Tag Archives: embassy

Blackwater threatens to kill American government official

Before Shooting in Iraq, a Warning on Blackwater

JUNE 29, 2014

WASHINGTON — Just weeks before Blackwater guardsfatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. But the inquiry was abandoned after Blackwater’s top manager there issued a threat: “that he could kill” the government’s chief investigator and “no one could or would do anything about it as we were in Iraq,” according to department reports.

American Embassy officials in Baghdad sided with Blackwater rather than the State Department investigators as a dispute over the probe escalated in August 2007, the previously undisclosed documents show. The officials told the investigators that they had disrupted the embassy’s relationship with the security contractor and ordered them to leave the country, according to the reports.

After returning to Washington, the chief investigator wrote a scathing report to State Department officials documenting misconduct by Blackwater employees and warning that lax oversight of the company, which had a contract worth more than $1 billion to protect American diplomats, had created “an environment full of liability and negligence.”

Read more » The New York Times

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/30/us/before-shooting-in-iraq-warning-on-blackwater.html?_r=0

Multi-crore tax scam at American Embassy School

by Rajeev Sharma

India is on the verge of gaining some leverage in the Devyani Khobragade case with the unearthing of what looks like a gigantic multi-year tax evasion scam by the American Embassy School here. Even as the US has declined to drop charges against Khobragade on the ground that it does not mess around with domestic law, India now can pressure the Americans to do so, given the growing dimensions of the tax evasion. The Khobragade visa fraud case is now counterbalanced by what seems to be an American tax fraud in India that either went unnoticed or was ignored in the general need to defer to Uncle Sam in the past. In fact, there is some evidence—quoted in a New York Times story—that the spouses of American diplomats may have been encouraged to lie about their status to avoid having to get a separate work visa in India. Just as Devyani’s maid may have lied about her wages, US diplomats’ spouses may also have misrepresented their status. US Embassy in Delhi.

The Americans who threw the rule book at Khobragade and preached visa ethics are now finding themselves on the wrong side of the law here. Washington needs to be worried, very worried, on two counts. First, credible sources told this writer that the American Embassy School (AES) has been violating a number of Indian laws and fraudulently evading income tax since 1972. The cumulative tax evaded thus far and the penalties would easily run into scores of crores, if not more. The American diplomats in India have also been found to be indulging in an institutionalised mechanism of visa and tax frauds for decades. Worse, unlike the Devyani incident, which was a one-off case, the AES scam has been routinely perpetrated at the behest of top officials of the US embassy in New Delhi.

Read more » First Post
More at: http://www.firstpost.com/india/multi-crore-tax-scam-at-the-american-embassy-school-unearthed-1343915.html?utm_source=ref_article

Julian Assange urges US to end Wikileaks ‘witch-hunt’

Julian Assange has urged the US to end its “witch-hunt” against Wikileaks, in his first public statement since entering Ecuador’s London embassy.

He also called for the release of Bradley Manning, who is awaiting trial in the US accused of leaking classified documents to the Wikileaks site.

Mr Assange spoke from a balcony at the embassy and thanked Ecuador’s president, who has granted him asylum.

He faces extradition to Sweden over sexual assault claims, which he denies.

The 41-year-old said the United States must also stop its “war on whistleblowers”. ….

Read more » BBC

WSC to stage demo at Chinese embassy in London

Karachi: World Sindhi Congress (WSC) has announced holding a protest demonstration outside Chinese embassy in London on August 5. The purpose of demonstration is to press the Chinese company, who has been awarded contract for developing disputed Zulfikarabad City in Sindh, to distance from the project. The demonstration would be held from 02:00pm to 04:00pm at Portland where the Chinese embassy is located, WSC chairman Dr Hidayat Bhutto, secretary general Lakhu Mal and others said in a release. They have asked all the Sindhi people living in UK to fully participate in demonstration. ppi

Courtesy: Daily Times

Chicago Tribune – 10 reasons why Pakistan should apologize to U.S.

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Pakistan‘sobsession with extracting an apology from the U.S. for airstrikes that accidentally killed 24 Pakistani troops last year seems dubious considering its own questionable commitment in the fight against terrorism.

Instead of jeopardizing U.S. efforts in South Asia, the Pakistani government should instead show courage by owning up to its destructive policies and apologize for its mishaps.

Here are at least 10 reasons why Pakistan owes the U.S. its deepest apology:

1. Osama bin Laden: On May 2, 2011, Osama bin Laden was killed near the Pakistan Military Academy, the equivalent of West Point. Pakistan was receiving about $18 billion from the U.S. to dismantle al-Qaida, while bin Laden was living comfortably with his wives and children in Abbottabad. Instead of apologizing for its complicity or incompetence, Pakistan vigorously protested violation of its sovereignty by theU.S. military operation that killed bin Laden. In fact, Pakistan’s National Assembly offered religious prayers for bin Laden, and civilian protests across the country condemned the killing.

2. Doctor on trial: Last week, Dr. Shakil Afridi, a surgeon who helped the CIA locate bin Laden’s whereabouts under the cover of a vaccination campaign, was convicted of treason and sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined about $3,500. So, let’s get this straight. Pakistan publicly pledges to eliminate terrorism, yet punishes its citizens for helping to do so?

3. Embassy attack: On Sept. 13, 2011, well-equipped insurgents linked to the Pakistan-based Haqqani network, allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban, attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul, Afghanistan. Adm. Mike Mullen, the then-Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman, said the network is a “veritable arm” ofInter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani spy agency. Instead of working to dismantle the terror network, Pakistan’s army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani complained that his country was being “singled out,” and that it was “neither fair nor productive.” Hence, the network continues to undermine coalition efforts in Afghanistan.

Continue reading →

MQM tells US they are outgunned in Karachi

By Tariq Butt

ISLAMABAD: The Muttahidda Qaumi Movement (MQM) told the United States that the Mohajirs were outgunned by the Pashtuns in Karachi and talked of a conspiracy by the Pakistani establishment designed to keep Punjabis in power, claimed an April 2009 secret US embassy cable, released by Wikileaks.

The wire, headlined MQM principles and conspiracy, covers a meeting of US Embassy Charge d’Affairs Gerald Feierstein with MQM leaders Farooq Sattar and Abbas Haider Rizvi. It said Rizvi became animated at the mention of his hometown. He reminded the US diplomat that he represented one of the most ethnically diverse districts in Karachi and, therefore, one of the most volatile. …

Read more » The News

Balochs have no trust in the rulers of the deep state

By Dr. Ahmed Makhdoom, Malaysia

“President of the Balochistan chapter of Jamhoori Watan Party Shahzain Bugti, who is currently in Islamabad, is holding meetings with leaders of political parties to discuss the Balochistan issue. On Thursday, he met a US embassy official in a hotel.” (Daily Dawn, Karachi, Sindh). But this recent government offer for talks with Baloch nationalist leaders appears to be heading nowhere as most of them have rejected it, saying they have no trust in the rulers of the deep state.

Shahzain Bugti says: “This is a trap and our leaders, including Brahamdagh Bugti, will not return; the government did the same in the 1960s when they invited the Baloch leaders for talks and later persecuted them. The rulers also tricked Nawab (Akbar Khan) Sahib.” And, the grandson of the Martyred Leader Nawab Akbar Bugti, “Nobody trusts the government anymore, whether it is Interior Minister Rehman Malik or anybody else. Dictatorial policies of the past continue to dominate the current scenario in Balochistan.” Please read more here:

http://www.dawn.com/2012/03/09/baloch-leaders-in-no-mood-to-accept-talks-offer.html

Shahzain Bugti has categorically made it clear that he and rest of the exiled leaders of Balochistan will never attend the All Parties Conference (APC).  Read more here:

http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=12621&Cat=13&dt=2/20/2012

Pakistan actually cease to function in 1952, when the mindset of the deep state in uniform entered the halls and classrooms of Dhaka University in the then East Pakistan and brutally murdered tens of hundreds of innocent young Bengali girls and massacred hundreds of thousands of hapless, helpless and Bengalis. Then, in 1971, the final nail was hammered into the coffin, when they went on their knees before the Indian Army and begged for their lives.

Bengal was created after tremendous sacrifices! Hundreds of thousands of Bengali lives were lost! Today, Balochistan is following the same footsteps of Bengalis and marching onward, fighting its War of Independence against the security state of the deep state.’ Daily we witness disappearance, and murders of Balochs and Sindhis by the deep state. If the mindset and the polices of the deep state continues, soon Sindh, will follow the footsteps of Balochs to FREE from the ignominious slavery of the war monger deep state.

The writer is an Educationist and Researcher, Human Rights Activist and Inter-Faith Leader, Malaysia.

Join Baloch Solidarity Protest rally in front of The US embassy in London, UK

Press release: Baloch Human Rights Council (UK), Baloch Raaji Zrombesh, World Sindhi Congress and Balochistan Liberation Organistaion are holding a Baloch Solidarity protest rally infront of the USA embassy in London UK.

All Baloch , Sindhis and other democratic and peace loving people are requested to join in the rally.

· To show your solidarity with the genuine struggle of Baloch and Sindhi people for their sovereignty and human rights.

· To say thanks to Congressman Dana Rohrabacher and USA government for their support of Human rights and sovereignty of Baloch Nation.

· To protest against crimes against humanity committed by Pakistani security establishment against Baloch and Sindhi people.

· To condemn the disappearances, torture and extrajudicial killing of Baloch and Sindhi people.

· To request the international community, the USA, the UK that the deep state committing crimes against Baloch and Sindhi people.

Samad Baloch

General Secretary

Baloch Human Rights Council (UK)

U.S. mind your business – Sherry Rehman

- US congressional hearing on Balochistan ‘ill-advised’ move: Sherry Rehman

By APP

Rehman says govt of Pakistan strongly rejects the purpose and findings of the hearing.

WASHINGTON: Taking a strong exception to a United States Congressional hearing on Balochistan this week, Pakistan has termed it an “ill-advised” move that would be detrimental to the trust between Pakistan and the United States of America.

A Pakistan Embassy spokesman in Washington said that Pakistan’s Ambassador Sherry Rehman raised the issue of an exclusive hearing on Balochistan by US House Committee on Foreign Affairs in her meetings with the members of congress and senior officials of the US administration.

According to the spokesman, Rehman said that the government of Pakistan strongly rejects the purpose and findings of the hearing and considers it an “ill-advised and ill-considered” move that will have serious repercussions for Pakistan-US relations.

Courtesy: The Express Tribune

http://tribune.com.pk/story/334449/us-congressional-hearing-on-balochistan-ill-advised-move-sherry-rehman/

Israel teams with terror group to kill Iran’s nuclear scientists, U.S. officials tell NBC News

By Richard Engel and Robert Windrem

NBC News

Updated: 11:14 a.m. ET — Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.

The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have killed five Iranian nuclear scientists since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

The Iranians have no doubt who is responsible – Israel and the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, known by various acronyms, including MEK, MKO and PMI. ….

Read more » http://rockcenter.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/09/10354553-israel-teams-with-terror-group-to-kill-irans-nuclear-scientists-us-officials-tell-nbc-news

via – Twitter

Pakistan: What next? Fasten seat belts. Ready, set, GO….

Pakistan: What next?

By Omar

Pakistani prime minister warns of coup plot»  http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/pakistani-prime-minister-warns-of-coup-plot/2011/12/22/gIQA1vJWBP_story.html

The usual rumors are afoot. Apparently this time the army wants to get rid of Zardari, cut PM Gilani down to size, then install an interim regime and hold elections. Imran Khan is being launched with obvious establishment support, but he is not the only card they hold. Many windows are open on that computer screen. The Mullah-military alliance has been called into service. Why? to raise the price in the next round of bargaining with the US embassy? To get muscle in place for the next elections? to support a real hard coup? who knows. But some brilliant scheme is afoot and we will soon see what it is.

Some analysts are warning that the army is playing with fire here, but the army thinks these people are under control and if truth be told, they are…when and where has Sami ul haq or Hafiz Saeed taken any step that has offended the army? these are the good jihadis and the army does not fear their going out of control. You can complain that such productions eventually raise the “black banners of Khorasan” temperature in the nation and are not conducive to future plans for capitalist utopia, but the army (and for that matter, the US embassy and even the much wiser Chinese embassy) doesnt think like that…they are all “practical people”. I suspect that the “deep thinkers” in GHQ as well as their patron embassies believe that bombs go off because bombs are made and bombers are trained and sent by people who know what they are doing, “culture-vulture” has nothing to do with it. They are far more cynical about these things….what else explains this madness?

Meanwhile, the middle class is primed and ready for another round of army-sponsored “clean government”It almost seems like its fated to happen. Every few years the middle class comes to a fork in the road: do we accept that we are a normal country with normal problems (normal as in “norm”) and they will have to be solved using normal methods that work or dont work in the whole wide world? or do we double down and bet that this time the angels in aabpara will get it right and armies of efficient capitalists animated by the two nation theory and the spirit of jihad will raise the GNP and the black bannerof khorasan and blah blah blah? And every few years, the blessed middle class says YES to aabpara and away we go, for one more crazy ride until all the bullshit runs out and incompetent and corrupt civilian janitors (the others having been hanged) are called in to clean up the shit…..

In the long run, I think the army and its bed fellows will move on to more “normal” statist third world capitalism (http://www.3quarksdaily.com/3quarksdaily/2011/12/the-historic-task-of-the-pakistani-bourgeoisie.html). But they are not yet ready for such a tame country. Selling nuisance value may be a risky and high stakes game, but its not without its thrills and rewards. Fasten seat belts.
Ready, set, GO….

Courtesy: Brown Pundits

http://www.brownpundits.com/2011/12/22/pakistan-what-next/

Clinton warns Pakistan on insurgent havens

- By Joby Warrick and Karin Brulliard

ISLAMABAD — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned Pakistan on Thursday to eradicate terrorist safe havens within its borders, saying there would be a “very big price” for inaction against militant groups staging attacks in Afghanistan.

Clinton’s tough words for Pakistani leaders came as an unusually large delegation of U.S. officials, led by Clinton, converged on the capital to urge Pakistani officials to take on the Haqqani network, a Pakistan-based Afghan militant group blamed for assassinations of Afghan leaders and an attack last month on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

“We will be delivering a very clear message to the government of Pakistan and to the people of Pakistan,” Clinton told reporters during an earlier stopover in Afghanistan for meetings with President Hamid Karzai. “There should be no support, and no safe havens, for terrorists anywhere who kill innocent women and children.” U.S. officials have accused Pakistan ….

Read more » The Washington Post

Clinton to give Pakistan diplomacy one more big push before they go off the rails altogether.

- Clinton to give Pakistan diplomacy one more big push

By Josh Rogin

Excerpt;

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is leading a very high-level delegation to Pakistan later this week to try one more time to set U.S.-Pakistan relations back on track, before they go off the rails altogether. ….

….. Overall, the Obama administration wants Pakistan to know it can’t accept Americans being killed because of what’s happening inside Pakistan. But there aren’t expected to be any grand, new initiatives or new proposals to lift bilateral relations from what all sides agree is the lowest point in years.

“The U.S.-Pakistani relationship has been deteriorating all year, from the Raymond Davis case to the Osama bin Laden raid to the attack on the American Embassy in Kabul,” said Riedel. “And there’s really no evidence the bottom is in sight; it may be getting worse and worse.”

Read more » ForeignPolicy

‘Haqqani sahib should not use Pakistan territory for wrong activities’

- By Huma Imtiaz

Excerpt;

…. On allegations of the Haqqani Network being involved in attacks on the US Embassy in Afghanistan and support for the group by the IsI, the former General said that “Haqqani sahib”, alluding perhaps to Jalaluddin Haqqani, is an Afghan citizen and he “had no right to use Pakistani territory for wrong activities which would harm Pakistan”. Musharraf said that either Haqqani should leave Pakistan and go to Afghanistan. Or, said Musharraf, “if Haqqani is here, he should stop crossing back and forth (across the border). –[(meaning) -- stay in safe house, and don't go outside--]–” …..

Read more → The Express Tribune

Gradually say goodbye to strategic assets

- Time to say good bye to strategic assets

The time has come for Pakistan to take decisive steps and needs to change policy on terrorism. Pakistani citizens who are paying taxes for human security: Health, education, protection and quality life need it now, just like any other civilized country in the world, they want a clear cut uniform national policy against terrorism & extremism for human dignity, security and peaceful prosperous modern life.

The whole world would also like to welcome shift in Pakistan’s stance towards terror organisations whom it’s Army and its premier intelligence agency ISI considers being its ‘strategic asset’, as U.S. accuses Pakistan of exporting violence to Afghanistan

The White House is calling on Pakistan’s government to break any links it has with the militant Haqqani Network. Obama administration officials say Islamabad has not acted against those who attacked the U.S. Embassy and NATO headquarters in Kabul last week. ….

Read more → LUBP

After the Haqqani suicide bombers to attack the US Embassy in Kabul, the Pakistan Army now says “there is a need to de-escalate the situation!?

- Commanders ‘in favour of defusing tensions’

By Baqir Sajjad Syed

ISLAMABAD: Top army commanders held an extraordinary meeting on Sunday in the wake of US allegations about ISI’s links with the Haqqani network and agreed on the need to de-escalate the situation. …

Read more → DAWN.COM

Americans are liars & president Obama is also a liar – says former ISI chief, Gen. Javed Ashraf Qazi

- Americans are liars & president Obama is also a liar because he lied on the Raymond Davis issue – says former ISI chief, Gen. Javed Ashraf Qazi in Pakistani political talk show “Capital Talk with Hamid Mir” on September 25th, 2011). The language of the talk show is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: → Geo Tv News (Capital Talk with Hamid Mir- 25th September 2011)

via → ZemTvSiasat.pkYouTube

Pakistan’s Spy Agency Is Tied to Attack on U.S. Embassy

- By ELISABETH BUMILLER and JANE PERLEZ

WASHINGTON — The nation’s top military official said Thursday that Pakistan’s spy agency played a direct role in supporting the insurgents who carried out the deadly attack on the American Embassy in Kabul last week. It was the most serious charge that the United States has leveled against Pakistan in the decade that America has been at war in Afghanistan.

In comments that were the first to directly link the spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, with an assault on the United States, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, went further than any other American official in blaming the ISI for undermining the American effort in Afghanistan. His remarks were certain to further fray America’s shaky relationship with Pakistan, a nominal ally. The United States has long said that Pakistan’s intelligence agency supports the Haqqani network, ….

Read more → THE NEW YORK TIMES

via → Wichaar

Najam Sethi ringing alarm bells – by Dilshad Chandio

- Najam Shady ringing alarm bells – Dilshad Chandio

On wednesday night ( September 21st, 2011) in his show, Najam Sethi alluded to a joint ghairat brigade assault on the PPP govt given deteriorating relations with America on the Haqqani network issue. His analysis went thus: the US exasperated by the lack of will to take on the Haqqani network by the Pakistanis will do an intensive strike – drone or otherwise – in North Waziristan.

According to Sethi (known as shady by those who have known him a long time!) this will create a massive uproar by the media, most political parties and even the judiciary. There may be an incident (according to NS), say, in a massive demo outside the US embassy, which will trigger massive unrest. The fallguy in all this will be the PPP govt and Zardari in particular. Sethi also stated that the entire process will be controlled/manipulated by the army. He also stated that ANP will go along with N League once the chorus starts and join the right wing coalition. Also MQM will make a familiar volte face and join the side that appears more powerful. …

Read more → LUBP

Pakistan warns US ‘no boots on our ground’

- By Reuters

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan would not tolerate any incursion on its territory by US forces targeting militant groups, Interior Minister Rehman Malik said on Thursday, calling for Washington to provide the intelligence Islamabad needs to take them out itself.

Malik also rejected US allegations that the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency aids or has ties with the Taliban-allied Haqqani Network, a powerful guerrilla group that straddles the mountainous border areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The Pakistan nation will not allow the boots on our ground, never. Our government is already cooperating with the US … but they also must respect our sovereignty,” he told Reuters in an interview, insisting that Islamabad wanted US intelligence, not troops, to root out insurgents inside Pakistan.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, this week accused the ISI of using the Haqqani Network to wage a “proxy war” on NATO and Afghan troops in Afghanistan.

Some US intelligence reporting has alleged that the ISI specifically directed, or urged, the Haqqani Network to carry out last week’s attack on the US embassy and a NATO headquarters in Kabul, according to two US officials and a source familiar with recent US-Pakistan official contacts. ….

Read more→ The Express Tribune

ISI urged attacks on US targets: Officials

- By Reuters

WASHINGTON: US officials say there is mounting evidence that Pakistan’s chief intelligence agency has been encouraging a Pakistan-based militant network to attack US targets.

The allegations, if fully confirmed, heighten a painful dilemma for President Barack Obama’s administration. Washington is under growing political pressure to take action against the Haqqani network after a spate of deadly attacks US officials have attributed to it. These include last week’s strike againstthe American Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Some US intelligence reporting alleges that Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) specifically directed, or urged, the Haqqani network to carry out the September 13 attack on the embassy and a NATO headquarters in Kabul, according two US officials and a source familiar with recent US-Pakistan official contacts. However, officials cautioned that this information is uncorroborated.

Another US official familiar with internal government assessments said that at the very least, the available intelligence strongly suggests the ISI has been egging on elements of the Haqqani network to launch attacks at American targets in the region.

While American officials have aired allegations of ties between the ISI and the Haqqani network in recent days, they have not publicly cited evidence that the Pakistani agency, or elements of it, urged its proxy to attack US targets.

While the ISI’s motives in any such attacks are not clear, Pakistan has long wanted to play a major role in Afghanistan’s future after the departure of NATO troops, and to counter what it sees as the growing influence there of arch-rival India.

This week, top US officials, including Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Admiral Mike Mullen, demanded that Pakistan’s leaders take action against the Haqqanis, ….

Read more → The Express Tribune

Afghan gunfight: Kabul police battle insurgents

- Afghan and international security forces have been battling a multi-pronged attack by insurgents targeting the US embassy, Nato headquarters and police buildings in Kabul.

Police are still exchanging fire with at least one gunman holed up in an unfinished high-rise building overlooking the diplomatic quarter. Six people have been killed and 16 injured, Kabul’s police chief said.

The Taliban said they were behind the violence.

At least one attacker remains on one of the upper floors of the building, says the BBC’s Quentin Sommerville, in Kabul.

Afghan intelligence officials are already going through the lower floors, gathering evidence about the way the attack was planned and carried out.

Two of them told the BBC they found rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), heavy machine guns and hand grenades, as well as biscuits and energy drinks.

“They had planned a long battle,” one official said.

Counter-terrorism officials said they recovered three mobile phone Sim cards from the bodies of attackers killed earlier in the day. The records showed the numbers had been used for calls to and from Pakistan, they told the BBC.

Read more → BBC

Pakistan has been playing us all for suckers

- Britain is spending millions bolstering Pakistan, but it is a nation in thrall to radical Islam and is using its instability to blackmail the West

by Christina Lamb

When David Cameron announced £650m in education aid for Pakistan last week, I guess the same thought occurred to many British people as it did to me: why are we doing this?

While we are slashing our social services and making our children pay hefty university fees, why should we be giving all this money to a country that has reduced its education budget to 1.5% of GDP while spending several times as much on defence? A country where only 1.7m of a population of 180m pay tax? A country that is stepping up its production of nuclear weapons so much that its arsenal will soon outnumber Britain’s? A country so corrupt that when its embassy in Washington held an auction to raise money for flood victims, and a phone rang, one Pakistani said loudly: “That’s the president calling for his cut”? A country which has so alienated powerful friends in America that they now want to abandon it?

As someone who has spent almost as much time in Pakistan as in Britain over the past 24 years, I feel particularly conflicted, as I have long argued we should be investing more in education there.

That there is a crisis in Pakistan’s education system is beyond doubt. A report out last month by the Pakistan education taskforce, a non-partisan body, shows that at least 7m children are not in school. Indeed, one-tenth of the world’s children not in school are in Pakistan. The first time I went to Pakistan in 1987 I was astonished to see that while billions of pounds’ worth of weapons from the West were going to Pakistan’s intelligence service to distribute to the Afghan mujaheddin, there was nothing for schools.

The Saudis filled the gap by opening religious schools, some of which became breeding grounds for militants and trained the Taliban. Cameron hopes that investing in secular education will provide Pakistan’s children with an alternative to radicalism and reduce the flow of young men who want to come and bomb the West.

“I would struggle to find a country that it is more in Britain’s interests to see progress and succeed than Pakistan,” he said. “If Pakistan is a success, we will have a good friend to trade with and deal with in the future … If we fail, we will have all the problems of migration and extremism that we don’t want to see.”

As the sixth most populous country, with an arsenal of between 100 and 120 nuclear weapons, as the base of both Osama Bin Laden and the Taliban leadership, and as homeland to a large population in Britain, Pakistan is far more important to our security than Afghanistan. But after spending two weeks travelling in Pakistan last month, I feel the situation has gone far beyond anything that a long-term strategy of building schools and training teachers can hope to restrain.

The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington — its paymaster to the tune of billions of dollars over the past 10 years — is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan.

Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican congressman from California who sits on the House foreign affairs committee and has been dealing with Pakistan since working in the Reagan White House, says he now realises “they were playing us for suckers all along”.

“I used to be Pakistan’s best friend on the Hill but I now consider Pakistan to be an unfriendly country to the US,” he said. “Pakistan has literally been getting away with murder and when you tie that with the realisation that they went ahead and used their scarce resources to build nuclear weapons, it is perhaps the most frightening of all the things that have been going on over the last few years.

“We were snookered. For a long time we bought into this vision that Pakistan’s military was a moderate force and we were supporting moderates by supporting the military. In fact the military is in alliance with radical militants. Just because they shave their beards and look western they fooled a lot of people.”

Christine Fair, assistant professor at the centre for peace and security studies at Georgetown University in Washington, is equally scathing. “Pakistan’s development strategy is to rent out its strategic scariness and not pay taxes itself,” she said. “We should let them fail.”The Pakistani crisis has reached the point where Washington is being urged to tear up the strategic alliance underpinning the war in Afghanistan

Pakistan’s prime minister, Yousuf Gilani, comes from one of Punjab’s largest land-owning families. Watching Cameron sign over the £650m, he said: “I think the root cause of terrorism and extremism is illiteracy. Therefore we are giving a lot of importance to education.”

If that were the case one might expect Lahore University of Management Sciences, one of the most elite universities in the country, to be a bastion of liberalism. Yet in the physics department Pervez Hoodbhoy, professor of nuclear physics, sits with his head in his hands staring out at a sea of burqas. “People used to imagine there was only a lunatic fringe in Pakistan society of these ultra-religious people,” he said. “Now we’re learning that this is not a fringe but a majority.”

What brought this home to him was the murder earlier this year of Salman Taseer, the half-British governor of Punjab who had called for the pardoning of a Christian woman sentenced to death under the blasphemy law. The woman, Aasia Bibi, had been convicted after a mullah had accused her of impugning Islam when she shouted at two girls who refused to drink water after she had touched it because they said it was unclean.

Taseer had been a key figure in Pakistan’s politics for decades and had suffered prison and torture, yet when he said the Aasia case showed the law needed reforming, he was vilified by the mullahs and the media. In January he was shot 27 times by one of his own guards. His murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, became a hero, showered with rose petals by lawyers when he appeared in public.

After the killing, Hoodbhoy was asked to take part in a televised debate at the Islamabad Press Club in front of students. His fellow panellists were Farid Piracha, spokesman for the country’s biggest religious party, Jamaat-e-Islami, and Maulana Sialvi, a supposed moderate mullah from the Barelvi sect. Both began by saying that the governor brought the killing on himself, as “he who blasphemes his prophet shall be killed”. The students clapped.

Hoodbhoy then took the microphone. “Even as the mullahs frothed and screamed I managed to say that the culture of religious extremism was resulting in a bloodbath in which the majority of victims were Muslims; that non-Muslims were fleeing Pakistan. I said I’m not an Islamic scholar but I know there are Muslim countries that don’t think the Koran says blasphemy carries the death sentence, such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Egypt.

“I didn’t get a single clap. When I directly addressed Sialvi and said you have Salman Taseer’s blood on your hands, he looked at them and exclaimed: how I wish I had done it! He got thunderous applause.”

Afterwards, “I came back and wanted to dig a hole in the ground,” he said. “I can’t figure out why this country has gone so mad. I’ve seen my department change and change and change. There wasn’t one burqa-clad woman in the 1980s but today the non-hijabi, non-burqa student is an exception. As for the male students, they all come in turbans and beards with these fierce looks on their faces.”

Yet, he points out, these students are the super-elite, paying high fees to attend the university: “It’s nothing to do with causes normally associated with radicalism; it’s that the mullah is allowed complete freedom to spread the message of hate and liberals are bunkering down. Those who speak out are gone and the government has abdicated its responsibility and doesn’t even pretend to protect life and property.”

Raza Rumi, a young development worker and artist who blogs regularly, agrees. As we sat in a lively coffee bar in Lahore that could have been in the West until the lights went off in one of the frequent power cuts, he said: “Radicalism in Pakistan isn’t equated with poverty and backwardness — we’re seeing more radicalisation of the urban middle and upper class. I look at my own extended family. When I was growing up, maybe one or two people had a beard. Last time I went to a family wedding I was shell-shocked. All these uncles and aunts who were regular Pakistanis watching cricket and Indian movies now all have beards or are in hijabs.

“I think we’re in an existential crisis. The moderate political parties have taken a back seat and chickened out as they just want to protect their positions. What is Pakistan’s identity? Is it an Islamist identity as defined by Salman Taseer’s murder, ISI [the intelligence service], the jihadists? Is that really what we want to be?”

He does not know how much longer he will write about such things. “I’ve been getting repeated emails that I should leave the country or shut up,” he said.

When I left the cafe I was followed for the rest of the day by a small yellow car.

Courtesy: thesundaytimes.co.uk

Maverik mullah & his Jamiat Ulema

by Farooq Sulehria

WikiLeaks reveal Maulana Fazl ur Rehman approached the US embassy in India through Maulana Madni. The embassy was informed: Mr. Rahman “could not speak freely in Pakistan, that he would say one thing in Pakistan and something else in India if asked”…Mr. Madani was also carrying another message on behalf of Mr. Rehman — that he be allowed to play a bigger role in Pakistani politics. Mr. Madani told the U.S. official that because of his known ties to Taliban members, Mr. Rahman had a “bad reputation” in Pakistani politics, but “in reality was more moderate than Musharraf.” …

Read more : ViewPoint

The gains by ISI / Pakistan seem to be too much to digest. A retired Brig is all praise for Kiyani.

Admiral Mullen’s Secret Deal

How the Pentagon Supervised Raymond Davis’ Release and How the CIA Took Its Revenge

By SHAUKAT QADIR

[Please note : The writer is a retired brigadier and a former president of the Islamabad Policy Research Institute.]

On February 23, at a beach resort, Gen Ashfaq Kiyani, Pakistan army’s chief assisted by a two star officer met with Admiral Mike Mullen, US Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff, assisted by Gen. David Petraeus, and three other high ranking officials, to find a military-diplomatic solution to untangle this web that CIA operatives had spun around both governments. This has been a fairly consistent tradition. On every occasion when relations between Pakistan and the United States have soured (a not infrequent occurrence) the militaries have remained in contact and, invariably, have found a way forward.

The day after this meeting, a military officer posted at the US Embassy in Islamabad travelled to Lahore and met Davis in Kot Lakpat jail. Within 48 hours of this meeting, almost 50 individuals associated with the Tehreek-eTaliban Pakistan (TTP), including Pashtuns, Punjabis, and some foreigners (nationalities unknown, though one of them is said to be an Aryan) who had been in contact with Davis were arrested. Presumably, Davis ‘sang’, though probably to only a limited degree, on instructions.

Within the same period, a large number of Americans, estimated at between 30 to 45, who had been residing in rented accommodations (like Davis and his associates who had killed a motorcyclist while unsuccessfully attempting to rescue Davis) outside the Embassy/Consulate premises in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, and Quetta left for the US. It is safe to conclude that these were either CIA, Black ops, or associated personnel from security agencies like Xe.

The intelligence business is broadly divided into two categories: human intelligence, known as HUMINT and electronic intelligence, known as ELINT. The latter has numerous subdivisions: SIGINT (Signals intelligence, also known as COMINT; communication intelligence), Imagery intelligence etc. It appears, therefore, that the deal struck between the military leadership included a shut down of CIA’s HUMINT operations in Pakistan, retaining only ELINT, Davis would ‘sing’, within limits, of course, and only then could Blood Money be negotiated for his release. And the US would be bled in that final deal also so as to ensure the safety and the future of the immediate families of both Davis’s victims.

At the height of the debate on the question of Raymond Davis’ immunity from trial for murder, this writer emphasized that Pakistan could not release him without a trial. A trial took duly place and, in accordance with prevalent law in Pakistan, the next of kin of the deceased young men, pardoned Davis in return for ‘Blood Money’. However outlandish this law might seem to those peoples whose countries have their based on Anglo-Saxon principles, such is the law in Pakistan and so there was nothing underhand in what transpired.

Amongst analysts and journalists there were basically two opposing responses to his release, though there was (and is) an occasional sane voice to be heard, throughout the saga. One category of people had been arguing since Davis’ arrest that he should be granted immunity since Pakistan, given its precarious economy, weak government, and the prevalent security situation, could not afford to fall afoul of the US. For this factionhis release through the judicial system was the next best outcome of the disastrous mistake that had been committed in arresting him!

The opposing view was that it is time and more, that Pakistan asserts its sovereignty and national pride to ensure that Davis is awarded no less than his due: the death penalty. It is ironic that the bulk of those who held this view are all supporters of the imposition of Islamic laws including those on blasphemy, Blood Money (the law that ensured Davis’ pardon), and a host of other issues and, even after Davis’ release under these laws, any attempt to get rid of such laws would be opposed by them, tooth and nail.

While the accusations leveled by the prosecution that the families of Faizan and Faheem, the two men killed by Davis, were coerced into accepting the deal offered to them in exchange for their pardoning Davis, is a pack of nonsense, since the entire family was under the active protection of the Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence, there is absolutely no doubt that the ISI (and, therefore, GHQ) assisted in brokering the deal. In fact, I would be very surprised if both families had not been continuously advised by fairly senior-level representatives of the ISI as to what and how much they should ask for. ….

Read more : Counterpunch

Raymond Davis: fact & fiction – Najam Sethi’s Editorial

The case of Raymond Davis has outraged the imagination and sentiment of Pakistanis mainly because of a distortion of key facts by powerful sections of the Pakistani media. It has also become a vicious ping pong game between the PPP and PMLN governments, with both trying to score nationalist points regardless of the consequences for political stability and national security. Ominously, though, it has soured a troubled relationship between Pakistan and the US who claim to be “strategic partners” in the region. Let’s sift fact from fiction.

Fiction: Mr Davis “murdered” two Pakistanis. He shot them in the back, suggesting he was not threatened by them. They were not robbers. Their handguns were licensed. Fact: Two men on a motorbike, armed with unlicensed pistols, held up Mr Davis’ car. He expertly shot them through the windscreen, stepped out and took pictures of the gunmen with weapons as evidence of self-defense. Later, an autopsy report showed that four out of seven bullets had hit the gunmen in the front, confirming the threat to him. The criminals had earlier robbed two passersby of their cell phones and money.

Fiction: Mr Davis is not a diplomat because he doesn’t have a diplomatic visa or status registered with the Foreign Office. Hence he cannot claim diplomatic immunity under the Vienna Conventions. Fact: Mr Davis has a Diplomatic Passport. His visa application by the US State Department to the Pakistan Embassy in Washington DC of 11 September 2009 lists him as a Diplomat who is on “Official Business”. The US government has claimed diplomatic immunity for him. This is the norm. For example, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Spain in 1975, Haroon ur Rashid Abbasi, was granted immunity following discovery of heroin from his suitcase. Col Mohammad Hamid Pakistan’s military attaché in London in 2000, was caught having sex with a prostitute in his car in a public place. He invoked diplomatic immunity and avoided arrest. Mohammad Arshad Cheema, Pakistan’s First Secretary in Nepal, also invoked diplomatic immunity after 16kg of high inte4nsity RDX explosives were recovered from his house and he was suspected of being involved in the hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight IC-814. And so on. …

Read more : Wichaar

A Pakistani journalist on Raymond Davis issue

The language of program is urdu/ Hindi

Courtesy: Geo TV (Aapas ki Baat Najam Sethi ke Saath – 31st january 2011.)

via – ZemTVYou Tube Link

Cash from Haj pilgrims used to finance 26/11: WikiLeaks

Indo-Asian News Service – London: Militants often use the annual Haj pilgrimage for laundering money and cash from pilgrims was used to finance the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack, a confidential US embassy cable published by whistle-blower websitse WikiLeaks says. A Sky News report cites the New York Times as detailing a long list of possible methods terrorists might have been using to fund their activities. One memo claims militants often used the annual Haj pilgrimage for laundering money and cash from pilgrims was used to finance the Mumbai bombings.

Other documents have claimed the US believes donors from Saudi Arabia are “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide”. A memo sent by the US secretary of state Hillary Clinton in December 2009 referred to the kingdom as a “cash machine” for Al Qaeda.

Other countries in the region have also come under fire.

In the leaked cables, the United Arab Emirates is described as having a “strategic gap” that terrorists could exploit, Qatar is seen as “the worst in the region” on counter-terrorism and Kuwait is labelled “a key transit point”.

Some confidential cables listed a few infrastructure facilites in the world as “critical” for US security, if attacked by terrorists.

The document details hundreds of pipelines, cables and industrial sites around the world that America deems crucial to securing its interests. Loss of those locations could “critically impact” US security. …

Read more : hindustantimes

The effects of WikiLeaks on journalism & Pakistan

Policy Matters with Naseem Zehra,  panelists – Talat Hussain, Kashif Abbasi, Iftakhar Ahmed and Javed Choudhry)

Courtesy: DunyaTV (Dec 11, 2010)  – via- ZemTV – You Tube Link

Planting stories: its good that the wikileaks has all the original docs. More reasons, that wikileaks should stay alive, so that corrupt authoritarian establishments can’t present their versions

- Pakistani media publish fake WikiLeaks cables attacking India

Comments alleged to be from WikiLeaks US embassy cables say Indian generals are genocidal and New Delhi backs militants

- Declan Walsh in Islamabad

They read like the most extraordinary revelations. Citing the WikiLeaks cables, major Pakistani newspapers this morning carried stories that purported to detail eye-popping American assessments of India‘s military and civilian leaders.

According to the reports, US diplomats described senior Indian generals as vain, egotistical and genocidal; they said India’s government is secretly allied with Hindu fundamentalists; and they claimed Indian spies are covertly supporting Islamist militants in Pakistan‘s tribal belt and Balochistan.

“Enough evidence of Indian involvement in Waziristan, Balochistan,” read the front-page story in the News; an almost identical story appeared in the Urdu-language Jang, Pakistan’s bestselling daily.

If accurate, the disclosures would confirm the worst fears of Pakistani nationalist hawks and threaten relations between Washington and New Delhi. But they are not accurate.

An extensive search of the WikiLeaks database by the Guardian by date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations. It suggests this is the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes.

The controversial claims, published in four Pakistani national papers, were credited to the Online Agency, an Islamabad-based news service that has frequently run pro-army stories in the past. No journalist is bylined.

Shaheen Sehbai, group editor at the News, described the story as “agencies’ copy” and said he would investigate its origins. …

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

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More details about Fake WikiLeaks : BBC urdu

Guardian – US Has Taken Over Pakistan!

WikiLeaks shows America’s imperious attitude to Pakistan

The WikiLeaks US embassy cables reveal just how dangerously involved the Americans are in every aspect of Pakistan’s affairs

by Simon Tisdall

Pakistan was already under the American hammer before the WikiLeaks crisis blew. But leaked US diplomatic cables published by the Guardian show the extraordinary extent to which Pakistan is in danger of becoming a mere satrapy of imperial Washington.

The US assault on Pakistani sovereignty, which is how these developments are widely viewed in the country, is multipronged. At one end of the spectrum, in the sphere of “hard power”, US special forces are increasingly involved, in one way or another, in covert military operations inside Pakistan.

These troops are being used to help hunt down Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the tribal areas and co-ordinate drone attacks, as revealed by the Guardian’s Pakistan correspondent, Declan Walsh. Their activities come in addition to previous air and ground cross-border raids; and to the quasi-permanent basing of American technicians and other personnel at the Pakistani air force base from which drone attacks are launched.

The US hand can be seen at work in Pakistan’s complex politics, with the standing and competence of President Asif Ali Zardari seemingly constantly under harsh review. At one point, the military chief, General Ashfaq Kayani, reportedly consults the US ambassador about the possibility of a coup, designed in part to stop the advance of the opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif. …

Read more : Guardian.uk.co

via Siasat

WikiLeaks – The Anti-Empire Report: by William Blum

 

If the house where Julian Assange of Wikileaks is staying is destroyed by a Predator drone, and the United States denies any involvement … Well, I’ll believe them. …

 

Read more : KillingHope

Saudi influence in Pakistan

US embassy cables: Saudi influence in Pakistan

Read more : Guardian.co.uk

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/130876