Rohit Kumar's Views

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Tony Blair’s Legacy of Deception

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Pakistan Daily

He’s got the smirking grin of a politician who knows that he got away with his crimes. He escaped responsibility for his political murders and the full brunt of moral outrage for the wasteful public sacrifice on his behalf.

I can see it in his eyes. They don’t know half the truth. They don’t know they’re asking the wrong questions. I’m scott free.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair got a second grilling in London last week over his decision to force Britain into the Iraq War, though U.N. weapons inspectors had uncovered no caches of illegal weapons to justify the invasion. Iraq was already broken by United Nations sanctions and had no capacity for self defense at all.

In the aftermath of sectarian strife and daily bombings, Blair’s delusion of nation-building has collapsed. Not so his preening moral rectitude to justify the War.

That smirk tells it all. Blair knows his legacy of public deception has prevailed.

Until now.

What the British people don’t realize is that up to this point, while Blair’s government fabricated nonsense stories of Pre-War Intelligence and phony moral arguments, intelligence Assets involved in Pre-War Iraq have been locked up in prison or otherwise silenced by phony indictments that functioned as a gag on political discourse. So much for the moral courage of Washington’s favorite puppy dog.

I myself covered the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations in New York from August, 1996 until March, 2003. A few weeks after requesting to testify before Congress about a comprehensive peace framework that would have fulfilled all U.S. and British objectives without killing a single Iraqi child, I got indicted as an “Iraqi Agent” in “conspiracy with the Iraqi Intelligence Service.”

I got hit with all the bells and whistles of the Patriot Act- secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony. My demands for a trial were blocked to protect the government. Instead, I “disappeared” into prison on Carswell Air Force Base in Texas for 11 months, where I faced threats of indefinite detention up to 10 years without a trial. Actually that proved to be the least of my worries. In prison, I had to fight off a Justice Department demand to forcibly drug me with Haldol-a rhinoceros tranquilizer that imitates the effects of Parkinson’s Disease-so that I could be “cured” of knowing the unhappy truth about the Iraqi Peace Option and Iraq’s substantial contributions to the 9/11 investigation.

Making matters worse, my team had delivered advance warnings about the 9/11 attack to U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft’s private staff and the Office of Counter Terrorism in August, 2001. I was definitely persona non grata at the White House and 10 Downing Street.

My indictment continued five years. It ended five days before the inauguration of President Obama. Those five years gave pro-war leaders in Washington and London ample time and free rein to invent a totally fictitious story about Iraq and anti-terrorism that beefed up their personas in the corporate media.

I watched it all on prison television at Carswell Air Force Base. And I watched it again when Blair testified last week. In the absence of public knowledge, Blair has manipulated silence and secrecy to his own advantage. He has abused security classifications to obfuscate his weakness and policy mistakes. And Blair’s government has continued to promote policies that have caused grave harm to global security, and perhaps most ironically, the War on Terrorism.

Unhappily for Blair’s legacy of deception, today Assets are free from prison and false indictment. Now it is our day to defend the public’s right to disclosure and accountability.

And so I challenge the British Government to summon Blair back to face the Inquiry. Only this time the British people should ask Blair about the comprehensive peace framework negotiated by the CIA in the two years before the War.

Oh never fear. MI-6 tracked our back channel talks exhaustively, even appearing at restaurants in New York at lunches with senior diplomats on the Security Council. British Intelligence had full knowledge of the Peace Option. Blair’s top intelligence staff understood that every single objective demanded by Washington and London could be achieved through peaceful means.

That included major oil contracts for the United States, and a package of highly innovative democratic reforms proposed by Baghdad to guarantee the successful repatriation of Iraqi Exiles and international election monitoring. Iraq also offered major reconstruction contracts for U.S (and British) corporations in any post-sanctions period. Iraq promised massive engineering contracts, translating to thousands of jobs and billions in revenues for any U.S. (or British) corporation that helped rebuild Iraqi infrastructure after sanctions.

Everything the U.S and Britain wanted was free for the taking. No blood had to be spilt. And this was no last ditch appeal for peace. It was a rock solid framework, with careful attention to all potential flash points for future conflict identified by the CIA. The truth is not remotely similar to what the international community has been told.

Once the British people understand the right line of questions, let us start again- with the truth this time. For the sake of historical integrity, Tony Blair should face the people to answer questions that would have been asked if Assets like myself had not been locked in prison to protect pro-War leaders in Washington and London. If Tony Blair deceives the British people in this next round of questioning, let him face criminal prosecution for perjury and obstruction of justice, like any other British citizen who lies under oath.

For that matter, I am prepared to stand before Parliament myself-as one of the very few Assets covering Iraq before the War. I am ready to look the people in the eye, and raise my hand to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Assets are primary sources of intelligence, in direct contact with people and events after all. As it stands, for all the tens of thousands of pounds financing this inquiry, the British people don’t know anything. Why not ask those of us who do?

That would wipe the smirk off Tony Blair’s face. Because now Assets are free from prison and phony indictments. And Tony Blair’s legacy of deception is finished.

Susan Lindauer covered the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations for seven years before the invasion.

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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.

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.

‘McChrystal downbeat on Afghan war before sacking’

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LONDON – US General Stanley McChrystal issued a highly critical assessment of the war in Afghanistan just days before he was sacked by President Barack Obama, a British newspaper reported Sunday.


File photo of former US commander in Afghanistan General Stanley McChrystal. McChrystal issued a highly …

The Independent on Sunday said leaked military documents showed McChrystal had briefed defence ministers from the countries involved in the war earlier this month and warned them to expect no progress in the next six months.

McChrystal was forced to step down as commander of the NATO-led force in Afghanistan due to disparaging remarks about administration officials, including Obama, in an explosive Rolling Stone magazine article.

But the newspaper suggested the article was only one reason why the general quit, saying his candour about the reality of the situation in Afghanistan was an obstacle to plans for an early US withdrawal.

“Stan argued for time, and would not compromise. Rolling Stone provided an excuse for Obama to fire the opposition to his plan without having to win an intellectual argument,” it quoted an unnamed senior military source as saying.

According to the paper, McChrystal had said corruption and security remained serious issues as foreign forces battled a “resilient and growing insurgency”.

He said the Afghan security forces were “critically short on trainers — the essential resource required for quality”, while the Afghan government had little control over the country.

Qaeda threat from Pakistan, Afghanistan has reduced: UK

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* British PM says more British soldiers could die still
* Afghan insurgency needs political, not just military solution

LONDON: British Prime Minister David Cameron on Monday said the threat from al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan had reduced, but progress could still be undone and warned more British troops would be killed in Afghanistan.

Reporting to the British parliament after his first trip to Afghanistan, Cameron said although combined efforts of international and Afghan forces and of Pakistani forces on the other side of the border had led to significant progress, “political surge” was needed in the country.

“Today I am advised that the threat from al Qaeda from Afghanistan and Pakistan has reduced,” he said.

“But I am also advised that if it were not for the current presence of United Kingdom (UK) and international forces, al Qaeda would return to Afghanistan and the threat to the UK would rise,” he said.

Cameron highlighted progress in boosting the Afghan National Army, telling legislators that 17,000 new recruits had joined the ranks in six months until March 2010, an increase of almost 20 percent.

However, he said the Afghan police were assessed to be ineffective or barely able to operate in six of the 13 provinces covered by US General Stanley McChrystal’s strategic plan for Afghanistan.

Cameron stressed that efforts to bolster Afghanistan’s own security forces were crucial to the international coalition’s overall strategy, along with military efforts to oust Taliban fighters from villages and towns.

Military action: He said there would be no solution to the Afghan conflict by military means alone.

“Insurgencies usually end with political settlements, not military victories, and that is why I have always said that we need a political surge to accompany the military one,” he said.

Getting individual Taliban fighters to put down their weapons was a first step, Cameron said, but long-term stability depended on a wider reconciliation process.

He said he had agreed on this with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who plans to reach out to insurgents to try to bring an end to the conflict, during his visit last week. Cameron said he would double the operational allowance British soldiers received while on active service in the country.

Kashmir is a political issue and should be resolved politically

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LONDON, A crippling strike on occasion of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Occupied Kashmir has once again proved that New Delhi’s policy of ruthless terror has totally alienated Kashmiris from India.This was stated by senior President Tehreek-e-Kashmir UK, Chaudhry Mohammad Sharif while commenting on historic strike called by key Kashmiri leader Syed Ali Geelani on occasion of two day visit of Indian Prime Minister to Kashmir.

“By observing a successful strike across the Kashmir, freedom loving people of Kashmir have conveyed a message to the world that they no more want to accept India’s military
occupation of Kashmir. India should read writing on the wall and let the people of Kashmir to decide their future with free will”, Sharif said in a statement issued last night.

Kashmiris, he said, want a lasting peaceful settlement of disputed territory but India is adamant to resolve the problem through military means.

“The Indian policy of repression and deception has brought nothing for India but more hate and detestation among the masses in Kashmir,” Sharif said and added it is in the best interest of India to shun the policy of terrorism and resolve the issue through meaningful negotiation.

He said Kashmiri people from both sides of cease fire and all over the world are determined to continue their struggle till they achieve their inalienable right to self determination.
They cannot trust Indian promises as India has history to deviate from its commitments and promises made with the people of Kashmir.

Sharif urged India to demilitarize Kashmir, abolish draconian laws, release all political prisoners and stop violation of human rights in held territory. He also urged international community to take serious notice of rights violation in Kashmir and initiate trial against Indian forces for committing war crimes in Kashmir.

Meanwhile, Director, Kashmir Centre London, Nazir Ahmed Shawl also asked the Indian Prime Minister to honour the commitment of India’s founding fathers in relation to Kashmir.
He said the common Kashmiri is asking the government of India to respect their desire for choosing their political destiny by exercising their right to self determination.

He referred to the letter from the Indian Government to UN on December 31,1947, which stated:

“The people of Kashmir would be free to decide their future by the recognised democratic method of plebiscite or referendum, which in order to ensure complete impartiality may be held under international auspices.”

Shawl noted that Kashmir at this time is reverberating with the solitary sentiment of freedom and the Indian Prime Minister should read the writing on the wall and demonstrate the requisite political will to fulfil the commitments and promises of India’s founding fathers made to Kashmiris from time to time.