Bin Laden said to live “comfortably” in Pakistan

The latest bin Laden sighting from Dawn (who quotes from CNN):

The newest about the elusive Osama bin Laden, who like Emanuel Goldstein from Orwell’s 1984 is said to exist, but nobody has seen him for so time, is said to live comfortably in north-west Pakistan, close to al-Zawahiri and being protected by locals and some ISI members.

“Nobody in al-Qaeda is living in a cave,” the unnamed senior Nato official reportedly told the network [CNN].

Of course, said “senior Nato official” cannot be named lest the free world’s war on terror fall apart completely. However, we are told this one really, really does exist.

The Turkish intelligence services will be humbled to hear this, as they, not so long ago, claimed that Osama bin Laden had died December 13, 2007 of kidney failure not far from Tora Bora, where the vast bunker complex in the mountains failed to materialise as well.

So does this mean that Iran can wait and Pakistan will be invaded first? I am sure they will let us know in a timely manner, since the public needs to be brainwashed prepared for this news.

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PressTV: Contractors bombing NATO tankers

So it may not be the Taliban who are responsible for some of the tanker torching that has gone on lately. It may just be plain old ‘insurance’ fraud. As PressTV writes:

“Some evidence shows that contractors bombed their tankers themselves for some reasons,” an owner of vehicles
supplying US-led troops in Afghanistan, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told Xinhua on Saturday.

The Pakistani police say there is evidence that bombs have been planted in many of the vehicles by the “NATO contractors” or their
staff, who have been contracted by NATO to supply fuel and goods to forces in Afghanistan.

It appears that NATO reimburses contractors for burnt vehicles and pays them a compensation for the fuel lost in the burn. However, the fuel is sold first. It’s a win-win for contractors. Of course the Taliban like to take responsibility for those events, since it makes them appear stronger and have more reach than they actually have.

Helicopter Crash in Tadjikistan – 28 Dead

According to the Kazakh news agency Khabar – which cites the Tajik news agency “Asia-Plus” as a source – a helicopter of the Tadjik national guard crashed leaving all 28 passengers dead. The crash happened on the morning of October 6, 2010 during an “anti-terrorist operation” 190 km east of Dushanbe, the capital of Tadjikistan. In addition to the crew of four, 21 members of the elite unit “Alpha” were also killed. Preliminarily the cause is attributed to technical problems of the helicopter, however the incident is under investigation.

Only recently, in September 2010 23 Tadjik soldiers were killed in a ‘terrorist attack’ writes The Telegraph:

The attack occurred on Sunday afternoon 150 miles east of the capital Dushanbe, in the moutainous and inaccessible Racht valley, where the
soldiers were to rejoin a security post.

Military forces are leading operations in the region to try to find 25 fugitives with suspected links to al-Qaeda, who escaped from a Dushanbe prison in
August after killing six prison guards. The fugitives were believed to have headed to the Racht valley, authorities said.

Does look like a new front, doesn’t it.

 

AfghanVoice: Interview with Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar

Image source: Afghan Voice

From Afghanvoice:

In a rare interview conducted by e-mail, Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar – head of the weakest of three main insurgent groups and the first

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a veteran Afghan warlord, heads the only one of three main insurgent groups that is holding direct negotiations with the government. His group, Hizb-e-Islami, controls large swaths of the north and east, and in March it delivered to Kabul a 15-point peace proposal. But any deal with Hizb-e-Islami remains far off, due to disagreements over when foreign troops should leave and when to hold new elections. And it is not clear that stronger groups such as the Taliban would follow suit.

Mr. Hekmatyar, who is believed to be hiding in Pakistan, discussed the peace negotiations with the Monitor in a rare e-mail interview, with high-ranking associates of his verifying his identity. Here are excerpts from the interview. Continue reading

Afghanistan, the Graveyard of Empires – Really?

AfghanistanIt is sometimes claimed that Afghanistan is the ‘graveyard of empires’ and as a justification of why this is so, one usually hears that this was because no occupying power had ever ‘won’ in Afghanistan, or something similiar. The examples that are normally given to make that case are the Soviet Union and the British Empire. So let’s takle them first.

I realise that is not a scientific work, but nevertheless is quite conclusive as to whether the above claim holds any water. In short, it does not.

a) The Soviet Union (1917-1991)

In an 2009 article on the BBC website named “Reform, Coup and Collapse: The End of the Soviet State”, Professor Archie Brown writes (emphasis mine):

The Soviet Union on the eve of Gorbachev’s perestroika (reconstruction) had serious political and economic problems. Technologically, it was falling behind not only Western countries but also the newly industrialised countries of Asia. Its foreign policy evinced a declining capacity to win friends and influence people. Yet there was no political instability within the country, no unrest, and no crisis. This was not a case of economic and political crisis producing liberalisation and democratisation. Rather, it was liberalisation and democratisation that brought the regime to crisis point. There were five interconnected transformations in the last years of the Soviet Union which are too often conflated into one ‘collapse’ or ‘implosion’. It is especially important to distinguish between the dismantling of the communist system and the disintegration of the Soviet state, for the former preceded the latter by between two and three years.

This view is shared by others. From Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

East-West tensions increased during the first term of U.S. President Ronald Reagan (1981–1985), reaching levels not seen since the 1962 Cuban missile crisis as Reagan increased US military spending to 7% of the GDP.[citation needed] To match the USA’s military buildup, the Soviet Union increased its own military spending to 27% of its GDP and froze production of civilian goods at 1980 levels, causing a sharp economic decline in the already failing Soviet economy. However, it is not clear where the number 27% of the GDP came from. This thesis is not confirmed by the extensive study on the causes of the collapse of the Soviet Union by two prominent economists from the World Bank- William Easterly and Stanley Fisher from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “… the study concludes that the increased Soviet defense spending provoked by Mr. Reagan’s policies was not the straw that broke the back of the Evil Empire. The Afghan war and the Soviet response to Mr. Reagan’s Star Wars program caused only a relatively small rise in defense costs. And the defense effort throughout the period from 1960 to 1987 contributed only marginally to economic decline.[2]

In my view, it’s thus safe to conclude that the Afghanistan War (1979- 1989) was not the cause of the demise of the Soviet Union. It was a combination of factors other than the war that brought the Soviet Union down.

Continue reading

Osama bin Laden is Dead – According to Turkish Intelligence Services

From Takvim:

The al-Qaeda leader had died on December 13, 2007,  from kidney failure.  However, the CIA director Panetta said the previous day, that thew were unable to get news from bin Laden for the last  10 years Laden.

Leon Panetta, director of the world’s largest intelligence agency CIA made a comment the previous day that “for 10 years we have not heard news from Osama bin Laden”.

CIA Chief Panetta, said a few weeks ago that al-Qaeda’s number-three man was killed, saying that “bin Laden is on the Pakistani border. Under pressure it will become clear [? not sure here]. However,  in Afghanistan, according to information Turkish intelligence units have taken, the al-Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden,  died in the mountains of Tora Bora in December 13, 2007. Years ago, the left kidney from the al-Qaeda leader was causing problems, in 2004 right kidney was also having problems. “U.S. shivers” Laden, in the primitive conditions at Tora Bora bin Laden managed to survive for three years with one kidney. Bin Laden died in the morning of December 13, 2007. News of the death of the al-Qaeda leader came as a shock, especially to the CIA.
However, even in the US presidential elections bin Laden’s death was influential,  “the world is not ready”, they said without giving reasons.[?] For the sake of America’s long-term plans the fact remained hidden. If not kept secret and hidden, it would be difficult to maintain the occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan.
Although bin Laden was dead, from 2007 onwards, Washington, with fake audio messages or video images bin Laden “was kept alive”, and his name was used.

[…]

Note: My Turkish is not that good, so don’t rely on my translation for details, but the gist is very clear: Bin Laden died in 2007 and nobody in the US wants to admit it because it would be difficult to continue the war on terror once this fact became widely know.

Source: Takvim

Press TV: McChrystal ‘sacked for intelligence leak’

General McChrystal

Image Source: Press TV

There might be more to McChrystal’s removal than meets the eye. From Press TV:

Kabul circles say the dismissal of US commander was over leaking information including NATO’s connection with the executed leader of the Jundallah terrorist group, Abdolmalek Rigi.

Head of Press TV’s office in Kabul, Mohammad Ruhi, says US commander General Stanley McChrystal was sacked for acknowledging NATO’s connection with the executed leader of the Pakistan-based Jundallah terrorist group, Abdolmalek Rigi.

He dismissed the official reasons for the firing of McChrystal, saying his growing friendship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and intelligence leaks may have triggered the replacement.

The move caused a scandal, and a British minister was sacked. In retaliation, London is believed to have released confidential statements by McChrystal to White House officials, paving the way for the commander’s removal from his post.

Abdolmalek Rigi was the founder and leader of Jundallah, an insurgent or terrorist – depending on whom you ask – organistation active in Iran but based in Balochestan, Pakistan.
According to Wikipedia, Jundallah  is a militant Islamist Sunni organization based in Balochistan that claims to be fighting for the rights of Sunni Muslims in Iran, is responsible for numerous attacks in Iran, which targeted both civilians and military personnel. It is believed to have 1,000 fighters and claims to have killed 400 Iranian soldiers and many more civilians.

Rigi was captured by Iran in February and recently executed. The Guardian wrote in February: Continue reading