Pakistan: Center of the Grand Chessboard

(Saad Ali)   An Unmanned Aerial Vehicle takes flight on a targeted mission from Shamsi Airfield, an airstrip subleased to the United States by the UAE from inside the southwest region of Pakistan. At the same time a farmer awakes, in northwest Pakistan, happy; a husband and father of four with his youngest daughter just married the day before. After reaching a service ceiling of 25,000 ft. and cruising speed of 103 mph the General Atomics MQ-1 Predator begins descending to its destination.  Hamid Abdullah, a refugee I met during my travels to the northwest border region, was a hardworking man, kind, loving and very caring of his family, finds his pantry empty and leaves for the market to collect groceries.  The Predator drone now in range locks on the target. Upon reaching the Bazaar, Abdullah, from behind him he hears a thundering explosion. After firing an AGM-114 Hellfire missile the drone begins to circumnavigate. As a concerned human, the Pakistani man, naturally inclined, runs to see what happened and to perhaps provide aid to anyone hurt. He approaches, and with crushing and crippling realization, his entire home in total destruction. The world of happiness, his family, lay dead in the rubble, wrenching vibrations send him to his knees. An hour later the UAV locks in the second Hellfire missile as the operator from Creech Air force Base in Nevada reaches to quench his thirst from a freshly refilled ice tea. In the tribal region of Pakistan first responders, neighbors, other civilians and business owners run with haste to pull out the dead and injured.  As temporary funeral preparations are made a $68,000 guided weapons system developed by Lockheed Martin strikes the same location inciting terror on a new level, killing the entire procession of emergency services, tripling the original death toll of, not just innocent civilians, but honorable servicemen duty bound by the code of humanity.

The post-9/11 era has seen the likes of propaganda no society has seen in history. Granted the current dangers, the Anglo American society has branded Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world. The attack on national sovereignty, exploitation of installed political leadership, installation of private militaries, provocation of civil war, and torn earth to meet requirements of an energy corridor have humiliated and unsettled a region and its people. Government officials and media outlets now regard with doubt years of loyal support from the Pakistani people and their government. With any dictatorship, tactful communication to quell conflict remains shelved in favor of military force. In 2009 I traveled to the nation of Pakistan to seek answers. Government officials, journalists and the Pakistani people paint a totally different picture. The truth of the matter is the “President of Peace” has lead our nation into war once again, and with a conflict involving a nuclear power, the public opinion was subverted as clandestine engagement commenced.

In 1997 The Project for a New American Century was founded, as think-tank based in Washington with initiatives to project global hegemony under the guise of America’s unique role in preserving international order via “political and economic freedom.” After nine years of guiding the George W. Bush administration, PNAC has faded back and re-branded themselves as the “The Foreign Policy Initiative”, stating the completed task of introducing military policy and moral clarity (via PNAC) to an international base, now requiring leading action and implementation(via FPI). Mitt Romney takes the seat on the right side of political theater for the presidency and we can see the FPI resurfacing as advisors for his foreign policy team. This simply reinforces the continuity of world domination between Democrats and Republicans.

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event––like a new Pearl Harbor.” This is one sentence included in a 90 page report assembled by PNAC architects in September 2000, one year before September 11th 2001, and it’s only the beginning. The Kerry-Lugar Act drafted by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry and ranking Republican Richard Lugar, authorizes a grant of $1.5 billion annually for 5 years. The bill explicitly and falsely states that “Pakistan has been a nuclear proliferator; and that parts of its territories are safe havens for terrorist networks.” The bill has given President Obama the power to “develop a comprehensive interagency regional security strategy to eliminate terrorist threats and close safe havens in Pakistan. Working with the government of Pakistan — to best implement effective counterinsurgency and counter-terrorism efforts in and near the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the FATA, the NWFP, parts of Balochistan and parts of Punjab.” In other words, the power of the United States Presidency has now been extended to different provinces of Pakistan. He may now make decisions for not only the US, but also for the nation state of Pakistan. The Kerry-Lugar Act has successfully ended the country’s sovereignty. The people are very angered by it, and in fact it is known in Pakistan as the “document of surrender.” Kerry-Lugar makes support conditional on Pakistan’s military being subordinated to its elected government. These humiliating circumstances only weaken the civilian government and infuriate the power known in Pakistan to keep the political class in line. General Ashfaq Kayani has “reiterated that Pakistan is a sovereign state and has all the rights to analyze and respond to [national-security threats] in accordance with her own national interests.” As of March 2012, the “new PNAC” or The Foreign Policy Initiative has once again reiterated the strategy “To play a key role in shaping that future, the United States must continue to use foreign aid—strategically—to encourage positive changes in Pakistani policies.” Congressman Ron Paul states on Pakistan, “The way we treat our fellow countries around the world is we tell them what to do and if they do it we give them money, if they don’t do it we bomb them” The plan is drawn out and ongoing. To put it simple, Pakistan has become a serious road block for the modern day King. Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities make the strategy far more convoluted. The former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski highlights the importance of Central Asia to achieving world domination. He knew well the public’s view of US militarism around the world and implementation would require the “circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat

The early 1990’s saw unmanned aircraft deployed out of the US arsenal in reconnaissance missions, recording images of terrain in the Balkans. After September 2001, President Bush signed a directive that authorized arming the drones. These new UAV were called Predators, equipped with signature Hellfire missiles with the sole purpose of targeting leaders of al Qaeda, first in Afghanistan and later in Yemen and Pakistan. The limitations loosened, widening the directive to allow strikes against anyone working inside terrorist groups, not just individual suspects.

President Barack Obama has authorized 311 drone strikes in Pakistan since he took office in 2009, far exceeding the number of attacks that President George W. Bush authorized during his two terms.

The first drone strike was order 3 days after Obama’s inauguration January 20, 2009, with an outcome of 19 innocent civilians killed including 4 children. Despite statements made by public policy and research organizations of UAVs as an unreliable and inefficient tools against terrorists, drones are still hailed as impressively accurate.   Obama’s “weapon of choice” is now responsible for the deaths of 3000 people, 200 of them children. The purpose of the drone campaign is to eradicate “militants.” How do we know who’s a militant when they’re defined as “any human being whose life is extinguished when an American missile or bomb detonates,” unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent. The use of terms such as “accuracy”, “efficiency” and “intended target” are meaningless, when anyone killed under the definition is a “terrorist” conveniently in a “war on terror.”

The Nobel Peace Prize winning Barack H. Obama, “for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples“, has destroyed the homes of innocent civilians, targeted schools, funerals, marriage ceremonies, homes of worship and countless other places of simple life.

I’ve been following the events unfold in Pakistan as journalists across the world record the death.  When I read the headlines, an image of President Obama sitting around a table in a place called the “Situation Room” among other grown men and women casually scanning through documents and pictures with a “yearbook like layout” of suspected terrorists, many of which are children. I clench at the thought of Obama looking over to his advisors and approving the death of every person on the “kill list” presented, vetting none of the intelligence, and discarding common sense. Akin to a God on Earth the power to kill is executed with a nod from one man to another.   Unfortunately, my imagination is a reality, the “kill list” is real and like a true villain the desire and overindulgence of power and control sits in the office of the United States Presidency.

I can only wonder how one exactly gets on the list. Amos Guiora, a law professor at University of Utah served in the Israel Defense Forces in the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (Lt. Col. Ret.) as well as legal adviser in the Gaza Strip,  someone who understands the weight of life-and-death decisions, stated that the method in which the US is targeting and killing suspects is, “Loosey goosey” and “largely devoid of external review.” His ““Whac-A-Mole” approach to counter-terrorism will give rise to new and more sinister techniques to scourge and eradicate what he so carelessly calls the enemy.

The FBI warned “terrorists may use secondary explosive devices to kill and injure emergency personnel responding to an initial attack” and DHS coined the term “double tap” to refer to this tactic. An act brutish to say the least, the United States Government finds itself increasingly adopting this technique. In 2010, Wikileaks released a video involving an American Apache helicopter on its second round, firing multiple shots on the dead, wounded, rescuers, children, civilians and two Reuters journalists. The Laws of War clearly stipulate to allow “collection and care for the wounded, whether friend or foe” and to “not attack medical or religious personnel, facilities or equipment.” Double tap methods have been used to attack funeralsmosqueshospital corridors, “suspected compounds,” and rescuing “militants,” yet no one has been identified and are neither on official terrorists lists as indicated by the use of “signature strikes.” Not only does this instill fear into first responders, but to journalists recording events as well.

Blackwater, more recently known as Acedemi, is a private military contractor, one of the largest working directly with the United States State Department. Characterized as a nefarious mercenary army, Blackwater has undergone perpetual rebranding, from Blackwater Worldwide to Blackwater USA and Xe Services LLC all in response to unlawful, immoral, degenerate activities and operations which has landed them every now and then under the scope legal complexities. They’ve been enrolled by the US government in the war with Iraq, Afghanistan and now PakistanThat makes Blackwater so attractive to government operations is the ability to bypass set limitations of war and congressional oversight that political and military institutions may not evade so easily. Earning millions in secured contracts with the US doesn’t stop them from pursuing large contracts with Arab monarchies such as the delivery of an “800-member battalion of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates.” Deploying uniform soldiers in a declared war can pose intricate legal and political ramifications. Blackwater founder, Eric Prince states “…the private sector can operate there (in war) with a very, very small, very light footprint”. According a military intelligence source, Blackwater personnel work undercover as aid workers and “nobody even gives them a second thought.”

Jeremy Scahill, from The Nation reports a defense official, on background, specifically denied that Blackwater performs work on drone strikes or intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in Pakistan, quoted as saying “We don’t have any contracts to do that work for us. We don’t contract that kind of work out, period.” Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell calls Blackwater operations in Pakistan “conspiratorial.”Ambassador Richard Holbrooke also denied activities stating “People think that the US has troops in Pakistan, well, we don’t.” Blackwater spokesperson Mark Corallo said in a statement to The Nation, adding that the company has “no other operations of any kind in Pakistan,” aside from construction oversight for the U.S. Government.

Though Government and military officials defy inquiries about military and private contractors operating within the scope of war, multiple sources have proven otherwise, most notably a classified cable in 2009 by US ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson stating “with the personal consent of” Chief of Army Staff General Kayani the “deployment of U.S. special operation elements” specifically mentioning the “SOC(FWD)-PAK” integrated within Pakistani military. Another cable from August 2008 describes a meeting with Anne Paterson and Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani. Gillani states with sheer negligence, “I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.” The October 2009 cable also discusses potential repercussions, affirming, “These deployments are highly politically sensitive because of widely-held concerns among the public about Pakistani sovereignty and opposition to allowing foreign military forces to operate in any fashion on Pakistani soil. Should these developments and/or related matters receive any coverage in the Pakistani or US media, the Pakistani military will likely stop making requests for such assistance.”

A military source spoke to The Nation on conditions of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the classified operations. The source confirmed Blackwaters facility in Karachi, Pakistan and stated “It’s Blackwater running the program for both CIA and JSOC.” This was also confirmed by a former senior executive at Blackwater. Erik Prince himself acknowledged his company’s presence in Pakistan in a private speech, blocked to all media, in Michigan, to a friendly crowd in his hometown.

Ever since September 2001, Pakistan’s death toll from suicide bombings, has reached34,000 and the economy has lost well over $68 billion, a large number considering aid on a yearly bases from the U.S. is $28 billion. The notion that Blackwater is responsible for most of these suicide bombings occurring across the country resonates among reports documented by journalists in the state.

Chief of Pakistani- Pashtun Movement in Pakistan Hakimullah Mehsud blames Blackwaterfor a bomb blast in Peshawar which killed over 100 [Pakistani] people. He also told the BBC these attacks are “to malign the name of the Pakistani-Pakhtoons” by blaming them for the orchestrated attacks. Haftroza Al-Qalam, from the Urdu Daily reports “Evidence of the private U.S. security firm Blackwater’s involvement in the targeted killings of high-ranking Pakistani military officials.” Aamir Latif of IslamOnline states “The notorious US security firm Blackwater has reportedly established a presence in the restive tribal belt on the Afghan borders to help the FBI and CIA track down Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants allegedly hiding there and protect USAID projects.” Azam Tariq spokesman for Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), a parent organization of distinct military groups based in the northwestern Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) bordering Afghan told the Daily Times, “All these killings by the infamous Blackwater are aimed at maligning the Taliban,” and that “The TTP does not believe in killing of innocent citizens, and we will hold those who are doing this accountable.”

Blackwater is clearly operating in the region overt and covertly.  Even Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan doesn’t “yet know how many of these blasts are by Taliban and how many are carried out by them (Blackwater/Xe/Acedmie).”

Kurt Nimmo of makes a clear connection with Blackwater and statements from former national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski who affirms in his book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. “To put it in a terminology that harkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.”  CIA operations hexed with Blackwaters unrestricted presence will promulgate the aspiration of keeping “barbarians from coming together”  further destroying the idea of a nation state and establishing the continuity of imperialistic campaigns giving rise to a new order the world is now coming to see.

Between 2000 and 2010 the volume of bilateral trade between China and Pakistan grew sevenfold, with Chinese companies currently working on 250 projects within Pakistan. Wen Jiabao, the Chinese Premier was accompanied by 250 Chinese businessmen on a visit to Pakistan. At the end of this trip $35 billion were contracted between sides covering energy, trade, natural resources, agriculture, livestock, finance and banking.  Joint ventures within Pakistan include the Thae coal project, widening of Karakoram Highway, the Basha Dam, Saindak gold and copper project and most importantly the Gawadar deep sea port.

About 40% of the world’s oil passes through the Persian Gulf, and at the mouth lies Gawadar. With 80% of the $300 million covered by the Chinese, this project would allow China direct access to the West enabling secure supply of oil and gas. Transportation would run right through Pakistan via a network of rail, putting the country in the middle of an energy and trade corridor. Currently 70% of the oil China consumes is purchased from the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. By the year 2025, it’s expected China will double its consumption, so it has become vital for China to obtain and maintain access to this western front, hence China’s ambitious presence and protective efforts in the region. Not only does this strategic partnership benefit Pakistan with potential earnings of 60 billion per year, it places the country on route to becoming a critical global energy player.

“Any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China,” a response coming from Beijing after the U.S. violates Pakistan’s national sovereignty while “capturing” the phantom Osamah Bin Laden.  Following the ultimatum came the delivery of 50 JF-17 aircraft from China, at no charge, enhancing the capabilities of the Pakistani Air Force. Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu affirms “sovereignty and territorial integrity of Pakistan must be respected.” With 66 ICBMs behind them, China isn’t shy about protecting their important alliances.

China has replaced the United States as Pakistan’s principle source for arms and weapons. They have made agreements on 34 short-range ballistic missiles, F-22P frigates with helicopters, K-8 jet trainers, T-85 tanks, F-7 aircraft, small arms and ammunition, 36 J-10 aircraft, which would make Pakistan the first recipient of one of the most advanced weapon systems in China’s arsenal. China-Pakistan joint defense production facility is called the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra, and a turnkey ballistic missile manufacturing facility near Rawalpindi. Pakistan and China have also signed an agreement under which China will construct four submarines for Pakistan with Chinese help.

According to a 2009 Fox News report, “The United States has a detailed plan for infiltrating Pakistan and securing its mobile arsenal of nuclear warheads if it appears the country is about to fall under the control of the Taliban, Al Qaeda or other Islamic extremists.” This plan was developed by General Stanley McChrystal when he headed the US Joint Special Operations Command at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. This report also coincides with the October 2009 cable and military source stating joint operations alongside Blackwater within the borders of Pakistan, a report officials, at the time, categorically denied.

Hamid Abdullah managed to miraculously be at the right place at the right time as the second missile hit its intended target. He survived to tell a truth which on the other side of the earth is exploited as a means to fuel the war machine that took his family’s life.Friends and neighbors told me the happiness was stripped from him like flesh torn from his face, he doesn’t look the same, even to himself. The tragedy sank deep. The once soft spoken man now speaks with hesitation looking on before speaking. He breaths the air of vengeance and has thought to join militant forces with the resources and logistics to put him at in front lines to fulfill the vindictive desire inside him. It has been his faith in God that has given him the peace of mind to remain steadfast and survive this life and invest in the hereafter. Many in the war torn region don’t have the patience, faith, or will as Abdullah did to sit after their families were taken from them for no reason. Many join Al-Qaeda and variant organizations to take revenge form those that put their life in total despair. It’s a foreign concept to the western world. Imagine a foreign invader with technology you’ve never seen, attack your suburban development. A missile hits your home on your way back from work. You pull up to your wife and children mangled, dead, burning on the lawn. Your immediate response is anguish and pain. Soon after you compose yourself you consult family and retrieve you fireproof safe containing a collection of firearms and ammunition. Your Government betrayed you by authorizing the attack within its borders. You locate and join the local militia, already mobilizing, you accept the conditions, resources and logistics to take you out to the front lines. A couple hours a month at the range, and revenge for your loss of innocence is all that’s behind your belt, your fate rest in your ability to survive the battle ground. Your life is taken by the very same drone and missile that took your families. Your cycle ended, though with every innocent civilian killed it starts over. As time passes a generation of war torn men, women and children assemble to create an army. The majority of these people, the common foot soldier, don’t defend a nation or religion they fight for revenge.

As stated in “The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and Its Geostrategic Imperatives,” Brzezinski frames his strategy around controlling Eurasian landmass as a “key to world power” and that “Central Asia with its vast oil reserves as the key to domination of Eurasia”. The global controllers have drawn the doctrine, assembled the policy advisors, installed controlled presidencies, developed advance weapons systems for delivery, and contracted the mercenary to pursue a region, a country at the apex of what is considered world power. The ascendency of China as a primal force militarily and financially has the Anglo American imperialists charging into Pakistan, the center of the grand chess board, the position of central control, the life line of the opposing in the next world war.

Disabled Pakistani girl framed in Koran-burning case? Imam arrested for falsifying evidence

(RT)   Pakistani police arrested an Imam on Sunday over accusations he had planted evidence on a Christian girl accused of burning a Koran, allegedly to frame her. Witnesses say the cleric tore pages from the Koran and planted them in the girl’s bag.

Imam Khalid Chishti had previously presented police with evidence that Rimsha Masih – a Christian girl believed to be 11 to 14 years old who may also be mentally disabled – had committed blasphemy by burning pages of the Koran. He was arrested on Sunday after witnesses claimed he had falsified the evidence.

“The imam was arrested after his deputy Maulvi Zubair and two others told a magistrate he added pages from the Koran to the burnt pages brought to him by a witness,” AFP quoted police official Munir Hussain Jafri as saying.

“They protested that he should not add something to the evidence and he should give the evidence to the police as he got it and should not do this,” Jaffri said.

Chishti allegedly responded by saying, “You know this is the only way to expel the Christians from this area.”

Masih’s arrest in August on blasphemy charges prompted international concern. Masih was accused by Chishti and others of burning pages of the Koran, an offense punishable by death under Pakistan’s blasphemy laws. Masih’s age is unknown, but she is believed to be around 14. A government-appointed medical board concluded that she is developmentally disabled, the BBC reported.

The controversy deepened amid reports that the girl was not actually seen burning the pages, but was rather found with pages torn from the Koran in her bag.

Paul Bhatti, Pakistani Minister for National Harmony, said that the girl was known to have a mental disability – supposedly Down syndrome – and that it seemed “unlikely she purposefully desecrated the Koran.”

On August 24, Chishti told AFP he believed Masih was part of a Christian “conspiracy” to insult Muslims, and had deliberately burned the holy book. He demanded that action be taken to stop what he called “anti-Islam activities” in Mehrabad.

“He has committed a greater offense than the girl by burning the pages himself and adding to the evidence that was given to him and he should get punishment,” Jaffri said.

Bail denied, family in protective custody

Masih is currently being held in an Islamabad prison. Pakistani police denied a bail request on her behalf last week, claiming her release would endanger both her life and her family’s. Masih’s family has already been taken into protective custody.

Masih’s arrest on August 20 sparked widespread protests in Pakistan. Christian rights groups called for her release, along with amendments to the penal code, while Muslim groups have called for the girl to be burned alive.

Several Christian families have fled Masih’s neighborhood in fear of reprisals amid the uproar.

The case has highlighted tensions between Pakistan’s Muslim and Christian communities. Christians make up around 4 percent of the country’s population. Pakistan’s controversial blasphemy laws have also come under heavy criticism in the wake of Masih’s arrest.

The All Pakistan Christian League held a protest in Karachi on Saturday, demanding a judicial inquiry into why a mentally disabled minor was arrested in the first place, and for changes to the country’s penal code. Demonstrators chanted “Stop killing innocent people in the name of blasphemy,” “Abolish the blasphemy law” and “Talibanization not acceptable.”

WHO doctor attacked during Pakistan polio campaign

(CNN)   A World Health Organization consultant who was conducting a polio vaccination campaign was attacked by unknown assailants in Karachi, Pakistan, on Tuesday, the group said.

Dr. Constant Dedo, who was hired by the WHO’s polio drive, was returning from a routine visit to Gadap, a town in northwestern Karachi, WHO spokeswoman Maryam Yunus said. His vehicle was intercepted by gunmen on a motorbike and shot at; the first bullets struck the tires, rendering the vehicle immobile, Yunus said.

The assailants then fired at the driver, who was struck in the neck and shoulders, and Dedo, who was shot in the abdomen, Yunus said.

“Both were given first aid and shifted to Agha Khan Hospital,” Yunus said. “Their condition is stable, and they are out of danger.”

The motive for the attack was unclear. However, Pakistanis have viewed polio vaccination campaigns with suspicion after the CIA’s use of a fake vaccination program last year to collect DNA samples from residents of Osama bin Laden’s compound to verify the al Qaeda leader’s presence there. Bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces in May 2011.


Programming prodigy passes away at 16: Hear her philosophy of life

(Todd Bishop)   Arfa Karim Randhawa, the computer programming prodigy who became the world’s youngest Microsoft Certified Professional at 9 years old, has passed away at the age of 16, according to reports out of her native Pakistan this weekend.

She had been in the hospital for nearly a month after reportedly suffering an epileptic seizure and cardiac arrest. Two weeks ago her outlook appeared to improve. In recent weeks, Microsoft had stepped in to help provide expert medical care.

This portrait of Arfa at the age of 10 accompanied my story about her in the Seattle P-I in 2005.

As explained in this earlier post, I met Arfa and wrote a story about her in 2005 as a newspaper reporter covering her visit to the Microsoft campus in Redmond, when she was 10 years old. After seeing the reports this weekend, I went back and found some of the audio clips from my interview with her, including her talking about meeting Bill Gates, learning to program and what she planned to do when she grew up.

I’ve pieced together the highlights in this audio file ( to provide a better sense for what she was like. One of the most remarkable parts, apart from her recounting the conversation with Gates, is hearing her talk with such authority about developing Windows applications.

As you’ll hear at the end, Arfa at 10 years old had also settled on her philosophy of life, and committed it to memory. She told me about it after our interview, when she was having her picture taken outside, so I turned my recorder back on and asked her to repeat it for me on tape.

“If you want to do something big in your life, you must remember that shyness is only the mind,” she said. “If you think shy, you act shy. If you think confident you act confident. Therefore never let shyness conquer your mind.”

Todd Bishop is co-founder of GeekWire, a technology news site based in Seattle.

Pakistani Teen who protested drone strikes killed in US attack in Pakistan

(THE NATION)   A Pakistani teenager, who recently joined a protest rally against US drone strikes, was killed in an attack by the CIA-operated spy planes in North Waziristan tribal region, a campaigner against the missile strikes said on Tuesday.
Sixteen-year-old Muhammad Tariq of North Waziristan had joined hundreds of tribesmen in the rally against drone strikes in the Pakistani capital on Friday. The protesters had called for an immediate end to the strikes, saying they killed many civilians, reported
Tariq was killed with his cousin Waheed, 12, in a US drone strike on Monday night near Mirali, a key town in the restive North Waziristan tribal agency, said Karim Khan, who is leading a campaign against the missile attacks.
Khan, who belongs to Mirali, had lost his son in a drone attack last year.
He filed a case against the former CIA station chief and several top US officials in a police station in Islamabad for what he said was the murder of innocent tribesmen in drone strikes.
At least four people were killed in Monday night’s drone strike on a house and a vehicle, according to local media reports.
It was the fourth strike in Waziristan in five days.
On Sunday, US spy planes fired missiles at a house in North Waziristan and killed at least six people.

Next Stop is Pakistan

(WAYNE MADSEN)   Paraphrasing the old anti-Vietnam War song,

“And it’s one, two, three,
What are we fighting for ?
Don’t ask me, I don’t give a damn,
Next stop is Pakistan”

It does appear that for some Pentagon brass, including Defense Secretary Leon Panetta; the CIA under former U.S. Central Command and Afghanistan commander General David Petraeus; and top Republican and Democratic politicians that, indeed, Pakistanis next on the target list of nations that will soon be feeling the military muscle of the United States. Unlike other Muslim nations that have been subjected to U.S. military intervention, including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Yemen, and Libya, Pakistan’s ultimate prize for the West is its nuclear weapons arsenal…

A number of observers, including former senior figures with the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency, have made no secret of western contingency plans, which appear to be going active, to secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons in order to eliminate the nation as a nuclear weapons power. The plans have been coordinated between the CIA, India’s Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) intelligence service, and Israel’s Mossad.

President Obama appears to have decided to ratchet up tensions with Pakistan after Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari was apparently urged by Obama to attend the White House’s much-hyped Nuclear Security Summit in Washington in April 2010. Obama sent a personal letter to Zardari that was delivered to the Pakistani president’s office in Islamabad on February 16, 2010, along with a cover letter from U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson. The letter to Zardari was the subject of a leaked U.S. State Department “sensitive” cable dated February 17, 2010 from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad to the State Department. The cable references a previous February 10, 2010 cable from the White House to the embassy in Islamabad. The cable from Islamabad was copied to the CIA; the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon; the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, Florida; U.S. consulates in Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi – the sites of CIA stations in Pakistan – and the U.S. embassies in London and Kabul.

The cable from Islamabad to Washington stated:

(SBU) Post delivered the POTUS letter on the Nuclear Security Summit to the Office of President Asif Ali ZARDARI on February 16, with cover letter from Ambassador Anne
Patterson. The Pakistanis have not yet confirmed to us whether ZARDARI will attend.

Zardari passed on attending the nuclear summit, opting to send Prime Minister Yusaf Raza Gilani is his place. Soon after, Washington began expressing alarm about links between Pakistan and Taliban elements in the nation’s North West Frontier Province, as well as in Afghanistan.

It is noteworthy that Israel, which officially denies it possesses nuclear weapons, although it is estimated to have some 400 warheads, sent Dan Meridor, the deputy prime minister with oversight over Mossad, and India sent its Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh. Saudi Arabia, which has been used by Washington as an interlocutor with the Taliban in Afghanistan, sent the head of its General Intelligence Service, Prince Muqran bin Abdul Aziz.

A week after Zaradari received his invitation to the Washington summit, a Secret NOFORN (not releasable to foreign nationals) cable, dated February 23, was sent from Islamabad to the State Department with copies to the CIA; the Joint Chiefs; CENTCOM; the U.S. embassies in London and New Delhi; the U.S. Consulates in Lahore, Peshawar, and Karachi; the Energy Department (an indicator that nuclear security issues were at stake), and the sanctions-wielding Departments of Treasury and Commerce. The cable discusses a February 17 meeting between the U.S. special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, the late Richard Holbrooke, and Zardari, the day after Zardari received Obama’s invitation to the nuclear summit.

In his meeting, Holbrooke thanked Zardari for Pakistan’s help in fighting Taliban militants, particularly help in capturing Afghan Taliban military leader Mullah Beradar. But Holbrooke was not satisfied. The U.S. envoy threw cold water on reconciliation efforts between Afghan President Karzai and the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative to Afghanistan Kai Eide’s on one side and senior Taliban leaders on the other. According to the Secret cable, Holbrooke told Zardari “the United States and Pakistan had weakened the Taliban leadership but noted that this was only the first stage, as success depended on turning local populations against the Taliban.” Holbrooke stressed, “the popular perception of the U.S. reintegration and reconciliation efforts with the Taliban mistakenly overemphasized the possibility for reconciliation, explaining that reconciliation with Taliban leaders was less likely than reintegrating low-level Taliban who had given up the fight.” Zardari confided to Holbrooke that the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Muqrin, had discussed possible talks between Karzai and senior Taliban officials in Saudi Arabia but with no “guarantees” such a summit would take place. The remaining sections of the cable, sections two and three, are strangely missing from what was allegedly leaked to WikiLeaks.

In April, Muqrin, Meridor, Singh and his intelligence advisers, Obama, British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, French President Nicolas Sarkozy, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper,essentially, those who would be counted on the support the seizure of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons to prevent them from falling into “radical Islamist” hands, were all gathered in Washington to discuss nuclear proliferation and security. Having been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his nuclear counter-proliferation efforts, Obama was the perfect front man for a secret coalition of the willing to carry out the de-nuclearization of Pakistan. The only obstacle remaining was to create an environment acceptable to world public opinion that would justify a multinational intervention in Pakistan.

The Pakistani media and officials like retired Pakistani Army chief of staff General Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI chief General Hamid Gul, began reporting on U.S. private military contractors conducting unofficial activities throughout Pakistan, especially in Peshawar, Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad, including U.S. involvement with “false flag” terrorist attacks that were later blamed on local Islamist worthies. In February 2011, the reported acting head of the CIA in Pakistan, Raymond Davis, was arrested by Pakistani police after he shot to death two Pakistani men he claimed were trying to rob him. However, it soon turned out that Davis was not telling the whole truth. Davis was found with espionage equipment and weapons and his telephone records indicated he had been in contact with Pakistani Taliban, also known as Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, and Lashkar-e-Jhangvi militants in South Waziristan and other regions. Davis was released by Pakistan after heavy diplomatic pressure was exerted by Washington.

With tensions already frayed between the United States and Pakistan, on May 2, 2011, a U.S. Navy special operations team conducted a raid on the heavily-garrisoned Pakistani town of Abbotabad, in which Osama Bin Laden was allegedly killed. Operation Neptune Spear was clouded in mystery. Bin Laden’s body was quickly buried at sea without any independent authentication that Bin Laden had actually been killed while living under the very noses of a number of active fury and retired Pakistani military and ISI officers who lived in Abbotabad, near the Pakistani Military Academy. Indian and American military and intelligence officials suggested there were links between the Pakistani military and Bin Laden. Fifteen members of the Gold Squadron of the U.S. Navy’s Special Warfare Development Group (DEVGRU), formerly known as SEAL Team 6, all of whom participated in the alleged killing of Bin Laden in Abbotabad, were killed when their Chinook helicopter was shot down by a rocket-propelled grenade in Afghanistan. The Pentagon denied any of the dead SEAL team members were involved in the Bin Laden raid, but other SEAL Team members disputed the Pentagon denials on deep background.

Holbrooke, who died after a sudden heart attack on December 13, 2010, was, as is his successor, Marc Grossman, noted for their involvement in U.S. covert diplomatic adventures, as well as their pro-Israeli stances. After Petraeus took over as CIA chief, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Michael Mullen and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Petraeus’s predecessor at the CIA, both charged Pakistan with aiding Afghan Islamist guerrilla groups. Mullen charged that Pakistan’s ISI provided support to the Afghan Haqqani network in carrying out attacks on the U.S. embassy in Kabul and U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan. The Pakistani Taliban was earlier blamed for a terrorist attack on a CIA operating base in Khost, Afghanistan. The ground was being set for a more aggressive U.S. policy toward Pakistan, although some Pentagon officials claimed that Mullen overstated the case against Pakistan. Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, floated the idea of U.S. military intervention in Pakistan. The covert U.S. activity in Pakistan, including operations by the notorious mercenaries of the ex-Blackwater, now Xe Services, was emerging into more overt operations. The prize now, as it has been for the last few years, is Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. Next stop is Pakistan.

‘Civilians make up over 90% of casualties in US drone strikes in Pakistan’

(PRESS TV)   Arbitrary extrajudicial executions, carried out at the press of a button from CIA locations in California, with no transparency or accountability, are undoubtedly a violation of international law possibly constituting war crimes. And yet in 2009 alone, American predator drone attacks killed a reported 708 people in Pakistan -a clear violation of the norms of international sovereignty, especially given the fact that the Pakistani government has spoken out against them (at least in public). Foreign policy journal


With more drone strikes carried out in Pakistan during the first year of President Barack Obama’s term in office than were carried out in the whole second term of his predecessor George W. Bush, the number of attacks in 2010 more than double those in 2009 and continued growth in their use in 2011, extra-judicial killing seems to have become the modus operandi of the Obama administration. That he feels at such ease with this policy that he is able to joke about it, is testament to just how ill-advised was the decision to award him the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize for “his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy”. Foreign policy journal

The irony is that through its actions America has shown itself in front of the World to be a reflection of everything that it claimed was evil about those they are against, from the lack of respect for innocent life and the lack of adherence to the rule of law to the use of terror as a political weapon. In reality the ‘war of terror’ is a more apt description of their response since 9/11 than the coined ‘war on terror’, with the use of Predator drones just another example therein. That it is dressed up as legal by willing accomplices such as John Rizzo [one of the CIA’s former lawyers tasked with approving Predator drone strikes back as early as 2001] may appease those few in the domestic audience that care, but strikes many in the rest of the watching World as further evidence of American cynicism, something the United States can ill afford while in its current state of decline. Foreign Policy Journal

According to the Brookings Institution more than 90 percent of those killed have been civilians. Foreign Policy Journal


According to the Brookings Institution more than 90 percent of those killed have been civilians.

The program of drone strikes was ramped up under the Obama administration. Last year saw the greatest number of attacks, 118, while there have been 45 so far in 2011, according to a tally kept by the New America Foundation, a think-tank based in Washington. Guardian

A group of human rights lawyers working in cooperation with relatives of the victims of U.S. drone attacks in Pakistan is calling for an international arrest warrant to be served on former CIA legal counsel John A. Rizzo on charges of murder. Raw Story

Pakistan’s parliament has adopted a resolution declaring U.S. drone strikes are a violation of the country’s sovereignty. NYT

The United States insists that no more than a few dozen Pakistani non-combatants have been killed in drone attacks targeted at militants. Raw Story

At least 1,184 people were killed in U.S. drone attacks in 2010. The

According to Pakistani sources, U.S. drone strikes kill some 50 civilians for every militant killed, a hit rate of 2 percent. NYT

NATO jets violate Pakistani airspace

(PRESS TV)   Several NATO fighter jets have violated Pakistani airspace, making low flights into the country’s troubled tribal northwestern regions.

Local sources say the aircraft crossed over into Pakistan’s Kurram Agency through the Afghan border and flew up to five-kilometers across the border.

They went over Pakistani territory for a few minutes before returning to Afghanistan.

NATO helicopters entered the same region last year, firing several rockets that killed three Pakistani soldiers.

The incident forced Islamabad to close-off the NATO supply route that traverses Pakistan, suspending the delivery of goods to foreign troops in Afghanistan.

Tensions between the two countries increased following a secret US raid on Pakistan in May that allegedly killed al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Some White House officials suggest that Islamabad was aware of bin Laden’s location.

Anti-US sentiments have grown among the Pakistani government and public since the raid.

A surge in unauthorized US drone attacks in Pakistan and NATO operations along the border has sparked criticism from Pakistani officials.

Pakistan also strongly condemned the violation of its airspace by US-led forces stationed in Afghanistan.

Washington claims the airstrikes target militants but most of the attacks result in civilian casualties.

The US invaded Afghanistan with the official objective of curbing militancy and bringing peace and stability to the region, however, after nine years the region remains unstable and militancy has expanded towards Pakistan.

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