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Archive for February, 2013

PAKISTANIS IN DARKNESS: PM HO– — USE & PRESIDENCY LIT UP : Blackout across 80 percent of Pakistan as powerhouses trip

 

 

 PM House & Presidency lit-up:

 

Corruption of Raja “Rental Pervez & Asif Zardari’s have all the power:

Bilawal’s Billiard Room shines & Bakhtawar’s palatial digs all have bright lights,

while Pakistanis suffer in darkness

 

PPP Mission Statement

Jeay Bhutto! Jeay PPP! Jeay Nawaz Sharif!Jeay Asfandyar! Murray Pakistan ki Awam!

 

Blackout across Pakistan as powerhouses trip

 
February 24, 2013 – Updated 2350 PST
 
 
KARACHI: Pakistan has been hit by a massive power outage after two major powerhouses tripped, Geo News reported. According to Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) the fault struck after the failure of Hubco Power Plant. “After HUBCO broke down the system was first diverted to Tarbela and then to Mangla, but both of them tripped under the load one after the other”, said a WAPDA spokesman. He added that HUBCO power plant was under repair on emergency basis.
 
He however said that it could take the teams of engineers at least two hours to fix the fault in the national grid. Dozens of cities across Pakistan including Karachi, Hyderabad, Nawabsha, Peshawar, Quetta, Lahore, Multan, Rawalpindi, and Islamabad plunged into darkness after Mangla and Tarbela powerhouses tripped. According to sources large swathes of Balochistan including at least 18 districts of Quetta have been affected by the breakdown.
 
Most parts of Sindh are also facing the same conditions, the sources added. Reports pouring in from Punjab are not different as hundreds of cities there also remain without electricity. Khyber Pakhtunkhwah is no exception as sources say there is not power in nearly all the major cities of the province. The blackout is so severe that it led to panic across the country.
 
 
 
 
Lights out: Major cities in Pakistan face electricity blackout
 
February 25, 2013
 
 
Many cities across Pakistan plunged into darkness on late Sunday evening due to a technical fault at the National Power Control Centre (NPCC) in Islamabad, Express News reported. Cities affected include Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Quetta, Sibbi, Hyderabad, Tando Mohammad Khan, Badin and Nawabshah.
60 per cent of Karachi was blacked out. Lahore Airport was blacked out but continued operations by running generators.
 
16 divisions of Balochistan were in darkness. A 1200-megawatt HUBCO power plant tripped, leading to the system failure across Pakistan. Officials from the NPCC said they had traced the cause of the technical fault, but could not give a time frame on how long it would take to fix. Off-duty NPCC officials were called in to assist with the situation. The KESC depends on the National Grid Centre for a 500-600 megawatt supply of electricity.
   
Blackout across Pakistan 1.jpg   
Blackout across Pakistan 2.JPG  

http://www.thenews.com.pk/article-89547-Blackout-across-Pakistan-as-powerhouses-trip

 

http://tribune.com.pk/story/512091/lights-out-major-cities-in-pakistan-face-electricity-blackout/

 

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Pakistan Continues Short-Range Ballistic Missile Tests

Pakistan Continues Short-Range Ballistic Missile Tests

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Feb. 18, 2013 – 05:15PM   |  

 Usman Ansari   |Defense News, USA   

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s recent test of a short-range ballistic missile shows the military’s progress toward developing a response to India’s anti-ballistic missile (ABM) program, officials said.

The Feb. 15 firing of its Hatf-II/Vengeance-II Abdali missile was the latest test of its short-range ballistic missile arsenal, which can be armed with tactical nuclear warheads.

A press release by the military’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) stated the test-firing was “part of the process of validation of land-based ballistic missile systems.” The 180-kilometer-range missile can carry nuclear or conventional warheads and has “varied maneuverability options” providing an “an operational level capability,” the statement said.

Mansoor Ahmed from Quaid-e-Azam University’s Department of Defence and Strategic Studies, who specializes in Pakistan’s national deterrent and delivery program, highlights this latter aspect as the reason for the test in response to arch-rival India’s ABM efforts.

“The recent test of Nasr and now Abdali— both short-range systems designed for counterforce targeting — have assumed added significance with the testing of maneuverable re-entry vehicle [warhead] technology aimed at defeating ballistic missile defenses against short- to medium-range missiles,” he said.

Abdali, and the remainder of Pakistan’s battlefield ballistic missiles, are primarily designed to counter surprise attacks and “forward-deployed forces as envisaged in India’s cold start doctrine and other military targets close to the border,” according to Ahmed.

These would include India’s integrated battle groups or air bases.

Linking the test with Pakistan’s tactical nuclear warhead program, Ahmed says it is “another demonstration of the development of sub-strategic nuclear warheads,” or what the ISPR statement refers to as an “operational level capability.”

He cautions, however, that “these tests should not be seen as a sign that Pakistan is going for a nuclear war-fighting strategy, but rather as a means of consolidating an all-aspect credible deterrent.”


Former Australian defense attaché to Islamabad, Brian Cloughley, is clear where use of tactical nuclear weapons would lead.

“It is the ultimate weapon of last resort. Use of tactical nuclear weapons would lead, without a shadow of doubt, to escalation and employment of longer-range missiles and air-delivered bombs, and probably quite quickly — hours rather than days”, he said.

Despite the efforts and resources being put into it, he does not think India’s ABM program would provide “airtight” protection and give Indian forces immunity from attack.

“The Indians do have a rudimentary ABM system, but it would be absolutely impossible for it to defend all vital points. Possession of tactical nuclear weapons is certainly a deterrent, but if the genie left the bottle, there would be nuclear devastation in the sub-continent,” he said.

an on Monday conducted a successful test fire of nuclear capable short range Surface-to-Surface Missile Hatf IX (NASR).

According to a press release issued by Pakistan Army’s media arm Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the test fire was conducted with successive launches of two missiles from a state of the art multi tube launcher.

NASR, with a range of 60 km, and inflight maneuver capability can carry nuclear warheads of appropriate yield, with high accuracy. This quick response system, which can fire a four Missile  Salvo  ensures deterrence against threats in view of evolving scenarios. Additionally NASR has been specially designed to defeat all known Anti Tactical Missile Defence Systems.

 

Battlefield Nukes For Pakistan: Why Hatf IX (Nasr) Is Essential For Pakistan’s Deterrence Posture & Doctrine

 

Posted by asif shah at | 9:00 PM Labels: 

 

The American targeting of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and their development continues unabated. The latest attack is on Pakistan’s development of the Nasr missile in the Hatf short range ballistic missile (SRBM) series.
The new attack manifests itself in a provocative report published by Foreign Policy magazine, which is part of the Washington Post Company.
Badly argued and primarily conjectural, American nuclear expert Tom Hundley attacks Pakistan’s plan to develop what is known as tactical battlefield nuclear weapon in a report titled,
“Pakistan’s terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad idea to develop battlefield nukes” (5 September 2012).
Mr. Hundley’s report is alarmist rather than factual. As a follow up, a group of American nuclear experts landed in Islamabad this week, representing two think tanks: Stimson Center and Carnegie, in a visit designed to meet pro-US lobbyists in Pakistan to develop a narrative supportive of American policy goals with regards to Pakistani nuclear capability.
Project For Pakistan In 21st Century, an independent Islamabad-based research group, releases a policy brief titled, Why Hatf IX (Nasr) Is Essential For Pakistan’s Deterrence Posture & Doctrine.
Authored by eminent Pakistani defense and nuclear expert Dr. Shireen M. Mazari, this Policy Brief bolsters Pakistan’s policy position by explaining the rationale behind developing battlefield nuclear weapons. The arguments listed in the brief strike at the alarmism that Washington seeks to create around Pakistani nuclear plans. While attempting to explain the thinking of Pakistani policymakers, Dr. Mazari inadvertently shows the responsible and sophisticated nuclear security thinking of the Pakistani nuclear establishment.
At the same time, the Brief proposes that Pakistan offer India a Strategic Nuclear Dialogue designed to reduce nuclear risk that includes what the author describes as Confidence & Security Building Measures [CSBMs] in the nuclear area. The paper lists Pakistani nuclear risk reduction ideas shared with India over a decade without a positive Indian response, and suggests a way forward for Islamabad and New Delhi.

About the Author: Shireen M. Mazari, PhD, is a Pakistani political scientist and a prominent geostrategist, currently serving as Vice President for foreign and security affairs of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf [Pakistan Movement of Justice]. She is the former director-general of Islamabad Institute of Strategic Studies [IISS]. For information on how to reach reach, use media@projectpakistan21.org

 

Pakistan intercontinental missile underway “Taimur” Intercontinental ballistic missile

Technology to cover range of 7,000 Kms, Pakistan, to increase its defensive capabilities, has started preparing intercontinental missile with a range of 7000 kilometres.
According to sources, the intercontinental missile has a range of 7000 kilometres and is capable of hitting its target falling within its range. The missile can contain nuclear as well as traditional warheads. The missile has been termed a significant milestone for the defence of the country and is believed to strengthen the defence. According to sources, the missile would soon be test fired.

Taimur Intercontinental Ballistic Missile 7000 Km Range

The test was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Director General Strategic Plans Division Lieutenant General (Retired) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Chairman NESCOM Mr Muhammad Irfan Burney, Commander Army Strategic Forces Command Lieutenant General Triq Nadeem Gilani, senior officers from the armed forces and scientists and engineers of strategic organizations.

Addressing the scientists, engineers and military officers of Strategic Organizations, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee congratulated them on displaying a high standard of  proficiency in handling and operating the state of the art weapon system. He said that Pakistan’s Armed Forces were fully capable of safeguarding Pakistan’s security against all kinds of aggression.

The successful test has also been appreciated by the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan who have congratulated the scientists and engineers on their outstanding success.

A VIEW FROM A RATTLED INDIA—> INDIA TODAY

Ballistic missile Nasr: A bigger threat from Pakistan

 
In terms of range, Nasr is much like our own Russian-supplied Smerch missile)
 
 
 
a huge burden on the Indian nuclear strategy, especially since the country has adopted an ostrich-like approach towards meshing nuclear weapons into our national security strategy. Our nuclear doctrine and posture seems to be more of a PR statement, rather than a strategic position. Its key principle – “no first use” was announced by Prime Minister Vajpayee within weeks of the nuclear tests in 1998. The rest of it, the idea of massive retaliation, development of a triad of forces and so on, was virtually scissored and pasted into a draft doctrine for the benefit of the world community .

Restraint

Just how inadequate it was became apparent in the post Parliament attack confrontation between India and Pakistan, now called Op Parakram. The doctrine had not catered for the simple contingency-Indian forces being struck by nuclear weapons in Pakistani territory. It was for this reason that after the Op Parakaram was called off, the Cabinet Committee on Security met, and the press release issued thereafter constitutes the public statement of our doctrine as of now: that an attack on India or Indian forces anywhere by chemical, nuclear or biological weapons would involve a massive nuclear retaliation.

In 1993, Mumbai was struck by a series of devastating bomb blasts and, more recently, in 2008, the city faced a murderous commando raid. Not only were these some of the deadliest terrorist strikes anywhere in the world, but in both cases India quickly had detailed evidence of official Pakistani involvement, and yet it chose to do nothing.

Flowing from this, then, is the obvious question. Would India really destroy Lahore and Karachi if two of its divisions that had invaded Pakistan were subjected to tactical nuclear weapon strikes? Something tells me that we would not. Restraint is a much more enduring feature of the Indian strategic culture than our nuclear doctrine assumes.

Instability

Till now there was an assumption that Pakistan would be a nuclear weapons state like India, China, Russia or the United States had been- seeking stability at the strategic level, even while allowing some instability at a lower level. But, as Professor Shaun Gregory pointed out in an important article this March, Pakistan is not your usual nuclear state.

He noted that it differed from other nuclear weapons states in three key ways-first, it is the military and not the civilians who control its nuclear weapons. Second, it is the only such state that backs subnational terrorists and insurgents as a matter of state policy. And third, and most important, Pakistan was “a revisionist and irredentist state”. So, while other states sought nuclear weapons to maintain stability, Pakistan wanted to use them as a tool to generate instability which went against the status quo. So while states have gone out of their way to promote stability after achieving nuclear parity, Pakistan seems to be accumulating nuclear weapons at a rate which bears no relation to the programme of its sole adversary, India. Its weapons holdings have already outpaced India’s and will soon approach the level of France and UK. This, then is the challenge India faces.

Islamabad’s motive in deploying tactical nuclear weapons is not so much the strategic defence of the country, but a means of preventing India from punishing Pakistan for carrying out acts of terrorism. It already has the weapons and the reach to deter any putative use of nuclear weapons.

Unfortunately, New Delhi has been strangely negligent in responding to the rapidly changing nuclear dynamics relating to Pakistan. We have been focusing on terrorism and have ignored the steadily increasing danger of Pakistani nuclear adventurism. Terrorism can kill people by the hundreds, but a nuclear strike’s consequences are something else altogether.

manoj. joshi@ mailtoday. in

 

Pakistan successfully test-fires nuclear capable Hatf IX (Nasr) missile
Posted by: Usman Ahmed Posted date: February 11, 2013 

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan on Monday conducted a successful test fire of nuclear capable short range Surface-to-Surface Missile Hatf IX (NASR).

 

According to a press release issued by Pakistan Army’s media arm Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), the test fire was conducted with successive launches of two missiles from a state of the art multi tube launcher.

 

NASR, with a range of 60 km, and inflight maneuver capability can carry nuclear warheads of appropriate yield, with high accuracy. This quick response system, which can fire a four Missile Salvo ensures deterrence against threats in view of evolving scenarios. Additionally NASR has been specially designed to defeat all known Anti Tactical Missile Defence Systems.

 

The test was witnessed by Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee General Khalid Shameem Wynne, Director General Strategic Plans Division Lieutenant General (Retired) Khalid Ahmed Kidwai, Chairman NESCOM Mr Muhammad Irfan Burney, Commander Army Strategic Forces Command Lieutenant General Triq Nadeem Gilani, senior officers from the armed forces and scientists and engineers of strategic organizations.

 

Addressing the scientists, engineers and military officers of Strategic Organizations, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee congratulated them on displaying a high standard of proficiency in handling and operating the state of the art weapon system. He said that Pakistan’s Armed Forces were fully capable of safeguarding Pakistan’s security against all kinds of aggression.

 

The successful test has also been appreciated by the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan who have congratulated the scientists and engineers on their outstanding success.

 

 

 

 
 

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CHARLES PIERSON : Are Pakistanis People?

FEBRUARY 11, 2013 
 
POINTS TO PONDER IN MOMENTS OF SELF REFLECTION & IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT WHEN THOUGHTS OF MORTALITY CLOUD THE MIND
 Chidl victims in North Waziristan, Pakistan, after a US drone attack 12 Oct 2012
 
 
 

There never was a good war or a bad peace. ~Ben Franklin

 

  • Can American people live with the collective guilt of killing innocent people every day?

  • Will there be accountability of people. who fire the drones one day?

  • Are victims of drone attacks images in a video game and can be dehumanized? 

  • Would Jesus approve of Drone Attacks?

  • Would any Faith on this Earth sanction Drone attacks as morally correct? 

 

Innocent Lives
 
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Are Pakistanis People?

by CHARLES PIERSON

Do only American deaths matter?  The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence thinks so.  During last Thursday’s confirmation hearing for John O. Brennan as CIA Director the Committee’s exclusive focus was on American deaths from drones.  Not one Committee member asked about the hundreds of innocent Pakistanis, Afghans, Yemenis, Libyans, and Somalis, many of them children, who have lost their lives as “collateral damage” in U.S. drone strikes.

U.S. execution of its own citizens is a serious matter.  Keep in mind, though, that only three Americans have been killed by drone strikes.  The best-known is the American-born radical cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, a member of
images-188Al-Qaeda who was killed in Yemen in September 2011.  Al-Awlaki was referred to repeatedly on Thursday.  (Al-Awlaki’s 16-year old son, also killed in a drone strike, went unmentioned.)

The most charitable explanation for the Committee’s failure to ask about foreign deaths is that the Committee members accept assurances by the President and Brennan that the U.S. has done its best to keep civilian casualties low.  The United States paints drones as surgically precise weapons which kill terrorists while taking few civilian lives.  Speaking publicly in June 2011, Brennan said that no civilians had been killed by drones for nearly a year.  When that claim raised eyebrows, Brennan backpedaled, telling the New York Times a few days later that there had been no “credible evidence” of civilian casualties for the past year.  (The independent Bureau of Investigative Journalism contends that at least 45 civilians were killed by drones during that period.)  What does Brennan think now?  All Brennan would say on Thursday, in answer to a question from Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR), is that Administration use of drones is “very judicious” and that drones are used only as a “last resort” to save lives when capture is impossible.

 

Drone strikes have killed a few high-ranking members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.  On August 5, 2009, a U.S. drone killed Baitullah Mehsud, leader of the Pakistan Taliban.  Mehsud is believed to have been behind the assassination of former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto in December 2007.  However, the drone which killed Mehsud and his wife also obliterated the entire building they were in, killing nine other people.  According to Medea Benjamin, this was the United States’ fifteenth attempt to kill Mehsud.  Along the way, U.S. drones killed between 204 and 321 people.  Were all of them terrorists?

The White House refuses to say how many civilians have been killed by drones.  Instead, the White House inflates kill figures by deeming every male of military age in a target area a militant.  Conflicting figures on civilian deaths abound.  The New American Foundation think tank which monitors drone attacks estimates that 16% of those killed by drones are noncombatants.  Many victims are children:  176 children in the period from 2004 to mid-September 2012 according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.  Estimates from within Pakistan are considerably higher:  as high as 90%, according to the Pakistani government.  The independent Pakistani NGO Pakistan Body Count claims civilian casualties of from 75% to 80% since the drone strikes began.

High numbers of civilian casualties are to be expected given how U.S. drone strikes are conducted.  Hellfire missiles are fired into wedding parties and funerals.  “Secondary” strikes are launched on rescuers who rush to aid the injured following an initial drone strike.  The Senate Intelligence Committee asked about none of these practices.

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Drones have killed so many Pakistanis that they have become the number one recruiting tool for the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.  Anti-American feeling in Pakistan runs high.  Asked why, Pakistani Foreign Minister Rabbani Khar’d answered with one word:  “Drones.”

I know several Pakistanis and have learned this:  Pakistanis are human beings.  Earlier, I offered one explanation of why the Committee may not have asked about civilian deaths among Pakistanis (and among Yemenis, Afghans, and others):  the Committee believes the Administration when it says that civilian deaths have been kept low.  That’s the charitable explanation.  An alternative, ugly explanation, is that the Senate and the Administration don’t believe foreigners are human beings.  Or maybe they just don’t believe Muslims are.

There’s an exchange in Huckleberry Finn where Huck tells a woman a fabricated story about a boiler explosion on a riverboat.  “Was anyone hurt?” the lady asks.  “No, ma’am,” Huck says:  “Killed a nigger.”  “Well, I’m glad no one was hurt,” the lady says.  Twain’s point was that to White Southerners Blacks did not count as people.  The death of a Black isn’t the death of anyone:  it doesn’t even register.  The same psychopathology was at work in the Nazis’ extermination of Jewishuntermenschen—subhumans.  It was at work at My Lai.  And I am afraid that it is at work every time a drone hits.

Are Americans more important than non-Americans?  This is an odd position to take in a nation which can’t stop gassing about how Christian we are.  Philosopher Richard Rorty talks about a “circle of sympathy.”  At the lowest level of moral development we care only about our own family or tribe.  As conscience develops, we are able to extend our concern to also encompass our nation, race, or co-religionists.  That’s the stage Americans are stuck at now.  When Al-Qaeda and the Taliban take innocent lives we rightly condemn them.  Yet we ourselves have yet to move on to the highest moral stage where every human being receives our respect.  It’s well past time we made that leap.

Charles Pierson can be reached at: chapierson@yahoo.com

 

Reference

 

Assessing the Laws of the Drone Wars

February 10, 2013

President Obama’s defenders note he ended the Iraq War, is drawing down forces in Afghanistan and has resisted a new war in Syria. In other words, they say drone attacks on al-Qaeda suspects have ratcheted down the levels of violence left behind by President Bush. But critics say the drone attacks are still war crimes.

 

By Dennis J. Bernstein

New disclosures regarding President Barack Obama’s use of armed drones to hunt down and kill suspected al-Qaeda terrorists thousands of miles from the United States raise troubling questions about the U.S. Constitution and international law.

In the following interview with Dennis J. Bernstein of Pacifica’s “Flashpoint” program, Marjorie Cohn, professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law and former President of the National Lawyers Guild, assesses a White Paper from the Justice Department summarizing the legal arguments justifying the drone attacks.

DB: You say the White Paper runs afoul of international and U.S. law. Please explain.

MC: The White Paper allows the government to kill a U.S. citizen who is not on the battlefield, if some high government official who is supposedly informed about the situation thinks that the target is a senior Al Qaeda leader who poses an imminent threat of a violent attack against the United States. So how do they define “imminence”? Well, it doesn’t require any clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.

So it completely dilutes this whole idea of imminent threat. Under well-established principles of international law and the UN Charter, one country can use military force against another only in self-defense. But under the Caroline case, which is the gold standard here, the “necessity for self-defense must be instant, overwhelming, leaving no choice of means, and no moment for deliberation.” That means we are going to be attacked right away and we can use force.

But the very nebulous test that the White Paper lays out even allows the targeted killing of somebody who is considered to be a “continuing” threat, whatever that means. The most disturbing part of it says that U.S. citizens can be killed even when there is no “clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

So we have a global battlefield, where if there is someone, anywhere, who might be associated with Al Qaeda, according to a high government official, then Obama can authorize (it’s not even clear Obama himself has to authorize these targeted killings, these drone attacks) on Terror Tuesday (thanks to the New York Times expose several months ago) who he is going to kill after consulting with John Brennan.

John Brennan, of course, is his counter-terrorism guru who is up for confirmation to be CIA Director. Very incestuous. John Brennan has said that targeted killings constitute lawful self-defense.

One of the most disturbing things here is the amassing of executive power with no review by the courts, no checks and balances. So the courts will have no opportunity to interpret what “imminence” means, or what “continuing” threat means. The White Paper cites John Yoo’s claim that courts have no role to play in what the President does in this so-called War on Terror where the whole world is a battlefield. I say so-called War on Terror because terrorism is a tactic. It’s not an enemy. You don’t declare war on a tactic.

And the White Paper refers to Yoo’s view that judicial review constitutes “judicial encroachment” on the judgments by the President and his national security advisers as to when and how to use force. The White Paper cites Hamdi v. Rumsfeld which says the President has the authority to hold US citizens caught on the battlefield in Afghanistan as enemy combatants. But in Hamdi, the Supreme Court stated that a U.S. citizen who is being detained as an enemy combatant is entitled to due process. Due process means an arrest and a fair trial. It doesn’t mean just taking him out with a drone.

Also, there’s another interesting passage in this White Paper. It says “judicial enforcement [a court reviewing these kill orders of the executive] of such orders would require the court to supervise inherently predictive judgments by the President and his national security advisers as to when and how to use force against a member of an enemy force against which Congress has authorized the use of force.” Inherently predictive. Does that mean that the court can’t review decisions made with a crystal ball because it’s too mushy? I don’t know.

Certainly courts are competent to make emergency decisions under FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. The FISA Court meets in secret and authorizes wiretaps requested by the Executive Branch. Courts can do this. Courts can act in emergencies to review and check and balance what the executive is doing. That’s what our Constitution is all about.

DB: Congress is looking for some original documents about what’s going on here. The White Paper is sort of a restatement of national security documents that we probably haven’t been able to see yet. What about the Geneva Conventions? It sort of throws that in the garbage.

MC: Well, it does because the Geneva Conventions define willful killing as a grave breach. And grave breaches are punishable as war crimes. So this also violates the Geneva Conventions. Although the White Paper says that they are going to follow the well-established principle of proportionality – proportionality means that an attack cannot be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage – I don’t see how they can actually put that into practice because the force is going to be excessive. When you see how they are using drones, they are taking out convoys, and they are killing civilians, large numbers of civilians.

There’s another principle of international law called distinction, which requires that the attack be directed only at legitimate military targets. We know from the New York Times exposé that the kill list that Brennan brings to Obama to decide who he is going to take out without a trial – basically execute – can be used even if they don’t have a name, or if they are present in an area where there are suspicious “patterns of behavior.” These are known as signature strikes. That means that bombs are dropped on unidentified people who are in an area where suspicious activity is taking place.  That goes even beyond targeted killings.

Targeted killings are considered to be illegal. The UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns, expressed grave concerns about these targeted killings, saying that they may constitute war crimes. He called on the Obama administration to explain how its drone strikes comport with international law and to specify the bases for the decisions to kill rather than capture particular individuals.

The White Paper says that one of the requirements before they can take someone out is that capture is “infeasible.” As you go on and read this memo, infeasible begins to look like inconvenient. We have these very mushy terms, with no clear standards that comply with international law. Yet there is no oversight by any court, and Congress has no role either. So we don’t have checks and balances.

Even the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) that Congress passed a few days after 9/11 doesn’t authorize this. The AUMF allows the President to use force against groups and countries that had supported the 9/11 attacks. But when the Bush administration asked Congress for open-ended military authority “to deter and preempt any future acts of terrorism or aggression against the United States,” Congress specifically rejected that open-ended military authority. Congress has not authorized this, and it’s not clear whether Congress would authorize it. …

DB:  When one looks at this Obama policy and compares it to Bush, essentially Obama has chosen, well, we’ll do a little less torture, or skip the torture, and we’ll just kill them.

MC: Obama has expanded these drone attacks far beyond what the Bush administration was doing. There are many thorny issues, such as indefinite detention, how detainees are treated, and under what circumstances they can be released. The Obama administration evidently feels that it’s cleaner and easier just to kill them. Then you don’t have to worry about bad publicity from housing them at Guantanamo, not giving them a fair trial, holding them indefinitely. This goes beyond the torture policy.

Now I don’t want to say that killing with drones is worse than the illegal and outrageous invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan that the Bush administration began, in which thousands and thousands and thousands of people have been killed or seriously maimed. So I wouldn’t say that Obama is worse than Bush. But certainly Obama is following in the tradition of the Bush administration and John Yoo’s expansive view of executive power where whatever the President does is unreviewable.

DB: I would say they continue the process of destroying the Bill of Rights, the Constitution and the necessary checks and balances that restrain war, that the people depend on.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor of human rights at Thomas Jefferson School and former president of the National Lawyers Guild. Her most recent book is The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse. See www.marjoriecohn.com.

Dennis J. Bernstein is a host of “Flashpoints” on the Pacifica radio network and the author of Special Ed: Voices from a Hidden Classroom.  You can access the audio archives at www.flashpoints.net. He can be contacted at dennisjberstein@gmail.com.

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4 comments on “Assessing the Laws of the Drone Wars”

  1. I’ve been watching the comments section of this article, and I made a little bet with myself: “No matter how long I wait, I’ll be the first one to comment”. It’s because every “Progressive” who reads this article has to admit to him or herself that they have blindly supported, in the same sycophantic manner as reactionary Republicans do, a political platform that is in many ways far worse than that of the Presidency they railed against for eight years. The Bush years gave us war of aggression, indefinite detention, shredding of the Constitution, abandonment of the Geneva Conventions and torture. This one has given us most of that and more. State sanctioned assassination, codification of Constitutional breaches, indefinite detention and wars of aggression are waged without concern for Congressional oversight. The Republicans are delighted. First, because Democrats have granted them a bulletproof amnesty. Only hypocrisy could indict them now. The financial community has been absolved of the biggest financial scam in the history of the world. I could go on, but these are enough to make my point. The “progressive” community sold itself for the sake of a few “wedge issue” concessions, like sympathy for GLBT initiatives and lip service to reproductive freedom. In return, they took a “pass” on things like 1st, 4th and 5th Amendment rights. The Radical right, by the same token, is clamoring over 2nd Amendment rights, while the distraction is providing cover for the dismantling of protections which should be cherished by anyone who makes less than $250,000 a year (Most of us).

    Once forfeited, these protections are nearly impossible to reclaim. Disciples on the left approve of the Executive authorities wielded now, but just wait until they fall into the hands of another “Tricky” Dick Nixon, or a Joe McCarthy. If you think there’s an “Imperial” presidency now, just imagine the incentive to expand it in the future. Power over life and death is an intoxicating perquisite. Failure to prosecute these Constitutional transgressions has made them precedents. None of you seem to realize it yet, but the great “experiment” in Democracy is over. You’re all arguing over irrelevancies while the Titanic is sinking, and reassuring yourselves that, “Don’t worry, we have plenty of buckets and mops”.

    “Progressives” in America have been courting the lipstick and ignoring the pig. Now that you’re married, try to keep in mind: you brought it on yourselves. All of these transgressions have been fostered by entangling alliances and abrogation of the rules of law. International law, U.N. Resolutions, the Geneva Conventions and the Nuremberg Principles have all been subverted in order to maintain a contrived schizophrenic foreign policy that has made us a target for terrorism. The ensuing vicious cycle insures further transgressions which will perpetuate the terrorism and validate the continued cycle of violence, not to mention the continued erosion of rights held sacred since the Magna Carta. Tyranny is a strange bedfellow. It knows no loyalty and keeps no friends. Before he was murdered, Albrecht Haushofer awoke from a similar honeymoon, warm and cozy next to the tyrant pig. He wrote this poem before he died at the hands of the Gestapo:
    I am guilty, But not in the way you think.
    I should have earlier recognized my duty;
    I should have more sharply called evil evil;
    I reined in my judgment too long.
    I did warn, But not enough, and clear;
    And today I know what I was guilty of.
    I won’t live long enough to see it, but I suspect that those who campaigned hardest to corrupt these protections in the name of misguided loyalty may, like Haushofer, find that it was themselves they betrayed. Sooner or later, there’s a morning after. Lipstick only lasts so long. For the time being, American “Progressives” are still warm and cozy. Eventually, they’ll roll over, and the denial will finally wear off. “Enemy of the State” after all, is a title the tyrants never define.

    • Members of a military force involved in combat under the “Laws of War” are “combatants”. Civilians engaged in hostilities on that same battlefield may be considered “unlawful combatants”. We prosecuted and imprisoned people for that. But, we want to have our cake and eat it too. When the CIA and contract civilians engage in these activities, they too could technically be…”unlawful combatants”…? Not to resort to John Brennan’s dodge, but I’m no legal scholar. During my long military career, I was thoroughly indoctrinated in things like the Geneva Conventions and Laws of War…but I guess the government expects us veterans to just pretend none of that matters anymore. The short answer is that we’re now witnessing “Victors’ Justice”. As Winston Churchill noted regarding the legality of some of his transgressions, “History shall be kind to me, for I intend to write it”.

      Pakistani War Criminals Gen.Pervez Musharraf, Pervez Kayani, Asif Zardari, who can be tried in Hague for culpability in Drone War

       

      reference:

      http://consortiumnews.com/2013/02/10/assessing-the-laws-of-the-drone-wars/

      http://upstatedroneaction.org/flyers/NamingThePakistaniDead.pdf

       

 

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Tony Cartalucci & Mohammad Jamil : US & Saudi funded terrorists sowing chaos in Pakistan:Insidious plan to destabilize Pakistan

 

Insidious plan to destabilize Pakistan

News & Views
 
Mohammad Jamil
 

 

For quite some time, there has been pernicious propaganda campaign by the US, the West and India against Pakistan, accusing it of duplicitous role in war on terror, raising doubts about security of its nuclear weapons, and lately abuse of human rights in Balochistan. Eileen Donahoe, U.S. Representative to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, expressed serious concern over, what she called, Pakistan’s violent response to separatists in Balochistan Province. She alleged: “Security squads in the province, under their kill-and-dispose of policy, have been targeting proponents of civic rights, local activists and their families, journalists, political workers and student leaders, as a result the Baloch society has been alienated and chances of peace there have been shrinking”. There is a widespread perception that America’s CIA, Britain’s MI-6, India’s RAW, Israel’s Mossad and RAAM of Afghanistan are active in Balochistan. Efforts are made to denigrate Pak military with a view to paving the way for implementing their agenda for destabilizing and denuclearizing Pakistan. 

On 27th July 2011, Human Rights Watch had released 132-page report titled “Enforced Disappearances by Pakistan Security Forces in Balochistan”. A few political leaders and government functionaries are of the opinion that it was done on the behest of those powers that are out to disgrace Pakistan military and ISI in the world eyes and prepare the ground to destabilize Pakistan. It was demanded of Pakistan government to immediately end widespread disappearances of suspected militants and activists by the military, intelligence agencies, and the paramilitary Frontier Corps in Balochistan. The report, however, downplayed target killings of innocent civilians, teachers, professors and security personnel in Balochistan by Baloch Liberation Army and other militant organizations. The question can be asked whether the lives of non-Balochis are any less valuable than the lives of Baloch nationalists for Human Rights Watch and other HR organizations? 

At the present, militants are actively involved in worsening the security situation in Balochistan, and insurgency has hampered the growth and development of the province. Balochistan is indeed in the throes of ethnic, sectarian and tribal schisms. There have been targeted killings of Punjabi settlers in Balochistan. Ethnic and Shia-Sunni fracas has shaken the erstwhile ethnic and sectarian harmony, as criminal gangs are stoking ethnic and sectarian divisions. It is an irrefutable fact that tribalism is firmly rooted in Balochistan, as ethnic and tribal identity is a potent force for both individuals and groups in Balochistan with the result that there exists deep polarization among different groups. Each of these groups is based on different rules of social organization, which has left the province inexorably fragmented. Tribal group-ism has failed to integrate the state and enforce a national identity. But those who have not weaned off the poison of sham nationalism should take a look at the history of the Balkans, and the fate they met. 

In fact, rivaling big powers and even countries of the region eye Balochistan avariciously to push it into their own orbit of influence because it is mineral-rich and strategically-located province. According to political and defence analysts, the US, Russia and India are either directly or indirectly widening the ethnic and sectarian schisms in Balochistan and FATA with a view to advancing their agendas. There are reports that the US and UK are also supporting the centrifugal forces and insurgents in Balochistan. They have double standards; on one hand they punish their traitors, while on the other hand they pressurize Pakistan to be lenient to the separatists and those who challenge the writ of the state. Take the case of Jonathan Pollard, an American citizen, who worked as an American civilian intelligence analyst before being convicted of spying for Israel. He received a life sentence in 1987. Israeli activist groups, as well as high-profile Israeli politicians have since then lobbied for his release, but to no avail.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had voiced particularly strong support for Pollard, and in 2002 visited him in the prison. Pollard was employed in Naval Intelligence Support Center (NISC), but was later transferred at NIC/TF-168. In June 1984, Pollard started passing classified information to Sella and received, in exchange, $10,000 cash and a very expensive diamond and sapphire ring, which Pollard later presented to his girlfriend Anne while proposing her for marriage. He was to receive $1,500 per month for further espionage. Pollard was sentenced to life imprisonment on one count of espionage on March 4, 1987. On the contrary, America has been pressurizing Pakistan to show leniency to Shakil Afridi, and is willing to give American citizenship. If America can award life sentence to its traitors, why Pakistan cannot hand out similar sentence to its traitors? America did not show any leniency to its American national caught for spying for Israel – its strategic partner, and he was put in the jail. 

There is much talk about missing persons. Apart from dissident sardars, some media men, analysts, commentariat and chattering classes accuse intelligence agencies of either arresting or killing dissidents. As regards missing persons, there should be high-powered judicial enquiry, which should not only locate missing persons held on various charges but also try to trace them from Ferrari Camps/Detention Centres being run by Baloch Sardars and insurgents. Efforts should be made to identify those militants who were either sent to Afghanistan and India for training. One would not be surprised to find that majority of them would have gone with the consent of Baloch dissidents families. As regards holding negotiations with dissident sardars, the fact of the matter is that whenever efforts were made to hold talks with Sardar Akhtar Mengal, Harbiyar Marri and Brahamdagh Bugti they balked at negotiations on the ground that the elected government is not in a position to address their grievances, as it has no powers. They openly talk about disintegration of Pakistan. Since majority of people of Balochistan are not with the dissident sardars, their efforts to cause harm to Pakistan would fail. 

—The writer is Lahore-based senior journalist.

 

US-Saudi funded terrorists sowing chaos in Pakistan

Pakistani Shia Muslims gather around the coffins of bomb attack victims as they demonstrate in Quetta on February 18, 2013.

 
Pakistani Shia Muslims gather around the coffins of bomb attack victims as they demonstrate in Quetta on February 18, 2013. Pakistani Shia Muslims shout slogans to protest against the bombing which killed 89 people, in Quetta on February 18, 2013.
Pakistani Shia Muslims gather around the coffins of bomb attack victims as they demonstrate in Quetta on February 18, 2013.
 The terrorist Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group was in fact created, according to the BBC, to counter Iran’s Islamic Revolution in the 1980’s, and is still active today. Considering the openly admitted US-Israeli-Saudi plot to use Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups across the Middle East to counter Iran’s influence, it begs the question whether these same interests are funding terrorism in Pakistan to not only counter Iranian-sympathetic Pakistani communities, but to undermine and destabilize Pakistan itself.”
Quetta, the capital of Pakistan’s southwest Baluchistan province, bordering both US-occupied Afghanistan as well as Iran, was the site of a grisly market bombing that has killed over 80 people.

According to reports, the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has claimed responsibility for the attack. Billed as a “Sunni extremist group,” it instead fits the pattern of global terrorism sponsored by the US, Israel, and their Arab partners Saudi Arabia and Qatar. 

The terrorist Lashkar-e-Jhangvi group was in fact created, according to the BBC, to counter Iran’s Islamic Revolution in the 1980’s, and is still active today. Considering the openly admitted US-Israeli-Saudi plot to use Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups across the Middle East to counter Iran’s influence, it begs the question whether these same interests are funding terrorism in Pakistan to not only counter Iranian-sympathetic Pakistani communities, but to undermine and destabilize Pakistan itself. 

Unknown-18The US-Saudi Global Terror Network 

While the United States is close allies with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, it is well established that the chief financier of extremist militant groups for the past 3 decades, including al-Qaeda, are in fact Saudi Arabia and Qatar. While Qatari state-owned propaganda like Al Jazeera apply a veneer of progressive pro-democracy to its narratives, Qatar itself is involved in arming, funding, and even providing direct military support for sectarian extremists from northern Mali, to Libya, to Syria and beyond. 

France 24’s report “Is Qatar fuelling the crisis in north Mali?” provides a useful vignette of Saudi-Qatari terror sponsorship, stating: 

“The MNLA [secular Tuareg separatists], al Qaeda-linked Ansar Dine and MUJAO [movement for unity and Jihad in West Africa] have all received cash from Doha.” 

Unknown-8A month later Sadou Diallo, the mayor of the north Malian city of Gao [which had fallen to the Islamists] told RTL radio: “The French government knows perfectly well who is supporting these terrorists. Qatar, for example, continues to send so-called aid and food every day to the airports of Gao and Timbuktu.” 

The report also stated: 

“Qatar has an established a network of institutions it funds in Mali, including madrassas, schools and charities that it has been funding from the 1980s,” he wrote, adding that Qatar would be expecting a return on this investment. 

“Mali has huge oil and gas potential and it needs help developing its infrastructure,” he said. “Qatar is well placed to help, and could also, on the back of good relations with an Islamist-ruled north Mali, exploit rich gold and uranium deposits in the country.” 

These institutions are present not only in Mali, but around the world, and provide a nearly inexhaustible supply of militants for both the Persian Gulf monarchies and their Western allies to use both as a perpetual casus belli to invade and occupy foreign nations such as Mali and Afghanistan, as well as a sizable, persistent mercenary force, as seen in Libya and Syria. Such institutions jointly run by Western intelligence agencies across Europe and in America, fuel domestic fear-mongering and the resulting security state that allows Western governments to more closely control their populations as they pursue reckless, unpopular policies at home and abroad. 

Since Saudi-Qatari geopolitical interests are entwined with Anglo-American interests, both the “investment” and “return on this investment” are clearly part of a joint venture. France’s involvement in Mali has demonstrably failed to curb such extremists, has instead, predictably left the nation occupied by Western interests while driving terrorists further north into the real target, Algeria. 

Additionally, it should be noted, that France in particular, played a leading role along side Qatar and Saudi Arabia in handing Libya over to these very same extremists. French politicians were in Benghazi shaking hands with militants they would be “fighting” in the near future in northern Mali. 

Unknown-11Lashkar-e-Jhangvi is Part of US-Saudi Terror Network 

In terms of Pakistan’s Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, as well as the infamous Lashkar-e-Taiba that carried out the 2008 Mumbai, India attack killing over 160, both are affiliates of Al Qaeda, and both have been linked financially, directly to Saudi Arabia. In the Guardian’s article, “WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists,” the US State Department even acknowledges that Saudi Arabia is indeed funding terrorism in Pakistan: 

Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba – but the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money, according to Hillary Clinton. 

“More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups,” says a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state. Her memo urged US diplomats to redouble their efforts to stop Gulf money reaching extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan. 

“Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide,” she said. 

Three other Arab countries are listed as sources of militant money: Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates. 

Lashkar-e-Jhangvi has also been financially linked to the Persian Gulf monarchies. Stanford University’s “Mapping Militant Organizations: Lashkar-e-Jhangvi,” states under “External Influences:” 

LeJ has received money from several Persian Gulf countries including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates[25] These countries funded LeJ and other Sunni militant groups primarily to counter the rising influence of Iran’s revolutionary Shiism. 

Astonishingly, despite these admission, the US works politically, financially, economically, and even militarily in tandem with these very same state-sponsors of rampant, global terrorism. In Libya and Syria, the US has even assisted in the funding and arming of Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups, and had conspired with Saudi Arabia since at least 2007 to overthrow both Syria and Iran with these terrorist groups. And while Saudi Arabia funds terrorism in Pakistan, the US is well documented to be funding political subversion in the very areas where the most heinous attacks are being carried out. 

US Political Subversion in Baluchistan, Pakistan 

The US State Department’s National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has been directly funding and supporting the work of the “Balochistan Institute for Development” (BIFD) which claims to be “the leading resource on democracy, development and human rights in Balochistan, Pakistan.” In addition to organizing the annual NED-BFID “Workshop on Media, Democracy & Human Rights” BFID reports that USAID had provided funding for a “media-center” for the Baluchistan Assembly to “provide better facilities to reporters who cover the proceedings of the Balochistan Assembly.” We must assume BFID meant reporters “trained” at NED-BFID workshops. 

There is also Voice of Balochistan whose every top-story is US-funded propaganda drawn from foundation-funded Reporters Without Borders, Soros-funded Human Rights Watch, and even a direct message from the US State Department itself. Like other US State Department funded propaganda outfits around the world – such as Thailand’s Prachatai – funding is generally obfuscated in order to maintain “credibility” even when the front’s constant torrent of obvious propaganda more than exposes them. 

Perhaps the most absurd operations being run to undermine Pakistan through the “Free Baluchistan” movement are the US and London-based organizations. The “Baloch Society of North America” almost appears to be a parody at first, but nonetheless serves as a useful aggregate and bellwether regarding US meddling in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. The group’s founder, Dr. Wahid. Baloch, openly admits he has met with US politicians in regards to Baluchistan independence. This includes Neo-Con warmonger, PNAC signatory, corporate-lobbyist, and National Endowment for Democracy director Zalmay Khalilzad. 

Dr. Wahid Baloch considers Baluchistan province “occupied” by both the Iranian and Pakistani governments – he and his movement’s humanitarian hand-wringing gives Washington the perfect pretext to create an armed conflagration against either Iran or Pakistan, or both, as planned in detail by various US policy think-tanks. 

There is also the Baloch Students Organisation-Azad, or BSO. While it maintains a presence in Pakistan, it has coordinators based in London. London-based BSO members include “information secretaries” that propagate their message via social media, just as US and British-funded youth organizations did during the West’s operations against other targeted nations during the US-engineered “Arab Spring.” 

GuyBilloutAnd while the US does not openly admit to funding and arming terrorists in Pakistan yet, many across established Western policy think-tanks have called for it. 

Selig Harrison, a Pro-Israel Zionist of the convicted criminal, George Soros-funded Center for International Policy, has published two pieces regarding the armed “liberation” of Baluchistan. 

Harrison’s February 2011 piece, “Free Baluchistan,” calls to “aid the 6 million Baluch insurgents fighting for independence from Pakistan in the face of growing ISI repression.” He continues by explaining the various merits of such meddling by stating: 

“Pakistan has given China a base at Gwadar in the heart of Baluch territory. So an independent Baluchistan would serve U.S. strategic interests in addition to the immediate goal of countering Islamist forces.” 

Harrison would follow up his frank call to carve up Pakistan by addressing the issue of Chinese-Pakistani relations in a March 2011 piece titled, “The Chinese Cozy Up to the Pakistanis.” He states: 

“China’s expanding reach is a natural and acceptable accompaniment of its growing power-but only up to a point. ” 

He continues: 

“To counter what China is doing in Pakistan, the United States should play hardball by supporting the movement for an independent Baluchistan along the Arabian Sea and working with Baluch insurgents to oust the Chinese from their budding naval base at Gwadar. Beijing wants its inroads into Gilgit and Baltistan to be the first step on its way to an Arabian Sea outlet at Gwadar.” 

While aspirations of freedom and independence are used to sell Western meddling in Pakistan, the geopolitical interests couched behind this rhetoric is openly admitted to. The prophetic words of Harrison should ring loud in one’s ears today. It is in fact this month, that Pakistan officially hands over the port in Gwadar to China, and Harrison’s armed militants are creating bloodshed and chaos, attempting to trigger a destructive sectarian war that will indeed threaten to “oust the Chinese from their budding naval base at Gwadar.” 

Like in Syria, we have a documented conspiracy years in the making being carried out before our very eyes. The people of Pakistan must not fall into the trap laid by the West who seeks to engulf Baluchistan in sectarian bloodshed with the aid of Saudi and Qatari-laundered cash and weapons. For the rest of the world, we must continue to uncover the corporate-financier special interests driving these insidious plots, boycott and permanently replace them on a local level. 

The US-Saudi terror racket has spilled blood from New York City, across Northern Africa, throughout the Middle East, and as far as Pakistan and beyond. If we do not undermine and ultimately excise these special interests, their plans and double games will only get bolder and the inevitability of their engineered chaos effecting us individually will only grow. 

TC/JR

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DEFENCE.PK: The PAF Prowess

images-10Air Chief Marshal Rao Qamar Suleman, the recently retired PAF’s Chief of the Air Staff (CAS), cast his mind back to December 2007 to highlight the problem the army faced. As the newly-appointed Deputy Chief of Air Staff (Ops) at the time, he was involved with ongoing operations in South Waziristan: “I remember getting a call from the army’s DGMO (Director General Military Ops), General Pasha, at around 4am telling me that Fort Laddha was under intense attack by a large lashkar [group of militants]. The fort was surrounded and partly occupied; it was a desperate time.

“We didn’t have a night capability, so we waited for daylight. However, I asked the general where the people were located, how they got there, vehicle locations — all the detail I needed.”

Over the phone the general described the fort and the enemy’s location. ACM Suleman gave the precise details to the F-16 case commander with one important proviso — no fratricide or collateral damage at any cost.

In the morning Suleman and Pasha both checked out Google Earth so they could discuss over the phone the layout of the terrain and the enemy positions. No up-to- date mapping of the region was to hand so Google Earth provided the best detail available. Once the enemy positions near Fort Laddha had been clarified, F-16s departed their base and headed to the area. Around five minutes later the pilots flew their jets at low altitude over the fort to identify the vehicles and the main body of the lashkar before dropping their bombs. The startled militia rushed from the fort and were attacked. This marked the first co-ordinated air strike by the PAF and showed that procedures could work but would need further development. The army and PAF set about honing their inter-service relationship at the Joint Services Headquarters (JSHQ) at Rawalpindi.

Jf-17 Thunder Block 2Prior to ACM Qamar Suleman taking over as CAS in March 2009, he had served as DCAS (Ops) for two years. Having worked closely with the army, he knew his priority as CAS should be to foster closer working links – until then the two services’ relationship was merely cordial. Another task was to train the RAE in joint operations with its sister service. Finally, ACM Suleman sought to modernise the standard operating procedures (SOPs) with the army in case of any strike from a neighbouring country.

Putting Plans to the Test

On August 6, 2008, JSHQ had the opportunity to test the joint capabilities and the new SOPs when the army encountered problems in Bajour in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP). Troops were surrounded by militants, and were on the verge of being overrun, when the PAF was called in to provide close air support — dropping bombs wherever required and creating non-kinetic effects too, such as low-level sonic booms. The exhausted troops emerged from their positions to continue the fight. However, the same old problems caused by a lack of reconnaissance, or recce capability, continued to occur in the Bajour campaign, which effectively lasted until October 2008. Google Earth was a regular source of intelligence.

As ACM Suleman explained to the author: “We had recce- configured Mirages but it was the old equipment, which included the LORAP [long-range aerial photography] pod and would often take 24 hours to prepare one sheet of imagery. It wasn’t acceptable in a war that moved as quickly as this.”

So the US Government decided to expedite the pace of delivery of Goodrich DB-110 reconnaissance systems already ordered by the PAF, which eventually arrived in January 2009. The air force was then able to escalate operations in its fight against the militants.

For six months after the Bajour campaign, the PAF provided support to the army in many of the tribal ‘agencies’ (regions), but had left Swat alone. Peace talks had started at Mingora, the largest town in the Swat valley, between the Pakistan Government and the Taliban in early February 2009. By the end of the month a shaky peace agreement known as the Malakand Accord was agreed but the Pakistan Government had not signed up to the imposition of sharia law in the region. Once the agreement had been made, the Taliban agreed it would cease all violence but the deal was criticised by many, including the United States and other Western allies, because it would in effect provide a safe haven for terrorists.

All the time the talks were continuing, the Taliban were pushing into regions closer to Islamabad. Local and international media headlines spread alarm as they declared the Taliban were 60-70 miles (100-113km) from Pakistan’s capital. However, reports omitted to say “as the crow flies” — with such inhospitable terrain between the two locations it would take the Taliban forces at least ten hours to get there.

The Malakand Accord covered Buner, Chitral, Dir, Kohistan, Malakand, Shangla and Swat. The man heading the negotiations, Sufi Mohammed, was the leader of the radical pro-Taliban Tehrik-e-Nifaz-e¬Shariat-e-Mohammed (TNSM, or movement for the enforcement of Mohammed’s law). He is said to have led more than 10,000 fighters into Pakistan from Afghanistan when the US air strikes started in 2001. Sufi is the father-in-law of Mullah Fazlullah, the Swat Taliban leader, held responsible by the Pakistan Government for the murder of many policemen, civilians and military personnel as well as the exodus of more than 500,000 of the 1.5 million residents of Swat since 2007.

After the deal was signed the Taliban shut down or destroyed all girls’ schools and women were forbidden to appear in public without their husbands or male relatives. However, the broadcasting of a video of a woman being flogged by black-turbaned Taliban in Swat, allegedly because she ventured out without a male relative sent shockwaves throughout Pakistan. It was a major setback for the Taliban in the propaganda war and the peace deal broke down.

After the peace treaty was called off in late April 2009, a high-level meeting took place at GHQ between the chiefs of Pakistan’s army and air force which supported the resumption of military action, backed by the government. Fortunately, PAF F-16s had already mapped the whole of the Swat and FATA (Federally Administered Tribal Areas) regions using the new DB-110 recce system during the two months of peace. And new Falco UAVs, which had been delivered the previous year, were also monitoring the situation on the ground.

It was agreed the PAF would ‘soften up the ground’ in Swat for an advance by the army. On May 7, 2009 the PAF launched Operation Burk (Arabic for lightning) against ammunition dumps, hideouts, training areas, communication equipment and exit routes to prevent the Taliban forces from escaping. Hundreds of Taliban were believed to be using large hotels in Malam Jabba, a major ski-resort for Pakistanis and a huge tourist attraction. They had forced local residents and workers to occupy the facilities.

On the first day of the PAF’s air campaign, the PTDC and adjacent Afridi hotels and the 11 Corp Rest House were all targeted along with four other large buildings.

F-16s equipped with the French-built ATLIS (automatic tracking and laser integration system) employed laser-guided bombs on the targets which, according to PAF estimates, killed around 1,000 militants. Two helicopter landing zones (HLZs) had also been selected in the Peochar Valley, where helicopters offloaded 1,500 troops.

For two days PAF bombs targeted the militants in a bid to ‘soften them up’ before troops moved in to reclaim the territory. Before the helicopters could fly into the HLZs, the area was again photographed by PAF DB-110-equipped F-16s. From the imagery, several isolated structures were identified that could have housed militants armed with rocket-propelled grenades. These were destroyed before the helicopters were cleared into the HLZs. ACM Suleman clarified: “These buildings didn’t just collapse, they exploded — proof enough there were weapons caches and ammunition inside.”

The helicopters went in on May 9, marking the beginning of the army’s Rah-e-Raast (‘Righteous Path’) operation, landing in difficult terrain around 8,000ft (2,438m) above sea level. Everything was cleared within the range of the militants’ RPGs, around 3,000ft (900m) from the HLZ, while PAF F-16s provided combat air patrol (CAP) overhead. On the ground embedded with the army were PAF JTACS (joint terminal air controllers) in case more F-16s strikes were called for.

Opposition was so ferocious it took army commandos three days to move out, but once they advanced it was a swift and successful campaign; the militants simply could not counter the overwhelming effect of the PAF airpower.

During the bombing, collateral damage was uppermost in everyone’s minds. The only sorties involving strikes in a built-up area were at Sultan Waas, another large militant stronghold. The Frontier Corps led by Major General Tariq (now commander of an elite corps) requested assistance in clearing the area. Once assurances were given by five different organisations — GHQ, 11 Corps (their area of the control), military intelligence, the Area District Civil Officer (DCO) and Area District Police Officer (DPO) — that there were no civilians in the locality, in came the bombs. Over 100 were dropped on approximately 20 targets, destroying the entire terrorist set-up in an operation completed within two hours. By the end of July 2009, the PAF air campaign in Swat had come to an end with army losses kept to a minimum.

In the centre of Mingora, the town’s Green Square had become known as ‘Bloody Square’ (‘Khooni Square’) where people murdered by the Taliban had been left to hang. The army was tasked to clear the site. The army’s General Kayani and the air force’s CAS visited the town. “I found it very eerie… there were still clothes on the line, stuff laying around, but no people and no birds, cats or stray dogs… All the shops were locked,” said ACM Suleman.

In the aftermath of the strikes, the PAF built two water filtration plants at Mingora and set up two relief camps at Mardan. Nine hundred families moved into the relief camps, looked after by PAF personnel from the academy at Risalpur.

Lightning 2 (Burk 2) 

From August until October 2009 the PAF focused its bombing campaign in other agencies like Lower Dir, but at the same time it was preparing for an operation supporting the army in South Waziristan Agency (SWA). The increasing number of bomb attacks on Pakistan’s cities was by now reaching crisis point and required action. Intelligence showed that most of the attacks were being planned from South Waziristan, so the military objective was to shut the militant networks down.

On October 11, 2009 the army pinpointed 110 targets, eventually rising to 150, as part of its Operation Rah-e-Nijat (‘Path to Salvation’) which would commence on October 17. The South Waziristan operation would be tricky as there were thousands of militants occupying strategic locations. It was those concentrations that would be targeted.

ACM Suleman explained: “We photographed the entire South Waziristan region; we found militants were waiting for the army.

“They set up pickets and bunkers in the mountain sides in readiness for the troops. We saw all this when we checked the area using DB-110s. It meant that when the army moved in they found little resistance. In previous campaigns the army had launched ops in SWA but suffered high casualties — that didn’t happen this time. In the end we struck 220 targets in the six-day window.”

Under Operation Lightning 2 (Burk 2) the PAF adopted a ‘ridgeline approach’ whereby the high ground overlooking army positions was bombed. This allowed the army to move along the ridgelines without being attacked from above — a common problem that could lead to the loss of many personnel.

The PAF was aware that anti-insurgency operations would have to become part of operational doctrine, so plans were put in place to ensure that all fighter squadrons worked on their air-to-ground skills, culminating in a large anti- insurgency exercise. This led to a series of ‘Saffron Bandit’ exercises in August 2009 in which all fighter units deployed to a designated base.

Generally two units deployed for three weeks at a time over a six-month period until February 2010, by which time every squadron had attended the course. Each squadron worked with the combat commanders school (CCS) on air-to-ground doctrine, using the PAF’s air-to-ground bombing range where a mock ‘terrorist village’ had been built. Pilots would gain the opportunity to experience the intensity of this kind of conflict and the necessary tactics to tackle such scenarios.

At the same time the army started its own rotation of units to the firing range to work with the PAF as both services sought to bolster their close air support training. The US Air Force even sent some its JTACs to provide expertise and input.

Within weeks of Saffron Bandit ending, the PAF took the chance to test everyone’s resolve and commitment by launching Exercise High Mark 2010 on March 15. This two- month ‘mother of all exercises’ wasn’t just to test the counter-insurgency lessons, but also to see how the PAF would react to a threat from a neighbouring state. It tested most bases and all trades— pilots, maintenance personnel, engineers, logistics, administrators, air traffic, etc. During the first ten days the PAF flew as many sorties as it usually does in three months of ops, with everyone working to their limits.

For the PAF, 2010 was remarkable for its large number of exercises: Saffron Bandit; High Mark, which included a motorway landing by two fighter aircraft; Red Flag (at Nellis AFB, Nevada in the United States); Bright Star (Egypt); Anatolian Eagle (Turkey); and the Advanced Tactical Leadership Course (at Al Dhafra AB, UAE). Unbelievably, in a year when the PAF flew more than 90,000 hours (around 10% more than usual), there were no accidents.

FL1R Herks

In early 2009, ACM Suleman had come up with an idea to install a forward-looking infrared (FLIR) system on one of the PAF’s C-130B Hercules transport aircraft which could remain
airborne for up to eight hours.

He recalls: “My engineers told me we could put it on the side door, but I said it would only record from one side of the aircraft if we did! I suggested we put it under the chin, which meant the bulkhead would have to be cut.

“We discussed it with the aircraft manufacturer but were quoted around $10 million and it would take eight to nine months. We could not afford to send a transport aircraft away for that long, and where would we get the money from?”

Instead PAF engineers did the work and within a couple of months there was a system on board with two large flat screens in the passenger area, so personnel could seethe live video. One screen displays a map of the area that the aircraft was flying over and the other shows the FLIR video, watched by army intelligence officers. When the Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani, saw the system working during a sortie in August 2009 he was impressed, and by October 2009, at the start of Operation Rah-e-Nijat, the FLIR Hercules was operational.

The success of the Pakistan Army in defeating the militants was by now moving at a faster pace, largely due to the PAF’s bombing campaign. Combined ops followed a familiar routine – strike aircraft softened up the enemy and attack helicopters engaged any remaining targetsbefore the troops moved in.

F-16s would normally operate at 10,000-18,000ft (3,048- 5,486m) and dive-bomb in; sometimes if they got clearance they would get down to 8,000ft (2,438m). Mirages, when used, would go down lower. By December 2009, the bombing campaigns had all but ended.

Today, the PAF continues to support army personnel whenever required as it attempts to rid Pakistan of the people who co-ordinate bomb attacks on innocent civilians in the country. With recent deliveries of new equipment, joint operations can now be undertaken 24 hours a day. This represents another huge leap in capability as the PAF continues to revolutionise its 0 war-fighting procedures.

1. Introduction of the DB-110 sensor into PAF service has meant the reconnaissance variant of the Mirage is all but redundant.

STRANGER 12
With tough terrain of the tribal areas, army personnel were being slaughtered as they attempted to eliminate militants who had lived in the region for years. They knew all the high ground and ridgelines, which allowed them to look down on the troops as they approached – the soldiers were ‘sitting ducks’.

To counter this threat the PAF required a platform capable of loitering overhead the area of operation for long periods to pinpoint enemy locations. In early 2009, the PAF set about modernising a C-130B with a FUR Systems Star Safire Ill imaging system to pinpoint areas of interest on the ground and then zoom-in. From around 18,000ft (5,486m) the operator can recognise an individual’s features – it is an impressive tool. Within six months the PAF was also installing a Brite Star designator to allow the Hercules to lase bombs onto targets for strike aircraft. During Operation Lightning II (which commenced on October 11, 2009) PAF FLIR-equipped transport aircraft were airborne almost 24 hours a day supporting army ops. In the rear of these aircraft are two large flat-screens, one showing a moving map as photographed by the DB-110 and the other showing the FL1R imagery being worked by the operator where to look. It became a very useful tool – essentially the army had its own eyes in the sky. There are plans to data-link the imagery down to a ground station; but while telemetry trials have proved it can be done, the system will need upgrading.

The author flew with ‘Stranger 12’ over the Swatnavigator/FL1R operator in the cockpit. Army personnel can watch the areas of interest and describe via radio to troops on the ground what they are looking at from thousands of feet above the battlefield. Through their headsets, those in the rear can also direct the FLIR Valley to see the kind of work the FLIR ‘Herks’ can undertake.

“We fly the FLIR C-130s at 10,000- /5,000ft [3,048- 4,572m] and we can track a single person. It’s a safe height but if we need to go lower we have to gain clearance,” explained one of the aircrew.

“Once the army has the intelligence, it provides us the rough co-ordinates so we can have a closer look. We fly to the area and scan the targets, enabling us to provide the intel guys with exact co-ordinates. The bad people generally move at night, so we tend to fly at medium level over the area of their compound, scan their movements, take co-ordinates and pass them to the army. Knowing what the place looks like helps the army should they decide to attack,” he added.

GPS is integrated into the FLIR, so it can focus with rough co-ordinates on the area of interest in the vicinity of the Hercules’ position. The FUR can then be zoomed-in allowing the operator to illuminate the exact target to pick precise co-ordinates that can then be relayed to various intelligence agencies.

The PAF’s FLIR-equipped C-/30Bs are known to fly along the Afghan border, checking for hostiles moving in and out of Pakistan.

GOODRICH DB-110

In early January 2009, the PAF took delivery of its DB-110 systems and almost immediately put them on F-16 aircraft to carry out integration and acceptance trials.

A PAF DB-110 expert explained: “We are using them regularly— for battle damage assessment and mapping which provide us with latest time intelligence of value (LTIoV). We are about to get a capability enhancement, while Royal Air Force personnel have been here sharing their experience of their (DB-110-based) RAPTOR (Reconnaissance Air Pod for Tornado) system and showing us ways of exploiting the system even further so we can get more out of it. They have even designed a special course for the PAF”

According to Goodrich, the DB-110 provides real-time high-quality imagery intelligence from stand-off to close-in range to the target, enabling aircrew and imagery analysts to verify targets and conduct mission-related tasks such as battle damage assessment.

The 08-110 sensor can be operated autonomously by the pod’s reconnaissance management system or can be used interactively with aircrew input for new task-entry and target-of-opportunity imaging. During bombing missions, pilots are selected from different squadrons to ensure experience and expertise is spread throughout the force. Designated squadrons are responsible for training pilots in the close air support role.

A huge air-to-ground firing range is used to practise high-altitude steep dive-angle bombing manoeuvres, with the new pilots also flying a couple of missions in the rear seat to get a feel of the situation.

Source: http://www.defence.pk/forums/pakistan-air-force/236765-paf-prowness.html#ixzz2Ll0CpLrL

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