Tuesday, March 30, 2010


Will it be long before Petraeus’ cry rings across the majority of the citizenry fed up with America’s wars in the Middle East? And will this not put a sharper edge on the limp calls for Israel to think twice about continuing its apartheid policy, its relentless ethnic cleansing of Palestine? Does this not begin to pose the question of "Us or Them" for the American populace?

This writer has long contended that Israel has been risking a serious backlash in the U.S. When it erupts, it may not be pretty. And it may be especially dangerous given the long policy of crying "wolf" over anti-Semitism. It would seem very wise for American Jewry to boot out the neocons and Israel-Firsters from their midst and hasten back to the morality of the secular, humanist Judaism which was dominant in the U.S. not so long ago. It may not be simply a matter of morality but of self-interest.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread

America’s “Islamists” Go Where Oilmen Fear to Tread

By: Peter Chamberlin

By following the trail of militant terrorists US forces and American interests have gained access deep in Central Asia, where oil companies have had little luck gaining a foothold on their own.

To students of American foreign policy in Afghanistan and throughout the world, it is common knowledge that the United States military and Central Intelligence often act in a manner that is contradictory to the words of American leaders. To those who care to look behind the curtain of American duplicity, which casts a veneer of benevolence over our actions, it becomes readily apparent that “Islamic militants” tend to show-up wherever American oil companies have expressed an interest. America’s historical usage of the same militant groups in the past casts suspicion on their reappearance today, all along the pathway of the projected pipelines.

It is much more than mere serendipity that militant actions usually target American adversaries, such as China, Russia and Iran. In addition, “Islamists” seem to also target disobedient American allies, such as Pakistan, who have fallen out-of-line, or otherwise failed to meet American expectations. Given our use of Islamist militants in Afghanistan to attack Russian forces, as well as in Bosnia, to attack Russia’s allies, the Serbians, it takes a very small leap of the imagination to see that the US is logically supporting the very militants our forces are fighting in the field.

The key to understanding American foreign policy is the Hegelian dialectic—the policy of taking certain actions that will cause reactions that are the polar opposite of what you really claim to wanted in the first place:

“The Hegelian Dialectic is, in short, the critical process by which the ruling elite create a problem, anticipating in advance the reaction that the population will have to the given crisis, and thus conditioning the people that a change is needed. When the population is properly conditioned, the desired agenda of the ruling elite is presented as the solution. The solution isn’t intended to solve the problem, but rather to serve as the basis for a new problem or exacerbate the existing one.”

To study the Afghan Islamists is to conduct a forensic dissection of a psyop. From the very beginning, before the Soviets even invaded, the Afghan revolution was manufactured by a coalition of foreign powers led by the CIA. Even the political form of Wahabi “Islam” which was taught to combatants in local madrassas, using American-created “Islamic” textbooks from the University of Nebraska, was really a deviation from true Islam that incorporated behavioral modification techniques. “Suicide bombers” are a CIA mind-control phenomenon.

All the militant Islamists dance to the Wahabi tune, or that of its closest cousin, the equally bankrupt Deobandi movement. Saudi Arabia spreads this false religion wherever oil and gas fields beckon American corporations. Pakistan merges Wahabbism with the Deobandi faith in its Islamists who receive training in the tribal region. The radicalism that arises thereafter from either branch is the desired bi-product that is sought by American military and intelligence planners. The radicalism and the terrorism which it brings, all in the name of Allah, provide excuses for American military trainers to penetrate targeted nations.

In central Asia, Hizb ut-Tahrir radicalizes young minds and prepares the path for the more radical Wahabi imports. Saudi-built mosques in the former Soviet republics that were previously cleansed of all formal religion by the communist overlords provide very fertile ground where young minds can fill their hunger for both knowledge and religion.

Former government translator Sibel Edmonds recently gave testimony in the court case of Turkish Islamic leader Fetullah Gulen, who was seeking a green card, which confirmed US/Saudi sponsorship of radical mosques and Islamists in central Asia. She described American government documents which she had transcribed during her government service

“Now we come full circle to the current operations in Central Asia which are at the core of the gagging of Sibel Edmonds. As outlined in my recent article, “Court Documents Shed Light on CIA Illegal Operations in Central Asia Using Islam & Madrassas,” the CIA has been funding an illegal covert operation to ‘Islamicize’ the Central Asian region in order to wrest control away from Russia and secure the vast energy resources of the region. The US has been using Turkey as a proxy to carry out this operation, for reasons that Sibelexplained:

Given the history, and the distrust of the West, the US realized that it couldn’t get direct control, and therefore would need to use a proxy to gain control quickly and effectively. Turkey was the perfect proxy; a NATO ally and a puppet regime. Turkey shares the same heritage/race as the entire population of Central Asia, the same language (Turkic), the same religion (Sunni Islam), and of course, the strategic location and proximity.

This started more than a decade-long illegal, covert operation in Central Asia by a small group in the US intent on furthering the oil industry and the Military Industrial Complex, using Turkish operatives, Saudi partners and Pakistani allies, furthering this objective in the name of Islam.

This is why I have been saying repeatedly that these illegal covert operations by the Turks and certain US persons dates back to 1996, and involves terrorist activities, narcotics, weapons smuggling and money laundering, converging around the same operations and involving the same actors.

And I want to emphasize that this is “illegal” because most, if not all, of the funding for these operations is not congressionally approved funding, but it comes from illegal activities.

And one last thing, take a look at the people in the State Secrets Privilege Gallery on my website and you will see how these individuals can be traced to the following; Turkey, Central Asia, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia – and the activities involving these countries.

As part of this operation, Turkish organizations such as the Gulen ‘movement,’ a $25 billion economic powerhouse, reportedly financed by the CIA, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, has been establishing madrassas and mosques across Central Asia – including Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan – for the past decade.

The construction and operation of these madrassas and mosques appear to serve a number of purposes:
1. Indoctrination and radicalization of students
2. Providing a front for CIA and State Department-sanctioned ‘teachers’ to operate with the protection of Diplomatic passports.
3. Laundering money for a variety of purposes.”

Thanks to these successful psyops, terrorist drug-runners from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) find more willing recruits than they can employ to sow terror, crime and drug addiction throughout all of the fertile, though uranium rich, Ferghana Valley, which connects to all of the “Stans.”

“The IMU is best understood as an amalgam of personal vendetta, Islamism, drugs, geopolitics, and terrorism…Only the IMU had a network of contacts on all sides of the Afghan conflict, which enabled it to freely move across Afghanistan and Tajikistan unlike any other known organization.”—The Drugs-Crime-Radical Islamist Nexus.

There is every reason to believe that the IMU itself, is a CIA creation. According to the definitive history on this topic, given by author Steve Coll in Ghost Wars,:

CIA Director William Casey, in a move exceeding his authority, decided to extend destabilizing propaganda measures inside the borders of the Soviet Union. To this end, the CIA promoted the Muslim religion in Uzbekistan, by CIA commissioning a translation of the Qu’ran into Uzbek by an Uzbek exile living in Germany, and then commissioning Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence to deliver 5,000 copies.”

If the CIA did, in fact, supply the corrupted Islamic jihadi textbooks to the madrassas where IMU foot soldiers were indoctrinated in Uzbekistan, then it follows that whatever arose from them is also a product of the CIA. At this point, it is necessary to quote from official US military doctrine—from US Air Force doctrine paper Irregular Warfare, under “Support to Insurgencies”–

“Various US government organizations are postured to recruit, organize, train, and advise indigenous guerrilla or partisan forces. These operations usually consist of supplying equipment, training, and advisory assistance to non-state actors. They may also involve US direct-action operations supporting specific campaign goals.”

American military and drug-interdiction missions in hot pursuit of IMU terrorists and drug-dealers provide cover for Special Forces operatives, who scout-out local leadership for further development, or termination. The “Irregular Warfare” document deals with leadership becoming targeted by both drone and PSYOP, as well. The Partnership for Peace programs open the door for an influx of thousands of American and NATO trainers, giving them bases for operations for “direct-action” missions, while it transfers tons of surplus military equipment to oil rich customers and sets the stage for joint military war games.

The new anti-terror training center at Batken, Kyrgyzstan will train the “Scorpion” Special Forces units for drug-interdiction and anti-terrorist operations. Batken is the axis point for American operations, the point where dominion over former Soviet states formally transfers out of Russian hands, into greedy American hands. The Russians passed-up the chance to build a military facility at Batken. IMU terror convinced the Kyrgyz government that the center was needed to deal with IMU terror operations, after 800 IMU agents penetrated the Ferghana Valley:

“The incursions by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) in the Batken Oblast of Kyrgyzstan in August 1999 exposed fundamental weaknesses in the Kyrgyz armed forces. Coordinated activities by the groups of armed insurgents confirmed that the state security bodies were unable to cope adequately with the tactics of guerrilla war…Despite the official claims made by the MoD, neither Kyrgyz security nor military units conducted successful combat engagements with the insurgents. This lack of success underscored a number of critical Kyrgyz military shortfalls that hampered their ability to effectively find, fix, and engage the hostile groups”

The recent sudden realignment of Taliban and Pakistani interests (represented in the string of Taliban “arrests”) is intended to provide the US and NATO with an excuse to open this new front in their terror war, by shifting the emphasis to protecting the new Northern Distribution Network (NDN) that parallels anticipated pipeline routes to the irresistable underground wealth that waits to be pumped from underneath the fertile Caspian basin soil. This attempted realignment on interior Asia was only made possible because American and Pakistani leaders decided to take advantage of Pakistan’s continued friendly relations with the Taliban, instead of working at cross-purposes with each other.

Now it is possible to plan for an American “exit from Afghanistan,” which will firmly place total control of Afghanistan back into Pakistan’s hands (if only India and Russia can be persuaded to go along). The sad part of the story is that now, when America needs Indian cooperation more than ever, the David Headley case is threatening to blow Indo-American relations asunder. If possible, America is attempting to allow India limited access to Headley, if it can be done without exposing the American hand behind the Mumbai attack. (SEE: Mumbai Mystery: American Designs on Pakistan and India )

The new Afghan paradigm will free American forces for the central Asian expedition, so that American oil companies can get the oil that everybody will want piped to the outside world. India has a vested interest in making all of this happen.

If all the players really wanted to ensure that the oil and gas flowed out of Asia, then they would now support turning back the clock in Afghanistan, to the former arrangements that prevailed before 2001. Friend of Pakistan (and formerly the US) Gulbuddin Hekmatyar has led the way by taking the first steps to introduce the new Afghan paradigm—a rapid American pull-out, based on Pakistan reeling-in the Taliban and Hekmatyar’s Hezb-e-Islami effectively challenging the Taliban and renegade Uzbeks around Kunduz.

A Pakistani-engineered peace deal between the Karzai government and Hekmatyar, for northern Afghanistan only, is clearly in the cards, but that also depends upon whether or not the Indian/Russian-allied Northern Alliance wants to play the role of spoiler. A return to pre-2001 conditions could turn the clock all the way back to 1996 and the civil war in Afghanistan between Taliban and Northern Alliance. If that happens, then look for India to increase support to resistance (terrorist) groups in Balochistan. If that path is chosen, then we should also expect a surge in Taliban-related violence in Balochistan, as Gen. Musharraf’s MMA militant/mullah alliance is revived, and Taliban are once again imported to take on the BLA and other foreign-supported resistance groups.

Either way, by handing Afghanistan off to Pakistan, in short order, US forces will be freed-up to move northward, to secure territory around the new Northern Distribution Network (NDN) and the clearing of the way for the planned pipelines. Pakistan will be given a free hand to pacify its own territory, including Balochistan, with American air power available if needed. Pakistan will clear Balochistan to the port at Gwadar, if everything works out as anticipated. It will be expected to anchor this end of the supply chain, a position it has gotten used to in its service to America in the past.

But there is a very large credibility hurdle that both Pakistan and America must get past—the ease with which Pakistan has been able to round-up so many of the “Quetta Shura” gives rise to multiple questions about what other lies have been issued from Islamabad.

If Pakistan can effortlessly sweep-up half of the Taliban leadership, after giving American Predator pilots guidance to so many key militant leaders in a very small timeframe, then it proves that they have known where all the militants were all along. It disproves the lie that the link between mullahs and military had been broken, but does it likewise disprove the American contention that its use of Islamists is also a thing of the past? The recent capture of IMU-trained Jundullah terrorist leader Abdolmalek Rigi, and the possible resultant upsetting of US plans to merge IMU terrorists into Jundullah’s ranks (as recently revealed by researcher Wayne Madsen), are strong circumstantial evidence that there is a deep connection still active between the CIA and their militant spawn.

From The color of money in Afghanistan has a chemical signature

“Holbrooke has apparently not learned from his experience with Jundallah and Karzai’s drug trafficking family. WMR has learned that the Rigi-Holbrooke meeting at the Manas airbase was also to include a pre-arranged meeting between Rigi and captured members of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), who have been converted from adherents of Osama Bin Laden’s “Al Qaeda” to pipeline saboteurs, Holbrooke wanted to see an alliance between Jundallah and the reformed IMU guerrillas to plan operations targeting the Turkmenistan-Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan-China (TUKC) gas pipeline that recently began operations. The United States used Jundallah to attack the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline in Baluchistan and Holbrooke was hoping that Rigi’s experience would benefit the turned IMU terrorists who operate in the Fergana Valley of Tajikistan.”

The American use of Islamic militants as elements of its covert foreign policy is a fact, known to governments and their spy agencies all over the world. The only people who do not suspect that the American government is creating the very militants it claims to be at war against, are the American people and Western audiences. It is common knowledge to everyone in the Middle East region. In fact, nearly every government with its hands in the Afghan/Pakistan chaos uses “Islamists,” warlords and criminal types to advance their agendas in the conflict; it is the only way to be effective.

The greatest part of the multitude of problems that American planners must overcome is the enormous multi-faceted balancing act between armies and militants, between partners in the war coalition, between thresholds and breaking points, between militarizing the citizens of the United States without provoking them into violent revolution. Of these multiple balancing acts, the trickiest task of all for the Obama Administration will involve that of maintaining Russian and Indian assistance in the Afghan fight against militants and opium, without overplaying their hand or revelations about Islamist destabilization operations against their interests being revealed.

It is my hope in writing this, that it will help a little to reveal the awful knowledge that is being covered-up. No amount of oil or gas is worth the price that is being extracted from thousands of innocent human beings to pay for the war crimes that are being committed in this aggression.

If American diplomats can maintain this precarious balancing act long enough, and if they work quickly enough to get some kind of peace/exit agreement in place, American forces might become able to openly move the pipeline plans forward, while they covertly militarize central Asia under the cover of fighting drugs and militancy. The former Soviet republics have very little, if any, independent news sources to let us know what crimes are being committed once the action slips into Krygzstan. Whatever happens next will be far beyond the eyes and ears of the world community.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army

Pakistan Army unloading goods in Balochistan: Below Left: Arms seized on Feb 28

The Stunning Investigative Story on the Birth of Balochistan Liberation Army

By Tariq Saeedi in Ashgabat, Sergi Pyatakov in Moscow, Ali Nasimzadeh in Zahidan, Qasim Jan in Kandahar and SM Kasi in Quetta

MARCH 1: Deception and treachery. Live and let die. The ultimate zero sum game. Repetition of bloody history: Call it what you may, something is happening in the Pakistani province of Balochistan that defies comprehension on any conventional scale.

Four correspondents and dozens of associates who collectively logged more than 5000 kilometers during the past seven weeks in pursuit of a single question – What is happening in Balochistan? – have only been able to uncover small parts of the entire picture.

However, if the parts have any proportional resemblance to the whole, it is a frightening and mind-boggling picture. Every story must start somewhere. This story should conveniently have started on the night of 7 January 2005 when gas installations at Sui were rocketed and much of Pakistan came to almost grinding halt for about a week. Or, we should have taken the night of 2 January 2005 as the starting point when an unfortunate female doctor was reportedly gang-raped in Sui. However, the appropriate point to peg this story is January 2002 and we shall return to it in a minute.

Actually, the elements for the start of insurgency in Balochistan had been put in place already and the planners were waiting for a convenient catalyst to set things in motion. The gang-rape of 2 Jan, around which this sticky situation has been built, was just the missing ingredient the planners needed.

Two former KGB officers explained that the whole phenomenon has been assembled on skilful manipulation of circumstances. We shall keep returning to their comments throughout this report.

As Pakistan and India continue to mend fences, as Iran, Pakistan and India try to pool efforts to put a shared gas pipeline, as Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan join hands to lay a natural gas pipeline of great economic and strategic importance, as the United States continues to laud the role of Pakistan as a frontline nation in war against terrorism, as Chinese contractors forge ahead with construction work in Gwadar port and on trans-Balochistan highway, as the Pakistan government makes efforts to bring Balochistan under the rule of law and eliminate safe havens for terrorists and drug barons, as the whole region tries to develop new long-term models to curb terrorism and bring prosperity to far flung areas, there is a deadly game going on in the barren and hostile hills of Balochistan. Liens are muddy; there are no clear-cut sectors to distinguish friends from foes.

Right in the beginning we would like to clarify that when we say Indians, we mean some Indians and not the Indian government because we don’t have any way of ascertaining whether the activities of some Indian nationals in Pakistan represent the official policy of their government or is it merely the adventurism of some individuals or organizations. When we say Iranians or Afghans, we mean just that: Some Iranians or Afghans. We don’t even know whether the Iranian and Afghan players in Balochistan are trying to serve the interests of their countries or whether their loyalties lie elsewhere.

But – and it is a BUT with capital letters – when we say Americans or Russians, we have reasons to suspect that the American and Russian involvement in Balochistan is sanctioned, at least in part, by Pentagon (if not White House) and Kremlin.

We would also like to acknowledge that the picture we have gathered is far from complete and except for the explanatory comments of two former KGB officials, we have no way of connecting the dots in any meaningful sequence. For the sake of honesty, this story should better remain abrupt and incomplete. The story we are going to tell may sound a lot like cheap whodunit but that is what we found out there.

Before zooming in to January 2002, let’s set the background. We consulted Sasha and Misha, two former KGB officers who are Afghanists – the veterans of Russo-Afghan war – and they seem to know Balochistan better than most Pakistanis. Obviously, Sasha and Misha are not their real names. They live on the same street in one of the quieter suburbs of Moscow. Two bonds tie them together in their retirement: While on active duty in KGB, they were both frequent travelers to Balochistan during the Russo-Afghan war where they were tasked to foment trouble in Pakistan; and they are both wary of Vodka, the mandatory nectar of Russian cloak and dagger community. They visit each other almost every day and that is why it was easy to catch them together for long chats over quantities of green tea and occasional bowls of Borsch.

We made more than a dozen visits to the single-bedroom flat of Misha, where Sasha was also found more often than not, and we picked their brains on Balochistan situation. As and when we unearthed new information on Balochistan, we returned to Sasha and Misha for comments.

As they told us, during the Russo-Afghan war, the Soviet Union was surprised by the ability and resourcefulness of Pakistan to generate a quick and effective resistance movement in Afghanistan. To punish Pakistan and to answer back in the same currency, Kremlin decided to create some organizations that would specialize in sabotage activities in Pakistan.

One such organization was BLA (Balochistan Liberation Army), the brainchild of KGB that was built around the core of BSO (Baloch Students Organization). BSO was a group of assorted left-wing students in Quetta and some other cities of Balochistan. Misha and Sasha can be considered among the architects of the original BLA.

The BLA they created remained active during the Russo-Afghan war and then it disappeared from the surface, mostly because its main source of funding – the Soviet Union – disappeared from the scene. In the wake of 9-11, when the United States came rushing to Afghanistan with little preparation and less insight, the need was felt immediately to create sources of information and action that should be independent of the Government of Pakistan.

As Bush peered into the soul of Putin and found him a good guy, Rumsfeld also did his own peering into the soul of his Russian counterpart and found him a good game. The result was extensive and generous consultation by Russian veterans who knew more about Afghanistan and Balochistan than the Americans could hope to find.

It was presumably agreed that as long as their interests did not clash with each other directly, the United States (or at least Pentagon) and Kremlin would cooperate with each other in Balochistan. That brings us to January 2002. “Actually, most of the elements were in place, though dormant, and it was not difficult for anyone with sufficient resources to reactivate the whole thing,” said Misha about the present-day BLA that is blamed for most of the sabotage activities in Balochistan.

In January 2002, the first batch of ‘instructors’ crossed over from Afghanistan into Pakistan to set-up the first training camp. That was the seed from which the present insurgency has sprouted. It seemed like a modest effort back then.

Only two Indians, two Americans, and their Afghan driver-guide were in a faded brown Toyota Hilux double cabin SUV that crossed the border near Rashid Qila in Afghanistan and came to Muslim Bagh in Pakistani province of Balochistan on 17 January 2002. For this part of the journey, they used irregular trails. From Muslim Bagh to Kohlu they followed the regular but less-frequented roads.

In Kohlu they met with some Baloch youth and one American stayed in Kohlu while two Indians and one American went to Dera Bugti and returned after a few days. They spent the next couple of weeks in intense consultations with some Baloch activists and their mentors and then the work started for setting up a camp.

“Balach was one of our good boys and even though I don’t know who the present operators are, it can be said safely that Kohlu must have been picked as the first base because of Balach,” said Misha.

Balach Marri is the son of Nawab Khair Baksh Marri and he qualified as an electronic engineer from Moscow. As was customary during those times, any Baloch students in Russia were cultivated actively and lavishly by the KGB. Balach was one of their success stories.

Because of intimate connections with India and Russia, it was no surprise that Balach Marri was picked as the new head of the revived BLA. The mountains between Kohlu and Kahan belong to the Marris.

The first camp had some 30 youth and initial classes comprised mainly of indoctrination lectures. The main subjects were: 1. Baloch’s right of independence, 2. The Concept of Greater Balochistan, 3. Sabotage as a tool for political struggle, 4. Tyranny of Punjab and plight of oppressed nations, and 5. Media-friendly methods of mass protest.

“Manuals, guidelines and even lecture plans were available in the Kometit [KGB] archives. Except for media interaction, they virtually followed the old plans,” told Sasha.

As was logical, the small arms and sabotage training soon entered the syllabus. First shipment of arms and ammunition was received from Afghanistan but as the number of camps grew, new supply routes were opened from India.

Kishangarh is a small Indian town, barely five kilometers from Pakistan border where the provinces of Punjab and Sindh meet. There is a supply depot and a training center there that maintains contacts with militant training camps in Pakistan, including Balochistan.

There is also a logistics support depot near Shahgarh, about 90 kilometers from Kishangarh, that serves as launching pad for the Indian supplies and experts.

These were unimportant stations in the past but they have gained increasing importance since January 2002 when Balochistan became the hub of a new wave of foreign activity.

The method of transfer from India to Balochistan is simple. Arms and equipment such as Kalashnikov, heavy machine guns, small AA guns, RPGs, mortars, land mines, ammunition and communication equipment are transferred from Kishangarh and Shahgarh to Pakistani side on camel back and then they are shifted to goods trucks, with some legitimate cargo on top and the whole load is covered by tarpaulin sheets. Arms and equipment are, as a rule, boxed in CKD or SKD form.

The trucks have to travel only 140 or 180 kilometers to reach Sui and a little more to reach Kohlu, a distance that can be covered in a few hours only. This is most convenient route because transferring anything from Afghanistan to these areas demands much sturdy vehicles that must cover longer distance over difficult terrain.

The small arms and light equipment are mostly of Russian origin because they are easily available, cheap, and difficult to trace back to any single source.

This route is also handy for sabotaging the Pakistani gas pipelines because the two main arteries of Sui pipe – Sui-Kashmore-Uch-Multan and Sui-Sukkur – are passing, at some points, less than 45 kilometers from the Indian border. Whoever planned these camps and the subsequent insurgency, had to obtain initial help in recruitment and infrastructure from Indian RAW. “When we first started the BLA thing, it was logical to ask for RAW assistance because they have several thousands of ground contacts in Pakistan, many of them in Balochistan,” said Sasha.

“Anyone wanting to set shop in Pakistan needs to lean on RAW,” added Misha. The number of camps increased with time and now there is a big triangle of instability in Balochistan that has some 45 to 55 training camps, with each camp accommodating from 300 to 550 militants.

A massive amount of cash is flowing into these camps. American defence contractors – a generic term applicable to Pentagon operatives in civvies, CIA foot soldiers, instigators in double-disguise, fortune hunters, rehired ex-soldiers and free lancers – are reportedly playing a big part in shifting loads of money from Afghanistan to Balochistan. The Americans are invariably accompanied by their Afghan guides and interpreters.

Pay structure of militants is fairly defined by now. The ordinary recruits and basic insurgents get around US $200 per month, a small fortune for anyone who never has a hope of landing any decent government job in their home towns. The section leaders get upward of US $300 and there are special bonuses for executing a task successfully.

Although no exact amount of reward could be ascertained for specific tasks, one can assume that it must be substantial because some BLA activists have lately built new houses in Dalbandin, Naushki, Kohlu, Sibi, Khuzdar and Dera Bugti. Also, quite a few young Baloch activists have recently acquired new, flashy SUVs.

Oddly enough, there is also an unusual indicator for measuring the newfound wealth of some Baloch activists. In the marriage ceremonies the dancing troupes of eunuchs and cross-dressers are raking in much heavier shower of currency notes than before.

Based on the geographic spread of training camps, one can say that there is a triangle of extreme instability in Balochistan. This triangle can be drawn on the map by taking Barkhan, Bibi Nani (Sibi) and Kashmore as three cardinal points.

There is another, larger, triangle that affords a kind of cushion for the first triangle. It is formed by Naushki, Wana (in NWFP) and Kashmore. Actually, landscape of Balochistan is such that it offers scores of safe havens, inaccessible to outsiders.

Starting from the coastline, there are Makran Coastal Range, Siahan Range, Ras Koh, Sultan Koh and Chagai Hills that are cutting the land in east-west direction. In the north-south direction, we find Suleman Range, Kithara Range, Palma Range and Central Ravi Range to complete the task of forming deep and inaccessible pockets. Few direct routes are possible between the coastline and upper Balochistan. Only two roads connect Balochistan with the rest of the country.

Apart from the triangles of instability that we have mentioned there is an arc – a wide, slowly curving corridor – of extensive activity. It is difficult to make out as to who is doing what in that corridor.

Here is how to draw this arc-corridor on the map: Mark the little Afghan towns of Shah Ismail and Ziarat Sultan Vais Qarni on the map. Then mark the towns of Jalq and Kuhak in Iran. Now, draw a slowly arching curve to connect Shah Ismail with Kuhak and another curve to connect Ziarat Sultan Vais Qarni with Jalq. The corridor formed by these two curves is the scene of a lot of diverse activities and we have been able to gather only some superficial knowledge about it. The towns of Dalbandin and Naushki where foreign presence has become a matter of routine are located within this corridor.

Different entities are making different uses of this corridor. Despite employing some local help, we could find very little about the kind of activity that is bubbling in this corridor.

We found that the Indian consulate in Zahidan, Iran, has hired a house off Khayaban Danishgah, near Hotel Amin in Zahidan. This house is used for accommodating some people who cross over from Afghanistan to Pakistan and from Pakistan to Iran through the arched corridor we have described. But who are those people and what are they doing, we could not find.

We also found that although Pasdaran (Revolutionary Guards), the trusted force directly under the control of Khamnei, are monitoring Zahidan-Taftan road, there is no regular check post of Pasdaran on the road between Khash and Jalq, making it easy for all kinds of elements to cross here and there easily.

We also found that the border between Afghanistan and Iran is mostly under the control of Pasdaran who come down hard on any illegal border movement and that is why the arched corridor passing through Pakistan is the favorite route for any individuals and groups including American ‘defence contractors’ and their Afghan collaborators who may have the need to go across or near the border of Iran. Not surprisingly, part of this corridor is used by Iranians themselves when they feel the need to stir some excitement in Pakistan. Iranians also use the regular road of Zahidan-Quetta when they can find someone with legal documents as was the case with an Iranian who has business interests both in Pakistan and Iran and who came to Quetta just before the start of 7 Jan trouble. He has not been heard of since then.

There is a coastal connection that also provides free access for elements in Dubai and Oman to connect with militants in Balochistan. This is a loosely defined route but there are three main landing points in Balochistan: Eastern lip of Gwater Bay that lies in the Iranian territory but affords easy crossover to Pakistan through unguarded land border; 2. Open space between Bomra and Khor Kalmat; and 3. Easternmost shoulder of Gwadar East Bay.

Some Indians, a curious mix of businessmen and crime mafia, came in fishing boats from either Dubai or Oman and landed on the Gwater Bay in the Iranian territory before the start of 7 Jan eruptions. From there they traveled to Khuzdar and then Quetta where they met with some Baloch militants. It is rumored in those areas that the Indians came with heavy amounts of cash but there was no way of verifying it. They were escorted both ways by some Sarawani Balochs who run their own fishing vessels.

Simultaneously, there were reports from our Washington correspondent that some ‘sources’ in Pentagon had been trying to ‘leak’ the story to the media that Americans and Israelis were carrying joint reccee operations inside Iran and for that purpose they were using Pakistani soil as launching point. The lead was finally picked and disseminated by Seymour Hersh of The New Yorker.

However, from our own observations in the area we could not confirm this report although there is a possibility that the curving corridor that we have identified may have been used by the Americans and Israelis to travel from Afghanistan into Pakistan and then into Iran and back for this purpose although this is mere speculation, based on the movement of foreigners in this area, and we can neither confirm nor deny the substance of this report.

Also, there was some buzz, as reported by our correspondent in New Delhi, that some high circles were questioning the wisdom of two-faced policy of engaging Islamabad in peace dialogue while at the same time supporting insurgent activity in Balochistan. It was also not clear as to why Iran would be interested in stirring trouble in Balochistan when it was faced by an imminent war from the American side and it needed all the allies it could muster on its side and one of those allies could possibly be Pakistan.

It was also difficult to reconcile Iranian involvement in Balochistan with the fact that Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline, that is a crucial project for Iran, was in the final stages of negotiation and there seemed no logical point in sending mixed signals by creating difficulties in Balochistan.

These were some of the questions that we took to Misha and Sasha and here is the explanation they gave. Their answers came in bits and pieces but we have reconstructed their replies in the form of one coherent interview:

Question: What was the purpose of Russian invasion of Afghanistan?

Misha: The Soviet Union was not in love with Afghanistan itself and by now everyone must have understood it. We, or at least our leaders, wanted a convenient corridor to the warm waters of the Indian Ocean — the idea was to first establish full control in Kabul and from there to raise the double-bogey of Pakhtunistan and Greater Balochistan and try to detach at least a part of Balochistan from Pakistan and to either merge it as a new province of Afghanistan or to create a new country that should be under the firm control of Moscow. That would have solved most of the problems facing Kremlin.

Question: When you helped create BLA back in the 1980’s, what objectives did you have in mind?

Sasha and Misha: It was simply an instrument to create problems in Pakistan. There were no ideological reasons – it was merely a pragmatic solution for a strategic problem.

Question: Who could have revived BLA after so many years of inactivity?

Misha: Most likely, Pentagon. With good lot of support from Kremlin. You should keep in mind that reviving such an organization is a tricky task and it needs active support from a number of players. Pentagon and Kremlin would not be able to do much without some help from RAW that has hundreds of active contacts all over Balochistan. Russia could have helped negotiate the involvement of Balach Marri in the project.

Sasha: RAW must have jumped at the chance because last July the ‘discretionary grants’ budget [a euphemism for espionage fund] was increased by 700% in the Indian consulates in Kandahar, Jalalabad and Zahidan.

Misha: Yes, discretionary grants are not subject to central audit and the station chief can do what he wants with it.

Sasha: Balach possibly came to head the revived BLA through Russian facilitation but you cannot say the same for Sardar Ataullah Mengal. He returned from his self imposed exile in London and established his headquarters in Kohlu. Was it a mere coincidence? I don’t think so. In all probability, he is the American man to keep a check on Balach because Americans can never fully trust Russians.

Question: From your comments it appears that Balach and Mengal are heading the resurrected BLA and the BLA has been revived by the Americans and Russians to create trouble in Balochistan but could you give us any coherent reasons for going to such great lengths for disturbing Pakistan that is supposed to be a frontline ally of the United States on its war against terrorism?

Misha and Sasha: [Misha laughed so hard that tears came to his eyes while Sasha merely kept smiling in an absentminded way] – Frontline ally? Are you kidding? Americans are using Pakistan and Pakistanis would soon find it out if they have not already. Americans don’t need that kind of allies and they have made it abundantly clear for anyone who can read their policy goals correctly. Let them deal with Iran and you would see. If there can be any desirable American ally in that region, that is Iran – Iran under a different regime, and they are working to that end. Except for Balochistan, the rest of Pakistan is useless for them.

Question: It is still not clear from your answer as to what do the Pentagon and Kremlin hope to achieve by stirring trouble in Balochistan?

Sasha: Americans have two long-term policy objectives in that region: First, create a safe and reliable route to take all the energy resources of Central Asia to the continental United States, and second, to contain China.

Misha: Balochistan offers the shortest distance between the Indian ocean and the Central Asia, that is to say, shortest distance outside of the Gulf. The moment the conditions are ripe, Americans would like to take all the oil and gas of Central Asia to Gwadar or Pasni and from there to the United States.

Question: If the Americans are interested in creating safe channel for shipping energy resources through Balochistan, why would they encourage trouble there?

Misha: That is for now. By inciting trouble, they would effectively discourage Trans-Afghan Pipeline or any other project that is intended for sending Central Asian resources to South Asia. They are not interested in strengthening the South Asian economies by allowing them to obtain sensibly priced oil and gas. They would be more interested in taking all they can to their own country and let everyone else starve if that is the choice.

Sasha: The Americans would also like to discourage China from entering into more development projects in Balochistan than it already has. By developing the port and roads in Balochistan, China is ultimately helping itself by creating a convenient conduit for commerce that would connect China concurrently with Central Asia, South Asia, and all-weather Balochistan ports. The space is limited – where China gains, America loses, and where America gains, China loses.

Questions: OK. This sounds plausible. But what interest could Russia have in helping Pentagon in this trouble-Balochistan project?

Sasha: Russia has its own policy goals and as far as the present phase of creating trouble in Balochistan is concerned, American and Russian goals are not in conflict with each other. Russia wants to maintain its monopoly over all the energy resources of Central Asia. At present, the Central Asian countries are dependent entirely on Russia for export of their gas project succeeds, it would open the floodgates of exodus. Central Asian countries would understandably rush to the market that pays 100% in cash and pays better price than Russia. It is therefore very clear that by keeping Balochistan red hot, Russia can hope to discourage Trans-Afghan pipeline or any other similar projects. Russian economy in its present form is based on the monopoly of Gazprom and if Gazprom goes under, so will the Russian economy at some stage.

Question: So far, there is some in sense what you have said but how would explain Indian involvement in the Balochistan revolt?

Sasha: India has its own perceived or real objectives. For instance, India would go to great lengths to prevent Pakistan from developing a direct trade and transportation route with Central Asia because it would undermine the North-South corridor that goes through Iran. Also, while the acute shortage of energy may have compelled India to extend limited cooperation to Pakistan, the preferable project from Indian point of view still remains the Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline.

Misha: Moreover, you cannot ignore the fact that India is preparing to use Afghanistan as its main artery system to connect with Central Asia and it would not allow Pakistan to share this sphere if it can.

Question: What about Iran? Why should Iran be a party to it?

Misha: Iran has incurred great expenses to develop Chah Bahar, the port that is supposed to be the Iranian answer to Pakistani ports of Gwadar and Pasni. Iran has also done lot of work to create excellent road link between Herat and Chah Bahar. All this would go to waste if Pakistani route comes on line because it is shorter and offers quick commuting possibilities between Central Asia and Indian Ocean.

Sasha: At the same time you need to allow certain margin of unreliability when dealing with Iran. You cannot be sure whether they mean what they are saying and you cannot be sure whether they would keep their promises. They do what suits them best and to hell with any commitments. I am sorry but that is how I judge Iran.

Question: While both of you have given some explanation of American, Russian, Iranian and Indian involvement in Balochistan, what is the role of Afghanistan?

Sasha: There are many influential circles in Afghanistan that are deadly opposed to Pakistan for one reason or the other. While Afghanistan as a country may not be harboring any ill will against Pakistan, it is difficult to rule out the possibility that some power circles would not be inclined to damage Pakistan wherever they can. It is clear from the recent developments that as India, Iran and Afghanistan have made great strides to form some kind of economic, trade and transportation alliance, all efforts have been made to exclude Pakistan from any such deal.

Question: While BLA is being used by a number of power players for their own objectives, does it have any potential, even as a byproduct, to serve the cause of Baloch people?

Misha and Sasha: BLA is not the only fish in the pond. There is Baloch Ittehad and there is PONAM and there is lots of small fry out there. But none of them can be expected to do any good to the Balochi people because the command this time is mostly in the hands of Baloch Sardars and they have no past record of bringing any benefit to their own people. If anything, they are known to sell their own people down the river.

[Misha thumbed through a dog-eared file and read]

Sardar Mehrulla Marri sold all mineral and petroleum rights of Khatan region to the British government in 1885 for a paltry sum of Rs. 200 per month. There was no time limit to this agreement – it was, as they say, in perpetuity.

In 1861, Jam of Bela allowed the British government to put a telegraph line through his territory, thus helping substantially the British government in consolidating its control over large areas of Balochistan. He received less than Rs. 900 per month for this disservice to his own people and took the responsibility to safeguard the telegraph line. In 1883, the Khan of Kalat sold the Quetta district and adjoining territories to the British government. This was an outright sale. The agreement that was signed in Dasht, included the provision that the heirs and successors of Khan of Kalat would also be bound by the same agreement. He received annual grant of Rs. 25000 for selling the most attractive part of Balochistan to the British government.

In the same year, the British government paid Rs. 5500 to the Bugti Sardar for his cooperation although it was not specified as to what kind of cooperation he extended to the British government.

While the Baloch Sardars were enthusiastically selling Balochistan to the British government, there was no support to the idea of Pakistan whereas the ordinary Balochs gave full approval for Pakistan. Any positive development in Balochistan would go against the interests of Sardars and only a fool would expect them to do anything for the good of their people. Bear in mind that Marri and Mengal Sardars first stood up against the Pakistan government when the law was passed to abolish Sardari system in Balochistan to free the ordinary Balochs from the clutches of their tribal leaders.

Question: The way the things are progressing in Balochistan, what could be the likely outcome?

Misha: If no strong action is taken for another few months, the result could be bifurcation of Pakistan.

Question: Is that the only likely outcome?

Misha: No. In fact, that is the farthest possible scenario but that could eventually happen if Pakistan fails to assess, analyze and address the situation quickly. For example, I have yet to see any Pakistani effort to contact the ordinary Balochs. They are still trying to woo the same Sardars who are living on the blackmail money since the creation of Pakistan.

Sasha: I am surprised at the way Pakistan goes about tackling this problem. During my few years in Afghanistan when I was engaged with Balochistan, I found that while Baloch Sardars would sell their loyalties and anything else at the drop of a hat, ordinary Balochs are stupidly patriotic. They are hard to buy and harder to manipulate. If I were a Pakistan government functionary, I would gather enough ordinary, educated Balochs to counter the Sardar influence and deflate this whole insurgency balloon.

Question: Both of you were, let’s say, among the developers of the original BLA. Do you find any differences between the original and the present BLA?

Misha and Sasha: Plenty. Original BLA was mostly led by the young people and Baloch Sardars had very little to do with it but the present BLA is concentrated in the hands of Sardars.

The present movement in Balochistan, led by BLA, PONAM and Baloch Ittehad is a mismatched concoction of ancient and modern.

They are trying to run a modern media campaign but there are crucial gaps in that effort. Ours were different times and we could do without media support. They have created a list of Pakistani journalists who are supposed to be sympathetic to any move against the government and they are feeding them daily a mixture of truth and lies, a practice that has been perfected by the Pentagon.

They managed to bring some Baloch women in Dera Bugti but the results would be little if they cannot repeat the performance in most other areas of Balochistan.

They have built their campaign around a single incident – the Sui gang-rape – and if the Government is smart enough, it would hang the real culprits and ask the victim of the rape to announce publicly that she was satisfied with the justice meted out to the criminals and that would take all the wind out of the sails of the BLA campaign. A real hard campaign needs to be built around much broader and hard to solve issues.

Question: Hypothetically speaking, if the Pakistan government asked your advice, what would you suggest?

Sasha: The options are few. They should abolish Sardari system immediately and crack down powerfully on the private armies. As far as I know, the constitution of Pakistan does not allow Sardari system and private armies and there would be no legal questions if those laws are implemented with the full help of state power.

Misha: They should involve broadest possible range of ordinary Balochs in the dialogue. The can find enough educated youth in Marri and Mengal tribes to match the influence of tribal leaders. They should also allow the fragments of Bugti tribe to return to their ancestral lands and that would be enough to calm down the ageing and eccentric Bugti who pretends to be the leader of that tribe.

Sasha: Pakistan government should hasten the development process in the province because it would open job opportunities and that would allow the escape hatch to ordinary Balochs to distance themselves from their leaders.

Misha: They should try to cut down the sources and channels of supply of arms and cash to insurgents.

Friday, March 19, 2010

"The Reason For This Cover-Up Goes Right To The White House"

As pointed out in 2007:
The 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on a third-hand account of what tortured detainees said, with two of the three parties in the communication being government employees.

The official 9/11 Commission Report states:

Chapters 5 and 7 rely heavily on information obtained from captured al Qaeda members. A number of these "detainees" have firsthand knowledge of the 9/11 plot. Assessing the truth of statements by these witnesses-sworn enemies of the United States-is challenging. Our access to them has been limited to the review of intelligence reports based on communications received from the locations where the actual interrogations take place. We submitted questions for use in the interrogations, but had no control over whether, when, or how questions of particular interest would be asked. Nor were we allowed to talk to the interrogators so that we could better judge the credibility of the detainees and clarify ambiguities in the reporting.

In other words, the 9/11 Commissioners were not allowed to speak with the detainees, or even their interrogators. Instead, they got their information third-hand.

The Commission didn't really trust the interrogation testimony. For example, one of the primary architects of the 9/11 Commission Report, Ernest May, said in May 2005:

We never had full confidence in the interrogation reports as historical sources.

As I noted last May:

Newsweek is running an essay by [New York Times investigative reporter] Philip Shenon saying [that the 9/11 Commission Report was unreliable because most of the information was based on the statements of tortured detainees]:

The commission appears to have ignored obvious clues throughout 2003 and 2004 that its account of the 9/11 plot and Al Qaeda's history relied heavily on information obtained from detainees who had been subjected to torture, or something not far from it.

The panel raised no public protest over the CIA's interrogation methods, even though news reports at the time suggested how brutal those methods were. In fact, the commission demanded that the CIA carry out new rounds of interrogations in 2004 to get answers to its questions.

That has troubling implications for the credibility of the commission's final report. In intelligence circles, testimony obtained through torture is typically discredited; research shows that people will say anything under threat of intense physical pain.

And yet it is a distinct possibility that Al Qaeda suspects who were the exclusive source of information for long passages of the commission's report may have been subjected to "enhanced" interrogation techniques, or at least threatened with them, because of the 9/11 Commission....

Information from CIA interrogations of two of the three—KSM and Abu Zubaydah—is cited throughout two key chapters of the panel's report focusing on the planning and execution of the attacks and on the history of Al Qaeda.

Footnotes in the panel's report indicate when information was obtained from detainees interrogated by the CIA. An analysis by NBC News found that more than a quarter of the report's footnotes—441 of some 1,700—referred to detainees who were subjected to the CIA's "enhanced" interrogation program, including the trio who were waterboarded.

Commission members note that they repeatedly pressed the Bush White House and CIA for direct access to the detainees, but the administration refused. So the commission forwarded questions to the CIA, whose interrogators posed them on the panel's behalf.

The commission's report gave no hint that harsh interrogation methods were used in gathering information, stating that the panel had "no control" over how the CIA did its job; the authors also said they had attempted to corroborate the information "with documents and statements of others."

But how could the commission corroborate information known only to a handful of people in a shadowy terrorist network, most of whom were either dead or still at large?

Former senator Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat on the commission, told me last year he had long feared that the investigation depended too heavily on the accounts of Al Qaeda detainees who were physically coerced into talking. ...

Kerrey said it might take "a permanent 9/11 commission" to end the remaining mysteries of September 11.

Abu Zubaida was well-known to the FBI as being literally crazy. The Washington Post quotes "FBI officials, including agents who questioned [alleged Al-Qaeda member Abu Zubaida] after his capture or reviewed documents seized from his home" as concluding that he was:
[L]argely a loudmouthed and mentally troubled hotelier whose credibility dropped as the CIA subjected him to a simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding and to other "enhanced interrogation" measures.
For example:

Retired FBI agent Daniel Coleman, who led an examination of documents after Abu Zubaida's capture in early 2002 and worked on the case, said the CIA's harsh tactics cast doubt on the credibility of Abu Zubaida's information.

"I don't have confidence in anything he says, because once you go down that road, everything you say is tainted," Coleman said, referring to the harsh measures. "He was talking before they did that to him, but they didn't believe him. The problem is they didn't realize he didn't know all that much."


"They said, 'You've got to be kidding me,' " said Coleman, recalling accounts from FBI employees who were there. " 'This guy's a Muslim. That's not going to win his confidence. Are you trying to get information out of him or just belittle him?'" Coleman helped lead the bureau's efforts against Osama bin Laden for a decade, ending in 2004.

Coleman goes on to say:
Abu Zubaida ... was a "safehouse keeper" with mental problems who claimed to know more about al-Qaeda and its inner workings than he really did.

Looking at other evidence, including a serious head injury that Abu Zubaida had suffered years earlier, Coleman and others at the FBI believed that he had severe mental problems that called his credibility into question. "They all knew he was crazy, and they knew he was always on the damn phone," Coleman said, referring to al-Qaeda operatives. "You think they're going to tell him anything?"

ACLU, FireDogLake's Marcy Wheeler and RawStory broke the story yesterday that (quoting RawStory):

Senior Bush administration officials sternly cautioned the 9/11 Commission against probing too deeply into the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, according to a document recently obtained by the ACLU.

The notification came in a letter dated January 6, 2004, addressed by Attorney General John Ashcroft, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and CIA Director George J. Tenet. The ACLU described it as a fax sent by David Addington, then-counsel to former vice president Dick Cheney.

In the message, the officials denied the bipartisan commission's request to question terrorist detainees, informing its two senior-most members that doing so would "cross" a "line" and obstruct the administration's ability to protect the nation.

"In response to the Commission's expansive requests for access to secrets, the executive branch has provided such access in full cooperation," the letter read. "There is, however, a line that the Commission should not cross -- the line separating the Commission's proper inquiry into the September 11, 2001 attacks from interference with the Government's ability to safeguard the national security, including protection of Americans from future terrorist attacks."


"The Commission staff's proposed participation in questioning of detainees would cross that line," the letter continued. "As the officers of the United States responsible for the law enforcement, defense and intelligence functions of the Government, we urge your Commission not to further pursue the proposed request to participate in the questioning of detainees."

Destruction of Evidence

The interrogators made videotapes of the interrogations. The 9/11 Commission asked for all tapes, but the CIA lied and said there weren't any.

The CIA then destroyed the tapes.

Specifically, the New York Times confirms that the government swore that it had turned over all of the relevant material regarding the statements of the people being interrogated:

“The commission did formally request material of this kind from all relevant agencies, and the commission was assured that we had received all the material responsive to our request,” said Philip D. Zelikow, who served as executive director of the Sept. 11 commission ....

“No tapes were acknowledged or turned over, nor was the commission provided with any transcript prepared from recordings,” he said.

But is the destruction of the tapes -- and hiding from the 9/11 Commission the fact that the tapes existed -- a big deal? Yes, actually. As the Times goes on to state:
Daniel Marcus, a law professor at American University who served as general counsel for the Sept. 11 commission and was involved in the discussions about interviews with Al Qaeda leaders, said he had heard nothing about any tapes being destroyed.

If tapes were destroyed, he said, “it’s a big deal, it’s a very big deal,” because it could amount to obstruction of justice to withhold evidence being sought in criminal or fact-finding investigations.

Indeed, 9/11 Commission co-chairs Thomas Keane and Lee Hamilton wrote:
Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.
The CIA also is refusing to release any transcripts from the interrogation sessions. As I wrote a year ago:

What does the fact that the CIA destroyed numerous videotapes of Guantanamo interrogations, but has 3,000 pages of transcripts from those tapes really mean?

Initially, it means that CIA's claim that it destroyed the video tapes to protect the interrogators' identity is false. Why? Well, the transcripts contain the identity of the interrogator. And the CIA is refusing to produce the transcripts.

Obviously, the CIA could have "blurred" the face of the interrogator and shifted his voice (like you've seen on investigative tv shows like 60 Minutes) to protect the interrogator's identity. And since the CIA is not releasing the transcripts, it similarly could have refused to release the videos.

The fact that the CIA instead destroyed the videos shows that it has something to hide.

Trying to Create a False Linkage?

I have repeatedly pointed out that the top interrogation experts say that torture doesn't work.

As I wrote last May:

The fact that people were tortured in order to justify the Iraq war by making a false linkage between Iraq and 9/11 is gaining attention.

Many people are starting to understand that top Bush administration officials not only knowingly lied about a non-existent connection between Al Qaida and Iraq, but they pushed and insisted that interrogators use special torture methods aimed at extracting false confessions to attempt to create such a false linkage.

Indeed, the Senate Armed Services Committee found that the U.S. used torture techniques specifically aimed at extracting false confessions (and see this).

And as Paul Krugman wrote in the New York Times:

Let’s say this slowly: the Bush administration wanted to use 9/11 as a pretext to invade Iraq, even though Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11. So it tortured people to make them confess to the nonexistent link.

[A]ccording to NBC news:
  • Much of the 9/11 Commission Report was based upon the testimony of people who were tortured
  • At least four of the people whose interrogation figured in the 9/11 Commission Report have claimed that they told interrogators information as a way to stop being "tortured."
  • One of the Commission's main sources of information was tortured until he agreed to sign a confession that he was NOT EVEN ALLOWED TO READ
  • The 9/11 Commission itself doubted the accuracy of the torture confessions, and yet kept their doubts to themselves
In fact, the self-confessed "mastermind" of 9/11 also confessed to crimes which he could not have committed. He later said that he gave the interrogators a lot of false information - telling them what he thought they wanted to hear - in an attempt to stop the torture. We also know that he was heavily tortured specifically for the purpose of trying to obtain false information about 9/11 - specifically, that Iraq had something to do with it.


Remember, as discussed above, the torture techniques used by the Bush administration to try to link Iraq and 9/11 were specifically geared towards creating false confessions (they were techniques created by the communists to be used in show trials).


The above-linked NBC news report quotes a couple of legal experts to this effect:

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, says he is "shocked" that the Commission never asked about extreme interrogation measures.

"If you’re sitting at the 9/11 Commission, with all the high-powered lawyers on the Commission and on the staff, first you ask what happened rather than guess," said Ratner, whose center represents detainees at Guantanamo. "Most people look at the 9/11 Commission Report as a trusted historical document. If their conclusions were supported by information gained from torture, therefore their conclusions are suspect."...
Karen Greenberg, director of the Center for Law and Security at New York University’s School of Law, put it this way: "[I]t should have relied on sources not tainted. It calls into question how we were willing to use these interrogations to construct the narrative."
The interrogations were "used" to "construct the narrative" which the 9/11 Commission decided to use.

Remember (as explored in the book The Commission by respected journalist Philip Shenon), that the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission was an administration insider whose area of expertise is the creation and maintenance of "public myths" thought to be true, even if not actually true. He wrote an outline of what he wanted the report to say very early in the process, controlled what the Commission did and did not analyze, then limited the scope of the Commission's inquiry so that the overwhelming majority of questions about 9/11 remained unasked (see this article and this article).


As constitutional law expert Jonathan Turley stated:

[The 9/11 Commission] was a commission that was really made for Washington - a commission composed of political appointees of both parties that ran interference for those parties - a commission that insisted at the beginning it would not impose blame on individuals.
Other Obstructions of Justice

The failure of the government to allow the 9/11 Commission to speak with the detainees directly and the CIA's subsequent destruction of the interrogation videotapes isn't the first obstruction of justice by the government regarding the 9/11 investigations.

For example:
  • The chairs of both the 9/11 Commission and the Joint Inquiry of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into 9/11 said that government "minders" obstructed the investigation into 9/11 by intimidating witnesses
  • The 9/11 Commissioners concluded that officials from the Pentagon lied to the Commission, and considered recommending criminal charges for such false statements
  • Investigators for the Congressional Joint Inquiry discovered that an FBI informant had hosted and even rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House. As the New York Times notes:
    Senator Bob Graham, the Florida Democrat who is a former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, accused the White House on Tuesday of covering up evidence . . .

    * * *

    The accusation stems from the Federal Bureau of Investigation's refusal to allow investigators for a Congressional inquiry and the independent Sept. 11 commission to interview an informant, Abdussattar Shaikh, who had been the landlord in San Diego of two Sept. 11 hijackers.

    In his book "Intelligence Matters," Mr. Graham, the co-chairman of the Congressional inquiry with Representative Porter J. Goss, Republican of Florida, said an F.B.I. official wrote them in November 2002 and said "the administration would not sanction a staff interview with the source.'' On Tuesday, Mr. Graham called the letter "a smoking gun" and said, "The reason for this cover-up goes right to the White House."

Chairs of Both the 9/11 Commission and the Joint Intelligence Inquiry into 9/11 Said That Government Minders Obstructed the 9/11 Investigation

As detailed previously, both the Joint Intelligence Committee and 9/11 Commission investigations into 9/11 had government "minders" intimidating witnesses into not saying anything the government didn't like.

You may assume that the issue of "minders" is overblown, and is not really that important.

But, as the New York Times noted in 2003:

The panel [i.e. the 9/11 Commission] also said the failure of the Bush administration to allow officials to be interviewed without the presence of government colleagues could impede its investigation, with the commission's chairman suggesting today that the situation amounted to "intimidation" of the witnesses.


[9/11 Commission co-chairs] Mr. Kean and Mr. Hamilton suggested that the Justice Department was behind a directive barring intelligence officials from being interviewed by the panel without the presence of agency colleagues.

At a news conference, Mr. Kean described the presence of "minders" at the interviews as a form of intimidation. "I think the commission feels unanimously that it's some intimidation to have somebody sitting behind you all the time who you either work for or works for your agency," he said. "You might get less testimony than you would."

"We would rather interview these people without minders or without agency people there," he said.

And as I previously noted, a recently released 9/11 Commission memo complains that:

  • Minders “answer[ed] questions directed at witnesses;”
  • Minders acted as “monitors, reporting to their respective agencies on Commission staffs lines of inquiry and witnesses’ verbatim responses.” The staff thought this “conveys to witnesses that their superiors will review their statements and may engage in retribution;” and
  • Minders “positioned themselves physically and have conducted themselves in a manner that we believe intimidates witnesses from giving full and candid responses to our questions.”

Still think this isn't an important issue?

Senator Bob Graham, former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and chair of the Joint Inquiry of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into 9/11, said in 2005:

The [9/11] commission's findings were based on an interview with al-Bayoumi in Saudi Arabia with Saudi Arabian officials present. "He had no motivation to speak truthfully as to his role," he said.

When government officials are present, it creates conditions where the witness "has no motivation to speak truthfully."

Bottom Line: The co-chairs of the 9/11 Commission, Tom Keane and Lee Hamilton, and chair of the the Joint Inquiry of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees into 9/11, Bob Graham, said that minders obstructed the investigation into 9/11.

Shouldn't we believe them?

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

“Two Democracies - Defining the Essence of India-US Partnership”

Address by Foreign Secretary at the Woodrow Wilson Centre on “Two Democracies - Defining the Essence of India-US Partnership”


Mr. Lee Hamilton,

Thank you for your kind words of introduction.

It is a particular privilege to be at the Woodrow Wilson Centre – amidst the distinguished men and women who are here today – many of whom have put in years of dedicated work and study in subjects that are of immense relevance to the India–US discourse. I am grateful for your interest and will, I am sure, be enriched by your thoughts and views in the course of this afternoon meeting.

I also want to recognize the role of the USIBC and the Indian federations and associations of business and industry that have reached out and worked successfully with partners across the United States to build the economic linkages and the people to people bonds - that are the bedrock of the India US relationship.

Strong Fundamentals

It was President Woodrow Wilson who said “I believe in…democracy...because it releases the energies of every human being.” This is what democracies seek to do - in essence, to harness the energies, and enable the empowerment of all their citizens, regardless of colour or creed, ethnicity or economic status. Our two robust and vibrant democracies believe and act on the basis of such ideals. I am therefore, particularly enthused by the choice of theme for my address this afternoon. Particularly as we commence the second decade of this century, it is appropriate that we reflect on the essence and the potential of the unique partnership between two of the world’s greatest democracies - the oldest and the largest.

Geographically, India and America are separated by almost ten thousand miles. Yet, we are nevertheless connected in a very direct and obvious way by the kind of similarities that we share – our respect for fundamental democratic freedoms, our strong and enduring democratic institutions, the rule of law, our culture of debate and discussion, the stress on accountability and transparency in governance, our autonomous institutions that are constitutionally empowered to safeguard fundamental rights and our shared commitment to preserve the pluralistic and secular nature of our diverse and open societies. It was therefore no accident that the Constitution that India adopted in 1950 was also inspired in great measure by the ideals of freedom, equality and justice that formed the bedrock of the United States Constitution. Yet, for several decades after our independence, relations between our two democracies failed to realize their potential because of estrangements derived from the atmosphere of the Cold War and its manifestations in our region.

We have come a long way, however, in the last decade and a half. Today, as India has grown to be one of the leading economies of the world, and a responsible nuclear power, we are cooperating at the global level on a range of issues. Bilaterally, our ties have become truly broad-based. The conclusion of the India-US Civil Nuclear Agreement in 2008 marked a major definitive milestone in our relationship. That our ties are marked by both popular and political support was underlined in 2009 by the reaffirmation by our newly elected governments that they would encourage the further positive transformation of our strategic partnership for mutual benefit. In July 2009, we launched a Strategic Dialogue process that covers a number of areas of convergence under the five pillars of: Strategic Cooperation, Energy and Climate Change, Education and Development, Economics, Trade and Agriculture and Science, Technology, Health and Innovation. This is the sentiment that was expressed by President Obama when he told Prime Minister Manmohan Singh last year that “obstacles once thought insurmountable are now well-springs of new cooperation” and that ours is “one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century”.

The strong support in both countries for a robust bilateral relationship is, to quote our Prime Minister, based on both principle and pragmatism. Not only are we natural partners in addressing strategic issues of regional or global concern but there are very direct linkages on a day to day basis : the US is our largest trade partner – if we count goods and services – with a total bilateral trade of USD 65.9 billion last year; the United States is one of the leading sources of Foreign Direct Investment into India and recently, many US companies have announced major expansion plans in India. US businesses have increased their competitive advantages and innovation drive through their operations in India. Indian investment flows to the US were estimated at US $ 13 billion in 2007 and continue to steadily increase. Statistics show that 70% of urban Indians believe relations between India and the US have improved in recent years, and of them, 91% consider this to be a good thing.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is these fundamentals that are the essence of the partnership between our democracies.

Priorities and Convergences

And there is another key contributing factor today : the foreign policy priorities of the United States and India seem to converge now as never before – and both Governments recognize the validity of their cooperation in helping to craft solutions to the foremost challenges of our times– the threat of terrorism as it affects both our nations, the dangers of religious extremism, promoting development in Afghanistan, the global financial and economic crisis that has given new content and meaning to the work of forums like the G-20, the common challenges of addressing the impact of global climate change or disaster relief , pandemics or piracy at sea : our partnership has increasing relevance and meaning.

Challenges and Opportunities

These convergences create the global strategic partnership in which India and the USA have launched a new phase of cooperation across a broad spectrum of human endeavor - based on our common ideals and complementary strengths - to address the global challenges of the 21st century. And in India, the United States must see an anchor for stability in our region, a nation that is wedded to the principles of responsible behaviour and mature restraint, is a powerful and rapidly growing economy, and that can, as one analyst noted recently, be “potentially America’s most important partner in Asia”. Our Prime Minister sees the India-US relationship as an “essay in mutual comprehension”.

Today, the challenge is how we take our economic and political partnerships to a higher level of achievement and provide as it has been said, “more passion” to energize our relationship further. What are the constraints to our relationship? Often the question influential opinion makers in India ask is has the United States sufficiently visualized the importance of its relationship with India, and freeing it of the hyphenations that have somehow tied it down, and stunted its normal growth.

Why India? Today, when the world, and the United States look at our region, they are witness to the rise of India as a democratic nation with proven abilities to manage diverse developmental challenges within its territorial borders, that has increasing ability to promote economic development beyond its borders in its neighbouring countries and farther afield, in Africa, whose skills in the knowledge economy place it in the front ranks of global excellence, is an acknowledged nuclear power with a record of responsible behaviour and adherence to MTCR and NSG guidelines, and whose rapid economic growth place it in the trajectory of becoming the third largest economy in the world.

Our economic performance against the backdrop of the international economic and financial crisis serves as a useful illustration of the discipline and prudence with which India has managed its financial and economic policies. India’s growth in the four years preceding the onset of the global financial crisis was around 9%. In late 2008, India’s growth slowed down to 6.7% but recovered to a level of 7.2% in the last financial year. Projections indicate 8.2 % in the next financial year and in the next 4-5 years we anticipate a return to 9% based on a revival in exports, manufacturing, infrastructure investment and private consumption demand along with a favourable capital market. In a knowledge- and technology-driven world, India has demonstrated certain unique strengths – our IT exports for the current year are poised to touch the $50 billion figure; India currently exports generic medicines worth USD 11 billion; our leading steel companies have posted double digit growth in sales volume; the December 2009 index of industrial production surged month-on-month by a record 16.8%. Cumulative industrial growth is pegged at around 9%. The most noticeable feature of India’s economic growth is that it is driven primarily by domestic demand. In the recent budget, 46 percent of the total Plan allocation was earmarked for infrastructure development – which implies significant business and investment opportunities. Our youthful demography with a projected average age of 29 years in 2020, will drive economic expansion in our country, particularly the expansion of our urban sector well into the second half of this century.

To achieve an external environment that promotes the fulfillment of our economic growth, targets and ambitions, we have identified three key pre-requisites– capital inflows, access to technology and innovation, as well as the promotion of a free, fair and open world trading system. Central to these tasks is a world order that helps the promotion of our development interests. And here again, the partnership between India and the United States can provide a creative impulse and momentum that builds a global environment that is conducive to the realization of these goals. Turning to India’s immediate neighbourhood, I believe that there should be deeper awareness and understanding of India’s objective to work for stability and peace in its neighbourhood. Just as the tackling of terrorism is a policy priority of the US Administration, India, too, is concerned at the terror infrastructure that has been allowed to be established, take root and be used as an instrument of state policy in our immediate neighbourhood. Our heartland, our cities and our people, are exposed to the threat of terrorism in a constant and almost unremitting way in a manner that the United States well understands, given the similar threats that are directed against the American people.

Defining restraint

India’s approach has been to deal with this challenge with restraint. Despite the brazen and malignant nature of the threats we face, India has made several genuine efforts to restore trust and confidence. Aggressive pronouncements by persons identified by the world as terrorists continue to be made openly against India. Distinctions made between the various terrorist outfits are now meaningless, since they are now in effect fused both operationally and ideologically. We have consistently emphasized the need for Governments concerned to act decisively to dismantle the infrastructure of terrorism and to effectively deal with groups that perpetrate it. However, our restraint should not be confused with weakness or unwillingness to act against those that seek to harm our people, create insecurity, and hamper our developmental goals. We are a strong country and we possess the capacity to deal effectively with those that pursue destructive agendas against India and its people.

We have, time and again, made genuine attempts to address outstanding issues, most importantly, the issue of terrorism through dialogue with Pakistan. My meeting with my Pakistan counterpart represented the latest such move. Despite the provocations we have faced constantly from terrorists whose linkages we have traced back to Pakistani soil, we have not abandoned the path of dialogue. And in our recent meeting, India’s approach was to focus on our concerns regarding terrorism, pending humanitarian issues, and some bilateral visits that have been planned or spoken of, but have not taken place. But it continues to be our conviction that for this dialogue to really make progress, Pakistan should take meaningful steps to address our concerns on terrorism, and cease the encouragement of terrorism targeted against India. In January 2004, the then Pakistani leadership had made such an assurance on the basis of which we resumed our Composite Dialogue to discuss various outstanding issues in our relationship. Today, Pakistan claims that it is in no position to give us such a guarantee that terrorism can be controlled by its authorities. In such a situation, the people of India who are already bitterly affected by the series of terrorist attacks directed against them, can hardly be expected to support the resumption of a full-blown Composite Dialogue with Pakistan. It is also important that there are strict accountability criteria that apply to defence assistance rendered to Pakistan for operations against terrorists and insurgents on the border with Afghanistan. Our past experience regarding such assistance has taught us to be vigilant to the possibility of it being used for purposes that generate tension and hostile actions against India. We do not have aggressive designs against Pakistan and we want it to be a stable and prosperous country. But we will be vigilant about our security. That is our sovereign right.

The deteriorating situation in Afghanistan is one of the foremost security related challenges faced by our region. We feel that it is vital for the international community to stay the course in Afghanistan. India has, at the request of that country, worked on infrastructure creation, and capacity building in key developmental sectors, with a total investment of 1.3 billion US dollars across several provinces and in very difficult terrain. Our assistance is provided in a transparent and fully accountable manner, and has underscored our commitment to Afghan democracy and inclusive development. At the recent London Conference, we have announced new initiatives in the agriculture sector and in institutional capacity building. In all these areas we have responded to the felt needs of the Afghan people.

We believe it is imperative for the international community, in its new initiatives on security, reintegration, and reconciliation in Afghanistan, to approach these issues carefully – and with caution. We believe that any reintegration process should include only those who abjure violence, give up armed struggle and terrorism and are willing to abide by the values of democracy, pluralism and human rights. There is every risk, otherwise, that the Taliban could resurrect themselves as they have done in the past even when we think they have been defeated or we are rid of their hardcore elements.

The barbaric attack against Indians engaged in humanitarian and development work in Afghanistan on February 26 was an attack by those who do not wish any other future for that country except one that suits their sinister ambitions. The international community should understand that such attempts, if unchecked, will only embolden the same forces that held sway in Afghanistan in the 1990s and caused the tragedy of 9/11. One cannot stress enough the need to avoid compromises or differentiation between the so-called shades and hues of the Taliban. That would be disastrous for Afghanistan and for the world. In short, there is no quick solution to the Af-Pak situation. It is important for the international community, in its own interest, to stay the present course for as long as it is necessary.

New areas of partnership

Speaking in Washington last November, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh said “our relationship will see a new emphasis on five Es - economy, energy, environment, education and empowerment – even as we further strengthen our ties in defence, security and counter-terrorism. We will also harness our natural synergies in science and technology, education and research to advance food security, improve healthcare, develop green technologies and create the human resources for the future”.

Both our Governments are agreed that the India US partnership is important for addressing the challenges of an increasingly interdependent world – our cooperation could cover different fields - for example, the critical area of agriculture and food security, especially with regard to Africa. This Indo-US cooperation is envisaged by us as a net additionality over and above what India is doing bilaterally with Africa. One possibility is the mechanism of ‘triangular cooperation’ where India’s experience and expertise as an emerging market economy, could be relevant to Africa.

In the Joint Statement issued on the occasion of our Prime Minister’s visit to Washington, Dr. Manmohan Singh and President Obama announced their intention to develop a Framework for Cooperation on Trade and Investment to foster an environment conducive to technological innovation and collaboration, promote inclusive growth and job creation, and support opportunities for increased trade and investment – including for small and medium-sized enterprises. They also agreed to launch the US-India Financial and Economic Partnership to strengthen engagement on economic, financial and investment-related issues.

An important facet of our relations is our growing interaction in the defence sector. We hold a regular dialogue on defence issues, and joint exercises. Our defence trade is growing. There is potential for it to grow further as we look at diversified sources of defence systems as also allow private sector participation in our defence production. It is our hope that the US Government will adjust its export control regulations to facilitate more efficient defence trade. This would be in line with growing mutual confidence and the long-term strategic partnership that we seek to build. The visit of Defence Secretary Gates in January 2010 enabled a sharing of perspectives on this crucial sector of our cooperation.

Both our democracies are committed to the protection of the global commons: maritime, space or the cyber high ways. The Indian navy plays a major role in facilitating maritime security across vital sea lanes of the Indian Ocean. They have been deployed in anti piracy escort operations in the Gulf of Aden. Co-operation between India and the United States for the security of sea lanes is now all the more relevant. Similarly, India has provided more than 100,000 troops, observers and police officers to 43 UN Peace keeping Missions over the last 60 years.

On countering terrorism we have bilaterally reaffirmed our shared determination to cooperate in unprecedented ways - from sharing intelligence and best practices to training and increased exchanges between our security agencies. This has been effectively demonstrated in the wake of the Mumbai terror attack.

The ongoing meeting of the High Technology Cooperation Group is demonstrative of our efforts to gradually reduce and eliminate the controls on export of high technology from the United States to India, and to liberalize export licensing requirements and whittle down entity lists that seem anachronistic in the vastly changed environment of India-US relations today.

Our strategic dialogue today has an important developmental focus covering areas such as agriculture, health, education, energy, women’s empowerment. In health, our cooperation especially in promoting R&D to combat diseases like drug-resistant tuberculosis that continue to affect the poorer sections of the population in India and other developing countries is particularly important. Agriculture remains an important sector of the Indian economy accounting for almost 18 % of GDP and supporting around 60% of the workforce. In recent years, this sector has recorded an average growth of 2.5% annually compared to 8% in other sectors. Achieving rapid growth in agricultural productivity is therefore a national priority. The government has allocated substantial funds for improving infrastructure in the agrarian sector and expanding irrigation. It is in this context that our ongoing cooperation in this sector is so vital. Through our partnership in this sector, we hope to strengthen our food processing capacities, improve farm-to-market linkages, provide better agricultural extension services, and weather forecasting with emphasis on monsoon modelling. Our cooperation is also focusing on research and capacity building to increase food productivity, and to enhance food security.

Education is a key to empowering and transforming the lives of our people. Our Government is working on expanding and restructuring various educational sectors including higher education, vocational education and skills development infrastructure. We are also in the process of setting up several new world class universities, including setting up of the legal framework to allow us to tap the best talent in the world to participate in the academic activity of these new centres of excellence. President Obama and Prime Minister Singh launched the “Obama-Singh 21st Century Knowledge Initiative in November last year. The Fulbright-Nehru scholarship programme launched last year has been augmented by additional contributions by both our Governments.

Similarly, through the Women’s Empowerment Forum where we will share ideas and best practices in promoting women’s participation and equality in society, and the CEOs Forum which will inform the India US Economic Dialogue, we intend to build greater synergies and productive bilateral collaborations. The “Framework for Co-operation on Trade and Investment” and the negotiations for the Bilateral Investment Treaty would contribute significantly to this process. This is a relationship with boundless possibilities for mutual benefit. Through the surge in trade, services and investment that we have witnessed in both directions, our entrepreneurs and corporate have already demonstrated that India-US ties are creating jobs and benefits in both countries.

I now turn to the issue of Climate Change where the steps that we take will need to be intrinsically linked with the growth prospects and developmental aspirations of our people. India along with United States actively participated in the negotiation of the Copenhagen Accord. India has agreed to being listed in the Chapeau of the Accord on certain conditions, including that the Accord is a political document and not a legally binding document. It is not a template for outcomes. Further, it is not a separate, third track of negotiations outside the UNFCCC. The significant points of convergence in the Accord should help all Parties to reach agreed outcomes under the UN multilateral negotiations.

India needs to sustain an economic growth of at least 9% if it is to eradicate poverty and meet its larger human development goals. This will require in the short to medium term, a quadrupling of our power generation capacity. We are seeking to expand our nuclear energy from 4000 MW to 20,000 MW by 2020; add nearly 20,000 MW of solar energy by 2020; substantially expand the base of wind and biomass energy; increase energy efficiency and expand our forest cover from 22% to 33% of our landmass. At the same time, coal would remain a key component of our energy mix. India is, therefore seeking to access clean coal combustion technologies and new coal extraction technologies. India and the United States are working together in this important area. Our companies, and scientists are working on specific projects in the sector of second and third generation bio-fuels, wind and solar energy. Our joint endeavour should be to create adaptable and affordable technology as also to institute better practices that could then be replicated in other countries in Asia and Africa with similar climatic or developmental conditions.

An important dimension of the landmark agreement on civil nuclear cooperation between our two countries is the substantive role that the United States nuclear power companies can play in the addition of more nuclear energy to India’s energy mix. We are in the process of operationalising the Agreement through close coordination between our two Governments.

Dealing with new challenges

Ladies and Gentlemen, both our Governments are agreed that the new global realities require that we revisit and reorganize existing governance models which were put in place over six decades ago. We see our case for permanent membership of the Security Council as valid and legitimate and we seek the support of the United States in this endeavour.

In another context, we see the G-20 process as a useful representative mechanism to manage global economic and financial issues. The Group has conceptualized and defined many constructive measures to deal with the financial crisis, its causes, and steps to mitigate its effects through better regulation, supervision and international financial governance.

President Obama outlined his vision of a nuclear weapon free world last April. This has been consistently espoused by the Indian leadership for about six decades. In 2006, India presented specific proposals in the UNGA as possible building blocks of a new global, verifiable nuclear disarmament framework. These include: a global agreement on “no-first-use” of nuclear weapons and non-use against non-nuclear weapon states; measures to reduce nuclear danger through de-alerting, reducing salience of nuclear weapons in security doctrines and preventing unintentional or accidental use; a Nuclear Weapons Convention prohibiting development, production, stockpiling and use of nuclear weapons and on their destruction etc. Presently, we wish to see the emergence of a consensus in the Conference on Disarmament on issues that the international community considers essential, including negotiations for a fissile material cutoff treaty.

We are committed to global efforts for preventing the proliferation of all weapons of mass destruction. We have a law-based system of export controls that has stood the test of time. We have updated it in accordance with international best practices. Our lists and guidelines are harmonized with the Nuclear Suppliers Group and the Missile Technology Control Regime even though we are not as yet members of these regimes.

Driven by common concerns about the security of nuclear assets - particularly in the backdrop of the increasing threat of terrorist access to them, India and the US are partners in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism. Next month, Prime Minister Singh would participate in the Nuclear Security Summit hosted by President Obama. We believe that the Summit can be milestone in addressing the threat of nuclear terrorism. We also hope that India and the US can find other opportunities to work for the safe, secure and proliferation resistant expansion of nuclear energy around the world.

Ladies and gentlemen, having traversed the broad canvas of the partnership envisaged and endorsed by our democratic processes, I would hasten to recognize that in an increasingly complex world, while neither India nor the United States can achieve their goals on their own and nor will our partnership exclusively suffice to address our problems, our respective peoples have strong reason to believe that our collaboration and cooperation will certainly be crucial for shaping the character of the 21st century.

As two proud and independent democracies, we may not always fully agree on everything. The future of our relationship will depend – not only on the momentum that our strategic dialogue will attain - and sustain - and its outcome, but, eventually on how our respective peoples perceive our cooperation as safeguarding their aspirations and sensitivities.

But, we have the maturity and confidence in our relationship to make sure that we can expand and deepen areas of convergence, and that we have the capacity, in a clear eyed way, to turn our varying perspectives into a search for more creative solutions to our global challenges. That must be our mission. If we simply choose to employ our complementary strengths, protect and promote our synergies and pursue initiatives that respond to the legitimate aspirations of our people, we can be confident that our partnership will acquire further substance and relevance. As Mahatma Gandhi said, “You must be the change you want to see in the world”.

Once again, I thank you all.

March 15, 2009