better than a chimpanzee, I'm not very sure if Pakistan has a counter strategy.

The Plan To Topple Pakistan & Pak Military

This is not about Musharraf anymore. This is about clipping the wings of a strong Pakistani military, denying space for China in Pakistan , squashing the ISI, stirring ethnic unrest, and neutralizing Pakistan 's nuclear program. The first shot in this plan was fired in Pakistan 's Balochistan province in 2004. The last bullet will be toppling Musharraf, sidelining the military and installing a pliant government in Islamabad . Musharraf shares the blame for letting things come this far. But he is also punching holes in Washington 's game plan. He needs to be supported.

ISLAMABAD , Pakistan — On the evening of Tuesday, 26 September, 2006, Pakistani strongman Pervez Musharraf walked into the studio of Comedy Central's 'Daily Show' with Jon Stewart, the first sitting president anywhere to dare do this political satire show.

Stewart offered his guest some tea and cookies and played the perfect host by asking, "Is it good?" before springing a surprise: "Where's Osama bin Laden?"

"I don't know," Musharraf replied, as the audience enjoyed the rare sight of a strong leader apparently cornered. " You know where he is?" Musharraf snapped back, "You lead on, we'll follow you."

What Gen. Musharraf didn't know then is that he really was being cornered. Some of the smiles that greeted him in Washington and back home gave no hint of the betrayal that awaited him.

As he completed the remaining part of his U.S. visit, his allies in Washington and elsewhere, as all evidence suggests now, were plotting his downfall. They had decided to take a page from the book of successful 'color revolutions' where western governments covertly used money, private media, student unions, NGOs and international pressure to stage coups, basically overthrowing individuals not fitting well with Washington's agenda.

This recipe proved its success in former Yugoslavia , and more recently in Georgia , Ukraine and Kazakhstan .

In Pakistan , the target is a Pakistani president who refuses to play ball with the United States on Afghanistan , China , and Dr. A.Q. Khan.
The Americans have been telling everyone in the world that they have paid Pakistan $10 billion dollars over the past five years. They might think this gives them the right to decide Pakistan 's destiny. What they don't tell the world is how Pakistan 's help secured for them their biggest footprint ever in energy-rich Central Asia .

If they forget, Islamabad can always remind them by giving them the same treatment that Uzbekistan did last year.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are parts of Time magazine blog by Chuck Spinney refering to a Tariq Ali article on the latest developments in US-Pak relations:

Attached is a very important essay analyzing the political aspects of the current crisis with Pakistan, written from the point of view of leftist Pakistani intellectual. For those readers who are unfamiliar with the author, Tariq Ali graduated from Oxford, where he studied philosophy, politics, and economics, and was President of the Oxford Union. He is now based in London, writes widely, has published many books, and is a frequent contributor the London Review of Books, The Guardian, and Counterpunch.

While he writes from the perspective of the left, he is a well-recognized authority on the history, politics, and culture of Pakistan, and has been particularly critical of the ubiquitous corruption in its military and civilian government. He has many sources inside the Pakistani government, military, and even the ISI. In other words, Ali's views are both learned and important, and should be studied by anyone interested in this part of the world, regardless of his/her political orientation. The editors of Counterpunch have graciously given me permission to post his essay on Battleland, and I urge you to read carefully this very important essay.

by TARIQ ALI, Counterpunch, 28 November 2011

The Nato assault on a Pakistani checkpoint close to the Afghan border which killed 24 soldiers on Saturday must have been deliberate. Nato commanders have long been supplied with maps marking these checkpoints by the Pakistani military. They knew that the target was a military outpost. [CS note: I don think one should dismiss the possibility of a screw up or a false flag operation, but even if was a screw up, it does not change essence of Ali's argument, which centers on what the Pakistanis think.] The explanation that they were fired on first rings false and has been ferociously denied by Islamabad. Previous such attacks were pronounced ‘accidental' and apologies were given and accepted. This time it seems more serious. It has come too soon after other ‘breaches of sovereignty', in the words of the local press, but Pakistani sovereignty is a fiction. The military high command and the country's political leaders willingly surrendered their sovereignty many decades ago. That it is now being violated openly and brutally is the real cause for concern.
Motives for the attack remain a mystery but its impact is not. It will create further divisions within the military, further weaken the venal Zardari regime, strengthen religious militants and make the US even more hated than it already is in Pakistan.
The Nato attack comes on the heels of another crisis. One of Zardari and his late wife's trusted bagmen in Washington, Husain Haqqani, whose links to the US intelligence agencies since the 1970s made him a useful intermediary and whom Zardari appointed as Pakistan's ambassador to Washington, has been forced to resign. Haqqani, often referred to as the US ambassador to Pakistan, appears to have been caught red-handed: he allegedly asked Mansoor Ijaz, a multi-millionaire close to the US defense establishment, to carry a message to Admiral Mike Mullen pleading for help against the Pakistani military and offering in return to disband the Haqqani network and the ISI and carry out all US instructions....

Read more:

Riaz Haq said...

Here are parts of a Christian Science Monitor story on US-NATO non-apology to Pakistan:

What is missing in both the NATO and US military apologies is not just the word “sorry,” but also any actual taking of responsibility for the actions. Calling for “investigations” or “committing to transparency” are ways for diplomats to suggest that the US or NATO will take future action. Expressing “grave concern” or “regret” shows an emotional reaction, but it doesn’t indicate that the US or NATO admit any sort of guilt for an action they have taken.

Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the US military joint chiefs of staff, joined US diplomats in “regret,” but said that an apology would not be forthcoming until a full investigation was conducted.

By falling into a mumbly nonequivocation – look for the phrases “reaffirm partnership” or “reaffirm commitment” in the coming days of awkwardness – US policymakers are looking for ways to keep temperatures down and to prevent an escalation of rhetoric past the point of no return. The US and NATO may never be able to get that “loving feeling” back with Pakistan. But soothing words, without strings attached, can help both sides to save face and to back down.

Riaz Haq said...

NATO & Pakistan cooperated to prevent escalation of another border incident Tue, according to a media report:

Pakistan resumed some cooperation with U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan following NATO strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers by working with the coalition to prevent another cross-border incident from escalating, a spokesman said Wednesday.

Pakistan is still outraged by the soldiers' deaths and has retaliated by closing its Afghan border crossings to NATO supplies, demanding the U.S. vacate an air base used by American drones and boycotting an international conference aimed at stabilizing Afghanistan.

But NATO said Islamabad communicated with the alliance to prevent an exchange of artillery fire late Tuesday from turning into another international incident.

German Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, a NATO spokesman in Kabul, expressed hope that Pakistan's cooperation in resolving the incident in eastern Afghanistan's Paktia province signaled the two sides could recover from the recent tragedy. He did not provide more details about targets or who was doing the shooting but said no damage or injuries were reported.

"We are continuing operations and it is of great importance that the incidents of Saturday, as tragic as they were, do not disrupt our capability to operate in the border area and cooperate with the Pakistani side," said Jacobson.

The Pakistani military did not immediately respond to request for comment on the latest incident.

Pakistani and American officials have offered different accounts of how NATO aircraft attacked two Pakistan army posts before dawn Saturday, killing 24 soldiers. But it seems clear that a breakdown in communication contributed to the tragedy.

Read more:

Riaz Haq said...

Opposing views in Washington Post blogs on US-Pak relations:

“In other words, as much as some might like it to be otherwise, writing Pakistan out of the U.S. foreign policy script is not an option. This is true even in the aftermath of last weekend’s NATO airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers, triggering yet another crisis in the tortured U.S.-Pakistan relationship,” write Jane Harman and Robert Hathaway. (Washington Post)

“Instead of relying heavily on Pakistan as a supply corridor, the United States should expand its cooperation with Russia, which has been playing an increasingly important role in military transit to and from Afghanistan. This would serve as both a hedge and a warning to the generals who control Pakistan,” write Dov Zakheim and Paul Saunders. (New York Times)

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of Brian Cloughly's piece in Counterpunch on the killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers:

The killing of 24 Pakistan army soldiers in Mohmand Tribal Agency on November 26 by US air strikes is unforgivable. I was in Mohmand three weeks ago, visiting 77 Brigade, whose officers and soldiers were slaughtered by US aircraft, and I know exactly where Pakistan’s border posts are located. And so do American forces, because they have been informed of the precise coordinates of all them.

There can be no refutation of the statement to me that “No plans of any patrols or operations being conducted [at the time of the Mohmand airstrikes] were shared [with Pakistan, by US forces].” And nobody can deny that the posts are well inside Pakistan.

Those killed in the US attack on Pakistan included Captain Usman, whose six-month-old daughter will never see him again, and Major Mujahid who was to be married shortly. Well done, you gallant warriors of the skies. May you never sleep contented.

Here is a description of what went on, from a retired army officer who visited the casualties in the Military Hospital in Peshawar:

There were 14 wounded in the surgical ward suffering a variety of wounds . . . The crux of the account of the soldiers and officers was that at about 11pm . . . a light aircraft came from across the border, flew over the post and fired flares and returned. About half an hour later armed helicopters and [other] aircraft came. They again fired flares and began firing at the men. They remained in the area for about 5-6 hours. During this time, the helicopters [were] firing at individual personnel at will . . . [and fire was returned by their single 12.7 machine gun]. Every one of the men on the post was killed or wounded. They seemed to be in no hurry and going after each individual separately. Having finished the entire post, they peaceably went back without any casualty on their part.
The “sacrifices that America is making” in Afghanistan, in what is ludicrously called ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’, are entirely self-inflicted. But Pakistan’s sacrifices are inflicted by America, which is losing yet another war and again blames another country for its failure. Just like it did in the disasters in Vietnam and Somalia and Iraq.

In the past fifty years, what nation has trusted America and come out of the deal with dignity, honor and prosperity? Pakistan is far from a perfect country. Its government is corrupt and appallingly inefficient. But it could do without Washington’s imperial insolence. At the moment Islamabad is desperate to find some means of registering the country’s contempt and loathing for the United States, and there are very few options available to it. But it could reflect on what Washington’s retaliation would have been if Pakistani aircraft had gone on a yippee shoot and killed 24 American soldiers inside Afghanistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are some excerpts from Mansoor Ijaz's Op Ed in latest issue of Newsweek:

I have a history of involvement in back-channel diplomacy, particularly between the governments of Pakistan and India on the subject of Kashmir and nuclear proliferation, but it is still important to ask why, in this instance, Haqqani chose to come to me. Perhaps because he had tried other interlocutors to deliver the same message and had been refused. Perhaps because the basis of his request—an alleged coup plot—was only a concocted threat and he needed someone who couldn’t verify the postulation in the short time frame required by the ambassador for action. What I am certain of is that Haqqani believed I was the most plausibly deniable back channel he could use. He knew I was disliked by many in Islamabad’s power circles for my strong anti-establishment views. Haqqani also knew I had the connections to get the message quickly and quietly to Mullen. He knew I maintained friendships with former CIA director James Woolsey, former U.S. national-security adviser Gen. James L. Jones, Reagan “Star Wars” commander Lt. Gen. James Abrahamson, and others.
A few days before the Mullen denial was posted on Foreign Policy’s blog, The Cable, Haqqani changed his BlackBerry handset for the third time since May. Maybe he hoped that changing PINs would erase his damning conversations from my handset. Unfortunately for him, they remain preserved—now in a bank vault—in exactly their original form on my original device as he and I exchanged them. The constant changing of handsets raised the disturbing specter that Haqqani had persuaded his friends in the U.S. intelligence community to assist him in “scrubbing” his BlackBerry records because my disclosures were not just about to lose him his job, but could potentially uncover sensitive matters of U.S. national interest as well. After all, I was not the only entry on Haqqani’s BlackBerry contact list. Other BlackBerry chats could prove highly embarrassing or prove complicity and culpability if they were made public by Supreme Court action in Pakistan.
Haqqani made just one critical mistake—seconding me into his scheme. I dislike the brinksmanship and heavy-handed role that Pakistan’s military and intelligence organizations have played throughout the nation’s history, and have said so over and over again. Democracy cannot exist in a police state managed by a thuggish intelligence agency. But I dislike even more feudal civilian cabals that feign love for democracy only to orchestrate their grandiose schemes on important security issues through abuses of power that simply cannot be tolerated in an open society.

Pakistan is much stronger as a result of the disclosures that have arisen after the memorandum became the unintended focus of global media attention. Its frenetic, even chaotic media did their jobs well. Some suffered threats. Yet Pakistani reporters toughed it out. They saw a smokescreen and decided to disperse it. It is this hunger for transparency that the people of Pakistan will now use to choose leaders who serve only the people, not themselves.

Pakistan’s military men may not allow civilian supremacy just yet, but a serious transition seems to be underway to at least make civilian institutions strong enough to coexist on an even footing with the Army in the intermediate term. One day, those civilian institutions may indeed be strong enough to protect Pakistan’s truest national interests: not Kashmir, Afghanistan, and nuclear bombs, but the availability of education, the expansion of trade ties, and the provision of energy to a frustrated nation eager to find prosperity.

Riaz Haq said...

US State Dept & Sen Feinstein defend US aid to Pakistan, according to Dawn:

WASHINGTON: The US State Department on Tuesday defended aid to Pakistan amid calls from senators for a full review of whether economic and military assistance there serves the US national interest.

“We believe our assistance to Pakistan still continues to provide dividends for the American people in trying to grow and strengthen Pakistan’s democratic institutions, boost its economy,” said spokesman Mark Toner.

“In the long term, you know, those are the kinds of things we’re seeking to achieve,” he told reporters one day after Republican Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham made a full-throated call for reevaluating the aid.

His comments came shortly after US Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein said that cutting assistance to Pakistan would be unhelpful but warned that calls to do so had strong congressional support.

“I don’t think that’s useful,” she told reporters. “My understanding is that there’s some overtures under way to restore the relationship. Well, that’s fine, but I suspect that if a bill were to come to the floor which fenced money, the bill would have a good chance of passing,”she said.

US lawmakers have expressed mounting anger at Pakistan, accusing military and intelligence officials there of supporting the Haqqani network blamed here for attacks on US forces and targets in Afghanistan.

“I can only express my profound disappointment with the relationship” and the “deterioration” in an already troubled alliance that “goes up and down, and up and down, and up and down,” she said.

“My very strong feeling is you can’t walk both sides of the street with respect to terror,” said Feinstein.

Relations slid to a new low last month when Nato air strikes killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border, prompting Pakistan to boycott an international conference in Bonn on Afghanistan’s future.

“This is a very complex relationship,” Toner said, adding that the deadly border incident “was difficult for the Pakistani people, for the Pakistani government.”

“They have reacted in a way that shows how important and how significant this tragedy was for them,” Toner said.

“It’s absolutely essential that Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US, other international partners, work through this and beyond. It’s in all our interests.”

But Republican Senator Mark Kirk told AFP that McCain and Graham, who serve on the Senate Armed Services Committee, “are right.”

“Military aid to Pakistan is unsustainable, and in this time of deficits and debt, we ought to save the money,” he said, warning that if Pakistan has chose “to embrace terror and back the Haqqani network,” it should do so “without subsidies from the US taxpayer.

Kirk has also called for bolstering ties to India and “making India a military ally of the United States and to encourage India to fill the vacuum in Kabul once we leave.”

Riaz Haq said...

Foreign Policy is reporting that President Asif Ali Zardari may be on his way out for health reasons:

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari left Pakistan suddenly on Tuesday, complaining of heart pains, and is now in Dubai. His planned testimony before a joint session of Pakistan's parliament on the Memogate scandal is now postponed indefinitely.

On Dec. 4, Zardari announced that he would address Pakistan's parliament about the Memogate issue, in which his former ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani stands accused of orchestrating a scheme to take power away from Pakistan's senior military and intelligence leadership and asking for U.S. help in preventing a military coup. Haqqani has denied that he wrote the memo at the heart of the scheme, which also asked for U.S. support for the Zardari government and promised to realign Pakistani foreign policy to match U.S. interests.

The memo was passed from Pakistani-American businessman Mansoor Ijaz to former National Security Advisor Jim Jones, to then Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen on May 10, only nine days after U.S. forces killed Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani military town of Abbottabad.
Early on Tuesday morning, Zardari's spokesman revealed that the president had traveled to Dubai to see his children and undergo medical tests linked to a previously diagnosed "cardiovascular condition."

A former U.S. government official told The Cable today that when President Barack Obama spoke with Zardari over the weekend regarding NATO's killing of the 24 Pakistani soldiers, Zardari was "incoherent." The Pakistani president had been feeling increased pressure over the Memogate scandal. "The noose was getting tighter -- it was only a matter of time," the former official said, expressing the growing expectation inside the U.S. government that Zardari may be on the way out.

The former U.S. official said that parts of the U.S. government were informed that Zardari had a "minor heart attack" on Monday night and flew to Dubai via air ambulance today. He may have angioplasty on Wednesday and may also resign on account of "ill health."

"This is the ‘in-house change option' that has been talked about," said Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, in a Tuesday interview with The Cable. Nawaz said that this plan would see Zardari step aside and be replaced by his own party, preserving the veneer of civilian rule but ultimately acceding to the military's wishes to get rid of Zardari.

"Unfortunately, it means that the military may have had to use its muscle to effect change yet again," said Nawaz. "Now if they stay at arm's length and let the party take care of its business, then things may improve. If not, then this is a silent coup with [Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza] Gilani as the front man."

In Islamabad, some papers have reported that before Zardari left Pakistan, the Pakistani Army insisted that Zardari be examined by their own physicians, and that the Army doctors determined that Zardari was fine and did not need to leave the country for medical reasons. Zardari's spokesman has denied that he met with the Army doctors.
On May 2, the day after bin Laden was killed, Wajid Hasan, Pakistan's high commissioner to the United Kingdom, said in an interview with CNN that Pakistan, "did know that this was going to happen because we have been keeping -- we were monitoring him and America was monitoring him. But Americans got to where he was first."..

Riaz Haq said...

US working hard to re-engage with Pakistan, reports Times of India:

WASHINGTON: The US has said it is working hard to keep open channels and get back to work with Pakistan, as Islamabad continued to block the crucial NATO supply routes and announced to strengthen its air defence system on the Af-Pak border.

"This relationship is complicated. But it's also essential to both the United States and Pakistan. We are working very hard to keep open channels and to get back to work together," State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland told reporters at a news conference on Friday.

The US officials have been in constant contact with their counterparts in Pakistan, the latest being the meeting between the US ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron Munter with foreign minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

"We are continuing our intensive engagement including through the recent meeting between ambassador Munter and foreign minister Khar. Obviously we are both trying to roll up our sleeves and get back to work together," Nuland said.

"With regard to what might emerge from any internal review, I would refer you to the government of Pakistan on that. We are obviously making very clear that we think we have hard work to do together and we need to get back to it as quickly as we can," she said.

Nuland said there is no reason to believe that the Dubai visit of Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has anything to do other than his health issue. "We wish him a speedy recovery and a speedy return back to his country," she said.

"We believe that this relationship, while complicated, is essential to both of us. So, we're going to continue to work on it," the US official added.

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan-American businessman, who occupies the centre of the memogate scandal, Mansoor Ijaz has said the memo was prepared by the country' three high-ranked officials, according to ANI:

Ijaz said he personally knew two out of those officials, and added that one of them had asked him to send the me to US Admiral Mike Mullen, The News reports.

Ijaz claimed to have informed about Haqqani in a telephonic conversation with former US National Security Advisor General James Jones, which lasted for 19 minutes and 26 seconds.

Ijaz said alongwith a memo, he had also sent a covering letter to General Jones, in which entioned about three officials, who served in the country's military and government.

Ijaz said he was also in touch with two US officials to deliver the memo to Mike Mullen personally.

Iajz has, however, blackened the names of those US officials in the document furnishing a reply to the Pakistan Supreme Court.

Ijaz said he asked Jones to deliver the memo to Mullen by May 10 to enable the latter to brief key Pakistani officials at White House on May 11.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Huffington Post piece on US-Pak ties and US elections:

The crises of 2011 are ripping apart a working relationship with Pakistan. Controversy over CIA agent Raymond Davis, the raid on the bin Laden compound, accusations of ISI support for the Taliban, civilian casualties caused by drone attacks, and now NATO airstrikes on Pakistani soldiers have roiled emotions. One must view these events as a whole, not individually. They are tying the hands of Pakistan's military and civilian leaders in cooperating with the U.S. to fight our common enemies. Here, political attitudes and opinions on Capitol Hill and among voters have hardened, complicating our ability to forge policies that enable effective engagement with Pakistan.

The interests of both countries mandate that Pakistan's military and elected government unite in fighting violent extremism. One needed step is strong Pakistani communication campaign to marginalize and de-legitimize the extremists. That could lay the political foundation for taking the military battle to militants. They've at time proven they can do that. But the controversies over U.S. actions have instead led Islamabad to adopt policies that obstruct fighting extremists. Success requires that we work together to overcome the widely shared perception that the U.S. deliberately seeks to abuse Pakistani sovereignty and that cooperation with us makes the military or civilians American pawns.

What can the presidential aspirants do? They can go beyond the current rhetoric to register points that resonate with Pakistanis and serve our mutual interests. Turning relations with Pakistan into partisan fodder is not useful. It would send a powerful message for the Pakistanis to hear from both parties the following:

· The U.S. supports the primacy of elected civilian government and democratic institutions even while it works with Pakistan's military leaders to address our interests, especially in Afghanistan.
· While we may have to condition our military aid to Pakistan's cooperation within its borders in fighting Afghan insurgents, we should stand strongly behind pro-democracy forces. That embraces targeted civilian aid that is carefully monitored to ensure proper use and branding so that we receive credit for our contributions.
· The U.S. is ready to expand trade by foregoing the protectionism so hurtful to Pakistan's struggling economy. This assistance as well as creation of Reconstruction Opportunity Zones will win us more friends than our current aid programs. This will show that in the national interest we are prepared to make difficult domestic political decisions.
· We recognize that Pakistan has legitimate security interests in Afghanistan and that with 35 million Pashtuns, no Pakistan government can support action that fails to address their concerns. But we won't tolerate its using the Pashtun card to meddle, and
won't allow it to obstruct a political settlement that would end the insurgency.
· Whatever suspicion Pakistan may harbor, as journalist Zahid Hussain has noted, only the U.S. offers Pakistanis hope for the future. No other nation does that.

These messages to Pakistan will put the political discourse between Pakistan and the U.S. on a sounder footing. It will vest Pakistani policy makers and military with more flexibility to fight violent extremism and help revitalize ties with the U.S. What the candidates for President say, and how they say it, can make a huge difference in advancing or blocking what is mutually beneficial. Meanwhile, it will require Pakistani leaders who are willing to stand up against the tide of opinion and take their own political risks.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report suggesting Nawaz Sharif also sought US help against military coup in Pakistan in 1999:

The U.S. State Department says the memo scandal is an "internal matter" for the Pakistani government. On Wednesday, Pentagon spokesman George Little, speaking generally about the U.S.-Pakistan relationship, said the United States was committed to pushing through difficult issues.

"It's not going to be easy but with a lot of work we think we can do it," he told reporters.


There are also doubts in Washington about how much turbulence Pakistan's fragile democracy can withstand and whether courts can conduct a fair trial in a charged climate.

"The fact that the Supreme Court has now been involved gives (the memo matter) extra importance and legitimacy," said Shujaa Nawaz, a Pakistan scholar with the Atlantic Council.

Pakistan's top court is now moving ahead with the petition, filed by Nawaz Sharif, Zardari's chief opponent, raising questions about the political motivations for the case.

Bruce Riedel, a former CIA and White House official who chaired President Barack Obama's 2009 review of U.S. policy on the region, said Sharif himself initiated a similar petition over a decade ago.

He recalled a 1999 meeting with Sharif's brother Shahbaz, who he said traveled to Washington to warn of what civilian officials at the time feared was a brewing military coup.

"It was an entire day spent at the Willard Hotel listening to Shahbaz talk about their fears that a military coup was coming and asking for American help to prevent it," he said.

"That's pretty much the charge (that) is being leveled against Ambassador Haqqani."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an interesting Op Ed from UAE's National newspaper on power struggle in Pakistan:

...Almost from its inception, and certainly since 1954 when Ayub Khan was concurrently defence minister and commander-in-chief, the Pakistan army has been a political force even when it was not at the helm of the state. This was always true except for a brief period during Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's term as prime minister when, after its defeat in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971, the army was firmly under civilian control.

In the periods between military rule when elected governments were in power, the military has still been considered a political force. Even during the term of Gen Jehangir Keramat, perhaps the least politically threatening of the army chiefs, politicians would reach out to him to establish their "GHQ connections". Even though Gen Keramat was sacked by Nawaz Sharif in 1988, Mr Sharif never managed to tame the military and was eventually overthrown by another military dictator, Gen Pervez Musharraf.

In her first term as prime minister, Benazir Bhutto also attempted to exert her influence over the military, but was destined to be toppled by the then-president, Ishaq Khan, with the support of the military.

Every civilian government in Pakistan has learnt to live with the army's political role and adjusted to it in different ways.
Far from doing so, the elected government neither governed effectively nor tamed the military. Continuing on a path of corruption, it ceded political space to the military.

Had the elected government wanted to, the US incursion to assassinate Osama bin Laden on May 2 offered a priceless opportunity to sack the army chief and the director general of the ISI. Instead, it seems that President Asif Ali Zardari sought US assistance to keep the military at bay. The "memo-gate" scandal that broke last month involved the former ambassador to the US, Hussain Haqqani, allegedly delivering a letter to the Pentagon asking for US assistance to stave off a military coup. One can only assume that in exchange Mr Zardari's administration was offering its subservience to Washington and control of Pakistan's nuclear assets.
On December 22, Pakistan's Prime Minister Yusuf Gilani thundered on the floor of parliament that he would not tolerate "a state within a state", an unambiguous reference to the army. The next day, Gen Kayani did his best to dispel rumours of a coup but the rumour mill keeps churning.

At the heart of this is the possibility of treason charges under Article 6 of the constitution; that trail could lead all the way to Mr Zardari and the presidential office. Having offered up Mr Haqqani as a sacrifice, the government would have liked to forget the scandal, but the Supreme Court has now sought responses from everyone concerned, including the chiefs of the army and the ISI.

Both the army and the ISI submitted affidavits stating that there was enough evidence to implicate Mr Haqqani. The government, in turn, has challenged the Court's jurisdiction in the affair. But the Supreme Court's continued inquiry could very well capsize this government.

The threat, then, posed to the elected government is not from the military but from the judiciary, which has implied that even the issue of presidential immunity is being considered. The most intriguing part of this affair is that, while the military seems fully conscious of the limits of its political power, the elected government's actions in the "memo-gate" affair has forced the military to become more involved. But it will be the decisions of the judiciary, not the military, that will see this government survive or fall.

Riaz Haq said...

Even after becoming an ambassador to represent Pakistan in Washington, Haqqani never hesitated in bringing Americans into the civilian-military disputes in Pakistan's polity. BBM messages he exchanged with Mansoor Ijaz bring it out clearly. Attempts to deny the content of these messages are disingenuous given the fact that BBM is highly secure and impossible to tamper with. Regardless, the Pak "liberals" are giving him unqualified support because they believe all means, no matter how wrong, are justified to bring Pak military to heel. Such liberals need to learn how the Turks achieved this goal without compromising their dignity. What these liberals need to understand is that civilians have to perform and deliver positive results, as Turkey's Erdogan & Gull have done, to earn the respect of the Pakistani people who overwhelmingly approve of the military.

Riaz Haq said...

Even after becoming an ambassador to represent Pakistan in Washington, Haqqani never hesitated in bringing Americans into the civilian-military disputes in Pakistan's polity. BBM messages he exchanged with Mansoor Ijaz bring it out clearly. Attempts to deny the content of these messages are disingenuous given the fact that BBM is highly secure and impossible to tamper with. Regardless, the Pak "liberals" are giving him unqualified support because they believe all means, no matter how wrong, are justified to bring Pak military to heel. Such liberals need to learn how the Turks achieved this goal without compromising their dignity. What these liberals need to understand is that civilians have to perform and deliver positive results, as Turkey's Erdogan & Gull have done, to earn the respect of the Pakistani people who overwhelmingly approve of the military.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of Washington Post book review of Hussain Haqqani's "Magnificent Delusions":

Read his book and you might think Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington from 2008 to 2011, is no friend of his homeland. Its leaders are liars, double-dealers and shakedown artists, he says. They have been this way for decades, and, as Haqqani ably documents, the United States often has served as Pakistan’s willing dupe. But for all its criticism of Pakistan, “Magnificent Delusions” is a necessary prescriptive: If there’s any hope of salvaging what seems like a doomed relationship, it helps to know how everything went so wrong. Haqqani is here to tell us.

These days Haqqani lives in virtual exile in Boston. A liberal academic and player in Pakistani politics since 1989, he has long been a critic of the country’s all-powerful military and intelligence apparatus. In 2011, in a curious episode dubbed “Memogate,” he was accused of seeking U.S. help to subdue the Pakistani military. He denied the allegations but lost his post. Later, a commission established by Pakistan’s Supreme Court tarred him as a traitor, making it dangerous for him to return to the country once he left.

Anonymous said...

Hussain Haqqani is not a traitor, he wants a progressive Pakistan. He was a very ambitious individual, probably the 'real' heir to BB but he tried to run before he could walk. He was caught in the crossfire between Kayani, Pasha, the military establishment and the PPP government. What actually transpired was a 'sting' operation conducted by the ISI using a dubious character (Mansoor Ijaz) in order to remove HH from his post as Ambassador to US. I have read his books too and I like the guy a lot. I don't agree with everything he says but hey isn't it a god damn 'democracy' after all, we're not communists right??

Riaz Haq said...

Hussain Haqqani is the ultimate LOTA. He got his start as Gen Zia's lackey in 1970s. Since then, he has been in every party on Pakistan's political spectrum from right to left: Jamiat/JI, PML (N) and now PPP.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Michael Krepon on Husain Haqqani in

Husain Haqqani has many detractors in Pakistan due to his shifting political allegiances and book publications. The thesis of Pakistan: Between Mosque and Military (2005) is about a longstanding alliance of convenience between the Army and Pakistan’s religious parties “to seek strategic depth in Afghanistan and to put pressure on India,” which cemented the Army’s domestic dominance and policies with dire consequences. Husain treads lightly on the failings of Pakistan’s political class, which bid for the Army’s favors while accumulating wealth. Washington comes in for heavy criticism for backing military strongmen and for not making assistance conditional on behavioral change. Pakistan comes across as a “rentier state” – one that “lives off the rents of its strategic location” — yet another reason why this book did not receive rave reviews in Rawalpindi.

Payback came when Husain was forced out of his post as President Asif Zadari’s emissary to Washington. After the US raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound, an orchestrated media campaign charged him of conspiring with a Pakistani-American living in Monaco to seek the Obama administration’s help to prevent an imaginary military coup attempt. Pakistan’s judicial system, which has difficulty prosecuting the perpetrators of mass-casualty attacks, quickly found sufficient evidence to launch judicial proceedings of treasonous behavior.

Husain is now back in the United States writing books. His latest, Magnificent Delusions: Pakistan, the United States, and an Epic History of Misunderstanding, will add Pakistan’s diplomatic corps to his list of detractors. He has burned another bridge, this time with a historical narrative of Pakistan’s play book to secure US economic and military assistance. “Since 1947,” he argues, “dependence, deception, and defiance have characterized US-Pakistan relations. We sought US aid in return for promises we did not keep.” His sources – US archival material providing direct quotes and summaries of high-level exchanges, as well as personal recollections – are too detailed to be dismissed as anti-Pakistan propaganda.

Husain’s bottom line: “Pakistan and the United States have few shared interests and very different political needs… If $40 billion in US aid has not won Pakistani hearts and minds, billions more will not do the trick… The US-Pakistan alliance is only a mirage.” Not exactly your standard, dispassionate diplomatic history....

Riaz Haq said...

Raphel is known to have an abiding affection for Pakistan, a country that has lost the trust of many Washington policymakers and lawmakers. Though crucial to regional stability and U.S. security interests, Pakistan is often seen as a double-dealer, accused by top U.S. officials of sheltering terrorists and abetting U.S. enemies, such as the Afghan Taliban...

Officials have told reporters that the FBI opened its counterintelligence probe after intercepting a communication of a Pakistani official that suggested Raphel might have been involved in providing secrets to the Pakistani government.

“It is totally and completely impossible that Robin could have been involved in anything such as has been alleged through the media,” says her old friend and colleague Tim Carney, a former ambassador....“This is beyond anything I could imagine,” says Teresita Schaffer, an ex-ambassador whose professional ties to Raphel date to the mid-’70s in Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital. “Bizarre beyond words.”

Raphel would not comment. Her attorney, Amy Jeffress, says Raphel is cooperating with the investigation, and that she is confident her client will be “cleared of any suspicion.”

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan has ordered all mobile service providers in the country to shut down one of BlackBerry’s services because of security concerns, officials said Saturday.

The government wants operators to stop providing BlackBerry Enterprise Services, or BES, which allow users to establish secure networks, by Nov. 30. “Remaining BB [BlackBerry] services such as messenger and BlackBerry Internet Services will continue,” said a senior official at the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority, who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media.

Officials at two of Pakistan’s five mobile operators, who asked that they and their companies weren’t named, confirmed that they had received the order to shut down BES, one of the company’s most secure offerings, from the PTA. The order, a copy of which was seen by The Wall Street Journal, cited “serious concerns by the Security Agency [sic]” and was dated July 22.

Officials at PTA and the two mobile operators declined to say which security agency was mentioned in the shutdown order, and didn’t comment on the nature of its concerns.

BES allow customers to build their own secure communications networks, the officials at the two Pakistani mobile networks said, providing a high level of security and encryption that is very difficult for governments to access. “The BES system is very expensive so usually only big companies and embassies opt for it,” one of the officials said, declining to name any customers because of security concerns.

BlackBerry’s non-enterprise services, which are provided through mobile networks, are encrypted as well, but aren’t as secure as BES because servers aren't controlled by the customer, the officials said.

A BlackBerry spokeswoman declined to comment on reports of Pakistan’s ban on the company’s services, but said in an emailed statement: “While we recognize the need to cooperate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, we have never permitted wholesale access to our BES servers.”

Privacy International, a U.K.-based rights charity, said in a report this month that Pakistan’s intelligence agencies have ramped up electronic surveillance in recent years. Officials say such surveillance is necessary for Pakistan to effectively counter militancy, but activists have warned that widespread electronic eavesdropping threatens citizens’ privacy and is vulnerable to abuse.

The officials at the two mobile operators said the partial ban in Pakistan is unlikely to have a serious impact on their business. There are only around 5,000 BES customers in Pakistan, the PTA and mobile operators said. There were nearly 132 million mobile subscribers in Pakistan as of April this year, according to PTA data.

Pakistan isn't the first country to confront BlackBerry’s encrypted communications services. In 2010, the United Arab Emirates threatened to ban BlackBerry communications, also citing security concerns. India, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia have also threatened bans.

Riaz Haq said...

Fight with #Pakistan exposes grey area in #BlackBerry’s security

A temporary truce has been reached between Canada’s BlackBerry Ltd. and Pakistan over requests from that nation’s government that it hand over “unfettered access” to encrypted communications from its enterprise customers.

The Pakistan Telecommunication Authority had told local mobile-phone operators that as of Nov. 30, they could no longer offer BlackBerry Enterprise Server (BES) services to customers.

BlackBerry chief operating officer Marty Beard wrote a blog post Monday explaining that Pakistan was demanding access to encrypted BES communications. “BlackBerry will not comply with that sort of directive. As we have said many times, we do not support ‘back doors’ granting open access to our customers’ information and have never done this anywhere in the world,” Mr. Beard wrote.

Hours later, Pakistan extended the shutdown deadline until Dec. 30, effectively delaying the showdown over security.

The fight between BlackBerry and Pakistan also exposed a critical grey area in the company’s vaunted security reputation: Only its BlackBerry Enterprise Server clients are offered fully encrypted communications.

A regular telecom consumer that doesn’t have a corporate BES can expect that their BBM messages, e-mails and other communications could be intercepted, with BlackBerry’s help, by government agencies.

As Christopher Parsons, a Toronto-based researcher for the Citizen Lab at the Munk Centre for International Studies, Citizen Lab explains, consumer-level BBM uses a form of encryption that BlackBerry holds the keys too, unlike the sort of end-to-end encryption that Apple’s iMessage provides, which it says cannot be accessed even if it were given a lawful order. Only BES clients have a similar level of security with BlackBerry. In the wake of the Paris attacks, a number of Western security officials spoke out about the consumer availability of strong encryption.

In his post on Monday, Mr. Beard said that “while we recognize the need to co-operate with lawful government investigative requests of criminal activity, we have never permitted wholesale access to our BES servers.”

In November, reports surfaced that Mr. Beard told attendees at an IT conference called FedTalks that “we very much take a balanced approach” and criticized companies that say they are “all about encryption all the way.”

“They chided Apple and Google for setting up strong encryption,” Mr. Parsons says. “My understanding is they were willing to work with Pakistan on a case-by-case instance, just not a universal back door.”

A BlackBerry spokesperson repeated the denial that it will provide such access.

In a written statement, the company did say: “While we do not support so-called ‘back doors,’ we and every other tech company bears a responsibility to do all we can to help governments protect their citizens.”

Even though the showdown has been averted for now, it’s unclear how the pullout would be effected.

For instance, the company was not able to specify what would happen to a BES customer who simply travelled to Pakistan, nor what would happen to Pakistani customers who relocated their services to a neighbouring country.

Riaz Haq said...

As ambassador, Mr. Husain Haqqani behaved like "One Man Think Tank" who was "eager to share his own views, which often dovetailed American criticisms of Pakistan’s military".

American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they did not want to be seen as meddling in Pakistan’s internal affairs, said they hoped Ms. Rehman’s range of contacts within Pakistan’s military and its government and among rights groups could potentially make her a more effective interlocutor than her predecessor, who was very much seen as Mr. Zardari’s man, although he did argue the military’s case when needed.

The American officials were also pleased by Ms. Rehman’s speedy appointment, which assuaged fears of prolonged standoff between the military and civilian authorities over the ambassadorship, arguably Pakistan’s most important diplomatic posting. “The military doesn’t need more excuses to disregard the president and prime minister,” said one American official. “That they all found a way to agree quickly is a positive. They need an ambassador in Washington; we need them to have an ambassador in Washington.”

But experts in Pakistan and the United States cautioned that American officials should not view Ms. Rehman’s social liberalism, which is common among Pakistan’s elite, as a sign that she will fall in line with Washington’s views on what is best for Pakistan.

“Folks in Washington will expect her national security agenda to be as liberal as her domestic agenda,” said Shamila N. Chaudhary, a South Asia analyst at the Eurasia Group who previously served as the director for Pakistan and Afghanistan at the National Security Council.

“She’s coming here to represent the government, and that includes the military,” Ms. Chaudhary said.

Mr. Haqqani, in contrast, at times behaved as “a one-man think tank,” said one American official. The ambassador would often privately voice criticism of the military that he had publicly laid out before taking on his role, the official said.

Mr. Haqqani’s eagerness to share his own views, which often dovetailed American criticisms of Pakistan’s military and its longstanding ties to militant groups, had over the past year led to a diminishing of his influence in Washington, especially in the White House, said a pair of American officials. “There were questions about his influence at home and whether he could be trusted to accurately convey what his principals were thinking,” said one of the American officials.

Riaz Haq said...

Most people who are negative about Pakistan often follow the headlines, not the trend lines.
They do not seem to seek data and information from primary sources such as from UN agencies as compiled by Rosling; instead they seem to rely on 2nd, 3rd, 4th hand interpretations brought you courtesy of authors at Washington think tanks who are known to do their funders/backers bidding.$majorMode=chart$is;shi=t;ly=2003;lb=f;il=t;fs=11;al=30;stl=t;st=t;nsl=t;se=t$wst;tts=C$ts;sp=5.59290322580644;ti=2013$zpv;v=0$inc_x;mmid=XCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj1jiMAkmq1iMg;by=ind$inc_y;mmid=YCOORDS;iid=phAwcNAVuyj2tPLxKvvnNPA;by=ind$inc_s;uniValue=8.21;iid=phAwcNAVuyj0XOoBL_n5tAQ;by=ind$inc_c;uniValue=255;gid=CATID0;by=grp$map_x;scale=log;dataMin=194;dataMax=96846$map_y;scale=lin;dataMin=23;dataMax=86$map_s;sma=49;smi=2.65$cd;bd=0$inds=;modified=60

I don't expect most books published in US or India to be a true reflection of reality, especially about Pakistan.

What you get from them are caricatures of countries based on Washington's worldview.

I do not rely on such books for honest discussion of any international issues. I take what they see with a huge grain of salt.

I prefer firstly to rely on primary sources of information and secondly on more nuanced views, not caricatures, of a complex country like Pakistan by authors such as Jaffrelot's and Lieven's.

Here's an excerpt of Christophe Jaffrelot's "Pakistan Paradox: Instability and Resilience":

"The three contradictions ("Pakistan=Islam+Urdu", "civil-military establishment", "role of Islam in public sphere")...provide a three-part structure to this book....This thematic framework is intended to enhance our understanding of the Pakistan Paradox. Indeed, so far, none of the consubstantial contradictions of Pakistan mentioned above have had the power to destroy the country. In spite of chronic instability that they have created, Pakistan continues to show remarkable resilience. This can only be understood if one makes the effort to grasp the complexity of a country that is often caricatured. This is the reason why all sides of the three tensions around which this book is organized must be considered together: the centrifugal forces at work in Pakistan and those resisting them on behalf of Pakistan nationalism and provincial autonomy; the culture of authoritarianism and the resources for democracy; the Islamist agenda, and those who are fighting it on behalf of secularism or "Muslimhood" a la JInnah. The final picture may result in a set, not of contradictions but of paradoxes in which virtually antagonistic elements cohabit. But whether that is sufficient to contain instability remains to be seen."

Here's Riaz Haq rebutting Husain Haqqani: