Monthly Archives: February 2012

Afghan war fundamentals

By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE
UPI Editor at Large

The United States and its NATO allies are having have trouble coming to grips with the fundamentals of the decade-long Afghan war.

Following the assassination of two U.S. officers on duty in the inner sanctum of Kabul’s most heavily guarded building — the Interior Ministry — U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker says the United States must stick it out in Afghanistan otherwise al-Qaida will be back.

But al-Qaida knows the United States is leaving in 2014 and that the exodus will begin next year. With 70 percent of the American people against further U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, U.S. President Barack Obama is accelerating the drawdown.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and his Afghan government expect U.S. military aid to continue at the rate of $5 billion-$10 billion a year through the end of the decade. A country of 30 million the size of France will require an army of some 350,000 with its own gunships and air transport capabilities.

But nothing is less certain than congressional appetite for more billions to a country that keeps demonstrating its anti-American credentials.

The inadvertent — and harebrained — decision to torch used copies of the Muslim holy book dramatized the extent of anti-U.S. feelings among ordinary Afghans. And this comes after a decade-long, $500 billion war effort to defeat the Taliban insurgency and establish a viable democracy. Another $100 billion or $200 billion by the end of 2014 won’t change the fundamentals.

The Vietnam War analogy is hard to escape. The last U.S. soldier left Vietnam March 29, 1973. ARVN, the South Vietnamese army, with its own air support, and U.S. aid, fought on for two more years. That is, until Congress ended all further assistance to South Vietnam, a U.S. ally since the French defeat at Dien Bien Phu in 1954.

In their writings since the war, North Vietnam’s leaders said they were taken by surprise by the U.S. decision. They thought taking Saigon was still two years away. Abandoned by the U.S. Congress, ARVN stopped fighting. And the Communist army marched into Saigon unopposed.

More urgent U.S. domestic priorities could conceivably leave the Afghan government and army without the indispensable assistance they need to continue the fight against Taliban. This, in turn, could lead to some form of coalition — or a return to the kind of partition that followed the Soviet exit in 1989.

Where Crocker may have misjudged the consequences of Taliban’s return to power-sharing in Kabul or even outright power, is Taliban supremo Mullah Mohammad Omar’s view of al-Qaida.

Conventional U.S. government wisdom says Taliban’s return to power would be tantamount to inviting al-Qaida survivors and new recruits to set up training camps again in Afghanistan.

Three months before 9/11, on June 4, 2001, Omar had already made clear that he had no use for Osama bin Laden and his international terrorists.

Under intense pressure from the U.S. and Saudi Arabia, bin Laden was kicked out of Sudan in 1996. The Clinton administration failed to express a preference about where he should be deported. So he went back to his old stomping grounds when he was fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-89).

Bin Laden invited himself back to Afghanistan. At first Omar enjoyed his company — and money — and bin Laden didn’t ask for anyone’s permission to set up a score of terrorist training camps. These were all located by U.S. satellite spies.

Tarnak Farms was an al-Qaida compound of 80 mud-brick buildings, surrounded by a 10-foot mud-brick wall near Kandahar airport. One was bin Laden’s. CIA had a well-rehearsed plan to kidnap or kill him, similar to the Navy SEALs raid that killed bin Laden a decade later. But intelligence also knew of the presence of a falcon-hunting Persian Gulf prince staying in one of the buildings. The raid was canceled.

President Bill Clinton authorized one cruise missile attack on another camp where bin Laden was known to have arrived. Some 30 terrorists were killed — but bin Laden had left two hours before the first missile exploded.

Post-9/11, the U.S. invasion drove bin Laden, his family and a group of some 50 al-Qaida terrorists out of Afghanistan through the Tora Bora mountain range into Pakistan. They survived intense B-52 bombing, including a 10,000-pound “Daisy Cutter,” by escaping through a narrow gorge. Ordnance exploded hundreds of feet overhead.

The Taliban haven’t been in Afghanistan since. With Kabul liberated in 2001, intelligence said 50 to 100 al-Qaida terrorists were still in-country. The same figure Leon Panetta gave when he took over as defense secretary 10 years later.

The fact is that al-Qaida and its associated movements have found more fertile grounds in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Mali, Niger, where central government authority (except for Pakistan) doesn’t extend much beyond a nation’s capital.

In Pakistan, one of the world’s nine (counting North Korea) nuclear powers, al-Qaida has far more tempting targets than in Afghanistan. With a population of 180 million, mostly very poor, it is anti-American, arguably more so than its northern neighbor Afghanistan.

The U.S. SEALs raid that killed bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan’s West Point, last May 2, embarrassed the powerful military establishment — and angered countless millions of Pakistanis. After 9/11, this reporter saw Pakistani buses with bin Laden posters that said, “Freedom Fighter.”

Since last November, when friendly U.S. fire accidentally killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border, Pakistan blocked all U.S. supply vehicles, including oil and gasoline tankers, still stretched over thousands of miles of roads from Karachi to the Khyber Pass and from Karachi to Quetta in Baluchistan and on to the border at Chaman destined for Kandahar in southwestern Afghanistan.

Lost in the recriminatory brouhaha is that the U.S. original commitment was against al-Qaida, not Taliban. And they are not one and the same.

Original Publishing Link: http://www.upi.com/Top_News/Analysis/de-Borchgrave/2012/02/27/Commentary-Afghan-war-fundamentals/UPI-49361330346293/

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Nobel Committee Should Consider Suspending Peace Award to Obama

By: Yasmeen Ali

Alfred Nobel must be turning in his grave. In 1895, he left the largest share of his fortune, to a series of prizes, the Nobel Prizes.

On Peace Prizes, as described in Nobel’s will, one part was dedicated to “the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses”.

Ooops!

According to the Nobelprize.Org, “92 Nobel Peace Prizes have been awarded since 1901. It was not awarded on 19 occasions: in 1914-1918, 1923, 1924, 1928, 1932, 1939- 1943, 1948, 1955-1956, 1966-1967 and 1972.

Why were the Peace Prizes not awarded in those years? In the statutes of the Nobel Foundation it says: “If none of the works under consideration is found to be of the importance indicated in the first paragraph, the prize money shall be reserved until the following year. If, even then, the prize cannot be awarded, the amount shall be added to the Foundation’s restricted funds.” During World War I and II, fewer Nobel Prizes were awarded.”

http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/shortfacts.html

So what exactly did Obama achieve to earn the award being only 12 days in office as President? Obama had not been mentioned as among front-runners for the prize, and his winning the prestigious award left the world gasping.” The Nobel committee recognized Obama’s efforts at dialogue to solve complex global problems, including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons”.( http://articles.cnn.com/2009-10-09/world/nobel.peace.prize_1_norwegian-nobel-committee-international-diplomacy-and-cooperation-nuclear-weapons?_s=PM:WORLD).

Dialogues?

Invasion of Libya, by US under Obama, do not sound as dialogue to me. Amy Goodman, stated, in an interview dated March 2nd, 2007, that US must “take out” 7 countries in the next five years, this included Libya and Syria. Clearly, Obama follows the same line of action. http://breakthematrix.com/war/general-wesley-clark-obamas-invasion-lybia-planned-bush-administration-syria/

On January 22nd, 2009, Obama issued three executive orders. This was a day after his inauguration. One dealt with closing of Guantanamo Bay(which merrily continues playing it’s torture games to date).This was loudly touted as a promise in his election campaign too. The other was to wind up war in Afghanistan as soon as possible and “bring the boys home”. After 4 years of being in office, the election claims remain just that: empty claims, showing not an inch forward in terms of delivering.

“The boys” never went home. Not from Afghanistan. Timeline of 2014 has been given for withdrawal of combat troops, training forces will stay on. Meanwhile, besides the killing spree, US soldiers are involved in rape cases. Quoting one case only, daughter of an Afghan politician died owing to multiple injuries & rape in the hands of American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan’s southwestern province of Farah. http://edition.presstv.ir/detail/159958.html

Not only this, but blundering and blasting through a lose cannon, Obama has made sure to destroy relations with the Muslim world. Ranging from drone attacks to burning Quran to trying to overturn the sovereignty of Pakistan by Congress Meeting ,Congress Members openly supporting Independent Baluchistan, every step is wrong, wrong, wrong!

Sanjeev Miglani, in his article,” Culture Wars: Burning of the Quran”, quotes Martine van Bijlert ,” Eleven years into the war in Afghanistan, interspersed by the invasion of Iraq, you would expect the world’s most advanced and, according to some, the most moral force, to have picked up the most basic of do’s and don’ts while operating in a Muslim country.”The desecration of the a Quran to many Afghans is even more emotive than civilian casualties or disrespect towards dead bodies and there is more social pressure to react”. http://blogs.reuters.com/pakistan/

The drones have killed more civilians; innocent men, women & children than the bad guys! According to a report released in October 2011, between 386 and 775 civilians, including 173 children, were killed in the 300 drone attacks since June 17, 2004. The report says between 1,141 and 1,225 persons were injured. ““The US covert drone war in Pakistan reached a new milestone with the 300th attack on alleged militants in the country’s tribal areas,” says the opening of the report, adding that the attack by the Central Investigation Agency (CIA) is the fourth in North and South Waziristan in 48 hours. Of the 300 drone strikes since June 17, 2004, it says, 248 occurred during President Barack Obama’s first three years, rising to a frequency of almost one strike every four days.” http://www.dawn.com/2011/10/16/386-civilians-died-in-300-drone-attacks.html

And I’m not talking of Killer Drones in Afghanistan yet!

No one has ever been stripped of the Nobel Prize once awarded. This is expressly been forbidden by the organization. However, there have been calls to do this in case of Obama. After the Obama Administration attacked Libya, the Russian leader & Vice-Chairman of the State Duma Vladimir Zhirinovsky & the Bolivian President launched a campaign to do just that.

Not even touching the tip of the iceberg, does this picture reflect the actions of the Head of a State that has World Peace through dialogue dear to his heart?

The Peace Prize cannot be stripped.

Can it be declared “suspended”? If yes, the Nobel Committee must think about it.

(The writer is a lawyer & professor in a Lahore based University. She may be reached on: yasmeen.a.9@gmail.com).

 

 

 

Mohammad Ashiq : The Unsung Hero of Pakistan!

Editor’s Note: Mohammad Ashiq is one of those having won laurels for Pakistan-and where is the 82 year old Olympian today? Can we not look after our assets? Is that not what Mohammad Ashiq is? This is an open question for our society!
Ashiq won medals at the Asian Games, but now strugg­les to make ends meet.
 Mohammad Ashiq seen with his sole mean of earning livelihood. PHOTO: TAHA SIDDIQUI/ EXPRESS
Former cyclist Mohammad Ashiq has shaken hands with prime ministers, competed at two Olympic Games and won several medals at home and abroad, including a silver medal at the Asian Games. He now drives a rickshaw and struggles to keep the wheels of his life turning. A message is plastered across the canopy of his vehicle: “Those nations that do not respect their heroes never prosper.” (We worship the Saudi’s in Pakistan and everything Arab.  No wonder the Saudis prosper).
Ashiq’s international career started in 1958 when he won a bronze medal at the Asian Games in Tokyo. After that he was selected twice for the Olympics and then the Asian games again, where he won a silver medal. “I used to be a boxer and took part in many national tournaments but one day my wife complained to me about the constant bruises I had due to my sports, and asked me to leave that and do something else. I decided to go into cycling,” he says.
How different the 1950s were: Ashiq bought a cycle for twenty rupees.
He started practicing on his own but one day his employers, Pakistan Railways, asked him to represent them in a national championship and he won. From then onwards, he was invited to many cycling events in Pakistan and later around the world. Even though his cycling career was successful, his professional career came to a halt when he was let go by Pakistan Railways.
“My manager wanted me to lose an event because his nephew was competing in it,” he says. He refused and was then fired, and since he was not a permanent employee, he did not get a pension, despite serving for the organisation for more than twenty years.
Even after he lost his job, he went on to participate in many games. In Nawaz Sharif’s first tenure, he was invited by the prime minister to receive an award. He shows a picture of this, one which is also printed on the back of his rickshaw.
However, after Ashiq stopped participating, the invites stopped coming. He thought he could get a job as a trainer but says he did not have the right connections. Nevertheless with the little money he had saved over the years, he bought himself a bus and hired a driver for it. Luckily he had a home back then but that was sold after his bus had an accident. “I had to sell my house to meet my expenses, and get my daughters married, and the only thing I own now is this rickshaw,” Ashiq says. He bought the rickshaw ten years ago through a bank loan which he only paid off recently.
Ashiq, now 82, lives with his wife and his grandson in a rented house in Samanabad, a neighborhood that has a labyrinth of homes stacked too close for comfort. His son died recently of dengue, and the mother left the child with them. “I have to take care of another child at this age; people of my age are either bed-ridden or have died. But I continue to work to earn a living, even though I cannot walk properly.” He shows his legs which he oils everyday and wraps in bandages to give him some respite from pain.
“I hand-delivered letters at the Chief Minister House, and have even posted numerous letters to the prime minister to help me, but no one ever responds,” he says while showing the copies of the letters he has sent, which include simple demands. “All I want from the government is to give me a pension at least from the Railways if nothing else. They keep announcing housing schemes for the poor … can’t I get a house to live in too? I was a national hero for this country,” he says, more in hope than expectation.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 20th, 2012.

The Blochistan Imbroglio And Balkanization Of Pakistan

By: Javed Chaudhry

The US Congressional Committee on Foreign Affairs recently held a meeting showing concern on target killings and human rights violations in Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan. The disappearance of the ethnic Baloch appeared to be the main concern of the committee. It is not known if any one has reminded the committee members about the disappearance of Dr. Afia Siddiqi from Karachi several years ago as part of the war on terror. Under the pretext of the war on terror, it has been alleged that Pakistan’s military administration under Gen. Musharraf has arrested hundreds of Pakistani citizens and the where about of most of them is unknown to this day. Dr. Afia Siddiqi was discovered quite accidentally by a British journalist in a CIA run prison at Bagram Airbase near Kabul, Afghanistan. Dr. Afia Siddiqi is now serving a prison term of 84 years in the USA. No one knows how and why was she kidnapped from her home in Karachi and how she ended up in a CIA prison in Afghanistan. To this day there is no word on her small children – all this happened to serve the American war on terror which was forced on Pakistan in September 2001.

After killing well over a million innocent civilians in Iraq and thousands in Libya, all of a sudden, the Americans appear to have developed a special concern for the well being of the people of Balochistan. While the Americans are showing concern for the human rights violations in Balochistan, the CIA drones continue to kill innocent people in the Pakistani tribal area of Vazirestan under the pretext of eliminating Al-Qaeda. It is worth noting here that the CIA was adamant quite recently, for deploying drones in Quetta, the capital city of Balochistan. The American congressional committees appear to be quite immune to the Indian atrocities in Kashmir which has been going on for decades. Obviously, the US has no reason to take an interest in the plight of the Kashmiris because Kashmir offers no strategic or geo-political importance to the American imperial geo-political aspirations. Also, it does not suit the Americans to raise the question of human rights in Kashmir with India, their new best friend in South East Asia. Balochistan, on the other hand, being the Gateway to the Central Asia can offer several strategic benefits to the American stretegic plans in the region. The struggle to conquer and to control the route from Arabian Sea to the Caspian region, dubbed as the Great Game, has been played for over 150 years by the Russians and the British Empire, and now being played by the Americans.

In order to realize full benefit from Balochistan, it would be highly desirable for the US to carve the province out of Pakistan’s map and install a few local puppets as the leaders just as has been done in Pakistan, Afghanistan Iraq and Libya. Regarding Balochistan, the American imperial designs may be similar to what the British East India company adopted in mid 18th century in Bengal, the eastern province of India. Mir Jaffer, a local leader joined the British forces to defeat the legitimate local government in the battle of Plassy in 1757. It appears that there are several Baloch Sardars (Chieftains) willing to repeat the historical role of Mir Jaffar of Bengal. The only difference however, is that the game would be played according to the modern neo-colonial rules; whereby the battle of Plassy would be replaced by suitable resolutions by the US congress to be followed and ratified by the UN resolutions, just as it was done to invade Afghanistan and Libya.

Blochistan has about 43% of the total Pakistani land mass with a population of only 8 million, with a literacy rate of 16%. The total population of Pakistan is about 180 million. None of the Pakistani central governments since its inception in 1947 has dealt with the Bloch issues seriously and intelligently. The rebellious and radical elements have always existed in that province on the behest of various Sardars who did not wish to give up the primitive Sardari (tribal) system purely for selfish reasons.

The bad situation became worse when KGB, assisted byIndia, created BLA (Blochistan Liberation Army) in1980s during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. The KGB plan was to create a political and administrative diversion for Pakistan in order to diminish its capacity to provide covert help to the Afghan freedom fighters fighting against the Soviets. The creation of BLA did not help the Soviets in any meaningful way but it has turned out to be a long term political headache in Blochistan against the federation of Pakistan. Due to the mismanagement of the successive Pakistan governments, the radical elements have only multiplied during the last 30 years.

The Balochistan issue has taken a new turn on the international political chessboard under the American cross-hair since 9/11. Politically and economically, Pakistan has become for all practical purposes, a country occupied by the US since September 2001, when General Musharraf, the president of Pakistan agreed to become the US ally in the invasion of Afghanistan. Gen. Musharraf was only too happy to accept the US demands in order to legitimize his own rule which he had acquired by staging a military coup against a democratically elected government. The Bush–Musharraf relationship would soon run into difficulties as Gen. Musharraf was reluctant to go along with the Bush administration on matters of supporting large scale army operations in Pakistan’s tribal areas and allowing uncontrolled drone attacks.

After a few years into the invasion of Afghanistan, it became obvious that the real reason for the American invasion was not what was originally stated, the US had other, unstated geo-political plans for the region. A careful study of the US military actions taken in various countries after 9/11 clearly indicates its imperial plans to control the natural resources and the strategic routes to access the energy-rich regions. The invasion of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya are open proofs for that while the attack on Iran is in the offing. The American invasion of Afghanistan took place under the false pretext of bringing justice to Osama bin Laden and to eliminate Al-Qaeda. According to a BBC [1] documentary, Al-Qaeda is an illusive and controversial entity, the existence of which is hard to apprehend, generally considered to be nothing more than an imaginary entity invented by the CIA.

The US wants to establish permanent military bases in Afghanistan and a direct unimpeded rout from Arabian Sea, through Balochistan and Afghanistan into Central Asia, an important source for oil and gas for the future. In order to achieve this, it is necessary to see an economically weak and politically destabilized Pakistan that would be willing to give up Balochistan or at least barter away the natural gas and mineral rights of Balochistan to offset IMF debts. That is exactly what the editor of Indian Defense Review [2] has wished for, a destabilized Pakistan. Pakistan, under a heavy debt load is steadily moving to that dreadful consequence. To this end, the Bush administration sponsored the regime change in Pakistan in order to replace Gen. Musharraf with a team that would be lot more compliant to the American wishes than Gen. Musharraf could ever be. A regime that would serve the American interests wholeheartedly compromising Pakistan’s national interests at all costs rendering Pakistan a hopelessly debt ridden state ready to fall apart.

The Regime Change in Pakistan

The regime change negotiations were initiated in 2007. In 2008, the new regime under the presidency of Asif Ali Zardari took over from Gen. Musharraf. The details of the regime change are described in a recently published book by Rice [3]. The US supported government under president Zardari has obediently used Pakistan’s military resources against its own people in Vaziristan and (according to WikiLeaks) has allowed the CIA to carry out drone attacks with impunity. Under the pretext of the American war on terror, the Zardari government has made the American war Pakistan’s own. This action had no strategic impact on the US-NATO forces fighting in Afghanistan but has proved to be extremely disruptive for Pakistan’s social life and has decimated its economy. Quite predictably, it has created numerous radical elements from Vaziristan to Balochistan, causing Pakistan’s destabilization leading to a breakdown of law and order and creating a state of anarchy. The conditions are rapidly moving towards supporting a civil war leading to a possible Balkanization of Pakistan with emphasis on carving Balochistan out of Pakistan’s map.

Pakistan’s debt at the beginning of the present US supported Zardari regime was just over 6000 billion rupees, now after just 4 years it has reached 12000 billion and rising steadily. While serving the American interests in the region, Pakistan has lost ten times more of its own hard earned money and assets, only to receive a chicken-feed of a financial help from the US. As a result of Pakistan’s participation in the American fraudulent war on terror, over 30 000 Pakistani’s have lost their lives due to either the CIA drone attacks or the hundreds of terror attacks that have taken place in the country ever since the US has set foot in the region and coerced Pakistan to call the American war its own.

A brief review of Balochistan history under the British Empire

The partial destabilization in the country has provided ample opportunity for foreign powers to fund and arm BLA and hoards of other mercenaries are busy in ethnic cleansing and terrorism. Balochistan’s population includes the people of various ethnic backgrounds where Baloch (including Bruhis) make about 55% while there are 30% Pashtoons and 6% Sindhis, among others.

A brief review of the history of Blochistan since the last half of the 19th century would be desirable to shed some light on the claims being made by various Bloch Sardars (tribal leaders or chieftains). The British forces in India started its aggressive military activities in the region that lies west of River Sind in order to control Afghanistan against the Russian interests – the well known political struggle popularly known as ‘The Great Game’. For these activities, British forces needed a safe and trouble free enclave in Balochistan from which to launch their offensives against Afghanistan. Blochistan was divided into several small districts under various feudal Sardars (Chieftains) and warlords constantly fighting against each other to expand their territories. The British Indian Empire made contacts with Balochistan for the first time in 1839. The district of Kalat was chosen for this purpose due to its geographical location for being close to Quetta, on route to Kandahar, Afghanistan. The ruler of Kalat, Mehrab Khan refused to accommodate the British interests. British forces invaded Kalat and killed Mehrab Khan. A permanent political agent was posted in Kalat in 1854. In 1874, the British Indian government sent Sir Robert Sandeman [4] to Balochistan and a treaty with Khudadad, Khan of Kalat took place in 1876, bringing Kalat under British sovereignty. By 1887, all territories in Balochistan were declared to be under British control. In order to settle troubles between various sradars (chieftains) and the Khan of Kalat, in 1940, the territories of Kharan, Makran and Lasbela were recognized as separate minor states under the direct control of the British Political Agent [5].

Since the creation of Pakistan in 1947, the preposterous claims made by some Bloch chieftains to declare the province of Blochistan a separate state, pretending to be independent of and unaffected by the 1947 charter of is the result of inapt handling of Pakistan’s successive central governments. The division (of Indian subcontinent) was on the religious basis and not on ethnic lines. The territories under the British Indian Empire were supposed to be transferred to the states of Pakistan and India, except a few princely states, such as Kashmir, Hyderabad and Gawaliar, which were given a choice to remain independent or merge with the two newly created States.

Balkanization of Pakistan

Today, the American imperial interests are no different from the British Indian Empire of 19th and 20th century. The Great Game is being rejuvenated with ever more vigor and vitality. In September 2001, the Bush administration had obtained the UN Security Counsel sanction to attack Afghanistan without providing a proof that Osama bin Laden, Al-Qaeda or Afghanistan had any involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Pakistan was coerced to join in the so called American war on terror. Pakistan army operations in its tribal area and the CIA drone attacks have created radical elements responsible for wide spread terrorism in Pakistan. Osama bin Laden is dead and as far as the existence and operation of Al-Qaeda is concerned, this illusive organization magically appears in the news only when required by the American strategic interests. The big question now is what exactly is the US doing in Afghanistan? What can it achieve now that it could not in the last 10 years? The only logical answer is that the US is testing the Afghan Taliban’s patience and hoping they would allow the US to build and maintain several permanent military bases in Afghanistan to stay close to the Central Asia and defend the pipeline proposed by UNOCAL 12 years ago; the primary reason for the invasion of Afghanistan after the US negotiations broke down with the Taliban prior to the incident of 9/11.

Apart from controlling the Afghan territory, the US may also be interested in Pakistan’s political destabilization leading to total anarchy and pandemonium creating an atmosphere ready for dismemberment of various provinces, especially Balochistan. With the American military bases in Afghanistan, a direct American control of Balochistan would be highly desirable to advance their plans for the global hegemony. This explains the reason for covert funding to several separatist Baloch Sardars (chieftains), the existence of numerous Baloch separatists websites and propaganda centers in several western cities, including London, New York and Toronto.

Furthermore, it would be helpful for the US to make a case to remove Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, if the country becomes a weak, destabilized and bankrupt state. Under the leadership of the American sponsored Pakistan’s central government, the country and its institutions are being destroyed systematically. No positive step is being taken to control the turmoil and disorder that has been raging in Balochistan, Karachi and several other cities.

In the recent US congressional committee hearing on foreign affairs, Dr. M. Hosseinbor, a Baloch nationalist as a witness at the hearing [6] told the committee that the Baloch were natural US allies and would like to share the Gwadar Port with the United States, would not allow the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline through their lands and will fight the Taliban as well. Naturally, he parroted what the Americans would like to hear. It is these kinds of people with short term plans and myopic thinking who once lost the whole of Indian subcontinent to the British traders, the British East India Company. There is evidence [7] that the Indian intelligence agency RAW is funding and training saboteur in Balochistan from their various consulates in Afghanistan.

There are only a handful of Baloch Sardars (chieftains) who are demanding for separation. A very large percentage of Balochistan population is illiterate and traditionally follow their tribal chieftains. The Pashtoons and others who make up 45% of Balochistan’s population do not support the separation movement.

In Balochistan, the anarchy is escalating to a level that once existed in East Pakistan just before it broke away to become Bangladesh. Once again the Punjabi Army is being blamed for the troubles brewing in Balochistan. It should be interesting to note that the size of Pakistan armed forces is about 550,000 personnel. The number of Punjabis in the armed forces is 56% of the total while the population of Punjabi speaking people in Pakistan is about 65%-70%.

General Kyani, the chief of army staff has categorically denied any army operations taking place in Balochistan. There are several organized militant groups operating [8] in Balochistan creating the turmoil, such as: Balochistan Liberation Army, Baloch Republican Army and Balochistan Liberation Front.

Inferences and Way Forward

It is important to recognize that crisis arising from religious or ethnic disparities cannot be resolved by force. Structured dialog in good faith is a pre-requisite to negotiate through differences with honor and fairness. The rebel Baloch Sardars should be invited for negotiations or legal actions should be taken if they continue to disrupt life in Balochistan and elsewhere.

It is important to bear in mind that the Baloch make hardly 3% of the total population of Pakistan. They cannot be allowed to blackmail the 97% of the total population in their secessionist movement at gun-point in an attempt to carve out 43% of the total Pakistan land mass. It is nevertheless, important to pay attention to their grievances and reasonable demands; they should be dealt with fairness as any other segment of Pakistan’s population in any other province. There are no parallels between Balochistan and East Pakistan.

In order to create local disturbance, some Baloch Sardars are attempting to close down the Chamlang coal mines to make 75000 workers unemployed. All such efforts must be opposed strongly by the central government.

For Pakistan’s own peace and stability, it must distance itself from the American fraudulent war on terror and declare it’s neutrality in the US invasion of Afghanistan. The participation in this war has cost Pakistan much too much for its economy and has created social, ethnic and provincial strife.

Pakistan should open the American container traffic through its territory, but must charge a tariff for the use of the facility.

Pakistan must stop the CIA drone attacks in Vazeristan or anywhere on its territory. It is high time for Pakistanis to take appropriate action against the government or all those individuals who compromise Pakistan’s national interests.

Industrial projects, especially the mining of natural resources and exploration test drilling for oil must be started in Balochistan offering first priority for employment and contract work to the people of the province. Appropriate changes must be introduced in the constitution of Pakistan to recognize the federation as the owner of all the natural resources with a right to delegate the management of the resource to the province of the origin where appropriate. The overall national federation income must be distributed among all the provinces with full equity and fairness.

Pakistan must get rid of the rental power plants and immediately try to procure cheaper electricity from wherever possible. The country has got to put its people back to work which was interrupted by the American war and the related consequences.

The recently held US congressional committee hearing on Balochistan should leave no doubt for speculation that severing Balochistan from Pakistan would be a desirable step for the US imperial design in support of The Great Game.

References:

1. BBC Documentary –
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-hYorNi0nA&feature=related

2. Indian Defense Review, Sept 11, 2008
http://www.indiandefencereview.com/2008/09/stable-pakistan-not-in-indias-interest.html

3. Rice, Condoleezza, No Higher Honor: A Memoir of My Years in
Washington, Crown Publishers, New York. 2011

4. Tucker, A. L. P; Sir Robert G. Sandeman – Peaceful Conqueror of Baluchistan; Society For Promoting Christian Knowledge, London. 1921

5. http://www.britishempire.co.uk/maproom/baluchistan.htm

6. Opinion Maker.Org
http://www.opinion-maker.org/2012/02/stunt-hearing-on-balochistan/
7. Pakistan Daily, Sept 20, 2009
http://www.daily.pk/proof-captured-ttp-terrorists-admit-to-being-indian-raw-agents-11015/

8. The News, August 26, 2011.
http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=64747&Cat=2 

*NOTE:THIS IS A CROSS POST FROM COUNTERCURRENTS.ORG

After East Pakistan, another global conspiracy in the offing in Balochistan

Asif Haroon Raja
As a consequence of Pakistan movement waged by the All India Muslim Leaguers under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah getting abundantly ripened and the Muslims of India fully determined to create an independent homeland for themselves, the Congress leaders in collusion with British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten were equally determined  to shatter their dreams. Notwithstanding their conspiracies and unending obstacles together with inducements to prevent vivisection of India, Pakistan came into being on 14 August 1947. Although partition plan worked out by the British was prepared in consultation with both sides and their agreement was obtained before announcing it on 3 June 1947, Congress leaders never reconciled with the plan of vivisecting India. Instead of helping Pakistan to stand on its own feet since it had to build up the nation from the scratch, Indian leaders kept scheming to garrote Pakistan to death in its infancy.
India’s wiliest act was usurpation of princely state of Kashmir, which being heavily Muslim populated and contagious to Pakistan should automatically have become part of Pakistan. It forcibly usurped it in October 1947 and imposed a war on Pakistan which was deeply enmeshed in its settling down process. Considering the evil and hostile designs of India-British combine, not only creation of Pakistan was a 20th century miracle, its survival was also a miracle.
When all its schemes failed to force Pakistan to get reabsorbed into Indian Union, Indian agencies were tasked to keep Pakistan in perpetually destabilized state so that its growth and integration process could be impeded. To this end, East Pakistan was selected as the first target for subversion and eventual amalgamation so as to defeat Two-Nation Theory and undo Pakistan. The reason for selecting the eastern province was that it was placed 1000 miles away from the western wing with hostile Indian Territory in between and no land corridor to link the two provinces. East Pakistan was surrounded by India from three sides and the sea from fourth side, which was dominated by Indian Navy. Culturally, it was more affiliated with Hindu dominated West Bengal than with West Pakistan. Eating habits, dress, language, customs and culture of Bengalis were different from the people of Punjab, NWFP, Balochistan, Sindh and other regions of West Pakistan.
At the time of partition, East Bengal was among the poorest provinces of united India since it had been thoroughly plundered by the British and Hindus since 1757. The duo claiming to be natural allies had reduced the Muslim landed gentry and the nobles of Bengal to serfs. It was because of their inhuman treatment that the Muslim Bengalis were in the forefront in Pakistan movement. Division of Bengal and detachment of Calcutta further depleted East Bengal’s economic strength. Its extreme poverty and slow rate of development was exploited by Indian psychological operators and influential Hindus residing in East Pakistan who controlled 80% national wealth of East Bengal.
The blame was put on West Pakistan political leaders and officials. Since 90% of teachers and professors in schools, colleges and universities were Hindus, and textbooks were printed in Bengali language in Calcutta by Hindu academicians, it became that much easier to brainwash the Bengali youth and poison their minds that West Pakistanis were solely responsible for their miseries.  It was drilled into their impressionable minds that West Pakistan despite being less populated than East Pakistan was ruling and prospering at its cost.
They were kept in the dark about the inglorious role of the Hindus and the British during the British rule, or that between 1947-1958, Khwaja Nazimuddin, Muhammad Ali Bogra, HS Suhrawardy were Bengali PMs, President Iskandar Mirza was from Bengal and all the chief ministers and governors of East Bengal (except Lt Gen Azam Khan who was very popular among Bengalis) were Bengalis. They did very little for the development of East Pakistan. Field Marshal Ayub Khan was the only leader in united Pakistan who went out of the way to address the east-west inequities by allocating huge budgets for development works. But for the 1965 Indo-Pak war and curtailment of the US economic aid which seriously impaired the third five-year development program (1965-70), he could have corrected the imbalance.
His ten-year rule is even now referred to as the golden period of Pakistan since it saw all-round progress in Pakistan, seen as a model country among the developing world. However, all his good work was drowned under the din of negative propaganda by Sheikh Mujib who was involved in Agartala conspiracy to break away from Pakistan. Indian media helped him in becoming a hero of Bengalis. He came out with his notorious six-point program, authored by Indian experts which amounted to secession. From 1968 onwards, he kept spreading hatred against West Pakistanis and inflaming Bengali nationalism.
Politicians in West Pakistan instead of countering his vile propaganda and combating his separatist tendencies through political means further spoiled the situation by ganging up with Mujib. In this, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto played the lead role in fanning passions in West Pakistan against the military ruler who had been his mentor and had made him his foreign minister. Spurred by his ambition to capture power, Bhutto opted to resign and establish his own political party in 1967. As a result of nationwide movement spearheaded by students, when the beleaguered military dictator agreed to accept all the demands of the opposition including elections, Bhutto and Mujib failed the All Round Conference. Former wanted his immediate resignation and Mujib wanted implementation of his six-points. Ayub resigned as a heart broken man and handed over power to his C-in-C Gen Yahya Khan in March 1971.
Yahya adopted a policy of appeasement of politicians particularly Mujib and dispensed with One-Unit scheme and one-man-one vote formula. He went a step ahead in redressing the grievances of Bengalis and further increased the annual budget for the eastern wing. Cadet College was opened in East Pakistan and ISSB standards lowered for Bengalis to enable them to get qualified for armed forces. Several East Bengal Regiments comprising 100% Bengalis were raised. He held free and fair general elections in end 1970 on the basis of adult franchise, which enabled Mujib led Awami League in eastern wing and Bhutto led PPP in western wing to emerge victorious. Election results sparked a deadly power struggle between Mujib and Bhutto, former demanding the whole cake and the latter wanting half of it. The fight between the two demagogues became so vicious that Yahya became a helpless onlooker. Not knowing how to break the political impasse, misled by wily Bhutto he foolishly postponed the inaugural session of Constituent Assembly scheduled in Dacca on 3 March 1971. By then, RAW ha fully consolidated its position in the province and was in a position to dictate to Mujib. Sheikh Mujib and his henchmen became India’s lackeys to implement Indian agenda.
Yahya’s fatal decision triggered the storm which resulted in mass killings of non-Bengalis and Biharis at the hands of extremist Bengalis.  Both Mujib and Bhutto motivated by their greed for power were guided by India and USA respectively to keep the political situation on the boil and not to show any flexibility whatsoever. When all political avenues for a compromise solution were exhausted and Mujib remained inflexible, a military operation was launched on 25 March in an effort to stop the bloodshed and to save the federation from breaking apart. Though it proved to be the beginning of breakup of united Pakistan, Bhutto hailed it. Within two months the Indian aided insurgency was controlled and order restored, but India under hawkish Indra Gandhi had made up its mind not to let this chance of the century to slip by and continued adding fuel to fire by supporting the civil war. Killing of pro-government Bengalis and non-Bengalis continued unabatedly, while Pak Army was demonized and presented as butchers and rapists.
After exhausting under strength and ill-equipped three infantry divisions for nine-months through insurgency which was wholly planned and monitored by Indian Army and BSF, a massive offensive was launched by Indian forces on 21 November 1971 from three directions. Air and sea traffics had been blocked. Penetrations were made across the border at 23 points. After 3 December when war broke out on the western front, full air power was used to support ground operations. Despite enjoying all the strategic, operational, tactical, technical and diplomatic advantages, it took Indian forces over seven weeks to reach the outskirts of Dacca. It was a one-sided exercise since Indian Army knew each and every defensive locality down to every trench, minefield and the gaps between localities. Indian mechanized columns guided by Mukti Bahinis exploited the gaps and kept moving forward free of the element of fear of unknown.
Wherever the Indians got involved in pitched battles, they got irreversibly stuck. One such front was at Hilli in northwestern Bengal where my battalion 4FF was deployed and I was one of the company commanders with just five-year service. Indian 2nd Mountain Division with its integral tank regiment supported by an armed brigade, Division and Corps Artillery and air support kept banging its heads from 21 November onwards till 11 December but couldn’t gain even an inch. Whatever tactical gains made were promptly recovered by launching counter attacks. On occasions, offensives were launched to gain tactical edge over the adversary. Ultimately 4FF was ordered by the Brigade Commander Brig Tajamal Hussain, Hilal-e-Jurat, to withdraw to Bogra since the enemy forces had abandoned the Hilli-Ghoraghat-Bogra axis and had made a wide outflanking maneuver through Pirganj and was racing towards Bogra.
One of the company commanders of 4FF Major Muhammad Akram, who was martyred while fighting against extremely adverse odds at Raibagh on 5 December, was awarded Nishan-e-Haider for his outstanding performance. I took over the command of that Company and continued the fight despite being heavily outnumbered and outgunned. I also had the privilege of evacuating dead body of Major Akram lying well ahead of the main defences and shifting it to Bogra for burial.
Hilli was the hottest sector in East Pakistan where the battle raged for 19 days with full ferocity without a pause.  4FF popularly known as ‘Tunpur Bawanja’, and referred to as ‘crack battalion of Pakistan Army by Indian authors, lost its crème of officers, JCOS and men but added a glorious chapter in its proud history and also in Pakistan’s history.
This epic battle has been mentioned by all writers including Indian writers who have written books on 1971 war and have without exception paid rich tributes to 4FF. This battalion was full of fight even on 16 December and thought of surrender had never occurred in anyone’s mind. Like many, it was misled into believing that Eastern Command had ordered ceasefire and war was over. Alas! All the sacrifices of 4FF and so many other valiant units who fought till the end, as well as the lone PAF squadron, small contingent of Navy and Razaqars who remained loyal to the concept of united Pakistan till the very last went in vain. Mukti Bahini instigated by Indian military undertook wide scale slaughter of Biharis and pro-government Bengalis after each town was captured by Indian troops, while the latter took to plundering and raping.
When Pakistan was in the process of being fragmented into two, no country came to its rescue. While China was contained by Soviet Union by deploying its forces along Oxus River, the US 7th Fleet moved at a leisure speed with no intention of reaching the coastline of East Pakistan or exerting military pressure on India. The Muslim world became silent spectators. There is no denying the fact that a global conspiracy had been hatched to sever the eastern limb of Pakistan so as to make it independent or completely acquiescent to India. India who had masterminded the gory plan was aided by Soviet Union, Israel, Britain, USA, Afghanistan, Poland and Yugoslavia. All these countries provided arms to the rebels. Even the UN joined the bandwagon of aggressors to facilitate surrender of Pak military in East Pakistan and establishment of Bangladesh.
No amount of resistance by security forces could have saved the breakup since the endgame was foreordained. The dismemberment could be delayed by few weeks but couldn’t be prevented since the dice had been heavily loaded in favor of India. Therefore, to blame Gen Yahya or Lt Gen Niazi for the debacle will not be altogether true. Yahya came on the centre stage in the final phase of the drama when East Pakistan had been alienated as a result of faulty policies of our rulers since 1948 and excessive interference of India. Even in the final stage, but for deleterious role of politicians, the two wings might have remained united under the scheme of confederation.
After breaking Pakistan into two in December 1971, RAW started meddling into internal affairs of truncated Pakistan. In concert with KGB and KHAD, it started subverting the people in Balochistan and the trio actively supported Baloch insurgency which started in 1973 and ended in 1978. India got aligned with Soviet Union and Afghan regime in 1980 and the intelligence agencies of the three countries together with Al-Zulfiqar carried out intensive acts of sabotage and subversion against Pakistan till the defeat of USSR in 1989. RAW also got involved first in rural Sindh and later in urban Sindh in late 1980s with focus on port city of Karachi.
RAW has once again got deeply involved in Balochistan, FATA and Karachi. This time it is helped by USA, Britain, Israel, Germany and Afghanistan. Its nine years sustained efforts have resulted in transforming Baloch insurgency into a separatist movement. The rebellious Baloch Sardars and nationalist leaders initially voiced political and economic grievances and demanded provincial autonomy and greater share in mineral resources of the province. Once most of their demands were met and mega projects launched to address the inequities, they started demanding independence of Balochistan. Those demanding separation are not more than 3%, while the rest of Baloch people are highly patriotic. Thousands are joining the armed forces.
In FATA, TTP has been created which is aligned with Afghan Taliban and has an agenda of imposing Shariah in FATA. Since some militant groups in North and South Waziristan are pro-Pakistan and there are several pro-government tribal lashkars in existence, and also that none seek independence from Pakistan, hence the US and western world keep pricking Pakistan to kill more and more Pashtuns.
The stance of USA in Balochistan is quite the opposite. Here even slightest retaliatory action by the Frontier Constabulary and Frontier Corps is drummed up as violation of human rights. It is falsely claimed that the Army has undertaken a military operation and that intelligence agencies are involved in kidnappings of Baloch dissidents. On the pattern of Bengali rebellious groups trained in India in 1971, Baloch rebellious groups like BLA, BRA and BLF trained and equipped in Afghanistan are involved in sabotage activities.
The Baloch youth in schools and colleges particularly in Baloch dominated regions are being systematically brainwashed and their impressionable minds are being filled with hatred against central government in general and Punjab, Army and ISI in particular. They are told that despite their province being the largest and rich in resources, it is most under developed. Textbooks in Balochi are printed in Afghanistan under India’s arrangements. Pro-government Baloch, settlers and Hazaras are being steadily killed by target killers, while security convoys, check posts, railway lines, gas pipelines, electric grid stations, passenger trains and buses are attacked. Pattern is the same as was practiced in erstwhile East Pakistan. Recently, the US Congressmen held a special meeting in Washington and expressed their grave concern over the situation in Balochistan. After East Pakistan, another global conspiracy in Balochistan is in the offing. Are our leaders aware of it and are mentally and physically prepared to thwart the conspiracy, or they are too busy in plundering and saving their seat of power?                                          
The writer is a retired Brig who took part in the epic battle of Hilli in former East Pakistan in the 1971 war.

U.S. v. Pakistan on transparency and accountability

BY GLENN GREENWALD

Virtually without exception, the American judiciary has refused to allow any victims of America’s War on Terror abuses — whether foreign national or American citizen — to even have their claims heard in court. Federal courts have repeatedly shielded government officials from any accountability for these abuses, not by ruling in their favor on the merits, but by ruling that they need not answer for their actions at all. Courts have accomplished this whitewashing by accepting the Bush and Obama DOJ’s arguments that government actions undertaken as part of the War on Terror are completely shielded from judicial review — i.e., from the rule of law — by both secrecy doctrines (it’s too secret to risk having a court examine) and immunity prerogatives (government officials cannot be sued even for egregious wrongdoing committed while in office). Here are just a few illustrative examples:

Findlaw, November 19, 2007 – U.S. court bars judicial challenge to warrantless eavesdropping brought by victims:

Last week, in Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, Inc. v. Bush, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that the “state secrets privilege” forbids plaintiffs from going forward with their challenge to the National Security Agency’s (“NSA’s”) warrantless wiretapping program. In order to make their case, the court ruled, the plaintiffs would have to rely on evidence that would compromise national security.

New York Times, September 8, 2010 – U.S. court bars judicial challenge to torture program brought by victims:

A federal appeals court on Wednesday ruled that former prisoners of the C.I.A. could not sue over their alleged torture in overseas prisons because such a lawsuit might expose secret government information. The sharply divided ruling was a major victory for the Obama administration’s efforts to advance a sweeping view of executive secrecy powers. . . .

In April 2009, a three-judge panel on the Ninth Circuit adopted the narrower view, ruling that the lawsuit as a whole should proceed. But the Obama administration appealed to the full San Francisco-based appeals court. A group of 11 of its judges reheard the case, and a narrow majority endorsed the broader view of executive secrecy powers. They concluded that the lawsuit must be dismissed without a trial — even one that would seek to rely only on public information.

David Cole, New York Review of Books, June 15, 2010 – U.S. court bars judicial challenge to rendition program brought by victim:

On Monday, June 14, the Supreme Court declined to hear Maher Arar’s case, conclusively shutting the door on the Canadian citizen’s effort to obtain redress from US officials who stopped him in September 2002 while he was changing planes on his way home to Canada and shipped him instead to Syria, where he was tortured and imprisoned without charges for nearly a year. In so ruling, the Court refused to reconsider the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, sitting en banc, which had ruled in November 2009 that Arar’s case raised too many sensitive issues of national security and confidential information to permit its adjudication in a court of law. . . .

[W]hen we filed suit in 2004 to seek damages from the US officials directly responsible for the decision to send Arar to his torturers, lawyers for the Bush administration argued that even assuming that federal officials had intentionally delivered Arar to Syria to be tortured, and blocked him from seeking court protection while he was in their custody, they could not be held liable for his injuries on the grounds that the case implicated secret communications and national security concerns not appropriate for court resolution. Regrettably, the courts agreed with the Bush administration position—and so has Obama’s Department of Justice.

New York Times, December 7, 2010 – U.S. court bars judicial challenge to targeted assassinations of citizens:

A federal judge on Tuesday threw out a lawsuit that had sought to block the American government from trying to kill Anwar al-Awlaki, a United States citizen and Muslim cleric in hiding overseas who is accused of helping to plan attacks by Al Qaeda’s branch in Yemen. The ruling, which clears the way for the Obama administration to continue to try to kill Mr. Awlaki, represents a victory in its efforts to shield from judicial review so-called targeted killings, one of its most striking counterterrorism policies. . . .

“If the court’s ruling is correct, the government has unreviewable authority to carry out the targeted killing of any American, anywhere, whom the president deems to be a threat to the nation,” [the ACLU’s Jameel] Jaffer said. “It would be difficult to conceive of a proposition more inconsistent with the Constitution, or more dangerous to American liberty.”

AP, January 23, 2012 – U.S. court bars judicial challenge to due-process-free imprisonment of citizens:

A federal appeals panel on Monday turned away efforts by a U.S. citizen who was detained for nearly four years as an “enemy combatant.” Jose Padilla’s efforts to reinstate a lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other government officials were rejected by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond.

Padilla contended that he’s entitled to sue because the government deprived him of other ways to seek remedies for his treatment. The appeals panel affirmed a federal judge’s dismissal of Padilla’s lawsuit, ruling that Congress, not the court system, has jurisdiction over military detention cases and that Congress has not explicitly provided a remedy for civil damages.

But consider the extraordinary — and now distinctly un-American — event that just happened in Pakistan, from CNN, today:

Seven men detained by Pakistan’s spy agency, the ISI, appeared in court Monday in a landmark case that places one of the nation’s most powerful institutions under the scrutiny of its highest court.

The men — who appeared to be in pain and poor health — hobbled into the courthouse, surrounded by dozens of armed police officers and family members. . .

Pakistan’s Supreme Court ordered the government to give each detainee a medical exam and report the results in four days. The court also ordered the spy agency to produce all documents related to the detention of the men by the first week of March. . . . 

The ISI has also been ordered to explain the deaths of four other detainees. . . .

The Supreme Court case breaks new ground in that the ISI has long been thought untouchable. Legal proceedings in the nation’s highest civilian court could expose the inner workings of the secretive agency like never before.

Few people have ever challenged the ISI, Pakistan’s most feared and shadowy institution. The spy agency has been accused of backing and toppling politicians, using militant groups as proxies and backing extrajudicial killings.

The ISI has denied the accusations, but no one from the agency ever speaks publicly on camera and no one from the ISI has ever been put on trial.

One constantly hears in American political discourse that Pakistan is so terribly un-democratic because the shadowy, omnipotent ISI functions with no accountability or transparency. Yet here they are being ordered by that nation’s highest court to account for serious detainee abuse (this, despite the fact that Pakistan’s problems with Terrorism are, at the very least, as pressing as those faced by the U.S.). Yet this type of accountability just brought to Pakistan’s intelligence service is simply inconceivable in the United States. It is virtually impossible to imagine the U.S. Supreme Court ordering the CIA to disclose documents about its treatment of detainees or, even more unrealistically, to permit the victims of CIA abuse to have their grievances heard in court. Anyone who doubts that can simply review the past decade of full-scale immunity bestowed by the Justice Department and subservient American federal courts on all executive agencies in the War on Terror. We should think about that the next time some American pundit, politician, or media figure righteously holds forth on how undemocratic and oppressive is Pakistan as opposed to the U.S.

 

UPDATE: Speaking of American justice and Pakistan, Eric Lewis has an Op-Ed in today’s New York Times – under the headline: “Britain Shouldn’t Aid A Lawless America” — detailing the plight of two Pakistani rice merchants who were detained by British forces in Iraq 2004 when they were on a business trip to Iran, then turned over to the U.S. and shipped to Bagram, where they have been held for the last seven years without charges of any kind. Since then, the two nations have played a shell game as the men’s relatives try to secure their release, with the British government insisting to British courts that they can do nothing because they’re in American custody, while the American government argues to its courts (thus far successfully) that the men have no legal rights because they are being held “in a war zone” (which they were taken to by the U.S.). For an appreciation of the lowly depths to which American justice has sunk, that Op-Ed is worth reading.

NOTE:THIS IS A CROSS POST FROM SALON.COM

Kashmir And Kashmiri a Reality

By Kalbe Ali

“There is no such thing as a Palestinian people… It is not as if we  came and threw them out and took their country. They didn’t exist.”  Golda Meir, statement to The Sunday Times, 15 June, 1969, soon after becoming the prime minister of Israel.  Golda Meir also known as the ‘Iron Lady’ of Israeli politics, was elected Prime Minister of Israel on March 17, 1969, after serving as  Minister of Labour and Foreign Minister. She was Israel’s first and  the world’s third woman to hold the office of prime minister.

Another prime minister of Israel Menachem Begin who like Golda Meir  belonged to the generation who had played a key role in creating  Israel said “[The Palestinians] are beasts walking on two legs.”

These insulting remarks were made by the Israeli Prime Minister  Menachem Begin, in a speech to the Knesset, (Israeli parliament) in  June 25, 1982. With all this mindset and the government of Israel sat down to  negotiate with the Palestinians in 1990- and that too after the first  Gulf War when the US had became sole super power of the world.  The Palestinian issue along with the Kashmir dispute are two of the  most serious challenge faced by the Muslim world, and if we talk of  Israel first.

The leader of the Palestine Liberation Organisation (PLO) Yasser  Arafat has been considered a long time enemy and always branded as a  terrorist by Israel he was acknowledged as a leader, in 1993. Yasser Arafat and Yitzhak Rabin, Israeli PM, signed an Accord for  moving ahead for establishing a separate state for the Palestinians in September 13, 1993 at a Washington ceremony hosted by US President  Bill Clinton.

The conditions from 1969 to 1993 forced Israel to change its stance by  180 degree, similarly now India despite all effort has failed to contain the Kashmir issue as a lost case. It has to be acknowledged that the fate of nations is not necessarily decided within a period of decades and the struggle for resolution of issues including attaining the rights can even linger for generations.

February 5 the day of solidarity with Kashmiris being observed on Sunday, if not much will achieve done thing.

Almost every newspaper reading person will know that there is  something in Kashmir – this too is a success against the Indian  efforts over decades telling the world and its own people that Kashmir is part of India.

The Kashmir dispute also a reminder for more than one billion  residents of South Asia that right causes cannot be put away in files  to ort under the dust. The main issue impeding the real growth and prosperity in South Asia  is the Kashmir dispute which relates with three parties – Pakistan,  India and the Kashmiris themselves.

As long as this issue is not resolved there cannot be cordial  relations between among all the counties of the South Asia mainly due  to political tension arising out of mistrust.  Just another look at history to signify the importance of February 5, one can understand that there is nothing like smooth sailing for India too.

The world has seen that Britain had to acknowledge the rights of  Ireland and Scotland in late middle ages and among the most  influential states – Israel had to yield in wake of strong resistance at the hands of people who were barely surviving under the suppressive policies.

The importance of February 5 is – On 1 January 1948, India formally referred the case of Pakistani aggression in Kashmir to the United Nations Security Council under Article 35 of the UN Charter.

On 5 February 1948, the UN resolution interalia called for an  immediate ceasefire and a plebiscite to decide the future of the state.

On 13 August 1948, the UN adopted another resolution interalia calling  for (1) a ceasefire, (2) Pakistan to withdraw the tribals and to put its troops under the command of local civilian authorities, (3) India  to withdraw bulk of its troops, (4) the UN observers to supervise the  ceasefire and (5) the holding of the plebiscite.

The resolution was followed up on 11 December 1948 with the appointment of a plebiscite administrator, and on 5 January, 1949, the two earlier resolutions were amalgamated into a single resolution that reiterated the earlier proposals.

The day February 5 calls upon the world body and the regional powers  that millions of Kashmiris were still waiting for UN plebiscite administrators to complete their job.

The vast majority of those who are observing Solidarity Day with Kashmir this year were born in post independence era and majority of Kashmiris did not even witness the atrocities faced by the masses at the hands of Dogra forces prior to independence, but still the message continues.

The Kashmir issue is alive even after 64 years and the history of other nations who have faced oppression at the hand of larger and stronger government than India – is a food for thought that Kashmir issue cannot left unattended for long.

Kalbe Ali is an analyst and regular writer in The Dawn

US steps outside the law as the war on terror drones on

Editor’s Note Threatened, raped, barelegged, Pakistan still suffers drone attacks by NATO forces. Acording to Michael De Dora drones violate domestic law, international law,kills civilians :  http://rationallyspeaking.blogspot.com/2011/09/ethics-of-drone-warfare.html Read also the pressures brought on Pakistan on Dave Llindorff’s superb blog: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/657

By : Justin Randle

(Originally published by National Times http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/us-steps-outside-the-law-as-the-war-on-terror-drones-on-20120123-1qdsu.html

The use of unmanned aircraft belies America’s rhetoric about its values.

The CIA recently launched its first drone attack of 2012. Three people in North Waziristan were killed. If you haven’t yet heard of these Terminator-style US drones, it is likely you will soon. Their usage in surveillance, modern warfare and covert ”counter-terrorism” measures is rapidly expanding.

Drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, are the new face of the war on terror and the latest attempt by the United States to circumvent international law in pursuit of its alleged enemies. After failing to fulfil his promise to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, President Barack Obama spent New Year’s Eve signing the National Defense Authorisation Act (NDAA). The NDAA codifies the indefinite detention, without trial, of US citizens. The third part of this trinity is the increase in a multi-agency network of drones carrying out secret extrajudicial assassinations of suspected militants. In his inauguration speech, Obama said: ”As for our common defence, we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals.” Yet these policies enshrine just such a false dichotomy.


Equipped with Hellfire missiles, Predator drones operate mainly in north-west Pakistan. New America Foundation has attempted to map the strikes, which have hugely escalated under Obama’s presidency. Between 2004 and 2011, the foundation conservatively estimates 1717 deaths have resulted from drone strikes in Pakistan. It also estimates a 32 per cent civilian death rate.

New York Times reporter David Rohde, who was kidnapped and held in Pakistan for seven months, referred to the drones as a ”terrifying presence”. Pashtun tribal elders have also spoken of the ongoing drone presence and living with the constant fear of death.

At a meeting held in Waziristan, organised by the UK legal charity Reprieve, locals were encouraged to accumulate photographic evidence of the damage these strikes cause. Tariq Aziz, a 16-year-old boy, offered to collect this information if it would help protect his family. Within 72 hours the car he was travelling in was blown up by a drone.

American officials have reportedly praised the precision of the drone attacks. According to The Guardian, ”the CIA does not comment on drones, but privately claims civilian casualties are rare”. Was Tariq Aziz a militant? Was his 12-year-old cousin – also killed – a militant? Was he involved in plotting attacks that may have jeopardised American lives? Here is the problem: amid official secrecy and in the absence of an allegation tried, tested and proven or disproven in an independent and transparent court, we can only guess. If Guantanamo and the NDAA represent an assault on the right to due process, drones dispense with the principle entirely.

The situation in Waziristan is further compounded by the absence of journalists who can refute claims that innocent people are killed or independently investigate them.

The targets of drones are not only ”unpeople” – people whose rights and lives are deemed expendable in the pursuit of foreign policy objectives. In September 2011, US citizen and radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki was extrajudicially assassinated in a US drone strike in Yemen. Two weeks later, his 16-year-old son was also killed in a drone strike. That the US government is practising a policy of death penalty without trial for US citizens should be alarming for both progressives and conservatives.

Howard Koh, the State Department’s top legal adviser, has stated drone strikes ”comply with all applicable law, including the laws of war”. But one can argue anything is legal if a ”self-defence” or ”for security reasons” is placed in front of it. That doesn’t necessarily make it just, right or wise.

Drone strikes rely on fallible intelligence from local informants, which leads to errors. The price is innocent people’s lives. It also sets a dangerous international precedent – that the secret extrajudicial execution by one country, to kill people in another country, with minimal oversight and no judicial process, is acceptable. This is the policy being carried out by drones.

At a very basic level, it is difficult to gauge whether the policy actually works. Supporters claim the policy has successfully disrupted terrorist networks. Yet suicide attacks in Pakistan and violence in Afghanistan and Iraq have often intensified following the drone deaths of senior al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives.

According to various sources, Taliban leader Hakimullah Mehsud has been killed multiple times, exposing both the imprecise nature of the policy and the prevalence of misinformation.

Drone strikes also fuel anti-American sentiment. Waziristan native Noor Behram has stated that typically after a drone strike the view is: ”America is killing us inside our own country, inside our own homes, and only because we are Muslims … hatred builds up.” As such, it is no surprise that the former director of US National Intelligence, Dennis Blair, has criticised the policy, saying: ”Drone strikes are no longer the most effective strategy for eliminating al-Qaeda’s ability to attack us.”

But any debate regarding merits, costs and legitimacy is obscured by the secrecy within which it is conducted. In the absence of information, the people in whose names these actions are committed are denied the opportunity to make an informed judgment. But perhaps that is the point.

Justin Randle is a former ministerial adviser working in public policy.

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/us-steps-outside-the-law-as-the-war-on-terror-drones-on-20120123-1qdsu.html#ixzz1l5vFrpYp