The Candid Eye

March 13, 2010

ISI keeping Osama’s whereabouts a secret: Expert

Filed under: Jihad,Pakistan — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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The Pakistani intelligence agency ISI knows the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden but is keeping his location a secret and wants to use the Al Qaeda chief as leverage over the US as it is wary of America’s closer ties with India, noted military historian Stephen Tanner has said.

“We got to make a deal with Pakistan because I’m convinced that he (bin Laden) is protected by the ISI,” said Tanner, the author of ‘Afghanistan: A Military History from Alexander the Great to the War against the Taliban.’

Osama bin Laden : Image Courtesy -

Tanner says the ISI knows where bin Laden is hiding, but is not ready to say.The American writer along with other experts were interviewed by CNN for a blog post on the channel’s website called ‘Whatever happened to bin Laden’.

Noting that it was unlikely for bin Laden to be captured anytime soon, Tanner suggested that the ISI wants to keep him as leverage over the US because it is wary of Washington’s closer ties with New Delhi. Without the fear of a bin Laden loose in Pakistan, the intelligence agency fears that the US would lose interest in the country.

“I just think it’s impossible after all this time to not know where he is. The ISI knows what’s going on in its own country,” Tanner said. “We’re talking about a 6-foot-4-inch Arab with a coterie of bodyguards.”

Another expert, Thomas Mockatis, who is the author of ‘Osama bin Laden: A Biography’ was also quoted on the CNN blog suggesting that killing bin Laden would probably not be the best idea. “Killing bin Laden would not be a good thing,” Mockatis says. “He’s already a hero. Killing bin Laden would just create one more martyr.”

Mockatis recommends that dismantling the terror infrastructure is more important than catching bin Laden. There have been alleged sightings of bin Laden in Pakistan, and he is believed to be in North Waziristan, constantly slipping back and forth from the Af-Pak border.

An associate professor of international security studies at Tufts University’s Fletcher School in Massachusetts, William Martel, even suggests that it would be better if bin Laden would not be captured as the debate on how the Al Qaeda chief should be treated after his capture would create a firestorm.

“Do we read him his rights; do we run him through a military tribunal or civilian courts?” Martel says. “Capturing him would pose more problems than not.”

Source: Yahoo News

December 20, 2009

China as Nuclear Proliferator

Filed under: China,India — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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By B. Raman appeared in SAAG

It was known in 2004 that A.Q.Khan, Pakistan’s nuclear scientist, who is wanted by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Vienna, for interrogation in connection with his nuclear proliferation to North Korea, Iran and Libya, had left a letter with his wife Henny of Dutch origin and their daughter giving some details of his proliferation activities with the knowledge, if not prior approval, of the political and military leadership. The reported purpose of the letter was to tell his people that whatever he did, he did at the instance of the political and military leadership of the country and that he was not acting as a rogue proliferator as was sought to be made out by the leadership of the country.

2. He reportedly wanted his wife to release the letter to the public if any harm came to him. People close to him had also leaked to sections of the Pakistani media information about the letter written by him to his wife and daughter to be released if he was harmed. He feared that he might be prosecuted and jailed on the basis of confessions extracted under duress or handed over to the IAEA for interrogation and prosecution under US pressure.

3. Neither of these contingencies happened. The Pervez Musharraf Government pressured him to admit those proliferation activities, which had already come to the notice of the US and the IAEA and project them as carried out by him on his own independent initiative without the knowledge of the political and military leadership. In return, he was promised that he would be merely kept under house arrest to satisfy the US and not prosecuted or handed over to the IAEA for interrogation. He agreed to this deal.

4. After the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)-led Government headed by Prime Minister Yousef Raza Gilani came to power in March last year, it removed some of the restrictions on his meeting others in his house. He took advantage of this to tell some Japanese correspondents that his contacts with North Korea were within the knowledge of Musharraf. The Government of Gilani denied his allegations and reimposed the restrictions on his interactions with journalists and other members of the public. On an appeal filed on his behalf, he was released from house arrest by a court, but was told by the court that he could not travel inside the country without the prior permission of the Government. The restrictions on his meeting journalists remained.

5. He again took up the matter before the Lahore High Court, which ordered the removal of all restrictions on his movements inside the country. These restrictions have been re-imposed by the Government by a fresh order.

6. Apparently angered by the continuing restrictions on him, his wife or daughter seems to have released the letter written by him to them in December, 2003, giving some details of his proliferation activities undertaken, according to him, at the instance of the Benazir Bhutto Government in the case of Iran and an unnamed Army General in the case of North Korea. It also gives details of the assistance received by Pakistan from China for the development of an atom bomb. The letter has reached the hands of a journalist by name Siman Henderson, who has published a story based on it in the “Sunday Times” of London of September 20, 2009. The journalist, in his story, has sought to give the impression that he had got hold of the letter independently through his contacts unconnected to the Khan family and that it has been in his possession since 2007, though he decided to make it public only now. It has to be noted that even now he has not published the entire letter which, according to him, ran to two pages. He has published only three or four paras. He has given some details of what the letter contained about China, North Korea and Iran. He says that the letter also refers to Libya, without specifying what. Is there an attempt by him to potect Libya? If so, why?

7. The “Times” article gives only details of his proliferation activities undertaken with the knowledge, if not at the instance, of the political and/or military leadership of Pakistan. It is silent on the proliferation activities undertaken by him at his own instance such as the supply of nuclear equipment to Libya and the setting up of facilities in Malaysia with the help of a Muslim of Indian/Sri Lankan origin for the manufacture of enrichment centrifuges for supply to Iran and Libya. It is also silent on his missile proliferation activities. The details given by Khan are meant to implicate his political and military leadership without enabling the IAEA and the US to have a full idea of the nuclear capabilities of Iran and North Korea. Khan has taken care to see that scanty details given by him could not be used by the US and the IAEA against Iran and North Korea.

8. Puzzlingfly, the maximum details given by him in his letter are regarding the assistance received by Pakistan from China for the development of a military nuclear capability. According to his letter, “we put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (250km southwest of Xian). The Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us 50kg of enriched uranium, gave us 10 tons of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%).” The role of China in helping Pakistan develop a military nuclear capability, including the supply of the drawings of the first Chinese atomic bomb, were known earlier through human and technical intelligence reports, but this is the first time such authentic details have come from the scientist who developed Pakistan’s military nuclear programme. The details from the letter as revealed in the “Times” article do greater damage to China than to Iran and North Korea.

9. While there has been considerable international focus on Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation activities through AQ Khan, a similar focus on China’s role in nuclear proliferation has not been there so far. There have been many congressional enquiries in the US on China’s missile proliferation activities, but not on its nuclear proliferation activities. It is the copies of the A-bomb drawings passed on by China to Pakistan which were subsequently passed on by AQ Khan to Iran and Libya. India and Israel have been the worst sufferers of the Chinese nuclear proliferation in favour of Pakistan—-India directly and Israel indirectly.

10. Apart from reviving the demand for the interrogation of AQ Khan outside Pakistan by an independent IAEA team of experts, the IAEA should also ask for a full disclosure by China of its nuclear proliferation to Pakistan. An enquiry into this should also be taken up by the relevant US Congressional committees.

11. At a time when efforts are being made by the Government of India to discourage the anti-Chinese hysteria in our media over the reports of Chinese troop intrusions into Indian territory, the disclosures in AQ Khan’s letter of details of the Chinese assistance in developing an atomic bomb for possible use against India would add to the suspicions and fears in the Indian civil society over what they see as China’s malevolent attitude towards India. If China really values improved relations with India, it should volunteer a full disclosure of its nuclear supply relationship with Pakistan and give credible assurances to the Indian people that such instances will not recur in future. Unless and until this is done the trust deficit between the two countries will continue to remain wide.

November 16, 2009

Pakistani Army ran Muslim extremist training camps, says anti-terrorist expert

The Pakistani Army ran training camps for a Muslim extremist group, at least until recently, with the acceptance of the US Central Intelligence Agency, according to France’s foremost anti-terrorist expert.Jean-Louis Bruguière, who retired in 2007 after 15 years as chief investigating judge for counter-terrorism, reached this conclusion after interrogating a French militant who had been trained by Lashkar-e-Taiba and arrested in Australia in 2003.


Pakistani Army

Pakistani Army

In a book in his counter-terrorism years, Mr Bruguière says that Lashkar-e-Taiba, which was set up to fight India over disputed Kashmir territory, had become part of the international Islamic network of al-Qaeda.

Willy Brigitte, the suspect, told Mr Bruguière, that the Pakistani military were running the Lashkar-e-Taiba training camp where he spent 2½ months in 2001-02. Along with two Britons and two Americans, Brigitte was driven in a 4×4 through army roadblocks to the high-altitude camp where more than 2,000 men were being trained by Pakistani regular army officers, he said.

“The links between the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Pakistani Army are more than close. Brigitte observed this twice,” Mr Bruguière said. “When the camp was resupplied, all the materiel was dropped off by Pakistani army helicopters. And there were regular inspections by the Pakistani Army and the CIA.”


ISI-Taliban Nexus

ISI-Taliban Nexus

The US agency carried out spot checks to ensure that Pakistan was sticking to an agreement not to train any foreigners at the militant organisation, the judge said. “After 9/11, the Americans put pressure on the Pakistani Government to put more effective controls on the activities of the Islamic organisations linked to al-Qaeda,” he said.

Mr Brigitte, originally from the French West Indies, and other foreign personnel were moved out to another camp when the CIA was due to visit, Mr Bruguière said.The judge said that it was possible that the Americans had been turning a blind eye to the organisation’s training of foreign operatives.

It was not clear whether the Pakistani armed forces and ISI intelligence service were “playing the same game” as the Pakistani Government over Islamic terrorism, said the judge, whose book is titled Some Things that I Wasn’t Able to Say.

Source: Times Online

October 28, 2009

Pakistanis appear to be their own worst enemies

An article from Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University and a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times.

How many ways can Pakistanis shoot themselves in the foot? Let me count them.

Last Tuesday, two suicide bombers, apparently sent by the Taliban, blew themselves up amid gatherings of students at an Islamic university in Islamabad, killing at least six people and injuring many others.


Pakistani Terrorism

Pakistani Terrorism

This was just the latest in a string of fatal bombings that have ripped through Pakistani society in recent days. The Taliban, it seems, have unlimited resources to wreak havoc in Pakistan as well as in Afghanistan. And where do they get their money? Yes, they earn a lot from all of those opium poppies in Afghanistan. But that is not all.

The Taliban in Pakistan also received more than $100 million last year in donations from sympathetic, wealthy people who live in Islamic countries — including Pakistan. In other words, Pakistanis are providing a good portion of the money the Taliban are spending to tear Pakistan apart.

That comes from a recent Central Intelligence Agency analysis. And it’s consistent with all we already know about Pakistan. Weren’t the Taliban close friends and allies of Pakistan before 9/11 — after which the George W. Bush administration forced a divorce? By all accounts the separation was only superficial. In fact, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, is widely quoted as saying in a leaked internal report that the Taliban in Afghanistan “are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan’s ISI.’’


Pakistani bomb blasts

Pakistani bomb blasts

He was referring to Pakistan’s chief intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, and McChrystal’s remark simply codified what most everyone in the region already assumed. During the 1990s, the ISI. wanted to have an ally in Afghanistan to prevent India from extending its influence there. The ISI also set up training camps in Afghanistan, away from prying Pakistani eyes. The alliance continues.

Some people like to place a distinction between the Taliban fighting in Afghanistan and those in Pakistan. But remember: They all came from the same Taliban cabal that ruled Afghanistan until October 2001. They share goals, tactics, fighters and equipment.

The Pakistani Taliban’s stated goal is to overthrow the government in Islamabad. They seized the Swat Valley early this year and were making inroads in Punjab Province, the nation’s most populous, before the Pakistani army arose from its torpor and fought back by lobbing rockets and artillery shells into towns and villages from a safe distance.

Last week, the Pakistani army began an offensive in South Waziristan, a Taliban stronghold. It’s hardly the first over the past eight years or probably the last. The army never seems to finish the job.

Meanwhile, the Barack Obama administration is pushing Congress to approve $7.5 million in aid for Pakistan over the next five years. This is developmental, not military, aid. Well, no one seems to have noticed that over the past few years Pakistan’s corruption problem has grown from serious to endemic. Transparency International, in a special report on Pakistan last month, found that the amount of public funds embezzled has increased fourfold in the past three years — to almost $40 billion so far this year.

Is this a government to which the U.S. should hand over almost $1 billion a year in the next five years? It’s not as if the people of Pakistan couldn’t use the aid. Look at some of the state’s statistics, provided by UNICEF. Ninety of every 1,000 children born there die before they reach age five. Only 37 per cent of children struck with dysentery, a common and often fatal illness in developing countries borne by contaminated food or water, receive treatment. Adult literacy stands at only 55 per cent. Just 18 per cent of the nation’s girls attend secondary school. One reason: Thirty-two per cent of children 14 years or younger are married.The average life expectancy is 65 years.

What is the government doing about these miserable statistics? About 18 per cent of the state’s budget is spent on the military, one per cent on health and two per cent on education.

This is a country that needs assistance. But first it has to help itself, stop shooting itself in the foot. The government must shut down the ISI and create a new intelligence agency that is responsive to the needs of the country, not its own interests.

It must pass credible anti-corruption measures. Only by taking steps like these and at last winning the support and faith of the nation can it persuade some of its wealthiest people to help the government instead of the Taliban.

September 25, 2009

South India: Lashkar’s next terror target

Filed under: Islam,Jihad,Terrorism — thecandideye @ 6:00 AM
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Central intelligence agencies have picked up intercepts that militants groups such as the Lashkar-e-Tayiba have come up with a new plan to target cities in the south of India.

The intercepts have been picked up on the basis of the movement of some cadres from Kerala and Karnataka in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. Intelligence Bureau sources told that it is clear that these men were sent in from the southern states so that they could be trained in order to carry out strikes in this part of the country. The cops have also been intimated and asked to keep a thorough vigil to ensure that LeT cadres do not regroup in the south. The Lashkar leadership is interested in regrouping in the south, the IB says.

This is the reason that is the modules down south are directly connected to the Gulf modules which are a major money spinner for the militant groups.

Why South is important?

It is now a confirmed that many southern modules carried out the serial blasts in the country. Following the blasts there was a major crackdown on the cadres and sleeper cells. Even the interrogation of various terrorists revealed that the southern module carried out the blasts.

Mysore place

Mysore palace

The most important factor that came out during the interrogation was that the entire southern module was directly linked to the Gulf module. However, the recent crackdown has had a disastrous effect on the Lashkar’s plans. Sources say that the south modules were being majorly financed by the Gulf module.

Kerala - Backwater area

Kerala - Backwater area

IB sources say that the main link between the southern and the Gulf modules was Sarfaraz Nawaz. He was primarily in charge of money transfer and was doing so until he was apprehended with the help of the Research and Analysis Wing and brought down to Bengaluru.

The IB says that the link between the Gulf modules and the southern modules has almost snapped following the recent spate of arrests. The biggest concern for the Lashkar was that the monetary link was snapped.

Kanyakumari - Thiruvalluvar statue

Kanyakumari - Thiruvalluvar statue

Prior to the arrests, modules in the Gulf were able to send in several crores of rupees into India and this was coordinated by the members of the southern module. However now, the monetary transcation has come down drastically and hence it is becoming difficult for these groups to operate the modules.

In the next phase of the plan, the Lashkar aims at rebuilding the southern module. Not only does the Lashkar need men in the south to carry on monetary transactions, but also wants the cadres to undertake recruitment on a largescale. The recruitment, according to security agencies, will help them undertake operations both in the Kashmir valley as well the rest of the country.

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