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Posting on Pakistan Think Tank is Open: Please Mail Posts to agamjd@gmail.com

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Last Minute Corruption

LETTER TO EDITOR

March 17th, 2013

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Last Minute Corruption

 

Whereas the ruling thugs and luteras and the corrupt and dishonest politicians are jubilating and felicitating each other over the completion of their 5 year term, the common man in the street is grateful to the Almighty for the good riddance wishing it never to return.  Apart from many other startling last minute corruptions – some of them mega ones –  that the departing rulers indulged into, suffice it would be to cite only one example of the kind of havoc they had been playing  with the nation and the national exchequer. 


Seventy (70) CNG stations were reportedly sanctioned by the govt. on the very last day and during the dying moments of their rule !!  Could someone have done it without minting millions from the allottees.

Bhagte chor ki langoti sahi”, how aptly it applies to them and their stinking character?!! Corrupt to the marrow of their bones and corruption to the last minute of their being in power?!  Raja Sahib had every reason to thank Allah (swt) for giving him the opportunity of being the PM of this hapless nation and addressing it so.

 Col. Riaz Jafri (Retd)

Rawalpindi 
Pakistan
E.mail: jafri@rifiela.com

 

 

 

 

 

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A year on, Afghan ‘girl-in-green’ revisits Ashura massacre site

 In a brave gesture of defiance against suicide bombers, Afghanistan’s “girl-in-green” on Saturday revisited the scene of a Shiite Muslim holy-day massacre that made her image world famous.Tarana Akbari,now 13, was pictured screaming in horror among piles of bodies moments after a suicide bomber killed 80 people at last year’s Ashura day ceremonies at a Shiite shrine in Kabul.

On Saturday, dressed in an identical green satin tunic which she made herself after discarding the bloodstained one she wore last year, Tarana attended Ashura day ceremonies at the same shrine.

The day before, police announced that they had arrested two Taliban insurgents with suicide vests who planned to attack the Shiite worshippers.

“I’m not scared,” Tarana told AFP as she sat with her sisters in their spartan home in Old Kabul ahead of the ceremony. “I know there will be danger but I will go back there anyway.

“After the shrine I will go to the graveyard to pray for my brother who died and other members of the family.”

Tarana’s only brother — aged nine — was among many of her relatives killed in last year’s blast, and Tarana and her two sisters were wounded. She was the only one of the children who went back.

Despite her brave words, Tarana wrung her hands anxiously and the mood in her home was more one of preparing to go into battle than attend a religious ceremony.

But her spirits lifted and her shy smile returned with the excitement of dressing up in her new clothes before she set out hand-in-hand with her father, Ahmad Shah, for the 10-minute walk to the shrine.

It is a place that haunts her nightmares.
afghan_girl_massacre_ashura_pullitzer_295.jpgThe image, taken by AFP photographer Massoud Hossaini, was splashed on front pages worldwide and won the Pulitzer prize this year.

“I go back to that place in my dreams. I see my brother and the man (the bomber). I always repeat that scene in my dreams,” Tarana said.

Security was tight, with many streets blocked off and heavily armed police on rooftops and along the approach roads, and even Tarana was frisked before being allowed into the ceremonies.

Once among the throng of worshippers, including young men whipping their bare backs into a bloody mess in a traditional mourning ritual, Tarana’s step faltered and she and her father stopped in a small sheltered spot.

A plastic chair was found and she sat quietly, tension showing in her face and her brown eyes growing increasingly sad with each passing minute.

After half an hour, she and her father, having shown their refusal to be cowed by suicide bombers, left to visit the graves of her brother and other relatives on a bare and bleak hillside overlooking the city.

When the Sunni Muslim Taliban ruled in the 1990s before being ousted by a US-led invasion in 2001, minority Shiites suffered brutal persecution, but sectarian violence has been rare in recent years.

Shiites, who make up roughly 20 percent of the Afghan population, were effectively banned from marking Ashura in public under the Taliban.

Ashura commemorates the killing of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), near Karbala by armies of the caliph Yazid in 680 AD.

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US Using Bad Info for Drone Strikes Like It Did for Detainees

November 24, 2012

Just as it did in Afghanistan and Iraq, the CIA and U.S. military act on bad intel when designating targets for drone attacks.

As when the United States greased the skids for war with Iraq, it’s ratcheting up tensions with Iran by disseminating misinformation about nuclear weapons. The United States has also failed to learn from other mistakes in the Iraq, as well as Afghanistan.

Remember how the United States offered rewards to the citizens of Afghanistan and Iraq for intelligence on insurgents? That only resulted in populating prisons such as Bagram and Guantánamo with legions of innocents. It seems that in their haste to unearth terrorists, the U.S. military and the CIA had failed to vet their informants. With an eye for the main chance, Iraqis and Afghans saw informing as a way both to cash in and rid their communities of neighbors who’d crossed them, for whatever reason. no matter how trivial.

Using an occupying army to assist you in ridding yourself of local enemies is a time-(dis)honored tradition. One would think that, by this point in history, the military and intelligence agencies would be alert to manipulation. Presumably a perceived need for live bodies to fill quotas over-rode their wariness. Now we see this mistake repeated in designating drone-strike targets.

The landmark report Living Under Drones, released in September by the Stanford International Human Rights and Conflict Resolution Clinic and the Global Justice Clinic at NYU School of Law, quotes author Tom Junod. In a piece for the AugustEsquire titled The Lethal Presidency of Barack Obama, he wrote (emphasis added):

The US detained the “worst of the worst” in Guantánamo for years before releasing six hundred of them, uncharged, which amounts to the admission of a terrible mistake. The Lethal Presidency is making decisions to kill based on intelligence from the same sources. These decisions are final, and no one will ever be let go.

By “decisions to kill,” Junod means drone strikes. Not only is the CIA using bogus intel for drone strikes as it and the military did to net terrorist suspects, it may also be paying Pakistanis to mark houses as targets by depositing computer chips nearby. In addition, GPS’s are attached to cars to turn them, too, into drone fodder.

The report also quotes Clive Stafford Smith writing for the Guardian.

Just as with Guantanamo Bay, the CIA is paying bounties to those who will identify “terrorists.” Five thousand dollars is an enormous sum for a Waziri informant, translating to perhaps £250,000 in London terms. The informant has a calculation to make: is it safer to place a GPS tag on the car of a truly dangerous terrorist, or to call down death on a Nobody (with the beginnings of a beard), reporting that he is a militant? Too many “militants” are just young men with stubble.

Smith reveals another dynamic. Imagine that a Pakistani who contacts the CIA isn’t motivated by the desire to avenge a neighbor for failing to pay back a loan, or something similar. If he’s only in it for the money, why risk fingering a Taliban commander? If discovered, he and perhaps his family would find themselves on the murderous end of Taliban revenge.

To give the CIA some wiggle room, perhaps it assumes it won’t be provided with bogus info because potential informants would fear the CIA demand return of the money if the lead turned out to be false or that it would even detain them. But, as the NYU-Stanford report indicates, the CIA or U.S. military rarely investigate the aftermath of drone strikes to determine whether civilians were killed.

Perhaps then the CIA assumes that informants would be loath to turn in innocents for fear of reprisal from the families of those killed. When deciding who to finger, though, informants may be targeting victims whose families lack the wherewithal to take revenge. Or, with what, in effect, is an astronomical sum to them, informants may factor in paying retribution money to the families of those killed.

The longer this type of cynical use of indigenous peoples continues, the further one’s respect for the CIA diminishes.

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Senator Jay Rockefeller Wishes FCC Would Shut Down Fox News-Amen to that!

Powerful Democratic senator, pointing the finger at cable news for a politically toxic climate in Washington, unleashed a stunning tirade in which he expressed his desire to see the Federal Communications Commission shut down Fox News and MSNBC. 

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