Pakistan, Meet Salvador

President Bush’s senior national security advisers are debating whether to expand the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to conduct far more aggressive covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan.  The debate is a response to intelligence reports that Al Qaeda and the Taliban are intensifying efforts there to destabilize the Pakistani government, several senior administration officials said.

Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and a number of President Bush’s top national security advisers met Friday at the White House to discuss the proposal, which is part of a broad reassessment of American strategy after the assassination 10 days ago of the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. There was also talk of how to handle the period from now to the Feb. 18 elections, and the aftermath of those elections.

Several of the participants in the meeting argued that the threat to the government of President Pervez Musharraf was now so grave that both Mr. Musharraf and Pakistan’s new military leadership were likely to give the United States more latitude, officials said. But no decisions were made, said the officials, who declined to speak for attribution because of the highly delicate nature of the discussions. Many of the specific options under discussion are unclear and highly classified. Officials said that the options would probably involve the C.I.A. working with the military’s Special Operations forces.

The Bush administration has not formally presented any new proposals to Mr. Musharraf, who gave up his military role last month, or to his successor as the army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who the White House thinks will be more sympathetic to the American position than Mr. Musharraf. Early in his career, General Kayani was an aide to Ms. Bhutto while she was prime minister and later led the Pakistani intelligence service.

But at the White House and the Pentagon, officials see an opportunity in the changing power structure for the Americans to advocate for the expanded authority in Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country. “After years of focusing on Afghanistan, we think the extremists now see a chance for the big prize – creating chaos in Pakistan itself,” one senior official said. (ht2 Danny Schechter)

And in part it is nuclear armed because…they helped that happen, deliberately/mistakenly? Sibel Edmonds revelations certainly show some high level involvement and no one has been arrested for their part. Probably they’d rather Musharraf could have handled things for them but now top management has to step in and Pakistan goes from client to…police action? Negroponte was there in December which is never a good sign. And bingo up pops new puppet on the block Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani-

When Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte visited Pakistan last weekend, he met once with President Pervez Musharraf, for two hours. But before he left town, he held three meetings with a lesser-known figure: General Ashfaq Kiyani, the deputy army chief…Kiyani has working-class roots, having been raised in farming communities in the Punjab, sometimes called the country’s “martial belt” because many teenage boys from the province enter the military, lacking other economic opportunities. He was educated at the US Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

What of the lawyers and activists Musharraf arrested, what of the civil society that wants democracy-

An in-depth survey of Pakistani public opinion reveals majority support for a moderate and democratic Islamic state, though a small but significant minority shows sympathy for Islamist militant groups.

Most Pakistanis want Islam to play a larger role in Pakistani society. However, a majority also favors a more democratic political system, rejects ‘Talibanization,” and supports recent government efforts to reform the madrassah system by focusing more on science and mathematics. Majorities have little sympathy for Islamist military groups and most would like to see the Federally Administered Tribal Areas integrated into Pakistan.

The survey also found that Pakistani attitudes toward the United States are negative and that there is a growing perception that the United States is hostile toward Islam. The survey was conducted from Sept. 12-18, just before President Pervez Musharraf declared a six-week state of emergency and before the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. 

It looks like they are about to be given the non-choice of support the dictator of America’s choice or be labelled a security risk and suffer the Negroponte-esque consequences, no room for an independent of America moderate Islamic democracy, especially with nukes. The words bubbling up out of Washington are the usual suspects of counter insurgency and military aid, which they may have little choice in implementing remembering the fuel needs of the operations in Afghanistan-

The U.S. military is now burning about 575,000 gallons of fuel per day in Afghanistan. And about 80 percent of that fuel is coming from refineries in Pakistan. Without the support of Musharraf and the Pakistani military, U.S. forces in Afghanistan would have only one fuel supply, and it would be coming via a precarious logistics line that extends more than 1,000 miles

Whoever ‘wins’ the election will be given little choice in signing up to the plans now being formulated, if this all looks like a huge mess that could have been avoided and with each new step to supposedly solve it it actually creates the need for more deployments…then you’d be right. There’s imperialism and there’s incompetence, and this is both.

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Geography Quiztime!

Ok people, now pay attention this won’t be too difficult. (Rafael is excluded from this test as he clearly knows the answers in great detail).

Q1. Now who knows where the strait of Hormuz is?

A: Anyone…. it’s the narrow bit of water between Iran and the United Arab Emirates with a hint of Oman (see map)


Q2. How far away is this area of water from- a: Iran. b: the USA?

A: It is zero miles from Iran as it laps on the sandy shores of Persia, it is approximately 8,684 miles (as the crow flies) from the USA.

Q3. So which country’s naval forces are simply mooching around off their own coast defending their nation from attack (with occasional hilarious -and very irresponsible, ahem- pranks such as this) and which are thousands of miles from home belligerently occupying the area?

Hint: Come on, it really isn’t that hard, just go over the figures- 0 or 8,684 miles. Here let’s make it easy we’ll round down the large (extra hint) number to 8,000. So is 8,000 bigger…or smaller than 0?

A: Yes 8,000 is bigger than 0! It’s the USA who are occupying an area thousands of miles from home. Well done!

Now I understand that might have been difficult because of the media reflecting elite Imperial opinion-

US Navy warships over the weekend came “very close” to shooting at an Iranian Revolutionary Guard vessels, which American officials say provoked US ships in international waters, according to CNN. “US officials are confirming to CNN that five Iranian Revolutionary guard boats, in their words, ‘harassed and provoked’ three US Navy warships sailing in the Strait of Hormuz,” reports CNN’s Barbara Starr. “One of those Iranian boats came within 200 yards of a Navy warship.”

But that’s what we have to do, unlearn the established nationalistic biases and see the world from eyes not tattooed in red, white and blue. (nb. this answer also applies to ‘which side of the line were the British sailors on?’ which was asked & debated by retards everywhere last year. They were thousands of miles over their line, m’kay?).

Sibel Edmonds Speaks- Updated

Via Larisa Alexandrovna– This is important also what Larisa adds is crucial, The Times bottled out of naming names but she fills in the blanks, also worth noting not a single large media outlet in the USA would handle this, some excerpts-

Sibel Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator for the FBI, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency’s Washington field office.

She approached The Sunday Times last month after reading about an Al-Qaeda terrorist who had revealed his role in training some of the 9/11 hijackers while he was in Turkey.

Edmonds described how foreign intelligence agents had enlisted the support of US officials to acquire a network of moles in sensitive military and nuclear institutions.

Among the hours of covert tape recordings, she says she heard evidence that one well-known senior official in the US State Department was being paid by Turkish agents in Washington who were selling the information on to black market buyers, including Pakistan.

The Times won’t name him, Larisa does- Marc Grossman United States Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2001 to 2005.

She claims that the FBI was also gathering evidence against senior Pentagon officials – including household names – who were aiding foreign agents.

“If you made public all the information that the FBI have on this case, you will see very high-level people going through criminal trials,” she said.

The Turks and Israelis had planted “moles” in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. “The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States,” she said.

They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking State Department official who provided some of their moles – mainly PhD students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent.

“The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan’s spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion. Venues such as the American Turkish Council in Washington were used to drop off the cash, which was picked up by the official.

Edmonds said: “I heard at least three transactions like this over a period of 2½ years. There are almost certainly more.”

The Pakistani operation was led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief.”

Now, who is General Mahmoud Ahmad?

“Intelligence analysts say that members of the ISI were close to Al-Qaeda before and after 9/11. Indeed, Ahmad was accused of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.”

Of course the Times likes to play up the Al Qaeda and nationalist us/them angle but really what is being described here is the transnational nature of power, influence and wealth. And how patriotism is the sucker bet laid out for electorates to volunteer their labour for enterprises that enrich global elites. An Empire allowing favours and laying further grounds for profitable wars. Of course many insist this is a time of war (when excusing their crimes and domestic repression) which does make many actions of the people Edmonds heard treason..and punishable by death. Petard, hoist, you figure it out.

Update: Also loads more at Brad Blog.

Update: Larisa names names, reproduced here to spread the word-

I have decided that after years of not getting anyone to publish what I have found out about the Edmonds case, I am simply going to give you folks some names. I won’t explain what the allegations are, or how these people might fit together or even if they fit together. I also don’t claim to have all the names or know the full story by any means. But I am certain, that brilliant bloggers, researchers, and journalists will finally figure it out:

Richard Perle
Doug Feith
Eric Edelman
Marc Grossman
Larry Franklin
Dennis Hastert
Roy Blunt
Dan Burton
Tom Lantos
Bob Livingston
Stephen Solarz
Graham Fuller
David Makovsky
Alan Markovsky
Enver Yusuf
Sabri Sayari
Mehmet Eymur

And a few phrases for you folks to play around with (in no particular order):
Gray Wolves
Shanghai Cooperation Organization
RAND Corporation
East Turkmenistan
Foreign Policy
King Faisal