The worst is yet to come

July 1, 2011

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

The US in pursuit of its strategic and economic objectives in this part of the world arm twisted Gen Musharraf in September 2001 soon after 9/11 and made him do its bidding. Pakistan forces were pushed into the inferno of war on terror which was not Pakistan’s war. To start with, flames were lit on two extreme flanks resting in Baloch inhabited interior Balochistan and Pashtun inhabited FATA. The course of flames was gradually channeled towards settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), then to other cities of KP and subsequently to major cities of Punjab as well as Islamabad. Flames of terrorism were stoked by CIA and FBI outposts established in 2002 with the concurrence of the ruling regime. ISI and other intelligence agencies were asked to take up a backseat and intelligence collection, collation and dissemination was taken over entirely by CIA on the plea that it had superior technological means.

The CIA then brought in RAW and RAAM agents to boost its strength and collectively gave birth to Pakistani Taliban, who later got organized and formed Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) in December 2007. They were won over by providing them bagfuls of dollars and meeting all their weapons and equipment demands and also promising them that FATA will be made an independent caliphate and submerged with Pashtun belt of Afghanistan. In Balochistan, disgruntled Baloch Sardars of Bugti, Mengal and Marri were cultivated to start insurgency. They were lured by promising them independent Balochistan full of mineral resources and Gwadar Port falling in the path of envisaged energy corridor from Central Asia. About sixty Farari (training) camps were established in interior Balochistan and supply routes both from Afghanistan via Spin Boldak and Shahgarh in India were made operational to meet all their demands. Later on, several terrorist outfits like BLA, BRA and BLF came into being and their leaders were given asylum in Afghanistan and London.

While our intelligence agencies got busy in nabbing terrorists from all over the country and the Army got embroiled in fighting tribesmen in FATA and Balochistan, CIA and FBI helped by MI-6, RAW and RAAM agents got on with their job of destabilizing Pakistan from within. Besides sabotage and subversion by terrorists, drones were also introduced by CIA to further fuel terrorism. Shamsi airbase was used for the purpose. Sold to the idea of enlightened moderation Musharraf accepted the US advice to expand and liberate the media. It was then decisively penetrated by foreign powers to be able to promote their coined themes and to change perceptions of the desired audiences in Pakistan. India promoted its culture through electronic media and also took help of our media to hide its ugly face. All these processes which weakened Pakistan went on unabatedly throughout Musharraf’s stint in power till March 2008 and Pakistan’s sovereignty kept eroding. By that time all institutions of Pakistan including Army, ISI and judiciary stood discredited.

When the US realized that Musharraf had lost his popularity and would not be helpful in changing the perceptions of people from religious conservatism to secularism, and was not in a position to make compromises on joint Pak-US operations in FATA, or opening up nuclear and missile assets and placing them under a joint control mechanism, or reducing Chinese activities in Gwadar Port and Balochistan mineral projects, or shelving Pak-Iran gas pipeline and in curbing anti-Americanism, it decided to bring in Benazir and make a dream team of liberal parties. When Benazir started to act too independent, she was removed from the scene and handpicked puppets were given reins of power. They pursued Musharraf’s policies in letter and spirit and went a step ahead in keeping their patrons appeased. The Army, ISI and the judiciary however made recoveries by recapturing lost spaces and soon were able to re-establish their image and credibility.

The political leaders deeply engrossed in lot and plunder were slapped and humiliated but were also given blandishments and a free hand to milk the country and reduce it to a carcass. Their incompetence to govern and their corrupt practices were acceptable since they obediently served Washington’s interests. In order to cripple Pakistan’s economy and make it dependent upon US aid, rulers were told to put Pakistan’s neck in the stranglehold of IMF and to keep borrowing and keep spending lavishly.

They were told to ignore terrorism and ethnic cleansing of non-locals by Baloch insurgents seeking separation simply because they are seculars and pro-USA and India. Rulers were directed to use full force against militants in northwestern tribal area particularly against those who were anti-American and supporting Jihad in Afghanistan. Haqqani group based in North Waziristan (NW) is their chief foe. Ilyas Kashmiri outfit and Lashkar-e-Taeba are also on US hit list, and to a lesser degree are Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir. Dozens of other militant groups including TTP located in NW which are anti-Pakistan but not involved in Afghanistan do not bother USA.

TTP which has its tentacles in all seven tribal agencies as well as in settled areas of KP, Swat, Malakand, South Punjab, Pashtun belt of Balochistan and its long arm can reach any part of Pakistan is of chief concern for Pakistan. Several foreign agencies are providing massive funds, weapons, equipment, explosives, training facilities, guidance and manpower replenishments from Afghan soil to TTP since they desire this force to possibly defeat or as a minimum contain bulk of Army. But for foreign support in huge quantities, it would not have been possible for the TTP to rebound after its backbone had been broken in the two decisive battles of Bajaur and South Waziristan in 2009. Footprints of foreign hands were clearly seen in all the regions that were recaptured from the militants by security forces. In the Bajaur battle which raged from July 2008 till February 2009, large number of Tajik and Uzbek fighters used to supplement Maulana Faqir’s force. Even now Afghans are involved in Mohmand Agency and in Dir.

While launching of military operations by the Army in Waziristan led to emergence of Pakistani Taliban, two drone attacks in Bajaur Agency in 2006 instilled hatred against the Army particularly when October strike on a seminary killing 80 students was wrongly owned by the Army. Brutal military action against inmates of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafza including women and children in July 2007 triggered recruitment of young Taliban in a big way. It also ignited spate of suicide bombings in cities. Thereon, it became easy for the senior members of TTP like Qari Hussein to motivate young boys aged 12-16 years to become suicide bombers. The schemers then shifted terrorism to major cities particularly Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore. This was made possible after the induction of Blackwater in 2008. Several security companies cropped up in capital cities.

Mumbai attacks on 26/11 were masterminded to deflect attention of the world from the atrocities committed by Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir where the situation had become explosive, and to nail down ISI and to pave way for carrying out surgical strikes in Pakistan similar to drone strikes. New tactics involving double suicide bombers and group attacks were introduced in 2009. Drone attacks were intensified and so were target killings in Balochistan and Karachi.

In order to keep the judiciary subservient, the ruling regime was emphatically told not to restore the sacked judges led by chief justice Iftikhar. Shahbaz Sharif’s Ministry in Punjab which was relatively stable was brought down and Governor Rule imposed on Washington’s direction in early 2009. Restoration of judges and Punjab government was not to the liking of plot makers. After the enactment of Af-Pak policy in March 2009, which heralded the beginning of the final phase against Pakistan’s strategic assets and passage of Kerry-Lugar Bill, large number of under cover CIA operatives mostly belonging to US Special Forces made their way into Pakistan in 2010. Their inflow increased in second half of 2010 as a result of removal of all security checks by ISI and Special Police. Raymond Davis who had earlier on been deported due to his shady activities also managed to sneak back. By end 2010 an effective countrywide CIA-Blackwater network duly connected with militant groups and criminal gangs had become operational. Roadmaps leading to various defence installations and nuclear sites had been prepared.

This network provides the local militants intelligence and intimate guidance of marked target areas. Its ramifications came to light after the arrest of Raymond but also led to intensification of CIA-ISI rivalry and nose-diving of Pak-US relations. Till April, the militants targeted mostly soft targets in cities to create harassment and fear among the public and to accentuate problems of security forces and intelligence agencies. Mosques, worship places and markets were targeted to pitch Islamists against Islamists and defame Islam.

Helicopter assault on 02 May duly assisted by CIA base in Abbottabad was executed to achieve multiple objectives. The foremost was to restore declining popularity of Obama and US military in the eyes of Americans in particular and world in general. Second; lower the image of Army, air force and ISI that had risen high and to discredit the three institutions in the eyes of the public. Former CIA Director Panetta who had crossed swords with Lt Gen Pasha on several occasions had sworn to teach him a lesson. Third; embarrass Pakistan and to put it in a tight corner, leaving it with little space to defy US dictates.

Having created the desired effects through media and Congressmen, US high officials visited Islamabad and further harassed the already hassled leadership by conveying that Pakistan would from now on be judged by its acts and deeds. To give heart to the fainting leaders, the visitors gave a clean chit to them saying that they were not directly involved in hiding OBL but there was a support group inside Pakistan which had protected OBL. This certification was music to the ears of our leaders. Feeling relieved, they readily agreed to let CIA inspect the Abbottabad House compound where OBL lived, hand over the tail of the destroyed Blackhawk helicopter, launch an operation in NW and to conduct joint operations to eliminate terrorists. These concessions were doled out in violation of the spirit of 14 May unanimous resolution of the parliament.

Mehran Naval Base attack was executed on 22 May to dishearten the navy, to shatter the confidence of the people in armed forces and to completely demoralize the nation. Among several hypotheses, one of the assumptions was an attack conducted by Ilyas Kashmiri group. If so, he has been reportedly killed on 04 May fearing that he may spill the beans. Apparently 02 May and 22 May incidents were also intended to create divisions within forces by suggesting that there were sympathizers and supporters of al-Qaeda and Taliban in each service and intelligence agency and that there was an urgent need to purge such undesirable elements. Mehran Base attack is a prelude to many more suchlike attacks since it seems that the conspirators have now started the final destructive stage to hit hardened military installations including nuclear sites.

In continuation of ISI bashing, Human Rights Watch and western media has come out with another wacky story that the ISI was behind the unfortunate murder of eminent and bold journalist Syed Salim Shehzad. Had it been so, he would have been taken to KP or FATA and not towards Sarai Alamgir? It seems to be a clear cut case of Blackwater which is ever ready to exploit a situation whenever any person makes several enemies and becomes prominent. ISI’s plate is already full to the brim and would be mad if it buys another headache for itself. The situation assumes greater curiosity and mystification after expression of deep concern by high US officials like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton on his death.

While the people have not come out of the shock of two attacks in May, the foreign and local media is adding to their apprehensions by floating rumor balloons of despondency and trying to undermine the capabilities of armed forces. An impression is being created that the military is incapable of safeguarding our vital interests. There is a very small segment that still talks good of USA otherwise great majority distrusts USA and suspect that it will again strike Pakistan to denuclearize it. They are not convinced with John Kerry assurances that the US is not interested in Pak nukes particularly after NATO Secretary General’s statement that it is the collective responsibility of international community to secure nuclear assets of Pakistan.

Stories of our nukes falling into wrong hands have begun to reappear in western media. Despite multi-layered system of security evolved by Pakistan which is second to none, doubts are still being aired by vested interests that Pakistan’s nuclear program is unsafe and needs to be secured. Pakistan Army managed to get out of the deathtrap laid by its adversaries in Swat and SW. They have now prepared another deadly deathtrap in NW and are once again trying to lure in Pak Army with a hope that this time it will get trapped. It is only when major portion of our combat divisions get embroiled in the war in northwest that India will make its Cold Start doctrine operational on the weakened eastern front. Coming months are fraught with extreme dangers but our rulers are naively thinking that after John Kerry and Hillary Clinton’s visit worst is over. In my view the worst is yet to come.

While I am quite confident that our security forces would be able to thwart all hostile attempts made on our nuclear arsenal and delivery means and will also be able to safeguard the frontiers against foreign aggression, what I am worried is that we have still not identified our foes and taken preventive measures. Unless we guard against the designs of our foes pretending to be friends, we will not be able to confront the worst threat which is staring into our eyes and has got closer to our vital ground.


The worst is yet to come

July 1, 2011

By Brig Asif Haroon Raja

The US in pursuit of its strategic and economic objectives in this part of the world arm twisted Gen Musharraf in September 2001 soon after 9/11 and made him do its bidding. Pakistan forces were pushed into the inferno of war on terror which was not Pakistan’s war. To start with, flames were lit on two extreme flanks resting in Baloch inhabited interior Balochistan and Pashtun inhabited FATA. The course of flames was gradually channeled towards settled areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), then to other cities of KP and subsequently to major cities of Punjab as well as Islamabad. Flames of terrorism were stoked by CIA and FBI outposts established in 2002 with the concurrence of the ruling regime. ISI and other intelligence agencies were asked to take up a backseat and intelligence collection, collation and dissemination was taken over entirely by CIA on the plea that it had superior technological means.

The CIA then brought in RAW and RAAM agents to boost its strength and collectively gave birth to Pakistani Taliban, who later got organized and formed Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) in December 2007. They were won over by providing them bagfuls of dollars and meeting all their weapons and equipment demands and also promising them that FATA will be made an independent caliphate and submerged with Pashtun belt of Afghanistan. In Balochistan, disgruntled Baloch Sardars of Bugti, Mengal and Marri were cultivated to start insurgency. They were lured by promising them independent Balochistan full of mineral resources and Gwadar Port falling in the path of envisaged energy corridor from Central Asia. About sixty Farari (training) camps were established in interior Balochistan and supply routes both from Afghanistan via Spin Boldak and Shahgarh in India were made operational to meet all their demands. Later on, several terrorist outfits like BLA, BRA and BLF came into being and their leaders were given asylum in Afghanistan and London.

While our intelligence agencies got busy in nabbing terrorists from all over the country and the Army got embroiled in fighting tribesmen in FATA and Balochistan, CIA and FBI helped by MI-6, RAW and RAAM agents got on with their job of destabilizing Pakistan from within. Besides sabotage and subversion by terrorists, drones were also introduced by CIA to further fuel terrorism. Shamsi airbase was used for the purpose. Sold to the idea of enlightened moderation Musharraf accepted the US advice to expand and liberate the media. It was then decisively penetrated by foreign powers to be able to promote their coined themes and to change perceptions of the desired audiences in Pakistan. India promoted its culture through electronic media and also took help of our media to hide its ugly face. All these processes which weakened Pakistan went on unabatedly throughout Musharraf’s stint in power till March 2008 and Pakistan’s sovereignty kept eroding. By that time all institutions of Pakistan including Army, ISI and judiciary stood discredited.

When the US realized that Musharraf had lost his popularity and would not be helpful in changing the perceptions of people from religious conservatism to secularism, and was not in a position to make compromises on joint Pak-US operations in FATA, or opening up nuclear and missile assets and placing them under a joint control mechanism, or reducing Chinese activities in Gwadar Port and Balochistan mineral projects, or shelving Pak-Iran gas pipeline and in curbing anti-Americanism, it decided to bring in Benazir and make a dream team of liberal parties. When Benazir started to act too independent, she was removed from the scene and handpicked puppets were given reins of power. They pursued Musharraf’s policies in letter and spirit and went a step ahead in keeping their patrons appeased. The Army, ISI and the judiciary however made recoveries by recapturing lost spaces and soon were able to re-establish their image and credibility.

The political leaders deeply engrossed in lot and plunder were slapped and humiliated but were also given blandishments and a free hand to milk the country and reduce it to a carcass. Their incompetence to govern and their corrupt practices were acceptable since they obediently served Washington’s interests. In order to cripple Pakistan’s economy and make it dependent upon US aid, rulers were told to put Pakistan’s neck in the stranglehold of IMF and to keep borrowing and keep spending lavishly.

They were told to ignore terrorism and ethnic cleansing of non-locals by Baloch insurgents seeking separation simply because they are seculars and pro-USA and India. Rulers were directed to use full force against militants in northwestern tribal area particularly against those who were anti-American and supporting Jihad in Afghanistan. Haqqani group based in North Waziristan (NW) is their chief foe. Ilyas Kashmiri outfit and Lashkar-e-Taeba are also on US hit list, and to a lesser degree are Hafiz Gul Bahadur and Maulvi Nazir. Dozens of other militant groups including TTP located in NW which are anti-Pakistan but not involved in Afghanistan do not bother USA.

TTP which has its tentacles in all seven tribal agencies as well as in settled areas of KP, Swat, Malakand, South Punjab, Pashtun belt of Balochistan and its long arm can reach any part of Pakistan is of chief concern for Pakistan. Several foreign agencies are providing massive funds, weapons, equipment, explosives, training facilities, guidance and manpower replenishments from Afghan soil to TTP since they desire this force to possibly defeat or as a minimum contain bulk of Army. But for foreign support in huge quantities, it would not have been possible for the TTP to rebound after its backbone had been broken in the two decisive battles of Bajaur and South Waziristan in 2009. Footprints of foreign hands were clearly seen in all the regions that were recaptured from the militants by security forces. In the Bajaur battle which raged from July 2008 till February 2009, large number of Tajik and Uzbek fighters used to supplement Maulana Faqir’s force. Even now Afghans are involved in Mohmand Agency and in Dir.

While launching of military operations by the Army in Waziristan led to emergence of Pakistani Taliban, two drone attacks in Bajaur Agency in 2006 instilled hatred against the Army particularly when October strike on a seminary killing 80 students was wrongly owned by the Army. Brutal military action against inmates of Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafza including women and children in July 2007 triggered recruitment of young Taliban in a big way. It also ignited spate of suicide bombings in cities. Thereon, it became easy for the senior members of TTP like Qari Hussein to motivate young boys aged 12-16 years to become suicide bombers. The schemers then shifted terrorism to major cities particularly Peshawar, Rawalpindi, Islamabad, Lahore. This was made possible after the induction of Blackwater in 2008. Several security companies cropped up in capital cities.

Mumbai attacks on 26/11 were masterminded to deflect attention of the world from the atrocities committed by Indian security forces in Indian occupied Kashmir where the situation had become explosive, and to nail down ISI and to pave way for carrying out surgical strikes in Pakistan similar to drone strikes. New tactics involving double suicide bombers and group attacks were introduced in 2009. Drone attacks were intensified and so were target killings in Balochistan and Karachi.

In order to keep the judiciary subservient, the ruling regime was emphatically told not to restore the sacked judges led by chief justice Iftikhar. Shahbaz Sharif’s Ministry in Punjab which was relatively stable was brought down and Governor Rule imposed on Washington’s direction in early 2009. Restoration of judges and Punjab government was not to the liking of plot makers. After the enactment of Af-Pak policy in March 2009, which heralded the beginning of the final phase against Pakistan’s strategic assets and passage of Kerry-Lugar Bill, large number of under cover CIA operatives mostly belonging to US Special Forces made their way into Pakistan in 2010. Their inflow increased in second half of 2010 as a result of removal of all security checks by ISI and Special Police. Raymond Davis who had earlier on been deported due to his shady activities also managed to sneak back. By end 2010 an effective countrywide CIA-Blackwater network duly connected with militant groups and criminal gangs had become operational. Roadmaps leading to various defence installations and nuclear sites had been prepared.

This network provides the local militants intelligence and intimate guidance of marked target areas. Its ramifications came to light after the arrest of Raymond but also led to intensification of CIA-ISI rivalry and nose-diving of Pak-US relations. Till April, the militants targeted mostly soft targets in cities to create harassment and fear among the public and to accentuate problems of security forces and intelligence agencies. Mosques, worship places and markets were targeted to pitch Islamists against Islamists and defame Islam.

Helicopter assault on 02 May duly assisted by CIA base in Abbottabad was executed to achieve multiple objectives. The foremost was to restore declining popularity of Obama and US military in the eyes of Americans in particular and world in general. Second; lower the image of Army, air force and ISI that had risen high and to discredit the three institutions in the eyes of the public. Former CIA Director Panetta who had crossed swords with Lt Gen Pasha on several occasions had sworn to teach him a lesson. Third; embarrass Pakistan and to put it in a tight corner, leaving it with little space to defy US dictates.

Having created the desired effects through media and Congressmen, US high officials visited Islamabad and further harassed the already hassled leadership by conveying that Pakistan would from now on be judged by its acts and deeds. To give heart to the fainting leaders, the visitors gave a clean chit to them saying that they were not directly involved in hiding OBL but there was a support group inside Pakistan which had protected OBL. This certification was music to the ears of our leaders. Feeling relieved, they readily agreed to let CIA inspect the Abbottabad House compound where OBL lived, hand over the tail of the destroyed Blackhawk helicopter, launch an operation in NW and to conduct joint operations to eliminate terrorists. These concessions were doled out in violation of the spirit of 14 May unanimous resolution of the parliament.

Mehran Naval Base attack was executed on 22 May to dishearten the navy, to shatter the confidence of the people in armed forces and to completely demoralize the nation. Among several hypotheses, one of the assumptions was an attack conducted by Ilyas Kashmiri group. If so, he has been reportedly killed on 04 May fearing that he may spill the beans. Apparently 02 May and 22 May incidents were also intended to create divisions within forces by suggesting that there were sympathizers and supporters of al-Qaeda and Taliban in each service and intelligence agency and that there was an urgent need to purge such undesirable elements. Mehran Base attack is a prelude to many more suchlike attacks since it seems that the conspirators have now started the final destructive stage to hit hardened military installations including nuclear sites.

In continuation of ISI bashing, Human Rights Watch and western media has come out with another wacky story that the ISI was behind the unfortunate murder of eminent and bold journalist Syed Salim Shehzad. Had it been so, he would have been taken to KP or FATA and not towards Sarai Alamgir? It seems to be a clear cut case of Blackwater which is ever ready to exploit a situation whenever any person makes several enemies and becomes prominent. ISI’s plate is already full to the brim and would be mad if it buys another headache for itself. The situation assumes greater curiosity and mystification after expression of deep concern by high US officials like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton on his death.

While the people have not come out of the shock of two attacks in May, the foreign and local media is adding to their apprehensions by floating rumor balloons of despondency and trying to undermine the capabilities of armed forces. An impression is being created that the military is incapable of safeguarding our vital interests. There is a very small segment that still talks good of USA otherwise great majority distrusts USA and suspect that it will again strike Pakistan to denuclearize it. They are not convinced with John Kerry assurances that the US is not interested in Pak nukes particularly after NATO Secretary General’s statement that it is the collective responsibility of international community to secure nuclear assets of Pakistan.

Stories of our nukes falling into wrong hands have begun to reappear in western media. Despite multi-layered system of security evolved by Pakistan which is second to none, doubts are still being aired by vested interests that Pakistan’s nuclear program is unsafe and needs to be secured. Pakistan Army managed to get out of the deathtrap laid by its adversaries in Swat and SW. They have now prepared another deadly deathtrap in NW and are once again trying to lure in Pak Army with a hope that this time it will get trapped. It is only when major portion of our combat divisions get embroiled in the war in northwest that India will make its Cold Start doctrine operational on the weakened eastern front. Coming months are fraught with extreme dangers but our rulers are naively thinking that after John Kerry and Hillary Clinton’s visit worst is over. In my view the worst is yet to come.

While I am quite confident that our security forces would be able to thwart all hostile attempts made on our nuclear arsenal and delivery means and will also be able to safeguard the frontiers against foreign aggression, what I am worried is that we have still not identified our foes and taken preventive measures. Unless we guard against the designs of our foes pretending to be friends, we will not be able to confront the worst threat which is staring into our eyes and has got closer to our vital ground.


The Spider Group and free access given to CIA, FBI

March 28, 2011


By: Ansar Abbasi

Following some unbelievable concessions offered to the Americans by Islamabad after 9/11, Pakistan is today home to one of the biggest networks of CIA and FBI outside the US.

While generally the governments both at the Centre and in the Punjab are soft on the issue of Raymond Davis amid reports that the double murderer would be bailed out to please Washington, some Pakistani authorities present an extremely gloomy picture if corrective measures are not immediately taken.

The US embassy spokesperson when approached on Thursday with a questionnaire for the US version on issues focused in this story, she responded on Friday with a statement, “The United States respects the laws of Pakistan and international laws. We do not comment on matters of security.”

While the Americans are reluctant to talk on sensitive issues threatening the sovereignty of Pakistan, the sources said that the kind of free hand that has been given to the Americans in Pakistan after 9/11 is unbelievable.

“We have no idea how many foreign as well as local agents of CIA and FBI are operating within the territorial limits of Pakistan,” an official source said, warning that the American agents are spread all over.

Not only General Musharraf had allowed the CIA and FBI to hire local agents in Pakistan in the garb of so-called war on terror but the Americans were also free to move in and move out without any check. “At times we did not know who is coming and who is going, and what is brought in and what it taken out,” the source said.

One unbelievable concession that the American “officials” and “diplomats” including the likes of double murderer Davis, have been enjoying after 9/11 but withdrawn only in October 2009 on the instructions of the Defence Ministry, was the facility of unchecked arrivals and departures with no scrutiny of their luggage at the Benazir Bhutto International Airport (BBIA) in Islamabad.

Gammon Gate of the BBIA, which was basically meant for food catering services and had a direct outside airport link without passing through immigration and customs checks, was specified for the US officials and for the UN officials too. This special facility allowed the Americans to have unchecked arrivals and departures to and from the Islamabad Airport.

The facility was massively misused and there were reports of even unauthorised and undeclared import of sensitive material and equipment, including weapons. This fact had raised serious alarm bells ringing among the Pakistani authorities and forced them to withdraw the facility but after a lot of damage was already done.

A CAA order, issued on the subject in 2009, did concede that the customs and immigration authorities having no arrangements/staff to check the movement and crew and other foreigners, etc. “The equipment related to aeroplane, the crew and their personal luggage also passes through this gate. During checking, US vehicles and the luggage they carry to and from apron area are not properly searched\checked by the ASF staff deputed to control the entry\exit at the Gammon Gate,” a document said, adding in view of this, use of the Gammon Gate by foreigners should be stopped forthwith as it was a serious security hazard.

Meanwhile defence authorities in Pakistan are also in the knowledge of this phenomenal spread in the American spy agencies’ network after 9/11.

Even an American newspaper, The Washington Times, reported a few years back that the FBI had organised some former Pakistani army officers and others into a band known as the “Spider Group” to local Taliban and al-Qaeda fugitives hiding in tribal areas along the Afghanistan border.

Quoting a federal law-enforcement official in Washington, the report said the move marked an attempt by the FBI to develop a “free flow of information” to US agents who previously had worked under some restriction with Pakistan’s official Inter-Services Intelligence.

The Spider Group, the report said, was also asked to recruit locals in Pakistan’s tribal areas, where hundreds of wanted “terrorists” are allegedly holed up under the patronage of tribal chiefs. Members of the Spider Group include a mix of Muslim and Christian retired army and intelligence officers and have been trained and equipped by the FBI.

It has also been reported in the media that a spymaster of one of the country’s intelligence agency had informed the Interior Ministry that a provincial head of a private security agency besides others were spying for the CIA. The security agency was contacted and the said official was removed. It was also reported that a large number of the private security agencies personnel are doing espionage for the American intelligence agencies.

A local journalist Azaz Syed had revealed a few years back that once he had approached the legal section of the US embassy in Islamabad after reading an advertisement in an international publication for the recruitment of FBI agents for South Asia. He said that for the purpose of doing an investigative story, he had offered himself for FBI services to spy on Taliban in exchange of information from the US embassy but the diplomat interviewing him was interested in the civil bureaucracy and was not ready to give any information. “I was told that I would get assignments relating to civil bureaucracy and in return would be paid well,” Syed was quoted to have said.

The US Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) – the spy military aircraft – are yet another source of concern for many here. The UAVs were allowed to do the espionage in tribal areas of Pakistan for “specific jobs” only but since the UAVs are not caught by the radars so these spy planes have also crossed their limits a number of times. Initially the Pakistan Air Force had objected not to allow surveillance to these US UAVs but Musharraf had decided otherwise because of US insistence that this was a must apparently to track down so-called al-Qaeda targets.

The present regime instead of curbing the “free for all” situation here for the Americans, not only allowed extraordinary laxity in visa issuance for the Americans without security check but also obliged them risking our own security.

While some of the reflection of how the Interior Ministry under Rehman Malik had served the US was given in The News’ Wednesday report – “A policy which has brought sheer disaster” – the volume of actual favours given to the Americans is far more.

After former US Ambassador Anne Peterson’s letter to Malik requesting for the issuance of prohibited bore licences for Dyne Corp’s local partner Inter-Risk, officials of the US embassy met the State Minister for Interior Tasneem Ahmed Qureshi and later formally wrote to him setting clear deadlines for the issuance of licences in three parts. The interior minister acted accordingly as per the wishes of the US embassy.

Gerald M Feierstein, Charge d’Affaires and interim, US embassy in Islamabad, had written to Tasneem Qureshi on May 7, 2009 stating, “……I would like to request the issuance of 134 prohibited bore (pb) licences on behalf to Inter-Risk (Pvt) Ltd to accomplish this security goal. 50 pb licences are needed as quickly as possible and an additional 50 pb licences will be needed in June 2009. The remaining 34 licences will be needed in July 2009.”

Within a week following this letter, Personal Secretary (PS) to State Minister for Interior Tasneem Qureshi wrote a “Top Priority” directive on minister’s behalf ordering Section Officer (PB), Ministry of Interior: “The Minister of State for Interior has been pleased to approve Fifty (50) PB arms licence in favour of M/S, Inter-Risk (Private) Limited.

“2. Arm Section may issue the licenses under intimation to this office by 20-5-2009.”

While the state minister issued strict direction for the issuance of 50 pb licences to Inter-Risk by May 20, 2009, the deputy commissioner Islamabad received an official communication from office of the district coordination officer/political agent FR Bannu the same day. The letter’s subject was “Confirmation/Verification of Weapon Gift” and it read as: “The enclosed certificates (consisting 50 nos) for gift of weapon, gifted by Malik Khanzada Khan Wazir Daryoba Agency FR Bannu duly verified by the undersigned for further necessary action.”

These apparently gifted weapons were provided to the Inter-Risk by the US embassy. However, the Government of Pakistan did not know from where these weapons were coming.

The US embassy spokesperson Courtney Beale was sent by The News on Thursday the following questionnaire:

1. Is it a fact that Pakistan today is home to one of the biggest CIA-FBI networks after General Musharraf had allowed the American intelligence agencies to hire their local agents apparently to follow Taliban and al-Qaeda?

2. Are the US drones involved in spying of Pakistan’s strategic sites?

3. Do you agree that the US officials and diplomats have been misusing the concessions offered to them at Pakistani airports particularly at Islamabad airport where instead of passing through normal checks they were allowed to come and go through Gammon Gate? The facility was withdrawn in October 2009 after the Pakistani authorities found it having misused. Misuse means unchecked arrival and departure of individuals and material. Yours comments please.

4. What do you say about the pressure having been exerted by the US embassy on the Pakistani Interior Ministry to issue prohibited bore licences to Dynacorp’s local partner Inter Risk? It became a major scandal over a year ago. Will you please also confirm from where the weapons came, which were given to Inter-Risk.

In response to these questions, Courtney’s brief response was: “The United States respects the laws of Pakistan and international law. We do not comment on matters of security.”


Drawing U.S. Crowds With Anti-Islam Message

March 8, 2011

By LAURIE GOODSTEIN

FORT WORTH – Brigitte Gabriel bounced to the stage at a Tea Partyconvention last fall. She greeted the crowd with a loud Texas “Yee-HAW,” then launched into the same gripping personal story she has told in hundreds of churches, synagogues and conference rooms across the United States:


Brigitte Gabriel spoke to a Tea Party event in September. She says her views were shaped while growing up in Lebanon.

As a child growing up a Maronite Christian in war-torn southern Lebanon in the 1970s, Ms. Gabriel said, she had been left lying injured in rubble after Muslims mercilessly bombed her village. She found refuge in Israel and then moved to the United States, only to find that the Islamic radicals who had terrorized her in Lebanon, she said, were now bent on taking over America.

“America has been infiltrated on all levels by radicals who wish to harm America,” she said. “They have infiltrated us at the C.I.A., at the F.B.I., at the Pentagon, at the State Department. They are being radicalized in radical mosques in our cities and communities within the United States.”

Through her books, media appearances and speeches, and her organization, ACT! for America, Ms. Gabriel has become one of the most visible personalities on a circuit of self-appointed terrorism detectors who warn that Muslims pose an enormous danger within United States borders.

Representative Peter T. King, Republican of Long Island, will conduct hearings Thursday in Washington on a similar theme: that the United States is infiltrated by Muslim radicals. Mr. King was the first guest last month on a new cable television show that Ms. Gabriel co-hosts with Guy Rodgers, the executive director of ACT! and a Republican consultant who helped build the Christian Coalition, once the most potent political organization on the Christian right.

Ms. Gabriel, 46, who uses a pseudonym, casts her organization as a nonpartisan, nonreligious national security group. Yet the organization draws on three rather religious and partisan streams in American politics: evangelical Christian conservatives, hard-line defenders of Israel (both Jews and Christians) and Tea Party Republicans.

She presents a portrait of Islam so thoroughly bent on destruction and domination that it is unrecognizable to those who study or practice the religion. She has found a receptive audience among Americans who are legitimately worried about the spread of terrorism.

But some of those who work in counterterrorism say that speakers like Ms. Gabriel are spreading distortion and fear, and are doing the country a disservice by failing to make distinctions between Muslims who are potentially dangerous and those who are not.

Brian Fishman, a research fellow at both the New America Foundation in Washington, and the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy at West Point, said, “When you’ve got folks who are looking for the worst in Islam and are promoting that as the entire religion of 1.5 or 1.6 billion people, then you only empower the real extremists.”

Ms. Gabriel is only one voice in a growing circuit that includes counter-Islam speakers likePamela Geller, Robert Spencer and Walid Shoebat. What distinguishes Ms. Gabriel from her counterparts is that she has built a national grass-roots organization in the last three years that has already engaged in dozens of battles over the place of Islam in the United States. ACT! for America claims 155,000 members in 500 chapters across the country. To build her organization, Ms. Gabriel has enlisted Mr. Rodgers, who had worked behind the scenes for the Christian Coalition’s leaders, Ralph Reed and the television evangelist Pat Robertson. (Ms. Gabriel herself was once an anchor for Mr. Robertson’s Christian television network in the Middle East).

As national field director, Mr. Rodgers planted and tended Christian Coalition chapters across the country, and is now using some of the same strategies as executive director of ACT! Among those tactics is creating “nonpartisan voter guides” that rank candidates’ responses and votes on issues important to the group.

Just as with the Christian Coalition’s voter guides, the candidates whose positions most often align with ACT!’s are usually Republicans. Mr. Rodgers previously served as campaign manager for Patrick J. Buchanan’s presidential run in 1996, and as a consultant for John McCain in 2008.

Ms. Gabriel and Mr. Rodgers declined to be interviewed in person or over the telephone, but agreed to respond to questions by e-mail. They permitted interviews with only their national field director and two chapter leaders they selected, though half a dozen other interviews were conducted with chapter leaders before they were told not to talk.

Ms. Gabriel says she is motivated not by fear or hatred of Islam, but by her love for her adopted country.

“I lost Lebanon, my country of birth, to radical Islam,” she wrote. “I do not want to lose my adopted country America.”

She insists that she is singling out only “radical Islam” or Muslim “extremists” – not the vast majority of Muslims or their faith. And yet, in her speeches and her two books, she leaves the opposite impression. She puts it most simply in the 2008 introduction to her first book, “Because They Hate: A Survivor of Islamic Terror Warns America.”

“In the Muslim world, extreme is mainstream,” she wrote. She said that there is a “cancer” infecting the world, and said: “The cancer is called Islamofacism. This ideology is coming out of one source: The Koran.”

In what ACT! is calling “Open a Koran” day this September, the group plans to put up 750 tables in front of post offices, libraries, churches and synagogues and hand out leaflets selectively highlighting verses that appear to advocate violence, slavery and subjugation of women.

In the last year, the group played a key role in passing a constitutional amendment in Oklahoma banning the use of Shariah, a body of Islamic law derived from the Koran and from the Muslim prophet Muhammad’s teachings, sayings and acts. Most Muslims draw selectively on its tenets – in the same way that people of other faiths pick and choose from their sacred texts.

But group members and their allies have succeeded in popularizing the notion that American Muslims are just biding their time until they gain the power to revoke the Constitution and impose Shariah law in the United States.

“We can’t let Shariah law take hold,” said Susan Watts, who leads a large chapter in Houston.

ACT! members are challenging high school textbooks and college courses that they deem too sympathetic to Islam. A group leader in Eugene, Ore., signed up to teach a community college course on Islam, but it was canceled when a Muslim group exposed his blog postings denouncing Islam and denying the scope of the Holocaust.

A chapter in Colorado recently featured a guest speaker on “How to minister to Muslims,” and “Conversion success stories.” Mr. Rodgers said in a written response that ACT! does not encourage such activities.

Ms. Gabriel’s approach and her power appear rooted in her childhood trauma in the civil war in southern Lebanon. The war was a chaotic stew in which ever-shifting alliances of clan-based militias made up of Christian, Shiite, Sunni, Palestinian and Druse made war on one other, often with the backing of other countries. But in the rendering Ms. Gabriel shares with her American audiences, it was black and white. As her father explained to her, “The Muslims bombed us because we are Christians. They want us dead because they hate us.” (The refrain became the title of her first book.)

She moved to Israel in her early 20s to work for Middle East Television. Ms. Gabriel often mentions in lectures that she was an anchor for the network, but does not reveal that Middle East Television was then run by Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network to spread his politically conservative, Pentecostal faith in the Middle East.

On air as a reporter, Ms. Gabriel used the name Nour Saman. She married an American co-worker and in 1989 moved to the United States. They started a film and television production company, which says it has produced programs on terrorism for “Good Morning America” and “Primetime.”

She said she uses a pseudonym, voted on by her organization’s board, because she has received death threats.

Ms. Gabriel has given hundreds of lectures, including to the Heritage Foundation and the Joint Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Va. Her salary from two organizations she founded, American Congress for Truth and ACT! for America, was $178,411 in 2009. And the group’s combined income was $1.6 million.

In Fort Worth, Ms. Gabriel spent nearly an hour after her speech signing books and posing for pictures with gushing fans.

“She really opened up my eyes about Islam,” said Natalie Rix Cresson, a composer, clutching a signed copy of Ms. Gabriel’s book. “I didn’t realize it was so infiltrated in the schools, everywhere.”

Hwaida Saad contributed reporting from Lebanon.


THE ‘RAYMONDS’ AND THE ‘DAVISES’

February 14, 2011

What is common between the following apparently unrelated events?

  • Raymond Davis
  • Terrorist Attacks in Pakistan
  • Operations in South and North Waziristan
  • Drone Attacks

First identify the main players-the CIA, the ISI, the FBI, the Pakistan Army, US/NATO forces, Afghan Intelligence and government and the Government of Pakistan. Opposing these main players are the Taliban, the religious parties and organizations in Pakistan and the people of Pakistan and the Pashtuns of Afghanistan.

Read Complete Article Here: http://www.area148.com/cms/?p=2299


Tension grows between Calif. Muslims, FBI after informant infiltrates mosque

December 7, 2010

Before the sun rose, the informant donned a white Islamic robe. A tiny camera was sewn into a button, and a microphone was buried in a device attached to his keys.

“This is Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle,” he said into the keys as he sat in his parked car in this quiet community south of Los Angeles. “It’s November 13th, 4:30 a.m. And we’re hot.”

The undercover FBI informant – a convicted forger named Craig Monteilh – then drove off for 5 a.m. prayers at the Islamic Center of Irvine, where he says he spied on dozens of worshipers in a quest for potential terrorists.

Since the 2001 terrorist attacks, the FBI has used informants successfully as one of many tactics to prevent another strike in the United States. Agency officials say they are careful not to violate civil liberties and do not target Muslims.

But the FBI’s approach has come under fire from some Muslims, criticism that surfaced again late last month after agents arrested an Oregon man they said tried to detonate a bomb at a Christmas tree-lighting ceremony. FBI technicians had supplied the device.

In the Irvine case, Monteilh’s mission as an informant backfired. Muslims were so alarmed by his talk of violent jihad that they obtained a restraining order against him.

He had helped build a terrorism-related case against a mosque member, but that also collapsed. The Justice Department recently took the extraordinary step of dropping charges against the worshiper, who Monteilh had caught on tape agreeing to blow up buildings, law enforcement officials said. Prosecutors had portrayed the man as a dire threat.

Compounding the damage, Monteilh has gone public, revealing secret FBI methods and charging that his “handlers” trained him to entrap Muslims as he infiltrated their mosques, homes and businesses. He is now suing the FBI.

Officials declined to comment on specific details of Monteilh’s tale but confirm that he was a paid FBI informant. Court records and interviews corroborate not only that Monteilh worked for the FBI – he says he made $177,000, tax-free, in 15 months – but that he provided vital information on a number of cases.

Some Muslims in Southern California and nationally say the cascading revelations have seriously damaged their relationship with the FBI, a partnership that both sides agree is critical to preventing attacks and homegrown terrorism.

Citing Monteilh’s actions and what they call a pattern of FBI surveillance, many leading national Muslim organizations have virtually suspended contact with the bureau.

“The community feels betrayed,” said Shakeel Syed, executive director of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella group of more than 75 mosques.

They got a guy, a bona fide criminal, and obviously trained him and sent him to infiltrate mosques,” Syed said. “And when things went sour, they ditched him and he got mad. It’s like a soap opera, for God’s sake.”

FBI and Justice Department officials say that the Monteilh case is not representative of their relations with the Muslim community and that they continue to work closely with Muslims in investigating violence and other hate crimes against them. Officials also credit U.S. Muslims with reporting critical information in a variety of counterterrorism cases.

The bureau “relies on the support, cooperation and trust of the communities it serves and protects,” FBI spokesman Michael Kortan said, adding that agents conduct investigations “under well-defined investigative guidelines and the law, and in close coordination with the Department of Justice.”

Officials said they have gone to great lengths to maintain good relationships with Muslims, including meetings hosted by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. Last week, FBI officials met to discuss law enforcement and other issues with predominantly Muslim Somali community members in San Diego and Minneapolis.

Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles field office, declined to comment on Monteilh, citing Monteilh’s lawsuit. He said that in certain circumstances, if there is evidence of a crime, FBI agents may “conduct an activity that might somehow involve surveillance in and about a mosque.”

But he said the agency does not target people based on religion or ethnicity.

“I know there’s a lot of suspicion that that’s the focus, that we’re looking at the mosques, monitoring who is coming and going. That’s just not the case,” he said.

The ‘chameleon’

Monteilh’s career as an informant began in 2003. Like many other informants, he was familiar with the inside of a prison cell. He had just finished a sentence for forging bank notes when local police officers he met at a gym asked him to infiltrate drug gangs and white supremacist groups for a federal-state task force.

“It was very exciting,” Monteilh said in an interview with The Washington Post. “I had the ability to be a chameleon.”

Monteilh, who stands over 6 feet tall and weighs 260 pounds, had worked as a prison chaplain before he was incarcerated. Married with three children, the Los Angeles native said that after he became an informant, an FBI agent on the task force sought him out. Law enforcement sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about informants, said Monteilh was promoted from drug and bank robbery cases because his information was reliable and had led to convictions.

In early 2006, Monteilh said, he met with his FBI handler at a Starbucks.

“She asked if I wanted to infiltrate mosques,” he said. At a follow-up session at a doughnut shop, he said, his new handler told him that “Islam is a threat to our national security.”

Law enforcement sources said that the FBI trained Monteilh and that he aided an existing investigation. Monteilh, however, said he was ordered to randomly surveil and spy on Muslims to ferret out potential terrorists. Agents, he said, provided his cover: Farouk al-Aziz, a French Syrian in search of his Islamic roots. His code name was “Oracle.”

Monteilh said he was instructed to infiltrate mosques throughout Orange and two neighboring counties in Southern California, where the Muslim population of nearly 500,000 is the nation’s largest. He was told to target the Islamic Center of Irvine, he said, because it was near his home.

FBI tactics were already a sensitive issue at the Irvine mosque, a stucco, two-story building that draws as many as 2,000 people for Friday prayers. With tensions rising between law enforcement and Muslims over allegations of FBI surveillance, J. Stephen Tidwell, then head of the FBI’s Los Angeles office, spoke at the mosque in June 2006.

“If we’re going to mosques to come to services, we will tell you,” he said, according to a video of his speech. “. . . The FBI will tell you we’re coming for the very reason that we don’t want you to think you’re being monitored. We would come only to learn.”

Two months later, in August 2006, Monteilh arrived at the same mosque. He had called earlier and met with the imam. That Friday, he took shahada, the Muslim declaration of faith, before hundreds of worshipers.

Worshipers said that in Monteilh’s 10 months at the mosque, he became almost manic in his devotion, attending prayers five times a day and waiting in the parking lot before the 5 a.m. prayer. Monteilh said he was told by the FBI to take notes on who opened the mosque each day.

Worshipers said his Western clothes gave way to an Islamic robe, a white skullcap and sandals, an outfit Monteilh said was chosen by his handlers. As he grew closer to Muslims, he said, the FBI told him to date Muslim women if it gained him intelligence.

Worshipers noticed that Monteilh often left his keys around the mosque, said Hussam Ayloush, executive director of the Los Angeles chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, who speaks often at the mosque.

“It seemed strange to people,” Ayloush said.

Inside the car remote on the bundle of keys was a microphone that recorded Muslims at the mosque, in their homes and at a local gym. Monteilh, who told people he was a fitness trainer, used the gym to seek out Muslim men.

“We started hearing that he was saying weird things,” said Omar Kurdi, a Loyola Law School student who knew Monteilh from the mosque and gym. “He would walk up to one of my friends and say, ‘It’s good that you guys are getting ready for the jihad.”

Worshipers said Monteilh gravitated to Ahmadullah Sais Niazi, an Afghan-born Arabic-language instructor who was a regular at Friday prayers.

In May 2007, Monteilh said he recorded a conversation about jihad during a car ride with Niazi and another man. Monteilh said he suggested an operation to blow up buildings and Niazi agreed. An FBI agent later cited that and other taped conversations between the two in court as evidence that Niazi was a threat.

A few days later, Ayloush got an anguished phone call from Niazi and the other man in the car.

“They said Farouk had told them he had access to weapons and that they should blow up a mall,” Ayloush recalled. “They were convinced this man was a terrorist.”

Ayloush reported the FBI’s own informant to the FBI. He said agents interviewed Niazi, who gave them the same account, but the agency took no action against Monteilh.

Still, Monteilh’s mission was collapsing. Members of the mosque told its leaders that they were afraid of Monteilh and that he was “trying to entrap them into a mission,” according to Asim Khan, the former mosque president. The mosque went to Orange County Superior Court in June 2007 and obtained a restraining order against Monteilh, court records show.

Soon afterward, Monteilh said FBI agents “told me they wanted to cut me loose.” After he vowed to go public, he said, he met with three agents at the Anaheim Hilton, where an FBI supervisor threatened him with arrest.

“She said, ‘If you reveal your informant status to the media, it will destroy the Muslim community’s relationship with the FBI forever.” Monteilh said.

The FBI declined to comment on Monteilh’s allegation.

At a subsequent meeting, Monteilh said, he signed a non-disclosure agreement in exchange for $25,000 in cash. An FBI letter to Monteilh’s attorney, on file in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, says Monteilh signed the non-disclosure agreement in October 2007.

But Monteilh was arrested in December 2007 on a grand-theft charge and ended up back in jail for 16 months. In January, he sued the FBI, alleging that the bureau and Irvine police conspired to have him arrested, then allowed his informant status to become known in prison, where he was stabbed.

The FBI and police have denied the allegations, and the lawsuit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds. But the judge allowed Monteilh to file an amended complaint, with similar allegations, in September. The case is pending.

A case unravels

In the meantime, the case against Niazi unfolded. He was indicted in February 2009 by a federal grand jury on charges of lying about his ties to terrorists on immigration documents. In court, prosecutors said that jihadist materials were found on Niazi’s computer and that he had wired money to an alleged al-Qaeda financier. Prosecutors said he is the brother-in-law of Osama bin Laden’s security coordinator. Much of the evidence was FBI testimony about Niazi’s recorded conversations with an FBI informant, who sources say was Monteilh.

“Frankly, there is no amount of bail or equity in a home that can protect the citizens of this community” from Niazi, Assistant U.S. Attorney Deirdre Eliot said in arguing for his detention.

Within days of Niazi’s indictment, Monteilh revealed his informant status in a series of interviews with Los Angeles area media.

“I think the FBI treated me with the utmost treachery,” he said in the interview with The Post.

In subsequent months, Monteilh sought out Niazi’s attorneys and told them he was ordered to entrap their client.

A year and a half later, on Sept. 30, prosecutors summarily moved to dismiss the case against Niazi, and a judge agreed. The U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles cited the lack of an overseas witness and “evidentiary issues.” Sources familiar with the decision said Monteilh’s role – and his potential testimony for the defense – was also a factor.

Niazi declined to comment. His attorney Chase Scolnick said he is “very pleased with the outcome. It is a just result.”

In recent weeks, Monteilh said, he has been approaching Muslims at a local gym and apologizing for “disrespecting their community and religion.” Monteilh, who is now unemployed, says he regrets his role in the Niazi case and was glad when the charges were dropped.

On a recent Friday, more than 200 men sat on the carpet for prayers inside the Irvine mosque, most of them in khakis or jeans. During the sermon, the imam offered some advice.

“If an FBI agent comes in and says, ‘You’re under arrest,’â??” he told the crowd, they should pray to Allah – and then call a lawyer.

As worshipers milled around outside, they said they support the FBI’s role in fighting terrorism but feel betrayed by the infiltration of their sacred place.

“The FBI wants to treat the Muslim community as a partner while investigating us behind our backs,” said Kurdi, the Loyola student. “They can’t have it both ways.”


If Pakistani Govt. Orders Our Surrender, Will The Military Comply?

October 6, 2010

By SHIREEN M. MAZARI – The Nation

9/11: The War To Cripple Pakistan

  1. Sovereign Guarantees’ vs. Sovereignty
  2. Will the Pakistani military exercise self-defense and respond to NATO attack?
  3. NATO has no mandate in Afghanistan, only ISAF does

How far is the Pakistani state prepared to go to undermining its national sovereignty and the safety of the lives of its citizens? Since 2004 mainly innocent Pakistani citizens have been killed by US drone strikes inside Pakistan. This is beyond the list of those Pakistanis handed over to the US in renditions by the Musharraf government, the most high profile being Dr. Aafia. The claim that she was not handed over but was whisked away by US covert operatives reflects even more badly on that state of our security establishment – that they cannot protect their own citizens in their own country from being kidnapped by foreign agencies!

Coming back to the drones, the advent of Obama to the Presidency led to an immediate upsurge of drone attacks, and as the US has always maintained, these attacks have the permission and cooperation of the Pakistan civilian leadership and its military. As a result, despite a national consensus against these drones, they continue to kill Pakistanis and the government continues with its lies to the people on this issue. This month, September, has seen the highest number of drone attacks for any month since the attacks began in 2004, with 20 strikes recorded so far and the month is not yet over.

Accompanying the drone attacks has been the growing presence of US overt and covert operatives across the length and breadth of Pakistan. This includes not only US Special Forces personnel, but also CIA, FBI operatives and the worse of the lot – the private contractors DynCorp and Xe (formerly Blackwater) aided and abetted by Pakistani mercenaries. And, not a squeak of protest from Pakistani officialdom. It is as if the whole state machinery has become an amalgam of mercenaries selling out Pakistan and its people.

The argument from the present political government is that they are merely implementing the sovereign guarantees given by the Musharraf regime to the US, but this is not plausible because the same government has also been claiming it is undoing the dictatorial legacies of the Musharraf government. In any case, how can this democratically elected government abide by sovereign guarantees to allow the killing of its own people? This is not to deny the presence of militants and even terrorists but they must be dealt with by our own people and under the law of the land. The state and government cannot abdicate their own responsibility towards its citizens – especially not a democratic government that has come to power – as they never tire of telling us these days – by a mandate from the people.

Worse still is, killing someone simply on suspicion of being a potential militant. But then the President’s remarks on the collateral damage being done by drones, as cited in Bob Woodward’s book, Obama’s Wars, says it all for the current political dispensation.

PAKISTANI MILITARY’S ROLE

As for the military, its justification of not protecting its citizens and territory against attacks by the US military in the form of drone attacks is even more absurd – that they are simply following orders of the civilian government. What instructions were they following in Musharraf’s times? In any case, this country sacrifices a lot to sustain a heavy defense budget so that its armed forces are given the best of everything. But in return they expect this military to defend its borders and its citizens from external military attacks – not to support them and turn on its own people under external diktat.

The armed forces may argue that they act on the directions of the federal government as directed under Article 245 of the Constitution which states: “The armed forces shall, under the directions of the federal government, defend Pakistan against external aggression or threat of war …”

So the questions that arise for us citizens are:

  1. If the federal government tells the armed forces to allow foreign aggression against the country, will the armed forces comply? Is that what is happening right now?
  2. Can the federal government legally take such a step? If so, who will defend the country against foreign aggression in the final analysis?

Incidentally, while many of us naively assumed the armed forces took an oath to defend Pakistan and its territory from its enemies and so on, when one sees the actual oath of the armed forces in Schedule III of the Constitution, it says nothing of the sort at all – they take an oath to defend the Constitution of Pakistan and not to indulge in any political activity – but nowhere are the words defense of territory or people in the oath!

Frankly, after examining Article 245 and the armed forces oath, as a citizen of Pakistan I do not feel as secure as I thought I was because tomorrow if the federal government orders the military to hand over our defense to an external power and even our nuclear assets, where will we be?

These issues are critical now, because with the complicity of the Pakistani state, the US drone attacks are not the only external aggression we are now facing. NATO has decided to target Pakistanis in our own territory and their helicopter gunships have been having an open season on the FATA people. Some whimpering from the Pakistani state has been heard but we still have to wait and see whether our defense forces will defend our borders against this expansion of external military aggression against Pakistan and its people.

Ironically, NATO has defended its forays into Pakistan as “right of self-defense”, while the Pakistanis seem to have no such right on their own territory!

To confuse the issue, NATO is using the reference of ISAF and a UN mandate, when we all know that ISAF is not NATO and that NATO forcibly grabbed the ISAF UN mandate. The question of its legitimacy in the context of Afghanistan is critical because it has been expanding its mandate and operational milieu ever since the end of bipolarity.

So, why should there be an issue of its legitimacy within the context of Afghanistan? Because it is an out-of-area operation. NATO still remains, in legal terms, a collective defense organization in terms of its legitimacy through the UN system – under Chapter VIII, Articles 52 and 53, as well as Chapter VII’s notion of collective self-defense as embodied in Article 51, which provides a very clear and limited framework for collective defense organizations. Regional collective defense organizations need to operate in the specific region of their membership since decision-making is restricted to this membership. Given the continuing European-Atlantic membership of NATO, it is somewhat disturbing to see NATO transforming itself from a collective defense organization (Article 5 of the NATO Charter is surely in the context of collective defense?) to a collective security organization to serve the interests of its membership or perhaps future “coalitions of the willing”. There is no legitimacy for any collective security organization other than the UN with its universal membership.

Even within the context of regional organizations, actions have to have a UN mandate and this is where the case of Afghanistan is unclear. Post-9/11, the UN Security Council, through Resolution 1386 (December 2001), sanctioned the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) for Afghanistan. As stipulated in the Bonn Agreement of December 2001, the progressive expansion of the ISAF to other urban centers and other areas beyond Kabul was duly approved through follow-on UNSC resolutions.
So, where did NATO get into ISAF? Did the UNSC initiate NATO’s involvement or did NATO present a fait accompli to the UN Secretary General?

What is available on record is that NATO informed the UN Secretary General, through a letter dated October 2, 2003, from its Secretary General that on August 11, 2003, NATO had assumed “strategic command, control and coordination of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).” This was followed by another letter from the NATO Secretary General to the UN SG informing the latter of the North Atlantic Council’s agreement on a “longer-term strategy for NATO in its International Assistance Force (ISAF) role in Afghanistan.”

Both these letters were sent to the President of the UNSC by the then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan on October 7 with the request that they be brought to the attention of the UNSC. So, effectively NATO presented the UNSC with a fait accompli – which is why its presence in Afghanistan is legally questionable.

Meanwhile, for Pakistan the basic question that its civil and military leaders must answer is: How far will the state compromise the safety of its people and its own sovereignty to fulfill the so-called “sovereign guarantees” to the US?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 114 other followers