World War 2011: Next Stop is Pakistan

by Wayne Madsen
Strategic Culture
October 12, 2011

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. PATTERSON

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.

The Wikileaks Intelligence Operation

By F. William Engdahl

Since the dramatic release of a US military film of a US airborne shooting of unarmed journalists in Iraq, Wiki-Leaks has gained global notoreity and credibility as a daring website that releases sensitive material to the public from whistleblowers within various governments. Their latest “coup” involved alleged leak of thousands of pages of supposedly sensitive documents regarding US informers within the Taliban in Afghanistan and their ties to senior people linked to Pakistan’s ISI military intelligence. The evidence suggests however that far from an honest leak, it is a calculated disinformation to the gain of the US and perhaps Israeli and Indian intelligence and a coverup of the US and Western role in drug trafficking out of Afghanistan.

Since the posting of the Afghan documents some days ago the Obama White House has given the leaks credibility by claiming further leaks pose a threat to US national security. Yet details of the papers reveals little that is sensitive. The one figure most prominently mentioned, General (Retired) Hamid Gul, former head of the Pakistani military intelligence agency, ISI, is the man who during the 1980’s coordinated the CIA-financed Mujahideen guerilla war in Afghanistan against the Soviet regime there. In the latest Wikileaks documents, Gul is accused of regularly meeting Al Qaeda and Taliban leading people and orchestrating suicide attacks on NATO forces in Afghanistan.

The leaked documents also claim that Osama bin Laden, who was reported dead three years ago by the late Pakistan candidate Benazir Bhutto on BBC, was still alive, conveniently keeping the myth alove for the Obama Administration War on Terror at a point when most Americans had forgotten the original reason the Bush Administration allegedly invaded Afghanistan to pursue the Saudi Bin Laden for the 9/11 attacks.

Demonizing Pakistan?

The naming of Gul today as a key liaison to the Afghan “Taliban” forms part of a larger pattern of US and British recent efforts to demonize the current Pakistan regime as a key part of the problems in Afghanistan. Such a demonization greatly boosts the position of recent US military ally, India. Furthermore, Pakistan is the only muslim country possessing atomic weapons. The Israeli Defense Forces and the Israeli Mossad intelligence agency reportedly would very much like to change that. A phoney campaign against the politically outspoken Gul via Wikileaks could be part of that geopolitical effort.

The London Financial Times says Gul’s name appears in about 10 of roughly 180 classified US files that allege Pakistan’s intelligence service supported Afghan militants fighting Nato forces. Gul told the newspaper the US has lost the war in Afghanistan, and that the leak of the documents would help the Obama administration deflect blame by suggesting that Pakistan was responsible. Gul told the paper, “I am a very favourite whipping boy of America. They can’t imagine the Afghans can win wars on their own. It would be an abiding shame that a 74-year-old general living a retired life manipulating the Mujahedeen in Afghanistan results in the defeat of America.”

Notable, in light of the latest Afghan Wikileaks documents, is the spotlight on the 74-year-old  Gul. As I wrote in a previous piece, Warum Afghanistan? Teil VI:Washingtons Kriegsstrategie in Zentralasien, published this June on this website, Gul has been outspoken about the role of the US military in smuggling Afghan heroin out of the country via the top-security Manas Air Base in Kyrgyzstan.

As well, in a UPI interview on September 26, 2001, two weeks after the 9-11 attacks, Gul stated, in reply to the question who did Black Sept. 11?, “Mossad and its accomplices. The US spends $40 billion a year on its 11 intelligence agencies. That’s $400 billion in 10 years. Yet the Bush Administration says it was taken by surprise. I don’t believe it. Within 10 minutes of the second twin tower being hit in the World Trade Center CNN said Osama bin Laden had done it. That was a planned piece of disinformation by the real perpetrators…” [1] Gul is clearly not well liked in Washington. He claims his request for travel visas to the UK and to the USA have repeatedly been denied. Making Gul into the arch enemy would suit some in Washington nicely.

Who is Julian Assange?

Wikileaks founder and “Editor-in-chief”, Julian Assange, is a mysterious 29-year-old Australian about whom little is known. He has suddenly become a prominent public figure offering to mediate with the White House over the leaks. Following the latest leaks, Assange told Der Spiegel, one of three outlets with which he shared material from the most recent leak, that the documents he had unearthed would “change our perspective on not only the war in Afghanistan, but on all modern wars.” He stated in the same interview that ‘”I enjoy crushing bastards.” Wikileaks, founded in 2006 by Assange, has no fixed home and Assange claims he “lives in airports these days.”

Yet a closer examination of the public position of Assange on one of the most controversial issues of recent decades, the forces behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center shows him to be curiously establishment. When the Belfast Telegraph interviewed him on July 19, he stated,

“Any time people with power plan in secret, they are conducting a conspiracy. So there are conspiracies everywhere. There are also crazed conspiracy theories. It’s important not to confuse these two….” What about 9/11?: “I’m constantly annoyed that people are distracted by false conspiracies such as 9/11, when all around we provide evidence of real conspiracies, for war or mass financial fraud.” What about the Bilderberg Conference?: “That is vaguely conspiratorial, in a networking sense. We have published their meeting notes.” [2]

That statement from a person who has built a reputation of being anti-establishment is more than notable. First, as  thousands of physicists, engineers, military professionals and airline pilots have testified, the idea that 19 barely-trained Arabs armed with box-cutters could divert four US commercial jets and execute the near-impossible strikes on the Twin Towers and Pentagon over a time period of 93 minutes with not one Air Force NORAD military interception, is beyond belief. Precisely who executed the professional attack is a matter for genuine unbiased international inquiry.

Notable for Mr Assange’s blunt denial of any sinister 9/11 conspiracy is the statement in a BBC interview by former US Senator, Bob Graham, who chaired the United States Senate Select Committee on Intelligence when it performed its Joint Inquiry into 9/11. Graham told BBC, “I can just state that within 9/11 there are too many secrets, that is information that has not been made available to the public for which there are specific tangible credible answers and that that withholding of those secrets has eroded public confidence in their government as it relates to their own security.” BBC narrator: “Senator Graham found that the cover-up led to the heart of the administration.” Bob Graham: “I called the White House and talked with Ms. Rice and said, ‘Look, we’ve been told we’re gonna get cooperation in this inquiry, and she said she’d look into it, and nothing happened.’”

Of course, the Bush Administration was able to use the 9/11 attacks to launch its War on Terrorism in Afghanistan and then Iraq, a point Assange conveniently omits.

For his part, General Gul claims that US intelligence orchestrated the Wikileaks on Afghanistan to find a scapegoat, Gul, to blame. Conveniently, as if on cue, British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, on a state visit to India, lashed out at the alleged role of  Pakistan in supporting Taliban in Afghanistan, conveniently lending further credibility to the Wikileaks story. The real story of Wikileaks has clearly not yet been told.

Notes

[1] General Hamid Gul, Arnaud de Borchgrave 2001 Interview with Hamid Gul, Former ISI Chief, UPI, reprinted July 2010 on http://www.veteranstoday.com/2010/07/28/arnaud-de-borchgrave-2001-interview-with-hamid-gul-former-isi-chief/

[2] Interview in BelfastTelegraph, July 19, 2010.

Wikileaks released material evidences US War Crimes

Yahoo News

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Monday he believes there is evidence of war crimes in the thousands of pages of leaked U.S. military documents relating to the war in Afghanistan.

The remarks came after WikiLeaks, a whistle-blowing group, posted some 91,000 classified U.S. military records over the past six years about the war online, including unreported incidents of Afghan civilian killings and covert operations against Taliban figures.

The White House, Britain and Pakistan have all condemned the release of the documents, one of the largest unauthorized disclosures in military history.

Assange told reporters in London that “it is up to a court to decide really if something in the end is a crime. That said … there does appear to be evidence of war crimes in this material.”

Assange compared the impact of the released material to the opening of the East German secret police archives. “This is the equivalent of opening the Stasi archives,” he said.

The documents cover much of what the public already knows about the troubled nine-year conflict: U.S. special operations forces have targeted militants without trial, Afghans have been killed by accident, and U.S. officials have been infuriated by alleged Pakistani intelligence cooperation with the very insurgent groups bent on killing Americans.

WikiLeaks posted the documents Sunday. The New York Times, London’s Guardian newspaper and the German weekly Der Spiegel were given early access to the records.

White House national security adviser Gen. Jim Jones said the release “put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk.” In a statement, he then took pains to point out that the documents describe a period from January 2004 to December 2009, mostly during the administration of President George W. Bush. And, Jones added, before President Obama announced a new strategy.

Pakistan’s Ambassador Husain Haqqani agreed, saying the documents “do not reflect the current on-ground realities,” in which his country and Washington are “jointly endeavoring to defeat al-Qaida and its Taliban allies.”

The U.S. and Pakistan assigned teams of analysts to read the records online to assess whether sources or locations were at risk.

Pakistan’s powerful spy agency, Inter-Services Intelligence, said Monday that the accusations it had close connections to Taliban militants were malicious and unsubstantiated.

A senior ISI official said they were from unverified raw intelligence reports and were meant to impugn the reputation of the spy agency. He spoke on condition of anonymity in line with the agency’s policy.

Hamid Gul, a former head of the ISI who is mentioned many times in the documents, also denied allegations that he’d worked with the insurgents.

Assange said his group also had many more documents on other subjects, including files on countries from across the globe.

“We have built up an enormous backlog of whistleblower disclosures,” he said. “We have in this backlog … files that concern every country in the world with a population of over 1 million.”

He refused to go into detail, but said the information included “thousands of databases and files about all sorts of countries.”

Assange said that he believed more material would flood amid the blaze of publicity.

“It is our experience that courage is contagious,” he said. “Sources are encouraged by the opportunities that they see before them.”

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