Posts tagged ‘Wikileaks’

December 27, 2010

LUBP Interview with Olaf Kellerhoff, Resident Representative Pakistan at Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom

by admin

Related Interviews:

Brief Introduction:

LUBP is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Mr. Olaf Kellerhoff Resident Representative Pakistan at Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom.

Olaf Kellerhoff has also worked as a Intercultural Mission Advisor at UNIFIL, Chief Target Audience Analysis at ISAF, Political Advisor at ISAF Chief Cultural & Religious Advisory Group at ISAF and Political Advisor at KFOR.

His profile on Linked in describes his expertise as follows:

– Conflict management & political consulting
– Communication for Islamic world
– Strong cross-cultural & language skills (viz. Farsi, Arabic, Turkish)
– Extensive mission experienced in post-conflict countries
– Creativity and communication
– Work style shaped by passion and reliability

LUBP: Olaf Kellerhoff, thanks for taking out the time to interview with us tell us something about your background and your experience as a representative of Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung?

Olaf Kellerhoff: First of all, dear Junaid, many thanks for your interest in our work here in Pakistan. That’s also why I joined the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF) in 2008. I had studied Islamic History and International Relations and served as an Officer of the German Federal Armed Forces in many missions. Due to my interest and studies I had been working and living in several Muslim countries but until 2008 I didn’t know Pakistan. This country is one of the most fascinating places in the world for me. Consequently, I was very lucky when I received this job offer.

Since January 2009 I am the Resident Representative of our foundation in Pakistan. For me personally a fabulous experience. I enjoy my work and life over here and would even love to enjoy it more if the work doesn’t take its toll: just too many things to do and nothing should be delayed as it’s too important for the betterment of the country.

LUBP: Tell us something about your organization, its main objectives and work in Pakistan, especially in the promotion of liberal democratic politics and human rights?

Olaf Kellerhoff: A peaceful and progressive Pakistan – that’s what the Friedrich-Naumann-Stiftung für die Freiheit (FNF) is committed to since 1986. Our team in Islamabad is part of a family with more than 60 branches around the world. The first President of Germany, Theodor Heuß, established the Foundation in 1958 and named it after his mentor, the German philosopher and politician Friedrich Naumann (1860–1919). Ever since we do not loose focus in our work for human and civic rights, democracy, rule of law and free market economy on the basis of the political philosophy of liberalism. Today, FNF belongs to the 200 leading think tanks of the world.
Our vision is an open society with equal rights for individuals in freedom with responsibility. Our mission is to strengthen civil society in a sustainable and professional manner. Therefore, we do not only fund, but first of all train, consult and interlink our partners. In Pakistan we work in joint partnerships with for example the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP), Shehri – Ciitzens for a better Environement, Society for Protection of the Rights of the Child (SAPRC) or Center for Peace and Development Initiatives (CPDI) and few more. Thus, our partners and friends do their share as responsible and vigilant citizens for the bright future of Pakistan.

LUBP: The socialists and Islamists suggest that liberalism in Pakistan is an alien idea for the majority of the people, they portray that it is a grand western scheme to dominate third world’s market and eastern values? How do you view such claim/narrative?

Olaf Kellerhoff: Al-hamdu li’llah previous generations of the Pakistani people have been open minded: Imagine Islam being rejected as foreign import from the Arab Peninsula – or even worse as Arab scheme to dominate the Eastern markets or getting hold of the ressources in the Subcontinent! Islam is universal and so is liberalism. The one is a religion, the other a political philosophy – both complementing each other in a very suitable manner. This xenophobe attitude of some people demonstrates their ignorance in general but interestingly also in their claim as subject matter expert. So far, please excuse there might be, but I haven’t met any socialist or islamist who has real expertise on socialism or islamism.

Most likely, it is just the natural human fear of changes . Especially, in a world which is becoming more and more interlinked (it always has been global) and countries more competing with each other, the idea that you have to compete is not a very convenient one. There are a few countries which try to protect themselves by customs. Fine that works for one industry sector. The problem is that you as consumer and tax payer pay the price for it and you as an employee even might pay the price with unemployment. On the long run this sector gets less and less competitive. In other term the consumer/tax payer pays for a very few getting richer or at least defending their funds.

Similarily, it is natural and human that a religious functionary wants to keep his job and influence. Any change means a threat to his or her position. Accordingly, he or she will always argue against it. This is not unique in Pakistan or in Islam. This happened and happens all over the world. For example, the Syrian Intellectual Sadiq al-Azm has done acomparison once between Islamist and ultra-conservative catholicism: Almost everything was exactly the same: the same demands, the same arguments, the same opponents – just you had exchange the word Islam with Christianity.

Have a look for example at the negotiations of the Tehreek-e Nifaz-e Shariat-e Muhammadi (TNSM) for Swat in 2009. The claim of a Sharia court was not about the following sirat al-mustaqim of Islam, but giving jobs to quite untrained clientel. The legitmate wish of the Swati people for justice (as the State failed to deliver) was just too easy to exploit. Why should all the Army checkpoints be removed? Because each checkpoint diminishes the profit of contraband like mainly wood, cars, gems etc. Why should all NGOs leave immediately? Why was the Middle Strata of the Society threatened and made leave? Because every thinking person undermines the nonsense told by religious extremists. Unfortunately, to a good part they could succeed. Thinking persons are leaving – often not only Swat but Pakistan on the long run. Also this is an overall trend: Where do you find the best Islamic scholars? Mainly in Western countries where there are free to think, to talk, to publish. This not because these scholars have alien ideas but threaten by undermining the position of certain extremist groups. That’s very unfortunate as more thinking persons are needed – for the sake of Islam and the people. Or in the words of first Nobel Laureate Sully Prudhomme (1839-1907): Always can be found in the most intelligent humans the most liberal and in the most uneducated the most radical.

LUBP: In the current global economic crisis, we have seen European union stepping in to bail out countries in their fraternity. Possibly the good money was being spent to bail out bad investments. The bailouts have been in billions. Dont you think that developing markets like Pakistan would have been a destination for flows of funds? The europeans would have earned a better name and at the same time increased their influence in Pakistan which has been the forte of USA and middle eastern sheikhdoms?

Olaf Kellerhoff: Please excuse that I can’t see the point: Germany has donated 12,5 million Euro as emergency relief. Furthermore, additional 22,5 million Euro were allocated for food. Not to forget that the German share of European emergency relief is about 20 percent which comes on top of it. This equals around eight million Euro. And the German people have donated privately 160 million Euro (17,2 billion PKR). This is more than any other nation has given from the public. All this money comes directly to the people of Pakistan. Equally, we saved our currency. Not doing it would have had a major impact on world economy – with disadvantages to Pakistan, too.

LUBP: Pakistan is currently facing extremism, militancy and an anti-democratic establishment. What are the reasons for Pakistan not being a developed democracy? Are we the sole responsible for the present democratic crisis or the foreign players and their agenda is the biggest reason? Kindly also share your understanding about the nature of radical approach here, and suggest us ways to cope up with this overall menace?

Olaf Kellerhoff:Truly, I believe in self-responsibility. There will always be hampering factors or challenges for everyone. This could be ressources, could be interference from others and so on. But still you are repsonsible for yourself and blaming others does not help except for feeling better because of not feeling responsible (which is always more convenient). So, if the people of Pakistan want to have a functioning democracy – noboday says they have to have this wish – every citizen can work for it. Democracy has not come in history and will not come in the future as a ready-made gift to a people. Also once introduced but democracy remains a constant task.

If Pakistanis want democracy they should develop it by themselves – and also only if wanted seek help from outside. This would have the advantage not to make (bitter) experiences yourself but come out of the findings and bitter experiences of other people to better solutions directly.

Of course, the idea of democracy is a thorn in the eye of extremist and autocratic rulers (feudal lords included) who want to exploit for selfish reasons. Thus, they will always discourage it. If you don’t want to be exploited then the consequence is to take your responsibility as citizen and work for a functioning democracy.

LUBP: How do you view the recent liberalization of media here? And especially after the fake Wikleaks appeared on Pakistani main stream newspapers do you think Pakistani media is doing its job responsibly?

Olaf Kellerhoff:The Pakistani people can be very happy that it has a vast media landscape. Since its liberalisation it has extended so widely which is wonderful. What is natural in this quick development is that there was not time enough to train all the newcomers. So, many claim to be a journalist without being trained. Consequently, some journalists do not work properly, if not to say irresponsible. Therefore, we have developped with our partners FIRM – Free, Independent and Responsible Media. This is a programme designed especially for journalists in technical skills as well as in understanding and internalizing underlying values of responsible reporting.

The fake Wikileaks made it crystal clear that we are still far away from achieving our goal here. Just simple cross-checking – the basic rule of every journalistic research – would have made the fake obvious.

LUBP: Do you think Wikileaks is helping to to democratize the global world? or such sort of revelations are counterproductive?

Olaf Kellerhoff:Wikileaks is an interesting phenomena: So far, we don’t know how it will change the world on the long run. It is clear that it changes patterns and structures of journalism and to a certain extent also inter-state relationships. If Wikileaks democratises has to be seen. The Right to Infomration and the Freedom of Information, which is after the 18th amendment (Article 19-A) given to the people of Pakistan, is different in nature. This is really the “oxygen of democracy” as it brings light into bureaucracy and government what loyal citizens have paid taxes for. There every person has the right to know for example how his money has been spent. This is public information anyhow and has to be public. Some diplomatic, military and secret service information are not included in it. This is different from Wikileaks which focuses especially on this information which is confidential by nature. There is also a reason why it is confidential. So, not everything should be disclosed.

LUBP: Do you think global liberal world also requires the fundamnetal re-definition of terms like ‘sovereignty’ and ‘self-reliance’?

Olaf Kellerhoff:A liberal world is our vision. It will still take many years if not generations. It will not require a re-definition but souvereignity and self-reliance will be consequence of it not a precondition.

LUBP: kindly share with us ‘Germany’s experience of democracy and also tell us how we can transform Pakistan as a democratic nation?

Olaf Kellerhoff:Germany was a “belated” nation in terms of nation-building. Also the emergence was different from other countries and determines state and mentality of Germans until today. That means, due to the diversity it has a strong federal setup.

Furthermore, from the experience of the Weimar Republic (1918-1933) we know that a “Democracy without Democrats” does not work out. In Berlin of 1920s we had street clashes and targeted killings perhaps like nowadays Karachi. As a consequence political foundations like ours have been set up in order to train German citizens in democracy – a task we still fulfill until today. It is a model which has been exported since the 1960 very successfully. That is also the learning experience: democracy education. You don’t need not only trained politician but trained citizens who can perform their duties as citizens: citizens who know how to vote, who know how to be vigilant, who know how to protest in a peaceful way. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to indtroduce civic education in school curricula and to make it obligatory for each and every citizen – starting from the earliest years of life.

LUBP: What are your views and observations about the internal heterogeneity of Islam. Currently, Pakistani Muslims are faced with a wave of terrorism which is inspired by religious and sectarian ideology. How could this situation be improved?

Olaf Kellerhoff:Terrorism is a communication strategy of weak groups. Often there are legitimate demands behind but these groups have not learned how to express these demands in a peaceful way or if so are ignored. It is clear that you can not “bomb” a communication, in other terms a “war on terrorism” is not only by its words pure nonsense. The need of people has to be addressed on one hand and rule of law maintained on the other. A state has to deliver to its citizens. A government has to be in communications with its voters. A nation has to create opportunities and lead the way ahead for its people.

The ideology is secondary. Of course, persons in search of personal power will always prefer to exploit the obvious as this is much easier, i.e. in this case Islam. But Pakistan’s terror challenge is not about religion: extremist groups contradict and act antithetically against Islam. Most of its adherents are just simple dacoits in search for money and opportunities without any knowledge of nor interest in Islam. It is a personal challenge, a bigger jihad, to restrain from temptations of this world, instead of getting paid 12.000-15.000 PKR as an ordinary talib, driving around in brand new pick-up, and take things you always wanted to have – and even worse: suddenly being respeceted (or let’s say feared after intimidating people but gives you a sense of respect you might have been looking for). In other words: “That’s cool, man!” – especially compared to be just a simple law obedient Muslim and worthful member of your community.

Generally, heterogenity is richness. It can be a very fruitful learning experience when different groups are in communication with each other but it is a threat of those who want to command and control. It belongs to the inner logic that extremists create an “illusion of alternatives”. The Nazis did this, too: Either National Socialism or Bolshevik Chaos! Either believer or unbeliever. Either Muslim or kafir. But the world is not black and white, not only good guy or bad guy, not Muslim and kafir. There many different Muslims and almost forgotten is the category of ahl al-kitab. The “people of the book” are not kuffar, unbelievers. Extremists do not only – willingly or unwillingly (because in general they don’t know anything about Islam) – ignore this category but also have to declare Muslims who are not in line with them, who do not want to be controlled by extremists, kuffar. The takfir is part of the propagandist game extremists have to play.

So, what you could and should do as a citizen:

  • Get not trapped in the “illusion of alternatives”. Do not allow others to impose this question on you as this is not legitimate. It’s none of other people’s business what you believe in but between you and God.
  • Query whenever somebody comes up with simplistic explanations.
  • Don’t get into the blame game but look ahead how to solve problems.
  • Demand the state to deliver to all citizens – regardless region, religion or ethnicity.

Contribute to an open-minded, multi-cultural society. This is the richness of Pakistan and not it’s problem.

LUBP: Are the notions of human rights and democracy compatible with Islam?

Olaf Kellerhoff:Definitely, there is no contradiction but even more the obligation as a Muslim to follow human rights and democracy. There exist only very few differences between Islamic notion of human rights and Western concepts. Of course, I am well aware that different regimes in history and presence tried – with some success – to portray this in another way. For good reasons: each autocratic leader will loose his power in favour of power to the people. Obedience to human rights is very annoying to rulers. Accordingly, selfish leaders who want to impose their will on the people will continue to mock human rights and democracy.

LUBP: Your message for young Pakistani Liberals?

Olaf Kellerhoff:Live liberalism in practice! Be an example for others!
Unfortunately, the word liberalism is often misunderstood to that extent that someone who drinks alcohol and is hanging around with other women (or men in case of women) claims to be liberal. This is nonsense! Living liberalism means

  • to see other persons as equal, to pay them respect
  • to be responsible for yourself (often very unconvenient if you can not blame others)
  • to be responsible for your family, community and state
  • to act as a vigilant citizen
  • to obey rule of law and demand its implementation.
December 22, 2010

On General Musharraf's betrayal by General Kayani – by pejamistri

by admin

In a recent interview General Pervez Musharraf has admitted that he was indeed betrayed by no other than his own generals.

Saleem Safi (Geo TV) asked him out of the politicians he acquainted with during his era whom he found the person with “character” and who “disappointed” him most.

After a long pause and thinking, Pervez Musharraf answered: “kuch … kuch… faujioon nay” (some generals).

It would be worth listening him
Fast forward to 26:00 minute.

I am a firm believer in the untiring and unmatched struggle of people of Pakistan against the worst dictators in the world history.

However, in 2007 people of Pakistan surprisingly found unexpected associates in their struggle against the worst dictatorship of 21st century. These unexpected supporters were media and judiciary of Pakistan, the two trusted allies of the dictators through out Pakistan’s history. It was really hard (and in fact impossible) to identify the true motives of these two factions, and indeed there was no reason to suspect them. Electronic media became the most lethal weapon against the dictator and his allies while CJ Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry became the surprised leader of the struggle.

The “Judicial movement” of Pakistan in 2007 was indeed the best success story people of Pakistan had against the dictators. Media provided the platform and the logistics to spread the message of hope. It was a great success when in the elections the two parties (PPP & PML-N) who were thrown out by the military came back with 2/3rd majority in the Parliament.

Despite this I could never digest the fact that the elements who are probably the first and last defenders of dictators and their cronies were fighting against the dictator alongside the common men. How was it possible?

And surely things became clearer as the time passed and those elements returned to their formal positions.

There is no doubt that Pervez Musharraf was betrayed by his own generals , the same generals who like him will not hesitate “selling their own mothers” to save their skin and keep their hold on the people of Pakistan. General Ashfaq Kyani and his cronies played their cards very well to oust the mad dictator.

I always point out to the fact that it was Kyani who was present in that fateful meeting on 9th of March 2007, and he spent few hours with CJ IMC alone. The cronies of military mafia in establishment used to get instance by instance report from no other than the Kyani/Pasha.

The mad dictator was back stabbed by his own generals and in fact my theory is that he might be trapped to become a scapegoat and perhaps get executed under Article 6. As this way military mafia will be able to please the Taliban faction of the army & right wing urbanites.

I am glad however that Pervez Musharraf admitted the fact that the generals of this army are characterless. Pervez Musharraf can pay somewhat for his crimes against community if he come out in open and tell the true working of this mafia which has kept the whole country hostage for over 60 years.

Otherwise there are two hundred and fifty thousand wikileaks and 3000+ of them originate from US embassy in Islamabad, only 56 of them have been released so far.

December 21, 2010

Afghan peace, attacks during Ashura and the fake Wikileaks – by TLW

by admin

Specially contributed to the LUBP, this post was first published at These Long Wars blog

If there is one thing that has “obsessed” me over the last few days of being too farigh over the internet, it’s Afghan peace. Specifically, what-the-eff’s going to happen when the Americans leave, how the Americans will leave, and whom will they empower when they leave. It’s a depressing topic to broach. The actors who can screw it all up are well outlined in my Foreign Policy lifted Order of Battle for Jihadi Islam across Pakistan and Afghanistan, and our old familiar friends in the Pakistan military establishment and their intelligence hands. Sigh. Anyway, I made the google rounds to see what we can come up with and the google God was not favourable.

God was also not favourable during Ashura, with some random jerkoff throwing a grenade in Peshawar at a procession, and now we have a mortar attack in Hangu. Not unrelated is the atmosphere of intolerance peddled by our religious extremists, and the toleration and manipulation of these intolerants by our establishment.

I cam up with articles related to old peace talks with narco-terrorist Gulbuddin Hekmatyar dating from June-July, the text’s of a “possible” peace deal, articles about talks about talks from October-November (which we know is related to the ultra-fake Mullah Mansoor) and something by Arnaud de Bochgrave that had promise, but died half way through. And speaking of died halfway through (keeping his role in bombing Serbia in the late-nineties in mind) R.I.P Richard Holbrooke.

RIP Richard Holbrooke 1941-2010

You know, I have a theory. That anybody who works, mind, body and soul to actually change Pakistan can actually die from over-exertion. My exhibit A for that was Mohammad Ali Jinnah, now exhibit B just might be Richard Holbrooke. And sometimes the sincerity of that effort gets people killed. Exhibit A, B, C and D are of course, Liaquat Ali Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. They were killed by enemies of the reform they promised. Except maybe Zia, who was killed possibly by people inside the army sick of him and his clique tying up promotions. But I digress. RIP Mr Holbrooke, nice to hear you were talking about Af-Pak peace right uptil the last minute. Even if it may have been jokes, peace is what we need to get to.

Anyway, coming back to the Fakileaks, which I`m sure drew you into this whole blog piece, my point is that any weird behaviour by our military establishment has to be looked at in the context of the eventual withdrawal of US forces and what they might leave behind in Afghanistan, the response of the psychopaths who have taken control in FATA, and the potential for greater chaos in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Althought let`s see how Ashura day`s toll of attacks turns out, it could be a bellweather for how raring the fanatics are to have a go inside Pakistan. Reports out of Karachi indicated a police administration in hyper-drive to try and control as many fanatics as possible. By the end of the day we will know if they succeeded. And beyond that, a question has to be asked of whether the militants themselves have been intimidated into pulling a strategic retreat to avoid ruining their oh-so-Stirling reputations. The militants by my account may not want to call “too” much attention to themselves. But of course there are random hotheads like the jerk who threw the grenade, and the one who lobbed the mortar.

Anyway, returning *again* to Fakileaks (sigh) there was Cyril Almeida’s article which I went to first thing on Dawn, and lo and behold my surprise when I saw it repeated on Five Rupees by Ahsan. Cyril Almeida’s piece nicely referenced YRG’s smalltimey-ness in the PM Gillani Vs PM Fahim debate. The second article Ahsan referenced was a piece by Azhar Abbas (the one who works for Geo, and his brother is *the* military spokesman of the ISPR). I had skimmed the article as it had been linked to in the twitterverse, and the tweeple tweeting it used it as an explanation for why Zaid Hamid was suddenly back on the scene. In that article though, there were a few responses that stuck out at me:

“Maliha Lodhi, Pakistan’s former ambassador to the UK and US saying that “There is acknowledgement in private about mistakes made in the past. But it is not translating into a long term strategic plan”.

To this I say “Of Course!” Pakistan needs a long term strategic indigenous plan, because dammit, its not like that the religiously fanatic folk aren’t thinking long term.
Returning back to what Azhar Abbas said:

“Our policy on the drone attacks is very clear and I don’t think there is any change in the policy, though for public consumption the government and the establishment will continue to oppose the attacks in the media,” said Mushahid Hussain.

Lodhi is even more critical of this style of policy. “No government can afford to have a covert policy of cooperation and overt position with the public, which is at odds with that policy,” she said.

This cognitive dissonance within the government’s own body is what creates the atmosphere for things like the Fakileaks scandal to be concocted.

But the big question is: Is it really a tactical move? Or is this the main strategy and the fight against extremism merely a tactical diversion?

This I’ll come back to later. Continuing:

Although, the intelligentsia, including media persons in Pakistan, are quite divided along ideological lines, WikiLeaks’ exposes are further crystallising this tendency. But the most disturbing aspect is the way Pakistani power brokers are trying to promote a particular mindset.

First off, the phrase intelligentsia is a little bit too high brow for Pakistan. It’s more like, “What’s been left”, after years of Ziaism, societally enforced lip service to Islam, 3 and a half decades of overt military rule, and a constant state of low intensity violence. But my bitterness digresses. In this little media/coffee klatch bubble of dueling electrons, dependent on black/grey fortunes or corporate/state enterprise jobs, yes, there has been a clear cleavage down the middle between those who want to live in a normal country and those who are materially satisfied but religiously conflicted with the current situation.

Many observers believe that in the days to come, one should again expect a rise in the extremist mindset.

Somebody said that would explain Zaid Hamid’s re-invigorated presence online and on television.

This will not just be restricted to the print media or TV screens, but will be visible on the streets of Pakistan as well.

Hello JI rallies on blasphemy.

It may be a welcome sign for those who wanted it as a tactical move.


But the coming months and years will tell us how flawed a move it is. General Zia is not here to see the monster he had created that had devoured hundreds of innocent lives.

We know.

His policy has divided and damaged our society almost beyond repair.

Tell us more.

The current policies will only make the situation worse for Pakistan.

Well then we need to stop fighting over faking cable and get to work on some sort of Afghan peace plan. There are Arab strategists thinking ten, twenty years down the road on how to build a khilafat in Pakistan. The more serious quote is this:

“Or is…the fight against extremism merely a tactical diversion”

This is the part that disgusted, and partially scared me. Is the fight against extremism a diversion just so that the military can shelter Mullah Umar, possibly Ayman Al-Zawahiri and Osama Bin Ladin? If a hemped up Californian Christian hippie can feel he’s getting close enough to be a few valleys in Chitral away from OBL, this tells you FUCK loads about what the hell our Military Establishment may be hiding or purely ignoring. Considering that Mullah Umar may have direct support from some of the JUI-F types, but Osama Bin Ladin and Ayman Al Zawahiri are providing direct inspiration for the sectarian terrorism in Pakistan. Is the Pakistan military establishment receiving money from the Saudis and Gulf to ignore where these people are hiding? The number 1 and 2 of Al Qaeda are criminals and murderers of Pakistanis. If as Ghost Wars says, that OBL travels with an entourage of a hundred stateless Arabs, Central and South Asians Muslims, arranged in concentric layers of security then it is very likely that, if our military hasn’t been beaten back by it, it has certainly run into it a couple of times.

Although, to be honest, I have to wonder about knowledge of militant activity down the chain of command. The last commander of XI Corps (the Corps that did all the fighting in Swat and Waziristan) lost his son in a gun-and-suicide attack. I am not trying to be insensitive when I bring this up, but it is a fact that has to be faced. Does this mean that he might have known where Ayman Al Zawahiri and Osama Bin Ladin were and did not act? Wow, that would take a lot of gumption.

It’s facts like these that put a two-by-four into speculation that the Pakistan military is only acting against militants tactically rather than strategically. Of course going against militants strategically would mean trying to clean up Madrassahs, the JUI-F, the JI and a host of other publicly appearing promoters of religious extremism. It would also mean giving Mullah Umar, and much of the Quetta Shura, and men in various managerial positions of various formerly Kashmir-centric groups the AQ Khan treatment.

The A.Q Khan treatment where we skip the public apology and appearing in public part and move straight into indefinite home detention, with restricted movement and little hope of leaving the area. This way these gentlemen do not get kidnapped, caught and made to squeal (on the Pakistanis) by various Indian or Western intelligence agencies. And the little boys, and boy-brained-men, they commanded have to all be accounted for, put on lists, and be educated/re-educated/de-programmed. Some with blood on their hands would have to be forced through the judicial system, while some others who escape and start killing (as they have been doing now for the last three years) would have to be killed, or threatened with death if they threaten to kill.

That would be Pakistan taking it’s strategic priorities seriously. Only part of this has happened, and that too haphazardly. This in a way belies claims by Indians, or worries by Pakistanis that the attacks on militant strongholds in Hamaa, I’m sorry, Swat and Waziristan, were not war crimes with no justification, or military displays to distract the west . No. Up till this moment in time, December 2010, they appear to be war crimes that had a purpose. To kill people who were set on the course of destroying everything left in Pakistan. It will be up to the Pakistan government’s capacity to rebuild, restore and re-autonomise the local populations of the regions that we had to invade and kill Taliban in, to make sure that the lives lost were not lost in vain.

In the meantime, as we demonstrated at least in the major cities, we have a minor moral victory, with Ashura passing “peacefully”, but this sort of tactical thinking has to stop. We have to move beyond the tactical thought processes into a strategic offensive against the sources of extremism within our country, primarily the lack of control of our security forces, and the aid that provides to religiously inclined assassins. Civilian security forces must be strengthened, expanded and aided in their evolution, maturisation and sophistication. Simultaneously, it will have to be public movements of Pakistani people, in concert with their political parties that take control of their public bodies. And looming above and beyond this, will have to be a plan for peace along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, and in Afghanistan itself.

Enough people have died, either violently or from the bad health that this region’s bad politics resonates with. Even if their leaders and friends are men and women with moderate amounts of blood on their hands, there is time and there are resources to control the situation, create an environment for a succession to a new generation of leadership, and prevent the situation from crossing a moral event horizon.

Source: Chapati Mystery

RIP Richard Holbrooke

RIP Hangu Six

RIP Karam Abbas

December 18, 2010

Misinforming Pakistan -by Huma Imtiaz

by admin

As 2010 comes to a close, Pakistan’s journalists are in mourning for their colleagues that have been taken from them in incidents of bombings and targeted killings. At least eight journalists have been killed in Pakistan this year, with three in September and two in December alone at the hands of violent extremists who have wreaked havoc in the country with suicide bombings that have claimed the lives of hundreds of people in Pakistan this year (CPJ).

While the sacrifices of these brave journalists will not go unnoticed, several elements in the print media are abusing the hard-earned freedoms these journalists have struggled for. The electronic media in Pakistan is still in its teething phase, having only been in existence for the last eight years. Pakistan’s print publications, on the other hand, have been around for decades. It is therefore extremely disappointing that several papers recently printed incorrect stories that have either been issued by unknown elements, or have been printed to capitalize on confusion with little regard for accuracy.

In December 2010, following Cablegate i.e. the publishing of confidential cables leaked by the organization Wikileaks, several of Pakistan’s leading newspapers in Urdu and English including The News, Jang, Nawa-e-Waqt, The Nation and Express Tribune published a story sourced from a wire agency Online that was based on fake Wikileaks cables. The focus of the story was US relations with India, which painted Indian generals in a bad light.

An investigation by The Guardian, which has access to the entire Wikileaks tranche of documents, reveals that Online had made up the story. Express Tribune, The News and Jang have published retractions, and Online, the news agency that published the initial report, has fired its editor, Siddique Sajid. However, the international coverage gained by the incident has cast reporting in Pakistan in a poor light and reinforced the idea of a conspiracy-hungry nation.

In another case of misreporting, electronic and print outlets reported on November 29, 2010 that the Lahore High Court had imposed a stay order on the President giving a pardon to Aasia Bibi. According to the report, Sherry Rehman, MNA-PPP and President of the Jinnah Institute, who had filed a bill in the National Assembly with amendments to the Blasphemy Laws was made a party in the case and served with a notice. However, after a scrutiny of the court records, it transpired that the court had not issued a stay order. Such lapses amount to contempt of court, and the print and electronic media outlets could be served with notices if the court takes action against them.

In another incident, in October 2010, electronic media outlets including Geo News, Aaj TV and others aired a story based on “sources” that the Government of Pakistan was reverting the notification of the appointment of Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry and other judges of the Supreme Court. The news led to speculation for hours on the electronic media and the issuance of a stay order by the SC against any such move (Dawn). The story turned out to be fake, as the Government denied any such development had taken place. The Supreme Court is currently holding an inquiry into the matter (Aaj News).

Platforms for hate speech

In December 2010, a leading Urdu daily published an editorial in support of a Peshawar cleric’s call to place head money on Aasia Bibi, a Christian woman facing the death penalty for allegedly committing blasphemy. Maulana Yusuf Qureshi, a cleric of the Mohabat Khan mosque in Peshawar, had announced a reward of Rs.500,000 for anyone who would kill Aasia Bibi. The editorial hailed the cleric’s move, stating, “What the government couldn’t do after a court decision, the nation will.”

A recent report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies highlighted the prevalent trends in the Urdu and English press in Pakistan, noting that columnists in Urdu newspapers were “writing with particular vitriol against external actors like India and the United States”.

Hate speech has no place in a free and accountable press; so far incidents such as these are at a minimum and should be dealt with before the increase in number and magnitude. The far more prevalent trend is that of misinformation and rumor.

The platform of the media that journalists and editors have struggled to keep free of censorship is being abused by a small minority. Concerned journalists and news owners must agree on rules of conduct to prevent such incidents from taking place in the future.

Source: Jinnah Institute

December 18, 2010

Shouldn’t General Kayani step down? -by Yousuf Nazar

by admin

I have followed the VikiLeaks revelations relating to Pakistan with a yawn but was amused by how papers like the Jang, the News, the Express Tribune, the Nation, and some others rushed to print and splashed agencies’ planted material across their front pages even when the source was questionable and had dubious credentials to say the least. Some of these newspapers are so lazy that they have been publishing foreign news wire (e.g. AFP)  reports covering the visit of Chinese prime minister Wen Jiabao to Pakistan.

There was hardly anything earth shaking in the cables of the US Embassy in Islamabad. For me personally, it was a vindication of the views I have expressed in the last four years. It is hardly a revelation that Zardari sought support from Americans. He has done so publicly, I have to add, without any shame.  But the pains taken by Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Diesel  to position themselves as ’pro-American’  and offer their good services are hilarious.

For those who have been shouting ‘this is our war’, the truth may been a wake up call. It is Pakistani establishment’s double game. So if Pakistanis want to root out extremism, they must fight the military establishment for outsourcing the so-called defence of Pakistan to criminal militias of all colors and shades.

The “experts” like Gen (rtd). Talat Masood and Prof. H. A. Rizvi should probably retire and anchors like Shahid Masood should leave journalism. But then this is our great ‘land of the pure’. If the politicians and the generals have no principles or self-respect, the experts and some of the ‘media stars’ are no different.

But I want to discuss the role of the top Army leadership. The defenders of Pakistan’s ‘territorial and ideological’ frontiers have been meeting the US Viceroy in Pakistan on regular basis and discussing domestic politics and their secret meetings with Israelis among other matters.

The most disappointing revelation was not how General Kayani has been deeply involved in domestic politics but how closely he had been interacting with the US Ambassador, seeking her views, and in effect, secure her blessings.

Please read the following excerpt from a cable dated March 12, 2009 sent by Ambassador Anne Patterson:

“During Ambassador’s fourth meeting in a week with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Kayani on March 10, he again hinted that he might, however reluctantly, have to persuade President Zardari to resign if the situation sharply deteriorates. He mentioned Asfundyar Wali Khan as a possible replacement. This would not be a formal coup but would leave in place the PPP government led by PM Gilani, thus avoiding elections that likely would bring Nawaz Sharif to power. We do not believe Army action is imminent. We do believe Kayani was laying down a clear marker so that, if he has to act, he can say he warned the U.S. in advance and gave us ample opportunities to pressure both sides to back down. Kayani is trying to leverage what he considers predominate U.S. influence over Zardari, instead of seeking a direct confrontation that could provoke an unhelpful civil-military clash.”

That our Army chief met four times during one week with the American envoy to discuss the issue of the reinstatement of Iftikhar Chaudhry and political confrontation that erupted between Zardari and Nawaz Sharif following the former’s schemes to disqualify him would have been enough in some other country as a reason enough for the Army Chief to step down. But not in this land of “Allah, America, and Army.” Kayani was sounding out the US if it would be ok to dislodge Zardari and replace him with Afsandyar. He obviously did not get a green signal because Zardari is still very much there and most likely will be around till the US Viceroy signals otherwise to the GHQ.

Source: State of Pakistan

December 17, 2010

Lost out – by Waseem Altaf

by admin

The Report: After the fall of Dacca, eight days later, on Dec 24, 1971, the then President of Pakistan Mr.Zulfikar Ali Bhutto set up the War Inquiry Commission, commonly known as the Hamood-ur-Rehaman Commission. It examined 213 witnesses, mostly Pakistani army officers, hundreds of classified documents and army signals between East and West Pakistan. The final report was submitted in November 1974, detailing how political, administrative, military, and moral failings were responsible for the surrender in East Pakistan.

The Findings: The report said: “The process of moral degeneration among the senior ranks of the armed forces was set in motion by their involvement in martial law duties in 1958 that these tendencies reappeared and were, in fact intensified when martial law was imposed once again in March 1969 by General Yahya Khan.”

“Due to corruption arising out of the performance of martial law duties, lust for wine and woman, and greed for lands and houses, a large number of senior army officers, particularly those occupying the highest positions, had not only lost the will to fight but also the professional competence necessary for taking the vital and critical decisions demanded of them for the successful prosecution of the war, “the commission observed.

According to the commission, these perversions led to the army brass willfully subverting public life in Pakistan. “In furtherance of their common purpose they did actually try to influence political parties by threats, inducements and even bribes to support their designs, both for bringing some of the political parties and the elected members of National Assembly to refuse to attend the session of the National Assembly scheduled to be held at Dacca on March 3, 1971.

“A fully civil government could not be formed in East Pakistan as had been announced by the ex-President. Dr. Malik an old man and politician had a weak personality. He could not annoy, the Martial Law Administrator (Lt. Gen. A.A.K. Niazi) also because of the unsettled conditions obtaining in the Wing. Gen Niazi, on the other hand, cherished and liked power, but did not have the breadth of vision or ability to understand political implications. He did not display much respect for the civilian Governor; the Army virtually continued to control civil administration”.

“The installation of a civilian governor in September 1971 was merely to hoodwink public opinion at home and abroad. Poor Dr. Malik and his ministers were figureheads only.

Real decisions in all important matters still lay with the army. In the first picture of the new Cabinet. Maj. Gen Farman Ali was prominently visible sitting on the right side of the Governor, although he was not a member of the Cabinet.”

The rot began at the very top from the East Pakistan army’s commander, Lt-General A.A.K.Niazi, who the commission said acquired a “notorious reputation for sexual immorality and indulgence in the smuggling of paan from East to West Pakistan”. The inevitable consequence was that “he failed to inspire respect and confidence in the minds of his subordinates with absolute absence of leadership qualities and determination; he also encouraged laxity in discipline and moral standards among the officers and men under his command”.

The Recommendations:

The Commission recommended Public Trial of the following Officers:

(1) General Yahya Khan, Former Commander-in-chief

(2) General Abdul Hamid Khan, ex Chief of Staff to the President

(3) Lt. Gen. S.G.M.M. Pirzada, ex PSO to the President

(4) Lt. Gen. Gul Hasan ex Chief of General Staff

(5) Maj. Gen. Ghulam Umar ex Second-in -Command of NSC

(6) Maj Gen A O Mitha ex Deputy Corps Commander

(7) Lt. Gen. Irshad Ahmad Khan, ex Commander 1 Corps

(8) Maj Gen Abid Zahid, ex GOC 15 Div

(9) Maj. Gen B.M. Mustafa, ex GOC 18 Div

The Commission recommended Court Martial of the following officers:

(1) Lt Gen A.A.K. Niazi, ex Commander, Eastern Command

(2) Maj Gen Mohammad Jamshed, ex-GOC 36 (ad hoc) Division,

(3) Maj Gen M. Rahim Khan, ex-GOC 39 (ad hoc) Division.

(4) Brig. G.M. Baqir Siddiqui, ex COS, Eastern Command, Dacca

(5) Brig Mohammad Hayat, ex Comd. 107 bde. (9 Div)

(6) Brig. Mohammad Aslam Niazi, ex Comd 53 Bde (39 Ad hoc Div.)

The Commission recommended Departmental Action against the following officers:

(1) Brig. S.A. Ansari, ex-Comd, 23 Bde,

(2) Brig. Manzoor Ahmad, ex-Comd 57 Bde 9 Div

(3) Brig. Abdul Qadir Khan, ex-Comd, 93 Bde. 36 Div

The Commission observed that the suitability of the following officers for continued retention in military service would not be justified:

(1) Maj Gen M.H. Ansari, GOC 9 Div.,

(2) MajGen Qazi Abdul Majid, GOC 14 Div.,

(3) Maj Gen Nazar Hussain Shah, GOC 16 Div

(4) Maj Gen Rao Farman Ali, ex Adviser to the Governor of East Pakistan.

(5) Plus 19 brigadiers.

The Commission further recommended that Armed Services should devise ways and means to ensure: –

(a) That moral values are not allowed to be compromised by infamous behavior particularly at higher levels;

(b) That moral rectitude is given due weight along with professional qualities in the matter of promotion to higher ranks;

(c) That syllabi of academic studies at the military academics and other Service Institutions should include courses designed to inculcate in the young minds respect for religious democratic and political institutions;

(d) That use of alcoholic drinks should be banned in military messes and functions;

(e) That serious notice should be taken of notorious sexual behavior and other corrupt practices

The Action: Nothing ever happened. The army’s role in splintering Pakistan after its greatest military debacle was largely ignored by successive Pakistani governments and many of those indicted by the commission were instead rewarded with military and political sinecures. Bhutto, reportedly, as Prime Minister personally ordered that each and every copy of the report be burnt. A copy of the final report was however saved, which was leaked and published in Indian magazine India Today in August 2000. The following day Pakistani Newspaper Dawn also published the supplementary report. General Pervez Musharraf said in October 2000 that the incidents in 1971 were a political as well as a military debacle, and that calls for generals to be tried were not fair.

The Aftermath: Had action been initiated against the accused, as recommended by the Commission, the nation could have averted the coup d’etat of Zia-ul-Haq, whose 11 year rule of infamy completely devastated the political as well as the socio-economic fabric of the state and society. Besides many irreversibles, it led to radicalization of the society, which is now clearly visible. The policies of that era invited foreign intervention which is so deep rooted now. And the role of intelligence agencies from media management to missing persons is so pervasive. We could have also averted the illegitimate takeover of Pervez Musharraf and whatever followed thereafter.

Fast Forward to 2010

· The military plays the most important overt and covert role in ruling this country.

· The military is in full control of our economic, defense and foreign policy.

· Actual annual defense budget amounting to 1000 billion (in 2001 it was 400 billion, with an annual increase of 10% it comes to 1000 billion) is allocated on direction from the military and there is no parliamentary oversight.

· According to human rights groups, 4500 persons are missing in Pakistan and nobody has any access to them.

· Wikileaks reports that in March 2009 the Chief of the Army Staff considered removing the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces and replacing him with the leader of ANP.

· The Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces considered his possible assassination by the military and advised his son to name his sister as President, in case he is eliminated.

December 17, 2010

Purveyors of fiction – by George Fulton

by admin

For those who don’t know Ahmad Quraishi, according to his website — — he is “a public policy writer, commentator and broadcaster”. In reality, he is widely known to be a crude propagandist for the army/intelligence nexus. At least Leni Riefenstahl’s Nazi propaganda films had artistic value. Noxious, yes, but art nonetheless. Sadly, no such claim can be made of Quraishi’s leaden prosaic prose.

He is also “one of the founders of PakNationalists, a supposed forum focusing on shaping Pakistan’s foreign and domestic policy options”. Actually it’s an anti-India bile-spewing machine that spreads untruths, smears and uncorroborated stories. His most recent article on his website, entitled “Guardian uses WikliLeaks for Propaganda, Pakistani Media Can’t?” is an astonishing convoluted defence of the fake cable that was exposed by Cafe Pyala and subsequently picked up by the Guardian correspondent, Declan Walsh and this newspaper’s blog section. The phrase ‘twisting in the wind’ comes to mind.

Quraishi begins by attempting to undermine the original story of the fake cable: “(The) Guardian’s Islamabad correspondent Declan Walsh claimed the stories were ‘credited to the Online Agency, an Islamabad-based news service that has frequently run pro-army stories in the past. No journalist is bylined’. Fabulous, only that it is not accurate. The story was published by the ‘Daily Mail of Pakistan’, a newspaper launched recently and staffed by journalists coming from the newsrooms of Pakistan’s frontrow newspapers.”

He goes on to say: “A large part of the original Pakistani report is credible. It was published by a prominent news organisation and the story has four names in the byline. The Guardian unethically tried to link the story to Pakistani intelligence agencies by suggesting the story comes with ‘no byline’ and can’t be sourced. The Guardian’s Mr Walsh compensated his lack of investigation by offering his own conspiracy theory that the report was planted by Pakistani intelligence agencies.”

Let’s state some facts. All the newspapers that ran the story did credit it to the Online news agency. No byline was given by any newspaper. It cannot be sourced. Ah, but what about this ‘Daily Mail of Pakistan’ that he quotes. Unfortunately, this is not an authentic newspaper but one that peddles propaganda. (It was ‘The Daily Mail of Pakistan’ that planted the bogus story that the Pakistan spot-fixing scandal was orchestrated by the Indian intelligence agency RAW.)

What about the bylines Mr Quraishi mentions on the ‘Daily Mail of Pakistan’ website? It’s true that the fake cable story is bylined “From Suzie Wang in Washington, Christina Palmer in New Delhi, John Nelson in Kabul and Ahmad-Almurad in Cairo”. The only problem is that these people don’t exist. They are figments of his imagination. I would love to meet Suzie Wang from Washington and Christina Palmer who apparently works in New Delhi.

Yes, it’s highly likely that the ‘Daily Mail of Pakistan’ — and all these other bogus websites (again Cafe Pyala has done a brilliant expose of these bogus sites) — are probably paid for by a budget that we, as taxpayers, and our elected officials do not have permission to scrutinise. Good to know, isn’t it.

So the question that comes to mind is: what is the point of Ahmed Quraishi’s article? He has been proven to peddle half-truths and misinformation on some rather shady websites. As a self-described nationalist, I am sure he would defend what he was doing as being for the greater good of Pakistan and its people. But I subscribe to Charles De Gaulle’s view of nationalists and nationalism: “Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first.” Mr Quraishi is a hate-monger. One must also wonder how much Mr Quraishi really loves the people of this country since he seems to make a living peddling half-truths to them.

December 16, 2010

The ISI media's two pronged strategy: From Ahmed Quraishi to Azhar Abbas

by admin

The front end: the ISI strikes back

Recently, the LUBP wrote an article titled “Pakistan Army owns up the ISI man on a suicide attack mission in India”. ‘Renowned’ nationalist, patriot, and ‘asset’, Ahmed Quraishi, took exception to our views and thus scolded the LUBP in the following words:

Ahmed Quraishi’s attack on the LUBP:

‘Et tu, PPPP?’

The stunning part is how a Pakistani website that is part of ruling PPPP’s network of online propaganda promptly in endorsed the Indian intelligence reports and supported the reports published by the Indian media. The site runs propaganda material for President Asif Zardari and other PPPP stalwarts. Senior journalist Hamid Mir accused this site of being run from Washington by Mr. Zardari’s close aide and envoy in Washington Husain Haqqani.

The PPPP site, called LUBP, in a post titled, Pakistan army owns up the ISI man on a suicide attack mission in India, said:

“Online factories of suicide bombers: An ISI production: LUBP has been boldly stating for the last many years that Pakistan Army’s continued policy of jihadi and sectarian suicide attacks […] Now it has been once again proven without doubt that jihadi and sectarian suicide attacks are an integral element of the Pakistan Army’s military strategy”

The link shows this PPPP site relying heavily on India propaganda. It did not verify if the Indian news is correct and posted two links, both of Indian TV channels, to prove the Indian allegations.

The Indian army chief is nincompoop who is willing to buy a junior intelligence analyst’s ridiculous story based on a minor data entry error. But what is PPPP’s excuse for endorsing Indian propaganda? And does President Zardari’s media adviser Mrs. Farahnaz Isphahani know what the party’s media cell’s kids are doing online?

Source: Ahmed Quraishi

LUBP’s position:

“Unlike Ahmed Quraishi, whose own network of lies is run directly from GHQ, LUBP does not take dictation from Farahnaz Isapahani or Hussain Haqqani. We publish whatever we think is the truth. Not something that anyone should expect Ahmed Quraishi to understand though.” (Source)

The back-end: more refined line of ISI’s defence

The more refined line of the ISI’s defence in Pakistani media can be seen in the shape of a recent, unusual article by Geo TV’s MD Azhar Abbas. The article titled “A tactical move or the main strategy?” was published on 16 Dec 2010 in The News.

At the onset, one must recall what the Jang Group (including its three prominent components, i.e., Geo TV, Jang and The News) has stood for in the last three years:

  1. A consistent, maligning campaign against an elected government thus confirming the Jang Group’s complicit role (Teen Jeem) with the military establishment;
  2. An incessant character assassination of President Asif Ali Zardari;
  3. Wide and unwarranted coverage to the ideology and sermons of jihadi and sectarian terrorists including but not limited to the Jamaat-e-Islami chief Munawar Hasan, extremist Deobandi mullahs Mufti Naeem and Mufti Hanif Jallandhri, Sipah-e-Sahaba’s chief Maulana Ahmad Ludhianvi, cultivators of Al Qaeda including Dr Zakir Naik and Farhat Hashmi etc.
  4. Promotion of notorious, blackmailing journalists including Dr Shahid Masood, Hamid Mir, Ansar Abbasi and Shaheen Sehabi with known contacts with the ISI and the MI;
  5. Failure to take adequate professional and legal action against Hamid Mir for his involvement in Khalid Khwaja’s murder.

Now let us see what Azhar Abbas had to say in the Jang Group’s defence:

Azhar Abbas wonders if the case of fake WikiLeak cable is “a case of an honest mistake, over-zealousness on the part of the writer, or a calculated plant by a section of our establishment? The publication of the fake WikiLeaks story has not only raised questions about the editorial controls within media organisations, but also about the “powers that be” and their apparent shortsighted objectives.”

In order to assess if it was a one-off case of an honest mistake, we suggest Mr Abbas may more retrospectively ask himself:

  • Has not the Jang Group (including Jang, The News and Geo TV) consistently acted as a willing partner and servant of the military establishment in the last three years?
  • Has not it played an integral and vital role in continuous character assassination of an elected president of this unfortunate country?
  • Has it not played a key role in propagating and reinforcing the military establishment’s “politicians-are-corrupt” mantra, while completely ignoring numerous incidents of financial, political and moral corruption of the military establishment?
  • Did it not play a damning role in partnership with the military establishment in its criticism of the Kerry Lugar Bill?
  • Is it not a fact that the ISI regularly offers formal and informal directions to media owners and editors about which news items are to be eliminated and which ones need to be twisted and highlighted? Most recently, the Army Chief himself dictated such talking points to the media.
  • Thus, are we dealing here with the case of a one off mistake, or has the Jang Group decided to come better prepared and better camouflaged next time?

On more than one occasions in this article, Mr Abbas has shown his selective or partial honesty. For example he writes: “Mohsin Baig, head of the Online news agency, has sacked the agency’s editor, charging him of “fabricating the story”.”

How conveniently he ignored the fact that Mohsin Baig is already known as the most volcal advocates of the GHQ and the ISI in media circles in Pakistan. Also, was it not Mr Baig himself who in an interview with BBC Urdu asserted that the cable was genuine:

اس بارے میں بی بی سی کے نامہ نگار حفیظ چاچڑ سے بات کرتے ہوئے خبر رساں ایجنسی آن لائن کے سربراہ محسن بیگ نےدعوٰی کیا یہ دستاویز اصل ہے۔ انہوں نے ان اخبارات پر تنقید کی جنہوں نے اس خبر پر معذرت شائع کی ہے۔

ان کے مطابق ’اگر ہماری خبر کی وکی لیکس تردید کر دے تو ان اخبارات کی معذرت جائز ہے اور وکی لیکس کی اس خبر کے انٹرنیٹ پر بے شمار لنکس موجود ہیں‘۔

محسن بیگ نے کہا کہ وکی لیکس کے دستاویزات شائع کرنے کا برطانوی اخبار گارڈین کے پاس کوئی اختیار نہیں ہے اور یہ دستاویزات انٹرنیٹ پر موجود ہیں اور انہیں کوئی بھی چھاپ سکتا ہے۔ انہوں نے ان خبروں کی بھی تردید کی جن میں کہا گیا ہے کہ خبر رساں ایجنسی کو یہ خبر مخصوص مقاصد پورے کرنے کے لیے دی گئی تھی۔

Is it just a coincidence that this wave of honesty has also entrapped Hamid Mir along with Azhar Abbas. Recently, in his interview with an Indian TV channel (Times Now), Mir admitted the role of the (military) establishment in planting the fake cable story:

Leading Pakistani newspapers acknowledged that they were hoaxed into publishing reports based on fake WikiLeaks cables that contained stories of factionalism in Indian army and accused New Delhi of sponsoring militant groups. The reports splashed prominently in several papers including The News and The Express Tribune, a partner of the International Herald Tribune, quoting alleged US diplomatic cables to confirm bias Pakistani views and conspiracy theories about India particularly about Jammu and Kashmir. The two papers today carried prominent apologies on their front pages regarding the report they had published yesterday on alleged disclosures in purported diplomaticcables from the US embassy in Delhi about Indian Army generals and the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. TIMES NOW’s Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami debates the issue with Maroof Raza, TIMES NOW Strategic Affairs Expert; Farrukh Dhondy, Author and Former Commissioning Editor, Channel 4 and Hamid Mir, Executive Editor, Geo TV.

To understand the establishment’s next strategy, one must carefully listen to what their own man, the notorious Mushahid Hussain, is saying to Azhar Abbas: ““It is quite clear that some people did try to manipulate the information to save their skin. But it was done in a very crude manner and they were caught with their pants down.”

In other words, Mushahid Hussain is suggesting that information may be manipulated to save the military establishment’s skin but this must be done in a refined manner. In principle, Mushahid Hussain agrees with Ahmed Quraishi’s suggestion that if Guardian uses WikliLeaks for propaganda, why can’t Pakistani media do the same?

Further, Azhar Abbas writes: “Political and security observers believe a concerted effort is once again being made to encourage and promote a typical extremist mindset. Some analysts-cum-anchors have re-emerged from quasi-oblivion. Many journalists and analysts are briefed and encouraged to take an aggressively anti-West, especially anti-US, stance. Experts, who ‘preach’ extremism in disguise, are encouraged to participate in talk shows.”

Wait a minute. Is Mr Abbas now admitting that Hamid Mirs, Shahid Masoods, Ansar Abbasis, Kamran Khans etc of the Jang Group have been towing the military establishment’s line in the last three years and even before? Does he mean to assure the people of Pakistan that Jang Group’s anchors, reporters and analysts will take no further dictations from the military establishment? Not even from Mr Abbas’s own brother, the chief spokesman of the Pakistan Army?

Mr Abbas writes: “It is no secret that there were those in the media and clergy who openly opposed the Army’s campaign against the militants in Swat and tried their best to put the armed forces’ objectives and intention in doubt.”

How conveniently he ignored to mention the heroic role played by the ANP and the PPP, Asfandyar Wali Khan and Asif Ali Zardari in particular, in convincing the army to start an operation clean up in Swat. Indeed, no Swat Operation would have started or been successful in the absence of sacrifices of dozens of the ANP workers and leaders who refused to remain dominated by extremist Deobandis and Wahhabis in their province.

Along with Nadeem Paracha, I too am worried that “Is veteran journalist, author and media commentator, late Zamir Niazi’s fear and warnings about the Pakistani media becoming a chaotic hub of agency men who are amorally willing to lie and cheat to protect even the most atrocious ways of their patrons in the figurative establishment be true? Perhaps.”

In my view, supporters of free media including journalists, anchors, reporters and bloggers need to understand the ISI media’s two pronged strategy.

The goal is common for Ahmed Quraishi (and his likes) and Azhar Abbas (and his likes). The only difference is in the level of refinement.

One operates at the front end, the other at the back end. One is widely known for his contacts with the military establishment because of his upfront and crude manners, other is rather subtle and refined (save the fake cable saga) in its promotion of the military establishment’s agenda.

In my assessment, it is the subtle and refined worms in Pakistan’s “free” media who are most dangerous not only for freedom of information and its unadulterated access to the common public but also for the very foundations of this unfortunate country that these worms are eating from inside.

December 14, 2010

WikiLeaks, journalists and that elusive public interest -by Jonathan Holmes

by admin

Related articles:

Progressive Pakistani bloggers in support of Julian Assange

Don’t shoot the messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths – by Julian Assange

Assange: charges are part of campaign to close down WikiLeaks, he vows to fight extradition

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks VS Mir Shakil ur Rahman’s Mickeyleaks

It’s an unusual event: an open letter to the Prime Minister signed by the editor or editor-in-chief of almost every significant mainstream news medium in the nation – radio, television and newspapers – with the sole exception, interestingly, of The Australian‘s Chris Mitchell.

Its essential point is that WikiLeaks ‘is part of the media and deserves our support’; that prosecuting it or its editor, Julian Assange, because WikiLeaks has published confidential government documents would be unprecedented in the United States, and in Australia, ‘would seriously curtail Australian media organisations reporting on subjects the Government decides are against its interests’.

In other words, the Walkley Foundation’s letter is an elaboration of the attack made in his acceptance speech last Thursday night by Gold Walkley winner Laurie Oakes on the Government’s reaction to WikiLeaks.

All very admirable. And I want to make it clear, for what it’s worth, that I agree with the letter’s arguments as, he tells me, does Chris Mitchell.

But there are a few other points that bear repeating, lest the media get too carried away with the notion that by publishing the WikiLeaks cables it is exclusively serving ‘the public interest’.

First, nobody seems to be defending the alleged leaker of this unprecedented trove of secret documents, Private First Class Bradley Manning of the US Army. It seems generally agreed that Private Manning is facing up to 50 years in prison for his indiscretion. Yet despite all the talk about whistleblowers, shield laws and the media’s duty to let daylight into the processes of government, no-one is claiming, seriously, that Manning’s actions could be justified under the law of the United States or almost anywhere else.

If the allegations against him are proven, Private Manning will be revealed as a leaker, not a whistleblower. With some notable exceptions (Hillary Clinton’s requirement that her diplomats spy on the UN, for example) the vast mass of these documents do not reveal wrongdoing, corruption or malfeasance, but the normal activities of diplomats, reporting frankly under the understandable assumption that their reports would remain confidential.

Yes, of course their publication causes intense embarrassment, to the US State Department and to many of the subjects of the cables. Whether that embarrassment, and the effect it will have on the ability of diplomats everywhere (and anyone else who relies on the confidentiality of electronic communication) to report frankly to their superiors or colleagues, is ‘in the public interest’, is very much an open question.

Second, Private Manning went to WikiLeaks, presumably, because he felt that his identity would be better protected by that organisation than by any other. That may be the case. It does not seem to be through any action or negligence on WikiLeaks’s part, but through his own indiscretions, that Bradley Manning came to the attention of the US authorities. However, one reason why neither Julian Assange, nor WikiLeaks, nor any of the great newspapers which are its collaborators in the document release, have been under any pressure to reveal their source, is that the US government has convinced itself (rightly or wrongly) that the source is already known and in custody.

That being the case, the entire justification for WikiLeaks’s existence – its ability to protect its sources through its unique information-laundering and encryption techniques – is irrelevant in this instance.

Third, Julian Assange has made another claim for WikiLeaks, which he says sets it apart from other media organisations. According to this op-ed in The Australian last week:

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

Well, WikiLeaks clearly doesn’t insist on ‘scientific journalism’ being practised by all the media outlets with which it’s working. The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald are still publishing story after story by Philip Dorling – stories that have deeply embarrassed or compromised Kevin Rudd, Mark Arbib, Joel Fitzgibbon, and Stephen Gumley, to name just a few, not to mention the US Embassy in Canberra. But we can’t judge for ourselves if Dorling has reported accurately or fairly, because Fairfax hasn’t posted a single cable online.

On Monday I sent an email to SMH editor-in-chief Peter Fray, asking him why not. His response (read it in full here) makes it clear that the primary reason is to protect not the public, but Fairfax’s commercial, interest:

…the volume of material in the Australian referenced cables means we are still mining the source documents. There are, for instance, several potential stories in each cable; to put the material online would be to give access to our competitors in the local market.

That’s not a line of reasoning that has prevented The Guardian, the New York TimesDer SpiegelLe Monde or any other of WikiLeaks’s collaborators from posting cables online to support their stories; and it would seem to be in direct contravention of the principles espoused by Julian Assange. Perhaps he’s been too preoccupied by other matters recently to have noticed.

Philip Dorling has undoubtedly scored a major scoop for Fairfax. Most of the stories he’s writing – and there are goodness knows how many to come – are fascinating, especially to politics and foreign policy junkies. But we’re having to take them on trust, and we shouldn’t have to. And very few are telling us stuff we didn’t already know (Kevin Rudd’s a control freak; Defence Procurement is a mess; China doesn’t like the Defence White Paper): what they are telling us is that the US Embassy knew it too, often before we did. Surprise, surprise.

Government ministers hold power because their party secured a majority of votes (or it did before August 2010). Nobody elected a single one of the signatories of the Walkley Foundation’s letter.

So while we’re all enjoying the humiliation of ministers and ex-ministers – a great Australian sport, which right now we seem to be better at than cricket – we should also remember to exercise towards the media’s more grandiose claims that other talent for which Australians are supposedly famous: bullshit detection.

Jonathan Holmes is the presenter of ABC TV’s Media Watch.


December 14, 2010

Wikileaks cables: US worry over UK homegrown extremism

by admin

According to the BBC, US concerns that the UK was struggling to cope with homegrown extremism have been revealed in new Wikileaks cables.

One cable said the British government made “little progress” in engaging with the UK’s Muslim community after the 7 July 2005 terror attacks in London.

The communication was delivered to Washington from the American embassy in London in August 2006.

The cable said tensions continued, with some British Muslims blaming UK foreign policy for inciting extremism.

‘Time and resources’
The document, details of which appear in the Guardian newspaper, was sent shortly after an open letter highly critical of British government policy signed by prominent Muslims, including Labour MP Sadiq Khan, who is now shadow justice secretary, was published.

The cable referred to anger among some British Muslims about issues such the arrest of suspects over the failed transatlantic airliner bomb plot and then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s failure to call for a ceasefire after Israel’s assault on Lebanon.

It said: “Since 7/7, HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] has invested considerable time and resources in engaging the British Muslim community. The current tensions demonstrate just how little progress has been made.

“At the same time, the Muslim community’s reaction to the arrests of 24 of its own sons – a knee-jerk reaction blaming HMG – shows that its leaders too have far to go.

That said, the Muslim community is not the only element in Britain blaming HMG’s foreign policy for inciting radical elements; the left in particular but even the mainstream press has expressed the belief, reportedly widespread, that homegrown terrorism is an ‘inevitable’ response to the UK’s involvement in Iraq and reluctance to call for an ‘immediate ceasefire’ in the Middle East.”

Ballot worry

In another of the leaked documents, a US diplomat in Kenya expressed the concern that a change of government in the 2010 UK general election would result in ministers with a “simplistic point of view” over terrorism.

The message was sent after a counter-terrorism meeting between British and American officials in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa in October 2009.

The revelations come on the day that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is due in court in London to fight extradition to Sweden where he denies sexually assaulting two women.

In a separate leak of cables also published on Tuesday, a US diplomat in Portugal said UK police helped “develop” evidence against Madeleine McCann’s parents.

Wikileaks has released a series of US diplomatic cables that have appeared in the Guardian and several other newspapers around the world.

Islamist Texts in London Libraries: reports that radical Islamic texts, including ones authored by extremists banned from entering the United Kingdom, can be found at libraries throughout London. The journalists found “hundreds” of extremist books, videos and audiotapes as part of the investigation.

“The MLA guidance on controversial material supports libraries as they make case by case decisions about what to stock. However, there are powers to ban terrorist publications within the Terrorism Act 2006 and it is up to police to decide when and how they are used,” the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council told Channel 4.

Among the extremist authors whose texts are available at the libraries is Sheikh Yousef al-Qaradawi, the top Muslim Brotherhood theologian who publicly supports suicide bombings and violent jihad. He was condemned by European Muslim groups last year after saying that the Holocaust was a judgment from Allah upon the Jews and that he hoped Muslims would carry out the next judgment.

The journalists also found texts by Abdullah al-Fisal, Bilal Philips and Muhammad bin Jamil Zino, Delwar Hossain Sayeedi and Maulana Masood Azhar, all of which have public records of preaching in support of violent jihad and acts of terrorism.

“There should absolutely be a ban on hate books being bought with taxpayers’ money. Existing books that have be flagged as inciting hatred should be identified and removed from our libraries and schools,” Emma Boon of the Taxpayers’ Alliance told Channel 4.

December 13, 2010

How to kill the Shia snake: Letter from brother Abdullah – by Hakim Hazik

by admin

Related article:

Shia-phobia of Saudi Arabia and the institutional genocide of Shia Muslims in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan

Source: Justice Denied

When the head is rotten it affects the whole body. We must kill the snake. We must crush the head. The Ummah is surrounded on all sides by enemies of the faith who are conspiring day and night to bring infamy and disorder into our ranks. We must stand united to thwart all these efforts.

Those infernal Persians have no right to speak on behalf of the Ummah. They are a blot on the name of the Faith. They are inciting treason and hatred in the Eastern Province. We pray to the Almighty to quell their mischief. We pray to the almighty US to extinguish the evil of Bushehr with the help of the blessed Stealth™ technology and in collaboration with IDF. We pray to the almighty Centcom to protect the holy oil terminal of Ras Tannurah so that the holy pipe lines keep running and the blessed oil tankers ply through the Holy Strait.

The Ummah had a glorious history but it has seen ups and downs of history. One of the most painful moments was when giant portraits of Hasan Nasrullah were displayed in the streets of Cairo after the last Lebanon war. We pray to the Almighty God, to deliver the Ummah from these unbearable crises and allow the faithful to follow the pure and unsullied message as promoted by the Al Sheikh Abdul Wahab and as affirmed by the greatest human to walk on the desert sand, the founder of the House, the servant of God, King Abdul Aziz bin Saud.

The House has left no stone unturned to uplift the lot of its loyal subjects. We have spared no expense to strengthen the defences of the Kingdom. The gleaming squadrons of F15 aircraft are a testimony to our commitment. In matters of defence Prince Bandar is the primate. He has spent forty billion dollars of the holy fossil fuel income to reward the British Aerospace for the services rendered. A billion or two in his own pious pocket are of no consequence. God protect him from the lies and calumnies of the enemies of Islam and the petty pen pushers of the Serious Fraud Office. May God give the gift of health and happiness to the Duke of York and to Lord Blair of Kut al Ammara.

Zardari of course has brought the curse of corruption to the sister Islamic Republic. Even worse, he has brought the curse of democracy to the brothers of the Islamic Republic. When my brother in Islam, General Tinpot was in control, the Republic was free of these evils. Even now, I think Brother Field Marshal Kayani should do right thing and save the Republic in same way that it has been saved a number of times before by determined men acting in supreme national interest.

Issued with the seal of

His Supreme Royal Highness
King ABA Aziz
Servant to the twin Holy Cities (of Riyadh and Tel Aviv)

And with the seal of

Julian Assange

December 12, 2010

WikiLeaks cyber war: pro-Assange Anonymous v US nationalists

by admin

Hundreds of Australians rally in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Sydney on Friday. Photo: AFP

The controversy surrounding WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has started a heated cyber war between Mr Assange’s supporters and a group of patriotic Americans.

And a Sydney member of the pro-WikiLeaks cyber attackers has revealed he is disillusioned with the group, saying they “couldn’t organise a piss-up in a pub”.

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Last week, a group of loose-knit cyber attackers dubbed Anonymous took down the websites of MasterCard, Visa and PayPal in retaliation for the companies’ refusal to process WikiLeaks-related transactions following pressure from US politicians.

The attacks were named “Operation Payback” but now a group of American nationalists is counter-attacking Anonymous under the banner “Operation Fightback”.

“For the continued defense of our nations (sic) people & businesses,” the tagline of the new group’s Twitter page, @AnonymousDown, reads, above a link to a YouTube clip of “God Bless the USA”.

“Malicious tactics being employed by the Anonymous movement will not be tolerated … freedom of speech is one thing, personal and corporate infrastructure is another,” the operator of the Twitter page wrote.

Using the same methods as Anonymous – distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, which flood servers with millions of requests – the Operation Fightback group has been able to seriously disrupt Anonymous’s operations and prevent it from launching new attacks.

Anonymous members used a software application called Low Orbit Ion Cannon (LOIC) to launch their attacks, which received its instructions on which targets to attack from an Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel.

A Sydney-based member of Anonymous, who spoke to this website last week, said today that the IRC server used by the group had been knocked offline by the Operation Fightback counter-attackers. This had prevented them from launching new attacks.

“It seems to be going to hell in a bucket,” he said in a phone interview.

The man said that, in addition to attacking the Anonymous IRC servers, the Operation Fightback group had also been putting up fake targets to confuse Anonymous members and get them to attack the wrong IP addresses.

“There are still people hanging around on the Operation Payback channel and trying to co-ordinate attacks and the last known target was, but that seems to be falling apart because of both the DDoS on the IRC channel as well as people getting IP banned when they launch attacks against,” he said.

“ administrators appear to be actively monitoring incoming packets and they’re doing IP blocks on wherever an attack is coming from.”

Anonymous members are just ‘script kiddies’

The Sydney Anonymous member has grown increasingly disillusioned with his colleagues over the weekend, saying today that they were “really just ordinary dumb shit kids” who do not know much about network technology.

He said attacks on PayPal failed for the most part because PayPal had a sophisticated server farm that could not be knocked out by a DDoS attack, and the Anonymous members were hitting the wrong target.

“If they would’ve gone after PayPal’s domain name server [DNS] they would have been able to shut down PayPal entirely but they didn’t know enough about network technology to work that out,” he said.

The Sydney Anonymous member said the group had also failed in similar attempts to attack Amazon, which last week refused to host WikiLeaks files. Some of Amazon’s European websites suffered a half-hour outage over the weekend but it was not clear whether this was caused by cyber attacks.

He said that, rather than being full-blown hackers, the Anonymous members were “script kiddies” who only knew how to download the LOIC program and run it.

“They’re very unprofessional, illogical and irrational and very much their actions are based upon emotions,” he said.

“They don’t organise well, they don’t co-ordinate well and it’s a lot like CB radio back in the 1970s – people farting into the microphone. These people couldn’t organise a piss-up in a pub.”

Contrary to the group’s name, Anonymous members who used the LOIC program to attack targets could easily be traced and identified, The University of Twente in Holland said in new research. Dutch police have already arrested two teenagers over the attacks.

James Lewis, a specialist in cyber security at Washington think tank the Centre for International and Strategic Studies, played down the attacks, saying it was more like a “noisy political demonstration” than a cyber war as only websites were knocked out, not back-end systems.

“For me, this is political theater, kabuki – entertaining and perhaps influential, but much less than war,” he said.

Change of strategy

While there is no central command structure to Anonymous and several splinter groups have formed, a statement put out over the weekend said Anonymous was changing tactics, abandoning its strategy of online attacks on organisations seen as hostile to WikiLeaks.

In an overnight blog post, Anonymous said it now aimed to publish parts of the confidential US diplomatic cables as widely as possible and in ways that made them as hard as possible to trace.

“We have, at best, given them a black eye. The game has changed. When the game changes, so too must our strategies,” said the blog post announcing “Operation: Leakspin”.

The activists are now encouraging supporters to search through leaked cables on the WikiLeaks site and publish summaries of ones that have been least exposed, labelling them so they are hard to find by any authority seeking to quash them.

“Use misleading tags, everything from ‘Tea Party’ to ‘Bieber’. Post snippets of the leaks everywhere,” the blog said, referring to the US grassroots conservative movement and the 16-year-old Canadian pop phenomenon Justin Bieber.

US charges imminent

Mr Assange is in isolation at London’s Wandsworth prison awaiting hearings related to Sweden’s request to extradite him to face sexual misconduct allegations.

Mr Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, who is defending the Australian-born activist in the Swedish rape investigation, told Britain’s Daily Mail that he has seen secret police documents that prove he is innocent of rape claims made against him by two women in Stockholm.

One of his other lawyers, Jennifer Robinson, has said an indictment brought by the US under the Espionage Act, over separate allegations that Mr Assange unlawfully leaked hundreds of thousands of US State Department cables, was imminent.

The Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, seemed to be at odds with the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, and the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, when he said that, despite suggestions by Mr McClelland that Mr Assange’s passport may be cancelled, the final decision rested exclusively with him.

Ms Gillard and Mr McClellend have accused Mr Assange of undertaking illegal acts but have since been unable to specify exactly which laws he had broken. Mr Rudd has blamed the diplomatic cable leaks on the US, saying it did not secure its systems.

Over the weekend Mr McClelland said it could be a year before the Australian Federal Police was able to determine whether WikiLeaks committed a criminal act.

Efforts to stem the embarrassing leaks could be futile as, even if WikiLeaks is shut down, competing sites will spring up immediately to take its place. One site, Openleaks, staffed by WikiLeaks defectors, is due to launch this week.


December 12, 2010

WikiLeaks: A conspiracy against Pakistan and Muslim ummah – by Saleem Safi

by admin

Saleem Safi (as an IJT activist in his college days) with Gulbuddin Hikmatyar

Related articles:

Progressive Pakistani bloggers in support of Julian Assange

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks VS Mir Shakil ur Rahman’s Mickeyleaks

سازش، سازش اور سازش
جرگہ…سلیم صافی

سازش، سازش اور سازش۔ کان پک گئے اس لفظ کو سنتے سنتے۔ اپنی حماقتوں کی سزا دہشت گردی کی صورت میں ملے تو آواز بلند ہوتی ہے کہ سازش ، سازش۔

حقیقی علمائے دین بیان کرتے ہیں کہ خود احتسابی کی بجائے اپنی غلطیوں کیلئے دوسروں کو ذمہ دار قرار دینا قرآنی اصولوں کے منافی عمل ہے۔ وہ بتاتے ہیں کہ کفارمکہ اور یہود ونصاریٰ حضورﷺ کے خلاف ہمہ وقت ریشہ دوانیوں میں مصروف رہتے تھے لیکن جواب میں حضورﷺ نے خوداحتسابی اور تزکیہ نفس پر زور دیا۔ جنگ احد میں مسلمانوں کو نقصان اٹھانا پڑا توقرآن نے مخالفین کی سازشوں کے تذکرے کے بجائے اصحاب رسولﷺ کو متنبہ کیا۔

سازش دنیا کی ہر غالب قوت کرتی رہتی ہے اوریقینا امریکہ اس معاملے میں کسی سے پیچھے نہیں۔ یہود وہنود کا سازشی ہونا تو ایک تاریخی حقیقت ہے ۔اس وقت مسلمانوں اور بالخصوص جہادیوں کو امریکہ اپنے لئے خطرہ سمجھتا ہے اورلاریب پاکستان کا ایٹمی پروگرام بھی یہود وہنود کو گوارا نہیں۔بلاشبہ مسلمان امت اور پاکستان کو قابو میں رکھنے کے لئے بھی وہ ہر حربہ استعمال کررہے ہیں لیکن سوال یہ ہے کہ کیا چین کا موجودہ یا متوقع مقام و مرتبہ انہیں گوارا ہے؟ سوال یہ ہے کہ یہ سازش ان کے خلاف کارگر کیوں نہیں؟ ملائیشیاء کے خلاف اس طرح کی سازشیں کیوں کامیاب نہیں ہوئیں اور ترکی کیوں مغربی اثر سے آزاد ہوتا جارہا ہے؟ شیکسپئر نے کہا تھا کہ اگر آپ کی کمر ٹیڑھی نہ ہو تو اس پر دوسرا سواری نہیں کرسکتا ۔
(A man can not ride your back unless it is bent)

جو فرد یا قوم اپنی کمزوری یا نااہلی سے مخالف کے لئے جگہ نہیں چھوڑتی،اس کے خلاف سازش کامیاب نہیں ہوسکتی۔ اچھا ہی بہانہ ہے جو ہم نے تراش رکھا ہے اپنی ہر بے وقوفی، نااہلی اور دوغلے پن پر پردہ ڈالنے کے لئے ۔

کشمیر اگر آج ہندوستان کے زیرتسلط ہے تو اس میں خود اس وقت کی مسلم لیگی قیادت اور بعد کی ہماری پالیسیوں کا بھی بڑا دخل ہے لیکن ہم اپنے احتساب کی بجائے صرف یہ کہتے پھر رہے ہیں کہ بس ہندوستان نے سازش کی، اس لئے کشمیر غلام رہ گیا۔ مشرقی پاکستان کی علیحدگی کا راستہ ہماری حماقتوں، زیادتیوں اور بلنڈرز نے ہموار کیا لیکن آج بھی اپنی غلطیوں کے اعتراف کے بجائے ہم نئی نسلوں کو بتارہے ہیں کہ ہم نے تو کوئی غلطی نہیں کی لیکن ہندوستان اور امریکہ نے سازش کے ذریعے اسے الگ کیا۔ آنکھیں بند کرکے ہم نے سوویت یونین کے خلاف امریکہ کے منصوبے میں اپنے معاشرتی اسٹرکچر کو تباہ کرکے فرنٹ لائن اسٹیٹ کا کردار ادا کیا۔ یہ نہیں سوچا کہ اس جنگ کا فائدہ کس کو ہوگا اور خود ہمیں کیا بھیانک نتائج بھگتنے ہوں گے اور پھر جب غلط نتیجہ نکلا تو خوداحتسابی کی بجائے ہم بڑی آسانی کے ساتھ کہتے پھررہے ہیں کہ ہماری قربانیوں سے تو افغانستان کو جنت بن جانا تھا لیکن امریکہ نے سازش کرکے مجاہدین کو آپس میں لڑوایا۔

اس وقت وزیرستان سے لے اسلام آباد تک اور باجوڑ سے لے کر کراچی تک آگ و خون کا جو کھیل جاری ہے اس کی نظریاتی بنیادیں ہم نے خود استوار کیں، اس کے لئے ماحول خود بنایا اور دونوں طرف اسی دھرتی کے اپنے ہی بچے ایک دوسرے کے خلاف مورچہ زن ہیں لیکن ہم سازش، سازش اور سازش کی ورد کرتے ہوئے بڑی آسانی کے ساتھ اپنے آپ کو مبرا کرنا چاہتے ہیں۔سوال یہ ہے کہ ہم اگر آپس میں نہ لڑتے تو یہود وہنود کی سازش کیسے کامیاب ہوتی ؟

آج اگر مغربی اقوام دنیا پر حکمرانی کررہی ہیں تو اس کی ایک بڑی وجہ یہ بھی ہے کہ وہ اپنا احتساب کرتی ہیں اور ہم پاکستانی اگر ذلیل و خوار ہورہے ہیں تو ایک وجہ یہ بھی ہے کہ ہم اپنی غلطیوں کے اعتراف کی بجائے ان کے لئے عذر تلاش کرتے اور ناکامی کو بھی کامیابی باور کرانے کی کوشش کرتے رہتے ہیں۔ میں جب پہلی مرتبہ امریکہ گیا تو یہ دیکھ کر حیرت ہوئی کہ جو جنگیں (سوویت یونین کے خلاف افغان جنگ یا عراق کی پہلی جنگ) انہوں نے جیتی ہیں، ان کی کوئی یادگار موجود نہیں لیکن ہاری ہوئی جنگ ویتنام کی یادگاریں ہر جگہ نظرآتی ہیں۔ ایک امریکی گائیڈ سے اس کی وجہ پوچھی تو کہنے لگے کہ جنگ ویتنام کی یادگاریں اس لئے بنائی ہیں تاکہ وہ ہمیں اپنی غلطی کی یاد دلاتی رہیں اور ہم مستقبل میں اس غلطی کو نہ دہرائیں۔ اس کے برعکس ہم ہیں کہ ہندوستان کے مقابلے میں ہاری ہوئی جنگوں کا تذکرہ کرنے سے گھبراتے ہیں۔

سازش، سازش اور سازش کے نعرے لگا لگا کر ہماری مذہبی اور سیاسی قیادت نے پاکستانی قوم کی ایسی عجیب وغریب نفسیات بنادی ہیں کہ اب اسے ہر کام سازش نظر آتی ہے اور اس کی اکثریت کے لئے سچ اور جھوٹ، کھرے اور کھوٹے یا پھر دوست اور دشمن میں تمیز کرنا مشکل ہوگیا ہے۔ وکی لیکس کی ابتدائی انکشافات سامنے آئیں تو جماعت اسلامی کے سید منور حسن میدان میں آئے اور اسے اسلام اور پاکستان کے خلاف سازش سے تعبیر کیا۔ پھر جس کا نام آتا رہا وہ اسے یہود وہنود کی سازش باور کرانے کی کوشش کرتا رہا

لیکن حقیقت یہ ہے کہ جولین اسانج نے امریکہ کو جو نقصان پہنچایا وہ لاکھوں دھرنوں، ہزاروں مخالفانہ کتابوں بلکہ مسلمان انتہاپسند تنظیموں کی کارروائیوں سے بھی اسے نہیں پہنچا۔ ان لوگوں کی حرکتوں سے تو بعض اوقات امریکہ کو فائدہ پہنچتااور اسلام یا پاکستان کے خلاف اس کا کیس مضبوط ہوتا ہے لیکن جولین اسانج نے اس کے مکروہ چہرے پر سے نقاب اتار کے رکھ دیا اور مستقبل میں امریکیوں کی سفارت کاری اور جاسوسی کے کام کو نہایت مشکل بنا دیا۔

جولین اسانج کی اس کاوش کا مسلمانوں اور پاکستانیوں کو بھی بہت فائدہ پہنچا۔ہمارے مقتدر طبقات کے وہ کرتوت جو ہم جیسے اخبار نویس ہزار سالوں میں بھی سامنے نہیں لاسکتے تھے، وکی لیکس کی رپورٹس سے سامنے آگئے۔ مسلمان حکمران اب مستقبل میں قوم فروشی کرتے ہوئے کم از کم ذرا احتیاط سے کام لیں گے۔

تماشہ یہ ہے کہ جن لوگوں نے وکی لیکس کو امریکہ کی سازش سے تعبیر کیا ، وہ بھی اب وکی لیکس کے مواد کواپنے مخالفین کے خلاف استعمال کررہے ہیں ۔سازشی تھیوریز پھیلانے والوں پرکئی صفحات لکھے جاسکتے ہیں لیکن یوں بھی ختم کرنا ضروری ہے کہ کہیں اس کالم کو بھی امریکی سازشوں کی فہرست میں شمار نہ کردیا جائے ۔

Source: Jang, 12 Dec 2010

December 12, 2010

Wikileaks and Pakistani Media – by Naveed Ali

by admin

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A glaring example of how ISI dictates Pakistani newspapers: The case of a missing WikiLeak cable

Zafar Hilaly’s ‘hate India’ op-ed in service of his masters in the ISI

Mohsin Baig’s Online-International News Network: A news ‘agency’ you can trust!

It’s been two weeks since Wikileaks started releasing cables. Be it Iraq War, Relations with Iran or the Afghan War, its all gossip which has documented mistrust amongst leaders. What appears as a conclusion from these leaks is a mistrust between leaders and reliance of leadership on foreigners, it also appears clearly that they depend on foreign powers as support and guarantee of their control over the cords of Pakistan’s administrative setup.  Another important aspect of the leaks on regional (Middle East) politics is distrust and fear of the leadership of mostly Islamic countries over each other and their citizens. Leaks shed light on their efforts to keep their public in dark over matters of internal security, foreign relations and hence involvement of foreign powers in their internal affairs as mediators and consultants.

There has been an overwhelming response from Pakistani media including TV talk shows, interviews from prominent personalities, scholars and experts and columns in newspapers.  Most important aspect of this response is insistence that there must be a conspiracy behind the leaks and some hidden agenda by powers which are conspirators and want to turn events for their advantage. It is not necessary to provide any references here because objective is not to point to a particular person; one can skim through newspapers and watch TV shows to find such columns and statements. Argument goes that it is a conspiracy to provoke Muslim countries to clash with each other and hence to create confusion and disorder in “Muslim brotherhood”. Another frequent argument is that material revealed by the leaks is not unfamiliar and journalists, scholars, politicians and other people with links in power corridors are aware of the status of affairs.

Before going further we must understand what does it meant by whistle blowing as this is the prime purpose of initiatives such as Wikileaks is to provide a platform for whistle blowers. A whistle blower is “a person who informs on another or makes public disclosure of corruption or wrongdoing”1. “A person who tells police, reporters, etc., about something (such as a crime) that has been kept secret” 2. So a whistle blower can be any person anywhere in any organisation who witness unethical, unlawful or malpractices which do not confirm to the code of conduct of that function or activity, and decides to go public or to authorities against those malpractices. It is an individual decision but it could prevent major quantitative and non quantitative losses to respective organisation (could be any form of organisation including a government) and that is the reason why whistle blowing is now accepted and protected by law in many countries and governments and businesses are protecting whistle blowers.

So what Wikileaks does is to provide a platform for whistleblowers, it is a debate how far they can go in this pursuit and we yet to see how future events will turn up to decide the fate of this web site and other similar initiatives.

In many of the documents published, especially around Afghan war and war on terror, Pakistan has been referenced. And most of what has been ‘revealed’  does not create a positive image of the leadership of this country, moreover it raises questions on which are the real sources of power in Pakistan and what role people of Pakistan have in affairs of their country. It is an old habit of our intelligentsia to look for conspiracy in events, as this easily shifts the blame from ‘us’ to outsiders and hence no responsibility left on our own shoulders to correct the course of events and every one inside comes out clean and innocent. This theory surely suits the people in power corridors who lack legitimacy and rights over the powers they enjoy and once blame is shift to ‘others’ they no longer remain answerable to the people of this country. Conspiracy theories will always be an easy way out to diverge our attention from the actual problems we have. We have been given distorting glasses to view at the world, hate and distrust are the characteristics of those lenses we have. Most of what we have been told to believe is based on assumptions.

There are people who suggest that leaks do not provide anything new to them and that they are well aware of state of affairs. Question is that those who are accepting this fact innocently are the ones which have responsibility to provide guidance to the people who read them and listen to them. What are they signifying to their followers? Why they were quite before leaks appear? And what course of action do they suggest? It appears that high command of our army and most political parties are involved in conspiracies and behind the scene illegitimate manoeuvring of state apparatus, what does our intelligentsia has to say about them? What a common Pakistani should do?  As end of the day it is a common person who is paying the price, these are Pakistanis who are getting killed in terror incidents, it is amongst us who commit suicide because they can no longer survive in growing inflation and living expenses, it is from us who cannot have basic amenities of life, no health facilities, no education, no civil rights, no life protection, no law, growing corruption.

Why Pakistanis suffer? one reason is that their leadership is not answerable to them, they do not have any roots in the people and they do not want democracy to prevail in this country and that is why they look for external powers to support them and for sure, there is nothing like a free cup of coffee, it is all about give and take, so what they give in return of support they get? This is what our intelligentsia has to tell to the people of this country as they know more than they provide. Our media has a large responsibility to play and so as our scholars and intelligentsia, they are whom people of this country rely for opinion making and guidance, and they have to do justice. Power bearers in this country have to look at their own people for support and to achieve this task they will have to be sincere with the people, we Pakistanis do not need any sincerity from any outside power, as in international politics there can never be any friends or foes, and it is interests which prevails. Today’s allies become tomorrow’s enemies, history teach us that lesson. So it is interest of people which should come first, power must belong to the people, that is the only way forward, and that is the real message of those leaks in that Wiki.



December 11, 2010

Keeping secrets WikiSafe -by Scott Shane

by admin

WASHINGTON — Can the government still keep a secret? In an age of WikiLeaks, flash drives and instant Web postings, leaks have begun to seem unstoppable.

That may be just a first impression. Sobered government officials are scrambling to stop the hemorrhage of documents, even as antisecrecy radicals are discovering that some secrets may be worth protecting after all.

Still, there’s been a change. Traditional watchdog journalism, which has long accepted leaked information in dribs and drabs, has been joined by a new counterculture of information vigilantism that now promises disclosures by the terabyte. A bureaucrat can hide a library’s worth of documents on a key fob, and scatter them over the Internet to a dozen countries during a cigarette break.

That accounts for how, in the three big WikiLeaks document dumps since July, the usual trickle of leaks became a torrent. All of it, disguised as a Lady Gaga CD, was smuggled out of a military intelligence office, according to government prosecutors, by Pfc. Bradley Manning, a soldier now imprisoned and charged with the leak.

Even two decades ago, in the days of kilobytes and floppy discs, such an ocean of data would have been far more difficult to capture and carry away. Four decades ago, using a photocopier, a leaker might have needed a great many reams of paper and a tractor-trailer.

“I do think it’s true that the large contours of national and international policy are much harder to keep secret today,” said Steven Aftergood, who runs the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. “It would not be possible to conduct a secret war in Cambodia, as took place in the Nixon administration.”

Indeed, within hours of American missile strikes in Yemen against suspected Al Qaeda camps last December, amateur video of the destruction was on YouTube. The videos labeled the strikes “American.” The strikes have never been publicly acknowledged by the Defense Department.

Or consider the speed at which news travels. During the Iran-contra affair, American arms sales to Iran were first reported by a Beirut weekly, Al Shiraa, in November 1986; it was a few days before the American press picked up the story. “Now it would take a few minutes,” said Mr. Aftergood.

Long before WikiLeaks, of course, reporters often met bureaucrats with troubled consciences or agendas, and produced sensational disclosures. The Pentagon Papers is the iconic case. More recently, the classic muckraking model unveiled closely guarded programs that the Bush administration put into place after Sept. 11, 2001: the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret prisons; waterboarding and other brutal interrogation methods; the National Security Agency’s eavesdropping without court warrants on American soil.

All those disclosures led to public debate and to action: the prisons were closed; coercive interrogations were banned; the N.S.A. program was brought under court supervision. But the disclosures also fed a bipartisan sense in Congress and across the intelligence agencies that secrets were too casually whispered to reporters. One unexpected result in the first two years of the Obama administration has been four prosecutions of government employees on charges of disclosing classified information, more such prosecutions than under any previous president.

That is a reason to suspect that the openness of this new era will have limits. Would-be leakers can, presumably, be dissuaded; they can be outmaneuvered in the technological cat-and-mouse game; they can learn self-restraint. And there are signs that all of that may be happening in the WikiLeaks case.

WikiLeaks set out with “a ‘Field of Dreams’ philosophy for inviting leaks — ‘If we build it, they will come,’ ” said Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University, which obtains and publishes declassified government documents. “They tried to create a safe place for disclosures. But with Bradley Manning behind bars, who’s going to rush to follow his example?”

Now, with the third WikiLeaks collection linked to Private Manning in the news, members of Congress have called with new ferocity for punishing the group and its provocateur-in-chief, Julian Assange. Representative Peter King, a New York Republican, has asked the State Department to consider designating WikiLeaks a terrorist group; Senator Dianne Feinstein of California, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s top Democrat, has called for espionage charges against Mr. Assange, an idea that legal experts say is problematic. Senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut has called for an investigation of The New York Times because it has published some of the material obtained by WikiLeaks.

Whether or not the Obama administration tries to prosecute those who disseminated the information, it is determined to use technology to preserve its secrets. The Defense Department is scaling back information sharing, which its leaders believe went too far after information hoarding was blamed for the failure to detect the Sept. 11 plot.

The department has also stripped CD and DVD recorders from its computers; it is redesigning security systems to require two people, not one, to move large amounts of information from a classified computer to an unclassified one; and it is installing software to detect downloads of unusual size.

Yet even as the government seeks to rein in WikiLeaks, WikiLeaks is reining in itself. The confidential diplomatic cables it disclosed have unquestionably turned the discreet world of diplomacy upside down. But the disclosures have been far more modest than WikiLeaks’ self-proclaimed dedication to total transparency might suggest.

Had it chosen to do so, WikiLeaks could have posted on the Web all 251,287 confidential diplomatic cables about six months ago, when the group obtained them. Instead, it shared the cables with traditional news organizations and has coordinated the cables’ release with them. As of Friday, fewer than 1 percent of the cables had been released on the Web by the antisecrecy group, The Times and four European publications combined.

“They’ve actually embraced” the mainstream media, “which they used to treat as a cuss word,” Mr. Blanton said. “I’m watching WikiLeaks grow up. What they’re doing with these diplomatic documents so far is very responsible.”

When the newspapers have redacted cables to protect diplomats’ sources, WikiLeaks has generally been careful to follow suit. Its volunteers now accept that not all government secrets are illegitimate; for example, revealing the identities of Chinese dissidents, Russian journalists or Iranian activists who had talked to American diplomats might subject them to prison or worse.

In an op-ed essay for The Australian last week, Mr. Assange, a 39-year-old Australian citizen who is currently being held in Britain on sex charges from Sweden, declared his devotion to some core Western press values. “Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media,” he wrote. “The media helps keep government honest.”

But WikiLeaks has not quite joined the ranks of traditional publishing, and it may yet cast all restraint aside. Reaching back to his hacker roots, Mr. Assange has created what he calls an “insurance” plan for his own future and that of WikiLeaks. The group has put on the Web, for download, encrypted files containing a huge trove of documents that have not yet been released. Thousands of people have downloaded the files.

If the United States moves to prosecute, Mr. Assange has said, the group will release the encryption key, in effect making public tens of thousands of unredacted cables — and who knows what other dangerous secrets.

It is a 21st-century threat, and one the Obama administration is taking very seriously.


December 11, 2010

Terrorists win if Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are silenced, supporters plan protests worldwide

by admin

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People hold images of Julian Assange in front of their faces at a demonstration in Brisbane, Australia. Photograph: Steve Gray/EPA

According to The Guardian’s report, protests will be held around the world today against the detention ofJulian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Demonstrations are planned in the capitals of Spain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru to demand Assange’s release, the re-establishment of WikiLeaks domain name and the restoration of Visa and Mastercard credit services to allow supporters to donate money to the whistleblowing site.

A statement on the Spanish-language website Free WikiLeaks said: “We seek the liberation of Julian Assange in United Kingdom territory.” The website called on protesters to gather at 6pm (17.00 GMT) in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville and three other Spanish cities.

It also calls for “the re-establishment of the WikiLeaks ( internet domain,” and the restoration of Visa and MasterCard credit card services to enable the “freedom to move money” because no one has “proved Assange’s guilt”, nor charged WikiLeaks with any crime.

Assange is in Wandsworth prison in south London after being refused bail on Tuesday. Sweden is seeking his extradition over allegations of sexual assault.

His lawyers said yesterday they are preparing for a possible indictment by the US authorities.

Jennifer Robinson said her team had heard from “several different US lawyers rumours that an indictment was on its way or had happened already, but we don’t know”.

According to some reports, Washington is seeking to prosecute Assange under the 1917 act, which was used unsuccessfully to try to gag the New York Times when it published the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. However, despite escalating rhetoric over the past fortnight, no charges have yet been lodged, and government sources say they are unaware any such move is being prepared.

Robinson said Assange’s team did not believe the US had grounds to prosecute him but understood that Washington was “looking closely at other charges, such as computer charges, so we have one eye on it”.

Earlier this week, the US attorney general, Eric Holder, said the US had been put at risk by the flood of confidential diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks and he authorised a criminal investigation.

In another op-ed, published in the Vancouver Sun says, terrorists win if Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are silenced.

When animals perceive an external threat they close ranks. Torture becomes acceptable. Senior advisers to prime ministers publicly call for assassinations. We’re scared. We’re running scared, all of us. We’re wondering when Canada will get its first major terrorist attack. We’re wondering if Julian Assange’s big mouth will facilitate that terrorist attack.

Columnist Dan Gardner is right — ever since Sept. 11, 2001 — when many of us felt that external threat for the first time and no one knew what was happening and the only people running the world were a few CNN anchors -our Canadian mind-sets changed and we were willing to become less liberal for the first time if it meant ensuring our own survival. Animals closing ranks. Taking sides. No longer were we a fly on the wall … we were what the fly was watching.

We are now at war. We are no longer safely, comfortably, arrogantly and sanitarily observing from the wings. We don’t have that luxury any more. We are direct participants in a major world conflict. But shutting up Assange isn’t the answer. Stifling the free flow of information is like giving in to the terrorists. If we let anyone make us close ranks such that the democratic values Canada stands for are thrown out the window we become animals.

Assange is right -surely in the year 2010 human beings have evolved enough such that we don’t need secrets any more and closing ranks should be a cliquish anachronism.

December 11, 2010

The liars collective: Pakistani media in service of the ISI – by Nadeem F. Paracha

by admin

In spite of the fact that by the evening the said leaks were deemed fake, it still did not stop some TV channels belonging to the same media groups that carried the ‘story’, and a few others, from running talk shows in which the usual brigade of ultra-patriotic and knee-jerk set of journalists, analysts and anchors gleefully heaped scorn at India’s alleged involvement in Pakistan’s affairs. – File Photo (AP)

Related article:

A glaring example of how ISI dictates Pakistani newspapers: The case of a missing WikiLeak cable

The liars collective

If you think people like Zaid Hamid, Aamir Liaquat and Atiqa Odho are kind of silly with their usual convoluted rants studded with the most worn-out clichés regarding India, Israel, Islam and more – think again.

A bulk of those appearing on popular Urdu news channels or writing columns and editorials in some newspapers can get equally silly, if not worse. Take the example of how some dailies and channels ran stories about the supposed Wikileaks documents that portrayed some Indian generals as being bigots who are anti-Pakistan and how India was involved in all the terrible happenings in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

Well within hours after some dailies – three of them right-wing and one kind of liberal – broke this stunning disclosure in their headlines, a media blog, Café Pyala, made bare that the dramatic leaks in this respect were actually false. Soon, The Guardian’s Declan Walsh too, was out proving the same in a story for the respected British newspaper and by the evening, numerous left/liberal Pakistani websites had also picked up on the debacle.

It was thus logically expected that the involved newspapers would at once publish a retraction on their websites.

But that would be asking for a bit much from the media which has created a large bubble around itself – a kind of pro-reactive drawing-room Utopia-turned-dystopia that its advocates are always hell-bent on defending, no matter how silly, infuriating and sometimes, downright ugly they may come out sounding.

The message in this regard also had something to do with taking those liberals to task who always mocked these super patriots of being conspiratorial cranks: ‘Now that we have the proof, we’ll show them how right we were!’

Unfortunately, the so-called proof that these gentlemen could have waved as an evidence of their (somewhat questionable) sanity, came to a naught. It was all a lie. A desperate (and somewhat childish) scheme hatched in certain ‘think tanks’ where jumpy little chauvinists and patriots contemplate (nay, convolute and disfigure) everything from history to news items, in an attempt to keep certain overbearing institutions of the establishment from harm’s way.

Each time any of these institutions is rocked by a scandal or an exposé, certain newspapers and TV channels suddenly start teeming with loud deniers who would go to absurd lengths to divert the public’s attention towards something more ‘substantial’, such as of course, the ‘record-breaking corruption’ of this government, the fantastic job the free judiciary is doing, or how India remains the greatest threat to Pakistan. Or some feel-good lectures by a crank or two, usually crammed with airy myths presented as historical facts, are unleashed.

This has happened so many times that one wonders whether what many journalists and politicians on the other side of the ideological fence say, is true. Whether most of the media personnel we see on our TV screens or read about in the newspaper, who are always so passionately waving the flag of Pakistan and spouting contempt against corruption (especially when a narrative by the establishment comes under stress), may very well be the proverbial ‘agency men?’

Is veteran journalist, author and media commentator, late Zamir Niazi’s fear and warnings about the Pakistani media becoming a chaotic hub of agency men who are amorally willing to lie and cheat to protect even the most atrocious ways of their patrons in the figurative establishment be true? Perhaps. But the deluge that was created by the Wikileaks around certain sacred cows who identify themselves to be the saviours of Pakistan’s internal and external religious and ideological identity – mainly the military, the political clergy and Saudi Arabia – was such that no attempt to deflect criticism from these gallant souls seemed to be working.

So, off went many dailies and TV channels to try something else. First, certain specific leaks were selected to make the President seem like a Satan incarnate. Not much came out of this, and the gear was shifted and all of sudden one saw certain journalists claiming something about how the leaks were a conspiracy against Muslims. Obviously, this too made them seem even sillier, until the fake leaks – certainly a desperate last ditch effort.

Although some dailies were gracious enough to publish an apology the next morning, the two major Urdu papers and the TV channels did not. By refusing to acknowledge just how this calculated blunder has once and for all undermined all the self-glorified hoopla these media houses are known to air about their dedication of working towards a corruption-free Pakistan, they have at best become an international laughing stock, and at worst, are now perceived as nothing but a rabid set of liars.

Source: DAWN

December 10, 2010

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks VS Mir Shakil ur Rahman’s Mickeyleaks

by admin

Related article:

A glaring example of how ISI dictates Pakistani newspapers: The case of a missing WikiLeak cable

Let Us Build Pakistan rightly claims that ‘Jang group’ is inherently biased against democratic politics, is continuously propagating misconceptions about Pakistan Peoples Party led civilian government and is also preaching hate toward neighbor countries. It is basic journalistic principle that news should be reported in neutral terms and published after cross verification but this group always ignored basic journalistic principles i.e(fact-checking/two independent sources rule).

Global leaders and all the concerned citizens of the world are continuously praising Julian Assange by saying that he is doing better work than many journalists and diplomats and they also questioning his arrest. It appears every person who believes in democracy and freedom suporting WikiLeaks showing concern for Julian Assange and declaring him as a real hero of Cyber-Age.

A former CIA agent whose duties included briefing the first President Bush and Ronald Reagan, has written an open letter of support for WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

Ray McGovern told Close Up he considers Assange to be a hero for “challenging the empire”

McGovern says WikiLeaks is doing the job the mainstream media has stopped doing. And WikiLeaks has given the public an “incredible” insight into the reality of what is happening in Iraq and Afghanistan

“Why was Mr. Assange hidden in prison?” Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin asked at a news conference. “Is this democracy?”

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva said Thursday in Brasilia. “There is nothing, nothing for freedom of expression and against the imprisonment of this guy who was doing better work than many of the ambassadors.”

“The brave man was arrested because he was exposing the real face of the big powers,” Tariq Naeemullah said.

Hundreds of protesters gathered in three Australian cities today to rage against the arrest of Julian Assange. Some wearing face masks, they marched, chanted and waved banners as they called for the release of the WikiLeaks founder.

The government was branded “sycophants to the US” for condemning Mr Assange’s website while campaigners raised $250,000 to buy advertisements in the New York Times supporting him.

Protesters also criticised his arrest in Britain, during rallies in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne.

Many see his detention as an attempt to hinder the continued release of hundreds of thousands of government files through WikiLeaks.

“Assange is a hero of our time, telling truth is not a crime,” the marchers chanted.

WikiLeaks supporters have vowed to wreak havoc on companies that are deemed as enemies of the whistleblowing website, and UK’s biggest online retailer Amazon has been cited as the next target.

It’s interesting to note that WikiLeaks has won awards including the 2008 Freedom of Expression award from the Index on Censorship and the2009 Amnesty International human rights reporting award.

A day after his arrest in London, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has defended his website. In his op-ed Assange says democracies require strong media to keep governments honest, and WikiLeaks plays a role in this.

WikiLeaks has also provoked fury in Washington for publishing some of the 250,000 documents it has obtained from US embassies around the world -and have caused traditional media outlets to rethink how they report on sensitive information. The New York Times released a statement explaining that it believes that the “documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match”. It went on to acknowledge the reality though that if it did not publish the documents another newspaper inevitably would with the United Kingdom’s The Guardian, France’s Le Monde, and Spain’s El Paris all granted access. In some ways the exclusive publication of these documents has also driven jealousy amongst the media with independent journalist Anthony Lowensteinsuggesting reporters lack a backbone in challenging government condemnations.

The U.N.’s top human rights official raised the alarm Thursday over officials’ and corporations’ moves to cut off WikiLeaks’ funding and starve it of server space – something she described as “potentially violating WikiLeaks’ right to freedom of expression.”

Navi Pillay also expressed surprise at the scale of the online attacks that have targeted major American financial players – in some cases denying access to their websites for hours at a time.

“It’s truly what media would call a cyber-war. It’s just astonishing what is happening,” Pillay told reporters in Geneva.

Pillay said if WikiLeaks had broken the law “then this should be handled through the legal system and not through pressure and intimidation.”

Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks show us what democracy should be about: transparency. Governments should be ashamed of the gulf between what they say in public an what they say behind closed doors.

The flow of online support has also sparked some solidarity on the streets. One pro-WikiLeaks protest in Australia sent about 250 demonstrators into the streets of Brisbane, surprisingly even in the central Pakistani city of Multan, dozens took to the streets to protest Assange’s detention.

And, on the contrary the whole world condemning ‘Jang Group’ for its policies and Latest Fakeleaks. If there’s anything more exiciting than real WikiLeaks revelations, it’s fake ones, interestingly this cable not revealed by Wikileaks but our leading publishing groups, who have been continuously advocating for ‘sovereignty’ and ‘self reliance’ , so keeping these high values in mind they recently invented their own ‘cablegate’, and here it’s first revelation, “Enough evidence of Indian involvement in Waziristan, Balochistan,” read the front-page story in the News; an almost identical story appeared in the Urdu-language Jang, Pakistan’s bestselling daily. So ‘proudly creator’ can brand it like ‘Mickeyleaks’ .

On Thursday, Pakistan was shaken as the front pages of several of its major dailies were splashed with damning WikiLeaks stories accusing the Indian government of conspiring with Hindu fundamentalists and supporting Islamist militants in Pakistani tribal regions. Other cables described India’s top generals as “as vain, egotistical and genocidal,” while in the same breath lavishing praise on Pakistani generals.

The Australian in it’s Op-Ed writes, IN the maelstrom of competing WikiLeaks revelations, the temptation to gild the lily was probably always going to be too great to resist.

And so it proved for a few of Pakistan’s more enthusiastic media players, who yesterday cited leaked US diplomatic cables describing senior Indian generals as egotistical and genocidal, and linking Indian intelligence agencies to the Taliban insurgency in Waziristan and the Balochistan separatist movement.

According to the BBC report, Pakistani newspapers have admitted they were hoaxed after publishing reports based on fake Wikileaks cables containing anti-Indian propaganda.

PTI, reporting from Islamabad, said the papers had “reproduced an elaborate Internet hoax”. The Guardian, which is one of the newspapers partnering with WikiLeaks in the publication of the cables, said the reports could be “the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes”.

The Guardian which first published the cables have now proved that the reports in Pakistani dailies are fake and not accurate. Guardian did it own searches and here’s what it published after that:

An extensive search of the WikiLeaks database by the Guardian by date, name and keyword failed to locate any of the incendiary allegations.

It suggests this is the first case of WikiLeaks being exploited for propaganda purposes.

The controversial claims, published in four Pakistani national papers, were credited to the Online Agency, an Islamabad-based news service that has frequently run pro-army stories in the past.

No journalist is bylined.
Red-faced, Pakistan newspapers and websites retracted the fake WikiLeaks stories they published yesterday and apologised saying they regret publishing the stories.

The English-language Express Tribune newspaper, a Pakistani affiliate of the International Herald Tribune, published a front-page retraction.

The daily said it “deeply regrets publishing this story without due verification and apologises profusely for any inconvenience”.

But Urdu daily Jang, which had reported the fake Wikileaks story on its front page, did not mention it on Friday.

Surely it requires no profound wisdom or special knowledge about Journalism and communication to see fundamental flaws in ‘News Reporting’, even layman can easily detect jang group’s bias against civilian democratic government and it’s anti peace propoganda by using simple journalistic techniques. If you review and analyze the content of it’s messages, it’s leading writer and columnist and jumping jack anchors always highlight negativity and one-sided version and mostly they don’t include alternative points of view and even they don’ t fairly and honestly present alternative arguments plus they deliberately ignore obviously conflicting arguments. they even used negative words and images to describe other points of view and ascribe negative motivations to alternative points of view.

Here is a really interesting  comment at ‘Cafe Pyala’ by Sagar:

Isn’t this the same group that promotes ‘Aman ki Asha’ jointly with

Times of India. Wonder why only Asha (hope) and why not actual Aman

itself? And how can someone claiming to promote ‘Aman’ call themselves

the ‘Jang’ group? Strange paradox.

Let Us Build Pakistan rightly claims that ‘Jang group’ is inherently biased toward democratic politics, it is continuously propagating misconceptions about Pakistan Peoples Party led elected civilian government and it is also preaching hate toward our neighbor countries. It is basic journalistic principle that news should be reported in neutral terms and published after cross verification but this group always ignored basic journalistic principles i.e(fact-checking/two independent sources rule).

And excellent suggestion by our fellow bloggers at “New Pakistan”:

This isn’t just about whether or not the media is reliable – it’s about whether or not the media is intentionally or unintentionally sabotaging our national security. In any other country that claims to view journalism as a serious institution, a scandal of this magnitude would result in massive sackings. It will be instructive to see whether or not Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman has the courage and the principles to clean house.

Because let’s face it. Jang Group is humiliated today, as is the entire nation. But if Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman doesn’t care about how his company and his nation look in the eyes of the rest of the world, he doesn’t have to do a thing. The people who read and believe this crap don’t read The Guardian, even if they do read English, so they likely don’t even know about the situation.

No matter what Jang decides to do internally, though, the courts should immediately begin an inquiry into this mess. Seriously, if there was ever a cause worthy of suo moto notice, is this not it? How can the FO expect India to be cooperative while Jang is running defamatory articles about them? We want the Americans to treat us with respect while Ansar Abbasi is on TV telling Moeed Pirzada that all this WikiLeaks stuff is a big American conspiracy and saying that there are no boundaries to the ruthlessness and carelessness of Americans. Where is Mir Shakil-ur-Rahman while all of this is happening?

If Jang Group wants to be a joke, that’s fine. They can continue selling all the fictions they want. But when they start publishing crap that undercuts the ability of government and military officials to do their jobs, that is where we need to draw the line. I strongly believe in a free media. And I strongly defend the right – even the responsibility – of the media to hold the government accountable. But I do NOT support the right for anyone in the media to SABOTAGE the government.

December 10, 2010

Zafar Hilaly's 'hate India' op-ed in service of his masters in the ISI

by admin

Related article: A glaring example of how ISI dictates Pakistani newspapers: The case of a missing WikiLeak cable

No conspiracy theories, please
by Zafar Hilaly

Talking to Time Magazine on July 28, 1958, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt confessed: “I have been a conspirator for so long that I mistrust all around me.” Were they equally candid our legion of conspirators would probably agree. Hence they dismissed the WikiLeaks exposures as a ‘CIA conspiracy.’ They did it with such aplomb and so quickly after the Pakistani leaks surfaced that it seemed they had proof.

In fact, they were trying to shield those who had blabbed irresponsibly to the American envoy in the certitude that their outpourings would never see the light of day. Well, it did and their credibility has been further dented. They should have emulated their supreme commander whose put-down of the insult King Abdullah hurled at him was masterly. In their case, too, a simple, ‘well, that is what she thought she heard’ would have sufficed. Their explanation was implausible to say the least. Clearly, some ‘new thought’ machinery is required in Rawalpindi.
Ironically, if the cables are a concoction, as our conspiracy theorists aver, then, logically the latest disclosures about Indian brutalities against Muslims that the cables from the American Embassy in New Delhi reveal, would also be false. In fact, the horrors perpetrated on Muslims by the Indian Army led by generals, in the mould of the war criminal Milosevic, are precisely what our intelligence reports relay. Are we then lying to ourselves?

Far from promoting the American cause, US embassy cables reveal that the US had in their possession solid information about the Indian Army atrocities against Muslims; the nexus between Indian generals and Hindu terrorist/extremist outfits like Shiv Sena, Sang Parivaar, Hindutva Brotherhood; the assassination of Hemant Kekare, an honest Indian policeman, by the Indian army in a pre-planned ambush in Bombay for exposing the involvement of an Indian army colonel in the Samjhota Express attack of 2007 and much else. One cable reports the prescient, albeit, pathetic pleas of Hemant Harkare for American protection, lest he be eliminated by the Indian establishment.

Notwithstanding urgings from its own diplomats in New Delhi, that Washington alert the UN to the genocide of innocent Muslims in Kashmir — Washington did nothing. Or, rather it did, Obama came to Delhi, grovelled for Indian support against China; announced support for Indian membership of the UNSC; opened up America’s armoury for weapon purchases by India and promised dollops of enriched uranium for Indian nuclear reactors to free up indigenous production for more nuclear weapons. Not content, he praised India for the great democracy that she was and warned Pakistan against harbouring terrorists. Not bad for a country which, according to its own embassy, said that while terrorist groups were found in Pakistan, this was far less compared to what India had on its own territory.

The little that has so far been revealed has shown America in not too good a light. It reveals the sordid values that underlie American policy and the fact that American self-interest speaks all sorts of tongues and plays all sorts of devilish roles. An American WASP (white Anglo-Saxon protestant), we may have guessed, was capable of such antics, but Obama? The liberal, half-Kikuyu with a Muslim father? It beggars the imagination.
What the Indian cables revealed will reverberate for a long time in Pakistan. They will probably remove the last vestige of trust in America and the hope of a semblance of balance in its policy when it comes to India and Pakistan. The fact that America knew and did nothing, because it must have approved of the Karzai-India collusion to sow disaffection in Waziristan and Balochistan, will effectively put to rest any possibility of reconciliation between Islamabad and a Kabul under Karzai; and, of course, anything like a rapprochement with India. And still our conspiracy-minded theorists will go on prattling that WikiLeaks was a CIA conspiracy.

The writer is an analyst and a former ambassador to Yemen, Nigeria and Italy

Published in The Express Tribune, December 10th, 2010.


Some comments from ET website:

Ha ha ha dear writer you have an egg on your face.Pakistan is lucky to have such diplomats in the past.I have always enjoyed your funny stories on the panel with Arnab Goswami on Times Now.Dear Readers you could also enjoy him speaking regularly at Newshour on Times Now.I could not understand the urgency to write an article within 24 hours of a Fake Wiki Leak Cable

Apparently you’ve been had, those cables are fake, and Outlook (India), the Guardian (UK), and Foreign Policy (US) are having fun with it at your expense:
The Guardian has the actual database of leaks, the least you could do is search them.

Hmmm…I wonder how much of Zafar Hilaly’s op-ed piece was based on the so-called ‘Wikileaks’ report (published in the Express Tribune, The News, Jang and other newspapers yesterday) purportedly linking Indian involvement in Balochistan and Waziristan, which has now turned out to be a fake news story and has been traced as originating from media sources closely linked to our ‘agencies’.
Red faces, anyone?

Based on such astute analysis of some ‘leaks” this gentleman should be appointed to investigate the murder of Benazir, Zia, Zulfiqar and Liaqat. At the same time, he should help investigate the role of the Pakistani army and elite in mass murder of their then Bengali citizens in 1971. Oh I forgot ..each of those tragedies was the work of the foreign hand!

Will you take back your statements now that your own paper has come out with a clarification and apology on this “fake wikileaks”

Mr. Hilaly,
Isnt it ironical that you are propagating conspiracy theories about India in a column written to educate people that Wikileaks is not a conspiracy. To think of it, you were a former diplomat. God save Pakistan.

Syed Nadir El-Edroos:
Sir, while I appreciate your sentiments, and wholeheartedly agree that anything that does not fit into our view of the world should not be discarded as a conspiracy, the alleged cables you refer to: killings, and genocidal generals etc, are all fake. Kindly skim through the cables that have been disclosed so far and none of them corroborate the facts that you are claiming. Apart from one cable that refers to Indian involvement and support for an insurgency in Baluchistan, none of the other facts are found anywhere.

Cafe Payala has highlighted this fact already and if that wasnt enough, the fact that fake cables are popping up has been caught on with the international media:

These supposed leaks have been attributed to Agency sources by The News and the Jang. So either sir you have gotten caught up with yesterdays headlines, or perhaps you yourself are peddling rumours?
Can we please stop embarrassing ourselves! Everyone goes on and on, about the international media defaming Pakistan, when we are our own worst enemies. In a globalizied world, do our “Agencies” really believe that they wouldn’t be caught out!

December 10, 2010

VIEW: Voyeuristic incontinence —Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

by admin

VIEW: Voyeuristic incontinence —Gulmina Bilal Ahmad

We will clamour for international assistance, international conferences and privately lead secular lives, but when it comes to our writings, our analyses and our politics, we conveniently turn Islamist. The rhetorical practice of Islamism is feigning anti-Americanism. Those who value the Pak-US relationship, then, are not pro-Pakistani

For the past two weeks, it feels as if one is caught in the midst of a never-ending nightmare, a reader’s intellectual nightmare that is. It seems that, ever since the ‘leaks’, there is no real news. Instead, the whole world has been caught in some nightmarish version of voyeuristic incontinency and everyone is either ‘leaking’ or enjoying reading about them. The world’s best papers, magazines and channels have been reduced to tabloids, each competing with the other to provide us with the latest on the leaks. Of course, they do this because we, the thinking public, are devouring information, and the greatest tragedy is the analyses of the leaked cables. It is unfathomable that our chattering analysts can even analyse the most superficial of comments.

There is no information in the WikiLeaks. There are just comments by individuals in bureaucratic positions about seemingly influential military and political leaders. There is also nothing new in the cables, as not a single cable expresses a thought that has not been expressed at every tea stall of the country. In other words, the leaks are merely sound bytes that substantiate gossip. Previously, when the public used to talk about the ‘pragmatic’ all weather politics of Maulana Fazlur Rehman, they did not have the reference to his conversation with the then American ambassador to Pakistan that they now have. In the past, when Saudia Arabia’s involvement with our politics was discussed, the rather smartly constructed (are we sure that this one is not a deliberate leak because it seems as if some PR person structured it) sound byte, “We are not just observers in Pakistani politics but participants,” was not available for quick reference. In the past, the rather colourful Husain Haqqani was the only one who was accused of being very close to Uncle Sam. WikiLeaks tells us that he is not the only one and that influentials of all shapes, sizes, shades and ideological bent are quite ready to do what is called “American bidding”, as a resident editor of one of the major English dailies called it in his column lamenting the so-called shallowness and pro-Americanism of our leaders.

Which reminds me, what is this American bidding? Is there a leak focusing on the definition? This seems to be the operative word and there should be a leak telling us what are the parameters of this bidding, how it clashes with the so-called wish of being ‘pro-Pakistani’ and of what ideological bent should one be to refrain from American bidding, so to speak. This bidding also seems to have a long history for diplomatic relations between the two countries that started from October 20, 1947. So, if mutual alliance and cooperation on mutual interests is the definition of this bidding relationship, then from the celebrated Liaquat Ali Khan to date all our leaders seem to fall into this category. The stated goal of the US-Pak alliance earlier was technical development; this relationship has extended to military, civilian, technical and service structures. Whether it was the armed services of the country or Karachi and at that time East Pakistan’s Chittagong port that was technically developed and modernised, it was because of the benefit of this relationship. This relationship, along with others — namely our relationship with Saudi Arabia — was also responsible for enhancing and supporting Pakistan’s self-defined relationship of being a rent-seeking state and exporting terrorism policy. The tragedy hit when the unemployed terrorists, nurtured because of our pan-Islamist rhetoric and mindset, came home to roost.

The problem is not with Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, General Kayani or Maulana Fazlur Rehman. In fact, what is positive about the leaks is that we see that none of our leaders can stand each other, but the beauty of messy democracy is that they have to function with each other. Kayani has to work with Zardari and Nawaz Sharif although he would rather ‘install’ the invisible Asfandyar Khan any day as president. There was a time in Pakistan that the army chief’s every wish became reality the next day. Today’s reality is that even the army chief has certain wishes he cannot fulfil, at least not immediately. Although on the subject of Asfandyar, it might be best if he were installed as the president. That way, his constituency, namely the Pakhtuns, could at least see him. Presently, he is missing in action and still has to condole with the family members of his personal staff who were martyred in a suicide attack on him years back.

However, without further digressing, returning to whose fault this is, one could ask if the Americans are at fault. Does the allegation that the American ambassador’s behaving like a ‘viceroy’, as some columnists have put it, has anything to do with it?

No. The fault lies with us and our confused worldview. By us, I do not mean the unwashed masses that are operating at the most menial of survival levels. It is the middle class of this country that is adamant at prospering individually but equally committed to bringing down the country collectively. We will clamour for international assistance, international conferences and privately lead secular lives, but when it comes to our writings, our analyses and our politics we conveniently turn Islamist. The rhetorical practice of Islamism is feigning anti-Americanism. Those who value the Pak-US relationship, then, are not pro-Pakistani. This is how the hypocritical and confused narrative is shaped and reiterated by this segment of the middle class.

Thus we shape the narrative and succeed in lighting candles at the Wagah border but also bring out rallies against the killing of militants in the border areas. We will decry Lal Masjid tactics but also take out rallies against the government for the loss of ‘innocent lives’ there. We forget that the innocents were men, women and children being trained psychologically, physically and intellectually against peace. We protest when Zardari privately supports the drone attacks but forget that Baitullah Mehsud was killed in a drone attack. He was a man responsible for countless deaths.

The only real ‘story’ perhaps in the leaks is an old one, one of the hypocrisy of the Pakistani middle class who, in their confusion, sometimes jump on the bandwagon of peace and ‘Islam coming under attack’, benefiting themselves, but succeeding in isolating the country more so. The more they isolate the country, the more they have, at the cost of the country’s poor.

The writer is an Islamabad-based consultant. She can be reached at