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Archive for September, 2009

Saeed is in custody, believes Pak PM

Posted by :) on September 24, 2009

ISLAMABAD: JuD chief Hafiz Mohd Saeed, blamed by India for masterminding the Mumbai attacks, is “in custody” of Pakistani authorities, Prime
Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani announced on Tuesday but did not make it clear whether he has been arrested.

Asked by reporters if Saeed had been arrested, Gilani replied: “The interior ministry can tell you the actual position but I believe he is in custody.”

“A decision on his case will be taken on the basis of laws and evidence (against him),” Gilani, who spoke in Urdu, said in his hometown of Multan.

Gilani also said Pakistan is conducting an investigation into the Mumbai incident “in an honest manner.”

“Action will be taken on the basis of evidence that we get and I want to assure you that Pakistan will not allow any terrorist to use its soil and no one will be given an opportunity to carry out terrorist activities directed against another country from Pakistan,” he said.

Police in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore imposed restrictions on Saeed’s movements on Sunday night. Though no formal written order has been issued to detain Saeed or restrict his movements, Lahore police chief Pervaiz Rathore told that the JuD chief was “under house arrest.”

Meanwhile, India has reiterated that Pakistan must act swiftly against Saeed.

Ahead of a crucial meeting between India and Pakistan foreign ministers, India’s external affairs minister S M Krishna said that his country would be interested to see how Pakistan proceeds with reference to the Mumbai terror attacks.

“He (Saeed) was the brain behind that attack on India. So I think we expect Pakistan to act swiftly,” Krishna said in New York.

Foreign Secretaries of the two countries are also meeting on September 26 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York.

Pakistan’s action against Saeed came days after police in Faisalabad city registered two cases against him under the Anti-Terrorism Act for inciting people to wage ‘jehad’ and seeking funds for his banned group.

Observers have said that it is significant that Pakistani police have registered cases against Saeed under the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1997.

In the past, Saeed has been detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) law, which allows authorities to detain people for up to 90 days without any charges.

Saeed was put under house arrest under the MPO in December last year after the UN Security Council declared the JuD a terrorist organisation. He was freed on the orders of the Lahore High Court in June.
PTI 22 September 2009, 06:35pm IST


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A Q Khan admits to Pak nexus in Iran, Libya nuke programme: Report

Posted by :) on September 21, 2009

Source : Press Trust Of India

London, September 20, 2009

In a damning revelation of Pakistan’s nuclear proliferation, its disgraced scientist A Q Khan, the father of the country’s nuke weapons programme, has admitted to the Pakistani nexus in the controversial atomic programme of Iran and North Korea, a media report said on Sunday.

The disgraced 74-year-old Khan, who is dubbed as maestro of the world’s largest nuclear black market, has made the revelation in a four-page ‘secret’ letter addressed to his Dutch wife Henny, the Sunday Times reported today.

The letter was written to his wife after his arrest in 2003.

In numbered paragraphs, the letter outlines Pakistan’s nuclear links with China and its official support to the atomic programme of Iran and North Korea. The letter also mentions Libya.

On Iran, the letter says: “Probably with the blessings of BB [Benazir Bhutto, who became prime minister in 1988] and [a now-retired general]… General Imtiaz [Benazir’s defence adviser, now dead] asked… me to give a set of drawings and some components to the Iranians… The names and addresses of suppliers were also given to the Iranians.”

The paper described the December 10, 2003 letter hand written in apparent haste as as extraordinary and claimed its contents have never been revealed before. The paper said that one of its journalists obtained a copy of the letter in 2007.

The newspaper report said the letter is a damning indictment of a generation of Pakistan’s political and military leadership, who used Khan’s nuclear and missile skills to enhance Pakistan’s diplomacy.

On North Korea, the letter said “[A now-retired general] took three million dollars through me from the N. Koreans and asked me to give some drawings and machines.”

The newspaper report said the first customer for one of its enrichment plants was China — which itself had supplied Pakistan with enough highly enriched uranium for two nuclear bombs in the summer of 1982.

“We put up a centrifuge plant at Hanzhong (250km southwest of Xian),” Khan’s letter said.

It went on: “The Chinese gave us drawings of the nuclear weapon, gave us 50kg of enriched uranium, gave us 10 tonnes of UF6 (natural) and 5 tons of UF6 (3%).” (UF6 is uranium hexafluoride, the gaseous feedstock for an enrichment plant.)

Khan became an idolised figure in Pakistan from the 1980s onwards because of his success in building a uranium-enrichment plant at Kahuta, near Islamabad. In February 2004, three years after his retirement, he was accused of proliferating nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea. A centrifuge enrichment plant to make highly enriched uranium was the alternative route followed by Khan to an atomic bomb.

Years earlier, the newspaper said Khan had been warned about the Pakistan army by Li Chew, the senior minister who ran China’s nuclear-weapons programme. Visiting Kahuta, Li had said: “As long as they need the bomb, they will lick your balls. As soon as you have delivered the bomb, they will kick your balls.”  In the letter to his wife, Khan rephrased things: “The bastards first used us and are now playing dirty games with us.”

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300-odd terrorists waiting to sneak into J&K

Posted by :) on September 17, 2009

Thu, Sep 17 02:00 PM,PTI

New Delhi, Sep 17 (PTI) Around 300 terrorists are waiting across the Line of Control in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) for an opportunity to infiltrate into India, prompting the Army to strengthen its anti-insurgency security grid. The terrorists have been spotted moving in batches from place to place along the LoC, apparently in search of vulnerable spots from where they could infiltrate into Jammu and Kashmir, Defence Ministry sources said here today.

The attempt was to push in as many terrorists as possible before the onset of winter when snowfall will make the mountainous terrains impregnable, the sources said. “The next two months are crucial,” they said, expecting a jump in the infiltration attempts.

In the recent times, there have been a number of attempts at infiltration, many times accompanied by firing from across the LoC to provide cover to such bids. Security forces have killed at least 25 terrorists while foiling these infiltration attempts last month and these encounters took place at points along the LoC. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, in an address to a conference of state police chiefs on Tuesday, had termed as worrisome secessionists and militant groups in Kashmir making common cause with “outside elements” and noted that infiltration across the LoC was going up.

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Musharraf admits US aid diverted

Posted by :) on September 16, 2009

Source : BBC

Pervez Musharraf

Mr Musharraf says he acted in the best interest of Pakistan

Former president Pervez Musharraf says the US military aid given to Pakistan during his tenure was used to strengthen defences against India.

The money was used to arm the troops who moved with their equipment from the western border to the east based on the perceived threats, he said.

The US gave $10bn dollars to Pakistan to fight the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

In 2007, Pakistan rejected a report which said it had used $5bn on weapons systems designed to fight India.

Pakistan’s military had described the New York Times report as “nonsense”.

‘Did right’

“Wherever there is a threat to Pakistan, we will use it [equipment provided by the US] there. If the threat comes from al-Qaeda or Taliban, it will be used there. If the threat comes from India, we will most surely use it there,” Mr Musharraf told Pakistan’s Express News television channel.

“There is nothing like this equipment has come from the US and must only be used against Taliban, or that equipment has come from China and must be used against this or that,” he added.

Mr Musharraf confirmed that the weapons were indeed used against India.

“We did right. What we did, we did right. We have to ensure Pakistan’s security. From whichever side the threat comes, we will use the entire force there.”

Mr Musharraf said he did not care if this diversion of aid angered the US.

“Whoever wishes to be angry, let them be angry, why should we bother? We have to maintain our security, and the Americans should know, and the whole world should know that we won’t compromise our security, and will use the equipment everywhere.”

Meanwhile, India said Mr Musharraf’s statement merely confirmed “what we have suspected over a long time and what we have suggested all along”.

“We do not feel that such assistance should be turned around and used against us,” news agency Reuters quoted India’s junior external affairs minister Shashi Tharoor as saying.

“We pose no threat to Pakistan and we find that this kind of diversion is neither in the interest of the sub continent nor of those who are giving this assistance.”

This is the first time Pakistan has admitted to diverting the US aid to strengthen its defences against India.

In the past, Pakistan’s army has dismissed claims that aid from the US had been misappropriated.

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America marks Sept. 11 with acts of volunteerism

Posted by :) on September 12, 2009

Source – By SUZANNE MA, Associated Press Writer Suzanne Ma, Associated Press Writer
9/11 still haunts

9/11 still haunts

NEW YORK – The selfless spirit that helped mend a stricken nation eight years ago was renewed. Volunteers marked 9/11 Friday by tilling gardens, writing letters to soldiers, setting out flags — and, at ground zero, by joining the somber ritual of reading the names of the lost.

President Barack Obama, who observed his first Sept. 11 as president by declaring it a national day of service, laid a wreath Friday at the Pentagon and, with wife Michelle, helped paint the living room of a Habitat for Humanity house in Washington.

“We honor all those who gave their lives so that others might live, and all the survivors who battled burns and wounds and helped each other rebuild their lives,” Obama said. He said the day was meant also as a tribute to the “service of a new generation.”

Memorials in New York, at the Pentagon and at the crash site of United Airlines Flight 93 in Pennsylvania all took place under gray skies. A chilly rain fell in lower Manhattan, and those reading names at the World Trade Center site spoke under tents.

“We miss you. Life will never be the same without you,” said Vladimir Boyarsky, whose son, Gennady Boyarsky, was killed. “This is not the rain. This is the tears.”

In the hours after the attack and for weeks afterward, volunteers responded to New York City‘s needs, sending emergency workers to help with the recovery, cards to victims’ families, and boxes of supplies.

“Each act was a link in a continuous chain that stopped us from falling into cynicism and despair,” said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton received a standing ovation from Sept. 11 family members and volunteers at a tribute to the first National Day of Service and Remembrance at Manhattan’s Beacon Theatre on Friday night.

September 11 will always be a day that represents humanity at its worst and humanity at its best,” Clinton said as she thanked the audience for ushering in a new era of service.

In an annual tradition, two bright blue beams of light rose from lower Manhattan in memory of the fallen towers on Friday night.

Across the country, Americans marked the anniversary with service projects.

Volunteers in Boston stuffed packages for military personnel overseas. In Tennessee and West Virginia, they distributed donated food for the needy. Community volunteers in Maine worked on a garden and picnic area for families transitioning out of homelessness.

In Chicago, they tilled community gardens, cooked lunch for residents of a shelter and packed food for mothers and babies. And on the lawn of the Ohio Statehouse, volunteers arranged nearly 3,000 small American flags, in a pattern reminiscent of the trade center’s twin towers. At the top was an open space in the shape of a pentagon.

“It’s different than just seeing numbers on a paper, when you actually see the flags. It’s a visual impact of those lives,” said Nikki Marlette, 62, of the Los Angeles suburb of Palos Verdes Estates, visiting Columbus for Saturday’s Ohio State-Southern California football game.

At a plaza adjacent to the World Trade Center site, volunteers — from soup kitchens, advocacy groups, the Red Cross, the United Way — joined relatives of the lost to read the names of those killed in the twin towers.

“I ask that you honor my son and all those who perished eight years ago … by volunteering, by making some kind of act of kindness in their memory,” said one of the readers, Gloria Russin, who lost her son, Steven Harris Russin.

Renewing what has become a poignant tradition, some relatives called out greetings and messages of remembrances when they reached the names of their own loved ones.

“We love you, Dad, and we miss you,” said Philip Hayes Jr., whose father, long retired from the Fire Department, rushed to the site that 2001 morning and ultimately gave his life.

Theresa Mullan, who lost her firefighter son, Michael, wore a poncho and shivered in the rain as she waited for her son’s name to be called. She said she couldn’t dream of being anywhere else.

“It’s a small inconvenience,” she said of the weather. “My son is the one who ran into a burning building.”

Moments of silence were observed at 8:46, 9:03, 9:59 and 10:29 a.m. — the precise times that jetliners struck the north and south towers of the trade center and that each tower fell.

At ground zero in lower Manhattan, relatives and friends of victims visited a partially built, street-level Sept. 11 memorial plaza that had not been there a year ago.

The memorial, to be partially complete by the 10th anniversary in 2011, will ultimately include two square pools evoking the towers’ footprints, with victims’ names surrounding them and waterfalls cascading down the sides.

On Friday, William Weaver placed a single red rose in a temporary reflecting pool at the plaza, a photograph of his son, policeman Walter E. Weaver, pinned to his jacket. He said the memorial was taking too long and he did not like it. “It should have been a graveyard-type of thing,” Weaver said.

In Shanksville, Pa., bells tolled for the 40 victims of the fourth hijacked jetliner that crashed there.

Eight years after 2,976 perished in the attacks, Obama vowed at the Pentagon that the United States “will never falter” in pursuit of al-Qaida. “Let us renew our resolve against those who perpetrated this barbaric act and who plot against us still,” he said.

On a day already fraught with emotion, the Coast Guard massed vessels in the Potomac River in a training exercise, causing confusion. The exercise took place near the bridge where Obama’s motorcade had passed earlier. As a precaution, departures from Reagan National Airport were halted for about 22 minutes at midmorning.

Initial, mistaken reports on two cable news channels said the Coast Guard was firing shots on the river. A group for military families expressed outrage that the Coast Guard exercise was held while families of 9/11 victims were gathered at the Pentagon.

George W. Bush, whose presidency was defined in part by that day, had no public appearances planned. A spokesman said he would be working in his office. In a statement, he said he and his wife, Laura, were thinking of the victims and their families.


Associated Press writers Verena Dobnik and Virginia Byrne in New York, Nancy Benac in Washington and Dan Nephin in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

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Chidambaram meets FBI, New York Police officials, gets anti-terrorism tips

Posted by :) on September 9, 2009

Wed, Sep 9 11:40 AM

New York/Washington, Sep.9 (ANI): India’s Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Tuesday, was briefed by officials from FBI, intelligence and security agencies and the New York Police about the measures being   taken by them to prevent a Mumbai-type terrorist attack.

From walking at the Penn Station, to a briefing by the New York Police, which had made several changes in its counter-terrorism measures post the 26/11 attacks, Chidambaram and his team of officials got to know what a mega city like New York can do to protect itself from terrorists without inconveniencing its residents.

Chidambaram was also informed about the coast guard facility at Staten Island. It was an important aspect of his trip given that the terrorists who attacked Mumbai on November 26 last year entered Mumbai through the sea route.

Within hours of his landing in New York, Chidambaram visited the Joint Terror Task Force Centre of the FBI where he was given an exclusive briefing by the New York Police Department.

Before leaving New York City for Washington by train, Chidambaram was briefed about security of the Mass Transport System at the Penn station.

In Washington, Chidambaram will meet with top Obama Administration officials, heads of intelligence and security agencies and influential lawmakers over the next three days.

Apart from discussing the 26/11 dossiers that India has submitted to Pakistan,Chidambaram will also discuss issues related to combating financing of terrorism and steps which will need to be taken in this regard as well as with regard to prevention of money laundering.

Ways to strengthen Indo-US anti-terrorism cooperation are among the issues likely to figure prominently in the talks on Wednesday and Thursday.

Chidambaram will meet his counterpart Janet Napolitano; Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Attorney General Eric H Holder.

The Home Minister is also scheduled to meet the top US intelligence and security officials, including FBI Director Robert Mueller and Director of National Intelligence Dennis C Blair; besides meeting National Security Adviser, Gen (Retd) James Jones at the White House. A tour of the National Counter-terrorism Centre in Virginia is also on his itinerary.

Besides meeting experts and think-tanks’ members, Chidambaram is expected to hold talks with key US lawmakers, including Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee; and Congressman Sylvester Reyes, Chairman, House Select Committee on Intelligence. (ANI)

Source : ANI

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Terrorists are starting to shift focus to ‘soft’ targets: report

Posted by :) on September 9, 2009

Updated Wednesday, September 9, 2009 9:43 am TWN, By Richard Lardner, AP

WASHINGTON — Terrorists are aiming for hotels and other easier-to-hit targets as security measures at military and government facilities continue to improve, says a global intelligence company.

Al-Qaida is changing from a centralized organization with global goals to regional “franchises” with more parochial aims and strong grassroots support, according to a report Tuesday from STRATFOR. These smaller cells get less training and less money, so they set their sights lower.

That doesn’t mean they aren’t dangerous, “particularly if they are attempting to prove their value or if they are able to link up with someone who is highly tactically skilled,” the report says.

According to STRATFOR, the number of attacks on hotels has more than doubled since the 9/11 attacks in 2001 when compared to the eight years before. Injuries and deaths caused by those attacks have increased six times over the same comparison period.

A hotel is the ultimate soft target for Islamic extremists: a fixed location, lots of human traffic, and shallow security perimeters. Hotels also attract many Westerners, giving militants high probabilities of killing or injuring large numbers of them in a single attack, according to the report.

Although hotel security guards try to monitor suspicious people and activities, extremists know the way around this is to check in as a guest, giving them full access to the grounds. As an example, the report says that the bombers who carried out the July 17 twin suicide attacks at the J.W. Marriott and Ritz-Carlton hotels in Jakarta, Indonesia, had registered two days earlier.

From a terrorist’s perspective, the downside to hitting soft targets is that the attacks don’t generate as much “political and ideological mileage” as hitting a hard target such as a better guarded government building military facility, the report says.

Despite the growing attacks in hotels, the report says many owners and managers have been reluctant to equip their buildings with more security measures, which can be cumbersome and inconvenience guests.

But that mentality may have to change.

An attorney representing the victims of a hotel attack in 2004 has demanded that the owner accept responsibility for the security and belongings of its guests.

“Terrorism-related liability considerations, which could be called a hushed concern among hotel industry insiders since Sept. 11 are becoming a much more prominent issue,” the report says.

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To Fight A Necessary War Barack Obama must stay the course

Posted by :) on September 7, 2009

Gautam Adhikari


Washington: A disturbing pressure is building up in the United States against the Afghanistan policy of the Barack Obama administration. It’s disconcerting for South Asia, certainly for India, and it should make the world uneasy. But no one can do much about it unless President Obama remains determined to resist that pressure.
A new opinion poll says that more than half the people of America – 53 per cent – want US forces to get out of Afghanistan. That

proportion, of Americans against US forces going to Afghanistan, was just 6 per cent in a poll taken in 2002, shortly after the war had begun. Meanwhile, reports suggest that the Taliban appears, for the moment, to be winning by becoming a more potent adversary than before through improved tactics. Add to that the inability of the US forces to protect Afghan citizens, and the pressure on Obama for a unilateral US withdrawal mounts by the day.
In his election campaign, Obama had described the Afghan war as “necessary” for long-term US and global security, in sharp contrast to the resource-draining and unnecessary Iraq war launched by the Bush administration. In power, he has so far not wavered from that position. Earlier this year, he announced a
new approach towards Afghanistan, pointing out that the previous administration had starved that war of attention and resources. He changed the top leadership of his armed forces there, sanctioned increased manpower and asked Congress for more money.
In any democracy, however, public opinion matters. And public opinion amplified through the megaphone of 24-hour news media cannot be ignored. Today, public opinion in America is not as supportive generally of Obama as it was in the initial months of his presidency. At the same time, his attention
span is dominated by a raging debate over his health care reforms initiative, which he still has to sell convincingly to a majority of the people amidst a growing feeling that he is unable to do so. Selling the Afghan war as necessary in such circumstances is going to be hard.
Yet, for the sake of American and world security, he must remain resolute. He must convince the American public that Afghanistan cannot be abandoned again, like it was after the Soviet forces had withdrawn 20 years ago. The rise of the Taliban to power, with active assistance and tactical guidance from Pakistan’s armed forces, was an outcome of that earlier neglect. Today, the long-term security and stability of Afghanistan and, more importantly,

of Pakistan must remain the world’s clear goal.
Obama, therefore, has to answer his critics. To cite an example, the influential conservative columnist George Will on Tuesday last recommended, in an article in the Washington Post entitled ‘Time to Get Out of Afghanistan’, that US forces should be substantially reduced. The US should “only do what can be done from offshore”. Instead of stationing troops there, it should use “intelligence, drones, cruise missiles, airstrikes and small, potent Special Forces units, concentrating on the porous border with Pakis
tan, a nation that actually matters”.
Yes, that’s precisely it. Pakistan matters. And that’s why it is imperative that the US maintains a powerful presence in the area, especially on that porous border. For what Will recommends is like what the Bush administration did for many years: kept a small number of troops in Afghanistan and outsourced the war not so much to a weak team of NATO troops but, effectively, to Pakistan’s army and intelligence forces. In other words, they let the fox guard the chicken coop. Moreover, the Bush administration gave Islamabad’s then military rulers, with scarcely any supervision, huge sums of money to boost the army’s capacity to take on the Taliban and al-Qaeda; in fact, as reports later revealed, the money went some
way to boost that army’s nuclear and conventional capabilities against a traditional adversary, India.
To be fair, the Bush administration realised what was happening late in its second term. It then mounted pressure on Islamabad to take serious action. And it did its bit to encourage the return of democratic politics in Pakistan. President Obama has not only continued that revised policy, he has intensified it by leaning harder on Islamabad and by increasing the US armed presence in the area. We must continue to hope that the US will help Islamabad to carry on a genuine fight against all terrorists and the Taliban within its territory for the sake of Pakistan’s very survival.
For, the Taliban has to be tamed within Pakistan before the capacity
of the Afghan Taliban to wreak mayhem can be effectively rolled back. The world, with an unwavering commitment from the US, will have to support Pakistan’s democratic forces while choking those shadowy folk in the Inter-Services Intelligence and Pakistan’s army who tell their pet hare how to run while they hunt with the hounds.
In short, Obama has to stay the ground. More, he has to go out and tell the people why the stability of Afghanistan-Pakistan is vitally important for America’s as well as the world’s safety.
The writer is a former executive editor of this paper.

Staying put is the way ahead

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