December 25, 2010

Swiss official urges charging three with nuke smuggling

Mueller, Swiss federal investigating magistrate listens during a news conference on the preliminary investigation of the case ‘Tinner’ in Bern

An investigating magistrate has recommended three Swiss engineers face trial for allegedly supplying a Pakistan-based network with nuclear weapons technology.

Andreas Müller said on Thursday his recommendation that charges be brought for violating Swiss non-proliferation laws is based on an exhaustive probe into an alleged nuclear smuggling ring.


Müller’s 174-page report “is now being studied in detail” by the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, which “will inform the public in due course” on whether charges will be filed against the Tinners, spokeswoman Jeannette Balmer said.

The six-year probe was slowed down after the Swiss government repeatedly ordered evidence to be destroyed, claiming it contained material sensitive to national security.

Presenting his report, Müller sharply criticised the Swiss government, which had “massively interfered in the wheels of justice by destroying almost all the evidence”.

Furthermore, he said the government had ordered the federal criminal police not to cooperate with him.

Müller added he was concerned by the government’s action – a democracy was no longer such, he said, if the separation of powers wasn’t respected – but it was now up to the court to decide what consequences this should have.

Clandestine network

However, copies of some of the shredded files have reportedly resurfaced and could form part of the case against Urs Tinner, his brother Marco and their father Friedrich.

They are suspected of supplying the clandestine network of Abdul Qadeer Khan, creator of Pakistan’s atomic bomb, with technical know-how and equipment that was used to make gas centrifuges.

Officials say Khan’s network also supplied Libya, Iran and North Korea with parts and plans for building a nuclear bomb before it collapsed in 2003 and 2004.

The Tinners have maintained their innocence and say their work as spies for the United States’ Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) blew the cover off Libya’s now-abandoned atomic ambitions and toppled the ring, run by Khan.

The three Swiss men were arrested in 2004. Father Friedrich was released in 2006 while his sons spent up to January 2009 in detention.

Knew of nuclear aim

Müller said the Tinners did not deny working for the Khan network, but claimed they did not know his aim was to produce nuclear weapons. He also said the Tinners had worked for the CIA since June 2003.

“The findings are that the Tinners might be part of the Khan network,” he said.

“And beginning where they should have known that Khan produced atomic weapons, in May 1998, until they started to collaborate with the secret services, in June 2003, they in their specific roles were part of this network, and delivered parts to the network that the network then itself delivered to other countries, such as Libya.”

Müller described Marco Tinner as the accountant, producer and supplier of the components used for uranium enrichment, who should also face charges of money laundering an amount worth SFr12 million ($12.5 million).

Friedrich Tinner brought know-how to the family operation and Urs was the “workshop manager” in Khan’s factories in Dubai and Malaysia, according to Müller.

He added that “there is no contrary proof that they were not on the payroll“ of the CIA.

Earlier this week a US think-tank renewed accusations against the Swiss authorities and the US government of bungling the Tinners’ case.

A report by the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security said the Swiss, the CIA and the Tinners themselves had thwarted efforts to limit nuclear weapon know-how.

US officials in Bern had no immediate comment.


swissinfo.ch and agencies


________________________

Smuggling charges should be brought against three Swiss engineers suspected of giving nuclear weapons technology to a rogue network in Pakistan, a magistrate said on Thursday, in a case involving CIA ties, shredded documents and national security implications.

Investigating magistrate Andreas Mueller said his recommendation that the trio, two brothers and a father, face trial is based on an exhaustive probe into an alleged nuclear smuggling ring. Mr. Mueller submitted his confidential report to federal prosecutors, who will decide whether to bring charges on violating Swiss nonproliferation laws.

Mr. Mueller oversaw the last three years of a six-year federal probe against Urs Tinner, his brother Marco and their father Friedrich. The politically sensitive case was slowed down after the Swiss government repeatedly ordered evidence destroyed in the case, allegedly under pressure from senior U.S. officials.

The Tinners are suspected of links to the nuclear smuggling network of Abdul Qadeer Khan, the creator of Pakistan’s atomic bomb. They allegedly supplied Khan’s black market nuclear network with the technical expertise and equipment used to make gas centrifuges. Khan sold the centrifuges for secret nuclear weapons programs in countries that included Libya and Iran before his operation was disrupted in 2003.

Mr. Mueller, who said he is relieved to be done with the investigation, harshly criticized the Swiss government for having “massively interfered in the wheels of justice by destroying almost all the evidence.” He said the government also ordered federal criminal police not to cooperate with him.

“There are many parts. It’s like a puzzle and if you put the puzzle together you get the whole picture,” Mr. Mueller said at a news conference. “There is not (just) one piece of evidence, there are many pieces of evidence.”

U.S. officials in Bern had no immediate comment.

Mr. Mueller said he recommended the three face charges for “supporting the development of atomic weapons” in violation of nonproliferation laws, while Marco Tinner should face additional charges of money laundering.

Mr. Mueller’s 174-page report “is now being studied in detail” by the Swiss attorney general’s office, which “will inform the public in due course” on whether charges will be filed against the Tinners, Federal Prosecutors Office spokeswoman Jeannette Balmer said.

Mr. Mueller said the Tinners did not deny working for the A.Q. Khan network, but claimed they did not know his aim was to produce nuclear weapons. He also said the Tinners had worked for the CIA since June 2003.

“The findings are that the Tinners might be part of the Khan network,” Mr. Mueller told The Associated Press after the news conference.

“And beginning where they should have known that Khan produced atomic weapons, in May 1998, until they started to collaborate with the secret services, in June 2003, they in their specific roles were part of this network, and delivered parts to the network that the network then itself delivered to other countries, (such) as Libya,” Mr. Mueller said.

He told AP that “there is no contrary proof that they were not on the payroll” of the CIA.

In June 2009, the Swiss government ordered the destruction of about 100 pages of evidence linked to Mr. Mueller’s investigation of the Tinner family, saying they contained information that could have endangered national security and needed to be kept out of “the wrong hands.”

The Cabinet, or Federal Council, said those documents were “the most explosive” material in the case’s file of more than 1,000 pages.

Copies of some of the shredded files have reportedly resurfaced, however, and could form part of the case against the Tinners, who have repeatedly maintained they are innocent.

The documents are copies of files destroyed in 2007 under a previous order that led to protests from lawmakers and legal experts, who said the government had undermined the prosecution in the smuggling case. The copies were found in prosecutors’ archives in December 2008.

Less sensitive documents, such as those dealing with uranium enrichment, were ordered kept under high security at the Federal Justice Department. The government said investigators, prosecutors, courts and the Tinner family’s lawyers would be able to view them under tight restrictions, but the documents would be destroyed at the end of legal proceedings.

A report this week by a Washington-based think tank found the Swiss authorities, the CIA and the Tinners were all responsible for failing to limit the spread of nuclear weapon technology and know-how.

The Institute for Science and International Security’s report particularly pointed blame at Swiss justice and U.S. intelligence officials for their failure to cooperate. It also says the Tinners persuaded businesses to make parts for machines without knowing their true purpose.

Mr. Mueller said the shredding of files had complicated an already complex case and made it harder to piece together a complete picture of the Tinners’ alleged involvement in the Khan ring. Switzerland’s highest criminal court has criticized the government for opting to destroy further evidence and said it was disappointed not to be informed earlier.

Complicating the case further are claims by Urs Tinner that he supplied the CIA with information that led to the breakup of Khan’s network. In a recent documentary, Tinner told Swiss TV he tipped off U.S. intelligence about a delivery of centrifuge parts meant for Libya.

The shipment was seized at the Italian port of Taranto in 2003, forcing Libya to admit and eventually renounce its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons.

Former Swiss Justice Minister Christoph Blocher said the government decided to destroy the original documents after he refused in 2007 an American request to hand over thousands of the files.

Urs Tinner was released in December 2008 after almost five years in investigative detention and has yet to be charged. A Swiss parliamentary panel has investigated the government-ordered shredding of thousands of files of evidence in the case

The Khan network was disrupted when Western intelligence agencies intercepted the centrifuge parts meant for Libya’s nuclear weapons programme.

http://www.thehindu.com/news/international/article972163.ece

CIA secrets may tumble out in Swiss nuke case

New York, Dec 24, PTI:

http://www.deccanherald.com/content/123515/cia-secrets-may-tumble-swiss.html#topsecrets may tumble out in Swiss nuke case


A seven-year effort by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to hide its links with a Swiss family, whose members once acted as moles inside the world’s most successful atomic black market run by disgraced Pakistani scientist A Q Khan, threatens to expose some of the US spy agency’s deepest secrets, a media report said on Friday.

The case hit a turning point on Thursday when a Swiss magistrate recommended charging the men from the family with trafficking in technology and information for making nuclear arms.

The prospect of a prosecution, and a public trial, threatens to expose some of the CIA’s deepest secrets if defence lawyers try to protect their clients by revealing how they operated on the agency’s behalf, the New York Times reported.

Bush administration

It could also tarnish what the Bush administration once hailed as a resounding victory in breaking up the nuclear arms network by laying bare how much of it remained intact, it said. “It’s like a puzzle,” Andreas Muller, the Swiss magistrate, said at a news conference in Bern. “If you put the puzzle together you get the whole picture.” The three men—Friedrich Tinner and his two sons, Urs and Marco—helped run the atomic smuggling ring of A Q Khan, an architect of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb programme, the Times quoted officials in several countries as saying.

In return for millions of dollars, according to former Bush administration officials, the Tinners secretly worked for the CIA as well, not only providing information about the Khan network’s manufacturing and sales efforts, which stretched from Iran to Libya to North Korea, but also helping the agency introduce flaws into the equipment sent to some of those countries.

The Bush administration went to extraordinary lengths to protect the men from prosecution, even persuading Swiss authorities to destroy equipment and information found on their computers and in their homes and businesses—actions that may now imperil efforts to prosecute them, the report said.

American spies

While it has been clear since 2008 that the Tinners acted as American spies, the announcement by the Swiss magistrate, recommending their prosecution for nuclear smuggling, is a turning point in the investigation, it said.

A trial would bring to the fore a case that Pakistan has insisted is closed. Prosecuting the case could also expose in court a tale of CIA break-ins in Switzerland, and of a still unexplained decision by the agency not to seize electronic copies of a number of nuclear bomb designs found on the computers of the Tinner family.

One of those blueprints came from an early Chinese atomic bomb; two more advanced designs were from Pakistan’s programme, investigators from several countries have said.

Ultimately, copies of those blueprints were found around the globe on the computers of members of the Khan network, leading investigators to suspect that they made their way to Iran, North Korea and perhaps other countries.

In 2003, atomic investigators found one of the atomic blueprints in Libya and brought it back to the US for safekeeping.

Muller, the Swiss magistrate, investigated the Tinner case for nearly two years.
He said that his 174-page report recommended that the three men face charges for “supporting the development of atomic weapons” in violation of Swiss law.

They are accused of supplying Khan’s operation with technology used to make centrifuges, the machines that purify uranium into fuel for bombs and reactors. Khan then sold the centrifuges to Libya, Iran and North Korea and perhaps others.

Botched calculations

K. Subrahmanyam Posted online: Sat Dec 25 2010, 02:30 hrs


I read the recently declassified account of former US Ambassador Robert F. Goheen’s interview with Morarji Desai on June 7, 1979, as a person then involved with the Indian side of decision-making (‘US ’79 memo: Let’s sell Pakistan F-16s and prevent n-proliferation,’ IE, December 24). I wonder whether this was an input sought by the US national security establishment before the issue of the infamous national security presidential directive of July 3, 1979, authorising joint US-Pakistan operations in Afghanistan, which, in due course, triggered the Soviet intervention in December 1979. In retrospect, it would appear that the presidential directive instigated by national security advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski led to the biggest-ever setback to American national security. First, it led to the rise of jihadism, as a result of the combined strategy adopted by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. This has recently been admitted by US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. It also resulted in the proliferation of nuclear weapons to Pakistan, which enabled Islamabad to develop the nuclear deterrent derivative of terrorism as an instrument of state policy, to be used not only against India but the US as well. The link between the CIA and Dr A.Q. Khan, even before he arrived with all his purloined documentation in Pakistan, has been exposed by the disclosures of Ruud Lubbers, the former Dutch prime minister. The fact is that in spite of his known record, not only was he allowed to move freely between China, Pakistan and Europe, but he was also rescued for the second time from Dutch authorities in 1986 by CIA intervention. That would indicate that the CIA had an interest in Khan throughout the period. The issue that has not so far been explored by American as well as Indian scholars of proliferation was, firstly, the connection between the CIA and Khan and, secondly, the US interest in permitting nuclear proliferation to Pakistan. Brzezinski has since come out with the disclosures that permissiveness of nuclear proliferation was the price to be paid to obtain Pakistani support for the anti-Soviet campaign. In 1982, in discussions between Alexander Haig, the US secretary of state, and the Pakistani team led by Agha Shahi and General K. M. Arif (referred to in General Arif’s book, Serving with Zia), Haig agreed that the Pakistani nuclear programme would not come in the way of US-Pakistan collaboration. The extensive proliferation activity by China to Pakistan during this period has been disclosed in Khan’s letters to his wife, when he feared that he was going to be proceeded against, copies of which have been made available by the correspondent Simon Henderson. Most of the information on Khan being set up with a Manhattan Project-type exclusive military programme under an engineering general, and data on the imports, were all available even in India at that time. The Indian Joint Intelligence Committee chaired by me concluded in January 1979 that Pakistan was on its way to the acquisition of nuclear weapons. The intelligence-gathering effort at that time was ably headed by K. Santhanam as deputy director of R&AW. The JIC’s report was considered by the cabinet committee on political affairs in March 1979. During the course of the discussion, I was told by the then cabinet secretary, Nirmal Mukarji, that while Morarji Desai and Atal Bihari Vajpayee were against any immediate action, the other three cabinet members — H.M. Patel, Jagjivan Ram, and Charan Singh — were clearly in favour of initiating appropriate action. On the basis of the information given to me, I wrote out a manuscript minute, in my capacity as additional secretary in the Cabinet Secretariat, that appropriate directions were issued to the chairman. Morarji Desai approved this minute and the cabinet secretary asked me to deliver it in person to Homi Sethna in Bombay, which I did. The meeting itself was attended by the five ministers, the cabinet secretary, the secretary to the prime minister, V. Shankar, and Sethna. All the other secretaries were kept out of the meeting. Therefore, there are unlikely to be any records on those events in the Cabinet Secretariat. Reflecting over those developments in hindsight, and with the wisdom and information of the last 30 years, I am left with a number of very puzzling questions on US policy and conduct. The enormous amount of material available on Chinese proliferation help to Pakistan has been referred to in the Santhanam’s deposition to the Kargil Review Committee. We have so far been speculating on Chinese proliferation to Pakistan. If we take into account the Cold War situation then, and the policies pursued by people like Carter and Reagan, it is today a legitimate issue to investigate whether A.Q. Khan and Pakistan were used by the US as a conduit to deliver centrifuge technology to China. Centrifuge technology was developed by Gernot Zippe, a German prisoner of war in Russian hands, in the 1950s. After his release, it was developed by the Germans and transmitted to Almelo where Khan was employed. Were the Americans interested in improvising and increasing the efficiency of the Chinese nuclear weapons programme as one of the countervailing elements in their Cold War against the Soviet Union? Just as they used Catholicism in Eastern Europe, Islam in Brzezinski’s “Arc of Crisis”, and the Star Wars programme to increase the burden on the Soviet Union, were they also trying to strengthen the Chinese nuclear programme vis-à-vis the Soviet Union by using Khan and Pakistan as conduits? It is to be recalled that there was–– major debate in the US establishment at that stage. Already by 1977, views emerged in sections of the CIA that the Soviet economy was declining and the Soviet Union was heading for a crisis. At that time, the deputy director of the CIA in charge of the Soviet Union was Robert Gates. This view was challenged by hardliners — including Brzezinski — who then set up a “Team B” which included people like Paul Wolfowitz, who came to a different conclusion: that the Soviet Union did constitute a very serious and major threat. The US has committed strategic blunders like mistaking Vietnamese nationalism as an extension of Chinese communism, not understanding the risks in the use of jihadism, and being permissive of Pakistani proliferation. Could there have been yet another major US blunder in trying to convey centrifuge technology to China using Pakistan and Khan? The US may have calculated that Pakistan and Khan would be under their effective control, just like these other previous miscalculations. This is an issue that needs to be pursued.

The writer is a senior defence analyst

Terror to be India’s focus at UNSC

Anirudh Bhattacharyya, Hindustan Times

New York, December 24, 2010
First Published: 22:44 IST(24/12/2010)
Last Updated: 22:47 IST(24/12/2010)

http://www.hindustantimes.com/Terror-to-be-India-s-focus-at-UNSC/H1-Article1-642487.aspx

Even as India re-enters the United Nations Security Council or UNSC in January 2011, it will use its seat on the apex body to focus attention and apply pressure on terrorist groups that have targeted the country in the past. Indian officials have described this as a “high priority” area for the
country as it commences its two-year term as an elected non-permanent member of the Council from the Asia region.

In an interview, India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations Hardeep Puri said, “We propose to use our tenure on the Security Council to provide a major thrust towards making the Council’s counter-terrorism machinery more robust and effective.”

India will “vigorously pursue” addition to the sanctions list of entities, individuals and outfits involved in acts of terrorism affecting the country.

Obviously, this includes frontal organisations of Pakistan-based groups like the Laskar-e-Tayyeba and Jaish-e-Mohammed that have carried out attacks against India and Indian interests.

This would involve focusing on listing of such entities through the Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee, which falls under the auspices of the UNSC. At present, some individuals and groups blacklisted by the United States Treasury and State Departments, have not faced similar action from the UN. The UN effort is focused on cutting off funding for the entities and placing travel restrictions upon them.

At the same time, this will also involve future decisions regarding possible delisting of those associated with the Taliban as part of the political process in Afghanistan that some, like the Pakistan establishment, have preferred. However, India has objected to the Taliban in the past and this could play a role in how India addresses the Afghanistan issue on the Council.

In fact, India’s presence on the Council will also mean that India will have formal leverage to play a role in Afghanistan, and a change from the last 12 months when, due to pressure from Pakistan, there had been efforts to reduce India’s role in that critical region. Afghanistan, of course, remains a major matter before the UNSC, although significant decision-making is undertaken by the US-led coalition forces in that country.

India will be engaged in dealing with other global matters while on the Council, including flashpoints like Iran, North Korea and the Middle East.

India also hopes to play a constructive role in “shaping the Council’s response to the African agenda.” In fact, almost immediately after India assumes its seat, the major issue before the UNSC could be the scheduled referendum in the Sudan and the possible reconstitution of that nation.


Pentagon, Military Actively War Gaming ‘Large Scale Economic Breakdown’ and ‘Civil Unrest’

http://dailyteaparty.com/2010/11/22/pentagon-military-actively-war-gaming-%E2%80%98large-scale-economic-breakdown%E2%80%99-and-%E2%80%98civil-unrest%E2%80%99/

shtfplan.com The majority of Americans believe that recent government intervention into financial markets, the economy and corporate insolvency has reversed the economic downturn which was described by former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson as being “on the brink” in 2008. The stimulus, bailouts and unrelenting quantitative easing by the Federal Reserve have thus far been perceived as having averted the further erosion of the U.S. real estate and equities markets. And though the Federal Reserve and economic analysts have recently readjusted their economic growth forecasts downward for the next six months, Americans no longer have to worry about, as Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) said on the house floor in October of 2008, the sky falling, multi-thousand point drops in stock markets and martial law in America.

The recovery – if our government, the Federal Reserve and mainstream media are to be believed – is on the road to recovery – albeit slowly and with some more pain ahead.

If we’ve “prevented economic collapse” and “avoided the depression many feared,” according to President Obama, inquiring minds are asking why the Pentagon and US Military are actively and aggressively engaged in planning responsive action to large scale economic breakdown and civil unrest scenarios:

Ever since the crash of 2008 the defense intelligence establishment has really been paying a lot of attention to global markets and how they can serve as a threat to U.S. national security interests. At one upcoming seminar next month they’re taking a look at a lot of the issues.

source: see CNBC video report below

According to the report, the Army has spent time on financial market trading floors with JP Morgan and others, in the hopes that they can learn more about how a financial and economic attack may occur, and what the ramifications of such attacks on US stocks and bonds may be.

The Army, in a year-long war games series called Unified Quest 2011, is looking at a variety of possibilities and how to deal with them, including:

  • the implications of “large scale economic breakdown” inside of the United States
  • how to maintain “domestic order amid civil unrest”
  • and ways to deal with fragmented global power and drastically lower budgets

Clearly, the U.S. government is making contingency plans to deal with a worst-case, all-out-collapse scenario of not only the economy, but our social and political systems.

The war gaming, according to reports, began in 2008 at the onset of the economic crisis, but planners from not just the United States, but around the globe, may have been aware of the dire possibility of economic collapse even earlier. It’s well known that the U.S. government as well as foreign counterparts have been preparing bunkers and continuity of government for decades, butrecent preparedness activities suggest that the planning in some aspects has been expedited. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the US government has been the leading buyer of freeze died foods for the last couple of years, and private emergency shelter contractors have reported a shortage in equipment and supplies for building personal-sized bunkers.

In a previous report titled Homeland Security To “Regionalize” Emergency Supplies Over Next 90 Days, we pointed out that FEMA, headed by Department of Homeland Security, is decentralizing emergency supplies from one main distribution facility in Washington D.C. to fifteen regional facilities around the country. Even the Russians and the EU are in high gear. Russia has reportedly begun planning and development of 5,000 new underground bunkers for the city of Moscow scheduled for completion no later than 2012. The EU, in 2006, commissioned the building of a “Doomsday Seed Vault” in a mountainside several hundred miles above sea level. The facility was built and fully stocked with millions of seeds from around the world within 18 months.

Though the activities of global governments in recent years could potentially be chalked up to standard national security preparedness and contingency planning, the most alarming indicator that the U.S. government is not just looking at one-in-a-million possibilities in terms of economic collapse is the training of several thousand U.S. Army soldiers to respond to domestic policing and enforcement issues that may include evacuation, detainment and riot response. The real possibility of the need to deploy U.S. military under martial law exists, and the U.S. government is spending millions of dollars training and equipping soldiers to do so if necessary.

For those who may have their doubts about some of the scenarios these soldiers are training for, we point out the sign being held by one of the riot role players below.

(Photo taken by U.S. Airforce Tech. Sgt. Brian E. Christiansen, North Carolina National Guard at Vigilant Guard training exercise Ft. Richardson, Alaska – April 2010)

foodnow1

More military training exercise pictures and descriptions

It is hard to imagine an America under an economic attack so serious that the U.S. economy could suffer a collapse that would essentially put an end to the world as we have come to know it. But for those who think rationally, especially given the current malaise in financial markets and the U.S. dollar, the possibility cannot be ruled out.

As such, any government acting in the interests of national security would take steps to deal with and respond to such an event(s).

For the average populace prole, however, there may not be any real assistance should something like this occur. First and foremost, any government response to an attack on our financial and economic systems will have the primary goal of maintaining order and the rule of law, as well as continuity of government. This is a given…

Continue Reading>>> http://www.shtfplan.com/marc-faber/pentagon-military-actively-war-gaming-large-scale-economic-breakdown-and-civil-unrest_11222010


Pakistan’s Counterterrorism Strategy: Separating Friends from Enemies


Ayesha Siddiqa is the first Pakistan scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and the author of Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy (Pluto Press, 2007).


http://www.twq.com/11winter/index.cfm?id=426

On October 1, 2010, the government of Pakistan shut down the supply route for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) after an incursion into Pakistan’s territory by NATO forces, killing 16 Pakistanis in collateral damage. Two days later, militants torched 28 NATO supply trucks near Shikarpur in the southern province of Sindh. These events reflect the inherent tension both in Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy and in its relationship with the United States and its allies in fighting the war in Afghanistan. The future of U.S. military operations in South Asia depends on the convergence of policies between the United States and Pakistan, but since the war began in 2001, interpreting Islamabad’s counterterrorism policy has been difficult.

Pakistan’s counterterrorism strategy in Afghanistan is rife with inherent contradictions, caught between an inclination to fight militant forces and yet having to partner with some to strengthen its future bargaining position. The policy flows out of Pakistan’s multiple strategic requirements: its need to remain engaged with the United States, to save itself from the Taliban attacking the Pakistani state, and to fight India’s growing presence in Afghanistan. Caught between these three issues, Islamabad’s counterterrorism policy and objectives continue to lack clarity. At best, the policy illustrates the tension between Islamabad’s need to protect itself against an internal enemy and its sensitivity toward the external threat from India.

The primary flaw of Pakistan’s counterterrorism policy, however, is that it is defined and driven by the military and that institution’s strategic objectives. It is easier to use the military option than to address the problem of changing the basic narrative and socioeconomic conditions that drive militancy in the first place. The need to create an alternative political narrative and change the mindset in Pakistan to address those socioeconomic conditions is a far more critical issue, which receives less attention than it deserves.

Download the full article, available in Adobe Acrobat [.pdf] format.


Strategic stability, tactical aggression

December 25, 2010 3:31:05 PM

Gurmeet Kanwal

http://www.dailypioneer.com/306064/Strategic-stability-tactical-aggression.html

The Wen Jiabao visit proved to be a watershed in Sino-Indian relations because both sides have struck a mutually assured development paradigm despite retaining the option for conflict. As for the border dispute, it’s left for the generations

It will take a long time, perhaps many years, for the full impact of the WikiLeaks’ disclosure of thousands of US diplomatic cables to become known. Make no mistake: this is an event of historic importance — for all governments, and not only the US. It had been widely anticipated in India that Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao’s visit would not result in the satisfactory resolution of India’s major concerns. The joint statement issued at the end of the visit on December 16, 2010, bears out the apprehensions of Indian analysts.

Agreements for bilateral trade amounting to $16 billion were signed and the two sides agreed to raise mutual trade from $60 billion this year to $100 billion by 2015. However, India did not agree to sign a free trade agreement; instead the joint statement proposes ‘’measures to promote greater Indian exports to China with a view to reduce India’s trade deficit.’’ Six joint agreements were signed on culture, green technology, media exchanges, river data and banking, all of which are relatively less significant aspects of the bilateral relationship.

China remained non-committal on the ticklish issue of visas being stapled to the passports of the resident of the Indian state of J&K, instead of being stamped on their passports. It reinforced Indian views that China is increasingly leaning on Pakistan in its Kashmir policy. China did not agree to either mention Pakistan as the source of terrorism or condemn the perpetrators of the Mumbai terror strikes. It also did not specifically endorse India’s quest for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. In turn, India did not accept a reference to the one-China policy and, instead, the principle of “mutual respect and sensitivity for each other’s concerns and aspirations” was included in the joint statement.

Relations between India and China have been fairly stable at the strategic level. Political and economic relations are much better now than these have been since the 1962 war. Mutual economic dependence is growing rapidly; and, the two countries have been cooperating in international fora like WTO and climate change negotiations. There has even been some cooperation in energy security. However, at the tactical level, China has been exhibiting a markedly aggressive political, diplomatic and military attitude. The security relationship, in particular, has the potential to act as a spoiler and would ultimately determine whether the two Asian giants will clash or cooperate for mutual gains. The major cause for this is the half-century-old territorial and boundary dispute over which the two countries fought a border war in 1962.

China continues to be in physical occupation of large areas of Indian territory. On the Aksai Chin plateau in Ladakh in J&K, China is in physical possession of approximately 38,000 sqkm of Indian territory since the mid-1950s. In addition, Pakistan illegally ceded 5,180 sqkm of Indian territory to China in 1963 in the Shaksgam Valley of Pakistan-occupied Kashmir under a bilateral boundary agreement that India does not recognise. Through this area China built the Karakoram highway that now provides a strategic land link between Xinjiang, Tibet and Pakistan. China continues to stake its claim to about 96,000 sqkm of Indian territory in the eastern state of Arunachal Pradesh, which it calls Southern Tibet.

Chinese interlocutors have repeatedly claimed that the Tawang Tract, in particular, is part of Tibet and that the merger of this area with Tibet is non-negotiable. Early in 2005, India and China had agreed to identify “guiding principles and parameters” for a political solution to the five-decade-old dispute. However, in the case of Tawang, the Chinese have gone back on the agreed parameter that “settled populations will not be disturbed”.

It is not so well known that the Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China, implying de facto control after the 1962 war, is yet to be physically demarcated on the ground and delineated on military maps. The LAC is quite different from the disputed 4,056 km long boundary between India and Tibet. The un-delineated LAC is a major destabilising factor as incidents such as the Nathu La clash of 1967 and the Wang Dung standoff of 1986 can recur.

In fact, despite the Border Peace and Tranquility Agreement (BPTA) signed with the Chinese in 1993 and the agreement on Confidence Building Measures in the Military Field signed in 1996, border guards of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) have transgressed the LAC repeatedly to intrude into Arunachal Pradesh and Ladakh. They have even objected to Indian road construction efforts. These intrusions have been periodically reported in the media and discussed in Parliament. While no such incident has resulted in a violent clash so far, there have been occasions when Indian and Chinese patrols have met face to face before backing off. Such meetings have an element of tension built into them and the possibility of an armed clash can never be ruled out.

Demarcation of the LAC, without prejudice to each other’s position on the territorial dispute, would be an excellent confidence building measure. China’s intransigence in exchanging maps showing the alignment of the LAC in the western and the eastern sectors is difficult to understand. It can only be described as another attempt to put off the dispute “for future generations to resolve”, as Deng Xiao Ping had famously told Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1988.

The military gap between Indian and China is growing steadily as the PLA ismodernising at a rapid pace and India’s military upgradation plans are mired in red tape. China’s negotiating strategy is to stall resolution of the dispute till the Chinese are in a much stronger position in terms of comprehensive national strength so that they can dictate terms. It is in India’s interest to strive for the early resolution of the territorial dispute with China so that India has only one major military adversary to contend with.

(The author is Director, Centre for Land Warfare Studies, New Delhi, and a Visiting Research Fellow at RSIS.)

American Empire on the Verge of Collapse?

December 22nd, 2010 |


Written by Mahendra Joshi


http://www.indiacause.com/blog/2010/12/22/american-empire-on-verge-of-collapse/


It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we are living in the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world and that at some point the world financial system is going to crash (Yes, this not a typo, I mean the world). But how many people know that the Economic and Military Superpower of USA is completely broke already? Have you ever heard of Slums in USA? How many know that USA’s future liabilities are about $200 Trillions – which is three times the world’s GDP? Do you know on Jan 14th, 2010 bankrupt State of Arizona had to sell its Capitol building, governor’s office, state hospital and the prison buildings to raise money? Read on…

The US jobless rate hit 9.8% recently. Two years back when situation was better, Ohio school had received 700 applications for one janitorial position….Few weeks back, the Delta Airlines received 100,000 applicationsfor 1,000 flight attendant jobs. Hundreds of people were in line from mid-night to get help on their electricity bill…42 Million Americans ( 1 in 8 ) are already on Food Stamps…Have you ever heard of Slums in America? In third-world countries they are called slums…but here in America they are called “Tent cities”…Watch thisVideo and this and this….and here is a report about the US Military preparing for a ‘Large Scale Economic Breakdown’ and ‘Civil Unrest’

This is just the tip of an iceberg. The US is now in a Catch 22 situation, with no easy way out. Financially, the US is on a road of no return. It is very clear that all options will lead to more misery while the economists are fooling people to believe “happy days are here again”.

The fact is: “We’re in the terminal stages of the world’s most gigantic pyramid scheme” set to vaporize the assets of an average citizen in a dramatic event of just few days…“The US Economy is A Giant Ponzi Scheme”…By every passing day we are moving closer to the top of this ponzy scheme pyramid. The entire western world has dug itself in the biggest black hole of the history called Debt. Most of the western world is totally bankrupt (Uncle Sam is the leader). Fools are those who believe the solution to Debt is more of the same. They are doing this for about 100 years now (US Federal Reserve was formed in 1914). It may continue for few more. But there is going be a day when the bill will arrive on the silver platter at the table that the US citizens are sitting at. The prosperity that US saw for 30 years was just a smokescreen…the reality is yet to dawn.

Will USA collapse or will it default on its Debt – Is there a third option left before the USA? Will it be 2011 or 2012 or…2020?

Let’s get real. The US is bankrupt. Neither spending more nor taxing less will help this country to pay its bills. “The U.S. is bankrupt and we Don’t even know it

The steady erosion in the value of the US dollars and the crushing weight of US national debt have already moved this country on the verge of a financial chaos. Columbia University Prof. Robert Mundell says “we’ve never been in this unstable position in the entire currency history of 3,000 years”. A massive, catastrophic dumping of the devaluing US dollar looms large like a dagger over the US head. Unmistakable warning signs point to a monetary crisis on the verge of spinning wildly out of control, leading to massive inflation and possibly, a sudden and catastrophic dollar collapse that will change this nation forever.

Another side of the story is the bankrupt states and cities of America. On Jan 14th, 2010 bankrupt Arizona state has sold its Capitol building, governor’s office, state hospital and the prison buildings? Cant’ believe? Read here. The overdrawn American cities could face financial collapse as soon as in 2011. More than 100 American cities could go bust next year as the debt crisis that has taken down banks and countries threatens next to spark a municipal meltdown. New Jersey governor says: “We spent too much on everything. We spent money we didn’t have. We borrowed money just crazily. The credit card’s maxed out, and it’s over. We now have to get to the business of climbing out of the hole. We’ve been digging it for a decade or more. We’ve got to climb now, and a climb is harder.”

The former New York Times correspondent in a recent article says “America’s military and economic empire could collapse at any time, but predicting the precise day, week or month of its potential demise is unattainable.” How sudden a collapse can be? In 1989 it was predicted in a Russian meeting that the travel across the Berlin Wall separating east from west Germany would open within a year. What really happened? “Within a few hours, the wall didn’t exist”

Can’t believe America’s military and economic empire could collapse any time? Watch this video Glenn Beck warning of Food Riots, Martial Law & Gun Confiscations in America. Yes, I am taking about Food Riots and Martial Law in the superpower called America.

The foolish middle class of America believes everything is going to be fine. They believe “it can’t happen to us because it hasn’t happened to us”. Every superpower of the world has gone down with the same arrogance.

The end result is really unpredictable, but based on the continuing cycle of economic destruction; we can take an educated guess. The final outcome, as to whether USA goes into a controlled collapse or a complete, all-out economic Armageddon where the entire world suffers with the leader (Uncle Sam), will be determined sometime in the next decade. Prepare yourself mentally, financially, physically and spiritually. We are entering an economic, social and political climate unlike anything we have ever seen in our lifetimes.

Gold is playing with $1400. In future we shall see Gold-rollercoaster up-and-down by $100-$200 dollars in a day. Today people can buy Gold in grams and silver in Kilograms. There will be a time when there will be a rush to buy…..guess what? – Gold in milligrams and Silver in Grams.

Keep eye on unfolding storm in Europe in coming years, multiply it with 10 times to know what is coming at America….There would be a time when bringing food on the table will be more important than keeping gifts under the Christmas tree...I wish not…but who knows US citizens may be hitting the bread lines some day

The USA, Af-Pak and China

By Bhaskar Roy


http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers43/paper4246.html


The Afghanistan issue is poised to take a new turn, with the USA and NATO in a withdrawal mood, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai caught in crossfire, and China declaring its intention to involve itself with Pakistan in Afghanistan.

In his statement (Dec. 16) on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review, US President Barack Obama conveyed a sense that the original American intention to eradicate militancy and terrorism in Afghanistan and establish a secular and democratic government in the country has failed. The aim now was to concentrate attention on the Al Qaida bases in Pakistan, dismantle them and eradicate them from the Pak-Afghan border on the Pakistani side where they enjoy safe haven, thanks to Pakistan’s army and its powerful intelligence arm, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

From 2007, the USA from its highest level had given hard evidence to the Pakistani leaders from the very top ISI’s collaboration with the Afghan Taliban and other militant organizations which fought the USA and its allies. This has had very little impact on the Pakistan army. The Pakistani army Chief, Gen. Parvez Asfaq Kayani had made it clear that Pakistan had an abiding interest in establishing a Pakistan friendly government where the Afghan Taliban had a dominating role, and counter India’s influence in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s determination to create Afghanistan as a “strategic depth” remains non-negotiable.

President Obama conveyed frustration and impatience over the Pakistan army’s reluctance to clear North Waziristan of militants. This is the main area where the dreaded Haqqani clique, a creation of the ISI for operations against the Afghan government, is located. Similarly, the Pakistani security forces and the government have avoided taking action against the Taliban’s Quetta Shura. American drone attacks have taken out a number of important Al Qaida and Taliban leaders, but have had little impact on the Haqqani clique.

Although President Obama seeks to break the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, it appears he has decided to ultimately leave the Taliban issue to Afghanistan and Pakistan to resolve.

At the same time President Obama conveyed that America is not going to leave the Afghanistan-Pakistan turf empty. Even after withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, American presence in civilian and military sphere in Af-Pak will remain. Presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan is of high strategic importance for the US in the context of China and Central Asia, and future terrorist surge against it and its allies.

The US surely understands that anti-US and anti-European terrorism centres in Pakistan’s northern region is difficult to eradicate unless the Pakistan army decides to do so. And there is no sign that Gen. Kayani is in any mood to act on it. Despite all American assistance, military and civilian, Pakistan’s army remains committed to China.

On his recent visit to Pakistan (Dec. 17-19), Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made it very clear that China’s relations with Pakistan was enduring and unbreakable. The agreements and the MOUs signed amounting to $20 billion during the visit marked a new high in Sino-Pak “all weather” relationship covering civilian and military assistance, and humanitarian aid. Premier Wen made it abundantly clear that China supported Pakistan’s approach to counter-terrorism actions, thereby meaning it was one with Pakistan protecting and supporting the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani clique and the like. He also stated that China will continue to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan, meaning that they support the Taliban’s role in Afghanistan. China has established a good relationship with the Karzai government but more importantly, it has a close relationship with the Taliban from the Soviet invasion era.

China has decided to prop up Pakistan’s economic and military strength to make Islamabad less dependent on the US. It also aims to help promote Pakistan as a major player in South Asia, something that India needs to take note of. This will also impact on India’s position in Afghanistan. It is, however, unlikely that China will actively try to break Central Asian economic relations with India through Afghanistan and Pakistan as that would impact on China’s relation with these countries. It is evident, however, that Pakistan consults China on all these issues. After all, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has paid five visits to China since he took over his position in 2008.

President Hamid Karzai is in a mess, and the USA is also responsible for this situation. Washington manoeuvred to make Mr. Karzai the President, and then tried to bring him down. Corruption is a major issue in Afghanistan no doubt, but the US still does not understand that American standards just cannot simply be imposed on Afghanistan overnight. Afghanistan is a country of tribal and sectoral rivalries, and resent foreign regimes imposing leadership on them.

President Karzai is clutching at every straw to be alive – from Pakistan’s army and ISI to Iran and China. If he succumbs to Pakistani pressure, to include the Taliban in the government, the old Northern Alliance members, who hold important positions in Afghanistan’s security establishment will resist. They have little love for Pakistan either.

In the evolving scenario, there is little that is hopeful for Afghanistan. Former US ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, has suggested a division of Afghanistan. That will be last point scenario, but would create a constant turbulence in land locked Afghanistan.

The evolving China-US confrontation in Af-Pak is a serious issue for this region. Iran, a strategic friend of China but with questionable strategic relationship with Pakistan embedded in religious issues, is not going to standby silently.

India’s options are to quietly do humanitarian and development work in Afghanistan and stay away from conflicting situations. India, after all, is the only involved country which is respected by the Afghan people. This is the card to play.

The new developments, however, points to a more turbulent situation in Afghanistan as there are multiple sides involved. This is the new “hot spot” in the making. Under the circumstances, it is difficult to make a future projection for Afghanistan’s peace, stability and development.

(The author is an eminent China analyst with many years of experience. He can be reached at grouchohart@yahoo.com)


The USA, Af-Pak and China

By Bhaskar Roy


http://www.southasiaanalysis.org/papers43/paper4246.html


The Afghanistan issue is poised to take a new turn, with the USA and NATO in a withdrawal mood, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai caught in crossfire, and China declaring its intention to involve itself with Pakistan in Afghanistan.

In his statement (Dec. 16) on the Afghanistan-Pakistan Annual Review, US President Barack Obama conveyed a sense that the original American intention to eradicate militancy and terrorism in Afghanistan and establish a secular and democratic government in the country has failed. The aim now was to concentrate attention on the Al Qaida bases in Pakistan, dismantle them and eradicate them from the Pak-Afghan border on the Pakistani side where they enjoy safe haven, thanks to Pakistan’s army and its powerful intelligence arm, the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).

From 2007, the USA from its highest level had given hard evidence to the Pakistani leaders from the very top ISI’s collaboration with the Afghan Taliban and other militant organizations which fought the USA and its allies. This has had very little impact on the Pakistan army. The Pakistani army Chief, Gen. Parvez Asfaq Kayani had made it clear that Pakistan had an abiding interest in establishing a Pakistan friendly government where the Afghan Taliban had a dominating role, and counter India’s influence in Afghanistan. Pakistan’s determination to create Afghanistan as a “strategic depth” remains non-negotiable.

President Obama conveyed frustration and impatience over the Pakistan army’s reluctance to clear North Waziristan of militants. This is the main area where the dreaded Haqqani clique, a creation of the ISI for operations against the Afghan government, is located. Similarly, the Pakistani security forces and the government have avoided taking action against the Taliban’s Quetta Shura. American drone attacks have taken out a number of important Al Qaida and Taliban leaders, but have had little impact on the Haqqani clique.

Although President Obama seeks to break the Taliban’s momentum in Afghanistan, it appears he has decided to ultimately leave the Taliban issue to Afghanistan and Pakistan to resolve.

At the same time President Obama conveyed that America is not going to leave the Afghanistan-Pakistan turf empty. Even after withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014, American presence in civilian and military sphere in Af-Pak will remain. Presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan is of high strategic importance for the US in the context of China and Central Asia, and future terrorist surge against it and its allies.

The US surely understands that anti-US and anti-European terrorism centres in Pakistan’s northern region is difficult to eradicate unless the Pakistan army decides to do so. And there is no sign that Gen. Kayani is in any mood to act on it. Despite all American assistance, military and civilian, Pakistan’s army remains committed to China.

On his recent visit to Pakistan (Dec. 17-19), Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made it very clear that China’s relations with Pakistan was enduring and unbreakable. The agreements and the MOUs signed amounting to $20 billion during the visit marked a new high in Sino-Pak “all weather” relationship covering civilian and military assistance, and humanitarian aid. Premier Wen made it abundantly clear that China supported Pakistan’s approach to counter-terrorism actions, thereby meaning it was one with Pakistan protecting and supporting the Afghan Taliban, the Haqqani clique and the like. He also stated that China will continue to work with Pakistan in Afghanistan, meaning that they support the Taliban’s role in Afghanistan. China has established a good relationship with the Karzai government but more importantly, it has a close relationship with the Taliban from the Soviet invasion era.

China has decided to prop up Pakistan’s economic and military strength to make Islamabad less dependent on the US. It also aims to help promote Pakistan as a major player in South Asia, something that India needs to take note of. This will also impact on India’s position in Afghanistan. It is, however, unlikely that China will actively try to break Central Asian economic relations with India through Afghanistan and Pakistan as that would impact on China’s relation with these countries. It is evident, however, that Pakistan consults China on all these issues. After all, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari has paid five visits to China since he took over his position in 2008.

President Hamid Karzai is in a mess, and the USA is also responsible for this situation. Washington manoeuvred to make Mr. Karzai the President, and then tried to bring him down. Corruption is a major issue in Afghanistan no doubt, but the US still does not understand that American standards just cannot simply be imposed on Afghanistan overnight. Afghanistan is a country of tribal and sectoral rivalries, and resent foreign regimes imposing leadership on them.

President Karzai is clutching at every straw to be alive – from Pakistan’s army and ISI to Iran and China. If he succumbs to Pakistani pressure, to include the Taliban in the government, the old Northern Alliance members, who hold important positions in Afghanistan’s security establishment will resist. They have little love for Pakistan either.

In the evolving scenario, there is little that is hopeful for Afghanistan. Former US ambassador to India, Robert Blackwill, has suggested a division of Afghanistan. That will be last point scenario, but would create a constant turbulence in land locked Afghanistan.

The evolving China-US confrontation in Af-Pak is a serious issue for this region. Iran, a strategic friend of China but with questionable strategic relationship with Pakistan embedded in religious issues, is not going to standby silently.

India’s options are to quietly do humanitarian and development work in Afghanistan and stay away from conflicting situations. India, after all, is the only involved country which is respected by the Afghan people. This is the card to play.

The new developments, however, points to a more turbulent situation in Afghanistan as there are multiple sides involved. This is the new “hot spot” in the making. Under the circumstances, it is difficult to make a future projection for Afghanistan’s peace, stability and development.

(The author is an eminent China analyst with many years of experience. He can be reached at grouchohart@yahoo.com)