Pakistan under the interrogation lights

    Probing Link to Bin Laden, U.S. Tells Pakistan to Name Agents
    By Helene Cooper and Ismail Khan, New York Times, May 6, 2011

    WASHINGTON — Pakistani officials say the Obama administration has demanded the identities of some of their top intelligence operatives as the United States tries to determine whether any of them had contact with Osama bin Laden or his agents in the years before the raid that led to his death early Monday morning in Pakistan.

    The officials provided new details of a tense discussion between Pakistani officials and an American envoy who traveled to Pakistan on Monday....

    Note: Ismail Khan, now writing for the Times, is a Pakistani journalist with lengthy up close and personal experience covering Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda, starting several years before 9/11.

    Our Strange Dance with Pakistan
    By Elizabeth Rubin, New York Review of Books Blog, May 6, 2011

    ....We give billions in aid to Pakistan’s military and civilian government. Yet Pakistan is harboring our enemies and even the enemies, one could argue, of its own healthy survival. Portions of our money are being funneled into the variety of insurgent networks whose fighters are killing American soldiers, Afghan soldiers, American civilians, Afghan civilians, European civilians, Pakistani civilians—mothers, fathers, children on multiple continents. Why, asks a US army major, did all his friends die in Afghanistan’s Helmand Province when the real problem is on the other side of the border? Why, asks a twelve-year-old Afghan girl in Kandahar whose family has been wiped out by US air strikes, are you bombing us? How has this come to pass?

    In 2006, I traveled through Baluchistan and the North West Frontier Province of Pakistan, meeting with many Taliban fighters. I described it at the time as a kind of Taliban spa that offered them rest and rehab between battles in Afghanistan to which they would be returning. But it was more than that....

    Pakistani Military between Rock and Hard Place
    By Juan Cole, Informed Comment, May 5, 2011

    One of the reasons for which Pakistan’s military is so incensed about the unannounced US raid into Pakistan territory is that they are afraid the operation might form a precedent that could be exploited by India. Indeed, Pakistani generals thought that the SEALs were an Indian special ops team that had inserted itself at Abbottabad. The military has warned India against undertaking any such adventures.

    Indian chief of staff VK Singh provoked a small crisis when he maintained that India had the capability to go in after Lashkar-e Tayyiba figures.

    India is spoiling to kill or capture the leadership in Pakistani Punjab of the Lashkar-e Tayyiba or Righteous Army, the terrorist group that was behind the destruction at Mumbai in late 2008. A raid like the American one might be a way for New Delhi to bring the LeT leadership to justice.

    There’s more:....

    Commentary: Pakistan: Cutting to the quick
    By Arnaud De Borchgrave, UPI Editor at Large, May 6, 2011

    ....Paranoia about India ever since Pakistanis lost half their country -- East Pakistan -- to an Indian invasion in 1971, explains a proliferation of terrorist groups, most of them under the control of ISI, that were created to conduct "asymmetric" attacks on Indian troops in Kashmir.

    Bigger targets were also in the terrorist repertory. The attack against the Indian Parliament Dec. 13, 2001, was signed Lashkar-e-Toiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed. The 2008 attack on the Taj Mahal Palace in Mumbai that killed 101 was also the work of LeT, under the direction of a super-secret cell of ISI, known as Section "S."

    Putting the terrorist genie back in the bottle proved mission impossible. Legal terrorist groups nurtured by ISI were disbanded only to move their shingles to another part of town under a different name.

    Dr. A.Q. Khan is Pakistan's no. 1 national hero, none other than a nuclear engineer who stole secrets in The Netherlands to facilitate "The Bomb," a step or two behind India's nascent nuclear arsenal. He also sold nuclear weapons wherewithal to America's enemies -- North Korea, Iran and Libya.....

    Newly released docs show over a decade of U.S. frustration with Pakistan over bin Laden
    By Josh Rogin, The Cable @, May 6, 2011

    U.S. officials had been frustrated by Pakistan's refusal to cooperate in the mission to apprehend Osama Bin Laden for over 10 years, according to government documents released Thursday by the National Security Archive.

    "As the discovery of Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan, raises fresh questions about U.S.-Pakistan relations, newly released documents show that as early as 1998 U.S. officials concluded the Government of Pakistan ‘is not disposed to be especially helpful on the matter of terrorist Usama bin Ladin,'" stated the release on the website of the National Security Archives, which is housed at the George Washington University.

    "According to previously secret U.S. documents, Pakistani officials repeatedly refused to act on the Bin Laden problem, despite mounting pressure from American authorities. Instead, in the words of a U.S. Embassy cable, Pakistani sources ‘all took the line that the issue of bin Ladin is a problem the U.S. has with the Taliban, not with Pakistan.'"

    The archives posted six new documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, as part of its Osama bin Laden File.....

    Pakistan and al-Qaeda’s Future
    By Ahmed Rashid, New York Review of Books Blog,  May 3, 2011

    ....The repercussions for nuclear-armed Pakistan and its relations with the US and the rest of the world are immense....

    Understanding these longstanding contradictions within Pakistan’s armed forces and the security services is an enormous challenge for both Pakistan and the West. But clearly answers are now needed, and paradoxically, bin Laden’s demise, though a victory for the fight against extremism in Pakistan—one that Pakistani leaders have welcomed—has made the problem more urgent than ever. There have been demonstrations in several cities condemning the government for allowing the American incursions.

    The crisis is far worse for Pakistan than a previous national security embarrassment, when the world discovered that Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan had been selling nuclear weapons technology to Iran, North Korea and Libya. At that time, the Bush administration chose to cover it up because Pakistan’s cooperation in the war on terrorism was deemed to be of paramount importance. However unlike A.Q. Khan, bin Laden and his followers....

    Pakistan Loses the Upper Hand
    By Robert Haddick, Small Wars Journal @,

    With bin Laden dead, Islamabad's leverage over Washington may also be gone.

    Bin Laden's death will change Washington -- and Pakistan won't like it.....

    US shouldn’t have bypassed Pakistan
    Daily Times (Pakistan,) May 7, 2011

    * Prime minister says violation of sovereignty is a matter of concern for Pakistan

    * US president has acknowledged Pakistan’s contribution in war against terrorism despite many ups and downs in relations

    * French leadership’s misunderstandings have been removed

    * It will take some time for Pak-US relations to return to normalcy

    ONBOARD PM’S SPECIAL AIRCRAFT: Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Friday that keeping in view the longstanding relations, the United States should not have violated Pakistan’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.....

    EDITORIAL: Bridge the gap
    Daily Times (Pakistan,) May 7, 2011

    In a belated effort to present the position of Pakistan, which was not done immediately after the successful US operation to take out Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad, Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir briefed the media in Foreign Office and highlighted the legal complications and issues of sovereignty involved in this kind of unilateral incursion. On the other hand, addressing a corps commanders’ conference at GHQ, General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani has issued directives to hold a broad-based probe into how Osama Bin Laden managed to evade detection by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies. The second part of the investigations ordered concerns how the US military managed to carry out such an audacious attack, without the knowledge of their Pakistani counterparts. Harsh and embarrassing questions at home and abroad have finally woken up the civil and military officialdom into formulating a fiercely defensive response over this issue....


    ISI chief leaves for US on critical mission
    By Baqir Sajjad Syed, Dawn (Pakistan,) May 7, 2011

    ISLAMABAD: ISI Chief Lt-Gen Shuja Pasha left on Friday for Washington to explain Pakistan`s position on the presence of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the country before he was killed in a US raid on May 2.

    Gen Pasha set off on the critical mission for putting an end to misgivings about Pakistan in the US a day after army`s top brass conceded the failure of intelligence in detecting Osama`s presence in the vicinity of the elite military training institute and ordered an investigation.

    Uncorroborated reports suggest that before leaving for Washington Gen Pasha met CIA`s station chief in Islamabad and reminded him about ISI`s contributions in the war on terror and the lead about Osama`s courier that eventually led the US to the Al Qaeda chief`s hideout in Abbottabad....

    Whose side is Pakistan's ISI really on?

    It has been accused of supporting al-Qaida and double-dealing with the CIA. At the same time the ISI, Pakistan's powerful intelligence service, is being targeted by Islamist extremists. In the wake of Osama bin Laden's death, what role will it play?

    By Declan Walsh, The Guardian, May 12, 2011

    ....The answer may lie inside the ISI's headquarters in Abpara, on the edge of Islamabad. The entrance, beside a private hospital, is suitably discreet: no sign, just a plainclothes officer packing a pistol who direct visitors through a chicane of barriers, soldiers and sniffer dogs. But inside, past the smooth electric gates, lies a neatly tended cluster of adobe buildings separated by smooth lawns and tinkling fountains that resembles a well-funded private university. Cars purr up to the entrance of the central building, a modern structure with a round, echoing lobby. On the top floor sits the chief spy: the director general Ahmed Shuja Pasha, a grey-haired 59-year-old three-star general. One American counterpart describes him as "brilliant and extremely intelligent . . . Thoughtful, pensive and extremely well read; if he was in the US military he would be a very successful officer."

    Pasha and the ISI are the heart of Pakistan's "establishment" – a nebulous web of generals, bureaucrats and hand-picked politicians (not always elected ones) who form the DNA of Pakistan's defence and security policies.....

    Great round up, artappraiser.

    I remember reading the Elizabeth Rubin piece in 2006. It is striking how the dynamic she described is unchanged by the continuing conflict. Hopefully the growing criticism of Pakistan will lead to a change on both of our parts.

    Thanks. It 's actually not my doing that the roundup is good, it was just that a whole bunch of good writers decided to publish on topic at the same time. I just kept coming across them with every click.

    U.S. Seeks to Question Bin Laden’s Three Widows
    By DAN BILEFSKY, New York Times, May 8, 2011

    Thomas E. Donilon, the White House national security adviser, called Sunday for Pakistan to grant the United States access to Osama bin Laden’s three widows, who are in Pakistani custody following the secret American raid that killed the Qaeda leader last week. In addition to possibly learning more about Al Qaeda, American officials hope the women could help answer whether any Pakistani government or security officials were complicit in hiding Bin Laden.

    In addition to calling the volume of data and intelligence confiscated during the raid the “equivalent to a small college library,” Mr. Donilon acknowledged that President Obama had received “divided counsel” over whether to carry out the mission. “At the end of the day, we ask our president to make the decision,” he said on “Fox News Sunday.”

    But in his series of appearances on the Sunday talk shows, Mr. Donilon underscored the delicate tightrope the Obama administration has been walking with Pakistan....

    Osama bin Laden must have had Pakistan support network, says Obama
    Barack Obama raises pressure on Pakistan to investigate whether its people were involved in helping Bin Laden hide

    By Ed Pilkington in New York, Declan Walsh in Islamabad and Saeed Shah in Abbottabad,, May 8, 2011

    Barack Obama has ratcheted up the pressure on Pakistan, demanding that the Pakistani government investigates whether its own people were involved in a network to support Osama bin Laden in his Abbottabad hideout.

    The US president's comments are his most direct yet on the subject of Pakistan's possible complicity with terrorism. He told the CBS show 60 Minutes that Bin Laden must have had "some sort of support network" inside the country....

    In regards to that support network in Pakistan, I am keen to learn about the Al Qaeda side to that. If there was no Pakistani support for the setup, that suggests another network with considerable resources was involved. Or maybe some level of Pakistani support was involved but they were hoodwinked into thinking they were protecting somebody else. The complete range of alternatives from total complicity to extraordinary stupidity seems plausible when so many agents are involved working for/against one another.

    I would think there is some clarification in the data haul from Abbottabad-past al Qaeda communications. However that doesn't mean anything for us average Jills & Joes as far as figuring it all out, because it's quite possible that our government might publicize some things that aren't true from there on purpose.

    I think that situation is nothing new under the sun, sorta like it was for an average guy trying to figure out what was going on with the Cold War, CIA/KGB-wise? Where it takes a couple decades and some good historians to sort it out for the whole story to come out? In the meantime, this kind of thing we really are stuck with "do you trust the prez or not?" I.E., think Kennedy/Cuba, etc. Still all is not wasted, I think you learn all kinds of things trying to figure it out.

    Prime Minister Is Defiant as Pakistan Outs C.I.A. Agent
    By Jane Perlez, New York Times, 16 minutes ago

    Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani defended Pakistan’s spy agency Monday, as the agency appeared to have told a newspaper the name of the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad.

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — In an address to Parliament, Prime Minister Yousaf Gilani on Monday defended Pakistan's spy agency and indirectly criticized the United States for Osama bin Laden's s presence in Pakistan.

    The prime minister’s statement was expected to give an accounting of what Pakistan knew about the Qaeda leader’s presence in Pakistan, but instead centered on how the raid by the United States was a breach of Pakistani sovereignty. He warned that a repeat of such a raid to capture other high profile terrorists could be met with “full force.”


    Mr. Gilani said it was “disingenuous” for anyone to blame the ISI or the army of being “in cahoots” with Bin Laden. The head of the spy agency, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, and the chief of the army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, have been described by Pakistani officials as seething over the American raid, and the failure of the Obama administration to inform Pakistan in advance.

    In apparent retaliation, the ISI appeared to have told a conservative daily newspaper, The Nation, the name of the C.I.A. station chief who is posted at the American Embassy in Islamabad. A misspelled version of the station chief’s name appeared in the Saturday edition of The Nation.

    In December, the prior C.I.A. station chief had to leave Pakistan after he was publicly identified in a legal complaint sent to the Pakistani police by the family of victims of the American drone campaign...At the time, the Obama administration said it believed that the ISI had deliberately made the name public.....

    It must have been the Panetta charm offensive what won 'em over. I wondered if his big mouth was going to cause problems. You figure, legislators are one thing - but he's operationally face-to-face.

    I'm not sure this necessarily has any implication on what they knew in advance, though. There have been some BRUTAL statements from some very high level members of Obama's team. This could just be a bit of an escalation from their side while trying not to blow the whole relationship out of the water. How do we differentiate between the tit-for-tats?

    How do we differentiate between the tit-for-tats?

    All one can do is follow the stories, mho. (Is why I like keeping things on something as complicated as Pakistan on one thread, at least for a while.) Like I said to moat above, it sort of reminds me of the Cold War, where we won't get the whole story for quite some time.

    AFP's coverage of the Prime Minister's speech on Dawn's website.

    Odd that they didn't write up an article on it themselves instead of using a foreign wire.

    And interesting that they have this other wire story as a "headline story" right now:

    US has non-Pakistan supply routes for Afghan war, Reuters, May 9, 2011

    Pakistan TV unmasks supposed top CIA agent but reportedly gets it wrong
    It is the second time in recent months that Pakistani media have revealed what they say is the name of the CIA's station chief in Islamabad. A wire service report disputes the claim.
    By Alex Rodriguez, Los Angeles Times, May 9, 2011

    Reporting from Islamabad, Pakistan—

    A private Pakistani television network has divulged what it claims is the name of the CIA's current station chief in Islamabad, the second time in six months that local media have attempted to unmask the agency's top spy in the South Asian nation.

    However, the Associated Press on Monday reported without elaboration that the network got the name wrong,

    The report by the private ARY network raised the possibility that Pakistan's intelligence community could be trying to broadside the CIA following embarrassment here over the U.S. raid last week that killed Osama bin Laden. The job of the CIA's Islamabad station chief is regarded as vital because of its role at the center of the agency's drone missile campaign against militants in Pakistan's tribal areas along the Afghan border.

    Last December[....]

    Pakistanis name CIA station chief; U.S. suspects retaliation

    By Karin Brulliard and Greg Miller, Washington Post, May 9, 2011

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Stung by criticism at home and in the United States following a U.S. raid that killed Osama bin Laden in a city north of the capital, Pakistan’s intelligence service may have leaked the name of the CIA station chief in retaliation, U.S. officials said Monday.


    In a development that could further fray tensions between the Pakistan and the United States, Pakistani media this weekend reported what they said was the name of the current CIA station chief in Islamabad. The name, apparently misspelled, was aired by a private television station, ARY, on Friday and published in the right-wing English-language newspaper The Nation on Saturday.

    In Washington, U.S. officials said they suspected that the name — although erroneous in part — may have been deliberately leaked by Pakistan’s intelligence service — known as the Inter-Services Intelligence directorate, or ISI — in retaliation for U.S. criticism following the bin Laden raid. CIA Director Leon Panetta told lawmakers last week that Pakistan’s military and intelligence services were either complicit or incompetent.

    U.S. officials acknowledged they have no evidence so far to back up the assertion that Pakistan had sought to out the CIA’s station chief. Late last year, in a similar episode, U.S. officials also believed the Pakistanis had intentionally blown the cover of the agency’s top spy in the country. At the time, officials suspected the name had been disclosed in retaliation for a lawsuit filed in New York that identified Pakistan’s intelligence chief as a defendant.

    In that instance, the CIA pulled its top officer out of the country. But it is not clear whether the CIA will take the same step now. [....]

    On Bin Laden: I ask myself ‘Why?’

    By Juan Cole, Informed Comment, May9, 2011

    I ask myself why. Some Pakistanis are complaining about the violation of their country’s sovereignty during the Navy SEALs’ raid at Abbottabad.

    But why aren’t they complaining about Usama Bin Laden’s violation of Pakistani sovereignty? He and his family entered their country illegally, and then re-formed a paramilitary organization that killed Pakistanis and raided from Pakistan over into Afghanistan. Foreigners behaving that way for years on Pakistani soil with no pretense of legality seems to me a bigger violation of Pakistani sovereignty than a 40-minute raid that captured one fugitive who had killed 3000 Americans.

    I ask myself why. Some observers are calling the SEALs’ operation against Bin Laden illegal.....

    Pakistan's Trials

    By Fatima Bhutto for Newsweek, May 5, 2011

    On May 2, Pakistan's commercial capital, Karachi, was on fire. Fourteen cars, buses, and trucks were set ablaze, gunfire broke out in the busy Malir neighborhood, and across various parts of the city people were told to stay at home. The violence had nothing to do with the death of Osama bin Laden the day before, but with the murder in the city of a former member of Parliament. Pakistan's trials don't start and don't end with Osama. The country is gripped by bloodletting-Baloch dissidents have disappeared by the thousands (a sinister byproduct of our government's engagement in the war on terror); the price of basic foodstuffs has skyrocketed as government industrialists and feudal landowners hoard basics like sugar and set the price of wheat far above international prices; and the nation has begun to descend into sectarian and ethnic violence not seen since the mid-1990s. Maybe it's not peculiar that government spokesmen claim to know nothing about Osama's killing, since they never seem to have any idea what's happening in their country at all.

    Bhutto is a writer living in Karachi.

    From Sorrow and Joy: Elie Wiesel, Fatima Bhutto, Bernard-Henri Lévy, and Andrew Sullivan reflect on the end of Osama Bin Laden.

    Highly recommended, though it might make you go "aaargh!" at many points. If you read only one current piece on Pakistan, it should be this; it explains a lot:

    The Double Game: The unintended consequences of American funding in Pakistan.
    by Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker, May 16, 2011

    A taste, my bold:

    It's the end of the Second World War, and the United States is deciding what to do about two immense, poor, densely populated countries in Asia. America chooses one of the countries, becoming its benefactor. Over the decades, it pours billions of dollars into that country’s economy, training and equipping its military and its intelligence services. The stated goal is to create a reliable ally with strong institutions and a modern, vigorous democracy....

    American money began flowing into Pakistan in 1954, when a mutual defense agreement was signed....

    The main beneficiary of U.S. money, the Pakistani military, has never won a war, but, according to “Military Inc.,” by Ayesha Siddiqa, it has done very well in its investments: hotels, real estate, shopping malls. Such entrepreneurship, however corrupt, fills a gap, as Pakistan’s economy is now almost entirely dependent on American taxpayers. In a country of a hundred and eighty million people, fewer than two million citizens pay taxes, and Pakistan’s leaders are doing little to change the situation. In Karachi, the financial capital, the government recently inaugurated a program to appoint eunuchs as tax collectors. Eunuchs are considered relentless scolds in South Asia, and the threat of being hounded by one is somehow supposed to take the place of audits.

    In 2008, Pakistan’s government made the dramatic announcement that it was placing the I.S.I. under the control of its Interior Ministry—a restructuring that was revoked within hours by inflamed military leaders, who effectively vetoed the government. That November, Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist organization that has reportedly received backing from the I.S.I. to wage jihad in Kashmir, carried out attacks on tourists in Mumbai. According to American indictments, an I.S.I. officer directed the surveillance of suitable targets.....


    The Osama raid plan included contingency for the possibility of Pakistani resistance, and for the possibility of taking him alive, belying the popular accusations that it was okayed all powers that be in Pakistan and that it was an ordered assassination:

    U.S. Braced for Fights With Pakistanis in Bin Laden Raid

    By Eric Schmitt, Thom Shanker and David E. Sanger, New York Times, May 9/10, 2011

    WASHINGTON — President Obama insisted that the assault force hunting down Osama bin Laden last week be large enough to fight its way out of Pakistan if confronted by hostile local police officers and troops, senior administration and military officials said Monday.

    In revealing additional details about planning for the mission, senior officials also said that two teams of specialists were on standby: One to bury Bin Laden if he was killed, and a second composed of lawyers, interrogators and translators in case he was captured alive. That team was set to meet aboard a Navy ship, most likely the aircraft carrier Carl Vinson in the North Arabian Sea.

    Mr. Obama’s decision to increase the size of the force sent into Pakistan shows that he was willing to risk a military confrontation with a close ally in order to capture or kill the leader of Al Qaeda.


    One senior Obama administration official, pressed on the rules of engagement for one of the riskiest clandestine operations attempted by the C.I.A. and the military’s Joint Special Operations Command in many years, said: “Their instructions were to avoid any confrontation if at all possible. But if they had to return fire to get out, they were authorized to do it.”

    The planning also illustrates how little the administration trusted the Pakistanis as they set up their operation. They also rejected a proposal to bring the Pakistanis in on the mission.

    Under the original plan, two assault helicopters were going to stay on the Afghanistan side of the border waiting for a call if they were needed. But the aircraft would have been about 90 minutes away from the Bin Laden compound.

    About 10 days before the raid, Mr. Obama reviewed the plans and pressed his commanders as to whether they were taking along enough forces to fight their way out if the Pakistanis arrived on the scene and tried to interfere with the operation.

    That resulted in the decision to send two more helicopters carrying additional troops. These followed the two lead Black Hawk helicopters that carried the actual assault team. [....]

    Chicago Trial May Unmask Pakistan’s Links to Militants
    By Ginger Thompson and David Rohde, New York Times, May 14/15, 2011

    WASHINGTON — Two years before terrorists struck the Indian port city of Mumbai, a Pakistani-American man named David Coleman Headley began laying the groundwork for the attack, financed, he claims, by $25,000 from an officer in Pakistan’s powerful intelligence service.

    Mr. Headley told Indian investigators that the officer, known only as Maj. Iqbal, “listened to my entire plan to attack India.” Another ISI officer, Mr. Headley said, “assured me of the financial help.”

    As the United States presses Pakistan for answers about whether the its intelligence service, the Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate, or ISI, played a role in harboring Osama bin Laden, Mr. Headley is set to recount that story in a federal courthouse in Chicago. What he discloses could further deepen suspicions that Pakistani spies are connected to terrorists and potentially worsening relations between Washington and Islamabad.....

    As Rift Deepens Between U.S. and Pakistan, Kerry Offers Carrots and Sticks
    By David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, New York Times, May 14/15, 2011

    WASHINGTON — The United States and Pakistan are veering toward a deepening clash, with Pakistan’s Parliament demanding a permanent halt to all drone strikes just as the most senior American envoy since the killing of Osama bin Laden is to arrive with a stern message that the country has only months to show it is truly committed to rooting out the remnants of Al Qaeda and associated groups.

    The United States has increased drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas in the past 10 days in an effort to exploit the uncertainty and disarray among militant ranks following Bin Laden’s death on May 2. The latest airstrikes, on Friday, came as Pakistan’s spy chief, Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha, in a rare appearance before Pakistan’s Parliament, denounced the American raid as a “sting operation.”

    Parliament then passed a resolution declaring that the drone strikes were a violation of sovereignty equivalent to the secret attack on Bin Laden’s house in Abbottabad. The lawmakers warned that Pakistan could cut supply lines to American forces in Afghanistan if there were more such attacks. The resolution contained no condemnation of the Afghan Taliban, who killed more than 80 Pakistani paramilitary cadets the same day.

    The stepping up of the condemnations of the United States came as Senator John Kerry, Democrat of Massachusetts, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee and a longtime emissary to Pakistan in times of crisis, was preparing to land in Islamabad. He was arriving with a list of actions — and some offers from Washington to ease tensions — that he finalized in a meeting on Thursday with President Obama’s national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and other top American security officials....

    Who will lose Pakistan?
    By David Rothkopf,, May 12, 2011

    One of the toughest challenges facing the administration right now is figuring out how to maintain aid flows to Pakistan. The big hurdle is getting the Congress to approve more dollars for a country that seems to have abetted America's public enemy number one for years, is directly supporting a variety of major terrorist organizations, has a nuclear program that was conceived by a man, A.Q. Khan, who once affiliated with those organizations, undoubtedly is siphoning off our aid dollars to support those nuclear programs or for other unwholesome ends, and as a consequence doesn't seem very much like a top candidate to receive ever more largesse from a cash-strapped country that has already pumped $20 billion into the place.

    But before we even get to that hurdle, there is a debate going on within the administration about what programs we should continue to try to fund. Administration officials are wary of being put in the position of defending the indefensible up on the Hill.....

    It's make or break time for Pakistan
    By Thomas E. Ricks,, May 12, 2011

    The remains of the mainstream media earns its keep today with a good piece by Fareed Zakaria arguing that this is the moment for Pakistan to straighten up and fly right. I don't think it is going to happen, but if it did, he lays out how it would.

    McClatchy has a story in which an American official goes all Rodney King on the situation....

    Lead up to Abbottabad: Spy chiefs had extensive talks on Osama
    By Kamran Yousaf, The Express Tribune (Pakistan,) May 13, 2011

    ISLAMABAD:  Almost three weeks before Osama bin Laden was killed by a US military raid in Abbottabad, the heads of Pakistan and US intelligence agencies spent most of their meetings talking about the whereabouts of the world’s most wanted man during their discussions at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on April 11.

    At the time, the media had reported that the visit of Lt Gen Ahmad Shuja Pasha, the head of Inter-Services Intelligence, to the US was meant to repair ties with the CIA, which had then been damaged due to the arrest of an American intelligence operative over the killing of two Pakistanis in Lahore.

    However, Pakistani security officials have now disclosed that a large part of that four-hour long meeting between Lt Gen Pasha and CIA chief Leon Panetta was dedicated to the al Qaeda chief and his whereabouts.

    When those discussions were taking place, Pasha had little clue that the CIA already knew the location of Bin Laden’s hideout and was planning to eliminate him, they said.

    At the marathon discussions, Panetta asked Pasha about the whereabouts of the al Qaeda leader. “He (Osama) could be hiding anywhere,” was Pasha’s reply.

    The CIA chief wanted a more specific answer....

    Report on the meeting of ISI director with joint Parliament, from leakers

    Abbottobad raid: Questions and questionable conduct
    Director-General of the ISI was met with a barrage of questions and taunts

    By Rauf Klasra, Express Tribune (Pakistan,) May 14, 2011


    Though it was a lingering concern, it still seemed unexpected. The chief of the country’s premier intelligence agency was greeted with taunts right from the moment he rose to brief an incredibly tense special joint sitting of Parliament.

    Aside from a barrage of questions, many, including the spymaster himself, must have known it wasn’t going to be easy.

    And it wasn’t.

    However, the proceedings proved to be more charged than even the most adventurous of estimates – even resulting in verbal clashes between the politicians themselves....

    Here's a report on the massive security preparations for the meeting:

    Closed-door briefing: As leadership meets, security fears abound

    By Asad Kharal / Rauf Klasra, Express Tribune (Pakistan,) May 13, 2011

    Also see:

    US ambassador meets with PMLN chief, discusses US operation in Abbottabad.
    Express Tribune (Pakistan,) May 14, 2011

    RAIWIND: US Ambassador Cameron Munter met with Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) leader Mian Nawaz  Sharif at his residence in Raiwind, Lahore on Saturday.

    Sources said that both leaders discussed the political situation in the aftermath of the US operation in Abbottabad in which al Qaeda chief Osama Bin Laden was killed. Ambassador Munter underlined the need to have a better relationship between the two countries . He also said that Pakistan and US should continue to make a joint effort on the war on terror .

    Nawaz Sharif accepted the need to have good relations between the US and Pakistan, but said that events like the Abbottabad operation and the drone attacks harm relations between both countries.

    PML-N leaders  Chaudhry Nisar and Khwaja Asif were also present during the meeting.

    According to Express 24/7 correspondent Mohammad Rizwan, the meeting was a move by the US to reach out to various politicians and to take the opposition into confidence....

    My bold highlighting:

    The Double Mirror
    By David Ignatius, Time Magazine, May 12, 2011

    In the days after the U.S. raid on Osama bin Laden's compound in Abbottabad — when the whole world was wondering whether the Pakistanis had known all along that he was there — I found myself reviewing my correspondence with officers of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) directorate. That's just one of the unlikely facts about Pakistan's fearsome intelligence service: its top operatives answer their e-mail.

    The notes brought back to me the strange duality of the ISI, which I encountered in my first meetings in Pakistan with its senior leaders in 2009. They proved to be passionate correspondents. With their public face, they wanted to be understood — liked, even. But their private face was coldly ruthless, to the point of silently condoning attacks on U.S. soldiers by their allies.

    I found that I couldn't capture ISI's nuances in newspaper columns. So my eighth novel, Bloodmoney, is set largely in Pakistan; it centers on a fictional ISI and a CIA whose operations inside Pakistan have spun out of control. I describe the director general of my imaginary ISI this way: "To say that the Pakistani was playing a double game did not do him justice; his strategy was far more complicated than that."

    This Janus-like quality is true of all intelligence services, I suppose, but I have never seen an organization quite like the ISI. It is at once very secretive and very open, yet ISI officials get especially peeved at the charge of duplicity....

    ....The ISI's press cell feeds Pakistani newspapers constantly; presumably, it thinks its U.S.-bashing leaks will hide the reality of the ISI's cooperation. But the puppeteer has gotten caught in the strings. Anti-Americanism has taken a virulent form that threatens the ISI too...

    Also see:

    Why We're Stuck with Pakistan
    By Aryn Baker in Islamabad, Time Magazine, May 12, 2011 of Pakistan's best-known opinion writers, summed up the national anguish in a column: "If we didn't know [bin Laden was in Abbottabad], we are a failed state; if we did know, we are a rogue state." Pakistan is a bit of both....

    The consequence is what Pakistani Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, in an interview with TIME, calls a "trust deficit" with the U.S. Gilani insists that he can't mend the relationship with a wave of his hand. "I am not an army dictator. I'm a public figure," he tells TIME. "If public opinion is against [the U.S.], then I cannot resist it to stand with you. I have to go with public opinion."....

    Flaws in the Foundation

    The relationship, in truth, has never been about trust. It was and is a strategic alliance founded on complementary interests: Pakistan's desire for military assistance and its fear of becoming a pariah state, and the U.S.'s need for regional support in the Afghanistan war. While Pakistan and the U.S. share similar long-term goals — economic partnership, stability in the region — their short-term needs rarely intersect....


    WikiLeaks: Pakistan Asked for More, Not Fewer Drones

    What Pakistan Knows by Doctor Cleveland

    Sense and sovereignty in Kafkastan
    by Raza Rumi,, May 21st, 2011

    Raza Rumi is a policy advisor, writer and editor based in Lahore. His writings are archived at

    I just returned from Karachi, where the city was outraged at the unscheduled, endless power cuts. Everywhere, the energy crisis dominated the discussions. In certain areas, there is no power for the last three days!

    But for Imran Khan and his supporters, the biggest issue appears to be drone attacks taking place almost a thousand kilometers north of the port city. Banners advising the citizens to join the protests against drones appeared almost surreal in a city where the criminal gangs, safely ensconced within the mainstream political parties, are perpetrating target killings. Even less worrying to Khan’s supporters is the presence of al Qaeda operatives and underground don[s] who allegedly hide well in the multitudes of Karachi.

    Are drones and war on terror really responsible for the plight of Pakistan? Amnesia is not uncommon in Pakistan especially when daily doses of violence have almost desensitised the society....

    Ramadan? In Pakistan that's just another reason for jihad:


    Death toll rises to 51 in Khyber mosque suicide attack
    AFP, August 20, 2011

    Mosque Bomb Blast Toll Hits 51: Horrifying Photos

    International Business Times, August 20, 2011

    Taliban claims responsibility for Pak mosque bombing
    PTI, August 20, 2011

    Calls for military action in Karachi as violence continues
    Reuters, August 20, 2011

    Pakistan's government is facing increased pressure from business groups to deploy the army in the commercial hub of Karachi after at least 65 people were killed in a surge of gang and political violence over the past three days....

    Indian army reports deadly gunbattle in Kashmir
    Associated Press, August 20, 2011

    Indian troops in Kashmir fought a deadly gunbattle with suspected rebels crossing the military Line of Control from Pakistani-controlled territory Saturday, the army said. One soldier and 11 suspected rebels were killed....

    Kabul Attack on British Compound Linked to Pakistan, Police Chief Says
    ABC News, August 19, 2011

    Kabul's police chief claimed today the brazen dawn terror attack on a British compound in the Afghan capital that killed eight was planned and directed by senior Taliban members hiding out in Pakistan.....


    My commentary: Still wondering when the solution part is coming from that original "two-state solution."

    Before 9/11, Pakistan was on the US's oh-shit list of countries. Countries where doing business was restricted so as to punish them for their bad habits that didn't pass muster with what the US expected. However, after the event, Bu$h had no problem with putting Pakistan on the very top of the most-favored-nation list. The thing is, Pakistan didn't do or change anything for the action. So to find out now they have been burning the candle at both ends since 9/11 should come as no surprise ... it's what they do best ... which is why they were on the oh-shit list of countries in the first place.

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