Posts Tagged ‘US’

US accused of backing terrorism in Pakistan

August 10, 2008

Hindustan Times, August 10, 2008

Indo-Asian News Service

Islamabad, August 05, 2008

Pakistan has accused the US of backing militancy within the country, saying this goes against the grain of the Washington-led global war against terror.Quoting “impeccable official sources”, The News reported on Tuesday that “strong evidence and circumstantial evidence of American acquiescence to terrorism inside Pakistan” was outlined by President Pervez Musharraf, army chief General Ashfaq Pervez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt. Gen. Nadeem Taj in separate meetings with two senior US officials in Islamabad on July 12.

The visit of the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen and CIA Deputy Director Stephen R. Kappes, “carrying what were seen as India-influenced intelligence inputs had hardened the resolve of Pakistan’s security establishment to keep supreme Pakistan’s national security interest even if it meant straining ties with the US and NATO”, the newspaper said.

It quoted a senior official with direct knowledge of the meetings as saying that Pakistan’s military leadership and the president asked the American visitors “not to distinguish between a terrorist for the United States and Afghanistan and a terrorist for Pakistan”.

“For reasons best known to Langley, the CIA headquarters, as well as the Pentagon, Pakistani officials say the Americans were not interested in disrupting the Kabul-based fountainhead of terrorism in Balochistan nor do they want to allocate the marvellous Predator (unmanned armed aerial combat vehicle) resource to neutralise the kingpin of suicide bombings against the Pakistani military establishment now hiding near the Pakistan-Afghan border,” The News said.

During the meetings, the US officials were also asked why the CIA-run Predators and the US military did not swing into action when they were provided the exact location of tribal leader Baitullah Mehsud, “Pakistan’s enemy number one and the mastermind of almost every suicide operation against the Pakistan Army and the ISI since June 2006”, the newspaper added.

One such precise piece of information was made available to the CIA May 24 when Mehsud drove to a remote South Waziristan mountain post in his Toyota Land Cruiser to address the media and returned to his safe abode.

“The United States military has the capacity to direct a missile to a precise location at very short notice as it has done close to 20 times in the last few years to hit Al Qaeda targets inside Pakistan,” The News noted.

Pakistani officials, according to the newspaper, “have long been intrigued by the presence of highly encrypted communications gear with Mehsud. This communication gear enables him to collect real-time information on Pakistani troop movements from an unidentified foreign source without being intercepted by Pakistani intelligence”.

Mullen and the CIA official were in Pakistan on an unannounced visit July 12 to present what the US media claimed was evidence of the ISI’s ties with Taliban commander Maulana Sirajuddin Haqqani and the alleged involvement of Pakistani agents in the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul.

“Pakistani military leaders rubbished the American information and evidence on the Kabul bombing but provided some rationale for keeping a window open with Haqqani, just as the British government had decided to open talks with some Taliban leaders in southern Afghanistan last year,” The News said.

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WTO Talks Collapse Amidst Developing Countries’ Reluctance to Sacrifice Food Security

July 30, 2008

truthout, 29 July 2008

by: The Center for Economic and Policy Research

Last-minute attempt to push through a WTO expansion “deal” fails.

Washington, DC – Despite trade ministers’ hopes for a last-minute deal, World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations collapsed yet again today, and observers at the talks in Geneva say that the failure is not surprising, given the reluctance of India and other developing nations to sacrifice food security measures in the wake of the recent global spike in food prices.

Given President Bush’s lame duck status, negotiators had been called to Geneva to try to push through a last-minute deal before Bush left office. Because negotiators need about six months after a deal on the major issues to complete the details of the agreement, this possibility has now evaporated.

“Given what’s been on the table, no deal is better than a bad deal. A Doha conclusion would have had major negative impacts for workers and farmers in developing countries. The tariff cuts demanded of developing countries would have caused massive job loss, and countries would have lost the ability to protect farmers from dumping, further impoverishing millions on the verge of survival,” said Deborah James, Director of International Programs for the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who has been observing the talks in Geneva.

Continued . . .

SOMALIA: Famine Looms as Aid Workers Flee

July 27, 2008

By Najum Mushtaq | Inter Press service

NAIROBI, Jul 25 – By December this year, aid agencies estimate that the number of displaced and hungry people in need of life-saving aid in Somalia will swell to 3.5 million—nearly half the country’s population. Yet, as drought and conflict conspire to worsen the crisis, the humanitarian space to deliver food and other essential assistance in this conflict zone has all but vanished.

“At sea, ships carrying aid face the threat of piracy, on land (aid workers face) armed robbery and kidnapping,” says Abdullahi Musse, a Somali worker for an international humanitarian organisation. “Then, in the process of reaching our warehouses as well as on their way to the beneficiaries, the trucks cannot move without security escorts and have to pass through countless checkpoints which cannot be crossed without paying a ‘fee’ to a variety of armed groups.

“It is a high-risk activity with minimal guarantees of security,” says Musse.

Over the past few months, even this has become almost impossible to do. This year alone 20 aid workers, including foreigners, have been killed. Seventeen aid workers were freed after being kidnapped for ransom while 13 more are still in captivity.

All international aid workers and UN staff have been forced out by continuous fighting between Islamic insurgent groups and forces of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) backed by Ethiopian troops. Both sides accuse each other of attacks on aid workers and vow to protect them. Added to this are professional kidnapping rings, which have been encouraged by the large ransoms paid by foreigners to release ships taken by pirates.

The UN agencies and nine international organisations still maintain a presence in Mogadishu, but they rely exclusively on local staff. Musse told IPS over the phone from Mogadishu that Somali workers, too, are now being targeted and aid delivery has completely stalled.

There are 250 informal settlements of displaced people in Mogadishu and over 200 more along the road in Afogye. The UN says that as of June, 857,000 people had been displaced from Mogadishu and are reliant on international aid. Other agricultural regions in south-central Somalia, the main theatre of conflict, have been without rain this season and food shortage is acute.

“One of the reasons why many people had fled Mogadishu and set up camps in Afgoye (45 kilometres from the capital) was that it was more accessible for aid workers than the city itself,” he says. “Many families split to get the aid they couldn’t in Mogadishu. For the last two weeks people in the Afgoye corridor settlements have also been protesting in frustration over lack of aid delivery.”

If sufficient food and other humanitarian assistance cannot be scaled up in the coming months, Oxfam International sees a severe famine in the making: “Should these conditions continue and aid agencies are not able to deliver adequate assistance, then the situation could tip over into famine in several regions of Somalia later in the year.”

In his speech at the Security Council on July 23, the secretary-general’s special representative for Somalia, Ahmed Ould-Abdalla, urged international naval escorts for WFP’s aid-carrying ships and more security for aid workers.

“I sympathise with Somali nationals who constitute more than 95 percent of aid workers in south and central Somalia. They risk their lives daily and all too often have been the innocent victims of targeted killings,” Abdalla told the Security Council Wednesday.

Continued . . .


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