OBL not guilty
By Peter Duveen
PETER'S NEW YORK, December 9, 2008--Former Pakistani intelligence chief Hamid Gul said today that the recent events in Mumbai, India, in which some 170 people died in an armed siege of a hotel in that city, were orchestrated with the purpose of drawing India into the Middle East conflicts.
"The motive is very simple," Gul said. "The NATO allies are pulling out" of Afghanistan, he said in an interview today with radio personality Alex Jones. "They want to make it an Indian" cause, he said. Israel, he noted, also wanted to keep the conflict going in the region because it feared Americans could lose heart and and "go away without denuclearizing Pakistan."
Gul said America's allies were pulling out of the war zones in Afghanistan, and the United States needed to draw India into the conflict to make up for the manpower deficit.
(Original story with changes and additions may be found at www.petersnewyork.com.)
Role of Alleged CIA Asset in Mumbai Attacks Being Downplayed
by Jeremy R. Hammond / December 10th, 2008
Recent press reports on developments with regard to last month.s attacks in Mumbai, India indicate the role of Dawood Ibrahim, a wanted crime boss, terrorist, and drug trafficker, is being downplayed, possibly the result of a deal taking place behind the scenes between the governments of the US, Pakistan, and India, to have others involved in the Mumbai attacks turned over while quietly diverting attention from a man who some say could reveal embarrassing secrets about the CIA.s involvement in criminal enterprises.
The role in the terrorist attacks in Mumbai last month of an underworld kingpin that heads an organization known as D-Company, has known ties to Pakistan.s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), and who is alleged to have ties with the CIA is apparently being whitewashed, suggesting that his capture and handover to India might prove inconvenient for either the ISI or the CIA, or both.
It was Dawood Ibrahim who was initially characterized by press reports as being the mastermind behind the attacks. Now, that title of .mastermind. is being given to Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi by numerous media accounts reporting that Pakistan security forces have raided a training camp of the group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), which evidence has indicated was behind the attacks. Lakhvi was reportedly captured in the raid and is now in custody.
At the same time Ibrahim.s role is being downplayed, Lakhvi.s known role is being exaggerated. Initial reports described him as the training specialist for LeT, but the major media outlets like the New York Times and the London Times, citing government sources, have since promoted his status to that of commander of operations for the group.
The only terrorist from the Mumbai attacks to be captured alive, Azam Amir Kasab, characterized Ibrahim, not Lakhvi, as the mastermind of those attacks, according to earlier press accounts.
Kasab reportedly told his interrogators that he and his fellow terrorists were trained under Lakhvi, also known as .Chacha., at a camp in Pakistan. Indian officials also traced calls from a satellite phone used by the terrorists to Lakhvi.
But the phone had also been used to call Yusuf Muzammil, also known as Abu Yusuf, Abu Hurrera, and .Yahah.. And it has been Muzammil, not Lakhvi, who has previously been described as the military commander of LeT. It was an intercepted call to Muzammil on November 18 that put the Indian Navy and Coast Guard on high alert to be on the lookout for any foreign vessels from Pakistan entering Indian waters.
Kasab told his interrogators that his team had set out from Karachi, Pakistan, on a ship belonging to Dawood Ibrahim, the MV Alpha. They then hijacked an Indian fishing trawler, the Kuber, to pass through Indian territorial waters to elude the Navy and Coast Guard that were boarding and searching suspect ships.
Although the MV Alpha was subsequently found and seized by the Indian Navy, there have been few, if any, developments about this aspect of the investigation in press accounts, such as whether it has been confirmed or not that the ship was owned by Ibrahim.
Upon arriving off the coast near the city, they were received by inflatable rubber dinghies that had been arranged by an associate of Ibrahim.s in Mumbai.
The planning and execution of the attacks are indicative of the mastermind role not of either Lakhvi or Muzammil, but of Ibrahim, an Indian who is intimately familiar with the city. It was in Mumbai (formerly Bombay) that Ibrahim rose through the ranks of the underworld to become a major organized crime boss.
At least two other Indians were also connected to the attacks, Mukhtar Ahmed and Tausef Rahman. They were arrested for their role in obtaining SIM cards used in the cell phones of the terrorists. Ahmed, according to Indian officials, had in fact been recruited by a special counter-insurgency police task force as an undercover operative. His exact role is still being investigated.
One of the SIM cards used was possibly purchased from New Jersey. Investigators are looking into this potential link to the US, as well.
Dawood Ibrahim went from underworld kingpin to terrorist in 1993, when he was connected to a series of bombings in Bombay that resulted in 250 deaths. He is wanted by Interpol and was designated by the US as a global terrorist in 2003.
It.s believed Ibrahim has been residing in Karachi, and Indian officials have accused Pakistan.s ISI of protecting him.
Ibrahim is known to be a major drug trafficker responsible for shipping narcotics into the United Kingdom and Western Europe.
According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), most Afghan opium (or its derivative, heroin, which is increasingly being produced in the country before export) is smuggled through Iran and Turkey en route by land to Europe; but the percentage that goes to Pakistan seems to mostly find its way directly to the UK, either by plane or by ship.
Afghanistan is the world.s leading producer of opium, a trend that developed during the CIA-backed mujahedeen effort to oust the Soviet Union from the country, with the drug trade serving to help finance the war.
The principle recipient of CIA-ISI funding was Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, one of the major drug lords. Hekmatyar has since joined with the Taliban in the insurgency effort to expel foreign forces from the country . not the Soviet Union, this time, but the US.
A Taliban ban on the cultivation of opium poppies in 2000 resulted in the near total eradication of the crop. But since the US overthrow of the regime in 2001, Afghanistan has once again become the world.s leading producer of opium, surpassing all previous records.
While Hekmatyar chose to side with anti-government forces, a number of other warlords involved in the drug trade were members of the Northern Alliance to whom the CIA doled out cash in the US effort to overthrow the Taliban following the 9/11 attacks.
One such warlord is Abdul Rashid Dostum, who was appointed Chief of Staff of the army under the government of Hamid Karzai, and who has been described in US intelligence.s own files as a .Tier One Warlord..
That list includes a number of other high ranking officials within the Afghanistan government, including former defense minister and parliament member Marshal Mohammad Fahim, Interior Minister for Counter-Narcotics General Mohammad Daoud, and former governor of Helmand province (now by far the largest producer of opium) Sher Mohammed Akhundzada.
Although government officials parroted by the mainstream media tend to characterize the Afghan opium trade as being controlled by the Taliban, in fact the estimated drug profits of all anti-government elements (AGEs) is a mere fraction of the trade.s total estimated export value. The UNODC estimated the export value this year at $3.4 billion. Of that, AGEs profited between $250-470 million, less than 14% of the total trade. Moreover, what fraction of that percentage has gone specifically to the Taliban as opposed to other AGEs is unknown.
Furthermore, while the Taliban profits from the production of opium through ushr, a 10% tax on all agricultural products, and possibly through a protection racket in which it receives compensation for providing security along smuggling routes, the UNODC has acknowledged that there is little indication that the Taliban itself is responsible for either the actual production or trafficking of the drug.
This is an inconvenient truth for the US, which has so far managed through its propaganda efforts to successfully obfuscate the truth about the Afghan drug trade and portray the Taliban as being almost wholly responsible.
A known drug trafficker, Dawood Ibrahim is naturally also involved in money laundering, which is perhaps where the role of gambling operations in Nepal comes into the picture.
Yoichi Shimatsu, former editor of the Japan Times, wrote last month after the Mumbai attacks that Ibrahim had worked with the US to help finance the mujahedeen during the 1980s and that because he knows too much about the US.s .darker secrets. in the region, he could never be allowed to be turned over to India.
The recent promotion of Lakhvi to .mastermind. of the attacks while Ibrahim.s name disappears from media reports would seem to lend credence to Shimatsu.s assertion.
Investigative journalist Wayne Madsen similarly reported that according to intelligence sources, Dawood Ibrahim is a CIA asset, both as a veteran of the mujahedeen war and in a continuing connection with his casino and drug trade operations in Kathmandu, Nepal. A deal had been made earlier this year to have Pakistan hand Ibrahim over to India, but the CIA was fearful that this would lead to too many of its dirty secrets coming to light, including the criminal activities of high level personnel within the agency.
One theory on the Mumbai attacks is that it was backlash for this double-cross that was among other things intended to serve as a warning that any such arrangement could have further serious consequences.
Although designated as a major international terrorist by the US, media reports in India have characterized the US.s past interest in seeing Ibrahim handed over as less than enthusiastic. Former Indian Deputy Prime Minister L K Advani wrote in his memoir, .My Country My Life., that he made a great effort to get Pakistan to hand over Ibrahim, and met with then US Secretary of State Colin Powell and National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice (now Secretary of State) to pressure Pakistan to do so. But he was informed by Powell that Pakistan would hand over Ibrahim only .with some strings attached. and that then Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf would need more time before doing so.
The handover, needless to say, never occurred. The Pakistan government has also publicly denied that Ibrahim is even in the country; a denial that was repeated following the recent Mumbai attacks.
Others suspected of involvement in the attacks and named among the 20 individuals India wants Pakistan to turn over also have possible connections to the CIA, including Hafiz Mohammad Saeed, the founder of LeT, and Maulana Masood Azhar, both veterans of the CIA-backed mujahedeen effort.
Azhar had been captured in 1994 and imprisoned in India for his role as leader of the Pakistani-based terrorist group Karkut-ul-Mujahideen. He was released, however, in 1999 in exchange for hostages from the takeover of Indian Airlines Flight 814, which was hijacked during its flight from Kathmandu, Nepal to Delhi, India and redirected to Afghanistan. After Azhar.s release, he formed Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM), which was responsible for an attack on the Indian parliament in 2001 that led Pakistan and India to the brink of war. LeT was also blamed for the attack alongside JeM.
Both LeT and JeM have links to the ISI, which has used the groups as proxies in the conflict with India over the territory of Kashmir.
Hafiz Saeed travelled to Peshawar to join the mujahedeen cause during the Soviet-Afghan war. Peshawar served as the base of operations for the CIA, which worked closely with the ISI to finance, arm, and train the mujahedeen. It was in Peshawar that Saeed became the protégé of Abdullah Azzam, who founded an organization called Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) along with a Saudi individual named Osama bin Laden.
MAK worked alongside the CIA-ISI operations to recruit Arabs to the ranks of the mujahedeen. The ISI, acting as proxy for the CIA, chose mainly to channel its support to Afghans, such as Gulbaddin Hekmatyar. The U.S. claims the CIA had no relationship with MAK, but bin Laden.s operation, which later evolved into .al-Qaeda., must certainly have been known to, and approved by, the CIA.
But there are indications that the CIA.s relationship with MAK and al-Qaeda go well beyond having shared a common enemy and mutual interests in the Soviet-Afghan war. A number of al-Qaeda associates appear to have been protected individuals.
Branches of MAK existed elsewhere, including in the United States. The US Treasury Department lists one of MAK.s aliases as Al-Kifah. The Al-Kifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn, New York, served as a recruitment center during the 1980s, but its operations did not end after the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Al-Kifah was also a recruitment center for efforts by extremist groups in the Balkans.
Just as in Afghanistan, the US also had mutual interests with Bosnian Muslims and extremist groups acting in the Balkans. MAK had since evolved into al-Qaeda under Osama bin Laden, which had links to groups operating in Bosnia. Despite an arms embargo against such groups, they managed to obtain weapons and supply shipments in which the US at best looked the other way and at worst played an active role.
The operations to arm al-Qaeda linked groups in Bosnia were carried under the watch of then director of the US European Command Intelligence Directorate Gen. Michael V. Hayden. Hayden subsequently served as the director of the National Security Agency from 1999 to 2005 and is currently the Director of Central Intelligence, or DCI, which is the head of the CIA.
A former official at the US consular office in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, Michael Springman went public after 9/11 to explain how his office was used by the CIA to bring recruits to the US for training during the 1980s.
The Jeddah office is where most of the 9/11 hijackers obtained their visas to enter the US.
Two other of the hijackers, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, were in fact known to the CIA and were being monitored. Despite being known al-Qaeda operatives, they were allowed to enter the US under their real names and neither the FBI nor the State Department were notified.
The US explains this as the result of the CIA losing the terrorists. trail when they travelled to Thailand after an al-Qaeda meeting in Kuala Lumpur. But this explanation does not stand up to scrutiny since it was known that they had obtained visas to enter the US. Thus, even if the CIA did in fact lose track of the terrorists, standard procedure should have dictated that the FBI and State Department be alerted.
The 9/11 Joint Inquiry and subsequent 9/11 Commission were apparently satisfied with the CIA.s explanation that it lost al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar, and nobody was ever held accountable for the .mistake. of knowingly allowing two known al-Qaeda operatives on the terrorist watchlist to enter the United States unhindered.
Upon arriving in the US, al-Hazmi and al-Mihdhar were assisted by an individual under FBI surveillance for his possible connections to terrorist groups and, furthermore, even lived in a house rented from an FBI informant. But the FBI claims that it didn.t know anything about the men, despite them using their real names and being listed in the phone book, because the CIA hadn.t informed them the two were in the country. The Joint Inquiry report described this as perhaps the single greatest missed opportunity to break up the 9/11 operation and prevent the attacks.
Additionally, it was in fact the CIA who not once, but at least on six separate occasions, approved a visa, including from the office in Jeddah, for or the entry of Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, a.k.a. .the Blind Sheikh., into the US, despite his known connection to terrorist acts in Egypt, including the assassination of Anwar Sadat, and despite having been on the State Department.s terrorist watchlist. This, too, was described as a series of .mistakes. after the government was forced to admit that it had occurred . an explanation that the New York Times, which reported this information in a series of articles, seemed to find perfectly satisfactory.
Many, however, find such incompetency and coincidence theories to be simply not credible, preferring instead alternative, oftentimes much more plausible, conspiracy theories.
The Blind Sheikh had also travelled to Peshawar during the mujahedeen effort, and was good friends with Gulbaddin Hekmatyar, the CIA.s top asset during the Soviet-Afghan war. He later became the spiritual head of the terrorist group that carried out the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, a plot which the FBI had known about in advance through two or more informants.
One of the informants served as a bodyguard for the Blind Sheikh and was made responsible for obtaining materials to make the bomb with. Tape recordings he secretly made of conversations with his FBI handlers reveal that the original sting operation involved a plan to replace a chemical used in making the bomb with an inert stimulant that would render it inoperative. But this plan was withdrawn by a supervisor at the FBI and the terrorist cell was allowed to go ahead and make a real bomb . which was then used to blow up the World Trade Center.
Another notable character connected to Al-Kifah training and recruitment efforts for al-Qaeda is Ali Mohammed. He also happened to be an in FBI informant, a CIA asset, and a member of the special forces in the US Army. It is Ali Mohammed whom some suspect of actually being the mastermind of the 1993 WTC bombing. He was later charged in connection to the 1998 bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, but has since seemingly disappeared off the map.
After the 9/11 attacks, the investigation into the financing of the attacks led to Omar Saeed Sheikh, a British national of Pakistani origin. According to Indian officials, a joint investigation with the FBI revealed evidence that it was at the direction of the head of the ISI, Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, that Omar Sheikh transferred $100,000 to lead hijacker Mohammed Atta in Florida.
Omar Sheikh, a known associate of Osama bin Laden, was captured and imprisoned in India for his role in the kidnapping of American and British nationals in 1994. He was released in 1999 along with Maulana Massod Azhar in exchange for the hostages from Flight 814. According to former Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf, Omar Sheikh was also an agent of Britain.s spy agency, MI6, for whom he served in operations in the Balkans.
Omar Sheikh.s role in the 9/11 attacks has also been downplayed. Mention of him in the media instead focus on his role as the man responsible for the murder of Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl. He is currently being held in Pakistan on charges relating to Pearl.s murder.
After Mahmud Ahmed.s alleged role in the 9/11 attacks became known publicly, Musharraf quietly replaced him and the whole affair was hushed up in the US. When a reporter from a foreign news agency asked then National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice whether she was aware of the reports that the ISI chief had financed the hijackers and was in Washington meeting with high level officials at the time of the attacks, she denied having seen .that report. and protested that, .he was certainly not meeting with me..
Interestingly, the White House website transcript of the press briefing censored the words .ISI chief. from the reporter.s question, despite the words clearly being audible in the video of the briefing.
The 9/11 Commission also acted to whitewash Mahmud Ahmed.s alleged role in the attacks. Despite the question of the ISI chief.s involvement being included on a list of items for the Commission to investigate from families of the victims of the attacks, the Commission.s report made no mention of it, either to confirm or deny the information, which, despite having received zero coverage in the US major media (with the one exception of a citation of a report from the Times of India in a blog on the Wall Street Journal.s opinion website), was widely reported internationally (as well as in US alternative media).
Rather, the 9/11 Commission simply acted as though such reports didn.t exist. Despite Bob Graham, one of the chairs of the earlier Congressional Joint Inquiry, publicly stating that he was surprised by the evidence of foreign government involvement (he added that this information would not be made public for another twenty or thirty years when it would be due for release to the national archives), the 9/11 Commission report arrived at the opposite conclusion, saying there was no evidence of any such involvement and, moreover, that the question of who financed the attacks was .of little practical significance..
Another former head of the ISI is now being privately accused by the US of involvement with the group responsible for the Mumbai attacks, according to reports citing a document listing former ISI chief Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul and four other former heads of Pakistan.s intelligence agency as being involved in supporting terrorist networks. The individuals named have been recommended to the UN Security Council to be named as international terrorists, according to Pakistan.s The News.
The document has been provided to the Pakistan government and also accuses Gul, who was head of the ISI from 1987-1989, of providing assistance to criminal groups in Kabul, as well as to groups responsible for recruiting and training militants to attack US-led forces in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.
Hamid Gul responded to the reports by calling the allegations hilarious. The US denied that it had made any such recommendations to the UN.
But the US has similarly accused the ISI of involvement in the bombing of India.s embassy in Kabul last July. This was unusual not because of the allegation of an ISI connection to terrorism but because it was in such stark contrast with US attempts to publicly portray Pakistan as a staunch ally in its .war on terrorism. when the country was under the dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf.
The US attitude toward Pakistan shifted once an elected government came to power that has been more willing to side with the overwhelming belief among the public that it is the .war on terrorism. itself that has exacerbated the problem of extremist militant groups and led to further terrorist attacks within the country, such as the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto last year or the bombing of the Marriot Hotel in September. While the world.s attention has been focused on the attacks in Mumbai, a bomb blast in Peshawar last week killed 21 and injured 90.
While the purported US document names Gul and others as terrorist supporters, another report, from Indian intelligence, indicates that the terrorists who carried out the attacks in Mumbai were among 500 trained by instructors from the Pakistan military, according to the Sunday edition of the Times. This training of the 10 known Mumbai terrorists would have taken place prior to their recent preparation for these specific attacks by the LeT training specialist Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi.
But while Lakhvi, Muzammil, and Hafiz Saeed have continued to be named in connection with last month.s attacks in Mumbai, the name of Dawood Ibrahim seems to be either disappearing altogether or his originally designated role as the accused mastermind of the attacks being credited now instead to Lakhvi in media accounts.
Whether this is a deliberate effort to downplay Ibrahim.s role in the attacks so as not to have to force Pakistan to turn him over because of embarrassing revelations pertaining to the CIA.s involvement with known terrorists and drug traffickers that development could possibly produce isn.t certain. But what is certain is that the CIA has had a long history of involvement with such characters and that the US has a track record of attempting to keep information about the nature of such involvement in the dark or to cover it up once it reaches the light of public scrutiny.
# See also .The Mumbai Attacks: More Than Meets the Eye..
Jeremy R. Hammond is the editor of Foreign Policy Journal, a website providing news, analysis, and opinion from outside the standard framework provided by government officials and the corporate media, particularly with regard to the "war on terrorism". His articles have also been featured in numerous other online publications. You can contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Five 9/11 Suspects Offer to Confess
But Proposal Is Pulled Over Death Penalty Issue
By Peter Finn
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 9, 2008; A01
GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba, Dec. 8 -- Five of the men accused of planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks said Monday that they wanted to plead guilty to murder and war crimes but withdrew the offer when a military judge raised questions about whether it would prevent them from fulfilling their desire to receive the death penalty.
"Are you saying if we plead guilty we will not be able to be sentenced to death?" Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed operational mastermind of the attacks, asked at a pretrial hearing here.
The seesaw proceedings Monday raised and then postponed the prospect of a conviction in a case that has become the centerpiece of the system of military justice created by the Bush administration. A conviction would have capped a seven-year quest for justice after the 2001 attacks, but the delay in entering pleas will probably extend the process beyond the end of the Bush presidency.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was captured in Rawalpindi, Pakistan on March 1, 2003. General elation greeted the news. Porter Goss (R), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, even proclaimed, .This is equal to the liberation of Paris in the second World War.. [AP, 3/2/03 (C)] But its not that simple. Frankly, the official story of his arrest is a mass of lies, cover-ups and contradictions. It is highly likely Mohammed was not arrested on that day. What exactly did happen when is unclear, but the details of his arrest suggest something very disturbing is going on.
Was Mohammed Actually Arrested in Rawalpindi?
One doesn.t have to dig deep to find contradictions to the standard story of Mohammed.s arrest. The Guardian article, .Raided Family of Microbiologist Denies Official Version of al-Qaeda Arrests,. details what witnesses saw when the police came. [Guardian, 3/3/03 (B)] The family in the house claims that at 3 a.m., around 20 to 25 armed police and intelligence officers kicked open the door and burst into the house. .They dragged away Ahmed and held his wife and children at gunpoint for an hour as they ransacked the house, according to Ahmed.s sister Qudsia. .They left clothes and books strewn on the floor and took a bundle of dollar bills which were locked in a cupboard,. she said. .The bedrooms were turned upside down, one door upstairs was broken and they took the new computer,. she said. At no point, the family say, was Mohammed or any other man in the house. The agents did not even ask about them. .The only people in the house were my brother, his wife and their kids,. Qudsia said. .I have absolutely no idea why the police came here.. . [Guardian, 3/3/03 (B)] The brother, Omar Qudoos, gave a similar account. He added that there also was a guard outside. .The police pounded on the gate and then they rushed through. There was some firing, but no one was hurt and then they beat the guard and broke the lock on the front door.. [AP, 3/2/03] Other articles reported roughly the same account. [AP, 3/2/03 (B), Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03, New York Times, 3/3/03]
Other arrests of major al-Qaeda figures haven.t been accompanied by these types of contradictory accounts from eyewitnesses. However, most accounts of Mohammed.s arrest have mentioned the eyewitness reports only in passing. Also generally mentioned only in passing are doubts that Mohammed was arrested at all. As one report put it, .Some analysts questioned whether Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had actually been arrested on Saturday and speculated he may have been held for some time. .I think he was arrested several months ago in the shoot-out in Karachi,. one expert on Pakistan who declined to be identified said.. [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03] MSNBC reported, .Some analysts questioned whether Mohammed was actually arrested Saturday, speculating that he may have been held for some time and that the news was made public when it was in the interests of the United States and Pakistan. [MSNBC, 3/3/03] (also see [Reuters, 3/3/03 (E), BBC, 3/4/03]). One Guardian reporter said of his capture, .The story appears to be almost entirely fictional.. [Guardian, 3/6/03]
Well respected journalist Tariq Ali has serious doubts that Mohammed has been arrested: .Who he is and how he was captured is still shrouded in mystery. . But as to who he is and what his exact role is, we are dependent totally on intelligence sources, as all the newspapers indicated today in the Western world.. [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/3/03] When asked if a different man might have been arrested, Ali responded, .Well, we do not know. At the moment we have absolutely no evidence at all. Reports from Pakistan are coming out from what are described as Taliban sources, i.e. members of the former government in Afghanistan who are now around in Pakistan, who are denying that he has been captured and saying, .We know exactly where the guy they.re claiming to have captured is,. and until he is produced before a court of law or interviewed or allowed access to the press or lawyers, we will not know who he is.. [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/3/03]
Mohammed Had Already Been Killed
Why are some writers so harsh in their assessments? A large reason, as one of the unnamed experts mentioned above, is a very curious shoot-out in Karachi, Pakistan on September 11, 2002. Ramzi bin al-Shibh, the man who wanted to join the 19 hijackers but was unable to get a US visa, was captured at the end of a four hour battle involving thousands of police. Nine other terrorists were captured, and two killed. [Telegraph, 9/16/02] The capture of bin al-Shibh was hailed as a major victory, but it was accidental: .Pakistani intelligence and police officials now admit that the man they were actually looking for that day was Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.. [Christian Science Monitor, 10/29/02, Guardian, 9/23/02]
.Afterward, and still, Karachi was thick with rumor. Mohammed was dead, was captured, was there and got away, was there and was allowed to get away.. [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] Asia Times has claimed Mohammed was killed, and since his arrest continue to strongly suggest that he is already dead. [Asia Times, 10/30/02, Asia Times, 3/6/03] They reported the FBI together with Inter-Services Intelligence, or the ISI, Pakistan.s notorious intelligence agency, conducted a raid with the goal of capturing Mohammed alive. .However, despite instructions to the contrary, a few Pakistan Rangers entered the flat, where they found Shaikh Mohammed and another man, allegedly with their hands up. The Rangers nevertheless opened fire on the pair.. Later, the Pakistani press carried pictures of a message scrawled in blood on the wall of the flat, proclaiming the Muslim refrain of Kalma, in Arabic: .There is no God except Allah, Mohammed is his messenger. ). An official who was present in the flat at the time of the shooting has told Asia Times Online that the message was written by Shaikh Mohammed with his own blood as his life drained from him.. His wife and two children, captured in the raid, confirmed his identity. [Asia Times, 10/30/02] An Australian newspaper repeated the idea he was killed, and added, .Some reports went so far as to suggest his wife and son had identified his body and buried him under the watchful eye of the FBI.. [Daily Telegraph, 3/4/03]
The Christian Science Monitor has also suggested something similar: ..We had some information that terrorists were there [at the apartment]. An encounter ensued and two men were killed.. says Sayed Kamal Shah, the police inspector-general for southern Sindh province. Some say Shaikh Mohammed may have been one of the two men killed in the shoot-out, though authorities say they have not identified either body. Muslims bury bodies within 24 hours, and Pakistan.s forensics services tend to be inadequate.. [Christian Science Monitor, 10/29/02] .Apparently, neither of the bodies was buried, a departure from usual custom.. [Asia Times, 3/6/03] Four days after the incident, US National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, when asked if Mohammed was killed, could only say, .I wouldn.t rule anything out here, but I think that we.ll just wait and see how this unfolds.. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf enigmatically told CNN, .I am told, maybe, there is an important person [besides Binalshibh].. [Telegraph, 9/16/02] No other important terrorist has since been revealed.was Musharraf referring to Mohammed?
.Pakistani police officers at the scene initially insisted that one of the dead men was an Arab, naming him as Khalid bin Mohammed.. [Telegraph, 9/16/02] .ISI officials close to the case at this time were convinced, as were the FBI, that Khalid had been killed. But they chose not to disclose the death as they wanted other al-Qaeda members to attempt to remain in contact with him through the recovered satellite telephones, mobile phones and laptop computers. Sources who had been involved in the shoot-out and subsequent events were taken off all al-Qaeda operations.. [Asia Times, 3/6/03]
Time later offered an explanation for what they deemed was a misidentification: .A female FBI agent crouched down to examine the blood-smeared bodies [killed in the raid]. Suddenly, she smiled and, to the surprise of [a] Pakistani cop, bounded over and gave him a kiss. .Do you know who you.ve got?. she asked. .You.ve killed Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.. But a fingerprint check later revealed that the dead man on the floor of the Karachi apartment wasn.t Mohammed. The FBI was almost as crestfallen as the Pakistani cop dreaming of how he would spend his piece of the $25 million reward offered by the US Government for Mohammed.s capture.. [Time, 1/20/03]
Not long after, there was another raid, in the outskirts of Karachi. After some heavy gunfire, several Arabs were arrested. .The next day, some Pakistani authorities claimed in newspapers that one of the people who had escaped, although injured, was Khalid. People in the neighborhood who witnessed the siege, though, say that with the building surrounded and more than 600 police and [US] Rangers in attendance, it would have been very difficult for anyone to escape.. [Asia Times, 3/6/03]
Or Was He Captured Then?
It was reported that, near the end of the shoot-out, .Within minutes, a burly, curly haired man was brought out with his entire face covered by a blindfold. Hundreds of policemen fired off volleys of gunfire to celebrate his capture. The final gunman was captured shortly afterward.. [AP, 9/16/02] Certainly Mohammed is a burly, curly haired man. Other reports suggest that police came .within moments. of capturing Mohammed, as one senior US investigator put it, his two children being left behind. [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02] It has also been suggested he was shot and wounded by a police sniper as he narrowly escaped. [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03]
Or Was He Captured Months Before?
A few days before this shoot-out, a number of articles in the Pakistani and Indian press suggested that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed was actually captured on June 16, 2002. Supposedly he was then sent to the US, though the US and Pakistan deny the reports. [Daily Times, 9/9/02, Times of India, 9/9/02] This month was also the month Al Jazeera reporter Yosri Fouda says he had a secret interview in Karachi with Ramzi bin al-Shibh and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (though one account says it took place two months later [Guardian, 9/9/02]) [Sunday Times, 9/8/02]. Could both of these men have been captured or killed before the famous interview, thus allowing US intelligence to put any words they desired into their mouths? The interviews were .the first full admission by senior figures from Bin Laden.s network that they carried out the September 11 attacks.. [Sunday Times, 9/8/02] The Financial Times, hardly purveyors of conspiracy theory, reported on Fouda.s interview, .Analysts cited the crude editing of the tapes and the timing of the broadcasts as reasons to be suspicious about their authenticity. Dia Rashwan, an expert on Islamist movements at the Al-Ahram Centre for Strategic Studies in Cairo, said: .I have very serious doubts [about the authenticity of this tape]. It could have been a script written by the FBI.. . [Financial Times, 9/11/02]
Curiously, Fouda was later given a bin Laden cassette that made headlines around the world. [MSNBC, 11/18/02] Why would al-Qaeda have given such an exclusive to the man said to have betrayed them? US officials believe the voice on that cassette is .almost certainly. bin Laden, but one of the world.s leading voice-recognition institutes said they were 95% certain the tape is a forgery. [BBC, 11/18/02, BBC, 11/29/02] Even more curiously, Fouda recently changed the date of his interview with Mohammed and bin al-Shibh. After having repeatedly saying it took place in June, he now says it happened in April.placing it clearly before the reports of Mohammed.s capture in June. [Guardian, 3/4/03, Canada AM, 3/6/03]
Alternately, either or both could have been captured shortly after the interview because of clues learned during the interview. It has been reported that bin al-Shibh.s recorded voice was the key that led to his capture. [CBS, 10/9/02, Observer, 9/15/02] Fouda has been accused of betraying al-Qaeda, and now fears for his life. [Independent, 9/17/02] As the Washington Post put it: .Now al Jazeera is also subject to rumors of a conspiracy.. [Washington Post, 9/15/02]
How can one square the September 11, 2002 shoot-out with reports that Mohammed was already captured? Perhaps the shoot-out was a charade to cover the earlier events and preserve the legitimacy of the Fouda interview. Curiously, a PBS reporter says, .Some neighbors told me the men in the apartment didn.t fire any shots at all.. He says they were off, though not by much. He suggested the terrorists fired only a little, despite reports of being heavily armed. By contrast, thousands of police may have fired thousands of rounds at them. [PBS Frontline, 9/23/02]
Or Was He Not Captured At All?
Robert Fisk, another very well known and respected journalist, has yet a different idea. In an article entitled, .Was .Mastermind. Really Captured?,. he suggests Mohammed could still be alive. He writes, .In the theatre of the absurd into which America.s hunt for al-Qaeda so often descends, the .arrest..the quotation marks are all too necessary.of Khaled Shaikh Mohammed is nearer the Gilbert and Sullivan end of the repertory.. He calls it .a case of the .whoops. school of journalism: a good story that just might be totally untrue.. [Toronto Star, 3/3/03] One of Pakistan.s main newspapers, The News, also reports that .details made available by the [Pakistani] government about the age along with the photograph revealed that the person arrested in Rawalpindi was not Khalid.. Sources say Mohammed is still free. [The News, 3/5/03]
Much of the above is rumor or speculation. But certainly there is room for doubt amid all this intrigue. To hide Mohammed.s death or capture would have been very clever espionage that could have led to the arrest of many of his associates. But someone has been sloppy as well, because there is virtually no aspect of Mohammed.s arrest that hasn.t been contradicted in media reports.
Where Was He Before the Arrest?
Typical accounts say that Mohammed was moving around Pakistan to avoid capture. [Washington Post, 3/2/03] In early February 2003, he was hiding in the town of Quetta. Neighbors, wary of the unknown Arab man living amongst them, tipped off the police. He narrowly escaped capture there around February 14, but phone records led investigators to his hideout in Rawalpindi. [Time, 3/1/03, AP, 3/2/03 (B), New York Times, 3/4/03] However, .authorities. told the Washington Post that Mohammed was in the Rawalpindi house since January, and Pakistan.s interior minister, Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat, said Mr. Mohammed had been hiding in the Rawalpindi house .for quite some time.. [New York Times, 3/3/03, Washington Post, 3/2/03] Curiously, the US has offered a $25 million reward for information leading to Mohammed.s arrest, but US officials now say that no one will receive the award .because he was arrested based on intelligence gathered by a joint effort by the CIA and Pakistani law enforcement.. [ABC News, 3/3/03] What about the neighbors. tips that lead to his arrest.does this suggest there were no neighbors?
It was said that US phone surveillance led Pakistan to Mohammed. [Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03, [Washington Post, 3/2/03] But in contradiction to this and the .neighbor tip off. story is another account from unnamed .intelligence sources. who say .the ISI had known of his whereabouts for up to six weeks prior to his arrest.. Supposedly they waited to arrest him so they could see who contacted him and catch them as well. [Financial Times, 3/4/03] Is has been reported that Mohammed met with bin Laden, .possibly in Rawalpindi. where Mohammed was arrested, during the month of February. [New York Times, 3/6/03] If so, why did the ISI fail to catch bin Laden?
Where Was He Arrested?
Remarkably, even the widely reported fact that Mohammed was arrested in the house of Ahmed Abdul Qudoos and his family has been disputed. The Los Angeles Times, quoting unnamed Pakistani Interior Ministry officials, initially reported that Mohammed was arrested in a second raid in a nearby apartment that Abdul Qudoos was renting for him. [Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03] However, the next day, the same reporter had dropped this apartment idea and was following all other reports and accounts of officials that all three were arrested in the same house. [Los Angeles Times, 3/3/03, AP, 3/1/03]
Perhaps this second apartment idea was meant to explain the fact that there appear to be no photos or descriptions of the bedroom or bed supposedly slept in by Mohammed. Photos do show a house in disarray, with possessions strewn everywhere. This would seem to corroborate the family.s account that the raid took only one hour. If Mohammed really was in the house, wouldn.t agents have gone over the house with a fine tooth comb, and investigated every possession, every room, for possible leads?
Was There a Fight?
Pakistani Information Minister Rashid said the three terrorists in the Rawalpindi house put up resistance: .Shots were fired but no one was injured.. [Reuters, 3/2/03] Australian newspapers have been reporting, .Evil al-Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheik Mohammed battled desperately in the seconds before his arrest.grabbing a gun and wounding one of his captors.. [Daily Telegraph, 3/4/03] By contrast, a New York Times article was headlined, .Qaeda Suspect, Sound Asleep at Trail.s End, Offers No Resistance,. explaining that the only visible sign of violence was the broken down front door. [New York Times, 3/3/03] The family there says there were no shots fired inside the house. [Reuters, 3/2/03] A Pakistani official said they were arrested without incident. [Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03]
Who Arrested Mohammed?
Some Pakistani officials said both US agents and Pakistani security took part in the raid. [CNN, 3/2/03] Other Pakistani officials said it was conducted entirely by armed ISI agents. [Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03, New York Times, 3/2/03] A senior US intelligence official said, .US officials were present when Pakistani authorities arrested Mohammed and two other men, but they did not participate.. [CNN, 3/2/03] Another account explained that CIA and FBI officials were waiting outside. [Telegraph, 3/3/03] By most accounts, the family in the house said some of the agents who took part in the raid .were speaking English and were looking like foreigners from their accent and fair complexion.. [Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03, London Times, 3/3/03] Yet by one account, the family says .all [the agents] appeared to be Pakistani.. [AP, 3/3/03 (C)] Are people being misquoted?
Who Was Arrested With Him?
It was widely reported that Ahmed Abdul Qudoos, a son in the family owning the house, was arrested with Mohammed. But rarely mentioned are the claims by Ahmed.s family that he is not a terrorist and in fact is mentally feeble. They say the 42-year-old has never been able to hold down a job and had lived at home with his parents his entire life. [AP, 3/2/03 (B)] The media was so uninterested in the possibility that this man might be too mentally impaired to be any kind of terrorist, much less a close associate of Mohammed, that the only mention of him having a disability certificate appeared in the photo caption of one article. [AP, 3/3/03 (C)]
Also little noticed were reports that Major Adil Qudoos was arrested the same day in the nearby town of Kohat. Officials said Adil was Ahmed.s uncle, but his sister told reporters they were brothers. [Reuters, 3/3/03] By some accounts the Major is being held by the FBI, but he is also variously said to be held by Pakistan or simply not allowed to leave town. [News, 3/3/03, Reuters, 3/3/03]
A third man was supposedly arrested in the house with Ahmed Abdul Qudoos and Mohammed. Initially he was described as an Egyptian. [Reuters, 3/2/03] Later officials were suggesting he might be Saif Adel, Osama bin Laden.s security chief. [Los Angeles Times, 3/3/03] Then, Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat said the third man was Somali, but gave no details. [Reuters, 3/3/03] Most recently, senior US intelligence officials are claiming the third man is Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hawsawi, a native of Saudi Arabia. He is said to be the main money man behind the 9/11 attacks. [Reuters, 3/3/03 (C), MSNBC, 3/3/03, MSNBC, 3/3/03 (B)] As I have previously suggested elsewhere, and will discuss further below, considerable evidence suggests no such person by this name exists but was in fact an alias. Shortly after 9/11 it was reported that a man who had at least ten aliases, multiple birthdates, social security numbers and so forth transferred money to the hijackers using the name .Mustafa Ahmed.. [Newsweek, 10/15/01] Why wouldn.t he have used a better alias for such a transaction?
Al-Hawsawi.s supposed presence leads credence to the family.s claims that only Abdul Qudoos was arrested and that the other two are fictional.only one fake raid would be needed. Most recently, it has been reported that according to Pakistani officials, .Mustapha Ahmed al-Hawsawi had been arrested in Quetta, in southwest Pakistan, on 13 February.. [Financial Times, 3/4/03] So once again the identity of the third man is confused. Unlike Mohammed, no photo of Al-Hawsawi after the raid has been released, and in fact no photo of him is known to exist.
Where Are They Now?
Supposedly, Mohammed and Al-Hawsawi were taken out of Pakistan within three hours of their capture. [CNN, 3/2/03 (B), Telegraph, 3/3/03, AP, 3/2/03 (C), New York Times, 3/3/03] Some US and Pakistani officials have confirmed this. [CNN, 3/2/03, Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03, Washington Post, 3/2/03] However, other Pakistani officials have claimed that Pakistan is still holding them. [BBC, 3/3/03] Interior Minister Faisal Saleh Hayat strongly denied US possession: .Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is in the custody of Pakistan.s law enforcement agencies and until we have satisfied ourselves, after the interrogation process, of the nature of his activities in Pakistan, there is no question of handing him over to anyone.. [Reuters, 3/2/03] Pakistan further claims that if he is extradited, it will be to Kuwait, the country where he was born, not the US. [BBC, 3/3/03] There have been other conflicting accounts of Abdul Qudoos. whereabouts. It would be particularly controversial to extradite him since he.s a Pakistan citizen [Daily Times, 3/3/03, Washington Post, 3/2/03, Reuters, 3/3/03 (B)] (Pakistan seems happy to forget that Mohammed had a Pakistani passport beginning in 1982 [Financial Times, 2/15/03]).
What Was Recovered With Mohammed?
Officials and the Qudoos family originally claimed that a single computer hard drive, documents, and US dollars were taken from the house. [AP, 3/2/03 (B), Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03] The family said the single computer had no Internet hookup, and the mentally impaired Ahmed Abdul Qudoos didn.t know how to use it. [AP, 3/2/03 (B)] Soon it was reported that authorities were said to have .recovered a huge amount of information about al-Qaeda. from multiple computers, disks, cell phones and documents recovered with Mohammed. [Associated Press, 3/3/03] They very quickly .gleaned crucial information. from a .mother lode. of evidence. [Baltimore Sun, 3/3/03] But it was simultaneously reported that .the computers and cell phones seized during the arrest have not yielded the wealth of information that officials had hoped they would.. [ABC News, 3/3/03]
Even assuming that Mohammed was not earlier captured or killed, it is clear that many possessions of his have already been taken in previous near misses. On September 10, 2002, a raid yielded four laptops, a satellite telephone and $5,000 in cash all belonging to Mohammed. [Guardian, 9/23/02] At least one more laptop and .literature. was found in another the next day in the raid that captured Ramzi bin al-Shibh. [Christian Science Monitor, 10/29/02] Ramzi bin al-Shibh was known to have been carrying a collection of .souvenirs. of documents related to 9/11 with him [Australian, 9/9/02], so that may have been captured that day as well. Wouldn.t such earlier raids have been the real .mother lodes?.
Meanwhile, it has generally been reported that .Mohammed has so far refused to answer any questions.. [ABC News, 3/3/03] But the Pakistanis, who may well not even be holding him, after only two days claim the .suspect is cooperating with interrogators and that his information is being acted upon.. [BBC, 3/3/03]
A Delay in Notification
Mohammed was captured around 3 AM, local time (account vary from 2:30 to 4). His identity was confirmed .a few minutes. after his capture by CIA and FBI agents. [Telegraph, 3/3/03, Washington Post, 3/2/03] Yet supposedly, CIA Director George Tenet did not notify National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice until midnight, in the Eastern Standard time zone. [Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03] Because of the time zone difference, that meant Tenet waited about eight hours to notify her. It took another seven hours to notify President Bush. [Los Angeles Times, 3/2/03] Perhaps he didn.t want to be wakened? Why these delays? Was the time used to determine if all was secure to use the arrest of Ahmed Abdul Qudoos as a cover to falsely claim the arrests of Mohammed and Al-Hawsawi as well?
The Timing of the Capture Helps Bush
One unnamed terror expert claimed to have predicted the arrest, saying that .several weeks ago he believed Mohammed had been arrested and that he expected the news would be only be made public when it was in the interests of the United States and Pakistan.. [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/2/03] One could hardly imagine a more opportune time for Bush to pull out such an ace in the hole. A New York Times article written just prior to the announcement of Mohammed.s arrest listed .a host of discouraging weekend developments for the Bush administration.. Turkish parliament had narrowly voted not to allow the US to use their country as a staging ground for an Iraq war. The Arab League agreed on a final statement expressing .complete rejection of any aggression on Iraq. while also promising .refusal to participate in military action.. France issued a forceful new rejection of a second UN resolution sanctioning war with Iraq. Thousands of antiwar protesters filled the streets in cities in Bosnia, Pakistan, Yemen, Morocco and Japan, among other places. Organizers said more large demonstrations were planned for next week. Pope John Paul II gave a letter for President Bush arguing against war. Iraq began destroying its prohibited Al Samoud 2 missiles. Iraq also allowed UN inspectors to interview a biological weapons scientist and a missile expert with no minder or tape recorder present. [New York Times, 3/2/03 (C)]
Furthermore, the Observer leaked a document showing the US had been engaging in a .dirty tricks. campaign of spying on UN delegations to help win support for a war on Iraq. [Observer, 3/2/03] The story, posted on the web the same day the Mohammed story broke, led news reports in Europe, but remained unreported in the US. That wasn.t the case overseas. The author of the story said he had agreed to interviews with NBC, CNN, and Fox News Channel, but all three later canceled. [Salon, 3/3/03] The story finally began to get limited US coverage once CBS ran it two days later. [CBS, 3/3/03] Did the capture of Mohammed.headlines for two days.help obscure the .dirty tricks. story, as well as all the other bad news?
The Independent had a story titled, .Arrest May Silence Critics of War on Terrorism.. [Independent, 3/4/03] As the New York Times put it, .Mr. Mohammed.s arrest suggested that American counterterrorism agents were capable of significant direct action after months when the government.s security apparatus seemed caught in the throes of reorganization.. [New York Times, 3/2/03 (B)] .The arrest came as Americans had been expressing diminished confidence in the nation.s ability to defeat al-Qaeda.. Democrats and other critics have complained that Bush has allocated too much attention and resources to preparing for an invasion of Iraq at the expense of the war on terrorism.. A pollster pointed out that .Bush.s approval ratings are really held up by views on how he deals with the war on terrorism,. and that Mohammed.s arrest would be a .shot in the arm. for Bush.s ratings. [Baltimore Sun, 3/3/03] The arrest also helped deal with future events. Attorney General John Ashcroft, FBI Director Robert Mueller and Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge all faced a Congressional hearing about terrorism on March 3. [AP, 3/4/03] When the hearing came, the arrest of Mohammed .served to deflect tough questioning from members of Congress.. [New York Times, 3/5/03 (B)] Furthermore, a few weeks earlier the Justice Department faced a .collapse. of its legal case against al-Qaeda suspect Zacarias Moussaoui. Mohammed.s arrest now will offer .a graceful way out for Justice. by allowing Moussaoui.s case to be folded into a larger 9/11 conspiracy trial. [Newsweek, 3/5/03]
The timing was so fortuitous that New York Times ran a front page headline: .Major Catch, Critical Time.. [New York Times, 3/2/03 (B)] In fact, some hinted it was more than just luck. For instance, Tariq Ali: .The timing of this is quite interesting. Just as the US Government was coming under criticism for not doing anything about the actual terrorists and being too distracted by the war in Iraq, suddenly, hey presto, the intelligence in Pakistan supplies them with a prisoner they.ve been looking for.. [Australian Broadcasting Corp., 3/3/03] The Independent called the .immaculate timing. a .mystery.. [Independent, 3/3/03] Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, former head of Pakistan.s ISI, also made some curious comments: .High-profile people arrested in this way are never going to be presented publicly so many people would question if this claim is even true. From the Pakistani public many would say that the US and Pakistan are both in need of claiming success stories and this is what it is. Pakistan needs to prove itself a useful ally and the US administration wanted to claim a success story as it prepares to go in to Iraq.. [Financial Times, 3/2/03]
Fortuitous Timing For Pakistan As Well
Reuters, paraphrasing regional expert and journalist Ahmed Rashid, wrote, .As important the timing was for Bush, it was even more important for Pakistani President Musharraf. The arrest should also help Musharraf in dealing with three major problems Washington was currently .burying. due to its preoccupation with Iraq, which were bound to surface when that crisis passed.. These include allegations that Pakistan provided nuclear materials to North Korea, something Islamabad denies and its confrontation with India over the disputed state of Kashmir.. [Reuters, 3/2/03 (B)]
Rashid.s third problem was the upcoming UN vote on the Iraq war. Pakistan is facing tremendous pressure from the US to vote in favor of the resolution, and great pressure from the Muslim world and forces within Pakistan to vote against it. [Telegraph, 3/4/03] As Rashid put it, the arrest .would make it much easier for Pakistan to abstain in the (Iraq) vote, because it is doing one duty, so it does not have to do the other duty.. [Reuters, 3/2/03 (B)] Other analysts and a Pakistani official voiced similar sentiments. [Telegraph, 3/4/03, Reuters, 3/2/03 (B)]
Pakistan.s Reputation Is Revived
Some days earlier, famous reporter Seymour Hersh said the US partnership with Pakistan was .dealing with the devil.. He pointed out that Pakistan had been secretly giving nuclear weapons technology to North Korea for years, and may even have allowed some members of bin Laden.s immediate family to escape US forces in Afghanistan (inadvertently or not). [Now with Bill Moyers, 2/21/03] A week before the arrest, the Washington Post had an even more scathing editorial. It suggested that a regrouping of al-Qaeda and Taliban forces in Afghanistan is taking place, and this .has been supported by elements of Pakistan.s military intelligence agency.. as these forces are given safe haven in Pakistan. .Gen. Musharraf and his intelligence services must get the clear message that such staging grounds cannot be tolerated. If he is unwilling to act against them, the Bush administration must reconsider whether its attenuated alliance with the general is worth the growing cost.. [Washington Post, 2/25/03]
This was merely the latest in a rising chorus of criticism against Pakistan. A few months earlier, another Washington Post editorial stated, .Pakistan today is the most dangerous place on Earth, in large part because the administration does not understand the forces it is dealing with there and has no policy to contain them.. Pervez Musharraf.s Pakistan is a base from which nuclear technology, fundamentalist terrorism and life-destroying heroin are spread around the globe. . Official Washington will not even tell the truth to or about Musharraf, much less hold him accountable for his lies and subterfuge.. [Washington Post, 10/24/02]