NEW YORK: UN Human Rights official Richard Falk wrote on his blog that there had been an “apparent cover up” by American authorities.He added that most media were “unwilling to acknowledge the well-evidenced doubts about the official version of the events” on 9-11, despite it containing “gaps and contradictions”.
And he described David Ray Griffin, a conspiracy theorist highly regarded in the so-called “9-11 truth” movement, as a “scholar of high integrity” whose book on the subject was “authoritative”.
Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary-General, described the comments as “preposterous” and “an affront to the memory of the more than 3,000 people who died in the attack.” But Ban said that it was not for him to decide whether Prof Falk, who serves the organization as a special investigator into human rights abuses in the Palestinian territories, should be fired by the UN.
Vijay Nambiar, Ban’s chief of staff, said this was up to the human rights council, a 47-nation body based in Geneva, Switzerland, that was created by the UN in 2006.
UN Watch, a pressure group that monitors the organisation, has called for Prof Falk to be sacked. Hilel Neuer, the group’s chief executive, described him as “a serial offender with zero credibility”.
The row came as the new Republican-led US Congress opened an inquiry into “urgent problems” with America’s contribution to the UN, including its membership of the human rights council.
Comments : After killing thousands of people ,with the help from Pakistan Army and NATO, Pentagon/CIA still is not able to prove their claims about 9-11. War Crimes? War Tribunal? Justice for those who died on 9-11 and who died after that in the name of 9-11? UN Charter for Human Rights?This not a war against terror or terrorism. This is a war against humanity, justice and peace.
Official Pakistani documents detailing how the country’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, benefited from massive, secret payments connected to the sale of French submarines to Pakistan have been seized as evidence by a Paris magistrate investigating a suspected widespread scam surrounding the deal.
The documents, revealed for the first time by Mediapart, show that the payments to Zardari and others took place on the fringes of the sale of three Agosta-class submarines by the French defence contractor the DCN) to Pakistan in the 1990s. The French sale succeeded against rival offers by Swedish and German contractors.
The sale, and the payment of bribes associated with it - officially termed as commissions – are at the core of what has become known as the ‘Karachi affair’, currently the subject of two French judicial investigations and which has rocked the French political establishment with its potential far-reaching ramifications within France.
A key allegation in the developing affair is that the cancellation of commissions paid out in the submarine deal was the motive behind a suicide bomb attack in Karachi on May 8th, 2002, that left 11 French engineers dead. They were in Pakistan to help build one of the Agosta submarines.
Increasing evidence suggests that cancellation of the commissions, ordered by former French president Jacques Chirac, was decided after it was discovered they were in part re-routed back to France to fund political activities of Chirac’s principal political rival, Edouard Balladur. For the full background to the story please click here.
The documents now in possession of Paris-based judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke were found during a French police search in June 2010 of the home of Amir Lodhi , one of the intermediaries involved in securing the Agosta contract. Lodhi held a copy of a report by a Pakistani anti-corruption service, the Ehtesab Cell.
Lodhi, 61, the brother of a former Pakistani ambassador to the United Nations, is a close friend of Zardari, who became president of Pakistan in 2008 one year after the assassination of his wife, Benazir Bhutto.
The raid on Lodhi’s home in the French capital was carried out by detectives from the French police national financial investigation division, the DNIF, (Division nationale des investigations financiers). The Ehtesab Cell documents were the object of a formal report by the DNIF, established on June 17th, 2010, and reveals that Zardari received backhanders worth 6,934,296 euros between October and December 1994.
That report is now among the evidence collected by Van Ruymbeke in his investigations launched last autumn into the financial aspect of the Agosta submarine sale, and in particular whether commissions paid abroad were re-routed to fund political activities within France.
Originally written in English, the Pakistani document was translated by the DNIF investigators and now provides the first clear details about the scale of the payments made to Zardari, amounting to several million euros, as well as the channels used, including offshore companies, bank accounts and a British tax haven.
Bank transfers to the Virgin Islands
The Agosta submarine contract was signed between the two countries on September 21st, 1994, just weeks before the first payments began.
At the time, Zardari was a minister in the Pakistani government then led by his wife, Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Importantly, Zardari was the key figure for all public contracts signed with foreign countries. That position earned Zardari the unflattering nickname in his own country of “Mister 10%”.
The main document seized by French investigators is a photocopy of an original dated November 9th, 1997, concerning a request by Pakistan to Switzerland for co-operation in a judicial investigation.
The request by the Pakistani authorities to Switzerland aimed, according to the officer, “to obtain all the necessary information to pursue a criminal investigation and to try the former prime minister of Pakistan, Madame Bhutto, her husband, Monsieur Asif Ali Zardari, her mother, Begum Nusrat Bhutto and the other members of the Bhutto government, public servants and civilians implicated in the conspiracy of Madame Bhutto and/or her husband to misappropriate public funds for their own profit.”
The French police report said the document explicitly referred to the Agosta contract: “This request concerns several cases of malpractice including that of the purchase of French submarines.” According to the DNIF investigators “the chronology and the currency [of the sums paid] suggest that these payments are secret commissions paid by the DCN-I [the commercial arm of the submarine builders DCN] to Monsieur Zardari and Monsieur Lodhi for their considerable service in assuring that DCN-I got the contract”.
Huge sums are recorded at the end of 1994 alone, when a company called Marleton Business Inc. was set up through a lawyer in the tax haven of the British Virgin Islands for use by Zardari. A first payment of some of 5.5 million francs (about 838,000 euros) took place in October 1994 “of which 70% goes to Monsieur Zardari (AAZ) and 30% to Monsieur Lodhi (AL),” noted the French police report.
Sarkozy’s ministry ‘approved’ bribe sums
A second transfer took place two months later, in December, for an altogether larger sum of 59.48 million francs, (about 9.06 million euros) “divided into 41.636 million [francs] for Monsieur Zardari and 17.844 million for Monsieur Lodhi”. That represented 6,934,296 euros for the current president of Pakistan, and 2,971,841 euros for his partner.
According to the French investigators, the official Pakistani documents seized in Lohdi’s Paris home also explain that “Messieurs Lodhi and Zardari received their bribes in the bank accounts of a series of offshore companies”.
The report says they are all based in the Virgin Islands and they are identified by the DNIF as: Marvil Associated Inc., Penbury Finance, Oxton Trading, Crimities Holding and Dustan Trading.
The banks involved in the payments were also recorded in the Pakistani documents, as well as the bank accounts used. “The commissions paid into the accounts, notably opened by these companies at the Pasche bank and the bank of Piguet et Cie, in Switzerland, were probably supplied by transfer from the Banque française du Commerce extérieur [French bank of Foreign Trade], account number 2700 0008358 or IV10000083580.”
Several high-profile witnesses questioned in November and December 2010 by judge Van Ruymbeke have insisted that the bribes paid in 1994 were perfectly legal and were approved by France’s then-defence minister, François Leotard, and its budget minister, now France’s president, Nicolas Sarkozy.
In a statement he gave to Van Ruymbeke on November 9th, 2010, former DCN-I finance director, Gérard-Philippe Menayas, said “the total volume of the commissions was validated, contract by contract, by the ministers of the budget and defence.”
In a statement given to judge Van Ruymbeke on December 7th, 2010, Jacques Dewatre, who in 1994 was head of the French foreign intelligence service, now called the DGSE, testified that “The approval for commissions is the responsibility of services which depend upon the Minister of Defence and the Minister of the Budget.”
Mediapart has learnt Van Ruymbeke’s investigation has already established that, in order to convince the Pakistani authorities to choose the French submarines, a very structured network of corruption was established by a French state company dedicated to such activities. This was the Société française de matériels d’armement, the SOFMA, which partnered the designers and builders of the submarines, the DCN.
Van Ruymbeke has evidence that the SOFMA set aside the equivalent in francs of 51.6 million euros for bribes to be paid out in the Pakistan deal.
Influential agents working with the SOFMA used the money to gain the favours of numerous Pakistani dignitaries, in both military and political spheres. While the practice of commission payments was then legal for France, the reception of bribes was illegal in Pakistan.
Asif Ali Zardari was one of the main benefactors of the paid bribes, according to a former SOFMA managing director, Henri Guittet. He evaluated the sum paid to Zardari as being 4% of the total value of the sales contract, which amounts to a value of 33 million euros.”I believe there was one per cent paid upon the signature of the sales contract, which means at the moment when everything can get underway and when notably the deposit and [partial] down payment has been paid, and one per cent later,” he said in a formal statement. “The remaining two per cent was pro rata with the payment of the clients.”
But French judicial investigators are investigating whether the Agosta contract also involved illegal payments in France. It was in the summer of 1994, despite the fact that negotiations with Pakistan over the sale were already successfully concluded, that the government of then-prime minister Edouard Balladour imposed two Lebanese intermediaries in the contract, Ziad Takieddine and Abdulrahman El-Assir.
They were promised supplemantary commission payments worth more than 30 million euros. Both judge Van Ruymbeke and judge Marc Trévedic, who is heading investigations into the murders of the French engineers, have collected evidence suggesting that part of the supplementary commissions was destined for Balladur’s 1995 presidential election campaign.
Trévedic’s investigation has discarded the theory touted by the Pakistani authorities that the engineers were targeted by al-Qaida. He is now centring on suspicions that the bomb attack was directly or indirectly linked to the secret financial arrangements surrounding the Agosta deal. More precisely, that it was in retaliation for the non-payment of commissions promised to Pakistanis after they were all blocked by Balladur’s rival Jacques Chirac, after he won the 1995 elections.(Mediapart)
Comment : This case is a true example of corrupt alliance between feudal-corporatist politicians and corrupt people in military establishment.
By Sohail Khan – The News
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Monday directed the government to submit a reply to the report of the Judicial Commission on missing persons.
A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Javed Iqbal, resumed hearing into the case of missing persons, allegedly taken for interrogation by the intelligence agencies on their alleged links with militant groups. Their relatives claimed that they were picked up by intelligence agencies but were never brought before the court.
During the course of hearing, Justice Javed Iqbal observed that 2011 would be the year of missing persons’ recovery. Additional Attorney General K K Agha submitted before the court that the judicial commission had recovered 134 missing people so far, adding that the contents of the report were classified; therefore, it should not be made public.
K K Agha further said that as instructions were being taken from the government on the report of the commission, therefore, it should not be made public. Hashmat Habib, the counsel for one of the petitioners, submitted that there were missing persons whose heirs were not coming to the forefront. At this, Justice Raja Fayyaz Ahmed observed that these people were reluctant due to the fear factor.
Justice Javed Iqbal observed that as the apex court had traced the missing prisoners of Adiala Jail, it would also trace out the missing persons in the case as well. He observed that there should be a tribunal for the hearing of missing persons’ cases as recommended by the commission.
Amina Masood Janjua, the spouse of missing Masood Janjua, while appearing before the court, submitted that since April 2010, 100 more people had gone missing. She further said that relatives of the missing persons had been subjected to mental torture as they had not yet been informed about the whereabouts of their near and dear ones. Meanwhile, the court, after seeking a reply from the government on the report of the commission, adjourned the hearing till next Monday.
Recent murder of former Punjab Governor, Salman Taseer has left many things for us to think over. I really disagree with Salman Taseer,his politics and many other things especially of exploiting the blasphemy issue for political gain. But the issue for which he was killed is of academic and legal nature and there was no reason for anyone to kill him for this reason. This really shows the absence of Rule of Law in our country and also it shows the flaws in training of our security forces as the person(Mumtaz Qadri) who killed him was part of Punjab Police.
Apart from intolerance another issue for me is that our establishment can use the current situation to take out those whom they disagree with, whether they belong to this or that side of the issue.
Rememeber its the policy of establishment ,to use sectarian and social class differences to expand the war for dollars, which has also contributed to the current mess.
The ideas which were floated to expand the war, especially in last 3-4 years, are really destroying our social fabric. We always had differences and diversity in terms of religion, sects and social classes but things were not that bad as today.
Sectarianism converted into sectarian violence from the time of Iranian revolution as attempts were made to replicate the revolution which many saw as sectarian based revolution. Later Afghan war, flow of weapons and boneless policy making added to the fuel. Iran-Iraq conflict and Arab-Iran tension also made the situation worse.
But even after that things were not that bad as today and even in 90s we were not that intolerant as a society. Current mess is a result of the unwanted dollar war we are fighting.
Not only Pakistan jumped into a foreign war but Pakistani establishment floated ridiculous ideas in masses to use sects against sects , ethnicities against ethnicities and social classes against social classes.
The thing is that people who were supported by the establishment to take forward the war on terror against Taliban are now among those who are also or mainly supporting the act of Mumtaz Qadri. Also now a false sense unity is being promoted in different sects on the basis of the issue, which has nothing to do with the teaching of Quran and Sunnah, to start another clash between social classes.
Quran even teaches us to be reasonable and “Just” with those who are involved in doing bad with us or who don’t agree with us but are peaceful with us.
“Do not allow your hatred of a folk who stopped your going to the Inviolable Place of Worship seduce you to transgress; but help ye one another unto righteousness and pious duty. Help not one another unto sin and transgression, but keep your duty to God” (5:2)
“God does not forbid you to be kind to those who do not take arms against you. God loves those who are just” (60:8)
“There is no compulsion in religion” (2:256)
“Had God willed, they had not been idolatrous. We have not set thee as a keeper over them, nor art thou responsible for them” (6:107)
Using Wahabis and Sufis against each other, Liberals and Mullahs against each other or invoking Deobandi/Barelwi and Shia/Sunni clashes to serve the “Divide and Rule” policy or to introduce the bogus concepts of “Pakistani Brand of Islam” in line with the wishes and ideals of establishment and their foreign masters can only result in destruction of our country.
Ideas like fight against Takfeeris especially to justify Lal Masjid Operation and Swat Operations, fight against Yazidis, fight against people who don’t believe in Prophet (S.A.W) according to the standards they have set or spreading things like Mullah Umar’s one eye is the eye of Dajjal or spreading fake ideas like Ghazwa e Hind (To glorify the role of Pakistan Army and the dollar wars they fight) which are not part of any authentic teachings of Islam, all have contributed to this disastrous situation.
I mean it’s a real big mess we are into and it will take real honest and just approach to get out of this. We are in a real self destruction mode and we have to come out of it.
Recent heated debate over Blasphemy laws is getting worse day by day and now the issue has gone to the level of insanity and now people are using it to score political points.
The issue got worse when instead of taking the issue in parliament or Islamic ideological council , the issue is politicized for point scoring left/right politics or liberal/mullah politics. Now its high time for religious scholars, law experts and human rights experts to sit together and resolve the issue by doing a constructive legal and academic debate. We have a very basic principle in Quran :
“O ye who believe! Be steadfast witnesses for Allah in equity, and let not hatred of any people seduce you that ye deal not justly. Deal justly, that is nearer to your duty. Observe your duty to Allah. Lo! Allah is Informed of what ye do.” [Al-maeda ,8]
The biggest blasphemy that can be done is to introduce things in the name of Allah and Prophet (S.A.W) which are not part of their teachings.
We need to improve Qazaf laws for false witness, law of witness itself, importance of personal testimony, procedure of implementation and also we need to see whether this law can be implemented on minorities or not. According to fiqh Hanafi the dominating fiqh , the law cannot be implemented on Zimmi or non muslims under the responsibility of an Islamic State. Even for majority muslim population we need to see what punishment is there according to Quran and Sunnah or social circumstances of the alleged person should be considered during the case like the punishment for Zina or adultery committed by muslim with backward or uneducated social background is half as compared to other muslims and also we need to see if apology in such cases can work. Current procedure is a legacy of colonial era where there is no consideration of alleged person’s s social background is given or law is applied in a real centralized manner.
We also need to see what is meant by Blasphemy? I have seen muslims being persecuted for this law just because of them having a different point of view on 12 Rabiulawwal and Waseela issue.
We neither want a Pastor Terry Jones type situation which can start a civil war in the country nor we should make it a holocaust issue on which even debate is not allowed in many countries including those who call themselves civilized.
The problem is that we are in a war mode and stuck in an unwanted war which has destroyed or social fabric and everyone is in hyper state to protect their ways and level of sanity has gone down. The policy of using sectarianism as a tool by establishment and foreign masters for expanding war has also contributed in this.
If we claim to be muslims and call our state an Islamic state then basic principles of justice and equality which were part of the first Islamic state of Madina and also part of Meesaq e Madina should be kept in mind.