The London Review of Books, By Seymour M. Hersh, May 21
It’s been four years since a group of US Navy Seals assassinated Osama bin Laden in a night raid on a high-walled compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. The killing was the high point of Obama’s first term, and a major factor in his re-election. The White House still maintains that the mission was an all-American affair, and that the senior generals of Pakistan’s army and Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) were not told of the raid in advance. This is false, as are many other elements of the Obama administration’s account. The White House’s story might have been written by Lewis Carroll: would bin Laden, target of a massive international manhunt, really decide that a resort town forty miles from Islamabad would be the safest place to live and command al-Qaida’s operations? He was hiding in the open. So America said.
The most blatant lie was that Pakistan’s two most senior military leaders – General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, chief of the army staff, and General Ahmed Shuja Pasha, director general of the ISI – were never informed of the US mission. This remains the White House position despite an array of reports that have raised questions, including one by Carlotta Gall in the New York Times Magazine of 19 March 2014. Gall, who spent 12 years as the Times correspondent in Afghanistan, wrote that she’d been told by a ‘Pakistani official’ that Pasha had known before the raid that bin Laden was in Abbottabad. The story was denied by US and Pakistani officials, and went no further. In his book Pakistan: Before and after Osama (2012), Imtiaz Gul, executive director of the Centre for Research and Security Studies, a think tank in Islamabad, wrote that he’d spoken to four undercover intelligence officers who – reflecting a widely held local view – asserted that the Pakistani military must have had knowledge of the operation. The issue was raised again in February, when a retired general, Asad Durrani, who was head of the ISI in the early 1990s, told an al-Jazeera interviewer that it was ‘quite possible’ that the senior officers of the ISI did not know where bin Laden had been hiding, ‘but it was more probable that they did [know]. And the idea was that, at the right time, his location would be revealed. And the right time would have been when you can get the necessary quid pro quo – if you have someone like Osama bin Laden, you are not going to simply hand him over to the United States.’
RTÉ, December 22
Pakistan has announced plans to execute around 500 militants in coming weeks, after the government lifted a moratorium on the death penalty in terror cases following a Taliban school massacre.
Six militants have been hanged since Friday amid rising public anger over an attack last Tuesday’s which left 149 people dead including 133 children.
The attack in the northwestern city of Peshawar was the deadliest terror attack in Pakistani history, leading to the ending of the six-year moratorium on the death penalty.
A senior government official said the interior ministry has finalised the case of 500 convicts who have exhausted all avenues of appeal.
President Obama announced today that in the spirit of bi-partisanship he will agree to repeal Obamacare.
The press release follows:
BBC, October 24
One of the suspects in the murder of American journalist Daniel Pearl has been set free by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan.
Qari Hashim was arrested in 2007 and held in jail in Hyderabad, a southern city in Pakistan, during his trial.
The court acquitted Mr Hashim because of a lack of evidence, his lawyer said.
Russia Today, March 20
Pakistani leaders hope to convince the United Nations Human Rights Council to pass a resolution that would force US drone strikes to adhere to international law – a request that inspired the US to boycott the talks altogether, according to a new report.
The draft of a Pakistani resolution, first reported by Colum Lynch of Foreign Policy, proposes that nations “ensure transparency” when discussing drone strikes and “conduct prompt, independent and impartial investigations whenever there are indications of any violations to human rights caused by their use.”
While official numbers are nonexistent, experts have suggested that anywhere from 200 to nearly 1,000 Pakistani civilians have been killed by US drone strikes, with as many as 200 children possibly among that total.
The issue of drone strikes, while remaining largely out of US headlines, has become one of the most polarizing in Pakistan. While previous reports have made it clear that Pakistani leaders have authorized at least some drone strikes, they publicly maintain that that unmanned American aerial vehicles constantly buzzing in the skies undermine Pakistan’s sovereignty.
BBC, February 6
The first formal meeting between the Pakistan government and a Taliban-nominated team has begun at an “undisclosed location”, officials say.
They are due to start charting a “roadmap” for peace talks to end a decade-long insurgency.
The government side has entered the talks “wholeheartedly”, the interior ministry tells the BBC.
Militants from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) have been waging an insurgency inside Pakistan since 2007.
TIME – Pakistan’s government will request the Supreme Court to try former President Pervez Musharraf for treason, the Interior Minister said Sunday.
Government officials are accusing Musharraf of treason for declaring a state of emergency and suspending the constitution while he was in power, the Associated Press reports. Musharraf rose to power after a 1999 military coup, one of three in Pakistan’s 66 years of existence, and ruled the country until he was ousted in 2008.
You may or may not be aware, but World War III has already started. We just haven’t gotten caught up in it. Yet. Read More
Raw Story, By George Chidi, October 12
Malala Yousafzai may have missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but she did get a chance to talk to the president about education, human rights … and drone strikes in Pakistan.
Obama invited Yousafzai to the White House “to thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan,” the White House said in a statement Friday. “The United States joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala’s courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realize their dreams.”
Also, McClatchy: Malala Yousafzai tells Obama drones are ‘fueling terrorism’
(IHT) – A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake hit southwestern Pakistan on Tuesday, killing hundreds in Balochistan, besides creating a new island off the Gwadar coastline in its wake, Express News reported.
Tremors were felt as far as the Indian capital New Delhi.
The Deputy Speaker Balochistan Assembly stated that at least 150 people had died from the disaster in the province.
LATEST UPDATE: Death toll rises to 250 in Balochistan earthquake
(The Guardian) – Shahzad Akbar says visa hold-up means he cannot take his clients to Capitol Hill to testify on CIA drone strikes in Pakistan
Russia Today, September 24
An earthquake measuring 7.8 has struck southwest Pakistan, with tremors felt across the region and as far as New Delhi. The quake struck in Balochistan, just 69 km north-northeast of Arawan, the nearest city.
The US Geological Survey has measured the quake at 7.8 magnitude. A “RED” alert has been issued by the agency. This means estimated fatalities of over 1,000 and damages costing over $1 billion.
The earthquake hit a remote area of the country at a depth of just 15km (9.3mi), but was felt as far away as neighboring India. An ‘orange’ earthquake alert was issued in the wake of the natural disaster. Pakistan’s Geo TV says the earthquake which stroke at 4:29 pm local time lasted for about two minutes.
Houses have been damaged across Arawan and an unspecified number of people have been injured and are in the process of being escorted to nearby hospitals, according to Pakistan’s English-language daily The Express Tribune. This is yet to be officially confirmed. Local media say that the coastline is more likely to be affected.
In India’s New Delhi, buildings shook sending people running into the streets, Reuters witnesses said.
USGS: Event Page.
(Al Jazeera) – Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan’s former military ruler, has been charged with murder of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who died in a gun and bomb attack in December 2007, court officials say.
The case of Bhutto’s murder is one of several that Musharraf is facing since his return from self-imposed exile earlier this year.
“He was charged with murder, criminal conspiracy for murder and facilitation for murder,” public prosecutor Chaudhry Azhar said at the anti-terrorism court in Rawalpindi hearing the case on Tuesday.
Musharraf, 69, who attended court proceedings amid high security, denied the charges and the case was adjourned until August 27.
If civilian ‘rescuers’ are indeed being intentionally targeted, there is no doubt about the law: those strikes are a war crime.
by Chris Woods
Bureau of Investigative Journalism
August 1 Creative Commons
Additional reporting by Mushtaq Yusufzai
A field investigation by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism in Pakistan’s tribal areas appears to confirm that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) last year briefly revived the controversial tactic of deliberately targeting rescuers at the scene of a previous drone strike. The tactic has previously been labelled a possible war crime by two UN investigators. (Image: KAZ Vorpal)
The Bureau’s new study focused mainly on strikes around a single village in North Waziristan – attacks that were aimed at one of al Qaeda’s few remaining senior figures, Yahya al-Libi. He was finally killed by a CIA drone strike on June 4 2012.
The Bureau’s field researcher found five double-tap strikes took place in mid-2012, one of which also struck a mosque
(BBC) – Pakistan’s new government has said it plans to put former military ruler Pervez Musharraf on trial for treason.