Express Tribune Joining Conspiracy Brigade?

Aug 3rd, 2010 | By | Category: Express Tribune

The Express Tribune logoA disappointing move by Express Tribune which has been a relatively good source of unbiased information since its recent launch. Today the new blog on the news website includes a conspiracy column by discredited conspiracy theorist Ahmed Quraishi.

Quraishi’s post is a perfect example of his style of disinformation and sleight-of-hand propaganda. He begins with a claim that America has orchestrated attacks against Pakistan since 2006. Really? What attacks has America orchestrated against Pakistan in last five years? Where are his proofs? This is quite a revelation, so shouldn’t he spend the article talking about his evidence for such? Actually, he has none, so he quickly changes the subject to Wikileaks.

But even about Wikileaks, which is the subject of the remainder of the column, Ahmed Quraishi is not honest with his readers.

According to Ahmed Quraishi, the information about ISI in the Wikileaks documents is proof of a secret US government and military operation to smear Pakistan.

But according to British reporter Declan Welsh – who Ahmed Quraishi himself refers to as a trustworthy authority on the issue – this information about ISI came not from USA and its CIA intelligence service, but from Afghanistan’s own spy agency, NDS, and that American officials consider the reports to be “useless”.

But despite the startling allegations the files yield little convincing evidence behind Afghan accusations that the ISI is the hidden hand behind the Taliban.

Much of the intelligence is unverifiable, inconsistent or obviously fabricated, and the most shocking allegations, such as the Karzai plot, are sourced to the National Directorate of Security (NDS), Afghanistan’s premier spy agency, which has a history of hostility towards the ISI.

“The vast majority of this is useless,” a retired US officer with long experience in the region told the Guardian.”There’s an Afghan prejudice that wants to see an ISI agent under every rock.”

When Ahmed Quraishi quotes Delcan Walsh’s article, he does not mention this important section because it completely undermines Quraishi’s claim that everything is a secret conspiracy by the Americans.

In fact, even when Ahmed Quraishi does quote from Declan Walsh’s article, he does not include the full paragraph and misrepresents the author’s statement.

Ahmed Quraishi quotes Declan Walsh in this paragraph:

British journalist, Declan Walsh, noticed the anti-Pakistan streak in way the Obama administration handled the leaks. “In issuing such a strongly worded statement with implicit criticism of the ISI,” Mr. Walsh wrote in The Guardian, “the White House may be trying to keep ahead of a tide of US opinion that is hostile towards Pakistan.”

But let us look at the full statement from Mr Walsh’s article:

The ISI has rejected suggestions that it is playing a “double game”, pointing to the arrest of the deputy Taliban commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, in Karachi last February as proof of its good intent. In issuing such a strongly worded statement with implicit criticism of the ISI, the White House may be trying to keep ahead of a tide of US opinion that is hostile towards Pakistan. But the Obama administration has little choice but to stick with its Pakistani allies, whose co-operation they need in hunting al-Qaida fugitives along the Afghan border. The ISI and the CIA are co-operating closely on drone strikes that have hit 47 targets and killed up to 440 people this year.

The war logs are likely to stoke passions in Pakistan where the rightwing press has long accused the US of seeking an excuse to invade and seize the country’s nuclear weapons.

Not only does Mr Walsh state that America is sticking by Pakistan as an ally, but he even predicts that media types like Ahmed Quraishi will exploit the Wikileaks to fuel their conspiracy theories.

Ahmed Quraishi ends his post complaining about the poor quality of information in the leaked documents, but what he fails to inform his readers of is that this has been explained to anyone who has paid attention to the issue from the very beginning – the documents that were leaked are field reports or “raw intelligence” that has not been accepted by the American government or military. According to New York Times newspaper,

Much of the information — raw intelligence and threat assessments gathered from the field in Afghanistan— cannot be verified and likely comes from sources aligned with Afghan intelligence, which considers Pakistan an enemy, and paid informants. Some describe plots for attacks that do not appear to have taken place.

At the end, Ahmed Quraishi’s “two important questions” are easily dismissed: The only propaganda campaign and faulty intelligence appears in Ahmed Quraishi’s conspiracy theory.

That a discredited propagandist like Ahmed Quraishi would try to pull the wool over the eyes of readers with such a column is not surprising. Actually, it is even expected by the very journalist that Quraishi quotes. What is disappointing is that a respectable publication like Express Tribune would give a platform for such nonsense to be spread. We expect better.

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  1. Even a kid can you tell you after reading AHMED QURESHI that who is feeding him bones. I have the honor of exposing him at the begin of his career on a group list( of which i have emails) where he started his trash of anti-politicians, anti-INDIA crap.

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