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  • Terror camps targeting India spared from drone strikes in ISI-CIA deal

    Terror camps targeting India spared from drone strikes in ISI-CIA deal

    While US Navy seals in 2011 killed most-wanted terrorist Osama Bin Laden in Pakista*n in an oper*ation led by its exter*nal intelligence agency CIA, it has spared Islamabad-sponsored terrorist camps that wage war against India.

    US media on Sunday repo*rted that Pakistan’s ISI and CIA made a secret pact to facilitate drone strikes against selective terrorist targets. Citing excerpts of a soon-to-be released book, American media said Pakistan gave access to US drone strikes on condition they would not target nuclear facilities and terrorist camps where Kashmiri militants underwent training for attacks against India.

    A New York Times report said back room bargains for covert drone wars began und*er George W Bush and was expanded by President Barack Obama. “Pakistani intelligence off*icials insisted they be allowed to approve each drone strike, giving them tight control over the list of targets. And they insis*ted that drones fly only in narrow parts of tribal areas — ensuring they would not venture where Islamabad did not want Americans goi*ng: Pakistan’s nuclear facilities and mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were being trained for attac*ks in India,” NYT reported, quoting excerpts from The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.

    The report said “the ISI and CIA agreed that all drone flights in Pakistan would operate under the CIA’s covert action authority — meaning the US would never acknowledge the missile strikes and Pakistan wo*uld either take credit for individual killings or remain silent”. The revelation came a day after a US Military Academy’s Combating Terrorism Center report that Lashkar-e-Toiba runs camps in Muzaffarabad for war against India.

    Terror camps targeting India spared from drone strikes in ISI-CIA deal - The New Indian Express

    Drone strikes if Kashmir militants aren’t touched


    Pak., U.S. entered into a secret deal: NYT

    In a secret deal, Pakistan allowed American drone strikes on its soil on the condition that the unmanned aircraft would stay away from its nuclear facilities and the mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India, according to a media report.

    Under negotiations between the ISI and the CIA during 2004, the terms of the bargain were set, The New York Times reported on Sunday.

    “Pakistani intelligence officials insisted that drones fly only in narrow parts of the tribal areas — ensuring that they would not venture where Islamabad did not want the Americans going: Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, and the mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India,” the paper said.

    Pakistani officials also insisted that they be allowed to approve each drone strike, giving them tight control over the list of targets, it added.

    The “secret deal” over drone strikes was reached after CIA agreed to kill tribal warlord Nek Muhammad, a Pakistani ally of the Afghan Taliban who led a rebellion and was marked by Islamabad as an “enemy of the state”, the NYT reported, citing an excerpt from the book The Way of the Knife: The CIA, a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth.

    A CIA official had met the then ISI Chief Ehsan ul-Haq with the offer that if the American intelligence agency killed Muhammad, “would the ISI allow regular armed drone flights over the tribal areas”, the report said.

    ISI-CIA bargain

    The ISI and CIA also agreed that all drone flights in Pakistan would operate under the American agency’s “covert action authority”, which meant that the U.S. would never acknowledge the missile strikes and that Pakistan would either take credit for the individual killings or remain silent.

    While Pakistani officials had in the past considered drone flights a violation of sovereignty, it was Muhammad’s rise to power that forced them to reconsider their line of thought and eventually allow Predator drones.

    The ISI-CIA’s “back-room bargain” sheds light on the beginning of the covert drone war which “began under the Bush administration, was embraced and expanded by President Obama”.

    From capture to kill

    The deal resulted in the CIA changing its focus from capturing terrorists to killing them, and helped “transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organisation”.

    After Muhammad’s killing in a drone strike, a Pakistani military spokesman had told reporters that “al-Qaeda facilitator” Nek Muhammad and four other “militants” had been killed in a rocket attack by Pakistani troops, the paper said.

    During the time when the negotiations were being held, CIA’s then Inspector-General John Helgerson came out with a critical report about the abuse of detainees in the agency’s secret prisons.

    Mr. Helgerson’s report has been described as the single most important reason for the CIA’s shift from capturing to killing terrorism suspects.

    CIA’s Counterterrorism Centre (CTC) had earlier focused on capturing al-Qaeda operatives, interrogating them in its jails or outsourcing interrogations to intelligence services of Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt and using the information to hunt more suspects. Mr. Helgerson’s report raised questions about interrogation methods like waterboarding and sleep deprivation, raising concerns that it violated the UN Convention Against Torture.

    The report “was the beginning of the end” for CTC’s detention programme.

    “The ground had shifted, and counterterrorism officials began to rethink the strategy for the secret war. Armed drones, and targeted killings in general, offered a new direction. Killing by remote control was the antithesis of the dirty, intimate work of interrogation.

    “Targeted killings were cheered by Republicans and Democrats alike, and using drones flown by pilots who were stationed thousands of miles away made the whole strategy seem risk-free. Before long the CIA would go from being the long-term jailer of America’s enemies to a military organisation that erased them,” the NYT report said.

    http://www.thehindu.com/news/interna...cle4591766.ece

    Rise of the Predators - A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood

    Nek Muhammad knew he was being followed.


    On a hot day in June 2004, the Pashtun tribesman was lounging inside a mud compound in South Waziristan, speaking by satellite phone to one of the many reporters who regularly interviewed him on how he had fought and humbled Pakistan’s army in the country’s western mountains. He asked one of his followers about the strange, metallic bird hovering above him.

    Less than 24 hours later, a missile tore through the compound, severing Mr. Muhammad’s left leg and killing him and several others, including two boys, ages 10 and 16. A Pakistani military spokesman was quick to claim responsibility for the attack, saying that Pakistani forces had fired at the compound.

    That was a lie.

    Mr. Muhammad and his followers had been killed by the C.I.A., the first time it had deployed a Predator drone in Pakistan to carry out a “targeted killing.” The target was not a top operative of Al Qaeda, but a Pakistani ally of the Taliban who led a tribal rebellion and was marked by Pakistan as an enemy of the state. In a secret deal, the C.I.A. had agreed to kill him in exchange for access to airspace it had long sought so it could use drones to hunt down its own enemies.

    That back-room bargain, described in detail for the first time in interviews with more than a dozen officials in Pakistan and the United States, is critical to understanding the origins of a covert drone war that began under the Bush administration, was embraced and expanded by President Obama, and is now the subject of fierce debate. The deal, a month after a blistering internal report about abuses in the C.I.A.’s network of secret prisons, paved the way for the C.I.A. to change its focus from capturing terrorists to killing them, and helped transform an agency that began as a cold war espionage service into a paramilitary organization.

    The C.I.A. has since conducted hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan that have killed thousands of people, Pakistanis and Arabs, militants and civilians alike. While it was not the first country where the United States used drones, it became the laboratory for the targeted killing operations that have come to define a new American way of fighting, blurring the line between soldiers and spies and short-circuiting the normal mechanisms by which the United States as a nation goes to war.

    Neither American nor Pakistani officials have ever publicly acknowledged what really happened to Mr. Muhammad — details of the strike that killed him, along with those of other secret strikes, are still hidden in classified government databases. But in recent months, calls for transparency from members of Congress and critics on both the right and left have put pressure on Mr. Obama and his new C.I.A. director, John O. Brennan, to offer a fuller explanation of the goals and operation of the drone program, and of the agency’s role.

    Mr. Brennan, who began his career at the C.I.A. and over the past four years oversaw an escalation of drone strikes from his office at the White House, has signaled that he hopes to return the agency to its traditional role of intelligence collection and analysis. But with a generation of C.I.A. officers now fully engaged in a new mission, it is an effort that could take years.

    Today, even some of the people who were present at the creation of the drone program think the agency should have long given up targeted killings.

    Ross Newland, who was a senior official at the C.I.A.’s headquarters in Langley, Va., when the agency was given the authority to kill Qaeda operatives, says he thinks that the agency had grown too comfortable with remote-control killing, and that drones have turned the C.I.A. into the villain in countries like Pakistan, where it should be nurturing relationships in order to gather intelligence.

    As he puts it, “This is just not an intelligence mission.”

    From Car Thief to Militant

    By 2004, Mr. Muhammad had become the undisputed star of the tribal areas, the fierce mountain lands populated by the Wazirs, Mehsuds and other Pashtun tribes who for decades had lived independent of the writ of the central government in Islamabad. A brash member of the Wazir tribe, Mr. Muhammad had raised an army to fight government troops and had forced the government into negotiations. He saw no cause for loyalty to the Directorate of Inter-Services Intelligence, the Pakistani military spy service that had given an earlier generation of Pashtuns support during the war against the Soviets.

    Many Pakistanis in the tribal areas viewed with disdain the alliance that President Pervez Musharraf had forged with the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. They regarded the Pakistani military that had entered the tribal areas as no different from the Americans — who they believed had begun a war of aggression in Afghanistan, just as the Soviets had years earlier.

    Born near Wana, the bustling market hub of South Waziristan, Mr. Muhammad spent his adolescent years as a petty car thief and shopkeeper in the city’s bazaar. He found his calling in 1993, around the age of 18, when he was recruited to fight with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and rose quickly through the group’s military hierarchy. He cut a striking figure on the battlefield with his long face and flowing jet black hair.

    When the Americans invaded Afghanistan in 2001, he seized an opportunity to host the Arab and Chechen fighters from Al Qaeda who crossed into Pakistan to escape the American bombing.

    For Mr. Muhammad, it was partly a way to make money, but he also saw another use for the arriving fighters. With their help, over the next two years he launched a string of attacks on Pakistani military installations and on American firebases in Afghanistan.

    C.I.A. officers in Islamabad urged Pakistani spies to lean on the Waziri tribesman to hand over the foreign fighters, but under Pashtun tribal customs that would be treachery. Reluctantly, Mr. Musharraf ordered his troops into the forbidding mountains to deliver rough justice to Mr. Muhammad and his fighters, hoping the operation might put a stop to the attacks on Pakistani soil, including two attempts on his life in December 2003.

    But it was only the beginning. In March 2004, Pakistani helicopter gunships and artillery pounded Wana and its surrounding villages. Government troops shelled pickup trucks that were carrying civilians away from the fighting and destroyed the compounds of tribesmen suspected of harboring foreign fighters. The Pakistani commander declared the operation an unqualified success, but for Islamabad, it had not been worth the cost in casualties.

    A cease-fire was negotiated in April during a hastily arranged meeting in South Waziristan, during which a senior Pakistani commander hung a garland of bright flowers around Mr. Muhammad’s neck. The two men sat together and sipped tea as photographers and television cameras recorded the event.

    Both sides spoke of peace, but there was little doubt who was negotiating from strength. Mr. Muhammad would later brag that the government had agreed to meet inside a religious madrasa rather than in a public location where tribal meetings are traditionally held. “I did not go to them; they came to my place,” he said. “That should make it clear who surrendered to whom.”

    The peace arrangement propelled Mr. Muhammad to new fame, and the truce was soon exposed as a sham. He resumed attacks against Pakistani troops, and Mr. Musharraf ordered his army back on the offensive in South Waziristan.

    Pakistani officials had, for several years, balked at the idea of allowing armed C.I.A. Predators to roam their skies. They considered drone flights a violation of sovereignty, and worried that they would invite further criticism of Mr. Musharraf as being Washington’s lackey. But Mr. Muhammad’s rise to power forced them to reconsider.

    The C.I.A. had been monitoring the rise of Mr. Muhammad, but officials considered him to be more Pakistan’s problem than America’s. In Washington, officials were watching with growing alarm the gathering of Qaeda operatives in the tribal areas, and George J. Tenet, the C.I.A. director, authorized officers in the agency’s Islamabad station to push Pakistani officials to allow armed drones. Negotiations were handled primarily by the Islamabad station.

    As the battles raged in South Waziristan, the station chief in Islamabad paid a visit to Gen. Ehsan ul Haq, the ISI chief, and made an offer: If the C.I.A. killed Mr. Muhammad, would the ISI allow regular armed drone flights over the tribal areas?

    In secret negotiations, the terms of the bargain were set. Pakistani intelligence officials insisted that they be allowed to approve each drone strike, giving them tight control over the list of targets. And they insisted that drones fly only in narrow parts of the tribal areas — ensuring that they would not venture where Islamabad did not want the Americans going: Pakistan’s nuclear facilities, and the mountain camps where Kashmiri militants were trained for attacks in India.

    The ISI and the C.I.A. agreed that all drone flights in Pakistan would operate under the C.I.A.’s covert action authority — meaning that the United States would never acknowledge the missile strikes and that Pakistan would either take credit for the individual killings or remain silent.

    Mr. Musharraf did not think that it would be difficult to keep up the ruse. As he told one C.I.A. officer: “In Pakistan, things fall out of the sky all the time.”

    A New Direction

    As the negotiations were taking place, the C.I.A.’s inspector general, John L. Helgerson, had just finished a searing report about the abuse of detainees in the C.I.A.’s secret prisons. The report kicked out the foundation upon which the C.I.A. detention and interrogation program had rested. It was perhaps the single most important reason for the C.I.A.’s shift from capturing to killing terrorism suspects.

    The greatest impact of Mr. Helgerson’s report was felt at the C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center, or CTC, which was at the vanguard of the agency’s global antiterrorism operation. The center had focused on capturing Qaeda operatives; questioning them in C.I.A. jails or outsourcing interrogations to the spy services of Pakistan, Jordan, Egypt and other nations; and then using the information to hunt more terrorism suspects.

    Mr. Helgerson raised questions about whether C.I.A. officers might face criminal prosecution for the interrogations carried out in the secret prisons, and he suggested that interrogation methods like waterboarding, sleep deprivation and the exploiting of the phobias of prisoners — like confining them in a small box with live bugs — violated the United Nations Convention Against Torture.

    “The agency faces potentially serious long-term political and legal challenges as a result of the CTC detention and interrogation program,” the report concluded, given the brutality of the interrogation techniques and the “inability of the U.S. government to decide what it will ultimately do with the terrorists detained by the agency.”

    The report was the beginning of the end for the program. The prisons would stay open for several more years, and new detainees were occasionally picked up and taken to secret sites, but at Langley, senior C.I.A. officers began looking for an endgame to the prison program. One C.I.A. operative told Mr. Helgerson’s team that officers from the agency might one day wind up on a “wanted list” and be tried for war crimes in an international court.

    The ground had shifted, and counterterrorism officials began to rethink the strategy for the secret war. Armed drones, and targeted killings in general, offered a new direction. Killing by remote control was the antithesis of the dirty, intimate work of interrogation. Targeted killings were cheered by Republicans and Democrats alike, and using drones flown by pilots who were stationed thousands of miles away made the whole strategy seem risk-free.

    Before long the C.I.A. would go from being the long-term jailer of America’s enemies to a military organization that erased them.

    Not long before, the agency had been deeply ambivalent about drone warfare.

    The Predator had been considered a blunt and unsophisticated killing tool, and many at the C.I.A. were glad that the agency had gotten out of the assassination business long ago. Three years before Mr. Muhammad’s death, and one year before the C.I.A. carried out its first targeted killing outside a war zone — in Yemen in 2002 — a debate raged over the legality and morality of using drones to kill suspected terrorists.

    A new generation of C.I.A. officers had ascended to leadership positions, having joined the agency after the 1975 Congressional committee led by Senator Frank Church, Democrat of Idaho, which revealed extensive C.I.A. plots to kill foreign leaders, and President Gerald Ford’s subsequent ban on assassinations. The rise to power of this post-Church generation had a direct impact on the type of clandestine operations the C.I.A. chose to conduct.

    The debate pitted a group of senior officers at the Counterterrorism Center against James L. Pavitt, the head of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service, and others who worried about the repercussions of the agency’s getting back into assassinations. Mr. Tenet told the 9/11 commission that he was not sure that a spy agency should be flying armed drones.

    John E. McLaughlin, then the C.I.A.’s deputy director, who the 9/11 commission reported had raised concerns about the C.I.A.’s being in charge of the Predator, said: “You can’t underestimate the cultural change that comes with gaining lethal authority.

    “When people say to me, ‘It’s not a big deal,’ ” he said, “I say to them, ‘Have you ever killed anyone?’

    “It is a big deal. You start thinking about things differently,” he added. But after the Sept. 11 attacks, these concerns about the use of the C.I.A. to kill were quickly swept side.

    The Account at the Time

    After Mr. Muhammad was killed, his dirt grave in South Waziristan became a site of pilgrimage. A Pakistani journalist, Zahid Hussain, visited it days after the drone strike and saw a makeshift sign displayed on the grave: “He lived and died like a true Pashtun.”

    Maj. Gen. Shaukat Sultan, Pakistan’s top military spokesman, told reporters at the time that “Al Qaeda facilitator” Nek Muhammad and four other “militants” had been killed in a rocket attack by Pakistani troops.

    Any suggestion that Mr. Muhammad was killed by the Americans, or with American assistance, he said, was “absolutely absurd.”

    This article is adapted from “The Way of the Knife: The C.I.A., a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth,” to be published by Penguin Press on Tuesday.

    A version of this article appeared in print on April 7, 2013, on page A1 of the New York edition with the headline: A Secret Deal on Drones, Sealed in Blood.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/07/wo...anted=all&_r=0

    I must say this puts into focus all the suspicions we have had but have ben putting under the carpet in the hope of better relations in the future.

    I am really disappointed and quite disillusioned. Would like to hear from the Americans on this. Do you think this is true? Did you actually look the other way while we bled?

  • #2
    Originally posted by doppelganger View Post
    I must say this puts into focus all the suspicions we have had but have ben putting under the carpet in the hope of better relations in the future.

    I am really disappointed and quite disillusioned. Would like to hear from the Americans on this. Do you think this is true? Did you actually look the other way while we bled?
    Why expect the Americans to fight India's war? If anything, the anger should be directed at the GoI; where are the Indian drones targeting anti-India militant camps across the LoC?
    Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
    -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Tronic View Post
      Why expect the Americans to fight India's war? If anything, the anger should be directed at the GoI; where are the Indian drones targeting anti-India militant camps across the LoC?
      You are not even a little shocked by this expose?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by doppelganger View Post
        You are not even a little shocked by this expose?
        It's not really an expose. We had known this ages ago (at least the ones following the war).
        Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
        -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Tronic View Post
          It's not really an expose. We had known this ages ago (at least the ones following the war).
          Who is we? WAB or Indians?

          This happened in 2004 apparently.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by doppelganger View Post
            Who is we? WAB or Indians?

            This happened in 2004 apparently.
            Anyone following the war. Yes, it's old news.
            Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
            -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by doppelganger View Post
              You are not even a little shocked by this expose?
              Why would you expect any shock here? The Kashmiri terrorists mean jack shit for the US war in Afghanistan and the US needs those transport lines open. After they pull out of Afghanistan things may be a bit different but I would not hold my breath.

              Time for India to man up and fight her own war. Our soldier and officers have been restrained by the cowards in Delhi.
              "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by doppelganger View Post
                You are not even a little shocked by this expose?
                I know this question wasn't directed at me but I'm actually shocked that you are shocked by this. Indians need to understand something. The US and India aren't allies. They are friendly countries who find mutual benefit in supporting each other in some cases. But India isn't a US ally in the same way that South Korea, Japan or Israel are. You shouldn't expect the US to look after Indian interests. They will look after their own. And as far as Pakistan is concerned, US and Indian interests are at odds with each other, and will remain so for the time being. India needs to grow a pair and deal with its own problems caused by Pakistan.

                Recent friendly relations between the US and India seem to have put the wrong ideas about the relationship in the minds of some young Indians. The quicker we get rid of these misconceptions the better.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I am seeing a lot of cynical relaism amongst veteran Indian members here.

                  I am shocked and sorry but cannot be as blaise as your guys about it.

                  I did think America was a friend. Now at least, if never before.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by doppelganger View Post
                    I am seeing a lot of cynical relaism amongst veteran Indian members here.

                    I am shocked and sorry but cannot be as blaise as your guys about it.

                    I did think America was a friend. Now at least, if never before.
                    As Firestorm rightly pointed out, America is a friendly nation, not an ally. HUGE difference.

                    Cynicism?
                    Point me to a treaty that says that US and India are obligated to take military action to protect the interests of each other.

                    Sure, they do collaborate from time to time as self interest allows, but are not obligated to.

                    Lets not expect the rest of the world to solve our problems.
                    "Is God willing to prevent evil, but not able? Then he is not omnipotent. Is he able, but not willing? Then he is malevolent. Is he both able and willing? Then whence cometh evil? Is he neither able nor willing? Then why call him God?" ~ Epicurus

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by antimony View Post
                      As Firestorm rightly pointed out, America is a friendly nation, not an ally. HUGE difference.

                      Cynicism?
                      Point me to a treaty that says that US and India are obligated to take military action to protect the interests of each other.

                      Sure, they do collaborate from time to time as self interest allows, but are not obligated to.

                      Lets not expect the rest of the world to solve our problems.
                      Sir you know Indian culture and ethos is different.

                      I am sure it is ok to be outraged.

                      Everything in life does not have to be logic driven.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by doppelganger View Post
                        Sir you know Indian culture and ethos is different.

                        I am sure it is ok to be outraged.

                        Everything in life does not have to be logic driven.
                        doppel, Geopolitics are not driven by sentiments. It's driven on the basis of national interests. There are no 'friends' in geopolitics.
                        Cow is the only animal that not only inhales oxygen, but also exhales it.
                        -Rekha Arya, Former Minister of Animal Husbandry

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Tronic View Post
                          doppel, Geopolitics are not driven by sentiments. It's driven on the basis of national interests. There are no 'friends' in geopolitics.
                          Yes I guess that is true.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            India should be making it hard for the United States to deal with Pakistan, until they change their policies which benefits us. India requires United States to put pressure on Pakistan, India is not capable of doing it, without taking unwanted serious risks.
                            India should be anti-United States Af-Pak strategy until United States can push some of India's agenda.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by doppelganger View Post
                              I am seeing a lot of cynical relaism amongst veteran Indian members here.

                              I am shocked and sorry but cannot be as blaise as your guys about it.

                              I did think America was a friend. Now at least, if never before.
                              Antimony beat me to it. America is your friend, to the extent that such things exist in geopolitics. America is Pakistan's ally & has been for generations. A deeply troubled alliance no doubt. One that some might argue is more trouble than it is worth, but an ally nonetheless. There are some who would argue that a ditching Pakistan in favour of India might be a good idea, but will India want to be that close an ally? In the meantime America will do its own bidding, not yours. That can certainly change, but India needs to offer the US something too. That may come in time, but my understanding is that right now India still prefers to keep the US at arms length. That is fine. It might even be wise, but it means that America isn't going to feel the need to piss off an ally to do you a favour.

                              In the words of that modern philosopher Janet Jackson "what have you done for me lately?"
                              sigpic

                              Win nervously lose tragically - Reds C C

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