11/22/14

Permalink America’s 500th Drone Strike Launched in Pakistan

A US drone destroyed a house in Mada Khel village of North Waziristan today, killing six people and wounding three others. None of the slain were identified, but all were labeled “suspects.” If that story sounds awfully familiar, it’s because it is. Today’s attack marks the 500th confirmed US drone strike outside of actual warzones, with just about 10 years worth of strikes. The strikes were extremely rare at first, a couple a year in Pakistan during the waning years of the Bush Administration. Now the attacks are increasingly common, not just in Pakistan but in Yemen as well. The 500 attacks have killed some 3,674 people, and while only 473 are listed as confirmed civilians, the vast majority of the others slain have never been conclusively identified, remaining forever “suspects.”


10/10/14

Permalink Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi named as winners of 2014 Nobel Peace Prize

Human rights activists from Pakistan and India, Malala Yousafzai and Kailash Satyarthi, have named as the joint winners of the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize. They earned the award by “their struggle against the suppression of children and young people and for the right of all children to education,” the award’s committee said in a statement. "The Nobel Committee regards it as an important point for a Hindu and a Muslim, an Indian and a Pakistani, to join in a common struggle for education and against extremism," said Thorbjoern Jagland, the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head two years ago by the Taliban when she was on her way to school. She was targeted for being an active campaigner for girls’ rights to education, which the Taliban opposes. Malala survived the attack, and underwent treatment in the UK. She has continued her fight for human rights from there, as she is unable to return to Pakistan, facing death threats from the Taliban. Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, reacted to the award by describing Malala as the “pride of Pakistan.” Yousafzai becomes the youngest Nobel Prize winner, bypassing Australian-born British scientist Lawrence Bragg, who received the Nobel Prize for Physics at the age of 25. 60-year-old Kailash Satyarthi, the other joint winner of the Peace Prize, is an Indian children's rights advocate. He has actively campaigned against the use of child labor and in 1998 initiated an annual global march against the practice. The Nobel Committee has praised Satyarthi for “maintaining Gandhi’s tradition” in his human rights campaigning. "It's an honor to all those children still suffering in slavery, bonded labor and trafficking," Satyarthi told CNN-IBN TV after he learned of the award, Reuters reported. Malala and Satyarthi will receive the prize, worth about $1.1 million, at a December 10 ceremony in Oslo, Norway.

PressTV: Pakistan's Malala, India's Satyarthi jointly win Nobel Peace Prize
Nobel Institute: Announcement: The Nobel Peace Prize for 2014


09/24/14

Permalink US drone strike kills 10 people in NW Pakistan

At least ten people have been killed following yet another bombing of Pakistan's tribal belt in the northeast of the country by US assassination drones. According to local security sources, the US drones struck a compound and a vehicle at a small market in the town of Datta Khel near the Afghan border. The sources [conveniently] further identified the casualties from the drone attack as "militants" [civilians]. Washington claims the targets of the drone attacks are militants, but local officials and witnesses maintain that civilians have been the main victims of such raids over the past few years.


07/19/14

Permalink US drone attack kills 11 in northwestern Pakistan

A US assassination drone attack kills at least 11 people in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region near the border with Afghanistan. According to reports, the drone fired eight missiles at a building in North Waziristan region early on Saturday morning. The US carries out targeted killings through drone strikes in several Muslim nations such as Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Somalia. US drone attacks in other countries have intensified since Barack Obama became the country's president.


07/16/14

Permalink US drone strike kills 15 in northwest Pakistan

Another US drone attack on Pakistan’s northwestern tribal belt has killed at least 15 people amid the ongoing military campaign in the region by Pakistani armed forces. The strike by the pilotless US aircraft on Wednesday hit the border region of North Waziristan, where government troops have been engaged in fierce fighting aimed at purging the entire area of pro-Taliban militants and their fortifications, according to Pakistani authorities. “A US drone fired two missiles targeting a militant compound in Zoi Saidgai area, killing at least 15 insurgents,” said a high-ranking security official in Miranshah, the main town of North Waziristan.


06/25/14

Permalink Pakistan Has More Than Two Million Slaves

There are an estimated 30 million slaves in the world today, more than at any other time in history. In case you missed it, earlier this month Real Clear World ran a profile of what slave labor looks like in Pakistan today. There are 1.8 million “debt laborers” in the country, and 2.2 million slaves over all (only India and China have more). The debt laborers are kept under the thumb of landlords who sell them back and forth and cook up ways of keeping them in bondage.

Walk Free: It is estimated that 29.8 million people are forced to live in slavery around the world today


06/12/14

Permalink US resumes Pakistan drone strikes, 16 reportedly killed

US drones killed 16 Islamist "militants" at their "hideouts" in north-western Pakistan, in the first strikes by the unmanned aircraft in almost six months, officials said Thursday. Drones fired around 20 missiles at two separate locations in North Waziristan tribal district near the Afghan border, destroying compounds and vehicles allegedly used by "militants", security officials said. At least 10 suspected members of the Haqqani group of Afghan Taliban were killed in strikes early Thursday in the Dandy Darpa Khel area. Overnight, six militants, including Uzbek members of the Taliban, were killed in a separate drone attack in the Ghulam Khan area of North Waziristan, officials said.


06/11/14

Permalink Pakistan’s largest airport attacked by Taliban group

Sampath Perera Jinnah International Airport in Pakistan’s southern port city of Karachi was raided by an Islamist insurgent group late Sunday night. The fighting continued until Monday, causing a suspension of all operations at the airport, which is used by about 44,000 passengers daily. At least 37 people died, including 10 attackers, according to official accounts. [...] Soon after his election, Sharif pledged support for the US “war on terrorism,” which has served as a vehicle for asserting American hegemony over the region. However, his election promises of negotiations with the TTP reflected concerns within the Pakistani elite about the conflict’s damage to the crisis-ridden economy. The TTP’s apparent ability to target positions in major cities and industrial centres is undermining his government’s agenda to attract foreign investment. [...] The intensifying crisis in Pakistan is inseparably bound up with the escalating geo-political tensions in the region produced by Washington’s drive for dominance over the resource-rich Central Asian landmass, which is accompanied by its “pivot” to Asia to encircle China economically and militarily.


Permalink NY Times, Reuters Whitewash US Drone Strike Killing of Mehsud From Taliban Reasons for Karachi Airport Attack

Karachi’s Airport has resumed operations today, but a deadly late night attack shut it down for many hours overnight. It appears that ten militants entered the airport Sunday night, most likely uniformed as airport security personnel, and killed up to 18 people before they were killed by airport security and rapidly responding military units. The TTP, Pakistan’s Taliban, has claimed responsibility for the attack. The New York Times and Reuters, however, chose to be very selective in how they reported the TTP’s claim of responsibility. Both news outlets left out the TTP’s prominent mention of the US drone strike in November that killed TTP leader Hakimullah Mehsud in describing the TTP’s reasons for the attack. By contrast, AP and the Washington Post included the TTP’s reference to the drone strike.


06/10/14

Permalink Karachi airport attack claims 23 dead

The Pakistani Taliban on Monday claimed responsibility for an attack on Karachi airport that left at least 23 people dead, reportedly including 10 attackers. The group said the act was in revenge for their late leader Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed in a US drone strike in November. The airport was chosen for the attack "because it serves as the biggest air logistics centre supplying goods for the Crusaders' war in Afghanistan and Pakistan", Umar Media, the official media wing of the Pakistani Taliban, said on its Facebook page. Pakistani officials said a military operation against the militants, who attacked the country’s busiest airport late on Sunday, ended shortly before dawn on June 9. However, security forces later announced that the military operation had been relaunched after gunfire at the airport resumed. For more, see here and here for a report on Pakistan's Dawn news site.


05/28/14

Permalink White House admits staging fake vaccination operation to gather DNA from the public

The White House has officially admitted that fake vaccination programs have been used by the United States as a cover for covertly stealing DNA samples from the public as part of the so-called "war on terror." The aim of the scheme, carried out in the Middle East, was to use DNA analysis to identify suspected terrorists who would then be targeted to be killed by the United States. As the New York Times reported in 2011, "In the months before Osama bin Laden was killed, the Central Intelligence Agency ran a phony vaccination program in Abbottabad, Pakistan, as a ruse to obtain DNA evidence from members of Bin Laden's family thought to be holed up in an expansive compound there." "CIA agents recruited a senior Pakistani doctor to organize the vaccine drive in Abbottabad, even starting the "project" in a poorer part of town to make it look more authentic," reports The Guardian.


05/07/14

Permalink FBI agent arrested in Pakistan on weapons charge

An FBI agent is being held on anti-terrorism charges in Pakistan after authorities found ammunition in a bag as he boarded a plane in Karachi, Pakistani and U.S. officials said Tuesday. The agent was detained by airport police in Karachi about 4 p.m. Monday when he tried to board a Pakistan International Airlines flight to Islamabad. He was in possession of 15 bullets and a magazine for a 9mm pistol, police officials said. On Tuesday, he appeared in court on charges that he had violated local anti-terrorism laws that prohibit the carrying of weapons or ammunition on a commercial flight. A judge ordered that the agent be detained until at least Saturday so Pakistani security officials can investigate the matter.


02/24/14

Permalink Former Pakistani general says US seeks to ruin his country - Video

Retired Pakistani General Hamid Gul says the United States and its allies are seeking to destroy Pakistan by fueling insecurity in the country. The former head of Pakistan’s Intelligence Service (ISI) alleged that Washington used the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City as a pretext to invade the neighboring Afghanistan. The former Pakistani intelligence chief, who was often accused of collaborating with the Taliban militant group in Pakistan and Afghanistan, also stated that the United States has failed in Afghanistan and is now seeking to destroy Pakistan. General Gul also pointed out that the US military will have to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan and follow the example of the former Soviet Union in accepting defeat after its military occupation of the country in the late 1970s.


02/10/14

Permalink The NSA’s Secret Role in the U.S. Assassination Program

At least 273 civilians in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia have been killed. The National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes – an unreliable tactic that results in the deaths of innocent or unidentified people. According to a former drone operator for the military’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) who also worked with the NSA, the agency often identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cell-phone tracking technologies. Rather than confirming a target’s identity with operatives or informants on the ground, the CIA or the U.S. military then orders a strike based on the activity and location of the mobile phone a person is believed to be using.


01/30/14

Permalink Over 300 US drone strikes in Pakistan since 2006 – leaked official data

Top-secret documentation collected by Pakistani field officers gives detailed information on 330 US drone strikes that have occurred in Pakistan since 2006. The CIA-run program is estimated to have killed 2,371 people. From solitary individuals riding on horseback to mountain hideouts crammed with people, the CIA drone program has had no shortage of targets in the Islamic Republic, according to newly released information obtained by The Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ). The most complete official record of American drone activity in Pakistan yet published provides an account as to the time and place of each strike, even including in some cases the identity of the homeowners. The document is unique in that it provides a “strike-by-strike account,” opening the window on Pakistan’s view of each incident with that of other authorities.


01/24/14

Permalink Pakistanis continue to block NATO supply route - Video

Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Party, which controls the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in Pakistan, continue to block a supply route for the US-led NATO forces stationed in neighboring Afghanistan, Press TV reports. The PTI activists, who are against the deadly US drone strikes in Pakistan, have blocked one of the main NATO routes on the outskirts of the province’s capital, Peshawar, since November 2013. Protesters spend days and nights stopping all travelling trucks and checking them to ensure they are not carrying supplies for US-led forces in Afghanistan, before clearing them to pass through the province. The continuation of the blockage comes as the protesters and their leaders in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have been under intense pressure from the European Union, Washington as well as the Pakistani government to open the supply line.


12/24/13

Permalink Pakistani military might be allowed to shoot down US drones in near future

The Defence of Pakistan Council (DPC)’s grand national jirga Sunday asked the government to allow the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) to shoot down the drones if the US refused to stop the drone attacks. The jirga also asked the government to immediately halt military operations in the tribal areas, particularly in North Waziristan, and open dialogue with the Taliban in line with the unanimous decisions of Parliament, the All Parties Conference and the Cabinet’s Committee on National Security.


12/23/13

Permalink A [CIA] Polio vaccinator shot dead in Khyber Agency

Two masked men shot dead a [CIA] anti-polio vaccination campaign supervisor on Saturday morning after storming into his office in the Ghundai area of Khyber Agency’s Jamrud tehsil. An official of the political administration, Asmatullah Wazir, said that the supervisor Ghilaf Khan, a resident of Bara, Khyber Agency was working in his office at the Expanded Programme of Immunisation (EPI) in Ghundai.

Maryn McKenna: Update: Pakistan, Polio, Fake Vaccines And The CIA
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos: How the CIA is Wrecking Polio Eradication in Pakistan
Donald G. McNeil Jr.: C.I.A. Vaccine Ruse May Have Harmed the War on Polio
Ben Richmond: Inside the CIA's Role in Pakistan's Polio Outbreak


12/02/13

Permalink Pretending a Name Is Still Secret – in the Name of the Cult of Secrecy

Jim Naureckas: Pretending a Name Is Still Secret – in the Name of the Cult of Secrecy In retaliation for a US drone strike in Pakistan that allegedly targeted a religious school, killing six people, the Pakistani political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf accused both CIA Director John Brennan and the chief of the CIA's Islamabad station, whom it identified as Craig Osth, of "committing murder and waging war against Pakistan." The naming of the station chief was a significant development. As the New York Times (11/28/13) reported, the move is expected to infuriate American officials, who had to recall a previous CIA station chief in 2010 after he was identified in the local news media, also in relation to a legal suit brought by anti-drone campaigners. [...] So Osth's name is out, and it's been out for a long time; concealing it from US readers doesn't make anyone any safer. But it does help bolster the cult of secrecy, which holds that information is to be kept from the citizenry on general principle. And it serves to shield from accountability an official who heads "one of the spy agency’s largest outposts in the world," in the Times' words, and whose influence in Pakistan "has sometimes eclipsed even that of the American ambassador."

Newser.com: Pakistani Party Blows CIA Station Chief's Cover


11/28/13

Permalink Pakistani Party Blows CIA Station Chief's Cover


CIA Officer Craig Peters Osth has been revealed to be the
Chief of Station in Islamabad, Pakistan. He has also been
the COS of Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
(Cryptocomb)

A political party in Pakistan has publicly identified the top CIA spy in the country—and it wants him interrogated and put on trial over a recent US drone strike, reports the Guardian. The PTI party, notably led by a former cricket star named Imran Khan, identified the Islamabad station chief in a letter to police. It named him and CIA chief John Brennan as responsible for a drone strike earlier this month that killed civilians along with militants. Wire services are not naming the station chief. PTI officials say he doesn't have diplomatic immunity and therefore should be tried for murder, reports AP. They also say he should be interrogated to provide the names of the drone pilots who controlled the plane from afar. Assuming the identity is correct, it would be the second time in three years that those opposed to drone strikes in the country have identified a station chief. The first one had to leave the country in 2010.

The Hindu: Imran's party files complaint against CIA station chief Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) has named the CIA station chief in Islamabad, Craig Osth and CIA Director John O. Brennan in a complaint lodged at Tal police station in Hangu district in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa on Wednesday against the drone strike on November 21 which killed six persons. In a complaint filed for committing the offences of murder and waging war against Pakistan by Shireen Mazari, central information secretary PTI alleged that Craig Osth is running an illegal clandestine spying operation throughout Pakistan but specifically in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and annexed Tribal Areas, wherein Osth and his allies (names not known yet) throw a GPS (Global Positioning System) device at a targeted house/ car and the Drone (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle), which is remotely controlled from an undisclosed location, strikes at the target. In the Hangu case it was Craig Osth and his clandestine network which threw a GPS device at the madrassa in Tal and further ordered the missile strike, which killed and injured a large number of those present including children.

Cryptome: CIA station chief in Islamabad (named leaked) is Craig Peters Osth
The News: CIA chief accused of murder over Hangu drone attack
CLG: CIA, DEA, operated without oversight in Brazil; Craig Osth identified as CIA head
No Right Turn: Burning the CIA


11/22/13

Permalink US drone strike kills 8 in Pakistani school, 5 children dead

Just hours after a promise not to launch any more drone strikes against Pakistan for the duration of their peace talks with the Taliban, a US drone pounded a religious school in Hangu.

The attack killed eight people, including three teachers and five students. A number of others were wounded in the attack, and drones continued to loom overhead after the attack.

It’s noteworthy for a lot of reasons, and not just that it broke yet another promise. Hangu is not in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), where US drone strikes have almost exclusively hit, but is in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwah (KP) Province. Hitting a proper province is much more controversial within Pakistan, and a major backlash is expected on a national level. But that may pale in comparison to the backlash on a provincial level, as the KP Province is ruled by Pakistani Tehreek-e Insaf (PTI), an anti-drone party ruled by Imran Khan which had threatened to blockade the NATO supply route through its province into occupied Afghanistan if the drone strikes didn’t end. They gave an initial deadline of November 20… the day of the latest attack, so it will likely be interpreted locally as timed explicitly to spite them.

The deadline had been moved back to November 23 but the attack is almost certain to spark an enormous response, and will oblige the PTI to at least attempt such a blockade to retain its credibility. It will also add to pressure on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been facing growing criticism for his inability to stop the strikes, a key promise of his campaign.


11/21/13

Permalink US assassination drone kills 6 people in Pakistan

Six people have been killed in a US assassination drone attack that targeted Pakistan’s northwestern tribal region. The attack was carried out during the early hours of Thursday, when the unmanned aerial vehicle struck a seminary in Hangu District of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The United States carries out drone strikes in several countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Washington says it is targeting militants through its drone attacks. However, many of the victims turn out to be civilians. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, between 308 and 789 civilians have died in US killer drone attacks in Pakistan since 2008.


11/12/13

Permalink WHO confirms: Polio strain in Syria originated in Pakistan

World Health Organization, (WHO) stressed that polio cases detected in Syria recently is linked to the strain of Pakistani origin found in sewage in Egypt and the Palestinian territories in the past year. WHO said in a statement published on Monday that the genetic sequencing of Polio strain which has crippled to children in Deir- Ezzour indicates that the isolated viruses are most closely linked to virus detected in environmental samples in Egypt in December 2012, which in turn had been linked to wild poliovirus circulating in Pakistan. The statement added that "Syria's immunization rates have dropped from more than 90 percent before the conflict to around 68 percent, clarifying that polio mainly affects children under five and cannot be cured, only prevented.


11/05/13

Permalink Obama's Illegal Drones Kill Innocents, but at least He Aint Hitler, Right !?!

In Washington, 13 year old Zubair Rehmen along with his 9 year old Nabeela, spoke with members of Congress in a briefing organized by Alan Grayson, to send a message to our elected representatives who authorize our blowback inducing bull in a geo-political china shop of military budget what the rest of the world can see as plain as day: Drone attacks in countries that have not declared war on us and pose no threat to us are illegal, immoral, and create more enemies then they kill.

From Huffpo: He thought little of the U.S. drone buzzing over his family's house one day last year, its incessant sound just one more addition to the rhythm of daily life in northwest Pakistan. As he walked home from school, his grandmother told him to eat a snack before coming to the field to help her pick okra. It was the eve of one of the holiest holidays in Islam, when they would gather for a favorite family dish. He went outside. Dum, dum -- the sounds of missiles pierced the air.

"All of a sudden things became very dark," Zubair Rehman, 13, remembered. The next thing he knew, his grandmother, Mamana Bibi, was gone. "It was like she was exploded to pieces."

Zubair traveled from his home in mountainous North Waziristan with his father, Rafiq ur-Rehman, and sister Nabeela, 9, to Washington for a grim first on Tuesday. The drone victims will appear before Congress to explain for the first time the human fallout of the U.S. program. The briefing was organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.). The Rehmans' story, documented extensively in a report released last week by Amnesty International and in a new documentary from filmmaker Robert Greenwald, serves as a wrenching, first-hand rebuke to the Obama administration's frequent claims that drone strikes have caused few if any civilian casualties. Bibi was the only person killed in the strike. Nine people, including the two children, were hurt.

Medea Benjamin: Drones Have Come Out of the Shadows


11/04/13

Permalink US Broke Promise of No Drone Strikes During Pakistan Peace Talks

US Shrugs Off Criticism, Insists Talks 'An Internal Matter'. A Friday drone strike which killed Pakistani Taliban (TTP) leader Hakimullah Mehsud was particularly galling, according to Pakistani officials, because they’d received specific promises that the US would not carry out any strikes during the Pakistani peace talks. Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister for Pakistan’s Punjab Province and the younger brother of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif says he was assured at “high levels” that there would be no drone strikes during the Sharif government’s peace dialogue with the TTP. The US State Department shrugged off the complaints, insisting that Pakistan’s peace talks were an “internal matter” and unrelated to the drone strike, even though it targeted Hakimullah and other leaders of the group Pakistan is trying to negotiate with.


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