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Archive for July 2010

Who Owns General Petraeus?

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Anyone who has ever served in the military would confirm that to become a general in the armed forces of the United States requires highly developed political skills. One must be politically astute to guide large military forces while at the same time answering to largely ignorant constituencies in Congress, the White House, and the media. Many generals tire of the exercise after a certain point and retire to well paid sinecures on the boards of defense contractors. Others stage their own forms of rebellion, speaking the truth and walking the plank as a reward. Admiral William Fallon insisted in 2008 that there would be no war with Iran on his watch. He was forced to retire soon after. More recently, General Stanley McChrystal voiced his displeasure with the White House’s management of the Afghan war to a journalist and likewise was forced into early retirement.

Some generals, however, like the give and take of politics and harbor their own ambitions to hold high office. General Douglas MacArthur challenged President Harry Truman and was spoken of as a possible Republican candidate while General Dwight D. Eisenhower rode his own military fame to the presidency in 1952 and 1956. It is widely believed in the media that the current top general David Petraeus harbors similar ambitions. Eisenhower won the election virtually without campaigning, but Petraeus understands that he must satisfy some key constituencies before he throws his hat in the ring.

The tradition that general officers should provide disinterested advice to policymakers based on their best judgments and the most current available intelligence has long since passed. Modern generals first test the wind before they offer an opinion and then carefully tailor their comments to support the prevailing policy. Petraeus, who is regarded as an intellectual and even somewhat of an iconoclast, is no different. His counterinsurgency strategy, far from a new development, is a replay of similar thinking during the Vietnam war and a repudiation of the Powell Doctrine, which asserted that wars should be in the national interest, with attainable objectives, fought using overwhelming force, and incorporating a clear exit strategy. In short, Petraeus is the architect of the counterinsurgency long war combined with nation building strategy that has been embraced by both Presidents Bush and Obama.

Petraeus’ apparent close relationship with the neoconservatives and the Israel Lobby is a matter of concern, particularly if he does aspire to be president. Some have plausibly identified him as the neocon candidate for 2012 though others note appreciatively that he initiated a long overdue national debate with his Senate testimony in March 2010, observing as he did that the failure to achieve peace in Israel-Palestine has endangered United States soldiers in the region. To be sure, Petraeus quickly did damage control for the statement in the Senate, helping in the orchestration of an article that described him as a friend to Israel who did not view the conflict with the Palestinians as a matter of great concern. In May 2010 Petraeus received the Irving Kristol award from the American Enterprise Institute, indicating clearly that the Israel Lobby and the neocon establishment regard him as a favorite son.

Petraeus’ personal link to the neocons is through Max Boot and the two Kagans, Kimberly and Fred. All three have advised the general and have been cheerleaders for his “surge” policies. Kimberly Kagan has written a book featuring Petraeus entitled The Surge: A Military History. A series of emails to Boot that appears to have been inadvertently revealed to Israel Lobby critic James Morris suggests that Petraeus’ ambitions led him to seek expert advice on how to mend fences with the Jewish community after his Senate testimony faux pas. He asked Boot “Does it help if folks know that I hosted Elie Wiesel and his wife at our quarters last Sun night? And that I will be the speaker at the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps in mid-Apr at the Capitol Dome…,” exceptional pandering by a four star general and also a comment that suggests a certain naïveté on the subject. Petraeus even weasel worded about his actual testimony before the Senate, telling Boot “As you know I didn’t say that. It’s in a written submission for the record…” He also collaborated with Boot on the preparation of an article entitled “A Lie: David Petraeus, Anti-Israel” that appeared on March 18, 2010, appropriately enough, in Commentary magazine, a publication founded by the American Jewish Committee.

But maybe the neocons should think twice about their captive general. Many who harbor political ambitions rightly fear the power of the Israel Lobby, but fear is a far remove from affection. Many Congressmen held hostage by the Lobby resent it and long for the time when they would be able to support genuine American interests relating to the Middle East. Petraeus surely understands that no one can get nominated by a major party to run for president of the United States if the Israel Lobby and its media supporters say no. If he wants to get elected, he has to watch what he says and bend his knee, but he might not like it just as President Barack Obama clearly did not enjoy the battering he took from the Lobby in the fight for the Democratic nomination. Israel and its friends just might wind up selecting a strong leader with some very definite views that ultimately could lead to Washington distancing itself from Israel in a very decisive fashion. As a war hero with no particular political baggage, he would be a formidable opponent for any foreign Lobby, including that of Israel. And as a former general who has led troops in the field, he might become a president who actually believes the needless waste of his soldiers is unacceptable.

Petraeus’ report to the Senate Armed Services Committee was groundbreaking, a fact that was recognized at the time. It came after a team of staff officers conducted a series of off-the-record meetings with Arab allies in the Middle East in December 2009. All America’s friends emphasized that it had become increasingly difficult to generate popular support for US policies in light of the Israeli repression of the Palestinians. The responses were so alarming that Petraeus arranged a briefing for Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, a month later. Mullen also was shocked by the depth of the antipathy towards the United States caused by Israeli policies and the report to the Senate was the result.

It is important to go back to the original statement to the Senate that started the furor about Petraeus’ views. Do not for a second think that the assessment of Israel and Palestine was something that made it into the 56 page Central Command posture statement by accident or because Petraeus did not notice it. The report was prepared by Petraeus’ staff and it is absolutely certain that he read every line of it and endorsed it before he appeared before the Senate committee. The report’s full title is “Statement of General David H. Petraeus, US Army Commander, US Central Command before the Senate Armed Services Committee on the Posture of US Central Command, 16 Mar 2010.” This is what it says:

“The enduring hostilities between Israel and some of its neighbors present distinct challenges to our ability to advance our interests… Israeli-Palestinian tensions often flare into violence and large scale armed confrontations. The conflict foments anti-American sentiments, due to perception of US favoritism for Israel. Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of US partnerships with governments and peoples in the region and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.”

Though carefully expressed, there is no ambiguity to the statement and no doubt that it represents General Petraeus’ thinking. It means what it says, basically that Israel’s behavior weakens Arab regimes friendly to the US, makes it impossible to develop popular support for Washington’s programs, and strengthens terrorism. The result is that American soldiers and diplomats in the Middle East and Central Asia are threatened by irresponsible and unsustainable Israeli policies.

This means that the genie is out of the bottle no matter what Max Boot does to try to coax it back in or spin it into meaninglessness. It is also important to bear in mind that the Petraeus’ statement was not an isolated incident, a sign of what might amount to a new awareness in Washington that Israel represents a strategic liability. In March, Joe Biden reportedly told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, “This is starting to get dangerous for us. What you’re doing here undermines the security of our troops…” And Admiral Mike Mullen has warned his counterpart General Gabi Ashkenazi that Israeli actions are hurting the US posture throughout the Mideast region.

So who owns General Petraeus? At this point, maybe no one. If he does have political ambitions he is certainly smart enough to know that crossing the neocons and the Lobby would be suicidal as he would be subjected to a devastating media assault. But he is a smart man who understands that the relationship with Israel is a liability. If he were to become president would his better angel come to the fore? We can only hope.

The strange case of Doctor CIA and Mister ISI Faryal Leghari

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ANY guesses which intelligence agency is the most damned in the world today? The one that must bear the burden sitting heavy on every cumbersome moment of an indefatigable truth: that the US-led coalition is eons away from winning the war in Afghanistan.

The same that in partnership with the CIA and the Saudi Intelligence helped win the Afghan jihad and gave the Soviets that final push over the tottering edge of their crumbling edifice-the mighty USSR. As with the law of nature all good things come to an end and thus we reach the happily-ever-after end of the intelligence world’s shortest lived honeymoon for Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence agency. More reviled than the Soviet era KGB, the ISI is now the favourite whipping boy for every ill under the sun. From Secretary Clinton to Admiral Mike Mullen, everyone regularly raps it on the knuckles.

The US frustration is mounting by the day. Deeply ensnared in the morass in Afghanistan and clueless how to get out, it must blame somebody. So why not the Pakis? After all, aren’t they the troublemakers who break the bread with the Afghan insurgents telling them on how to launch offensives against the good ol’ coalition forces fighting the terrorists? Tell you what, not only are these treacherous sleuths indulging in a double game and ensuring the defeat of our forces, they are also harbouring the king of terrorists, yes, Osama bin Laden himself!

Wow, makes for an incredible storyline-but one that cannot help proclaim its grade B status. So if bin Laden is in Pakistan why are the US drones shying away from attacking his hideout? If these guys have “credible evidence” pointing to the ISI complicity in aiding the Afghans, why not sock one to ’em and pull their strings-yes, those green ones hopping a merry little dance. Dear, dear, the truth is that facts speak louder than rhetoric. The blame game is fine but don’t insult your audience’s intelligence, for God’s sake.

The icing on the cake comes in the form of the Afghan War Diary, a trove of dirty secrets divulged by the WikiLeaks that has earned a reputation of sorts with its history of exposes. Apart from the damning evidence against US policies and military strategy not to forget the mind-boggling array of nuggets about the role being played by Afghan government, its allied warlords and national security forces, we come to the parallel narrative about ISI. Before launching into a diatribe against the injustice of it all, let me reflect on the western media’s take on the issue. The New York Times and the London Times have expressed doubts over the veracity of the reports concerning ISI since much of this was provided by the Afghan intelligence.

I guess once you’ve belled the cat, it is best to leave the rest unsaid. But here’s my two-bit. The incredible charges against a former ISI chief General Hameed Gul deserve a good laugh. Yes, the gentleman appears regularly on the television and all but only someone with zero IQ can conjure such a fantastical scenario whereby the ISI is fielding its former chief to represent its interests and help Afghan insurgents launch offensives across the border!

If it wasn’t so pathetic, it would have made a great joke. It is no laughing matter though. The same ISI has paid with its blood as has every other wing of the Pakistan military in helping fight terrorism. It is not ISI that invited bin Laden to come with his comrades to Afghanistan. Rather it was the Americans who are to blame for allowing him to leave Sudan to move to Afghanistan. The past few years have brought Pakistan nothing but terror and huge loss of lives and property. That is something the US cannot compensate with a paltry $7.5 million aid package. So please give the ISI a break, any bomb blast in Kabul or gun battle in Mumbai is visited upon its head like a crown of thorns. It is preposterous and it is time this ridiculous charade ended.

Having contacts with key players in the Afghan insurgency is not a crime and does not mean these contacts are being helped with weapons, funds and logistics to fight the international forces. If blaming a former ISI chief for having past contacts is the criterion then what is next? Who will stop the architects of these malicious rumours from laying the blame at the door of Pakistan Army Chief General Ashfaq Pervaiz Kayani? After all, he was also a former ISI chief from 2004-2007. Does it make sense that a sitting army chief who has earned the respect of every military commander in the coalition, would allow Pakistan’s counterterrorism doctrine to be thus jeopardised? Pakistan is waging its toughest battle against home-grown militants who have used the Afghan card to proliferate and promote their own vested interests. The neighbourhood conflict and the presence of foreign forces is the main reason for the mushrooming of extremism and not vice versa. Anyone with the slightest intelligence should be able to discern the changed environment and the dynamics at play.

To win this war against terrorism, the insurgency must be wrenched away from its embrace with every option available. It should not be too bitter a pill for after all Washington is an old hand at making deals with the unlikeliest of partners. As for Pakistan, the US needs to stop playing coy. Either it should make a break or forge ahead with mutual trust and respect. Wars are not won when allies mistrust and berate each other at every given opportunity.

While US officials have denounced the WikiLeaks report and have assured that cooperation with partners will not be affected, questions are already being raised about the US policy towards Pakistan. This is why it is important for policy makers in Washington to decide on how to deal with Pakistan. The dual policy that has only created bad blood and affected US credibility needs a complete overhaul.

Human rights excesses in IHK highlighted in London

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London, Dr Angana Chatterji, co-convenor of the International Peoples Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Jammu and Kashmir narrated human rights excesses in Occupied Kashmir and called for improving the monitoring of humanitarian situation in the valley.

Dr Angana Chatterji, while addressing a composite gathering at Kashmir Centre London, said that the disturbing concept of zero tolerance for non-violent dissent evolved round fear, surveillance of the ordinary Kashmiri irrespective of age or gender, discipline and punishment.

This has proved to be a sustained and widespread offensive with mass and extra judicial killings in Kashmir by the military and paramilitary institutions as brought out in evidence in the report ‘Buried Evidence’ by the International People’s Tribunal on Human Rights and Justice in Indian administered Kashmir, she added.

Dr Chatterji reported that the disproportionate number of special forces in the occupied territory gave the impression that the armed forces were more powerful than the occupation authorities and that the reality in Kashmir was one of militarised controls and that Kashmir was not a dispute but a conflict zone.

She stressed the importance of cultivating alliances with credible institutions and organisations, adding these needed to be formed and developed as there was at present no monitoring was going on in Jammu and Kashmir, therefore, no sustained visibility.

Dr Chatterji emphasised that there needed to be a sustained outcry from the international media and that the international community needed to play a proactive role in establishing alliances with organisations, which were seen to be acceptable.

Representatives from Amnesty International, the Economist, Conciliation Resources, Asian Affairs and community activists also spoke on the occasion.

At the end, the Executive Director of Kashmir Centre London, Professor Nazir Ahmad Shawl presented his book ‘Speaking Silence’ to her.

Kashmir: India cliams that the original Article of Accession is now lost–as if it ever existed

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Zimbio

THE ORIGINAL DOCUMENT IS LOST? DID IT EVER EXIST? SERIOUS ISSUES ON TIMING AND DATES POINTED OUT BY WOLPERT AND LAMB

India is supposed to have an article of accession from Kashmir. Neither the UN nor Pakistan was ever presented with the document. There is a charge that Lord Radcliff was given a bribe of 6 corore Rupees by the Indian National Congress supporters to unfairly/”illegally” award Ferozepur and Gurdaspur to India. Ferozepur was the only arsenal that was supposed to be given to Pakistan. Gurdaspur was a Muslim majority area and was awarded to India.

Kashmir article of accession was never presented to Pakistan or the UN. It has now been lost, if it ever existed. Even the forged copy has problems with dates

The boundary line was along the river and Radcliff unnaturally digressed it away from the river to give away Gurdaspur (the only link of India to Kashmir) to India. The implication of the loss of Ferozepur to India was not only traumatic in human terms, but it was devastating to Pakistan in military terms. The reality behind the conspiracy to award Gurdaspur became evident a year later when Indian troops arrived in Srinagar and then Hari Sing signed over the article of accession to India. The article of accession was never presented to the UN, and according to Alister Lamb has serious discrepancies about dates. The original article of accession has since been lost, if it ever existed.

“Alastair Lamb, ‘Incomplete Partition’ (OUP, 1998) comes to the conclusion that the instrument of accession was not signed on the date claimed by the Indian government to legitimise its sending of troops into Kashmir. American scholar Stanley Wolpert relates the accession story in his 1996 book, ‘Nehru: A tryst with Destiny’, basing it on the lack of concordance between versions of the accession.

Wolpert writes that Menon returned from Srinagar on 26 October ‘with no Instrument of Accession’ to report on the perilous condition in Kashmir to the Defence Committee. Only after Mountbatten had allowed the airlift of Indian troops on 27 October, did Menon and Mahajan set out for Jammu ‘to get the Instrument of Accession’. The Maharaja signed the Instrument after the Indian troops had assumed control of the state of Jammu and Kashmir’s summer capital, Srinagar.

If Wolpert’s version is accepted then the ‘conspiracy’ of legalising the airlift becomes acceptable. Lamb thinks that it is possible that ‘certainly Menon, perhaps Mountbatten, perhaps Nehru and perhaps Patel’ were involved in this conspiracy. Lamb also claims that the document of accession does not exist.”

The world has not seen the original. So it does not exist!

Continent of Dinia and dependencies Ch. Rehmat Ali Big map. The Muslim homeland that was part of the struggle for independence

Maps showing Azad Kashmir

Occupied Jammu and Kashmiris want to sell their produce in Azad Kashmir. Northern Areas are not part of Kashmir and Azad Kashmir

Maps showing Northern areas and Karakoram Highway route


Road map of Karakoram Highway

According to Alister Lamb a noted historian of Kashmir, the actions of India have cast several doubts on the article of accession. The events as noted by several Indian historians do not make sense. Recently both the timing of the event as well as the intentions of the Indian National Congress have come under close scrutiny. India’s claim to accession is in dispute. The U.N. recognized the dispute, and treats Kashmir as disputed territory between India and Pakistan.

NORTHERN AREAS WERE INDEPENDENT AND NEVER PART OF INDIAN OCCUPIED KASHMIR.

According to Alister Lamb, the Northern Areas rose up in revolt against the Dogra rule before the annexation that supposedly was signed between the Dogras and India. This makes them independent of the rest of Kashmir and the accession document does not apply to them. The article of accession was never given to Pakistan or the United Nations. India now claims that the “article of accession” is lost if it ever existed. There are several errors in the published version of the article of accession. The dates do not match and show that the Indian forces had moved into Srinagar before the article had been “signed”.

Here is an excerpt from Alastair Lamb’s book Kashmir… A Disputed Legacy. (Capitalization emphasis is mine)

MAHAJAN’S NARRATIVE ALSO CONTAINS THE FASCINATING SUGGESTION THAT THE FIRST INDIAN TROOPS WERE LANDING AT SRINAGAR AIRFIELD BEFORE THE PROCESS OF ACCESSION HAD BEEN COMPLETED.

If so, then the intervention of the Indian Army in the Kashmir dispute could well be another of those episodes, of which Pearl Harbour is the supreme example, where the military course of events resulted in the opening act of war taking place before the politicians and diplomats were able to organize its formal legitimisation.

Even more intriguing, in this context, is the fact that Indian troops arriving at Srinagar airport on 27 Oct. 1947 found other Indian troops, in the shape of Patiala men, already established there and elsewhere in the State.

The Patiala forces had arrived, it seems, on about 17 Oct. 1947, that is to say before the tribal crossing of the bridge at Domel on 22 Oct.

These two questions, the timing of the precise moment of accessionand the date of the arrival of the Patiala men, have for some reason not been touched upon by the Pakistani side in the Kashmir debate over all these years; and, not surprisingly, the Indian side has not gone out of its way to draw attention to the matter.

The chronology and interpretation of the events leading up to accession which have been set out in Chapter 7 above lead to a number of conclusions which certainly differ from the received opinion, at least as interpreted by Indian diplomats. We will confine ourselves here to two issues, the status of Azad Kashmir and the question of who were the “aggressors” in those crucial days from 21 to 27 Oct. 1947.

On 15 Aug. 1947 the State of Jammu and Kashmir became to all intents and purposes an independent state.

There is no other possible interpretation of the lapse of Paramountcy. On 24 Oct. 1947 the independence of the State of Azad Kashmir was declared, relating to the territory mainly in the old Poonch jagir in which the control of the Maharaja, apart from Poonch city itself, had completely disappeared. Azad Kashmir’s first president, Sardar Mohammed Ibrahim Khan, as an elected member of the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Assembly for a constituency in Poonch, could certainly be said to enjoy some measure of popular mandate, as least as much as the later claimed for Sheikh Abdullah.

On 26 or 27 Oct. 1947 the Maharaja formally acceded to India. Did he bring, even in theory, Azad Kashmir with him? This is certainly an interesting question which ought to occupy the minds of international lawyers.

Map of Occupied Kashmir

Ladakh has a Muslim majority map. Kashmir valley map

All areas of Kashmir

Gilgit:The fourth distinct in the region is Gilgit which is known as Dardistan. The region includes the tributory states of Hunza, Nagar, Chilas, Punial, Ishkuman, Kuh and Ghizar. The people belong to the Dardic race and are closely connected with Chitralis in race, culture and language. They are mostly followers of Ismaili sect headed by the Agha Khan (Muslims). This region was conquered by Maharaja Gulab Singh’s son, Maharaja Ranbir Singh between 1846 and 1860. Thousands of Dogra soldiers lost their lives in the campaigns that led to the conquest of this inhospitable but strategically very important region. The whole Dardistan including Gilgit has been merged with Pakistan and is governed by the Pakistani Central Government. This area has not been included even in the so called “Azad-Kashmir” (literally means Free/Liberated Kashmir. That is what the Pakistanis call the portion of Kashmirunder their occupation).

This was the Pakistan that the Muslims of the Subcontinent asked for

Pakistani President General Zia-ul-Haq had declared that these territories which includes the Silk Route that connects Pakistan to China, might have once been part of Jammu and Kashmir, but now they are a part of Pakistan. The Northern areas, which include Dardistan and Baltistan, have already been integrated fully with Pakistan. In a quiet behind the scene announcement the Pakistani Ministry of Kashmiri Affairs and Northern Areas has divided these areas into five civil districts – Gilgit, Skardu, Chilas, Gohkoch and Khalpo. The administration of these districts is under Pakistan’s direct control and now Pakistan’s laws are applicable.

Northern Areas are part of Pakistan and never were part of Dogra or Indian Occupied Kashmir

Northern Areas:

Map of Pakistani Azad Kashmir, Pakistani Northern Areas and Indian occupied Kashmir


Junagarh remains Pakistani territory

Junagarh and Manavdar are also Pakistani territory.

The Northern areas are NOT part of Kashmir and it was wrong of General Pervez Musharraf to concede that the fate of the Northern Areas was up for grabs. If Kashmir is our “shehrug” then the Northern Areas are our lifeline to China.

Siachen: Red Lines mark the Pakistani positions on Siacehn. In the 80s the Siachin Glacier was under Pakisani control.


Siachin map

The Article of Accession that supposedly exists, does not have a physical parameter. It was never presented to Pakistan and it was never presented to the United Nations. The paper now shown to the world does not stand the scrutiny of historian. The “original date” of this so called paper was listed as “August” which casts further doubt on the document.

“Whereas the Indian Independence Act, 1947, provides that as from the fifteenth day of August, 1947, there shall be set up an Independent Dominion known as India, and that the Government of India Act, 1935 shall, with such omission, additions, adaptations and modifications as the governor-general may by order specify, be applicable to the Dominion of India.

And whereas the Government of India Act 1935, as so adapted by the governor-general, provides that an Indian State may accede to the Dominion of India by an Instrument of Accession executed by the Ruler thereof.

Now, therefore, I Shriman Inder Mahander Rajrajeswar Maharajadhiraj Shri Hari Singhji, Jammu and KashmirNaresh Tatha Tibbetadi Deshadhipathi, Ruler of Jammu and Kashmir (princely state), in the exercise of my sovereignty in and over my said State do hereby execute this my Instrument of Accession and I hereby declare that I accede to the Dominion of India with the intent that the governor-general of India, the Dominion Legislature, the Federal Court and any other Dominion authority established for the purposes of the Dominion shall, by virtue of this my Instrument of Accession but subject always to the terms thereof, and for the purposes only of the Dominion, exercise in relation to the State of Jammu and Kashmir (hereinafter referred to as “this State”) such functions as may be vested in them by or under the Government of India Act, 1935, as in force in the Dominion of India, on the 15th day of August, 1947, (which Act as so in force is hereafter referred to as “the Act”) .” Wikipedia

Afghan Leak Comes With Hot Air

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– British newspaper says that info in leaked files, fail to provide a convincing smoking gun for ISI complicity
-Proves most of the reports are vague, filled with incongruent detail, or crudely fabricated

By Makhdoom Babar in Islamabad & Cherry Ferguson in London

British newspaper The Guardian’s report with regard to the leak of Intelligence files in the US, describing Pakistan’s ISI being hand in glove with Taliban or warlords in Afghanistan proves that the info in the leaked files were not credible and is based in unreliable sources with no evidence available to make the info authentic.

The Guardian report, rejecting the info in the leaked files says “They also link the ISI to some of the war’s most notorious commanders. In April 2007 for instance, the ISI is alleged to have sent 1,000 motorbikes to the warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani for suicide attacks in Khost and Logar provinces. But for all their eye-popping details, the intelligence files, which are mostly collated by junior officers relying on informants and Afghan officials, fail to provide a convincing smoking gun for ISI complicity. Most of the reports are vague, filled with incongruent detail, or crudely fabricated. The same characters – famous Taliban commanders, well-known ISI officials – and scenarios repeatedly pop up. And few of the events predicted in the reports subsequently occurred.”

The Guradian report further says “A retired senior American officer said ground-level reports were considered to be a mixture of “rumours, bullshit and second-hand information” and were weeded out as they passed up the chain of command. “As someone who had to sift through thousands of these reports, I can say that the chances of finding any real information are pretty slim,” said the officer, who has years of experience in the region.

If anything, the jumble of allegations highlights the perils of collecting accurate intelligence in a complex arena where all sides have an interest in distorting the truth.

ISI terms accusations malicious

US condemns leaks; praises Pak anti-terror effort

ISLAMABAD-Pakistan’s premier spy agency on Monday lashed out against a trove of leaked U.S. intelligence reports that alleged close connections between it and Taliban militants fighting NATO troops in Afghanistan, calling the accusations malicious and unsubstantiated.
Pakistan on Monday rejected a WikiLeaks report that Islamabad has aided the Taliban in spreading the insurgency in Afghanistan and links of its Inteligence agencies with the Taliban as ‘baselss’ and ‘unsubstantiated information.’ While the National Security Department and senior army officials have also declared the report as ‘malicious propaganda’ and ‘devoid of ground realities’.
The online whistle-blower WikiLeaks on Sunday published a record of 92,000 secret documents on the Afghanistan war dating from 2004 to 2009, providing details, among other things, of Pakistan’s support for the Taliban.
The documents revealed that US ally Pakistan would allow its spy service to collaborate with the Taliban and meet them in secret ‘to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan.’ Foreign office spokesman Abdul Basit talking to media said that Wikileaks report is nowhere near to the truth and with this report nothing new has come forward and in fact shows that writers of such reports have no understanding of the issues. He said that Pakistan’s role in stability and peace in Afghanistan cannot be negated through such reports.
In this regard when National Security departments and senior army officials were contacted they were of the stance that if ISI has links with Taliban than why scores of soldiers and men of the ISI and the Pakistani army have sacrificed their lives to win this war.
He said we are practically playing the role of front line state in the war against terror and not only the armed forces but the people of this country are also sacrificing their lives to fight terrorism. They said that western media always attempts to malign the working of Pakistani institutions. While US and allies of Pakistan is not only well aware of Pakistan’s army role in war against terror but highly praise the successes and role of Pakistan.
The secret US military records about the war in Afghanistan were leaked to the media by the WikiLeaks website, and published by the New York Times, British daily the Guardian and German weekly Der Spiegel.-Agencies

WASHINGTON-The United States has strongly condemned the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which, according to an American newspaper account, allege a linkage between the Afghan insurgency and Pakistani intelligence. Reacting to release of the documents by Wikileaks web organization, President Obama’s National Security Advisor James Jones praised the hard won Pakistani gains against Taliban over the last year and reaffirmed close strategic partnership with the ally. He said the “irresponsible” leaks “could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security” but these would not impact the ongoing U.S. commitment to deepen partnership with Pakistan to defeat common enemies.
Jones pointed out that the documents posted by the organization and quoted by The New York Times Sunday, “reportedly cover a period of time from January 2004 to December 2009.” He reminded the critics that “since 2009, the United States and Pakistan have deepened our important bilateral partnership.”
The former US commander recalled that on December 1, 2009, President Obama announced a new strategy with a substantial increase in resources for Afghanistan, and increased focus on al Qaeda and Taliban safe-havens in Pakistan, precisely because of the grave situation that had developed over several years.
“Counter-terrorism cooperation has led to significant blows against al Qaeda’s leadership.The Pakistani military has gone on the offensive in Swat and South Waziristan, at great cost to the Pakistani military and people,” the former Marines general said in a White House statement.
Wikileaks, he said, made no effort to contact the U.S. government about these documents. “The United States government learned from news organizations that these documents would be posted. These irresponsible leaks will not impact our ongoing commitment to deepen our partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan; to defeat our common enemies; and to support the aspirations of the Afghan and Pakistani people.”
Stressing on close cooperative ties between the United States and Pakistan, he said the two countries have also commenced a Strategic Dialogue, which has expanded cooperation on issues ranging from security to economic development.
Pakistan and Afghanistan have also improved their bilateral ties, most recently through the completion of a Transit-Trade Agreement, he noted. “Yet the Pakistani government and Pakistan’s military and intelligence services must continue their strategic shift against insurgent groups,” he said in the statement. “The balance must shift decisively against al Qaeda and its extremist allies. U.S. support for Pakistan will continue to be focused on building Pakistani capacity to root out violent extremist groups, while supporting the aspirations of the Pakistani people.”
The Obama Administration’s shift in strategy, he said, has addressed challenges in Afghanistan that were the subject of an exhaustive policy review last fall.-Agencies

“The fog of war is particularly dense in Afghanistan,” said Michael Semple, a former deputy head of the EU mission there. “A barrage of false information is being passed off as intelligence and anyone who wants to operate there needs to be able to sift through it. The opportunities to be misled are innumerable.”
The Guardian report further says, “Many of the 180 reports appear to betray as much about the motivation of the sources than those of the alleged foreign puppet-masters. Some US officers were aware of this. One report from 2006 notes that an informant “divulges information for monetary remuneration and likely fabricated or exaggerated the above report for just that reason”.

Some of the most striking claims come from the National Directorate of Security, Afghanistan’s foremost spy agency and a bitter rival to the ISI.
In July and August 2008 the NDS passed information to the US that three Pakistan-trained militants plotting to kill Karzai had been groomed by a named ISI officer and had trained at the Zarb Momen camp outside Karachi. The attackers were Palestinian and Arab, the report said, and intended to strike during a visit by Karzai to a Kabul mosque or the luxury Serena hotel.

But the report’s strong assertions fade under retrospective scrutiny. The predicted assault on Karzai never took place (the last reported attempt was in April 2008, four months earlier), and there is no known militant camp called Zarb Momen in Karachi, a city with hundreds of hardline madrasas. The al-Rashid Trust, a charity with militant links, publishes a magazine by the same name, said Amir Rana, an Islamabad-based militancy expert.

Agencies add: Senator John Kerry, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has said the documents released by WikiLeaks raised serious issues about the U.S.’s handling of the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan. Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.” The Washington Post newspaper notes how WikiLeaks’ decision to let The New York Times and two European news outlets have access to the classified reports “reflects the growing strength and sophistication of the small nonprofit Web site.”

Don’t blame Pakistan for failure of the war: Imran Khan

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Associated Press of Pakistan

LONDON, Chairman, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan in his article appearing in the British daily ‘The Times’ has called on political leaders in the US and UK to realise that people in the streets of New York and London are not threatened by the people in the mountains of Afghanistan and Pakistan but by the growing radicalisation of their own marginalised Muslim youth. Khan noted that there is no danger of Talibanisation in Pakistan but there is a very real threat of chaos and radicalisation, especially of the youth.

Speaking about the conflict in Afghanistan, Khan wrote: “There is only one solution to this chaos. This is to implement an immediate ceasefire and commence talks with all militant groups in Afghanistan.

Either America leaves or Pakistan withdraws from this war.”

He goes to say: “The US should not worry about Pakistan. Once the bombing stops, it will no longer be jihad and the suicide attacks will immediately subside. About 18 months ago the former head of the CIA’s Kabul station, Graham Fuller, wrote in the International Herald Tribune that once the US leaves the region Pakistan will be stable.”

According to him ‘there is now a general recognition that the war in Afghanistan cannot be won militarily. All the Taliban have to do to win is not to lose. The Americans won’t stay and everybody knows that.

‘The focus has come to rest on the inevitable need to talk with all militant groups in Afghanistan. While most important players are ready to talk peace, the US remains confused and has still to straighten out its policy. This confusion is once again taking its toll, especially on Pakistan.

‘As the US and Nato realise the failure of their military policy in Afghanistan, they are seeking to shift the centre of gravity of the war into the north west of Pakistan, the region known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). One of the fears raised in the West at the prospect of withdrawing troops from Afghanistan is that it will lead to a Taliban- controlled nuclear Pakistan. That fear betrays a total ignorance about the evolution of the Taliban movement as well as the impact of the War on Terror on Pakistan.

‘Remember, there was no Pakistani involvement in 9/11. Nor throughout the period of the Taliban regime in Kabul was there Talibanisation in Pakistan.

When the Americans were drawing up their military response to the 9/11 attacks, they drew up a list of seven conditions for Pakistan to meet to attract US support. The assumption was that ex-President General (retd) Pervez Musharraf, might agree to three or four. Instead he unilaterally signed up for the lot. These conditions were a total violation of the human rights of the people of Pakistan and the sovereignty of the country.

About suicide bombing, he wrote :’We never had suicide bombings in our history until 2004. Now we have 30 to 40 deaths a day from shells or bombings and the suicide attacks continue to increase. While we have received about $15 billion in aid from the US, our own economy has lost about $50 billion.

We have borrowed a record amount of money from the International Monetary Fund, which was only given to us because of our role in the war, not because we could afford to pay it back. Our social and economic fabric is being destroyed because of the conditions that the IMF has imposed.

Furthermore, Imran Khan mentioned about US failure to take advantage of the situation in the post 2001 situation.

‘It is unfortunate that the US was unable to use the window of opportunity that it had in the immediate aftermath of the removal of the Taliban Government in late 2001. It could have brought in a truly broad-based Afghan government and invested in the development of the country. Instead, it continued its military actions and brought corrupt and criminal elements into power in Kabul.

Huge leak of secret files sows new Afghan war doubts

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WASHINGTON – The leak of 90,000 secret military files has emboldened critics of the war in Afghanistan, who raised fresh questions Tuesday about the viability of the increasingly unpopular US-led campaign.

The New York Times said in an editorial Tuesday the documents made public by the website WikiLeaks “confirm a picture of Pakistani double-dealing that has been building for years.”

The Times said President Barack Obama will have to deal firmly with Islamabad in response to the most controversial files, which indicate that key ally Pakistan allows its spies to meet directly with the Taliban.

“If Mr Obama cannot persuade Islamabad to cut its ties to, and then aggressively fight, the extremists in Pakistan, there is no hope of defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan,” wrote the daily.

Americans are increasingly weary of this costly war,” wrote the Times, one of three media organizations, along with German magazine Der Spiegel and Britain’s Guardian, to have received the documents weeks ago from WikiLeaks.

Some members of Congress questioned Obama’s Afghanistan strategy, as well as an as-yet unpassed 37-billion dollar funding bill for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, following the leaks.

Democratic Senator Russell Feingold said the disclosures “make it clear that there is no military solution in Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, Democratic Representative Jane Harman, who chairs a Homeland Security intelligence subcommittee, said the documents “reinforce the view that the war in Afghanistan is not going well.”

The 92,000 documents released Sunday, dating from 2004 to 2009, triggered an outcry from nations fighting in Afghanistan as the Pentagon scrambled to uncover the source of the security breach and whether it would endanger lives.

US experts were working to see if the huge cache “could jeopardize force protection or operational security, or even worse still, the national security of this country,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told Fox News.

In addition to the Pakistan allegations, the leaked files maintain that the deaths of innocent civilians have been covered up, and that Iran is funding Taliban militants eight years after the 2001 US-led invasion ousted the radical Islamic regime from power.

The bombshell revelations triggered outrage, with a top NATO general calling for increased vigilance against such leaks as the White House slammed them as “irresponsible.”

The coalition needed to be aware that some “documents are pushed out into the open via leaks, but that obliges us even more to work with the greatest care,” said General Egon Ramms, who is in charge of NATO forces in Afghanistan.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs warned that the leaks had put the names of service personnel and military operations in the public domain, but played down the likely strategic and political impact.

“In terms of broad revelations, there aren’t any that we see in these documents,” Gibbs said, pointing out that most of the period covered by the leaks was during the previous Bush administration.

Britain, which has some 9,500 troops in Afghanistan, said Monday it regretted the leak while Pakistan has said the reports were “skewed” and not based on the reality on the ground.

In Berlin, a defense ministry spokesman said releasing the documents “could affect the national security of NATO allies and the whole NATO mission.”

But WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defended the decision to publish the leaked files, saying they showed “thousands” of war crimes may have been committed in Afghanistan.