Monthly Archives: April 2013

Revealed: CIA’s Deadly Drone War in Pakistan Began With Shady Blood-Soaked Deal

By Alex Kane

The U.S. assassinated a Pakistani tribal leader in exchange for airspace to conduct strikes on America’s own targets.

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The exact specifics of how America’s global drone war began has long been shrouded in secrecy. But a New York Times article published over the weekend revealing how the Central Intelligence Agency gained Pakistan’s assent to drone strikes begins to chip away at that lack of transparency.

The New York Times’ Mark Mazzetti reveals that the U.S. carried out an assassination of a Pakistani tribal leader in exchange for the use of airspace to conduct strikes on America’s own targets. The article was excerpted by Mazzetti’s forthcoming book titledThe Way of the Knife: The C.I.A., a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.

The drone killing, which took place in 2004, targeted Nek Muhammed, a key player in an armed fight by his tribe against Pakistan’s government. While Muhammed was thought to be more Pakistan’s problem, the U.S. killed him by drone anyway, opening the way for a nine-year campaign of drone strikes throughout Pakistan’s ungoverned tribal areas.

The strike on Muhammed also killed two boys–an early indication of the civilian cost America’s drone assassination program would impose on Pakistan. But the Pakistani government took responsibility for the strike. And the C.I.A., under no obligation to disclose its activities, was just fine with that lie.

The killing of Muhammed paved the way for the expansion of the C.I.A.’s unaccountable drone war on Pakistan. Mazzetti describes the details of the deal: “Pakistani intelligence officials insisted that they be allowed to approve each drone strike, giving them tight control over the list of targets. And they insisted that drones fly only in narrow parts of the tribal areas — ensuring that they would not venture where Islamabad did not want the Americans going.”

This specific assassination was the immediate catalyst for the C.I.A.’s drone campaign. But a more long-term reason fueling the rise of drones was unease about the C.I.A.’s torture program. In the years following the September 11 attacks, the agency embarked on a global program of capturing and torturing alleged terrorist suspects. A report authored by a C.I.A. official concluded that the agency was violating international law and that officers might face criminal prosecution. The report signaled an alarm that resulted in a reduction of the amount of suspects who were detained by the agency. So the intelligence agency switched to targeted killings rather than capturing people–a hallmark of the Obama era.

The switch to drone warfare was carried out by an agency previously “ambivalent” to those new tools of war, according to Mazzetti. But the C.I.A. has now made the shift, transforming an agency “that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization.”

 Alex Kane is AlterNet’s New York-based World editor, and an assistant editor forMondoweiss.

Pakistan has become a playground for foreign countries

This is a Pakpotpourri Exclusive


Waheed Hamid

The increased diplomatic activity in Pakistan with closing of election schedule is not a silent issue any more. Islamabad, Karachi and  Lahore have become hub of undiplomatic activities of the Diplomats. After meetings of diplomats  with the politicians the surfacing of  promises in quite circles of media about  give and take between both have raised suspicions on patriotism of politicians. There are reports of direct involvement of embassy staff for influencing the political future of Pakistan through use of tools like NGOs. Planning of surveys for political leaders and parties and the task of exploring venues to influence  the election system has already been given to these NGOs. The Church World Services (CWS) P/A  is all set to organize and impart training to journalists and civil society in Peshawer to monitor the elections. All expenses, boarding and lodging will be borne by them. Similar plan of CWS are in hand for Quetta and they are using senior members of  journalist community to act as their front man. A common Pakistani is dragged into conspiracy theories when CWS, an International Non Governmental Organization (INGO) which implements humanitarian and development activities across Pakistan and Afghanistan starts throwing its finances into Pakistan’s elections. Moreover, the foreign funding for local foundations run by political parties in Karachi are being negotiated with promises of facilitation for the business zones adjacent to Kimari . It is not only the terrorists of Balochistan who sit in foreign lands and defame Pakistan but it has been learned that a political party has plans to approach United Nations and they are actively conspiring with diplomats seeking their  support. The weak democratic system becomes more exposed  as we move closer to the most important elections of Pakistan’s history. This pregnable environment has invited host of anti Pakistan elements and provided a stimulus to them to join hands and work for their motives  by penetrating into our political parties

It sends a wave of concern for Pakistanis when they hear that  Chief of USAID, Mr Raju Shah has increased his interaction with election commission of Pakistan with ready funding from his  embassy for number of projects on elections.  These rumors of unusual diplomatic attention and international funding will not only result in increase of trust deficit between the countries but  domestically  the gap between such political leaders and the public will also enhance. The decision of US military leadership not to visit Pakistan at this time was a welcome step but activities of  USAID are bound to pose problems as the region enters the Exit stage in Afghanistan. The requirement of these  activities are even of more  concern after the UNDP project’s for conduct of election in Pakistan have already focused on  provision of technical assistance for the needs identified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in extensive consultations with UNDP and as articulated in ECP’s 5 year Strategic Plan, 2010-2014. The project is for 3 years duration and is divided into two phases, with Phase I covering the period up and including the conduct of elections while Phase II focuses on the post election period. There fore all other forms being initiated through NGOs will negatively affect Pakistan’s democratic future.  The media must unearth and expose anti state activities. With article 62 and 63 there is a need to also refresh  Pakistan Penal code, section 123-A which say who ever endangers safety of Pakistan, condemn its creation, harm two Nation theory or advocate the curtailment of sovereignty of Pakistan shall be punished  under the law.

Future of Pakistan now largely depends on the credibility and fairness of oncoming elections without any foreign interference. The optics of election are as important as the conduct. The people have to deliver and ensure selection of the best possible patriotic and competent leaders . Despite heartening statements from the leaders of glowing democracies of the world the actions of same nations strongly contradicts and unveils their intentions  Non interference  at this moment in Pakistan is the most desired and friendly course but we find  quite a few  of the diplomatic missions  involved in undemocratic activities. The wooing of media and political parties by other countries  to fulfill their goals is understandable but silence of National media and moving of politicians into this trap is mind boggling.  Barack Obama emphasizing his second term foreign policy objectives, vowed, “ the US would support democracy in Asia and the Middle East and resolve its differences with the world peacefully”. A  press release issued by the British High Commission recently  said: “The UK strongly supports democracy in Pakistan. Representative, accountable government that delivers for the people, and is chosen according to constitutional processes, is in the best interests of Pakistan,” but some how they fail to check and block the undemocratic diplomatic activities in this part of the world.

Myth of 300,000 raped in Bangladesh

WHISPERS TO VOICES: Gender and Social Transformation in Bangladesh

Asif Haroon Raja

It has been alleged that Pakistani troops raped 300,000 women on and after March 25, 1971 in former East Pakistan. This allegation has generally been accepted by the world at large and even by some Pakistani secular pseudo intellectuals like Tahira Abdullah, Asma Gilani and others. Sheikh Mujib was the inventor of this themes fed to him by India. This was phenomenal exaggeration which has no parallel in history.Rather than blindly buying the bloated figures, it should have been coolly analyzed by saner elements whether it was humanly possible to perform those unholy acts at such a gigantic scale. No one questioned as to how the Indians had gathered the data since the Army had gained total control over the province from May 1971 onwards. Direct linkage between the people and rebels housed in India had been broken.

The version of refugees who had fled to India after the military operation couldn’t be relied upon, being entirely at the mercy of Indian Army and BSF living in unsavory conditions. Foreign journalists based in Dacca had been asked by Lt Gen Tikka Khan to leave because of their biased reporting. Jilted journalists moved to Calcutta where they were lavishly entertained by Indians. Nursing ill-feelings, they went out of the way to magnify the stories fed to them by Indian media and broadcasted exaggerated news the world over.

Even if the entire Army and paramilitary forces numbering 12000 on 25 March 1971, later increased to 45000 had only one objective in mind of raping any female coming their way day in and day out, even at the cost of sleep and other essential daily rituals, it was still impossible to reach anywhere near the stated figure. It can now be safely concluded that the rapes committed by Awami League (AL) urchins in March-April 1971, and again in November- December 1971, as well as by Indian staff supervising refugee camps from March 1971 till February 1972 were all lumped in the account of Pak Army. Indian Army soldiers and officers had also indulged in daily sex for the entire period of their stay in Bangladesh after 16 December 1971.

Roman Catholic Relief Agency put the figure of rapes to as low as 4000. (New York Times, January 30, 1972). In fact, only ten cases of rapes had been reported till August 31, 1971, and the culprits tried and punished. These few cases were swollen to the exasperating figure of 300,000. The falsity of Sheikh Mujib’s repeated allegation of rape of 300,000 Bengali women was exposed when the abortion team he had commissioned from United Kingdom in early 1972 found that there were no more than a hundred or so pregnancy cases they could deal with throughout their stay in Bangladesh. (Bangladesh Papers, Vanguard, Lahore, page 287). The AL government opened many centres in Bangladesh and gave wide calls to the rape victims named as ‘heroines’ to come forward and register their names so that they could be rehabilitated. Not more than one hundred or so who reported to the centres were given into marriages and perforce the centres had to be closed down. These cases were also in all probability the victims of rapists in Indian refugee camps.

Dr. M. Abdul Mumin Chowdhry, a Bengali nationalist who actively participated in the separatist cause, writes in his book ‘Behind the Myth of Three Million’, writes, It was reported that on arrival in Dhaka on 10 January 1972, the lobby behind the fabrication of the absolutely impossible figure promptly briefed the returning Bangladesh leader Sheikh Mujib with added ‘fact’, of 300,000 women raped, who in turn immediately went on parroting it. Thus the fiction of three million killed and 300,000 women raped was created’. He gives research-based details of each major incident that was blamed on Pakistan; and the rapes of 300,000, now enhanced to 400,000 women, resulting in 200,000 pregnancies.

One of Pakistani prisoner of war (PoW) Maj (now retired Brig) M. Azad on his way to India after the surrender had stayed a night in transit along with others at Krishanagar in West Bengal. The camp in which they were housed was well laid out and didn’t like a hurriedly made make-shift arrangement. The in-charge of the camp, a Sikh major, in usual Sikh style of light-heartedness and frankness, got chummy with Azad and told him that the camp had not been prepared for Pak PoWs but was meant to keep rebellious Bengalis who refused to participate in guerrilla war. He added that sissies were taken to task and made to perform allotted tasks, while their womenfolk were kept as hostages to serve their carnal needs. He boasted that he and his colleagues had thoroughly enjoyed raping thousands of Bengali women during their nine-month confinement. Laughingly he added that many virgins were impregnated. He divulged that many more suchlike camps for unwilling Bengalis had been established in other areas. This inadvertent disclosure would give an idea to independent readers that who were the actual rapists of Bengali women.

Besides resorting to series of atrocities, Indian security forces are using rape as a weapon of war to subjugate the Kashmiris demanding their birth right of self-determination. Kashmiris want independence from India at all cost. Incidents of rapes and gang rapes in Indian occupied Kashmir (IOK) are on the increase, but no Indian soldier or policeman has ever been punished. While there was lot of hue and cry over gang rape of an Indian woman in New Delhi, no voice has ever been raised in India over rapes of thousands of Kashmiri women, as if they are not human beings. It is puzzling as to why the ever vigilant western media has never mentioned a word about thousands of rapes committed in IOK? Or is it that it has different yardstick for Muslims and non-Muslims?

The writer is a retired Brig, author of several books and a defence analyst.