Gunmen Have Attacked And Entered Kamra Air Base In Pakistan, Thought To House Nuclear Weapons - Business Insider
Gunmen have attacked and entered a Pakistan air force base, according to Reuters. The target is the Kamra Air Base, located around 40 miles outside Islamabad. The attacked is believed to be conducted by the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) — reports in the Pakistan press have suggested they were planning attacks in retaliation for upcoming military action. A three hour gun battle is reportedly raging between security guards and attackers.
“rude discoveries” »
Mr. Obama began to question why Americans were dying to prop up a leader, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, who was volatile, unreliable and willing to manipulate the ballot box. Faced with an economic crisis at home and a fiscal crisis that Mr. Obama knew would eventually require deep limits on Pentagon spending, he was also shocked, they said, by what the war’s cost would be if the generals’ counterinsurgency plan were left on autopilot — $1 trillion over 10 years. And the more he delved into what it would take to truly change Afghan society, the more he concluded that the task was so overwhelming that it would make little difference whether a large American and NATO force remained for 2 more years, 5 more years or 10 more years.
The remaking of American strategy in Afghanistan began, though no one knew it at the time, in a cramped conference room in Mr. Obama’s transition headquarters in late 2008. Gen. Douglas E. Lute, who had spent the last two years of the Bush administration trying to manage the many trade-offs necessary as the Iraq war consumed troop and intelligence resources needed in Afghanistan, arrived with a PowerPoint presentation.
The first slide that General Lute threw onto the screen caught the eye of Thomas E. Donilon, later President Obama’s national security adviser. “It said we do not have a strategy in Afghanistan that you can articulate or achieve,” Mr. Donilon recalled three years later. “We had been at war for eight years, and no one could explain the strategy.” >continue<
The piece goes on to factor the realization that Pakistan’s emergence as the bigger part of the problem renders the larger scene untenable, a bewildering dimension which threatens to complicate today’s NATO summit.
1. Up to 12 Pakistani active-duty and retired officers from the Inter-Services Intelligence agency knew that Usama Bin Laden was in Abbottabad and were in regular contact with him. The Pakistani chief of staff is denying the report.
2. Dow Chemicals hired Stratfor to spy on activists in Agra who continue to protest over the Bhopal environmental disaster that blinded many workers and destroyed their health. I.e., Stratfor was not just doing analysis but was involved in private intelligence operations against civil society groups that had a right to protest.
3. Stratfor Vice President Fred Burton, a former State Department official involved in counter-terrorism, lamented that in the old days the US would simply have assassinated Venezuelan leftist leader Hugo Chavez and Bolivian leftist leader Evo Morales. The internal emails also suggest that Stratfor had placed a female asset in Venezuela, who was having sex with an officer and pumping him for information. The officer was said also to be “working with Israel.” Chavez is known for his criticism of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.
5. The fifth revelation is that often Stratfor analysts did not know what they were talking about and had an extreme rightwing bias. For instance, this memo on the revolution in Egypt attempts to argue that the officer corps was behind the revolution against Hosni Mubarak and that the masses were insufficiently mobilized to account for it. It is alleged that only 750,000 people came out in Tahrir Square, a small number for a country of 82 million. But in fact that was only in Tahrir. People demonstrated elsewhere in Cairo. And they were in the streets in Alexandria, Suez, Asyut and other cities. Even small towns saw burnings of police stations and HQs of the National Democratic Party. This memo makes a grassroots revolution that shook Egypt from Alexandria to Aswan into an officers’ putsch. While the officers tacked with the wind and did end up siding with the demonstrators against Mubarak, they were clearly playing political catch-up. It was revolutionary groups like April 6 that made the revolution in the cities, and the Muslim Brotherhood in the rural areas. The memo is frankly obtuse and if this is what Booz Allen was paying $20,000 a year for, they should demand their money back.
This fifth point, about the one percent interpreting the world for the one percent as being about the one percent, is a dire problem in our information system, since the one percent has the resources and can try to overwhelm reasoned analysis that recognizes the agency of the people…. >continue<
Guardian - Julian Borger »
Leaked U.S. Report
…According to published excerpts, the report finds that “Taliban commanders, along with rank and file members, increasingly believe their control of Afghanistan is inevitable. Though the Taliban suffered severely in 2011, its strength, motivation, funding and tactical proficiency remains intact.”
The authors, American researchers attached to special forces, conclude that the weakness and venality of the government in Kabul is an increasing source of strength for the insurgents. “In the last year, there has been unprecedented interest, even from [Afghan government] members, in joining the insurgent cause. Afghan civilians frequently prefer Taliban governance over [the Afghan government], usually as a result of government corruption, ethnic bias and lack of connection with local religious and tribal leaders.
The BBC quotes the report as saying: “Reflections from detainees indicate that Pakistan’s manipulation of Taliban senior leadership continues unabated. The Taliban themselves do not trust Pakistan, yet there is a widespread acceptance of the status quo in lieu of realistic alternatives.”
The report also quotes a senior al-Qaida detainee as saying: “Pakistan knows everything. They control everything. I can’t [expletive] on a tree in Kunar without them watching.” >continue<
Pakistan’s military has publicly rebuked Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani over an escalating row.
The army warned of “serious ramifications with potentially grievous consequences” after the PM criticised military leaders in a media interview.
Meanwhile, Mr Gilani has sacked his defence secretary, who is seen as having close ties to the military. >continue<
(Reuters) - India and Pakistan hailed progress in diplomatic ties on Thursday, promising to open a “new chapter” in their fraught relationship at a next round of formal peace talks due to take place by the end of this month.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and his Pakistani counterpart Yusuf Raza Gilani held nearly an hour-long discussion at a resort island in the Maldives, punctuating a recent thaw between the two…
India and Pakistan, which have fought three wars since independence from Britain in 1947, resumed a peace dialogue in February that was derailed after an attack by Pakistan-based militants in the Indian city of Mumbai in 2008.
“We will resume this dialogue with the expectation that all issues which have bedevilled relations between the two countries will be discussed,” Singh said. “The time has come to write a new chapter in the history of the relationship of the two countries.” >continue<
… crossing fingers
Nuclear-weapons components are sometimes moved by helicopter and sometimes moved over roads. And instead of moving nuclear material in armored, well-defended convoys, the SPD prefers to move material by subterfuge, in civilian-style vehicles without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic. According to both Pakistani and American sources, vans with a modest security profile are sometimes the preferred conveyance. And according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, the Pakistanis have begun using this low-security method to transfer not merely the “de-mated” component nuclear parts but “mated” nuclear weapons. Western nuclear experts have feared that Pakistan is building small, “tactical” nuclear weapons for quick deployment on the battlefield. In fact, not only is Pakistan building these devices, it is also now moving them over roads.
What this means, in essence, is this: In a country that is home to the harshest variants of Muslim fundamentalism, and to the headquarters of the organizations that espouse these extremist ideologies, including al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Taiba (which conducted the devastating terror attacks on Mumbai three years ago that killed nearly 200 civilians), nuclear bombs capable of destroying entire cities are transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads. And Pakistani and American sources say that since the raid on Abbottabad, the Pakistanis have provoked anxiety inside the Pentagon by increasing the pace of these movements. In other words, the Pakistani government is willing to make its nuclear weapons more vulnerable to theft by jihadists simply to hide them from the United States, the country that funds much of its military budget. >continue<
related: Coping with a Failing Pakistan
A highly complex and lamentable situation which, one might argue, represents a slow motion train wreck in the wake of the late 70’s U.S. intervention against Russia in Afghanistan. “Winning the Cold War” sure sounded good at the time.
According to Robert Crews of Stanford University, the large US/NATO troop footprint in the country, along with the US-engineered overbearing presidency, which the US uses to try to control the country– all this contributes to fanning the flames of insurgency. That is, Washington thinks that the Taliban and other insurgents can be crushed by Western military force, but in fact that very foreign military presence creates a bigger and bigger insurgency. >continue<
One might add that, while fears for the integrity of Pakistan itself have provided some rationale for sticking it out, the problems with Pakistan have become so torqued in the wake of the Bin Laden raid as to appear insoluble - and likely beyond factoring into rational justifications for the tremendous costs (financial and political) of prolonging the US presence in Afghanistan. That is to say, this issue warrants hard focus and debate.
Last Summer, during a massive unarmed revolt against Indian rule in Kashmir, the writer Pankaj Mishra posed the following question about the situation in the territory. It remains as valid today as a year ago – especially after the recent discovery of thousands of bodies in mass graves:
Once known for its extraordinary beauty, the valley of Kashmir now hosts the biggest, bloodiest and also the most obscure military occupation in the world. With more than 80,000 people dead in an anti-India insurgency backed by Pakistan, the killings fields of Kashmir dwarf those of Palestine and Tibet. In addition to the everyday regime of arbitrary arrests, curfews, raids, and checkpoints enforced by nearly 700,000 Indian soldiers, the valley’s 4 million Muslims are exposed to extra-judicial execution, rape and torture, with such barbaric variations as live electric wires inserted into penises.
Why then does the immense human suffering of Kashmir occupy such an imperceptible place in our moral imagination? After all, the Kashmiris demanding release from the degradations of military rule couldn’t be louder and clearer. India has contained the insurgency provoked in 1989 by its rigged elections and massacres of protestors. The hundreds of thousands of demonstrators that fill the streets of Kashmir’s cities today are overwhelmingly young, many in their teens, and armed with nothing more lethal than stones. Yet the Indian state seems determined to strangle their voices as it did of the old one. Already this summer, soldiers have shot dead more than 50 protestors, most of them teenagers.
The tolls of last summer’s unarmed uprising, violently suppressed by Indian forces with live fire, eventually rose to more than 100. And, though Kashmir is even less in the headlines today, protests and abuses – particularly the arrests and mistreatment of teenage boys – continue.
For decades, until today, the two-thirds of Kashmir under Indian control has been ruled under the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, emergency rule as repressive as the worst Arab dictatorship.
Mass graves uncovered
If all the suffering of the living in Kashmir has not succeeded in awakening international concern, the recent revelations of mass graves must. Amnesty International reported on 22 August:
Following a report by a police investigation team, confirming the existence of unmarked graves containing bodies of persons subject to enforced disappearances, urgent action needs to be taken including preserving the evidence and widening the investigation across Jammu and Kashmir said Amnesty International today.
Over 2700 unmarked graves have been identified by the 11-member police team of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) in four districts of north Kashmir. >continue<