Archive for August 13th, 2009

Pakistan nuclear thefts foiled


Thursday , August 13 , 2009

Pakistan nuclear thefts foiled

Arnaud de Borchgrave

Is Pakistan ‘s nuclear arsenal theft-proof? Former President Pervez Musharraf and his successor , Asif Ali Zardari , and their army and intelligence chiefs repeatedly have assured both the Bush and Obama administrations that their 80-odd nuclear weapons are as secure as the U.S. arsenal of some 7 , 000 city busters.

The Pakistanis have separated warheads from delivery systems and stored them in different secret locations throughout the second-largest Muslim country in the world (after Indonesia ). The United States has given Pakistan copies of its own blueprint to ensure fool-proof , total safety. Yet Pakistan ‘s secret nuclear-storage sites are known to Islamist extremists and have been attacked at least three times over the last two years , according to two recent reputable reports.

The Baltimore-based Maldon Institute , whose worldwide staff consists mostly of retired intelligence officers , and the Times of India’s Washington-based foreign editor Chidanand Rajghatta both report attempted nuclear thefts that have been tracked by Shaun Gregory , a professor at Bradford University in Britain .

The first such attack against the nuclear-missile-storage facility was on Nov. 1 , 2007 , at Sargodha; the second , by a suicide bomber , occurred Dec. 10 , 2007 , against Pakistan’s nuclear air base at Kamra; and the third , Aug. 20 , 2008 , and most alarming , was launched by several suicide bombers who blew up key entry points to a nuclear-weapons complex at the Wah Cantonment , long believed to be one of Pakistan’s main nuclear-weapons assembly points , where warheads and launchers come together in a national emergency.

Mr. Gregory’s research paper was first published in West Point ‘s Counter Terrorism Center Sentinel , and elicited no attention or reaction. Renowned terrorist expert Peter Bergen , one of the very few journalists to interview al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden before Sept. 11 , 2001 , reviewed Mr. Gregory’s paper and was baffled by the lack of reaction from the rest of the media.

While not denying the three incidents , Pakistan has said repeatedly that its nuclear weapons are fully secured and there is no chance of them falling into the hands of Islamist extremists , who have attracted a limited number of officers. During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-89) , Islamist extremism was encouraged by the three powers funding the anti-Soviet insurgents , known as the mujahedeen (whose sons and grandsons are today’s Taliban guerrillas).

The fear in those days was communist expansion into Pakistan . And madrassas , Koranic schools for boys only , funded by Saudi Arabia ‘s fundamentalist Wahhabi clergy , were set up along the border as an “ideological barrier” against Moscow ‘s godless state religion.

Since then , the madrassa phenomenon has spread to the entire country , and today’s reform movement has touched roughly 250 madrassas out of 12 , 500. The rest are still producing jobless teenagers who are easily seduced by the jihadi siren song to fight the imperialist apostates from the United States , Israel and India .

Still more worrisome is the number of younger army officers who embraced Islamist extremism in the heady days of the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan (February 1989). When the United States began punishing Pakistan with all manner of sanctions for its secret nuclear-weapons program throughout the 1990s , the young officers , reared in what became a bitterly anti-American environment , are today’s one- , two- and three-star generals.

Relations between Pakistan ‘s generals and their U.S. counterparts are now middling to good , but at arm’s length. Following the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks , a Pakistani general with the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency toured the tribal areas along the Afghan border to tell tribal elders that Pakistan would be next on America ‘s list of Muslim targets.

The American government , this general explained to a tribal chief who is a longtime friend of this reporter , is determined to seize “Islam’s” nuclear weapons. This was when Gen. Hamid Gul , a former ISI chief , spread the word that Sept. 11 had been concocted by the CIA and Israel ‘s Mossad to provide a pretext for attacking Muslim countries. Sadly , many well-intentioned Pakistanis still believe to this day what is disinformation designed to manipulate public opinion against the United States .

Mr. Gregory points out that during Pakistan’s secret nuclear-weapons buildup in the 1970s (after East Pakistan was conquered by the Indian army in 1971 and turned into Bangladesh) and 1980s (when the Soviet Union invaded and occupied Afghanistan) , its principal concern was the risk of India overrunning its nuclear facilities in a blitzkrieg armored offensive if they were located close to the 1 , 300-kilometer (780-mile)-long border between the two countries. Instead , most of the nuclear-weapons infrastructure was moved to the north and west and to the region around the twin cities of Islamabad and Rawalpindi (a military garrison city).

This brought these installations close to where Taliban insurgents were operating , in Pakistan proper , as close as 60 miles to the capital. American and Pakistani perceptions of the growing threat to its nukes narrowed accordingly. Mr. Gregory says the army “conducts a tight selection process drawing almost exclusively on officers from Punjab province who are believed to have fewer links with religious extremism , or with the Pashtun areas” of the Northwest Frontier Province and FATA , the Federally Administered Tribal Areas abutting the Afghan border.

The Times of India and the Maldon Institute reported that Pakistan also operates an analog to the U.S. Personnel Reliability Program (PRP) “that screens individuals for Islamist sympathies , personality problems , drug use , inappropriate external affiliations , and sexual deviancy.” Mr. Gregory reckons that “in total , between 8 , 000 and 10 , 000 individuals from the army’s security division and from the ISI Directorate , Military Intelligence and Intelligence Bureau agencies are involved in the security clearance and monitoring of those with nuclear-weapons duties.”

Pakistan also uses dummy sites to confuse would-be attackers. Formal command authority is under President Zardari and his Cabinet. But army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani has complete control over the country’s nuclear weapons. But Mr. Gregory also says that despite “elaborate safeguards , empirical evidence points to a clear set of weaknesses and vulnerabilities in Pakistan ‘s nuclear safety and security arrangements.”

How the thousands employed by the nuclear establishment feel about the United States is not known. The question is not considered relevant , perhaps because U.S. and Pakistani views still differ on the nature of the war in Afghanistan . Taliban was useful after the Soviets left Afghanistan . Many of ISI’s senior officers believe it will be useful again after the United States and its NATO allies leave.

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and of United Press International.

IDF killed Gazans waving white flags during war

Friend General (Ret) James David is mentioned on the cover of the third edition of former Republican Congressman Paul Findley’s ‘They Dare to Speak Out’ book about the power/influence of the pro-Israel lobby (AIPAC and similar) on the US political system and media:

General David wrote:

From: General (Ret) James David
Sent: 8/13/2009 10:30:13 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time
Subj: IDF killed Gazans waving white flags during war 


The U.S. media continues to publish reports of human rights violations in Iran but ignores the violations committed by the Israelis during their invasion of Gaza last January.  It’s hard to imagine an army could be so cruel as the Israeli forces.  How can civilized soldiers shoot and kill two girls ages 2 and 7 and then call themselves one of the most moral armies in the world?   Please be sure to read the highlighted parts.  This report is from Israel’s leading newspaper, Haaretz.
Rights group: IDF killed Gazans waving ‘white flags’ during war – Haaretz – Israel News
“Two women and three children … were standing in front of their home after an Israeli soldier ordered them outside — at least three of them holding pieces of white cloth — when a soldier near a tank opened fire, killing two girls, ages 2 and 7, and wounding the third girl and their grandmother,” it said.   


Last update – 15:16 13/08/2009
Rights group: IDF killed Gazans waving ‘white flags‘ during war
By Reuters
Tags: IDF, Palestinian civilians
Human Rights Watch called on Israel on Thursday to investigate seven incidents in which it said Israeli troops shot and killed Palestinian civilians who were flying white flags during the war in the Gaza Strip in January.
Expressing disappointment with Israel’s response so far to a range of allegations of war crimes made by international bodies, the New York-based lobby group said governments should press for prosecutions under international law if Israel and its enemies in Gaza’s Islamist authorities did not act themselves.

In the latest report from various organizations to catalogue accusations of possible war crimes by both sides in three weeks of fighting, Human Rights Watch said it had statements and other evidence indicating 11 unarmed people including five women and four children were shot dead while in groups waving white flags.”These casualties comprise a small fraction of the Palestinian civilians wounded and killed,” Human Rights Watch said. “But they stand out because, in each case, the victims were standing, walking or in slowly moving vehicles with other unarmed civilians, and were trying to convey their non-combatant status by waving a white flag.”“All available evidence indicates that Israeli forces were in control of the areas in question, no fighting was taking place there at the time, and no Palestinian forces were hiding among the civilians or using them as human shields.”

In a response to the report, the Israeli military said its soldiers were
obligated to avoid harming anyone waving a white flag but that in some cases Hamas militants had used civilians with white flags for cover.”Any person who displays a white flag in this way acts illegally, does not enjoy protection from retaliatory action, and endangers nearby civilian populations,” the military said.A Gaza observer group put civilian deaths at more than 900 out of more than 1,400 Palestinians it said were killed, while Israel said just under 300 civilians and some 900 fighters were killed.Thirteen Israelis, 10 soldiers and three civilians, died.Israel has rejected international criticism of an offensive it said was launched to curb rocket attacks on its towns by Hamas in Gaza. It says it is investigating allegations but has not yet found cause to prosecute any of its soldiers.

Human Rights Watch, which said it had received no reply to detailed questions it sent the army, gave an account of an allegation that on Jan. 7 a soldier shot dead two children.
“Two women and three children … were standing in front of their home after an Israeli soldier ordered them outside — at least three of them holding pieces of white cloth — when a soldier near a tank opened fire, killing two girls, ages 2 and 7, and wounding the third girl and their grandmother,” it said.
Defence Minister Ehud Barak has repeatedly insisted Israel has “one of the most moral armies in the world.” 

 Israeli troops ‘shot Gaza civilians’ waving white flags 

Israel told to probe murder of white flag Gazans 
Israel Attacks Gaza, Silence from Mainstream Media about Israeli Violations of International Law 
U.S. two-faced with Israelis, Palestinians 
What motivated the 9/11 hijackers? See testimony most didn’t

Israel urged to ‘rush’ into attack on Iran

Israel urged to ‘rush’ into attack on Iran

Obama’s War Signals: Iran in the crosshairs:

US ‘to be blamed’ in case of Israeli strike on Iran: Bolton

Israel will attack Iran by end of 2009: ‘JINSA John’ Bolton:

Israeli attack on Iran ‘catastrophe’, says Sarkozy: