10/29/09 1321 hours
Peshawar: Fomer CIA Intelligence Officer Steven Cash is in charge of Blackwater operations in Peshawar. The Blackwater supervisory team in Peshawar includes James Bill William, Copper, Steven Cash, Roderick Christopher and Alisha Cambel.
They have hired several Pakistani government officials and retired army personnel at remunerations as high as $2,000 per day. Various journalists have been approached and offered bribes by these officials to implement the PSYOPs in newspapers and electronic media in Pakistan. They are pushing journalists to publish news stories of Talibans, as the Psychological Operations group of US Army has planned.
They are paying as high as $1000 per published news story to journalists. Meetings are held in various houses rented in University Town, Peshawar and residents have reported activities with tinted glasses jeeps during late night hours.
Steven Cash is a former senior U.S. government official. Mr. Cash served as an Intelligence Officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, first as an Assistant General Counsel, and then with the Directorate of Operations. He also served as Chief Counsel to Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, and as Minority Staff Director of the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Homeland Security. From 2001 to 2003 he was a Professional Staff Member and Counsel for the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
While the whole independent media is chanting about the presence of Blackwater mercenaries (XE Worldwide),Dyncorp etc and the illegal activities of foreign security personnel and citizens , our interior ministry is not only denying all such charges but now they are encouraging them more by their actions.
Recent news that Interior Minister Rehman Malik was involved in the release of 4 armed Americans breaking Pakistani law should raise some eyebrows in the ranks of people who are concerned about rule of law and sovereignty of the country.
Previously Mr. Malik claimed that no foreigners will be allowed to carry illegal arms and if so he will be dealt with an Iron hand.
“The violators would be dealt with an iron hand,” Rehman Malik said to the media.
Nabbed with illegal arms again
ISLAMABAD – Once again, 4 American nationals were caught red-handed by Capital Police in the wee hours of Tuesday when they were carrying weapons publicly. However, they managed to secure release and continue their journey to a mysterious destination, sources informed.
According to details, police personnel deployed here at Nawaz Chowk, sector F-8, intercepted two suspicious vehicles in the wee hours of Tuesday. During the search, police recovered weapons from their custody. The riders of these vehicles were found, once again, to be American nationals.
To the surprise of many, the Americans were allowed to go along with their arms after an anonymous call that the officer in command at police picket received at the same time when preliminary investigation were being carried out from the foreigners.
Though it is not clear who asked the police to let the Americans go, sources revealed that US Embassy officials came into action swiftly and got their nationals freed after contacting high-ups of Pakistan’s Interior Ministry.
When contacted, Foreign Office spokesman told TheNation that there existed no law in Pakistan that might allow any foreigner or diplomat, including Americans, to move on busy roads of capital with illegal arms.
Talking to TheNation, the Spokesperson of US Embassy Richard Snelsire said he was unaware about the incident.
Following Tuesday’s incident, a wave of anger, fear and uncertainty has been felt across the federal capital. It was not the first incident of such kind in the Federal Capital wherein foreigners were nabbed by police for keeping illegal arms. It has been observed that in a number of incidents police intercepted foreigners including American diplomats cruising busy roads of Islamabad carrying sophisticated arms and let them free after interception of ‘hidden hands’.
Some days ago, police officials deployed at a picket intercepted two Dutch diplomats and recovered sophisticated weapons including hand grenades from their possession. The police lodged a formal complaint, however, no such action was initiated in repeated cases of US diplomats and nationals who were allowed to go.
Following the incident, Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik also stated that no foreigner would be allowed to carry illegal arms with him/her. “The violators would be dealt with an iron hand,” he added.
However, Americans were found violating the law of the land and to the surprise of the Minister himself, violators were given a safe passage every time.
Reportedly, it was the sixth incident in which the US Embassy officials/diplomats or nationals were found carrying weapons hiding in their vehicles during the last four months.
On June 23, 2009, a police team deployed at Khyber Chowk, G-9/4, intercepted a vehicle. The team found three American diplomats – Jeffery, Jeffdic and James Bill Koeen and driver Charlie Benzic – belonging to the regional security section of the US Embassy, in the guise of pakhtoons wearing Shalwar Kameez.
The police recovered four M-4 machineguns and four 9mm pistols from their possession after checking the vehicle. Before the police could lodge complaint against them, the diplomats were allowed to go after the intervention of US Embassy and Interior Ministry.
Another incident of this kind surfaced on August 5, 2009, when Police Inspector Hakim Khan was abused by a US security official namely John Arso as he (John) took out his pistol and harassed the inspector to a great extant. When contacted at that time, the US spokesman confirmed an exchange of harsh words. However, he said the US official never displayed pistol. The US security official was later sent back to Washington.
In yet another incident, on August 12, 2009, a Pakistani youth was intercepted and abused by a US Marine inside Diplomatic Enclave.
In another incident, on August 26, 2009, two US nationals stopped Mohsin Bukhari, owner of a petrol pump situated in F-6 at Agha Khan Road near Marriott Hotel. To the surprise of Mohsin, US officials took him to his petrol pump where three more investigators from US Embassy joined them. After questioning him for 30 minuets, the US team set him free.
Similarly, Another incident came to the surface where US embassy’s employee intervened in police matters. The incident occurred on October 6 when police arrested two Dutch diplomats who were carrying unlicensed weapons. However, the said diplomats were released on the spot on the intervention of diplomatic circles.
When said Dutch diplomats were being interrogated by police, a US embassy domestic employee namely Sunny Christopher (having US Embassy’s official card # 16570) reached there and interfered in the police matters.
Meanwhile, despite frequent attempts Interior Minister Rehman Malik could not be approached for comments over Tuesday’s incident.
Using the interviews of families specially mothers of the soldiers who died in this baseless war,really a shame–>Just another thought
Using the interviews of families specially mothers of the soldiers who died in this baseless war to justify the wrong cause and market the wrong policies in glorious way is really a shame.
I am also not happy for the killings of our soldiers but what about the innocent women,children and men who are getting killed because of the war or who have become refugees in their own country. Aren’t they humans?
Saturday, 24 October 2009 11:22
The Pakistan Government has been ordered to secure the release of scientist Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from US custody.
Originally published in Pakistan, By Yvonne Ridley
The Islamabad High Court made the ground-breaking directive in a move welcomed by her family, supporters and anyone who wants to see justice delivered to a woman who has been trapped in a hellish existence for the last six years.
However, not everyone is happy that Justice Raja Saeed Akram has ordered the government to work towards bringing Aafia home.
As I discovered a few days ago during a visit to Pakistan it seems her ex-husband Dr. Muhammad Amjad Khan has been briefing against the mother of his three children.
In an exclusive interview given to Karachi journalist Aroosa Masroor at The News, Dr. Khan said that most claims about Aafia, propagated to garner public support and sympathy, are untrue.
Why he chose to break his silence after six years is not immediately obvious … unless you buy in to the crazy theory that he was instrumental in his wife’s arrest and disappearance.
Of course it would be outrageous and defamatory to suggest Dr. Khan was involved and I certainly have no evidence to suggest otherwise, but what intrigues me is why this man would want to try and deliberately mislead the public as he did in his first on-the-record interview.
I am not sure what are his motives but, in a conference I gave at the Islamabad National Press Club this week I threw out a challenge to Dr. Khan to either put up or shut up.
In his February 18 interview he said: “Aafia’s release cannot be secured by propagating stories based on falsehood and deception,” and then he went on to tell a lie so blatant that I can no longer remain silent, and here’s why.
He reckons that the iconic photograph of Aafia, slumped to one side with eyes closed, was a stunted up picture taken by her sister Fowzia years ago. He even goes into fine detail explaining her injured mouth, saying that Aafia’s upper lip was cut by a milk bottle in an accident.
Fowzia, he says, warned him at the time that if he tried to divorce Aafia, she would use the picture against him alleging him to be an abusive husband. “It was made to appear in the picture that Aafia was badly injured. Today, the same picture is being circulated in the media to claim that Aafia was tortured for years in Bagram,” he states in The News interview.
There’s no hesitation in this statement – he is very clear about the origins of ‘that picture’. Well I am also clear about the origins of ‘that picture’ because it was taken by the office of the Governor of Ghazni in July 2008.
How do I know? Because the governor told me so himself, and then showed me copies of that and other pictures taken of Aafia on the day of her arrest that he stored on his personal laptop. If you check this unedited footage shot by film-maker Hassan al Banna Ghani who accompanied me on my investigations to Pakistan and Afghanistan last year, the origins of that iconic picture become very clear.
That is why I stood up in a press conference a few days ago and called Dr. Khan a liar, and then invited him to sue me “in a court of his choice” for slander and defamation. As a journalist I know the seriousness of making such a statement and I do not make it lightly but I also mean what I say and say what I mean.
In the meantime, I will let you – the viewer – make your own judgment about the photograph of Dr. Aafia. Perhaps you have your own theories about why her ex-husband would lie. Here is the clip
The divorce was, without doubt, a very bitter experience for both sides as most divorces are. Bitterness can remain a lifetime companion, but at the end of the day Dr. Aafia is the mother of his three children and as such she deserves his support and respect.
If he can’t give it, then I suggest Dr. Khan returns to the shadows once more and stops briefing against his wife.
Sharing details of his failed marriage with Dr. Aafia, serves no purpose although I have to question why Dr. Khan signed a legal agreement whereby the custody of the three children was given to Aafia after their split, if he really thought his wife was (as he portrays in the article) … a violent, unstable woman in the sway of jihadists.
In the meantime two of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui’s children – Marium now aged 10, and six-year-old Suleiman – are still missing.
Perhaps that is something which would concern any parent, but Dr. Khan states casually: “I am sure they are around Karachi and in contact with their maternal family as both Aafia and the children were seen around their house here and in Islamabad on multiple occasions since their alleged disappearance in 2003.
“They may be living under an assumed identity just like Aafia and Ahmed had been living [as Saliha and Ali Ahsan] for five years before they got arrested.”
He said Dr. Fowzia’s claim that the children are missing after being removed from the Bagram prison in Afghanistan “may be an attempt to attract sympathy of the government and the people and distract its attention from the real location.”
He also attempts to pour cold water on claims that Aafiya was held in US custody, including Bagram for five years – but how would he really know?
I, on the otherhand, have eye witness accounts that the woman known as Prisoner 650 who was held in Bagram for years is none other than Dr. Aafia Siddiqui.
Even the US authorities, after months of denial, finally supported my statements and admitted that Prisoner 650 was indeed a female detainee in their custody.
The only dispute we have now is the identity of Prisoner 650. The US authorities say she isn’t Aafia but refuse to say who she is and to which country she was returned.
I, on the other hand, now have an interview statement given freely by former Guantanamo detainee Binyam Mohamed confirming that Prisoner 650 and Dr. Aafia Siddiqui are one in the same. This man saw her during his time in Bagram and has made a positive identification. His evidence is, in my opinion, irrefutable.
Again, make your own judgments by checking out Binyam Mohamed’s interview through this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OGHWcPRBQr8
I now understand Aafia’s case is going to be submitted to the International Court of Justice in The Hague and that the government of Pakistan is making serious efforts on this issue.
In the meantime the case against Aafia will be resumed in New York later this month after a psychologist and physician give their reports regarding her health and if she is fit to plead.
The court hearing is, in itself, illegal and I’m not sure how it can go ahead. I say that on the basis Aafia, is after all a Pakistani citizen who is being tried for an alleged offence carried out in Afghanistan. She is only standing trial in America because she was put on a rendition flight to America – and was certainly not extradited.
* Yvonne Ridley is a patron of the human rights organisation Cage Prisoners and works as a broadcast journalist. her weekly show The Agenda goes out every Friday evening 8.07(GMT) on Press TV – her website is www.yvonneridley.org
References to this aricle:
Interview with Binyam Mohamed: http://www.presstv.com/programs/player/?id=90350
Interview with Governor of Ghazni: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBhseSkNX68
Interview in The News: http://www.thenews.com.pk/print3.asp?id=20404
The rehabilitation and care should be a real priority for our government as this useless war is imposed on them by the government and military to get dollars.
It’s really sad first they have made them to migrate and now they are being treated like enemies and animals.
IDPs of Waziristan operation in miserable condition
After fleeing from latest war zone, grandfather Haji Abdullah had hoped for a warmer welcome when he reached safety. “When they realise you’re a Mehsud, they treat you like a suicide bomber who’s wearing an explosive jacket,” said Abdullah, one of 120,000 people to have fled an anti-Taliban army offensive in the South Waziristan tribal belt.
“It’s simply humiliating,” added the 67-year-old, who travelled from his home in Makin, a Taliban redoubt, with five sons and seven grandchildren. Like many of those fearing for their lives, Abdullah made his way to the city of Dera Ismail Khan where he soon encountered hostility as a member of the same tribe as Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud. Such is the wariness of locals in a town which has endured a history of militant attacks, Abdullah’s family says he was only able to find somewhere to stay three days after one of his relatives put up guarantees. “No landlord was willing to rent out his house to me,” he added. But locals say they have every reason to suspect the uninvited new-arrivals from Waziristan, which lies outside direct government control, and believe many are active Taliban followers who are masquerading as innocent victims. “These people are a security risk as most of them belong to the Mehsud tribe and have strong Taliban sympathies,” said Adeel Shahzad, a shoe shop salesman. “The situation has become very tense in our city because of the arrival of these people,” Shahzad said, accusing them of triggering an increase in crime.
A local police commander said his men had received strict orders from the provincial government to keep a close eye out for trouble. “We have clear orders from the government to keep an eye on the displaced persons as the situation may further deteriorate with their arrival,” district police chief Gul Afzal Afridi told AFP. “We have intelligence reports that many of these displaced persons were strong supporters of Taliban,” he said, adding that dozens of new police checkposts have been set up across the city. Police and army personnel can be seen patrolling the streets round the clock in the city, which has a history of Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence as well as Taliban attacks. Hospitals and hotels have shut their gates and only people with valid identity documents can enter these places.
“We have shut our gates and nobody without proper identification papers can enter,” said Haji Munawar Khan, who works as a manager in a local hotel. The International Crisis Group says the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) from Waziristan are being neglected in a climate of animosity between Pashtuns from the tribal belt and those from the settled areas. “Few efforts, local or international, have been made to identify their needs or to help them rebuild their homes, schools, shops and places of work once they return,” it said in a policy report published last week. “Most FATA (tribal belt) IDPs have not received adequate assistance or any compensation for the destruction of their properties and livelihoods.” The think-tank accused the military of not allowing camps for Waziristan IDPs on the “unjustifiable grounds that they would offer jihadi groups pools of easy recruits,” forcing Mehsuds to seek accommodation in private homes. “Host families have frequently faced harassment by the security agencies, including the military, paramilitary and police,” said the report. Cleaning the barrel of his gun with a handkerchief, Ghazanfar Ali, a private security guard, blamed lawlessness in his city on Afghans and the Taliban.
“The Afghan refugees who migrated to Pakistan in 1980s started the law and order problems in our city and now it’s the Taliban,” Ali said, accusing the Taliban for all the attacks to have rocked the flashpoint city in recent years. Such attitudes infuriate Merajuddin Mehsud, who insists there is no reason for him to be tarred by association with the Islamist hardliners. “I found a house after roaming around for days but still the landlord wanted my national identity card and educational certificates of my son as a guarantee,” said the 45-year-old, who has four children.”We were fed up with the attitude of Taliban in South Waziristan and here it is police and the local population who are creating problems for us.”
I think Jinnah is the founder of Pakistan not any Bhutto–>Can someone tell this to PPPP “leadership”?
This is ridiculous and unacceptable for any sensible Pakistani?
I think Jinnah is the founder of Pakistan not any Bhutto.
Can someone tell this to PPPP “leadership”?
It’s a real shame that in front of the whole world PPPP leadership is showing that they have forgotten the founder of the nation and the country has become a family and political party affair.