Posts Tagged ‘pakistan’

Remembering Richard Holbrooke’s Overlooked Diplomatic Record in East Timor, Iraq, and Balkans

December 16, 2010 Leave a comment

Mosaic News 12/14/10: World News From The Middle East

December 14, 2010 Leave a comment

TomDispatch – Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto, The War Against Pakistan

December 9, 2010 Leave a comment

From TomDispatch:

Recent Posts

Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto, The War Against Pakistan
Posted at 9:49AM on December 09, 2010.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, Epitaph from the Imperial Graveyard
Posted at 10:21AM on December 07, 2010.

Tomgram: Alfred McCoy, Taking Down America
Posted at 5:11PM on December 05, 2010.

Tomgram: Andy Kroll, How the Oligarchs Took America
Posted at 10:00AM on December 02, 2010.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, The United States of Fear
Posted at 10:10AM on November 30, 2010.

Tomgram: Engelhardt, General Petraeus’s Two Campaigns
Posted at 3:30PM on November 23, 2010.

Tomgram: David Swanson, All War All the Time
Posted at 4:40PM on November 21, 2010.

See the Archive »

Tomgram: Fatima Bhutto, The War Against Pakistan

December 9, 2010

I mean, you couldn’t make this stuff up.  In fact, if I were to offer a conspiracy theory to explain it, I might suggest that the U.S. government now exists mainly to feed material to The Daily Show.  I’m referring to  an article in the New York Times reporting that “the Obama administration and the Department of Defense have ordered the hundreds of thousands of federal employees and contractors not to view the secret cables and other classified documents published by Wikileaks and news organizations around the world unless the workers have the required security clearance or authorization.”

Don’t laugh.  No, really, stop it!

Honestly, it’s perfectly sensible.  Secrecy being such an  all-encompassing value for our government, why shouldn’t its employees work in the dark, even when the rest of us, the rest of the world, knows what’s going on.  Fortunately, I’m not an employee of the U.S. government or its military-industrial contractors; so, though  Raytheon, the  Library of Congress, and other places have been thoughtful enough to try to minimize the pain of the ongoing Wikileaks dump of State Department documents by blocking people from reading them, and the Obama administration and assorted Internet crews, including  Amazon and  PayPal, are trying to ensure that there won’t be a fourth, fifth, or sixth round of dumps, I’ve been wandering the Web like any 12-year-old reading around.

You want to know what struck me?  Something small.  And it happened in Yemen, that anything-goes country whose president Ali Abdullah Saleh gave Washington almost carte blanche to act militarily — “an open door on terrorism,” as he  put it to Obama’s Deputy National Security Adviser John Brennan in September 2009 (according to one of the State Department documents Wikileaks released).  More like an open bomb bay, actually.  And Saleh was even eager to take credit for those bombs we were dropping.  “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” he told then-Centcom commander General David Petraeus last January.

In return for the right to drop bombs and launch missiles, the Yemeni president got his own “open door” — directly into the U.S. Treasury: tons of money (it’s euphemistically called “aid”) shoveled his way, U.S. trainers and training for his troops, and lots of fancy military equipment because, let’s face it, Washington is still laboring in a coalition-of-the-billing, not a coalition-of-the-willing world.  Still, even for Saleh, there were limits and — it’s so Washington 2010 of us — we nonetheless tried to exceed them.  According to  that State Department document, Petraeus evidently wanted to get U.S. troops — probably Special Operations forces — on the ground in combat areas with Yemeni units.  According to a State Department observer, “Saleh reacted coolly, however, to the General’s proposal to place USG [U.S. Government] personnel inside the area of operations armed with real-time, direct feed intelligence from U.S. ISR [Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance] platforms overhead.”

In other words, anywhere we have a foot in the door of war, the next thing you know we’re trying to slip a (uniformed) body through it as well.  That catches  the American way of war these days and helps explain why we always seem to end up more, not less involved, in conflict in distant lands.  Among the places where the U.S. offers big dollars for the right to blast the hell out of things, Yemen is actually a Johnny-come-lately.  Only recently have American officials made Sana’a, its capital, a Club Med for recreational bombing.

On the other hand, ever since Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage marched into the office of Pakistani autocrat General Pervez Musharraf soon after the 9/11 attacks and reportedly told him that the U.S. would bomb his country “back to the Stone Age” unless he joined the fight against al-Qaeda, that country has been a magnet for Washington’s top brass, military and civilian.  Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen had visited  16 times by early 2010 and sometimes there seems to be a greater density of American officials, wheedling, bribing, threatening, cajoling, and maneuvering in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, than in Washington itself.  Meanwhile, the CIA’s drones have been attacking Pakistani territory, its helicopters crossing the border shooting, its Special Operations troops on the ground, and the CIA swarming, as Washington acts with relative impunity in that land.

Fatima Bhutto, whose father, a member of Pakistan’s parliament, was killed by the police in 1996 during the premiership of his sister, Benazir Bhutto, offers an insider’s vision of just what impunity means in the Pakistani context.  She has recently written a stirring memoir, an epic search for the truth behind her father’s life and death,  Songs of Blood and Sword.  Tom

A Flood of Drone Strikes
What the Wikileaks Revelations Tell Us About How Washington Runs Pakistan

By  Fatima Bhutto

With governments like Pakistan’s current regime, who needs the strong arm of the CIA? According to Bob Woodward’s latest bestseller Obama’s Wars, when Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari, an obsequiously dangerous man, was notified that the CIA would be launching missile strikes from drones over his country’s sovereign territory, he replied, “Kill the seniors. Collateral damage worries you Americans. It doesn’t worry me.”

Why would he worry?  When his wife Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in 2007 to run for prime minister after years of self-imposed exile, she was already pledged to a campaign of pro-American engagement. She promised to hand over nuclear scientist and international bogeyman Dr. A.Q. Khan, the “father” of the Pakistani atomic bomb, to the International Atomic Energy Agency.  She also made clear that, once back in power, she would allow the Americans to bomb Pakistan proper, so that George W. Bush’s Global War on Terror might triumph.  Of course, the Americans had  been involved in covert strikes and other activities in Pakistan since at least 2001, but we didn’t know that then.

Click here to read more of this dispatch.

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Journalist Jeremy Scahill: WikiLeaks Cables Confirm Secret U.S. War Ops in Pakistan

December 2, 2010 Leave a comment

David DeGraw – The Covert Origins of the Af-Pak War: The Road to World War III

October 21, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Public Record:

The Covert Origins of the Af-Pak War: The Road to World War III

By David DeGraw

Oct 21st, 2010

Editor’s Note: This is the third installment of David DeGraw’s new book, “The Road Through 2012: Revolution or World War III.” Read the introduction here. Part I can be read here. Part II can be read here. To purchase a copy of the book visit

I: The CIA, BCCI & The Origins of Al Qaeda

Now that we have an understanding of how the Global Banking Intelligence Complex ran operations through BCCI, let’s look at how some of BCCI’s key players kept operating after the bank was finally shut down. As discussed in the last chapter, during the 1980s and early ’90s, the CIA worked in partnership with BCCI in what was, at the time, the agency’s largest covert operation ever, pumping an estimated $10 billion into funding the Afghan Mujahideen. Through this operation, Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network was formed. Bin Laden had accounts in BCCI and ran CIA/BCCI-funded camps.

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Al Jazeera – Avoiding conflict with the Taliban?

October 9, 2010 Leave a comment
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BBC – Nato contractors ‘attacking own vehicles’ in Pakistan

October 9, 2010 Leave a comment

From the BBC:

Nato contractors ‘attacking own vehicles’ in Pakistan

By Riaz Sohail BBC News, Karachi

Tankers on fire near Quetta, Pakistan (6 Oct 2010)

Nato supply convoys travelling through Pakistan to Afghanistan have regularly come under attack in the past, but following Pakistan’s decision to block their route through the Khyber Pass, they now face an even bigger security threat.

Hundreds of tankers and trucks have been left stranded on highways and depots across Pakistan, with little or no security.

Taliban militants have regularly been targeting the convoys, even when they are heavily protected.

But many believe it is not just the militants who pose a security threat to the convoys.

The owners of oil tankers being used to supply fuel to Nato in Afghanistan say some of the attacks on their convoys are suspicious.

They say there is evidence to suggest that bombs have been planted in many of vehicles by the “Nato contractors” – individuals or companies who have been contracted by Nato to supply fuel and goods to forces in Afghanistan.

The contractors subsequently hire the transporters who then carry the goods.

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The Real News – One War in Pakistan and Afghanistan

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment
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The Real News – China and the Afghan War

October 7, 2010 Leave a comment
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Gleen Greenwald – War on Terror logic

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

From Salon:

War on Terror logic
By Gleen Greenwald

The U.S. war in (against) Pakistan continues to escalate, as Pakistanis attacked NATO tankers carrying fuel through their country to soldiers in Afghanistan last night, killing three people, an attack that was in retaliation for vastly increased U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan this month, which were ordered in alleged response to reports of increased Terrorist threats aimed at Europe, which, in turn, were in retaliation for the escalating wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan (as evidenced by the large numbers of individuals of Afghan descent involved in these plots).  Jim White — in a post this morning entitled “Stuck in Feedback Loop: Drone Strikes Provoke Terrorists Who Provoke More Drone Strikes” — documents exactly the process at play here:

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Eric Margolis – Mission Creep In AFPAK

October 4, 2010 Leave a comment

From Eric Margolis:

October 03, 2010

The focus of the Afghan War is clearly shifting south into Pakistan, drawing that nation and the United States forces ever closer to a direct confrontation. This grim development was as predictable as it was inevitable.

In fact, this writer has been warning for years that US and NATO efforts to defeat resistance by Afghanistan’s fierce Pashtun tribes to Western occupation would eventually lead to spreading the conflict into neighboring Pakistan, a nation of 175 million.

Last week, Pakistan temporarily closed the main US/NATO supply route from Karachi to the Afghan border at Torkham after the killing of three Pakistani soldiers by US helicopter gunships. Two US/NATO fuel supply convoys were burned by anti-American militants.

Eighty percent of the supplies of the US-led forces in Afghanistan come up this long, difficult route. Along the way, the US pays large bribes to Pakistani officials, local warlords, and to Taliban. The cost of a gallon of gas delivered to US units in Afghanistan has risen to $800.

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US CIA drone attacks to be intensified inside Pakistan

October 3, 2010 Leave a comment
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The Raw Story – Maddow: US quietly testing ‘scary new war in Pakistan’

October 2, 2010 Leave a comment

From The Raw Story:

Maddow: US quietly testing ‘scary new war in Pakistan’

By David Edwards
Friday, October 1st, 2010 — 11:32 am

2010%5C271%5C2010 09 28T084937Z 01 KAB04 RTRIDSP 0 AFGHANISTAN VIOLENCE Maddow: US quietly testing scary new war in Pakistan

Don’t get it twisted, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow essentially told her viewers Thursday night.

“Borders matter” and “AfPak” is not the name of a single country. Contrary to popular and media opinion, America is now fighting in three countries: Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Since President Barack Obama took office, the US has increased the number of airstrikes in Pakistan by unmanned aerial vehicles. “We have shot missiles at people in Pakistan 20 times in the past 23 days,” Maddow noted Wednesday.

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War In Context – “Who did we get today?”

September 28, 2010 Leave a comment

From War In Context:

“Who did we get today?”

by Paul Woodward on September 28, 2010

Bob Woodward’s new book, Obama’s Wars, reveals that the White House was so enamored with the CIA’s drone missile campaign in Pakistan, that chief of staff Rahm Emanuel would regularly call the CIA director, Leon Panetta, asking, “Who did we get today?”

Emanuel may have been posing the question because, like President Obama, he shares a perverse thrill in remote killing. Or, he might have asked because Predator warfare turns out to be far less accurate than it proponents would like us to believe.

A legal dispute that was being hammered out in a Boston court this summer, revealed that in its haste to deploy drones, the CIA was willing to use location analysis software that could result in strikes that would be as much as 42 feet off target!

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World Cannot Foot Entire Bill for Pakistan Flood Recovery – Democracy NOW!

September 21, 2010 Leave a comment

Keiser Report – Markets! Finance! Corexit!

September 2, 2010 Leave a comment