Musharraf Approves US Military Strike in Pakistan

Musharraf Approves US Military Strike in Pakistan

The Times of India
March 24, 2008

The Musharraf regime has indirectly approved the US Drone (pilotless plane) attacks on al-Qaida targets in tribal areas of Pakistan bordering Afghanistan.

Since January, missiles have been fired from the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operated Predator drones and have hit at least three suspected hideouts of Islamic militants, including a strike on March 16 in Toog village in South Waziristan that left 20 dead.

Sources said that the recent wave of Predator attacks are the result of Musharraf’s understanding with the US officials and other top Pakistanis which gave Washington virtually unrestricted authority to hit targets in the border areas.

The surge began after senior US official’s visit to Pakistan including intelligence czar Mike McConnell, CIA director General Michael Hayden and William Fallon, who recently resigned as Commander of the US forces in the region.

Bruce Riedel, a retired CIA expert on the region, said that a new wave of terrorism inside Pakistan (there were 62 suicide attacks last year, after just six in 2006) has forced Musharraf and the new military chief Ashfaq Kiyani to acknowledge that the extremists threatening Americans now also pose a growing threat to Pakistan’s internal security.


Another US strike inside Pakistan’s border region

March 19, 2008

An air strike on Sunday on a compound in the Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan that borders Afghanistan has left up to 20 people dead. While Washington has not acknowledged responsibility, there is little doubt that the US military or the CIA carried out the attack as part of a widening covert war against anti-American militants entrenched in the Pakistani border areas.

Up to seven missiles or bombs flattened the compound just south of the regional centre of Wana at around 3 p.m. “When I heard the explosions, I rushed to the place where it happened. I saw dead bodies scattered everywhere,” a villager Aziz Ullah Wazir told the Washington Post. Local residents and officials claimed that the house belonged to a Taliban sympathiser, Noorullah Wazir, and was frequented by “Arabs”—the term used to denote foreign supporters of the Taliban and Al Qaeda.

Veteran journalist Sailab Masood told the Guardian, however, that local tribesmen were angry that innocent civilians had been killed.

Details of the attack are scanty. According to the New York Times, villagers said a B-52 bomber carried out the raid. Other reports cite locals who claim to have heard the sound of a US Predator drone—an unmanned surveillance vehicle that has been used in previous attacks inside Pakistan. The Pakistani military acknowledged that the blasts had occurred, but pointedly refused to identify the attackers, saying only that the army had no operations in the area.

Both Washington and Islamabad are deliberately playing down the attack, which will only further fuel anger at Pakistan’s support for the US-led occupation of Afghanistan. President Pervez Musharraf’s involvement in the Bush administration’s bogus “war on terrorism” and tacit approval of US operations inside Pakistan were a major factor in generating opposition to his regime.

The issue remains highly sensitive as the winners of last month’s elections—the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)—prepare to form a government. Whatever their limited criticisms of US militarism during the campaign, both parties have a long record of supporting Pakistan’s alliance with Washington and collaborating with the US military. Significantly, neither party has protested against the latest missile strike, an indication that the new government, like Musharraf, will acquiesce to US strikes in the tribal areas.

There are many signs that the Bush administration has expanded covert operations inside Pakistan since the beginning of the year. In early January, the New York Times reported that a top-level White House meeting, involving Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley and other senior officials, discussed in detail “far more aggressive covert operations” inside Pakistani border areas.

“The new operations for expanded covert operations include loosening restrictions on the CIA to strike selected targets in Pakistan, in some cases using intelligence provided by Pakistani sources, officials said. Most counter terrorism operations in Pakistan have been conducted by the CIA… [I]f the CIA were given broader authority, it could call for help from the military or deputise some forces of the Special Operations Command to act under the authority of the agency,” the article stated.

While the New York Times claimed that no decisions were taken at the January meeting, another article last month reported that the CIA had established a base inside Pakistan. “Among other things, the new arrangements allowed an increase in the number and scope of patrols and strikes by armed Predator surveillance aircraft launched from a secret base in Pakistan—a far more aggressive strategy to attack Al Qaeda and the Taliban than had existed before,” the Times explained.

In its report of Sunday’s strike, the Times noted that Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence and General Michael Hayden, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, reached an agreement in January with the new Pakistani army chief, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, to allow the US greater freedom to strike targets in the tribal areas without specific permission from the Pakistani Army. The article claimed that the US was receiving “better on-the-ground human intelligence” by providing “large cash payments to tribesmen”.

There has been a marked increase in visits to Pakistan this year by senior American military officers, including two by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen. During his latest visit on March 4, Admiral Mullen discussed US assistance to expand Pakistan’s Frontier Corps to a force of around 85,000 recruited from tribesmen in the border areas. The Pentagon has already spent around $25 million to provide the Frontier Corps with equipment, including vehicles, radios and surveillance devices, and plans to spend another $75 million over the next year.

At least two other US aerial attacks have taken place inside Pakistan this year. On January 29, a missile destroyed a compound in the village of Khushali Torikhel in North Waziristan, killing 13 people. US and Pakistani officials claimed that Abu Laith al-Libi, a senior Al Qaeda commander, was among the dead. On February 28, a missile strike destroyed an alleged Taliban safe house in the village of Kaloosha in South Waziristan, killing at least 10 people. A local tribal leader told the Washington Post that women and children were among the dead, and that at least six others were injured.

It is not possible to confirm the identity of the victims of these attacks. In neighbouring Afghanistan, US officials routinely brand the casualties of US operations as “Taliban” and “Al Qaeda” and deny civilian deaths even in cases where locals have provided clear evidence to the contrary. On-the-ground intelligence provided by paid informants is often unreliable and coloured by local rivalries and animosities. Claims about the outcome of US strikes inside Pakistan are undoubtedly just as uncertain.

Other attacks on targets within Pakistan are taking place from US bases inside Afghanistan. Pakistani officials lodged a formal complaint with the US military after artillery fire from Afghanistan hit a house in North Waziristan last Wednesday, killing two women and two children. According to the Pakistani-based News, last Friday four missiles fell on the village of Botraki, just inside the Pakistani border.

The extent of Washington’s covert war inside Pakistan remains unclear, but such operations are fuelling widespread anger and provoking a rising number of suicide bombings and attacks on Pakistani security forces and other targets. Last Saturday, a bomb blast at a restaurant in Islamabad popular with foreigners killed a Turkish woman and wounded at least 10 others, including five American officials, two Japanese journalists and a British police officer. Four of the five Americans were FBI agents operating in Pakistan.

The escalation of US operations can only have a profoundly destabilising impact, not just in the border regions, but throughout Pakistan, which is already wracked by deep political crisis. While the PPP and PML-N won a decisive victory in last month’s election, in part because of their criticism of Musharraf’s collaboration with the US, the mood will quickly turn as the new government seeks to maintain the US alliance amid ongoing American strikes on Pakistani soil.

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Death Of Al-Qaeda Leader Championed For Second Time

Death Of Al-Qaeda Leader Championed For Second Time
U.S. government, corporate media celebrate death of man they told us had been captured three years ago, succeed in out-Orwelling George Orwell

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
February 1, 2008

The death of “senior Al-Qaeda leader” Abu Laith al-Libi is being celebrated by Neo-Cons as a reason for continuing the endless war on terror – absent one crucial detail – the corporate media widely reported that another “senior Al-Qaeda leader” named al-Libi had been arrested back in May 2005. The American people have been fooled again in another case of mass public deception.

There was much lip-smacking and high-fiving three years ago about how the capture of “Al-Qaeda number three,” a certain Mr. Al Libi, would lead to crucial information about Al-Qaeda’s plans and even the whereabouts of fabled Goldstein mirage Osama “bin dead for years” Laden, presumably after al-Libi had received the proper welcome from the land of the free in the form of fifty thousand volts shooting through his genitals.

In actual fact, the al-Libi that had been caught was Abu Faraj al-Libi, not Abu Laith al-Libi. Abu Faraj al-Libi was described as Al-Qaeda “flotsam jetsam” by the London Times, ie some semi-retarded goatherder shoved onto the front lines under the threat of a beheading – and not the fearsome Laith al-Libi, third in command behind Al-Zawahiri and Bin Laden.

This mattered little to 99% of the corporate media, who enthusiastically championed the arrest as a key victory in the war on terror and justifications that the “arrest of Al-Qaeda number three showed we are making progress” spewed forth from every Neo-Con orifice.

No clarification, no retraction – the American people were fooled into thinking their tax dollars were helping to rip apart the command structure of Bin Laden’s evil terror network and the propaganda was regurgitated ad infinitum for weeks on end.

Fast forward nearly three years to 2008 and the media celebrates the death of the same “senior Al-Qaeda leader” they told us was captured in May 2005, a man third in command behind Bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri named al-Libi. Perhaps we should commend them on spelling his middle name correctly this time around, but who knows, maybe al-Libi the third will pop up in a couple of years and we can all listen to Neo-Con hacks rant about how it’s such a defining moment for the war on terror again.

The New York Times reports on “Senior Al-Qaeda leader” al-Libi’s arrest in May 2005.

“Senior Al-Qaeda leader” al-Libi’s demise championed again three years later!

This callous deception and the way in which it just keeps being re-applied boggles the mind. They have succeeded in out-Orwelling George Orwell. At least in 1984, the proles were told they were at war with East Asia one year and the next year they were fighting Eurasia – at least the names changed!

In this hyper-twilight zone dystopia, the architects are quite happy to recycle the same names over and over again without anyone calling them on it. How many times was al-Zarqawi captured or killed before he was finally dead? I ended up losing count.

Why do they resort to such base propaganda? To the average dumbed-down zombie, an al-Libi in 2005 and then another one in 2008 is readily accepted and consumed without question, they are none the wiser. To anyone that actually follows the news however, it acts as a blunt instrument to gradually batter them into propaganda fatigue, to the point where it’s academic to raise a fuss because you know they’ll just pull the same trick again a few years down the line.

We’ve become conditioned to accept logic being turned upside down and reality altered when it suits the propagandists’ timetable.

No matter how many times they claim the same Al-Qaeda leader has been killed or captured, we need to continue to attack this assault on common sense for the farce it is, lest we be continually subjected to the manufactured delusional smoke and mirrors propaganda that veils the reality of the fact that the war on terror is a ridiculous hoax.