Archive for the ‘India-Pakistan; 26/11’ Category

Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, the husband-wife couple behind Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story (2009) and Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire (2010), recently discussed the C.I.A connections with Afghan militant networks through Pakistani intelligence agencies with Paul Jay at The Real News Network.

Part One – WikiLeaks—The Pakistan Connection (13:15):

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A study confirms Pakistan intelligence is pulling the strings of the primary resistance networks in Afghanistan as an internal Pentagon document states it could be the “Saudi Arabia of lithium”, as a geological survey ‘conservatively’ estimates over $908bn in untapped resources.

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Only surprising that anyone would be surprised that a study finds India has the most fucked up web of bureaucracy.

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In March, U.S. military intelligence was alerted that the alleged Taliban leader and bin Laden ally was in the captivity of the Pakistan government, Brad Thor reports. The truth probably depends on how you define the government of Pakistan.

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“The Riz Khan Show” asks: “Is the U.S. weapons industry fueling global instability and sparking another arms race?” (22:29):

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Indian author and dissident Arundhati Roy calls democracy “the biggest scam on Earth” in a climate where so-called ‘democracies’ are the driving forces of war, poverty and disenfranchisement. She provides harsh, educated critiques of the American Empire and India’s U.S.-enabled occupation of Kashmir and oppression within in an interview with Amy Goodman and Anjali Kamat at Democracy Now!


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Seymour Hersh’s most recent article features a sick peek into the mind of a relatively honest president and explores the safety of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

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Prof. Noam Chomsky’s extended response to Obama’s Cairo Speech: Palestine-Israel, U.S. presence in the Middle East, U.S. rejectionism, and the Newspeak cover for no change in the U.S. quest for ‘global dominance’. (more…)

After a long march in defiance to Pak’s protest ban, Musharraf-ousted Chief Justice restored. (more…)

al Jazeera‘s Riz Khan’s interview with Pak PM Yousuf Raza Gilani on Indo-Pak relations post-26/11, US relations with Obama, Afghanistan and the troubles with re-building Pak’s economy along with fighting terrorism while the US is not recognizing Pak’s borders. (more…)

With continued terror in place for Iraq and Afghanistan, promised terror for Pakistan, Obama’s place to change American foreign policy lies US relations with the UN and Israel. (more…)

“Special edition program of BrassTacks, Zaid Hamid once again strongly and conclusively challenges and dispels the Indian lies and propaganda surrounding the Mumbai blasts” (more…)

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The New York Times:

Calling the Mumbai terrorist attacks a “conspiracy” hatched on Pakistani soil, India on Monday handed Pakistan what it said was the first comprehensive evidence linking them to Pakistan and demanded that those responsible be tried in Indian courts, a demand likely to be rebuffed.

Speaking Monday evening to reporters here, the Indian foreign secretary, Shiv Shankar Menon, refused to say whether the suspected conspirators were connected to current or retired government officials, but said that it was unlikely that a sophisticated, commando-style assault, like the one in Mumbai in late November, “could occur without anybody anywhere in the establishment knowing it was happening.”

While Mr. Menon refused to specify whether India had evidence of complicity of Pakistan’s military or spy agency officials, he did not rule it out. “We are not going to say this is where the line ends,” he said.

In a presentation to a number of foreign diplomats earlier in the day, Indian officials detailed the involvement of retired Pakistani military officials in training the gunmen who carried out the Mumbai attacks, according to two diplomats present.

The envoys, speaking on condition of anonymity in keeping with typical diplomatic protocol, said the 100-page dossier included transcripts of telephone conversations between the gunmen and their superiors in Pakistan during the course of the attacks; transcripts of interrogations of the sole surviving gunman, Muhammad Ajmal Kasab; phone numbers in Pakistan that the attackers called as they sailed across the Arabian Sea from Karachi, Pakistan, to Mumbai, India; and details of their movements, recovered from a GPS unit they had used.

The Indian authorities say the gunmen were citizens of Pakistan and belonged to a banned terrorist group, Lashkar-e-Taiba. The police have said that during interrogation, Mr. Kasab said he had been trained by retired Pakistani military men.

Immediately after the attacks, India assigned blame to “elements” in Pakistan, taking pains not to accuse members of the government, which pledged to cooperate and announced the closing of camps of Lashkar-e-Taiba and its charitable wing, Jamaat-ud-Dawa.

During a stop in Islamabad on Monday, the United States assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, Richard A. Boucher, said that it was “clear” the attackers had “links that lead to Pakistani soil.”

But he also said that in the aftermath of the attacks, the authorities in Pakistan had “done quite a bit,” and that a “significant” number of members of Lashkar-e-Taiba had been arrested. “Pakistan has a number of people in custody” suspected in the planning and execution of the attacks, he said.

Mr. Boucher declined, however, to answer a question about whether evidence suggested any involvement or support for the Mumbai plot, directly or indirectly, by the Pakistani government.

According to a Pakistani official, Pakistani authorities have obtained confessions from members of Lashkar-e-Taiba who said they had been involved in the attacks. One of them, according to the official, is Zarrar Shah, the militant group’s communications chief. American intelligence officials say they believe he has served as a conduit between Lashkar and the premier Pakistani spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence.

The Pakistani government confirmed that India had handed over materials about the Mumbai attacks and said the evidence was being examined by “concerned authorities,” according to the country’s state news agency.

Paki Pres. Asif Ali Zardari and PM Yousuf Raza Gilani reiterated Pak’s devotion to fighting terror and the importance of healthy relations with the US and India, as the FBI and China will be involved in Pak’s investigation. Foreign Secy. Salman Bashir has expressed that Pak “will evaluate the information provided by India so far”

PM Gilani: “Pakistan’s persistent efforts to defuse the current tensions with India, and his government’s commitment to take action against any Pakistani national in case credible evidence is provided,”

India’s home minister, Palaniappan Chidambaram hinted at Pak’s rogue Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) involvement over the weekend — as we have.

Indian Foreign Secy. Shivshankar Menon: “The relationship between Lashkar-e-Toiba and the ISI has been historical. It is a very fine line to draw between state actors and non-state actors. Whoever is responsible has to pay… We will follow evidence wherever it leads. It is hard to believe something of this scale, which amounts to commando operation, would occur without anyone in the establishment knowing. We are not going to say this is where the line ends. We have to continue with the investigations.”

India’s primary minority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) still thinks 26/11 is a game of political football:

By warning Pakistan that it would have to pay “enormously” if another 26/11 takes place, the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government was actually “condoning the present act”, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said here Monday.

The BJP said that Home Minister P. Chidambaram’s statement that the “price they (Pakistan) will pay if this is repeated, I think, will be enormous” was a testimony to the bailout plan.

“Right from 26/11, the union government has launched an offensive in coercive diplomacy. The BJP supported the move in the national interest. But Pakistan is in continuous denial mode till today. It seems that the government of India is now warning Pakistan for the future, in a way condoning the present act,” party spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said at a press conference here.

The government must come clean on the actions it has envisaged in the face of Pakistan’s denial, he said.



Daily Kos

After exaggerated sabre-rattling from India’s responses to the Mumbai Attacks (26/11), Pak began massive troop mobilization from the Afghan-Pak to the Indo-Pak border and concerns itself with Indian response:

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi reported today that neighboring India “has activated their forward air bases,” and urged dialogue between the two nations to solve their long-standing disputes over Kashmir. Minister Qureshi suggested that if India returned its military to “peacetime positions” it would send a positive signal. The address echoed calls from Pakistani General Parvez Kayani to avoid a military confrontation with India.

Yet Qureshi’s Indian counterpart, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee, denied that India had made any moves to mobilize its forces along the Pakistani border. “We have not created any tension,” Mukherjee insisted, adding that “there is no question of mobilization or escalation of tension” between the two sides.

Yet Senator John McCain was also quoted yesterday as saying “the Indians are on the verge of some kind of attack on Pakistan,” and warning that “we’re going to be in for a very difficult time there.” The Indian government has repeatedly insisted that any concerns about war are being deliberately fomented by the Pakistani government for its own gain, but as troops remain on alert on both sides of the border it seems a situation worth continuing to watch.

Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and Pak’s concerns are not invalid. Early last week, Pak went on ‘red alert’ after India mobilized troops and the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff ‘rushed’ to Pak.

Neither country can afford a war and Pak’s military head, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, said “there is a ‘need to de-escalate and avoid conflict'” and the “focus should be on ‘peace and security in the region.'” This week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (left) is in New Delhi and Islamabad to aid in the mediation of the two nuclear rivals, along with the Chinese and the Saudis:

Iran is turning out to be the first country of the region that has decided to play a mediatory role at the head of the state level between Pakistan and India.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad is dashing to New Delhi early this week for talks with the Indian leaders with regard to the alarming situation prevailing in the neighbourhood. He may visit Islamabad immediately after concluding his discussions in the Indian capital. The Iranian president, who is deeply concerned about the rising tension between the two neighbouring nuclear states on its southeast, has been maintaining interaction with both the countries termed friends by Tehran.

The Iranian president will convert his endeavour into shuttle diplomacy if he gets encouraging signals from both the capitals. Pakistan will welcome such an effort. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehar Mottaki has already spoken to his Pakistani and Indian counterparts about the situation separately.

The US reaction would be watched with fair amount of interest in the world capitals since it might not come out in public to offer its reaction on the move, they remarked. It is pertinent to mention that Foreign Minister Shah Mahmoud Qureshi has already said that Iran is ready to defuse tension between Pakistan and India over the recent Mumbai attacks. “The ongoing tension between the two neighbouring countries would only benefit terrorists,” said Qureshi adding that he had talked to his Iranian counterpart who has expressed his deep concern over the Indo-Pak tension.

“Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told me in a telephone conversation that he had spoken to Indian Foreign Minister Paranab Mukherjee and asked India to show restraint,” Qureshi said. He added that Iran believes that any instability in South Asia affects the whole region and even beyond.

Manouchehr Mottaki, in his conversation with Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi stressed that Tehran will remain engaged with both Pakistan and India to defuse tensions between the two neighbour countries. Mottaki noted that he has also discussed the issue with his Indian counterpart Paranab Mukherjee and urged India to show restraint. Iran’s foreign minister warned that the tensions in south Asia would affect the region and even beyond. During the telephone conversation, Qureshi said that Pakistan had also been a victim of terrorism and was engaged in the fight against this menace.

Mr. Qureshi (right) adds:

“Dialogue is in the interest of both the countries – we should sit across the table and also use diplomatic channels.”

He said Pakistan was making “two specific proposals” – that India de-activate its forward air bases and relocate its ground forces to “peacetime positions”….

“This will send a positive signal and reduce tensions in the region.”

He said that Pakistan was ready to co-operate with India in tracking down the perpetrators of the Mumbai attacks….

“Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s statement that evidence will be shared with us once they have concluded their own investigation vindicates our earlier stand that we haven’t yet been provided with any evidence,”

He described Mr Mukherjee’s statement as a “positive development” and said recent telephone contacts between the two countries would “help defuse the situation”….

“If India de-activates its forward airbases which it recently activated, we will consider this a positive signal,” he said.

“Second, Indian ground forces that moved forward (following the Mumbai attacks) should be relocated to peace positions.

“Pressure and coercion between neighbours tend to complicate matters – rather than resolve them – and should be avoided.

“Mr Mukherjee said India had done nothing to escalate tension.

“[This] is not an India-Pakistan issue. This is an attack perpetrated by elements emanating from the land of Pakistan and the Pakistan government should take action against it.”

Lashkar-e-Ta’iba (LeT)/Ja’amat-ud-Dawa(JuD) chiefs have been in Pak’s custody and are alleged to have masterminded 26/11, but has held off on extradition. Top LeT commander, Zahar Shah, captured in a Kashmir raid earlier this month has confessed to the Mumbai attacks:

Pakistani security officials said Shah made the confession while under interrogation.

Shah told interrogators that he was one of the main planners of the assault and that he had spoken to the attackers during the rampage to give them advice and keep them focused.

The admission, the officials said, was backed up by intercepts of a phone call between Shah and one of the attackers at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower, the site of a 60-hour confrontation with Indian security forces.

The report came as the US was mounting pressure on Islamabad to extradite the alleged mastermind behind the Mumbai attacks, Zaki Al Rahman Lakhvi, to India.

“The Americans are believed to have given Pakistan a taped conversation Lakhvi allegedly had with the gunmen involved in the attacks,” the Dawn newspaper said, quoting diplomatic sources.

Lakhvi and Shah were picked up during a crackdown, which followed a UN ban on the Jamat-ud Daawa – a front group for the LeT – in the aftermath of attacks on Indian financial hub.

The confession adds further pressure for Pak to extradite and not feed India more ammunition for its Newspeak — most notably the BJP’s allegations of Pak being a TerrorState.

Urdu Daily has made the, thusfar, unsubstantiated claim that Mossad, CIA, and the BJP were behind 26/11. The AP has reported of rogue police agents within India. Pak Alert Press has followed the conspiracy claim, as has PrisonPlanet.com. Sayyid and I don’t subscribe to these claims, but will follow them as they make their claims, as India’s central intel agency, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), is fixated against ISI.

We are firm in the involvement of Pak’s rogue Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in 26/11, but emphasize that ISI is a rogue agency, acting without the authorization of Pak’s civlian PPP government. I’ve reported my research of ISI here and will continue to battle Newspeak in differentiating ISI from Pak’s civilian government.

We stand firm in our condemnation of ISI as the only government organization that should be held accountable for their role in 26/11via their support of Paki terror groups. We’ll continue our support for dismantling the agency and I’ve made a loose, informal suggestion on how to do so:

And you really can’t ask for too much help from outside of your own house to clean it of it of an intelligence agency because you’re vulnerable to your helpers installing an intelligence agency more loyal to the helpers than the State they’re supposed to serve. This wouldn’t be direct, but say China helped the Pak rid itself of ISI. You can be for damned sure that China would only do so with the agreement of heavily increased intelligence sharing and a silent veto power over the agency’s hierarchy. It’s just the cynical nature of the game.

If the Paki people want to take ISI’s threat to them seriously, as they’ve overwhelmingly shown in their elections of two dovish, populist, socialists as president and PM, they’ll continue to do so in Parliament and lobby strong for social liberties in terms of self-defense, domestic surveillance, and decentralized power under those basic rights. The people aren’t bad, but they’ve become accustomed to a certain way of life under a dictator and it’s difficult to overcome the cultural influences of political organizations in Iran, the Taleban, and the Palestinian factions that veer toward Sharia Law.

That said, Pakistan is a relatively liberal people, who favor socialist economic policies, but at something closer to a consensus than the relatively laissez-faire West. If they can exploit the geopolitics to progress economically, their faith in those desires will strengthen, but the civilians will have to be committed to putting restrictions on their intelligence agencies — not succumbing to fear when ISI allows a domestic attack for the sole reason of strengthening itself as an authoritative institution. It’s the only way I can see dismantling it.