Our Announcements

Not Found

Sorry, but you are looking for something that isn't here.

Archive for category Drone Attacks

Bilal Khan: Revolution Observer: Pakistan’s Air Force, an obstacle to US Interests?

 

 

 Bilal Khan, Revolution Observer: Pakistan’s Air Force, an obstacle to US Interests?

 

As of May 2013, Pakistan became the fourth country in the world to start using China’s navigational satellite network system, the BeiDou Navigation Satellite System (BDS).[1] A direct equivalent to the American Global Positioning System (GPS), BDS is expected to achieve global coverage by the year 2020. With its existing network of 16 satellites, BDS is currently active for use in the Asia-Pacific region.[2]
However, given how widely used GPS is for private commercial purposes in Pakistan, the country’s shift to BDS seems to be driven by specific strategic and security priorities.[3] In particular, it is apparent that access to BDS is of great strategic significance to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), which is poised to make the most wide-scale use of BDS.[4] Security analysts, among them the retired PAF general, Air Commodore Kaiser Tufail, believes thatPakistan’s shift to BDS is driven in large by the PAF’s need to secure its strategic assets and ensure that its capacities to address external threats are immune from Western (and in particular, American) interference.[5]
Security analysts believe that the PAF will seek to integrate BDS into the following areas:
1.  Its inventory of land-attack cruise missiles (Ra’ad) and bombs (such as the H-4), thereby allowing it to maintain precision-strike capabilities at stand-off (~300km) and tactical (<120km) ranges.[6]
2.  Its overall combat information and management network connecting its fighter aircraft, drones, airborne and land-based surveillance assets, etc. In effect, BDS will allow the PAF to become a “network-centric” force, i.e. becoming more aware and responsive in times of conflict.[7]

 

These advances indicate that the PAF operates with a perspective that focuses on Pakistan’s external military threats, a deviation from General Kayani’s emphasis on internal threats.[8] Officially, the PAF communicated that it would be willing to intercept U.S incursions provided that it is a policy of the Pakistani government.[9] The PAF also supports an elaborate implementation of this perspective with strong support from the Pakistani defense industry. In addition to the JF-17 fighter, a flagship program pursued with China worth billions of dollars, the PAF is also at the forefront of armed unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) development.
As a result of insufficient access to GPS, Pakistan was unable to continue developing a drone similar in range and capabilities to the U.S Predator. Satellite communication is integral to being able to control medium-altitude and long-endurance UAVs similar to the Predator.[10] Access to BDS will enable Pakistan to expand its UAV programs, and it had reportedly been offered technical support from China in this regard.[11] Leaders of Pakistan’s defense industry have voiced their disapproval of U.S drone strikes, and are of the belief that Pakistan attaining armed-drones would demonstrate the country’s capacity to manage its internal security without external intervention.[12]
Overall, the PAF’s intention for maintaining territorial sovereignty from external threats is reflected in its organizational goals. In addition to frequently engaging in large-scale exercises with other regional powers (e.g. Saudi Arabia, Turkey and China), PAF has made several strategic acquisitions that are characteristic of projecting power. These procurements include a fleet of aerial refueling aircraft, airborne early-warning and control (AEW&C) systems, long-range air-to-surface weapon-systems and as of late, a renewed effort to develop armed-UAVs similar to the U.S Predator.
Incidentally, these strategic assets had come under attack by militants over the past two years.In 2011 and 2012, militants armed with assault rifles and rocket-propelled grenades undertook a series of coordinated attacks against a number of air bases housing strategic assets. These attacks resulted in the destruction of two maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft and an Erieye AEW&C system valued at $250 million.[13] The facilities targeted – among them the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) that manufactures the JF-17 – were well outside the Waziristan/Afghan theater, and had little to do with the military’s campaigns in that area.[14]
For the most part, these attacks were against assets that are oriented towards protecting against external military threats. The direct benefactors of these attacks include India, whose increasing capabilities are constantly diluted by the PAF’s modernization, as well as the United States. PAF officials, serving and retired, repeatedly called for Pakistan to distance itself from the U.S-led War on Terror, to take independent ownership of its internal security affairs, and reduce reliance on U.S financial and technical support.[15] The PAF’s investment in Chinese and indigenous systems is reflective of this stance, and offers a feasible alternative to security-ties with the U.S.
However, because the PAF and its officials have abstained from pursuing their policy views outside of their legal mandate (which is to obey the civilian government), they cannot be considered active change-makers. Ultimately, the PAF’s achievements will be tempered by such excuses as budgetary constraints, as well as the government’s neglect of the concerns the PAF has managed to prioritize over the years. Nonetheless, it is clear that the PAF has support within Pakistan’s wider security circles; support which has allowed it to sustain its programs over the past five years. Whether this desired direction openly opposes the way Pakistan is heading politically; i.e. the emphasis of peace with India and the prioritization of the country’s internal security problems in favour of its external concerns, remains to be seen.
[1] Ellyne Phneah. “Beidou to build stations in Pakistan for location accuracy.” ZDNet. 20 May 2013. Available at: http://www.zdnet.com/cn/beidou-to-build-stations-in-pakistan-for-location-accuracy-7000015580/
[2] Ibid.
[3] Michael J. Listner. “Pakistan to have Functioning Global Navigational Satellite System by June 2013.” Space Safety Magazine. 7 November 2012 Available at: http://www.spacesafetymagazine.com/2012/11/07/pakistan-functioning-global-navigational-satellite-system-june-2013/
[4] Usman Ansari. “Pakistan Employs China’s Beidou Guidance System, but Access Not Guaranteed.” Defense News International. 7 May 2013. Available at:http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130507/DEFREG03/305070030/Pakistan-Employs-China-s-Beidou-Guidance-System-Access-Not-Guaranteed
[5] Ibid.
[6] Usman Ansari. “Despite Missile Integration, Nuke Role Unlikely for Pakistan’s JF-17.” Defense News International. 7 February 2013. Available at: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130207/DEFREG03/302070024/Despite-Missile-Integration-Nuke-Role-Unlikely-Pakistan-8217-s-JF-17
[7] Usman Ansari. “China Provides Key to Pakistani Bandwidth Requirements.” Defense News International. 27 March 2013. Available at: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130327/DEFREG03/303270016/China-Provides-Key-Pakistani-Bandwidth-Requirements
[8] Katharine Houreld. “Pakistan army will be watching Sharif’s cozying up to India.” Reuters. 19 May 2013. Available at: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/19/us-pakistan-military-idUSBRE94I0CR20130519
[9] TV interview with Air Marshal (retired) Shahid Lateet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itbq7Mb50OA (Urdu)
[10] Usman Ansari. “China Provides Key to Pakistani Bandwidth Requirements.” Defense News International. 27 March 2013. Available at: http://www.defensenews.com/article/20130327/DEFREG03/
[11] Christopher Booden. “China Emerging as New Force in Drone Warfare.” Yahoo News via Associated Press. 3 May 2013. Available at: http://news.yahoo.com/china-emerging-force-drone-warfare-080503327.html
[12] Dion Nissenbaum. “Pakistan Moves to Build Its Own Drones, Push Aside U.S.” Wall Street Journal. 18 December 2012. Available at: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324712504578133483559620340.html
[13] TV interview with Air Marshal (retired) Shahid Lateet: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=itbq7Mb50OA (Urdu)
[14] Ben West. “In Pakistan, Mixed Results from a Peshawar Attack.” Stratfor Global Intelligence. 20 December 2012. Available at: http://www.stratfor.com/weekly/pakistan-mixed-results-peshawar-attack
[15] Ibid.

, , , ,

No Comments

PTT Archive: Imran Khan Condemns Drone Attacks

imran-khan-r670

Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan. – File Photo by Reuters

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan, strongly condemning United States drone strike in North Waziristan which killed 24 people, said on Saturday latest drone attack speaks volumes about so-called close working partnership between Pakistan and the US in ongoing war.

The PTI chief said rulers reopened Nato supply routes against strong sentiments of people and bypassed parliamentary resolutions to appease the US which reciprocated by continuous drone strikes, last of which killed 24 people on Friday.

hose killed in these strikes.

Khan demanded that government should disclose identification details of causalities so that “we know how many women children and ordinary civilians have been killed.”

He asked will any other nation allow indiscriminate killing of its citizens? The fact that their identities are not disclosed casts serious doubts on claims that those killed in strikes were militants, he added.

Khan said the government is equally responsible in indiscriminate elimination of its citizens as it has consciously avoided disclosing identification details of those killed in American drone strikes.

“Our rulers are blindly supporting US claims of high precision drone strikes and minimum collateral damage when they are actually aware of details of civilian casualties in tribal areas,” he He said continuing drone assaults were in clear violation of international humanitarian laws. There is complete media censorship in tribal areas and resultantly no way to ascertain identities of tadded.

Rejecting the claims that these strikes are primarily carried out against foreign militants, he said statistics from independent organisations suggest that both US and Pakistan government are grossly under reporting civilian casualties. Accounts of local, western journalists suggest large number of civilians killed in these strikes.

The PTI chief said the government avoided commenting on stopping unilateral drone strikes that was one of most critical parliamentary preconditions before reopening Nato supply routes.

, , ,

No Comments

Musharraf Won’t Be Charged, Pakistani Government Says

images-15Musharraf Won’t Be Charged, Pakistani Government Says

By ZARAR KHAN 04/22/13 01:04 PM ET EDT AP

 

 
 
 
 
 
Musharraf Wont Be Charged
 
 

ISLAMABAD — Pakistan’s caretaker government told the Supreme Court on Monday it will not file treason charges against former military ruler Pervez Musharraf but will leave the decision on that to the winner of the upcoming election.

The petitions before the Supreme Court alleging Musharraf committed treason while in power constitute just one of several legal challenges he is facing following his recent return to Pakistan from self-imposed exile.

The former military strongman was placed under house arrest over the weekend in connection with a different case, which involves his decision to fire senior judges while in power.

Musharraf’s detention was the latest in an array of setbacks he has faced since returning home last month with hopes of making a political comeback.

Lawyers have filed private petitions before the Supreme Court alleging Musharraf committed various treasonable offenses, including toppling a civilian government, suspending the constitution and declaring a state of emergency.

But according to Pakistan’s constitution, the government is the only one with authority to file treason charges against Musharraf.

Attorney General Irfan Qadir submitted a statement to the Supreme Court on Monday, saying caretaker officials have decided not to file treason charges because it was not part of their mandate.

The caretaker government should avoid controversial matters that are not reversible by the winner of the May 11 parliamentary election, Qadir said. Instead, he added, caretaker officials are focused on routine matters, such as ensuring security for the upcoming election.

However, Law Minister Ahmer Bilal Soofi indicated that caretaker officials would not defy the Supreme Court if the judges ordered the government to act.

“At present all the focus, the attention is on the election arrangement,” Soofi told reporters in Islamabad. “But we will be ready to proceed according to what the court asks us to do.”

The interim government took over last month and will hold power until a new government is formed after the vote.

At this point, it’s unclear how the next government will choose to proceed in the case of treason charges against Musharraf.

The front runner to become the next prime minister is Nawaz Sharif, who was toppled by Musharraf in a military coup when he was serving as premier in 1999.

Musharraf held power for nearly a decade until he was forced to step down in 2008 because of growing discontent with his rule. He returned despite Taliban death threats and an array of legal challenges.

But upon his homecoming, Musharraf encountered paltry levels of public support and was disqualified to run in the upcoming election because of his actions while in office.

Things got even worse last week, when Musharraf fled a court in the capital Islamabad to avoid arrest after a judge rejected his bail and ordered his detention. The arrest order was connected to Musharraf’s decision in 2007 to dismiss senior judges, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, apparently out of concern that they would challenge his re-election as president.

Musharraf was eventually placed under house arrest at his heavily guarded compound on the outskirts of Islamabad until the next hearing on May 4.

____

Associated Press writer Asif Shahzad contributed to this report.

 

, , , , , ,

No Comments

US drone war deal ‘in return for killing Pakistani militant in CIA missile strike’

images-12013-04-08

US drone war deal ‘in return for killing Pakistani militant in CIA missile strike’

The US assassinated a Pakistani tribal rebel with an armed Predator drone to win support from the country’s government to launch the war from the skies with drones in 2004, according to US reports.

 

 

 

Drones overshadow John Brennan's confirmation as CIA director

The president relented to demands from senators to disclose 11 classified legal memos in which his administration argues that it has the authority to use drone strikes to kill terror suspects who are US citizens Photo: REUTERS
 
Philip Sherwell

By , New York

9:31PM BST 07 Apr 2013

 

The back-room deal, although not publicly confirmed, was detailed in several interviews with officials in the US and Pakistan for a New York Times investigation (Note: New York Times is a Zionist owned paper, which is extremely hostile to Muslim nations, and particularly Pakistan. so, everything it publishes is skewed toward Israeli viewpoint).

The bargain was crucial in allowing the Central Intelligence Agency dramatically to escalate its use of unmanned drones to target suspected terrorists in Pakistan’s border areas in what the then Bush administration called the “war on terror”.

President Barack Obama has intensified America’s covert drone operations, expanding their role in Yemen and East Africa, as he has tried to reduce US boots on the ground in combat missions.

John Brennan, the new CIA director, was the architect of Mr Obama’s “targeted killing” programme as the president’s chief counterterrorism adviser in the first term.

But the drone war has become increasingly controversial in the US, particularly after Mr Obama authorised the assassination overseas of American citizens who are alleged senior al-Qaeda operatives. The most notable case was the killing Anwar al-Awlaki, the US-born radical preacher, in a drone missile strike in Yemen.

Several Democratic and Republican politicians have challenged the legality of orders to kill Americans without judicial review and expressed concern that drones could be used over US soil.

Nek Muhammad had been a small-time teenage car thief and storekeeper in the tribal region of South Waziristan before he crossed the border in 1993 to join the new Taliban movement in Afghanistan.

Mr Muhammad fled back to Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban regime in late-2001, playing host to Arab and Chechen fighters from al-Qaeda who crossed the border with him.

The Pashtun tribal leader used his new armed strength to attack Pakistani bases and also to stage cross-border raids on US positions in Afghanistan. The Pakistani military’s attempts to kill Mr Muhammad and quell his insurgency failed as he became a major challenge for the government of President Pervez Musharraf.

According to the New York Times, then CIA director George Tenet authorised his CIA officers in Islamabad to begin negotiations with their Pakistani ISI counterparts.

“If the CIA killed Mr Muhammad, would the ISI allow armed drone flights over the tribal areas?” Mr Musharraf signed off on the secret talks.

The US would never acknowledge a role in the missile strikes and Pakistan’s military would take credit for the killings. In June 2004, Mr Muhammad was killed in a missile attack and Pakistan’s military was quick to claim responsibility.

The deal had been signed in the blood of the militant. It came at a crucial stage for the Bush administration as the CIA had just completed a damning internal report about the abuse of terror suspect detainees in secret prisons across the world.

The timing of that report and the secret drone deal played a central role in the controversial transition of the CIA’s role from capturing to killing suspected terrorists.

According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, drone strikes killed between 474 and 881 civilians – including 176 children – in Pakistan between 2004 and last year.

Meanwhile, even as America winds down its military foothold in Afghanistan, a Taliban suicide car bomb attack this weekend provided a bloody reminder of the dangers there.

Five Americans, including two civilians, died in the attack on their convoy on a trip to deliver books to a school. The victims of the deadliest attack on Americans there for nine months included Anne Smedinghoff, a 25-year-old diplomat.

No Comments

BRIAN CLOUGHLEY : Medals for Murder

Wailing Widows and Hi-Tech Bombardiers

Medals for Murder

by BRIAN CLOUGHLEY

On the internet there have been photographs going round of a row of puffy-faced North Korean generals with flabby chests covered in medals.  Their decorations are absurd, of course, because none of these chubbies has heard a shot fired in anger. And western propaganda machines are understandably publicizing the pictures at this time of tension with the regime of pot-bellied, moon-faced and deranged President Kim Jong Un.  But it’s unlikely that the North Koreans will publish photographs of the equally generous medal-chests of American or other nations’ generals, if only because they’ve got no sense of humor.

Have you ever wondered how many medals have been awarded to foreign soldiers in Afghanistan who have been fighting America’s Longest War?  We can’t establish the exact number, because we’ll never know how many soldiers have endured service in that God-forsaken hellhole.  But given average annual strength over the past few years of about 40,000 foreign troops, each having a six-month tour of duty, it’s getting on to half a million national medals. Then there is the other medal awarded to everyone for having been there:  the International Security and Assistance Force Medal. Add half a million.  So that’s at least a million little circles of metal attached to ribbons that are pinned on the chests of all these military people.

What’s the point of  all these shiny gongs?  What are they supposed to signify?   I don’t disapprove of medals as such, because some are indicative of honorable military service, usually in dangerous and horrible circumstances, and in a number of cases they are awarded for great bravery.  It is pleasing that the new Secretaries of State and Defense in Washington have medals — not that their experience and courage deterred a bunch of pathetic chair-bound dummies from trying to block their appointments.  And they are proof that at least some metal is awarded for mettle.  So don’t get me wrong about medals.  After all, I’ve got ten, and they look very pretty and I like wearing them on ceremonial occasions. Six of them, however, are just glitter garbage, handed out for having done nothing in particular.

But some medals are awarded for propaganda purposes, and if you think back to the dishonorable and disgraceful way in which some US senior officers — very senior officers indeed — told deliberate lies about the award of a posthumous bravery medal to Pat Tillman, then you wonder about military integrity.

You might not remember the Pat Tillman affair, so please allow me remind you what happened on the death of this American football player who joined the Army Rangers rather than take up a multi-million dollar contract with the Arizona Cardinals.  After his death in Afghanistan in April ten years ago there was a memorial service at which his family “were told that he was killed while running up a hill in pursuit of the enemy. He was awarded a Silver Star for his courageous actions. A month and two days after his death, the family learned that Pat had been shot three times in the head by his own troops in a ‘friendly fire’ incident.”   Make no mistake:  Pat was a brave man.  He deserved a medal for courage because he exposed himself to deadly danger when he stood up and shouted to his panicking comrades to stop firing because there wasn’t an enemy within miles.  But a gang of despicable and dishonorable generals used his status and bravery as a propaganda tool for their own putrid purposes.  It’s like the repulsive fraud about Private Jessica Lynch during the invasion of Iraq — and countless other tawdry deceptions.  The farcical Lynch affair was the stage-managed rescue of a 19-year old supply clerk who was in a convoy that got lost and was shot at by Iraqi troops. She was slightly wounded and the Iraqis took her to a hospital where she was looked after very well (“The nurses tried to soothe me and return me,” she said, later.)  There were no guards, and she was in no danger.  But the hospital was assaulted by dozens of US special forces especially for propaganda purposes, which no doubt earned everyone concerned a few more chest-chinking bits of metal.  She got six of them.  And as she told the US Congress in April 2007:  “I am still confused as to why they [the US army] chose to lie and tried to make me a legend.”  It all stinks, of course;  but so long as the medals keep coming, who cares?  And who cares about what’s been happening in Afghanistan, the land where medals outnumber soldiers, and soldiers die for nothing?

And not only soldiers die for nothing in Afghanistan.  The New York Times reported in February that two Afghan kids gathering firewood  “were killed by weapons fired from a NATO helicopter,” causing the commander in Afghanistan, US General Joseph Dunford, to “offer my personal apology and condolences to the family of the boys who were killed.”  But do you think the killer pilot will wear his medals with pride?  And might General Dunford ever wonder,  as he dons his uniform jacket, heavy with badges and blazonry, and rigid with rows of ribbons, if he truly deserves the medals he got at the time that two seven year-old Afghan boys were blasted to ragged gobbets of blood-gushing flesh by a missile from one of his hi-tech gunships?

Every time I learn of a soldier being killed in Afghanistan I think of his family — probably because I’m an old soldier and once had to go to the house of an army widow who didn’t know she was a widow until I told her.  That was a long time ago, but I wonder, now, what a young army major (or whatever) thinks when he forms up to the front door of a doomed family and rings the bell and lifts his chin and squares his shoulders and delivers the sentence of death —  but I also think of the weeping Afghan army widows who face lives of despair and hopelessness. (There is never a word in the Western media about the many, many thousands of them.)   And I think of Afghan family compounds where loving parents are told to their frantic anguish that their tiny boys have vanished forever because some bungling foreigners imagined they were terrorists.  Who deserves medals for killing kids?

In our celebrity-worshipping age, in which not much matters to countless millions of people except Oscars, Nascars and shrieking excitement at rah-rah sport, it’s difficult to come to terms with reality.  Which is one reason why handing out medals is so important to those who want to manipulate people in the cause of war.  They’re the cheer-breeders.

One of the most bizarre pieces of news to hit the media recently concerned the decision by the Administration in Washington to award a bravery decoration to government workers who from armchairs direct drones to kill supposed enemies and in the process slaughter totally guiltless people from time to time.  I have to say that when I first read the report I thought it might be an amusing if somewhat sick spoof dreamed up by London’s Private Eye magazine or the satirical online site, The Onion.  Alas: not so.  This grotesque report was no sardonic send-up;  it was perfectly serious official notification that the United States of America approves of and conducts assassinations. Further, the Land of the Free,  the World’s Greatest Democracy, was announcing to the world that its uniformed minions who kill kids by mouse-tap deserve medals for displaying courage.

Drone drivers are honored by the newly-invented US Distinguished Warfare Medal, which ranks above the Bronze Star which is awarded “for acts of heroism, acts of merit, or meritorious service in a combat zone.”   But how can there be heroism involved in controlling drone strikes?  And how does an air-conditioned screen-studded hi-tech parlor behind massive security walls count as a combat zone?

It seems that Defense Secretary Hagel may be able to cancel the bizarre decision to award gallantry medals to switch-flicking mouse-tappers. But the very fact that the medal was created at all is a sad commentary on the state of decorations and the degradation of Democracy.

Drone operators have killed 400 civilians in their strikes in Pakistan alone. We’ll never know how many ordinary citizens they’ve killed in Afghanistan or Yemen or other countries into which the CIA and the US Air Force propel their savage explosive daggers.

Over western Pakistan the terror drones drift soundlessly in the sky, and sometimes they twinkle in reflected sunlight;  and when villagers see them they freeze in fear.  Might there be someone in their village who has had a CIA-supplied micro-chip planted on them?  Perhaps a chip-stuck truck came into their village that morning, and the spark-eyed mouse-tapping Controllers in their armchairs are waiting for activation.  Maybe one of their neighbors hates them and has told someone-who-knows-someone that they support a terrorist.  (That’s a popular means of local eradication.)  But there’s no point in villagers fleeing their homes, because they might run in the wrong direction.  They might seek refuge, these terrified families,  in compounds identified as “hostile” by the hi-tech Controllers. Then — BLAMMO!

Shrieking terror.  Blood-gushing shredded corpses.  Wailing widows.

And Distinguished Warfare Medals all round.  For murder.

Brian Cloughley’s website is www.beecluff.com

,

No Comments


Skip to toolbar