Saturday, June 4, 2011

Journalists on Foreign Payroll & Carl Bernstein.

In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA. Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. There was cooperation, accommodation and overlap. Journalists provided a full range of clandestine services—from simple intelligence gathering to serving as go‑betweens with spies in Communist countries. Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors without‑portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested in the derring‑do of the spy business as in filing articles; and, the smallest category, full‑time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad. In many instances, CIA documents show, journalists were engaged to perform tasks for the CIA with the consent of the managements of America’s leading news organizations. REFERENCE: THE CIA AND THE MEDIA How Americas Most Powerful News Media Worked Hand in Glove with the Central Intelligence Agency and Why the Church Committee Covered It Up BY CARL BERNSTEIN - After leaving The Washington Post in 1977, Carl Bernstein spent six months looking at the relationship of the CIA and the press during the Cold War years. His 25,000-word cover story, published in Rolling Stone on October 20, 1977

Church Committee Reports

Senator Frank Church - These 14 published reports of the Church Committee contain a wealth of information on the formation, operation, and abuses of U.S. intelligence agencies. They were published in 1975 and 1976, after which recommendations for reform were debated in the Congress and in some cases carried out. The Interim Report documents the Church Committee's findings on U.S. involvement in attempts to assassinate foreign leaders, particularly Patrice Lumumba of the Congo, Cuba's Fidel Castro, Rafael Trujillo of the Dominican Republic, the Diem brothers of Vietnam, and General Rene Schneider of Chile. It also contains findings on the development of a general "Executive Action" capability by the CIA. The remaining reports are split into 7 volumes of public hearings and exhibits and 6 books which contain the Committee's writings on the various topics investigated. These 14 reports are the most extensive review of intelligence activities ever made public. REFERENCE: AARC Public Library Contents - Church Committee Reports 

Carl Bernstein shared a Pulitzer Prize with Bob Woodward for his coverage of Watergate for The Washington Post. His most recent book is the acclaimed biography, A Woman in Charge: The Life of Hillary Rodham Clinton. He is the author, with Woodward, of All the President’s Men and The Final Days, and, with Marco Politi, of His Holiness: John Paul II and the History of Our Time. He is also the author of Loyalties, a memoir about his parents during McCarthy–era Washington. He has written for Vanity Fair (he is also a contributing editor), Time, USA Today, Rolling Stone, and The New Republic. He was a Washington bureau chief and correspondent for ABC News. At The Washington Post, Bernstein also was a part-time rock critic, and he still occasionally writes about music. He lives with his wife, Christine, in New York. REFERENCE: About the Author

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Washington "strongly condemned the abduction and killing" of Mr Shahzad. "His work reporting on terrorism and intelligence issues in Pakistan brought to light the troubles extremism poses to Pakistan's stability," she said in a statement. REFERENCE: Pakistan's ISI denies involvement in reporter's murder 2 June 2011 Last updated at 10:48 GMT

The Pakistani journalist Syed Saleem Shahzad knew he was a marked man. Mr. Shahzad, who covered national security and terrorism, had received repeated threats from Pakistan’s powerful spy agency. Yet he courageously kept doing his job — until somebody silenced him. His body, his face horribly beaten, was buried on Wednesday. Suspicion inevitably falls on Inter-Services Intelligence, Pakistan’s chief intelligence agency. For the sake of justice, and the shredded credibility of Pakistan’s government, his murderers must be found quickly and held accountable. Mr. Shahzad disappeared from Islamabad on Sunday, two days after he published an article suggesting a militant attack on a naval base in Karachi was retaliation for the navy’s attempt to crack down on Al Qaeda militants in the armed forces. American analysts doubt an Al Qaeda cell infiltrated Pakistani security, but they have long worried about individual sympathizers.REFERENCE: EDITORIAL Syed Saleem Shahzad’s Courage Published: June 1, 2011

British journalists – and British journals – are being manipulated by the secret intelligence agencies, and I think we ought to try and put a stop to it. The manipulation takes three forms. The first is the attempt to recruit journalists to spy on other people, or for spies to go themselves under journalistic “cover”. This occurs today and it has gone on for years. It is dangerous, not only for the journalist concerned, but for other journalists who get tarred with the espionage brush. Farzad Bazoft was a colleague of mine on the London Observer when he was executed by Saddam Hussein for espionage. It did not, in a sense, matter whether he was really a spy or not. Either way, he ended up dead. The second form of manipulation that worries me is when intelligence officers are allowed to pose as journalists in order to write tendentious articles under false names. Evidence of this only rarely comes to light, but two examples have surfaced recently – mainly because of the whistleblowing activities of a couple of renegade officers – David Shayler from MI5 and Richard Tomlinson from MI6. The third sort of manipulation is the most insidious – when intelligence agency propaganda stories are planted on willing journalists, who disguise their origin from their readers. There is – or has been until recently – a very active programme by the secret agencies to colour what appears in the British press, called, if publications by various defectors can be believed, “I/Ops”. That is an abbreviation for Information Operations, and I am – unusually – in a position to provide some information about it. Let us take that third allegation first. Black propaganda – false material where the source is disguised – has been a tool of British intelligence agencies since the days of the war, when the Special Operations Executive got up to all kinds of tricks with clandestine radio stations, to drip pornography and pessimism into the ears of impressionable German soldiers. Post-war, this unwholesome game mutated into the anti-Soviet Information Research Department. Its task was ostensibly to plant anti-communist stories in the press of the third world, but its lurid tales of Marxist drunkenness and corruption sometimes leaked back to confuse the readers of the British media. A colourful example of the way these techniques expand to meet the exigencies of the hour came in the early 1970s, when the readers of the News of the World found before their eyes – and no doubt to their bewilderment – a front page splash, Russian Sub in IRA plot sensation, complete with aerial photograph of a Soviet conning tower awash off the coast of Donegal. That was the work of Hugh Mooney of the IRD, an organisation which was eventually closed down in 1977. Its spirit did not die, however. Nearly 25 years later, readers of the Sunday Telegraph were regaled with a dramatic story about the son of Col Gadafy of Libya and his alleged connection to a currency counterfeiting plan. The story was written by Con Coughlin, the paper's then chief foreign correspondent, and it was falsely attributed to a “British banking official”. In fact, it had been given to him by officers of MI6, who, it transpired, had been supplying Coughlin with material for years. REFERENCE: Britain's security services and journalists: the secret story British Journalism Review Vol. 11, No. 2, 2000, pages 21-26 David Leigh

Nobody can help better than a Journalist for Launching any False Flag Operation.


False Flag Operation (Covert Operation) - Declassified

False flag (aka Black Flag) operations are covert operations designed to deceive the public in such a way that the operations appear as though they are being carried out by other entities. The name is derived from the military concept of flying false colors; that is flying the flag of a country other than one's own. False flag operations are not limited to war and counter-insurgency operations, and can be used in peace-time. (Wiki)

In his new exposé of the National Security Agency entitled Body of Secrets, author James Bamford highlights a set of proposals on Cuba by the Joint Chiefs of Staff codenamed OPERATION NORTHWOODS. This document, titled “Justification for U.S. Military Intervention in Cuba” was provided by the JCS to Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara on March 13, 1962, as the key component of Northwoods. Written in response to a request from the Chief of the Cuba Project, Col. Edward Lansdale, the Top Secret memorandum describes U.S. plans to covertly engineer various pretexts that would justify a U.S. invasion of Cuba. These proposals - part of a secret anti-Castro program known as Operation Mongoose - included staging the assassinations of Cubans living in the United States, developing a fake “Communist Cuban terror campaign in the Miami area, in other Florida cities and even in Washington,” including “sink[ing] a boatload of Cuban refugees (real or simulated),” faking a Cuban airforce attack on a civilian jetliner, and concocting a “Remember the Maine” incident by blowing up a U.S. ship in Cuban waters and then blaming the incident on Cuban sabotage. Bamford himself writes that Operation Northwoods “may be the most corrupt plan ever created by the U.S. government.” REFERENCE: Pentagon Propose Pretexts for Cuba Invasion in 1962 April 30, 2001



Carl Bernstein, who had worked with Bob Woodward in the investigation of Watergate, provided further information about Operation Mockingbird in an article in The Rolling Stone in October, 1977. Bernstein claimed that over a 25 year period over 400 American journalists secretly carried out assignments for the CIA: "Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners, distinguished reporters who considered themselves ambassadors-without-portfolio for their country. Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work; stringers and freelancers who were as interested it the derring-do of the spy business as in filing articles, and, the smallest category, full-time CIA employees masquerading as journalists abroad." REFERENCE: Operation Mockingbird

In an article published by the media watchdog group, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR), Henwood traced the Washington Post's Establishment connections to Eugene Meyer, who took control of the Post in 1933. Meyer transferred ownership to his daughter Katherine and her husband, Philip Graham, after World War II, when he was appointed by Harry S. Truman to serve as the first president of the World Bank. Meyer had been "a Wall Street banker, director of President Wilson's War Finance Corporation, a governor of the Federal Reserve System, and director of the Reconstruction Finance Corporation," Henwood wrote. REFERENCE: Operation Mockingbird

Philip Graham, Meyer's successor, had been in military intelligence during the war. When he became the Post's publisher, he continued to have close contact with his fellow upper-class intelligence veterans - now making policy at the newly formed CIA - and actively promoted the CIA's goals in his newspaper. The incestuous relationship between the Post and the intelligence community even extended to its hiring practices. Watergate-era editor Ben Bradlee also had an intelligence background; and before he became a journalist, reporter Bob Woodward was an officer in Naval Intelligence. In a 1977 article in Rolling Stone magazine about CIA influence in American media, Woodward's partner, Carl Bernstein, quoted this from a CIA official: "It was widely known that Phil Graham was somebody you could get help from." Graham has been identified by some investigators as the main contact in Project Mockingbird, the CIA program to infiltrate domestic American media. In her autobiography, Katherine Graham described how her husband worked overtime at the Post during the Bay of Pigs operation to protect the reputations of his friends from Yale who had organized the ill-fated venture. REFERENCE: Operation Mockingbird

Journalists Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward broke the stories on Watergate (late 70's) in the Washington Post, having gained access to what the CIA was trying to keep from congress about its program of using journalists at home and abroad, in deliberate propaganda campaigns. It was later revealed that Woodward was a Naval intelligence briefer to the White House and knew many insiders including General Alexander Haig. A high­level source told Bernstein, "One journalist is worth twenty agents." CFR/Trilateralist Katharine Graham, in a 1988 speech given to senior CIA employees at Agency headquarters said, "We live in a dirty and dangerous world. There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn't. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows." Maybe that's another reason why folks get the impression that a suspicious agenda lurks behind the headlines. "25 Ways to Suppress Truth: Rules of Disinformation" and "8 Traits of the Disinformationalist" sums it up very well. Operation Mockingbird: CIA Media Manipulation By Mary Louise


However, it is also an inescapable fact that except for an incorruptible handful, Pakistani anchors and ‘analysts’ who grace our TV screens and steer the windmills of public opinion, are intellectually dishonest and financially corrupt. Many ‘lifafa’ journalists, from electronic as well as print media, are available for an asking price which may include residential plots, business deals, and foreign trips et al. The programming on TV channels, as well as the content and slant in the majority of newspapers, clearly reflect conservative, pro-establishment views of the owners who are busy lining their pockets as well as harnessing the power and prestige of the state for their own benefit. But, in a country pockmarked with paragons of journalistic virtue like AA, HM, TH, HR, DAL and MB, there is a quiet and niggling despair mingled with frustration that we are losing the battle. REFERENCE: Saleem Shahzad: Murder most foul June 2, 2011

(Aapas Ki Baat – 31 May 2011)


KARCHI: Hameed Haroon, president of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society, has sharply reacted to the denial by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) regarding its involvement in the abduction and murder of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad. The ISI has denied any role in the murder and termed the allegation of Human Right’s Watch (HRW) as “baseless”. Haroon, also the chief executive officer of Dawn, has confirmed that the slain journalist had received threatening messages from ISI on at least three occasions. The deceased had not only informed his employer, Asia Time Online, but also confided in Haroon and other friends.

Following is the full text of his statement, released to the media on June 2, 2011.

“It has come to my notice that a spokesman of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) while speaking to the official national news agency in Islamabad yesterday has questioned the “baseless allegations” leveled by Human Rights Watch on the basis of an E mail from Saleem Shahzad, the Bureau Chief of the Hong Kong based Asia Times Online, in their possession . Mr Shahzad was murdered three days ago near Islamabad after being abducted by unknown persons.

“I wish to state on record that the e mail in the possession of Mr Ali Dayan, the monitor for Human Rights Watch (HRW) stationed in ,Lahore Pakistan, is indeed one of the three identical E mails sent by Mr Shahzad to HRW , his employers (Asia Times Online) and to his former employer, myself . I also wish to verify that allegations levied by HRW at the Inter services Intelligence (ISI) are essentially in complete consonance with the contents of the slain journalists E mail ”

“In their denial issued Wednesday an anonymous spokesman from the ISI has questioned the “baseless allegation” leveled against ISI by Mr Dayan of HRW. I wish to state on the record for the information of the officers involved in investigating journalist Saleem Shahzad’s gruesome murder that the late journalist confided to me and several others that he had received death threats from various officers of the ISI on at least three occasions in the past five years. Whatever the substance of these allegations , they form an integral part of Mr Shahzad’s last testimony. Mr Shahzad’s purpose in transmitting this information to three concerned colleagues in the media ,was not to defame the ISI but to avert a possible fulfillment of what he clearly perceived to be a death threat. The last threat which I refer to was recorded by Mr Shahzad by e mail with me, tersely phrased as “for the record”, at precisely 4.11 am on October18,2010, wherein he recounted the details of his meetings at the ISI headquarters in Islamabad between the Director General- Media Wing (ISI) Rear- Admiral Adnan Nazir, with the Deputy Director General of the Media Wing, Commodore Khalid Pervaiz, also being present on the occasion.

The ostensible agenda for this meeting was the subject of Mr Shahzads’s story of Asia Times Online with respect to the Pakistan government freeing of senior Afghan Taliban commander, Mullah Baraadar. Mr Shahzad informed the senior officials that he story was leaked by an intelligence channel in Pakistan, and confirmed thereafter by the ” most credible Taliban s source” . The senior officials present suggested to Mr Shahzad that he officially deny the story, which he refused to do, terming the official’s demand as “impractical”

The senior intelligence official was “curious” to identify the source of Mr Shahzad’s story claiming it to be a “shame” that such a leak should occur from the offices of a high profile intelligence service. Mr Shahzad additionally stated that the Rear -Admiral offered him some information, ostensibly “as a favour ” in the following words : ” We have recently arrested a terrorist and have recovered a lot of data, diaries and other materials during the interrogation. The terrorist had a hit list with him. If I find your name on the list I will certainly let you know.”

Mr Shahzad subsequently confirmed to me in a conversation that he not only interpreted this conversation as a veiled threat to his person. He also informed me that he let an official from the ISI know soon thereafter that he intended share the content of this threat with his colleagues ..

As President of the All Pakistan Newspapers Society (APNS) and as head of Pakistan’s leading media group I consider the security of journalists to be of paramount importance. At present the APNS has officially committed itself to the creation of a national body for the investigations of serious threats to the lives of journalists, a body which the Committee to Protect the Journalists in New York, and other leading organizations in the Pakistani press and human rights bodies have promised to lend vigorous support to. Pakistan has one of the high rates in the world for journalists’ killings and such an environment is inimical to the functioning of democracy. The government and the intelligence agencies should take the investigation into Mr Shahzad’s murder seriously and examine his last testimony closely. Whether the Oct 18th incident itself or his last article in the Asia Times Online, that alleged Al-Qaeda penetration of the security curtain for Pakistani Naval establishment in Karachi hastened his murder is for the official investigation to uncover. And nobody not even the ISI should be above the law”.

Hameed Haroon


All Pakistan Newspapers Society
REFERENCE: APNS president backs HRW claims on Shahzad’s murderDAWN.COM June 2, 2011 (3 days ago)

Bolta Pakistan (31 May 2011)


“THE unfortunate and tragic death of Syed Saleem Shahzad was a source of concern for the entire nation but the incident should not be used to target and malign the country’s security agencies”, an ISI official said on Wednesday on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of his job.

…“[The official] said it was regrettable that some sections of the media had taken upon themselves to use the incident for targeting and maligning the ISI. ‘Baseless accusations against the country’s sensitive agencies for their alleged involvement in Shahzad’s murder are totally unfounded.

“‘In the absence of any evidence, and when an investigation is still pending, such allegations [are] tantamount to unprofessional conduct on the part of the media,’ he added.

…“At the same time, [the ISI official] said, the media should act with responsibility to avoid any possible legal course. ‘It [the media] should refrain from baseless allegations against the ISI that seek to deliberately malign the organisation in the eyes of the people of Pakistan.’”

I have just chosen four paragraphs here from a longer news story that was released by the country’s official news agency, the Associated Press of Pakistan, and you can read it in its entirety in this paper’s June 2 edition. That is, of course, if you missed it in the first place. What’s your reaction to this statement? You wouldn’t be blamed for being sceptical. Who would, given the perceptions about the agency? But read the statement carefully. Have you found the most significant bit? Yes, the ‘irresponsible’ among the media men and women are now being threatened with ‘possible legal course’ which, I am assuming, means that if we continue accusing the ISI of doing nasty things without proof we’ll be made to answer in court. Fair enough, if the ISI seeks legal recourse. All are equal before the law. A summons to answer a defamation/libel case is decidedly a better option as long as the midnight knock stops, as long as a twin-cabin pick-up with darkened windows doesn’t push you against the kerb.

But even then one assumes silence is not sought as none will be offered. To ask questions about a murdered colleague, who was so brutally tortured that life was squeezed out of him, would not amount to ‘deliberately maligning’ anybody.To discuss the ‘modus operandi’ of his kidnappers and murderers would also be in order. I wouldn’t even bother to mention similar kidnappings in Balochistan, Sindh and other parts of the country, even in Islamabad itself, but will restrict myself to just three cases in the capital.

One remembers Umar Cheema’s incident from last autumn and Saleem Shahzad’s murder is still a fresh wound. Reproduced below is a press report from March 29, 2000, carried in The News.

“ISLAMABAD: Five unidentified persons kidnapped Shakil Shaikh, chief reporter of The News, at gunpoint in broad daylight on Wednesday from near the main commercial centre of Islamabad and beat him severely for three and a half hours before abandoning him in a deserted village some miles away. “Shakil sustained multiple injuries including head injury when he was hit with the butt of an AK-47. His hands were tied with a thick rope. Several parts of his body turned blue and black due to the severe beating he got from attackers with gun butts and boots. His shoulders had full imprints of boot heels. “The armed men, following Shakil’s car in a high-powered jeep bearing no registration number, forcibly stopped him on the Kashmir Highway near the Margalla Motel, less than a mile from the main Aabpara centre of Islamabad. They immediately put a cloth on his face and tied his hands. They threw him in their jeep and started beating him severely. “The unknown persons drove Shakil to a deserted area near the Soan Garden housing scheme, a few miles away from the airport turning on the Islamabad Highway but kept beating him all the way and later for over three hours. “After the beating stopped, Shakil somehow untied his hands, removed the mask and found himself in a deserted place. He found his car standing nearby, driven by one of the attackers. His clothes were torn and stained with blood.”

Spot any similarities in the manner of violence, the injuries inflicted on the two journalists even if ultimately the result was tragically different? Leaving aside the details/merits of their reports or who they may have angered and why, Shakeel Shaikh, Umar Cheema and Saleem Shahzad all wrote stories about the defence forces in the week or so preceding their kidnapping. If it is realistic to assume that law and justice would amount to more than a distant concept in Pakistan one day, perhaps we’ll find out why the first two were beaten and freed and Saleem Shahzad was to be battered till there was no life left in him. Or maybe we’ll find out if the ISI delivers on its stated promise of ‘leaving no stone unturned’ to find the journalist’s killers.

A forensic investigator will definitely be better placed to say for sure. To my journalist’s eye these incidents and others that have been omitted for brevity’s sake look like the work of a deranged serial criminal because each seems to follow the same pattern. I leave you with a question: What do you think is common between Safdar Kiani, Khurshid Ansari, Nazima Talib, Fazal Bari, Amanat Ali Baig, Mohammad Sarwar, Mumtaz Haidar Naqvi and last but not least Saba Dashtiari? All eight were professors teaching at various institutions of higher learning in Balochistan and are among the 30 teachers to have been murdered in the province over the past three years. The writer is a former editor of Dawn. REFERENCE: Same pattern, same questions By Abbas Nasir | From the Newspaper Yesterday

Bolta Pakistan (1st Jun 2011)


SUCH is the notoriety of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) for double dealing that it has joined the CIA, the KGB and Mossad in becoming a feature in lurid espionage novels. In his forthcoming book Blood Money, David Ignatius, the well-known Washington Post columnist, writes about the deceit the ISI is built on while describing the fictional head of the agency: “His lies could be tucked into the bags under his eyes, or hidden in the fold of the flesh below his chin.” (Quoted in the Economist in its recent review of the book.)

Most countries have intelligence agencies that often operate in the shadows, use deception, even break the law. But although they perform many shady tasks, they usually do so at the behest of their political leaders. At the end of the day, they are accountable to their paymasters. Not so the ISI. Over the years, the ISI has built a fearsome reputation for ruthlessness among political opponents, as well as for deadly efficiency. The latter was dented beyond repair last month when Osama Bin Laden was found to be living under its nose in Abbottabad for years. And it now under suspicion by large sections of the public of having a hand in the murder of Saleem Shahzad, the courageous, well-informed investigative reporter.

Over my years of observing and writing about national affairs, I have never seen the level of anger towards the military and the intelligence that is presently evident in the media and on the Internet. Indeed, since the US raid that rid the world of Osama Bin Laden, my inbox has been full of blogs and emails railing against Pakistan’s defence establishment. Normally, this is Pakistan’s holiest of sacred cows. However, in a recent broadcast, I saw Kamran Khan, the popular TV host otherwise seen as sympathetic to the military establishment, hold forth about the recent terrorist attack at the Mehran naval base in Karachi. After describing the event, he went on to remind the military of the sacrifices Pakistan had made to keep senior officers comfortable, detailing the plots they received, as well as their value. He also showed viewers a shot of the bullet-proof BMW Series 7 limousine at the navy chief’s disposal. According to him, the car is worth Rs500m to Rs600m. Similar models have been handed out to all corps commanders.

Although Pakistanis and their elected representatives have never been given any details, at least we know that the military budget for 2011-2012 will be around Rs500bn, an increase of some 11 per cent over last year. We have absolutely no idea about how much the ISI or Military Intelligence (MI) spend, and nor do our MNAs seem very concerned. This total lack of accountability has led to the perception that these agencies can run rogue operations of the kind the ISI has been accused of at the Chicago trial of Tahawwur Rana. Here, the chief (and not wholly reliable) witness, David Headley, has charged that he was instructed by a ‘Major Iqbal’ of the ISI. Even though the agency’s top leaders have not been accused of complicity, it appears that the Lashkar-i-Taiba was not alone in planning and executing the 2008 attacks on Mumbai. Over the last few years, hundreds of suspected Baloch nationalists have been picked up, tortured and killed, allegedly by intelligence agencies. Indeed, the modus operandi of these crimes is disturbingly similar to Saleem Shahzad’s murder. Time and again, human rights activists and organisations have accused the state of being behind these ‘black ops’. Scores, perhaps hundreds, remain imprisoned in safe houses across the country. Some of those who, like journalist Umar Cheema, were fortunate enough to survive have recounted dark stories of torture. Others are too frightened to speak out.

Of late, there has been a string of incidents that have put the military establishment in a poor light. Increasingly, the army appears to be losing the public support it once took for granted. And while it retains the services and loyalty of a section of the media, even these journalists can’t afford to be too far out of step with the public mood without losing all credibility. While Osama Bin Laden’s presence and death could be explained away by a few judiciously planted conspiracy theories, the Mehran attack was simply too brazen to blame on some mysterious hidden hand. However, Rehman Malik, our comical interior minister, did have a try when he said the attackers were dressed in black like characters from Star Wars, implying their attack was too sophisticated for our forces to resist.

Perhaps the most ferocious attack on the army came from Asma Jahangir, the gutsy lawyer and human rights activist. In a TV chat show, she demanded that the generals (whom she called duffers) return to the barracks. Referring to the plots they had grabbed, she went on to accuse them of being a ‘qabza group’ that had been exploiting Pakistan for years. It is high time that Gen Kayani and his colleagues understand that business as usual — sab theek hai! — is no longer an option. Years of terrorist attacks against civilian and military targets have taken their toll on pubic confidence. And the knowledge that the groups behind this terror campaign were originally created by the military establishment has not added to our sense of security.

For decades, economic, social and political development has been sacrificed at the altar of national security as defined by the army. And yet we are in greater danger than ever before. Hardly a day passes without news of some attack in one part of the country or another. These incessant hammer blows are sapping the resolve and morale of the people. To make things worse, the army has no plan and no strategy to face and defeat the menace of extremist terror. It is pointless blaming the civilian government because we all know that it has no control over the military. In matters relating to security, GHQ rules unchallenged. So it is natural that when security lapses and terrorist attacks occur — as they do all too often — it is the army that will get blamed. Against this backdrop of flagging confidence, the military needs to reach out and reassure the people who pay for its BMWs. Saleem Shahzad’s murder will not help restore trust. REFERENCE: The widening gulf Irfan Husain Yesterday

Bolta Pakistan (2nd Jun 2011)


The pall of gloom, anger and despondency in Pakistan has deepened with Saleem Shahzad’s gruesome murder. If the past is any guide, we will neither discover verifiable facts about his murder, nor will his killers be brought to justice. But let us revisit what we do know. Saleem Shahzad was called in by the ISI in October last year to discuss a story that he had filed for Asia Times Online and felt that he had received a muffled threat. He shared the details with his family, employers and some friends, including Human Rights Watch. Shahzad had written the first part of a story this past week suggesting that Al-Qaeda/Taliban had infiltrated the navy and the attack on PNS Mehran was a consequence of efforts to weed them out. Shahzad was abducted from a high-security zone in Islamabad while he was on his way to participation in a TV talk show. He was tortured to death and his body dumped in the canal close to Rasool Barrage a couple of days later. Who could have abducted a journalist from one of the most fortified areas of Islamabad? If all this was the handiwork of Al-Qaeda/Taliban, why did they not make demands in return for his release, as they often do? If they didn’t abduct him for ransom or barter, why did they not claim credit for his assassination? Why did they not hold him out as an example for others they see as enemies or double agents, rather than silently dumping his tortured body, followed by an anonymous burial in Mandi Bahhauddin? Was the local representative of Human Rights Watch conspiring with Al-Qaeda and their “foreign” patrons when (according to reported conversations with interlocutors) he disclosed that Shahzad was being held by the ISI and would be released soon? Shahzad feared for his life and had pointed fingers. Should we simply disregard his account now that he is dead?

No terror group has claimed responsibility for Shahzad’s murder. But the ISI has denied involvement in his torture and killing, and resolved “to leave no stone unturned in helping bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice.” Let us assume that the ISI is being truthful here. How did we come to this pass where our leading intelligence agency is the prime suspect in the brutal murder of a journalist and, conscious of such a perception, feels obliged to issue a contradiction? Was Umar Cheema of The News really tortured by spooks or did he just imagine security personnel shaving his head? Was Kamran Shafi’s house never attacked? Is there some bright line rule that people will be roughed up but not killed? Or are the countless reported episodes of intelligence personnel intimidating journalists all lies? Has the US-Indian-Israeli nexus successfully manipulated the minds of our media and intelligentsia? Is this the best explanation for the suspicion that segments of our national security apparatus arouse?

Back in January 2010, I wrote about “reforming khakis.” I had endeavoured to identify multiple facets of the khaki mindset, as I understood them. “The first is an undaunted sense of righteousness,” I had argued. “This indoctrinates the military with the belief that its vision and definition of national security and national interest is the perennial manifestation of wisdom and truth. Any involvement of civilians with matters deemed to fall within the domain of national security is seen as unwarranted interference and an affront to its interests. This protective sense encourages the military to guard its proclaimed territory as a fief. The second facet of the khaki mindset is the military’s saviour instinct. Despite being a non-representative institution, the military has assigned to itself the role of deciphering aspirations of Pakistanis and protecting them. And the most insidious facet of this mindset is the unstated sense of being above the law that binds ordinary citizens.”

Consequently, I was “invited” to the ISI headquarter to meet with a brigadier who looked after internal security. I was offered a “tea break” while being informed that people within the GHQ had taken offence at my article. The brigadier read out “objectionable” excerpts from my article back to me and read from hand scribbled notes that spread over half-a-dozen pages to educate me on how I was wrong. He spoke for about 45 minutes before I sought permission to interrupt his speech and engage in a dialogue. At some point in this conversation he told me quite categorically that the army was more patriotic than the rest of us! I wasn’t directly threatened at any point. However, I was informed, as a matter of historical record, that there was a time when the agency dealt with people only with the stick; but now things were different. During the meeting I felt obliged to reiterate my fidelity and loyalty to my country and was later ashamed and angry with myself for doing so.

I did not walk away from the ISI headquarters with a sense that this was another free exchange of ideas with a state official who disagreed with my opinion on how best to secure our national interest. In what is hard to describe accurately, I felt an eerie sense of anxiety and a need to protect my back. Not from the Taliban or terror groups but from the same security apparatus that is mandated by law to protect and defend my constitutional right to life, liberty and physical security. The narration of this personal experience is important in Saleem Shahzad’s context because it is not an isolated one. Others within the media and civil society have had similar exchanges.

The ISI statement on Saleem Shahzad’s murder acknowledges his meeting with officials of the ISI’s Information Management Wing and asserts that “it is part of the Wing’s mandate to remain in touch with the journalist community...the main objective behind all such interactions is provision of accurate information on matters of national security.” From where does the ISI derive this entitlement to summon journalists, seek details of their sources or question their views? Is viewpoint censorship a part of our national security doctrine that the ISI is mandated to enforce? Does Article 19A of our Constitution not declare that access to information is a fundamental human right? Does Article 19 not endow citizens with freedom of speech and expression? And does Article 9 not guarantee the right to life and liberty? Should access to information and the right to hold and express an opinion be curtailed through intimidation? What kind of Animal Farm have we reduced this country to where exercising one’s right to free speech and information extinguishes the right to life? Notwithstanding the legality or desirability of censorship, a shrinking world and superior technology have made it extremely hard to kill information or ideas, if not people. You cannot sell a terrible product on the back of a vigorous marketing campaign that relies largely on tyranny. More and more citizens are questioning Pakistan’s national security policy because they worry about the direction in which it is pushing this country. It is not allegiance to an enemy but the love for their homeland and concern for their future, and that of their kids, that motivates them to demand course correction. There is one mother who spoils her kids rotten. And there is another who disciplines them, grooms them, and nurtures their character by teaching them to distinguish right from wrong. Both these mothers are acting out of love. But only the second is being constructive. This is time for all Pakistanis, and especially the more thoughtful ones within the security establishment, to engage in introspection instead of snapping at anyone holding the mirror to them. REFERENCE: Then they came for me Babar Sattar Saturday, June 04, 2011 The writer is a lawyer based in Islamabad.

Capital Talk (1st Jun 2011)


ISLAMABAD - The man who made sensational claims about the PNS Mehran base attack has turned out to be a disparate lover who fabricated the story just to revenge his failure in marrying a sister of an army man. Muhammad Junaid in an interview with Waqt News confessed that he had nothing to do with the Karachi naval base attack. “I am not a witness to it and totally unaware of the facts about it,” he said. Junaid had claimed in a programme of a private TV that some army men were involved in the attack on Mehran naval base in Karachi. Giving details, Junaid said that he was engaged with a girl, but her brother Arshad, who is a Hawaldar in the army, had been creating obstacles in the way of their marriage. Junaid said he wanted Arshad to be arrested and punished by the army as he made his family mentally suffer on the issue of his marriage. He claimed that Arshad had been threatening his family of dire consequences for the last one year. “I admit my mistake and seek forgiveness. I was unaware of the serious consequences,” he said. Junaid also clarified that nobody pressured him to tell that false story to media. It was only for the sake of revenge. He said he himself is a son of a soldier but he was so carried away by his hate for Arshad that he took such a dangerous step. He said that he believes that Arshad would have received enough punishment from the army, adding that he made a phone call to Arshad after making false claims but he didn’t receive the call. He told that he and Arshad both are residents of Rawalpindi. REFERENCE: Fake eyewitness seeks pardon from nation By: Zeeshan Shamsi | Published: June 03, 2011

Policy Matters 4th June 2011


The agencies have always had personnel on their payrolls operating as reporters, anchors, and ‘analysts’ ever since the Ayub Khan dictatorship in the 1960s. Respected journalist and author, late Zamir Niazi, in his book, The Web of Censorship, suggests that the agencies recruited a number of ‘journalists’ during the Ayub dictatorship, specifically to check leftist sentiments that were all the rage among journalists at the time. Then during the Z.A. Bhutto regime, Niazi hints that the populist government and the conservative ‘establishment’ fought a battle of ideas through paid journalists. But the phenomenon of agency-backed journalists upholding the military establishment’s agenda and ideology in the press really came to the fore during the Ziaul Haq dictatorship in the 1980s. As left-leaning journalists were forced to exit newspapers during the Zia dictatorship, the corridors of these newspaper offices were suddenly stormed by large groups of pro-establishment personnel, mainly consisting of anti-Bhutto journalists and pro-Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) men. With the role of the ISI and other intelligence agencies expanding due to Pakistan’s direct involvement in the so-called ‘anti-Soviet Afghan jihad,’ many of these journalists were brought under the wings of various agencies, triggering a trend that still disfigures prominent sections of mainstream Pakistani media. What’s more, between early and late 1980s, the agencies were also able to plant men in the administration and finance departments of various mainstream media groups. REFERENCE: Are Intelligence Agencies Using Media As Puppets?

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