Pakistani Horn Once Again Harbors Terrorism

Pakistan court grants bail to alleged Mumbai attacks mastermind

An Indian soldier aims his weapon towards The Taj Mahal Hotel during the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, which killed 166 people and was blamed on the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba ©Pedro Ugarte (AFP/File)

A Pakistani court Thursday granted bail to the alleged mastermind of the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai, lawyers told AFP, prompting India to demand an appeal.

The 60-hour siege on India’s economic capital left 166 people dead and was blamed on the banned Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

Relations between the two nuclear-armed rivals worsened dramatically after the carnage, in which 10 gunmen attacked luxury hotels, a popular cafe, a train station and a Jewish centre.

“We had moved a bail application with the Islamabad anti-terror court on December 10, today the judge granted bail to my client after hearing arguments from both sides,” Lakhvi’s lawyer Rizwan Abbasi told AFP.

Prosecutor Mohammad Chaudhry Azhar confirmed the court had granted bail.

Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh said the decision was “very unfortunate”.

“India has given enough evidence (against Lakhvi). We expect the Pakistan government to appeal at the earliest,” he told journalists in Delhi.

The court’s ruling comes a day after Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to crack down on terror groups in Pakistan, after Taliban gunmen massacred 148 people, mostly teenagers, at a school.

Sharif on Wednesday announced that a six-year moratorium on the death penalty would be lifted for those convicted of terror offences.

The horror of the Mumbai carnage played out on live television around the world, as commandos battled the heavily-armed gunmen, who arrived by sea on the evening of November 26.

It took the authorities three days to regain full control of the city and New Delhi has long said there is evidence that “official agencies” in Pakistan were involved in plotting the attack.

– Traumatic attacks –

Islamabad denies the charge but LeT’s charitable arm Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), seen as a front for the militant group, operates openly in the country.

LeT founder Hafiz Saeed also leads a high-profile existence despite a $10 million US government bounty offered for his capture, regularly appearing on TV and addressing large public gatherings of his followers.

As well as Mumbai, LeT is also accused of involvement in militancy in Kashmir, the disputed Himalayan region that is the source of much of Pakistan and India’s friction.

Seven Pakistani suspects have been charged with planning and financing the attacks but the failure to advance their trials has been a major obstacle to normalising ties between Pakistan and India.

Delhi has accused Islamabad of prevaricating over the trials, while Pakistan has claimed India failed to hand over crucial evidence.

The sole surviving gunman from Mumbai, Pakistani-born Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, was hanged in India in 2012.

The attacks traumatised India, exposing the antiquated weapons and methods of the local police force and revealing crucial gaps in the country’s defences.

They also derailed a nascent peace process between nuclear-armed India and Pakistan.

In the wake of the Peshawar massacre on Tuesday, Sharif said Pakistan would not distinguish between “good Taliban and bad Taliban” as it seeks to crush the scourge of homegrown Islamist militancy.

But scepticism will remain, particularly in India.

Analyst Pervez Hoodbhoy said Thursday’s development would hurt ties with India.

“After the Peshawar massacre there was an outpouring of sympathy for Pakistan from many countries, including India. But this will pass soon,” he told AFP.

“By selectively attacking the ‘bad’ terrorists in Waziristan, while protecting those who have committed atrocities in other countries, Pakistan is on a weak wicket.”

Pakistan has long been accused of playing a “double game” with militants, supporting groups it thinks it can use for its own strategic ends.

Many Pakistanis regard the struggle against what they see as India’s “occupation” of Kashmir as a just fight, and are prepared to tolerate groups engaged in it.

Pakistan and India both control part of Kashmir but claim the whole of the territory and have fought two of their three wars over it since independence from Britain in 1947.

Ten gunmen went on the rampage and attacked luxury hotels, a popular cafe, a train station and a Jewish centre in Mumbai
Supporters of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) shout slogans against India and the US during a 2012 rally in Lahore ©Arif Ali (AFP)
The United States has offered a $10 million bounty for the capture of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) founder Hafiz Saeed, seen here addressing a rally in Lahore, on May 25, 2012 ©Arif Ali (AFP/File)
Pakistan has declared three days of national mourning over the school massacre in Peshawar, which has sparked national outrage and candlelight vigils in major cities such as this one in Karachi, on December 17, 2014 ©Asif Hassan (AFP)
A Pakistani soldier stands guard at the site of the militants' attack on a school in Peshawar, on December 18, 2014 as Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif vowed to c...

Administration Fails To Stop The Third Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Analysis: Despite billions in aid, U.S. unable to get Pakistan to confront militants

pakistani-taliban-militants

WASHINGTON Fri Dec 19, 2014 5:12am IST

(Reuters) – Since 2001 the United States has tried virtually every strategy available to persuade Pakistan’s army to take the threat of militancy more seriously, but 12 years and $28 billion in aid later, all the American approaches are widely viewed as having failed.

First, the Bush administration heaped praise on former Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, agreed to reimburse the Pakistani army for anti-Taliban military operations and launched drone strikes that killed al Qaeda leaders and militants wanted by the Pakistani government.

Adopting a more confrontational stance, the Obama administration unilaterally carried out the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, vastly increased aid to Pakistan’s weak civilian institutions and, at times, cut off aid to the Pakistani military.

Yet the militants continue to operate, ever more brazenly, as illustrated by Tuesday’s harrowing attack on a school in Peshawar, in which 132 students were killed by a faction of the Pakistan Taliban. And with the United States increasingly focused on other crises, Washington’s options for bringing about change in an increasingly unstable Pakistan are dwindling fast.

“There is great ‘Pakistan fatigue’ in Washington,” said Cameron Munter, who served as the American ambassador to Pakistan from 2010 to 2012. “Not only have the last dozen years been very difficult, but other challenges – from Syria to Ukraine to Iran, to name a few – demand our attention.”

Although Tuesday’s attack sparked widespread condemnation, current and former U.S. officials expressed cynicism that the bloodshed would cause Pakistan’s military to change its view of militants.

Munter and other officials said the United States has been unable to break a powerful, army-backed narrative in Pakistan that militant attacks are the result of America’s war on terror. Foreign powers, not Pakistan, are responsible for growing militancy in Pakistan, according to the narrative. And Pakistan is not responsible for the problem and unable to stop it.

That narrative played out immediately when Pakistan’s army chief, General Raheel Sharif, flew to Afghanistan within 24 hours of the attack to meet Afghan leaders. They said they had information that the school attack was directed by militants hiding inside Afghanistan.

“We are hoping that we will see strong action from the Afghan side in the coming days,” said Pakistani army spokesman Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa.

One senior American official said he hoped the trip was not “communications Kabuki” designed to divert blame for the failure to stop the attack away from the Pakistani army. Analysts said the army is failing to live up to its decades-long history of training, funding and sheltering some militant groups and using them as proxies to counter archrival India in Afghanistan and Kashmir.

Since 2001 a parade of American officials – from presidents to CIA directors – have repeatedly warned Pakistan’s generals that they will lose control of their militant proxies and eventually be attacked by them. Pakistani military officials have denied sheltering militants.

CHINESE PRESSURE?

But some current and former U.S. officials said the sheer brutality of this week’s attack would intensify demands from Pakistan’s public for the army to confront militancy. James Dobbins, who served as the Obama Administration’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan from 2013 to 2014, said there was also growing pressure from Pakistan’s longtime ally China.

“I think they are pressing Pakistan to take this threat more seriously,” he said.

Munter, the former ambassador, argued that the problem reflects a more fundamental question of whether militants have become so entrenched that the Pakistani army cannot defeat them.

The senior administration official was more optimistic, contending that even before the school attack, the Pakistani public was raising pressure on the army to act. The ongoing military operation in North Waziristan that militants said prompted the school attack was evidence of change.

“There has been a growing sense in Pakistan that this is an issue that they need to deal with,” said the senior official, who asked not to be identified by name.

But Shamila Chaudhary, who served as senior director for Pakistan and Afghanistan on the National Security Council from 2010 to 2011, warned that as U.S. attention has shifted elsewhere, the steady deterioration of Pakistan’s institutions, security forces and economy has continued.

For years, Chaudhary said, she dismissed alarmist warnings from other U.S. experts on Pakistan that the country’s nuclear arsenal was unsafe. The inability of Pakistan’s security forces to protect a military-run school, she said, has given her doubts regarding Pakistan’s atomic arsenal for the first time.

“I will have a hard time saying to people that militants can never steal Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,” she said. “The more these things happen, that rate of risk goes ahead, and I just think, well, it could happen one day.”

(Editing by Jason Szep and Douglas Royalty)

Everybody Except His Mother Knows This

Senior cleric: Iran has knowledge to build a nuclear bomb

Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Khatami

Ayatollah Sayyid Ahmad Khatami

The Guardian

The Islamic republic has reached the expertise to enrich uranium not just to the 5% and 20% levels required for civilian uses but to higher levels required for a bomb, says Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami
An official site belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has quoted a senior conservative cleric as saying that Iran has attained the knowledge to build a nuclear bomb but doesn’t want to use it.

The IRGC site of Kurdistan province today quoted Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a leading cleric who often leads Friday prayers in Tehran, as telling a group of IRGC commanders in Iran’s Kurdistan province that Iran had the expertise to enrich uranium not just to the 5% and 20% levels required for civilian uses but to higher levels required for a bomb. “[We] can enrich uranium at 5% or 20%, as well as 40% to 50%, and even 90%,” he was quoted as saying. But he said the Islamic republic believed that the building of a bomb is religiously forbidden.

Turning to nuclear talks with world powers, Khatami said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, had blocked any discussion of Iran’s missile programme because the United States did not follow principles. Khatami attacked the government of president Hassan Rouhani for trying to establish formal diplomatic relations with the US and for trying to eliminate the slogan of “Death to America” from use at official rallies.

Khamenei made a religious ruling in 2005 against the manufacture or use of nuclear weapons, although the fatwa’s validity and scope have been questioned by critics of Iran internationally.
Khatami’s speech was widely covered by the Iranian press, but the remarks about Iran’s nuclear bomb-making capabilities were not reported.

The CIA Failed To Kill The Antichrist (Revelation 13)

Wikileaks Releases CIA Report on High Value Targeting

PHOTO: The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) logo is displayed in the lobby of CIA Headquarters in Langley, Va, Aug. 14, 2008.
muqtada-al-sadr

Wikileaks has released a CIA document from 2009 analyzing the positive and negative effects of strikes against high value targets.

The U.S. military has used high value targeting of insurgent leaders in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the CIA also uses drone strikes to target high value al Qaeda targets in Pakistan and Yemen.

The 18 page secret document is dated July 7, 2009 and is entitled “Best Practices in Counterinsurgency: Making High Value Targeting Operations an Effective Counterinsurgency Tool”.
The anti-secrecy Wikileaks posted the report on its website Thursday. A press release accompanying the release said the report was compiled by the CIA’s Office of Transnational Issues and “weighs the pros and cons of killing “insurgent” leaders in assassination plots.”

A CIA spokesperson declined to comment on Wikileak’s posting of the report and its contents.

High Value Targets is the term used to describe senior leaders in insurgent organizations. They can be targeted in airstrikes or operations where they are captured for their intelligence value.

The report is a historical analysis that found both positive and negative effects from high value targeting. One key finding from the review “suggests that HVT operations can play a useful role when they are part of a broader counterinsurgency strategy.” More to the point the report said the targeting is most effective when a country decides on a strategic outcome before beginning the HVT track and also integrate into other military and civilian counterinsurgency operations.

However, the targeting can also have significant negative impacts it could lead to more local support for the insurgent and it could also lead to more radical groups filling the power vacuum created when other insurgent leaders are killed.

The report includes brief reviews of successful and unsuccessful HVT efforts in other countries and how it fit into their counterinsurgency strategies. For example, descriptions of the British fight against the IRA in Northern Ireland and the Colombian government against FARC rebels.

In addition to using open source reporting to recount the experiences to tackle insurgencies, the CIA also interviewed U.S. officials running HVT programs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In Afghanistan the report that high value targeting had a limited effect against the Taliban because of the logistical inability to integrate it into a broader counterinsurgency campaign by the U.S. military and Afghan Government. Moreover, the Taliban had “good succession planning and bench strength, especially at the middle levels” said the report.

A few months after the report was written President Obama would approve a troop surge and counterinsurgency strategy for Afghanistan that would see U.S. troop levels rise to 100,000.

In Iraq, the report says that early targeting against leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq “did little to slow AQI’s momentum”. But that began to change in 2007 as the HVT operations were complemented by “broader Coalition and Iraqi Sunni actions against AQI” that cut the terror group off from its support base and have contributed to its decline since that time.”

Years later that group would push into Syria where it would re-emerge as ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and al Sham, which has taken over territory in both Syria and Iraq.

Clandestine reports also indicated that “the Iraqi Government has chosen not to target Muqtada al-Sadr and many of his top aides because of political sensitivities.” The CIA report said “capture or refraining from lethal operations may be warranted if the government’s goal is to integrate an insurgent group into the political process.”

The Pressure For The Iranians To Attack Israel Mounts

MEMRI: Iranian Regime Escalates Threats To Annihilate Israel

December 17, 2014
MEMRI Special Dispatch No.5906
Iranian Regime Escalates Threats To Annihilate Israel
irans-elite-revolutionary-guards-march-past.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlarge

As the November 24, 2014 deadline for the Joint Plan of Action between Iran
and the P5+1 approached, and as global oil prices have dropped sharply –
severely impacting the Iranian economy – Iranian officials, mostly from
Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), have within a short span
of six weeks significantly ratcheted up their calls to annihilate Israel.
IRGC officials emphasized the missile capabilities of Iran and of the
Palestinian factions that it arms, saying that these will hasten Israel’s
elimination.

One major motif in statements during this time by Iranian regime officials
is the arming of the West Bank. At an Islamic conference in Tehran in late
November 2014, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reiterated the promise he had
made several months previously, that the West Bank will be armed with
missiles, as Gaza had been armed, and that Israel’s security would
deteriorate by the day. IRGC commander Mohammad Ali Jafari predicted that
Israel would be eliminated thanks to the missile capabilities of the
resistance factions, and his deputy, Hossein Mohammad Salami, stated that
the West Bank would become hell for Israel, whose destruction is imminent.
Basij commander Mohammad Reza Naqdi said that Iran was determined to hold
victory prayers at Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Furthermore, Hossein Sheikholeslam, secretary-general of the Tehran-based
Committee for Support for the Palestinian Intifada and an advisor to Majlis
speaker Ali Larijani, said that Iran was committed to implementing Iranian
regime founder Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s call to destroy Israel, and
called on Palestinians to launch an intifada as “the most peaceful way” to
regain their stolen lands. Members of the Majlis National Security and
Foreign Policy committee stressed that Leader Khamenei had ordered the West
Bank armed in order to hasten Israel’s annihilation and that Iran intended
to follow those orders.

Also, Tasmimnews.com, which is affiliated with the IRGC, threatened, on
December 4, 2014, that in its next confrontation with Israel, Hizbullah will
use its Iranian missiles to attack five infrastructure and energy centers in
Haifa, including Haifa Port, the Petrochemical Industries, the Electric
Corporation, the Matam Scientific Industries Center, and the city’s subway
system.
 
This paper by MEMRI reviews statements by Iranian officials announcing the coming
annihilation of Israel.

Too Late To Prevent The Spill: The Sixth Seal Occurs In 2015

WATCH: ‘The beginning of the end of NY’s nuclear power?’

Indian-Point-Power-Plant

Has the endgame begun for Indian Point? Sure looks that way.

Riverkeeper is fighting on every legal front to stop this dangerous, aging plant from operating, and there’s no doubt we are closing in.

Riverkeeper has raised awareness about the hazards posed by this plant – including the 2,000 tons of toxic nuclear waste that are stored onsite, on the banks of the Hudson River, with no solution in sight. Our commissioning of reports by Synapse Energy Economics helped document the availability of replacement power once the facility is decommissioned. And our attorneys wrapped up arguments that will deny Entergy, the plant’s owner, a means to renew the licenses it needs to continue operating.

Even Entergy seems to have gotten the memo. The plant’s owners are saying openly that it’s time to reach a deal with New York State about the the plant’s closure: An industry publication quotes CEO Leo Denault that Entergy “would be willing to strike a ‘constructive’ agreement with New York officials on early closure of the controversial Indian Point nuclear plant, provided that Entergy received ‘certainty’ and proper compensation for near-term operation … to meet grid reliability and environmental needs while the state pursues a major revamp of its electricity system.”

The state has already signaled its confidence that New York can do without Indian Point’s power. The state Public Service Commission ruled in November 2013 that New York can count on other sources of safe, reliable, affordable energy.

The transformation is already happening, with energy supplies and transmission lines that are in some cases built, in other cases breaking ground. The future is arriving sooner, perhaps, than Entergy thought it would.

– See more at: http://www.riverkeeper.org/blog/watchdog/watch-the-beginning-of-the-end-of-nys-nuclear-power/#sthash.fJtko3g0.dpuf