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Archive for category 4TH GENERATION US WAR AGAINST PAKISTAN

Pakistan’s subservience to lukewarm defiance   Brig Gen (Retd) Asif Haroon Raja

Pakistan’s subservience to lukewarm defiance

 

Asif Haroon Raja

9/11 changed the global dynamics

On the morning of 9/11/2001, unknown hijackers flying two passenger planes struck the twin towers in New York with short intervals, the third plane headed for Washington and struck part of Pentagon building and the 4th plane on its way to Pennsylvania was shot down. The flummoxed US security watched the gory drama for hours helplessly.

The US media blared earth shaking news and cried hoarse over the air terrorism which took the lives of little over 2700 Americans. The world was shocked and the world leaders shed tears of anguish and sympathy over the great tragedy, while the Zionists drew satisfaction that they were successful in hoodwinking the world. 9/11 changed the global dynamics and from that time onwards the world moved differently.

All the three successive regimes of the USA led by George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump played into the hands of the Zionists, American Jewish lobby and Israel, and used excessive military force to destroy the targeted Muslims countries, and to kill, maim and displace the Muslims ruthlessly under a pre-planned agenda.

Each year, wreaths were laid on the graves of the innocent Americans who died in New York, but no tear was shed for the millions of Muslims who were killed by the revengeful Americans for no fault of theirs.

Al-Qaeda blamed without evidence

Since Osama bin Laden (OBL) hailed from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and most of the 19 hijackers were from KSA, it was assumed that OBL based in Afghanistan and heading Al-Qaeda had master-minded the attacks. Al-Qaeda was squarely blamed on the basis of assumptions that it had been involved in attacks against American targets since 1997 and had carried out attacks on the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1999.

Crusade against the Muslims

Fuming George W. Bush declared that the US was at war and pledged to avenge. He avowed the Global War on Terror (GWoT) as a ‘crusade’ against the perpetrators without collecting a shred of evidence. The Americans sitting in the hall stood up from their seats and cheered him thunderously, while the world leaders extended their support to bludgeon the ones who had dared to attack the mighty sole super. Not a single country spoke in support of the Taliban regime which had no role to play in the attacks. Their only fault was that they had refused to hand over OBL without providing them proof of his involvement.        

The overall agenda was to demean Islam, which after the demise of communism in Russia was viewed as a major threat to the capitalism, the arms, drugs and pharmaceutical barons and the unjust global international order run by the sole super power.

Israel and India, the two strategic partners of the US, didn’t take part in the GWoT initiated by the US in Oct 2001, but drew maximum benefits from the war.

The UN-recognized freedom movements of the Palestinians and the Kashmiris to free their lands from illegal occupation of Israel and India were categorized as terrorism, thereby giving a free hand to the two fascist and racist countries, Israel and India, to brutalize the Palestinians and the Kashmiris unpityingly.

Denuclearization of Pakistan

In order to disable the nuclear program of Pakistan covertly, Pakistan was deceitfully made an ally and Pakistan readily fell into the honeycombed trap.

India was assigned the responsibility to plan and execute the biggest covert war against Pakistan from Afghan soil, and make it politically unstable, economically and militarily weak and socially divided; subsequently, launch a limited war under Cold Start Doctrine and the nuclear overhang to destroy Pak armed forces. 

RAW along with 14 intelligence units, seven Pakistan specific Indian Consulates and Indian Embassy in Kabul set up a huge terror infrastructure in Afghanistan with 70 training camps and centres in 2002 and were given full support by the CIA, Mossad, MI-6, BND and NDS.

Proxy war against Pakistan

 

 

 

Initial objectives of destabilization were FATA in the northwest and Baluchistan in the southwest of Pakistan. This was done through proxies hired from Pakistan. In FATA, Pakistani Taliban were used as mercenaries. In Baluchistan, the Balochi tribes of Bugtis, Marris and Mengals were brought in line and proxies like BLA, BRA and BLF were created.

The proxies were funded, trained and equipped to carry out acts of sabotage and subversion in the two combat zones. The flames of terrorism were to be subsequently spread to all parts of Pakistan. The MQM was also roped in to destabilize Karachi, the hub of Pakistan’s economy.

 

Pakistan coerced to join Global War Against Terrorism (GWoT)

Pakistan under Gen Musharraf who had been bullied to ditch the ruling Taliban regime of Mullah Omar and to extend full support to the US to capture Afghanistan was later on coerced to send regular troops into South Waziristan (SW) in 2003 to flush out the Al-Qaeda and the ones harboring them. This was in violation of the agreement signed in 1948 by Quaid-e-Azam and the elders of FATA to keep the tribal belt outside the ambit of Pakistan’s penal laws and parliamentary system and to let them be governed by the British enacted Political Agent system and the Frontier Constabulary Rules. The Frontier Corps could only operate in FATA.  

Intrusion of regular troops into SW fueled Talibanization and by Dec 2006, with the active support of the CIA and FBI, Tehreek-Taliban-Pakistan (TTP) was born. Well over 600 pro-Pakistan Maliks, elders and religious leaders were killed to create space for the TTP under Baitullah Mehsud. After the death of Akbar Bugti in a mountain cave in 2006 because of a mysterious blast at a time when the Army’s delegation approached him to sign a peace agreement, the insurgency in Baluchistan morphed into a separatist movement and several Baloch Sardars fled abroad who are being patronized by their western hosts and India. Insurgencies in the two regions were well-synchronized by the master planners.   

Pakistan’s hands tied

When armed insurgency suddenly erupted in Indian Occupied Kashmir in Oct 1989 and gave a chance to Pakistan to even up the score of 1971 with India, the US threatened Pakistan to stay out of it or else it will be declared a terrorist state. Pakistan under Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif (NS) complied meekly and quietly watched the massacre and torture of Kashmiris by the occupying 700, 000 Indian forces.

Pakistan once again became powerless to initiate a proxy war to counter the RAW-NDS covert war after 9/11 that had become an existential threat to its security by 2009, because its hands were tied by the new laws on terrorism framed by the US. Those abetting terrorists were to be held equally responsible for terrorism. India and Kabul regime were given a free hand and have still not been held accountable since the framers of anti-terrorism laws are themselves involved in this game.   

Pakistan’s fault lines attacked

The band of conspirators in Kabul hatched a series of conspiracies and kept funding and arming the paid proxies to bleed the Pak security forces and to create instability and insecurity in the country. To boost the covert war, the propaganda war was upgraded to hybrid war and the moles of foreign agencies deployed in Pakistan aided by purchased Pakistani media started accentuating ethnic, sectarian, religious and political fault lines of Pakistan in order to foment intolerance, extremism and hatred among various sects and political parties.

Keeping the model of East Pakistan where the Bengalis were successfully brainwashed, the minds of the people of smaller provinces were poisoned to fill their hearts with hatred against the ruling government, Punjab and Pak Army/intelligence agencies. Focus has mainly been on weakening the trunk of the army and the ISI which have blunted all the conspiracies and dangerous plans of the adversaries.

Pakistan’s subservience

 

Pakistan’s successive regimes have pursued a policy of appeasement due to which its adversaries have been taking full advantage. Subservience to the US dictates touched new heights during the tenure of Gen Musharraf. Each and every demand of Washington was obsequiously obeyed and no eyebrow was raised on the never ending mantra of ‘Do More’ or the insults and accusations hurled by the US leaders. It was incomprehensible for every Pakistani as to what compelled nuclear Pakistan to mollify the two US installed Kabul regimes which took dictations from the US and India. Hamid Karzai and the unity regime of Ashraf Ghani (AG)-Dr. Abdullah never spared any opportunity to bad mouth Pakistan. Till as late as 2017, Pakistan kept appeasing India as well. Pakistan’s 80,000 human and 150 billion dollars financial losses were the doings of RAW and NDS.

Pakistan’s successive regimes from the time of Gen Musharraf to Zardari and Nawaz Sharif ignored the hard fact that RAW and NDS couldn’t have carried out massive covert and propaganda wars from Afghan soil without full support of the CIA and approval of the US. The trio as well as Israel and the West are on one page. The Quad apart from achieving their global ambitions, they are continuing to demean Islam as a policy.

So what could be the compulsion of Pakistani leadership was a million dollar question asked? The only obligation is that our leaders are too infatuated with the USA and cannot get out of its magic spell irrespective of whatever cost the nation has to pay.

The devastating impact of this one-sided appeasement was that Pakistan lost its nuclear deterrence, its honor and dignity, and anyone could insult or slap Pakistan and get away with it. Pakistan was blamed for all the sins of Indo-US-Afghanistan nexus and was declared ‘nursery of terrorism’, ‘most dangerous country’ and a ‘failing state’. Pakistan took the barbs without a whimper and kept promising to do more to please the double-dealing USA, which never wanted Pakistan to become a self-reliant country. 

 

Pak-China Equation and CPEC

 

Apart from Pakistan’s nuclear program, other eyesores that were unacceptable to the Indo-US-Israel nexus were Pak-China closeness and the CPEC. Terrorism was stepped up by RAW-NDS to scuttle CPEC. Pakistan was lured by KSA and UAE by granting heavy loans and promising establishment of oil refinery at Gwadar, and the US promising activation of ROZs in former FATA and an economic zone at Karachi as an alternative to the CPEC.

A sustained media warfare was launched against China. Major themes played up were: CPEC passes through disputed territory of Gilgit Baltistan; China is a replica of East India Company; Pak-China trade is heavily tilted towards the latter; 90% of the benefits of CPEC are taken by China; China is buying properties in Pakistan at a vast scale and weighing down Pakistan under its loans; Chinese are luring Pakistani girls to marry them, and after taking them to China are being tortured and sexually exploited; Chinese are inhumanly torturing the Muslim Uighurs in Xingjian province.

While Pakistan military made no compromise on the nuclear program, cracks appeared in Pak-China friendship in 2018/19 over CPEC due to irresponsible statements made by Razaq Dawood and some other PTI ministers saying that all the CPEC agreements will be revised. Resultantly CPEC which had galloped fast in the first phase came to a halt for almost a year.

    

Pakistan’s defiance

The first brick of defiance was laid by PM Liaqat Ali Khan by refusing the USA to convince/pressurize Iran not to nationalize its oil. The second brick was laid by the PM ZA Bhutto when he refused Henry Kissinger to close Pakistan’s nuclear program. Both had to pay a big price; Liaqat was murdered and Bhutto was hanged. Nawaz Sharif in May 1998 rejected pressures from Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, turned down the inducement of $ 5 billion and went ahead in carrying out six nuclear tests in response to five conducted by India. In 1999, he was unseated. Gen Ashfaq Pervez Kayani as army chief lost his cool after the NATO’s Apache gunship helicopters attacked Pakistan army posts in Salala (Mehmand Agency) on Nov 26, 2011 killing several officers and men. This offensive act was a follow up of incidents of Raymond Davis in January 2011 followed by stealth helicopters attack in Abbottabad to get OBL on May 2, and the Memogate scandal in Oct. In reaction, Pakistan Army discontinued military cooperation, intelligence sharing and training of Frontier Corps by the US trainers, and cancelled all visits and courses. The two supply routes used by the NATO containers were blocked and the Shamsi airbase in use by the CIA since 2003 was closed. Situation was normalized in July 2012 after Washington tendered an apology with an assurance that such an act will not be repeated.  

In 2017, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa took a bold stand by stating that ‘We will not do more’, and ‘it is time for others to do more’. The next was his perseverance to erect a fence along the border with Afghanistan and Iran. Both the Kabul regime and the US exerted extensive pressure to stop the erection of a fence along the western border. 92% fencing of western border and 47% of southwestern border has been completed and both will be completed by Aug 2021 and end of this year respectively. Radical improvement of border management was another feat that has been accomplished. Next will be the fake national identity cards issued by NADRA in millions to foreigners, mostly the Afghans including the one held by AG.    

PM Imran Khan (IK) showed mirror to the arrogant West for the first time in his maiden address to the UN in 2019 reminding them that no money laundering was possible from the third world without the tax havens in the European capitals. He also exposed the ugly face of India comparing RSS with Nazis and Modi with Hitler and this has been his consistent theme. Standing up to India’s belligerence in February 2019 and giving a befitting response goes to his credit.

Extreme American pressure on Pakistan by the US to detach itself from the CPEC was resisted. Thankfully, dormant CPEC has been fully reactivated and now the lost time is being recouped with full vigor.

Pak-China friendship has blossomed into a strategic partnership, which is analogous to the US-Israel and the US-India partnership. 

The biggest jolt given to the US by Pakistan was IK’s refusal to meet the CIA Director and Foreign Secretary and then refused to give it a military base for so-called counter-terrorism operations against the Al-Qaeda, Daesh and Taliban. IK’s ‘Absolutely Not’ became a buzzword in Pakistan. Such acts of defiance from the compliant state were stupefying for the totalitarian USA.    

Drop scene for the USA and India

The arrogance and prestige of the USA boasting to be the mightiest and invincible military power has been rolled in the dust by the rag tag, ill-equipped, ill-dressed and ill-fed Taliban after they forced the US-NATO forces to exit from Afghanistan. The Taliban outwitted the occupation forces and the collaborating forces, and the way they overpowered the country was a textbook example of military brilliance. They also displayed diplomatic finesse by engaging with all the neighbors to set aside their fears. Politically they played their cards shrewdly by keeping their Doha political office active, treated the surrendering troops and the people of the captured cities with compassion, and won the confidence of all segments of the society.   

The pugnaciousness of six-times bigger India and constant machinations of five intelligence agencies in collusion with RAW to break Pakistan into four parts spread over 16 years have been foiled by Pakistan armed forces and the ISI, which is a big achievement and an embarrassment for India.

Having spread its tentacles in all the departments of Afghanistan and spent $ 3.5 billion in various projects including a dam in Herat, India is today in a fix. After the hurricane-like advance of the Taliban capturing one city after another, India winded up all its Consulates and RAW operatives have fled away. They have destroyed or shifted all the incriminating documents showing their dirty works against Pakistan.            

Ramifications for the USA

The ignominious departure of the occupying forces and ending of the 20-year war in Afghanistan will have grave ramifications for the USA, as was the case with the former USSR in 1989. It had taken only two years for the USSR to fragment and be reduced to the Russian Federation in 1991. The US not only lost the war in Afghanistan, but it is also withdrawing its troops from Iraq by the end of this year as demanded by the Iraqi PM Mustafa al-Khademi. It has withdrawn its support to the Saudi coalition against Yemen, and is likely to exit from Syria where Bashar al-Assad has been re-elected. China is on the rise and Russia under Putin is resurging. Joe Biden is facing criticism on account of the hasty exit of the US troops from Afghanistan, which in view of the critics emboldened the Taliban to race to Kabul. He and his predecessors are likely to face the music of the Americans as to why they fought the longest war, what objectives they achieved and at what cost and why they consistently lied to them.

The spoilers still in action

The spoilers of peace with India in the lead wanted to keep Afghanistan unstable. While the Taliban kept gaining ground, RAW and NDS continued with their proxy war in Pakistan, demeaned the Taliban and resorted to disinformation campaigns.

Lahore blast, followed by spate of terrorist attacks in Waziristan and Baluchistan, the Dassu attack in which 9 Chinese and 3 locals lost their lives, and the engineered drama of abduction of daughter of ambassador of Afghanistan in Islamabad were masterminded by RAW-NDS. There are indications that the CIA was also involved in the Dassu incident.  

In July, India’s transport planes flew over Iran’s airspace four times to deliver 80 tons of war munitions to Kandahar military base and the same quantity to Kabul for the ANA. The US jets flew from the UAE airbase over Tajikistan’s airspace to attack the Taliban in Kandahar. Indian pilots flew gunship helicopters in support of the besieged ANA troops.

The eight warlords were asked by the Kabul regime to reactivate their militias and to confront the Taliban but the prominent warlords fled abroad and Ismail Khan in Herat is in the custody of the Taliban.

Current situation in Afghanistan

All the efforts of the spoilers misfired and the Taliban have taken full control over the whole of the country without much fighting. Their 6000 prisoners locked up in provincial capitals and Bagram air base which the Kabul regime were not releasing were freed by the Taliban themselves.

After moving closer to Kabul and tightening the noose around it, their fighters entered Kabul on August 15, forcing AG to flee to Tajikistan with his whole team on the afternoon of 15 August without tendering resignation. The same evening the Taliban fighters captured the presidential palace, but the Taliban leadership announced general amnesty to all and announced that Kabul will not be captured forcibly.

The Taliban leadership rejected the proposal of an interim setup for which Dr. Abdullah, Hamid Karzai and Gulbadin Hikmatyar as members of Afghan Rabita Council are working, and want power to be directly handed over to them. The Taliban are in a commanding position to arrive at a political settlement of their choice, but they are likely to share power with others as well.  

In case AG doesn’t tender his resignation in the next 1-2 days, he may possibly establish a government in exile on the advice of his patrons. The Northern Alliance might be once again activated duly patronized by the West and India to brew instability in Afghanistan.

Russia and China are likely to provide full support to the Taliban.

Pakistan is in two minds, whether to go along with the international community influenced by the USA, or to support the Taliban.  

UK’s PM Boris Johnson who had termed the Doha Agreement as ‘a rotten deal’, and had also declared Biden’s decision to pullout ‘a big mistake’, has called for an emergency meeting of the UNSC to discuss the situation in Afghanistan. He has advised all not to recognize the Taliban regime if they take over power by force.    

   

Lessons for Pakistan

Learning lessons from the repeated betrayal and double game of the US, unrelenting hostility of the US installed regime in Kabul, and not so trustworthy relations with Iran which is still aligned with India, Pakistan’s leadership seem to have started differentiating between friend and foe. Most problems have occurred from Pakistan’s enchantment of the USA due to which it had to appease India and Afghanistan.  

The first bold action taken by Pakistan was to give a clear message that the days of fighting someone else’s war and provision of bases are over and Pakistan would only extend cooperation for peace and not for war and conflict.  

China is the only neighbor which has never let down Pakistan and has gone out of the way to help Pakistan during its testing times. Strong bondage between the two iron brothers would help in keeping the enemies at bay.

Pakistan’s growth of understanding with China, Russia as well as with Central Asian Republics are a good omen. If Afghanistan under the Taliban and Iran join this grouping, it can keep the spoilers of peace checkmated, but Iran has its own ambitions.  

The Taliban couldn’t have achieved successes with such a lightning speed without the support of the people. Irrespective of the outsiders advocating a broad based and inclusive government in Kabul, the Taliban’s return to power and re-establishment of an Islamic Emirate is irreversible.    

Future government in Kabul with the Taliban in the driving seat will be in the interest of Pakistan since it would radically diminish India’s perverse influence in Afghanistan, and Pakistan will get rid of the RAW-NDS cross border terrorism. However, in case the insensitive and biased international community dominated by the US decides to ostracize the would-be Taliban regime, Pakistan in its bid to remain in good books of the US, might mellow-down its defiance and refuse to recognize the Taliban regime, thereby once again putting the country in jeopardy.

It must not be forgotten that while Pakistan is good at losing friends, India is good at befriending its enemy’s friends. Twice betrayed by Pakistan, the Taliban could be swayed by India.

The writer is retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, Member CWC PESS & Think Tank. asifharoonraja@gmail.com    

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Is Pakistan Controlling Afghan Taliban? کیا پاکستان افغان طالبان کو کنٹرول کررہا ہے؟

 

Mapping Taliban Contested and Controlled Districts in Afghanistan

Description: For nearly two decades, the government of Afghanistan – with the help of U.S. and coalition forces – battled for control of the country against the ever-present Afghan Taliban. FDD’s Long War Journal has tracked the Taliban’s attempts to gain control of the territory since NATO ended its military mission in Afghanistan and switched to an “advise and assist” role in June 2014. Districts have been taken and retaken (by both sides), only to be lost shortly thereafter, decreasing the security situation. Since the U.S. drawdown of peak forces in 2011, the Taliban has unquestionably been resurgent.

Map of Afghanistan’s districts, updated daily

Methodology: The primary data and research behind this assessment are based on open-source information, such as press reports and information provided by government agencies and the Taliban. This is a living and breathing map that LWJ frequently updates as verifiable research is conducted to support control changes.

An “Unconfirmed” district colored orange has some level of claim-of-control made by the Taliban, but either has not yet been — or cannot be— independently verified by LWJ research.

“Contested” district may mean that the government is in control of the district center or buildings within the district center, or a base, but little else, while the Taliban controls large areas or all of the areas outside of the district center. Or, the Taliban may control several villages, mines and other resources, runs prisons in the district, or administers areas of the district.

“Controlled” district may mean the Taliban is openly administering a district, providing services and security, and also running the local courts. LWJ may assess a district Taliban controlled if the district center frequently exchanges hands and/or the government only controls a few buildings or villages in the district.

Beginning in Jan. 2018, LWJ incorporated district-level data provided by the Special Investigator General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), which is based on assessments by Resolute Support, NATO’s command in Afghanistan. This information was helpful in filling the gaps in reporting on districts where there was little open-source information (note: reporting on more opaque districts has improved since mid-2019).

However, Resolute Support has continually downplayed the Taliban’s level of control as well as contested districts in its reporting. For an explanation and analysis of why see LWJ report: U.S. military assessment of Taliban control of Afghan districts is flawed.

In April 2019, Resolute Support stopped producing the assessment. The U.S. Department of Defense stated that negotiations with the Taliban, and not the status of Afghanistan’s districts, was the real metric of progress. For a detailed explanation of this, see the LWJ report: US military ends reporting on the security situation in Afghanistan’s districts. Some districts may retain the Resolute Support district assessment. If there are no indications that the status of the district has changed since the time of the Resolute Support’s Jan. 2019, report, that assessment will remain and will be noted in the comments.

Population control: Due to internal displacement, flight from the country, and a lack of accurate census reporting in the active combat zones, the population numbers are disputed and subject to change. The current projection is based on data from the CIA World Factbook’s 2018 evaluation of Afghanistan. The population estimates should be used as a guide only. 

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Katharine Gun: Ten years on what happened to the woman who revealed dirty tricks on the UN Iraq war vote?

Katharine Gun: Ten years on what happened to the woman who revealed dirty tricks on the UN Iraq war vote?

In the runup to the critical vote on war in Iraq, Katharine Gun exposed a US plot to spy on the UN. As a film of her story is planned, she tells of her anger and frustration – but not her regrets
Katharine Gun
Katharine Gun back in Cheltenham last week: ‘This is the ugly truth of what goes on.’ Photograph: Andy Hall for the Observer

 

Ten years ago, a young Mandarin specialist at GCHQ, the government’s surveillance centre in Cheltenham, did something extraordinary. Katharine Gun, a shy and studious 28-year-old who spent her days listening in to obscure Chinese intercepts, decided to tell the world about a secret plan by the US government to spy on the United Nations.

She had received an email in her inbox asking her and her colleagues to help in a vast intelligence “surge” designed to secure a UN resolution to send troops into Iraq. She was horrified and leaked the email to the Observer. As a result of the story the paper published 10 years ago this weekend, she was arrested, lost her job and faced trial under the Official Secrets Act

The memo from Frank Koza, chief of staff at the “regional targets” section of the National Security Agency, GCHQ’s sister organisation in the US, remains shocking in its implications for British sovereignty. Koza was in effect issuing a direct order to the employees of a UK security agency to gather “the whole gamut of information that could give US policymakers an edge in obtaining results favourable to US goals or to head off surprises”. This included a particular focus on the “swing nations” on the security council, Angola, Cameroon, Chile, Bulgaria and Guinea, “as well as extra focus on Pakistan UN matters”.

The story went around the world and the leak electrified the international debate during the weeks of diplomatic deadlock. Most directly, it bolstered opposition to the US position from Chilean and Mexican diplomats weary of American “dirty tricks”. The same countries demanded immediate answers from the British government about its involvement in the spying. With the operation blown, the chances of George W Bush and Tony Blair getting the consensus for a direct UN mandate for war were now near zero.

For the Observer too, it was a story full of risks. The paper had taken the controversial decision to back intervention in Iraq. Yet here was a story that had the capacity to derail the war altogether. It remains entirely to the credit of Roger Alton, at the time the paper’s editor, that he stuck with the story, despite its potential implications.

Gun had hoped the leak would prick the conscience of the British public, large sections of which were already taking to the streets in opposition to the war. Surely, she thought, when people realised that the UK was being asked to collaborate in an operation to find out personal information that could be used to blackmail UN delegates, they would be outraged and the UK government would halt its slide into war. She failed.

A decade on, sitting in a cafe in Cheltenham, not far from GCHQ, I asked her if she still stood by what she had done. “Still no regrets,” she said. “But the more I think about what happened, the more angry and frustrated I get about the fact that nobody acted on intelligence. The more we find out that in fact the million-person march was a real cause of worry for Downing Street and for Blair personally, it makes you think we were so close and yet so far.”

Since 2003, my life and Gun’s have continued to cross from time to time. As one of the journalists who broke the story, I feel a certain responsibility for how things have turned out. Gun sacrificed so much when she decided to leak and has worked only intermittently since. Throughout her own court case, what only a few knew was that she was also fighting for the right of her husband, who is from Turkey, to remain in the UK. She now has a four-year-old daughter who she is bringing up in Turkey.

Times have often been tough, not least because of the itinerant life she has chosen for herself. “Financially it’s the toughest,” she said. “But that’s partly my own fault because I haven’t aggressively pursued a career. Because I’m not ambitious it’s not paramount for me to find myself in a high-paid job. Right now my priorities are to ensure I am there for my daughter.”

Now there is the possibility that Gun’s singular life will be made into a movie. A script has been doing the rounds in Hollywood for five years. It is written by Sara and Gregory Bernstein, a California-based husband-and-wife writing partnership that have worked with British director Jonathan Lynn. Everyone involved assumed the project had run into the dust, but then it appeared on the Black List, a Hollywood website for unmade film scripts, which has featured Slumdog Millionaire and The King’s Speech in the past. There it was spotted by Debs Paterson, director of the critically acclaimed Africa United, who met Katharine Gun last week with a view to making the film of her life.

Gun was visiting friends and family in Cheltenham when I talked to her, with the strain obvious on her face but still looking much younger than her 38 years. I don’t think I’ve ever met a more determined character and she remained utterly convinced of the justice of her cause: “There’s nothing subsequent to the invasion that makes me think it was the right decision made by Bush and Blair.” However, she is not without disappointment about how little obvious difference she made.

“I never aligned myself specifically with the anti-war movement. But I talk to people and there does seem to be a sense of failure that, despite all the campaigning and all the marching and all the protesting and everything they did, it made not a ha’porth of difference. And that’s quite a depressing place to find yourself in when you feel so strongly and passionately about something

As for her own story, she recognises that 10 years on it scarcely registers with the public. I sensed a slight flash of anger as she said: “It’s not even a footnote in the history of Iraq.” But she said she would still be prepared to give evidence to the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. “There seems to be this blasé attitude – the spying goes on, everyone does it and so it’s nothing to get all hot under the collar about. But this specific instance is the ugly truth of what goes on.”

Although the story made headlines around the world at the time of the leak and later at the time of her trial, which collapsed after the prosecution withdrew its evidence, it remains largely missing from the official narratives of the build-up to the Iraq war.

Jack Straw, then the foreign secretary, has not been challenged on whether he authorised the operation to go ahead, although it is almost certain that he did.

Gun said that the UK government still had some explaining to do: “I think there need to be more questions asked about whether they responded to that request, why they felt it was within their scope of work to respond to that sort of request, and what is the manner of the relationship between UK politics and US politics.

It was almost as if that request was asking for someone within their own nation to do this work; it wasn’t asking another completely independent state for co-operation.”

The risks Gun took in revealing the UN email’s existence were huge. By printing off the memo, putting it in her handbag and taking it home, she was already committing a serious breach of the Official Secrets Act.

In leaking it to the Observer, she was also doing something unprecedented in the history of espionage. Not only was the cable the most sensitive ever to be disclosed on either side of the Atlantic, it was also unique in its timing. Most whistleblowers leak after the event to expose perceived wrongdoing. Gun disclosed details of the spying operation as it was happening to stop something she viewed as terrible happening in the future.

As the title of the film script suggests, she was “The Spy Who Tried to Stop a War”. Daniel Ellsberg, the celebrated American whistleblower who leaked the Pentagon Papers about the build-up to the war in Vietnam, described it as “the most important and courageous leak I have ever seen”.He added: “No one else – including myself – has ever done what Katharine Gun did: tell secret truths at personal risk, before an imminent war, in time, possibly, to avert it.”

As it was, a second UN resolution directly to authorise war against Iraq never materialised and airstrikes began on 19 March 2003. Katharine Gun did not stop the war, but was it all entirely in vain? It is probably still too early to tell.

Courtesy-The Guardian, UK

 

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An Innocent Muslim’s Horrific Experience of Gulag Guantanamo Bay Jail Captured In The MOVIE -The MAURITANIAN

 

The Mauritanian tells a harrowing account of injustice, brutality, and moral reckoning in the aftermath of the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks. Based on the book “Guantanamo Diary”, the film is the true story of Mohamedou Ould Salahi, who was taken clandestinely via rendition to the prison camp in Cuba. His interrogation, tactics used, and the efforts to free him are explored in a well-acted, but overly procedural narrative. The Mauritanian makes a compelling case for introspection. We must hold the perpetrators of this heinous crime to account, but cannot trample on our bedrock values or succumb to unfettered vengeance.

The film opens on a Mauritanian beach two months after 9/11 in 2001. Mohamedou Ould Salahi (Tahar Rahim) has returned from Germany to attend a relative’s wedding. He’s taken away by local authorities as his terrified mother watches. Two years later in New Mexico, prominent civil rights attorney, Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster), is approached by a former colleague (Denis Ménochet) to review a case pro bono. Salahi’s family had reached out to him after reading an article in a German magazine. It was their first clue to Salahi’s whereabouts after disappearing.

 

An Appeal -Bring International Criminals George W.Bush Sr & George W.Bush Jr to Justice

The Mauritanian then changes perspectives to Hollander, and her junior associate, Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley), meeting Salahi for the first time in Guantanamo Bay. They are surprised he can speak English, but is fearful to speak openly. Hollander informs him that the US Supreme Court has authorized Guantanamo Bay detainees the right to legal counsel. She asks Salahi to write detailed notes about how he got to the camp and his treatment inside. Salahi had never been charged for a crime.

At the same time, the White House and Department of Defense sought the death penalty for aiding and abetting the 9/11 hijackers. Lt. Colonel Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch) is assigned to prosecute Salahi. It was supposedly an open and shut case. Salahi’s cousin worked for Osama Bin Laden. Salahi fought with the Taliban against the Russians in Afghanistan. He was a terrorist and killer that needed to die for his crimes. But as Hollander and Couch prepare for trial, they both uncover a disturbing conspiracy regarding the case. The revelations, along with Salahi’s chilling recollection of his arrest and incarceration, painted a vastly different picture of the government’s case against him.

The events of September 11, 2001 will never be forgotten. The horror and heartache will always be felt, especially for those of us who lost dear friends and family. The Mauritanian strikes at the heart of a moral and existential dilemma. Should we allow innocent people to be swept up in a ruthless search for justice? Is extrajudicial rendition, imprisonment, and torture a necessary means to an end? Nancy Hollander, Teri Duncan, and Stuart Couch were branded as traitors for seeking the truth behind Salahi’s capture. They should be seen as heroes. The Constitution, the defining principles of Americanism, is sacrosanct. This is the message the film conveys.

Tahar Rahim has received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Drama. Mohamedou Ould Salahi was subjected to hideous torture and years of soul-crushing confinement. Rahim embodies his struggle to remain hopeful under the most dire circumstances. He delivers an incredible, nuanced performance. Propping up The Mauritanian when the narrative becomes labored. The film, despite its extraordinary content, feels like an episode of Law & Order at times. Tahir Rahim succeeds in humanizing Salahi. Thus making his awful experience relatable and teachable. The Mauritanian is a production of Wonder Street, 30 West, and BBC Films. It will be released theatrically by STX Films on February 12th.

 

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Strange Celebrations of the UN 75th Anniversary by MAHBOOB A. KHAWAJA

AUTHOR`S NAME MAHBOOB A. KHAWAJA

Strange Celebrations of the UN 75th Anniversary

Leaders Hated and Feared Make False Claims of Global Peace, Security and Justice

“Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”  Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Justice in the life of and conduct of the State is possible only as first it resides in the hearts and souls of the citizens.”  Plato

We, the People of Human Conscience and the UNO

Are We, the People of the world trapped in a vicious circle of disingenuous unlearning of the learning inequality, racial injustice and human degradation across the globe? We continued to experience political deceptions in the name of peace and security, phony wars for peace-making, destruction of human habitats, racial injustice and violations of basic human rights and dignity at every step of the UN ladder of convenience for fair and foul narratives.  The UNO and its Charter were empowered by the succeeding nations after the WW2 to protect mankind from another man-made catastrophic war and to come up with workable solution of futuristic human security and conflict resolution. But The UNO and its agencies failed to live up to the hopes of succeeding generations. We have been ditched into a waking consciousness of human degradation as a new normal. Across the globe, people are calling for equality, racial justice and peace and security of all living beings. The European Empires – British, French, Dutch, Italian and American – all infested the societies with racial inequality, class systems and endless systematic discrimination of black and colored masses. The UN could not call for an emergency session to discuss the human losses in both rights and dignity that its Charter claimed to have granted protection. The UN leadership fears President Trump and his volatile reaction psychology – “America First.” American masses are increasingly assuming anti-racism stance and marching for human equality and racial justice. President Trump alleges conspiracy and calls them “extremists’ and ‘thugs” disturbing the law and order. Throughout American history such denials have perpetuated discrimination, violations of human rights and societal violence. When destiny of people coincides with the destiny of political elite, the nobility fears the challenge of change.    

We, the People of Concerned Humanity are witnessing dreadful political apparatus of painful imagination and threats to rational future-making for all mankind. Our enquiries and search for human equality, social justice, peace and global harmony are dashed away like the scum floating on water.  This not a speculative tenets but a living reality recorded by our time and experience. These grave issues concern all the living mankind regardless of nationalities, borders, ethnicities and prides of so many flags. Are these politicians’ pathological liars viewing the humanity as dumb, numb and silent spectators? We are the living conscience of humanity and do know that UNO celebrations are a planned distraction from the challenges of the prevalent world of political misrepresentation, contradictions and falsehood. There is hardly any encouraging evidence to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the UNO plausibly when millions of human beings are continuously charcoaled in Syria, locked up in Kashmir, Yemen, Libya, Myanmar, Iraq, Belarus and elsewhere on this planet. The very essence of human rights and dignity that UNO and the American leadership should have protected against aggression and used its resources to protect life and freedom of all the people. But the leadership professing to be wise and optimistic, fast becoming irrelevant, treacherous and self-centered without any accountability. Paul Craig Roberts (“A New World Is Being Born:  What Will It Be?” Information Clearing House04/9/2020), explains the encompassing truth:

We are hearing from many that the world after Covid-19 will be different.  The question is:  Different in what way?  Will it be better or worse? Elites are working to make it better for them, and worse for the rest of us.  About that the evidence is clear…….The elites by thinking only of their interests are in the way of the opportunity that crisis provides to bring people together.  If we can’t be brought back together, we can forget about unity beyond the boundaries of our own victim or identity group.  In place of community, we will be organized in clans of separate identities.  The absence of unity at home will make us a sitting duck for enemies abroad.

America and Trump Beyond the 9/11 and Genocide in Iraq

After the 9/11, America politics indicate shifting metaphor to wickedness and cruelty against poor and helpless nations. To chase Osama bin Laden, they massacred and destroyed millions of people in Afghanistan. But once OBL was killed, American war did not end its occupation.  The Iraqi invasion with American-British collaboration resulted in genocide of approximately three million civilians. Would American and British leaders ever be held accountable for their crimes against humanity? Robert Scheer, Editor -in Chief, Truthdig (“All Americans Have Blood on Their Hands.” Information Clearing House: 6/09/2019), narrates the first-hand experience of Danny Sjursen, a veteran of the US war in Iraq: 

…Sjursen tells Scheer in the latest installment of “Scheer Intelligence,” “but the reality is that I was censoring myself…..adapting to his new life and grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder, the former soldier is still profoundly troubled by his experiences at war, not only as he led soldiers to their deaths, but also as he watched U.S. forces devastate Iraq and Afghanistan. ……..”What I saw happen to the Iraqi people [haunted me more] than what happened to my soldiers,” Sjursen says. “Not only the bodies in the street, not only the civil war that was being waged, but I found that more than 90% of the very friendly Iraqis … …That was a big turning point, when I started to say, ‘Wait a second. You know, forget about fighting the war poorly; we shouldn’t be fighting this war at all.’ ” But the blood on Sjursen’s hands, which he remains conscious of long after his last deployment, is on all Americans’ hands…

Could the American society spare more time and opportunity to think rationally of global peace, humanity and racial justice than the pets and daily stock markets listings?  At his last phase of the presidency, Trump is attuned to flatter his friend Israeli PM Netanyahu more than American political capacity could afford to do so. America under Trump is blindfolded by the lobbyists to believe in falsehood, misrepresentation and to compromise truth of the rights of people while virtue of truth has becoming offensive and undesirable as a precept of the US foreign policy. The UNO could have addressed the problem of Palestine- Israel conflict and recognition of two states for almost 70 years.  It seems many false and ignorant leaders occupy the political platforms of the UNO but also in America, Israel and the Arab world. The former Arab tribal agents of the lost British Empire and now prince and authoritarian kings do not represent the masses in UAE, Bahrain or Arabia to normalize relations with Israel. The authoritarian rulers could be phased-out any time. It is a Trump sponsored fantasy to appease one-sided classic ignorance. The Arab and Muslim people have a history of religious affinity and protection of Jews and extending critical humanitarian assistance during and prior to the WW2 when West European persecuted them for ages because of the religious animosity. Now State of Israel is in denial of the rights of Palestinian masses to Statehood and to co-exist in peace. Perhaps Israeli citizens should be conscience of this historic truth and be courageous to protect the Palestinians from a dangerous trend of political cruelty. Arab palaces are guarded by the CIA, not by the people. The leaders and people breathe oxygen in conflicting time zones.  Trump administration is manifested with denial of human rights, human equality and racial justice and looks repulsive to suppose human security and peace to be enhanced by profligacy, malevolence and one-track thinking of peace and security in the Middle East.

To Think of Political Change and Societal Reconstruction for Human Equality and Justice

In its search for change and movement to progressive future-making, the global mankind is oppressed by systematic ignorance, intransigence and arrogance of the few affluent class of people managing the global institutions, militarization and governance – the perverted insanity lacking basic understanding of the Human Nature and of the working of the Universe in which we enjoy coherent co-existence. The mankind continues to be victimized by the cancerous ego and cruelty of the few Western warlords. Perhaps, they view humanity just in digits and numbers, not as the living entities with social, moral, spiritual and intellectual values and progressive agendas for change and development. The oppressed masses in Indian held Kashmir, tormented innocent displaced refugees in Syria, more than half of a million of Rohinga refugees forcible evicted by Myanmar (Burma) military – a genocide in making and stalled in Bangladesh, divided and continuously bombed civilians in Yemen, citizens of Belarus demanding fair elections and besieged Palestinians look for global humanity to help – IF THERE IS ANY STILL INTACT – and call for order of the disorder, equality and justice, they have no tools to challenge the oppressors except endurance and foresight for human identity and peace to rejoice dignity and freedom without any perpetuated animosity. This was the moment for the UNO and Five superpowers should have moved to take a stand in support of human equality and justice.

To change the world, it is incumbent upon the intellectuals, academics, visionaries, poets, philosophers and the thinking people to perceive and articulate new and creative ideas, new political imagination for the 21st century organizations to be functional for the people, by the people and accountable to the supremacy of the people’s will. Thus facilitating opportunities for dialogue and reason to deal with issues of primary national conflicts, competing economic and political discords, freedom, justice, human rights, and to invent new terminologies of diplomacy, peacemaking and co-existence between Man, the Humanity and the encompassed Universe. Peace and global security are not the properties or the exclusive domains of any superpowers, America, Russia, the EU, UNO or the UN Security Council or any American corporation. The global mankind enjoins rational optimism to see the ideas and ideals of peace and human security as its own collectively, not of the few.

The tragic death of black American George Floyd reminds us all of the revulsion against the failure of working democracy, economic evil, subjugation of the people of color, psychological and political evil, and insane evil against black and people of colors. The ‘America First’ claimed by Donald Trump reflects painful temptation and socio-economic and political compulsion of systematic evil embedded in Capitalism and the class of the people who claim supremacy to govern the less fortunate and poverty stricken people of colors. They planned and organized security-police forces to protect the ruling nobility – 1% elite. Facing the challenges of public outcries for equality and racial justice, legislative and systematic legal changes must be formalized to create participation of all the citizenry in making a sustainable future. Public calls for defunding of the police apparatus is not a realistic issue but better education and training of police force could change the human landscape of trust and relationship. All colors matter – All lives matter if we claim to be a rational human being species populating the God-given One Planet – Earth. We, the People, the Humanity are colorful and beautiful.


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