Posts Tagged ‘Osama bin Laden’

Conspiracy Culture, Not Ghosts, Behind Killing of Polio Workers

Thursday, December 20th, 2012

The News (Jang Group)An article in The News (Jang Group) of 20th December bearing the headline, ‘Osama’s ghost behind killing of polio workers’ suggests that recent killings of polio workers are the result of a CIA operation intended to catch Osama bin Laden, but the piece ignores the fact that conspiracy theories about polio vaccinations and attacks from militants pre-date the American raid that killed Osama bin Laden and the revelation about the role of Dr Afridi.

According to the report by Amir Mir, Taliban have been attacking health workers as a result of the operation that captured Osama bin Laden.

The WHO-backed anti-polio campaign in Pakistan is facing the wrath of the Taliban fanatics ever since the May 2011 arrest and subsequent conviction of Dr Shakil Afridi who was hired by CIA to run a fake vaccination drive in Abbottabad to track Osama bin Laden.

But news reports from before the 2011 raid in Abbattabad reveal a long history of militant resistance to vaccination campaigns.

According to a 2008 report by M Ilyas Khan for BBC News, militant leaders objected to polio vaccinations since 2006.

Since last year polio vaccination teams have not been able to vaccinate children in more than 70 out of Swat’s 180 village clusters.

Resistance to vaccinations began when a Swat-based militant cleric, Maulana Fazlullah, started telling people in his FM radio sermons that the vaccine was intended to render their children impotent.

While militants temporarily allowed vaccination programs to proceed under a peace agreement with the military, the program was short lived and polio continued to rise in the country.

In 2010, President Zardari appealed to the masses to cooperate with efforts to eradicate the easily preventable disease.

The president said, “Unfortunately the extremists and militants opposed the vaccination of children against polio on the ground that it was foreign funded and that it made the Muslim children infertile.”

“We have fought against this mindset, and will not permit militants to deprive our children of basic health care. In the fight against this crippling disease we also need to produce polio vaccines locally,” he added.

He called upon the government to step up efforts for the indigenous production of polio vaccine. He hoped that the people will respond actively and positively to eradicate polio by ensuring that every child of their area gets two drops of polio vaccine regularly.”

“Let us on this occasion pledge that no child who should get polio drops, will be missed out.” The president complimented the Health Ministry, the provincial and local governments, international community and partners and workers participating in the polio campaign and wish them all success in their task.

Sadly, militants conspiracy theories continued to spread among the awam and the epidemic continued to worsen.

As of Oct. 13, 111 cases of polio had been recorded this year in Pakistan — second only to the African nation of Chad, where 114 cases have been reported this year. Last year, Pakistan logged 144 cases of polio. Today, Pakistan is one of just four countries where polio is deemed endemic; the other three are Afghanistan, India and Nigeria.

Several factors have stood in the way of eradication. In the country’s volatile tribal areas along the Afghan border, the war against Islamic militants has made it difficult for vaccination teams to make the rounds in villages and towns, where cases of polio continue to spread. The migration of Pakistanis from the country’s northwest to densely populated cities such as Karachi and Quetta has further spread the disease.

Underlying those factors, however, is an intense mistrust among some Pakistanis for the vaccines and the people who supply and administer them. Radical clerics seed rumors that vaccines are un-Islamic because they are made from substances derived from pigs, or that they cause infertility. Some clerics try to convince parents that polio vaccines are made from the urine of Satan.

The CIA’s use of a health programme to find Osama bin Laden certainly exacerbated the problem and has given fuel to militants in efforts to scare the masses into submission, but it was not the cause of the campaign against polio vaccines which pre-dates the Abbottabad raid by several years.

It is not the ghost of Osama bin Laden or the CIA which is behind the killing of health workers in Pakistan. It is the culture of conspiracy theories and the unchecked ability of militants to spread false propaganda that is responsible for this crisis.

⸮پھر وہی ڈرامہ پھر وہی امریکی سازش

Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

پاکستان میڈیا واچ کی ٹیم اپنے قارین کی توجہ روزنامہ جنگ کی ایک رپورٹ کی جانب مرکوز کروانا چاھتی ھے۔ نیچے ملاحظہ کییجئے۔

Daily Jang 09-25-2012

یہ سب باتیں مجاہد کامران صاحب نے روزنامہ جنگ کے ساتھ خصوصی گفتگو میں کیں۔ اس سے قبل مجاہد کامران کا انگریزی اخبار ایکسپریس ٹربیون میں بھی بیان آچکا ھے۔ نیچے ملاحظہ فرمائیے۔

Abbotabad raid was staged, claims PU VC

پاکستان میڈیا واچ کی ٹیم چند چیزوں کی نشان دھی کرنا چاہے گی۔ اورساتھ ہی چند اہم سوالات اٹھانا چاھے گی۔

⸮کیا پاکستانی سکیورٹی ایجنسںیز کو اس بات کی خبر نہ تھی

⸮ یا یہ سب معلوم ھونے کے باوجود انہوں نے اس بات میں ذلت اٹھانا بہتر سمجھی کہ امریکی فوج نے پاکستان کی خود مختاری کی خلاف ورزی کی

⸮کیا اسامہ بن لادن کے بیوی اور بچے سب جھوٹ بول رھے ھیں

⸮کیا ایبٹ آباد کمیشن بلا وجہ وقت برباد کر رہا ھے

⸮اگر بن لادن پہلے ہی مر چکا ھے تو اس کے چھوٹے بچے کیسے موجود ھیں

⸮اگر مجاہد کامران صاحب درست ھیں تو اس کا مطلب ڈاکٹر شکیل آفریدی پر بنا کیس بالکل بے بنیاد ھے

ان سب سوالوں کے جواب دینا بہت ضروری ھے۔ وائس چانسلر پنجاب یونیورسٹی ایک اہم پوسٹ ھے اور پاکستان میڈیا واچ کی ٹیم مجاہد کامران صاحب سے ہوش کے ناخون لینے کی درخواست کرتی ھے۔

Ansar Abbasi Twists Facts, History In Defence of Militants

Monday, August 20th, 2012

The News (Jang Group)In his latest piece for The News (Jang Group), Ansar Abbasi requests “home-grown solutions to Talibanisation” – something many people would probably agree with. Unfortunately, he then goes on to spread a mixture of misinformation and pro-militancy which undermines his original thesis, suggesting that Ansar Abbasi’s “solution” to Talibanisation is actually to embrace it.

Abbasi begins his piece by saying “It is high time to seriously look for a home grown solution and hear what the likes of Imran Khan say.” PTI chief Imran Khan has gained fame for his demands to withdraw support for the fight against terrorists including those located in North Waziristan. But Imran Khan has not stopped there. In addition to calling on an end to support for US efforts against militant groups, he has also called for an end to militant groups in Pakistan. Imran Khan told Barkha Dutt on NDTV that Pakistan should eliminate all militant groups in the country:

Imran Khan: No country should ever allow any militant groups within. That’s true. And I believe that whenever Pakistan gets out of this war on terror, the first thing it should do is de-weaponise. There should be no militants operating in Pakistan – whether they are ethnic, whether they are religious, whether they are sectarian.

Barkha Dutt: Including groups like the Lashkar-e-Taiba that India, I know, has the most concerns about; or the Jaish-e-Mohammad?

Imran Khan: No militant groups should ever be allowed to function in a state. Because you will eventually suffer because of that.

Ansar Abbasi also terms the militant group of Jalaluddin Haqqani as “pro-Pakistan Haqqani Network”. According to Abbasi, following the advice of Imran Khan and de-weaponising and de-banding militant groups like the Haqqani Network “would mean turning Haqqanis against Pakistan and thus forcing them to join TTP’s campaign against Pakistan”.

What Abbasi fails to explain, however, is why a “pro-Pakistan” militant group is sitting on the sidelines and allowing TTP to carry out attacks against Pakistanis? If the Haqqani Network is truly “pro-Pakistan”, shouldn’t they be fighting against TTP in North Waziristan where both have camps?

And is not just Haqqanis that Ansar Abbasi believes are “pro-Pakistan”. Later he suggests that Taliban and even al Qaeda are pro-Pakistan groups. Abbasi’s reasoning is that al Qaeda leaders were unhappy with TTP’s actions, therefore they must not be enemies of Pakistan.

The TTP’s indiscriminate attacks against Muslims caused two al-Qaeda leaders Atiyyatullah and Abu Yahya al-Libi to write to TTP leader Hakimullah Mahsud to express their displeasure with the group’s “ideology, methods and behaviour”. They also threatened to take public measures unless they saw from TTP serious and immediate practical and clear steps towards reforming its ways and dissociating itself from these vile mistakes that violate Islamic Law, the media report said.

But disagreements between ideology and action do not mean that militant groups are enemies, and disagreements between militant groups definitely do not imply that one or another group is not the enemy of some third party. Actually, al Qaeda has a long history of expressing unhappiness with the actions of allied terror groups including its own lieutenants. Documents found in Osama bin Laden’s hideout that was raided last year indicate that al Qaeda was not frustrated with TTP only, but also with al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and the al Shahbab group in Somalia. Al Qaeda leaders have even had internal fights in which they warned each other against “ideology, methods and behaviour” that they did not agree on. The most famous of these internal fights was between al Qaeda leaders Atiyah and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

A top al-Qaida official warned Abu Musab al-Zarqawi six months before he was killed by a U.S. airstrike that he would be removed as the terror group’s head in Iraq if he did not consult with the group’s leadership on major issues.

An al-Qaida leader named “Atiyah” cautioned al-Zarqawi in an 11-page letter against the war he had declared on Shiite Muslims.

The letter also criticized attacks the Iraqi branch had carried out in neighboring countries — an apparent reference to last year’s triple suicide attacks on hotels in the Jordanian capital of Amman that killed dozens.

Ansar Abbasi not only makes excuses for al Qaeda and other terror groups, he also repeats disproven conspiracy theories. Abbasi says the US “has established a net-work of Raymond Davis like agents within Pakistan”, but he fails to note that actually Pakistan kicked out 331 US officials suspected of being engaged in espionage over one year ago. Abbasi asks “who protects and feeds the anti-Pakistan Taliban in Kunar, Afghanistan”? But he does not ask who protects and feeds the anti-Pakistan Taliban in North Waziristan, in Karachi, and in Lahore. Neither does Abbasi mention that US Gen James N Mattis, Mattis, Commander of United States’ Central Command (Centcom) and COAS Gen Kayani consider TTP a “common enemy” or that TTP leader Baitullah Mehsud was killed by a US drone strike.

The Investigative Editor of Jang Group has continually expressed his sympathies with al Qaeda, Hizb-ut-Tahrir and other extremist groups, so this is nothing really new. Ansar Abbasi is entitled to his opinion that supports al Qaeda and Taliban militants, but he is not entitled to twist facts and history in order to justify his sympathies.

Pakistan’s James Bond? Or Nicholas Schmidle…

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

Mansoor Ijaz
Two months ago, Nicholas Schmidle caught the nation’s attention with his sensational piece for The New Yorker that presented a made-for-Hollywood re-telling of the Abbottabad operation. Now, a new thriller appears in the Financial Times, this time by a Pakistani. But, like Mr Schmidle’s earlier piece, this one, too, may not appear to be all that it seems.

The piece in question today is by Mr Mansoor Ijaz, and the author takes no time letting readers know his agenda in the title of his column, ‘Time to take on Pakistan’s jihadist spies’.

ISI embodies the scourge of radicalism that has become a cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy. The time has come for America to take the lead in shutting down the political and financial support that sustains an organ of the Pakistani state that undermines global antiterrorism efforts at every turn.

But Mr Ijaz is not here to bury the ISI only. Actually, he’s brought a little bit for everyone’s tastes, and he cleverly begins his column not by attacking ISI head on, but by telling a most incredible tale about the civilians also.

According to Mansoor Ijaz,

Early on May 9, a week after US Special Forces stormed the hideout of Osama bin Laden and killed him, a senior Pakistani diplomat telephoned me with an urgent request. Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan’s president, needed to communicate a message to White House national security officials that would bypass Pakistan’s military and intelligence channels.

The message? “He needed an American fist on his army chief’s desk to end any misguided notions of a coup – and fast”.

That’s right. Fearing an imminent coup, Pakistan’s president wanted to get a message to the President Barack Obama. So he called a diplomat and asked him to call…Mansoor Ijaz? Even Nicholas Schmidle had the humility not to name himself as the killer of Osama bin Laden.

If Nicholas Schmidle was writing the screenplay for Hollywood’s next war thriller, though, Mr Ijaz has penned a worthy sequel.

In a flurry of phone calls and emails over two days a memorandum was crafted that included a critical offer from the Pakistani president to the Obama administration: “The new national security team will eliminate Section S of the ISI charged with maintaining relations to the Taliban, Haqqani network, etc. This will dramatically improve relations with Afghanistan.”

The memo was delivered to Admiral Mullen at 14.00 hours on May 10. A meeting between him and Pakistani national security officials took place the next day at the White House. Pakistan’s military and intelligence chiefs, it seems, neither heeded the warning, nor acted on the admiral’s advice.

Not only was Mr Ijaz the preferred messenger between President Zardari and President Obama, but he was also closely tuned in to the high-level military and intelligence discussions that were carried out over the next days. Amazing, no?

Before we go any further into this exciting tale, perhaps we should pause for a moment to ask, just who is Mansoor Ijaz?

According to his by line, Mansoor Ijaz is an American of Pakistani ancestry who “negotiated Sudan’s offer of counter-terrorism assistance to the Clinton administration”. Apparently, Mansoor Ijaz is not Pakistan’s Nicholas Schmidle, he’s Pakistan’s James Bond!

Writing for an American newspaper in 2001, Mansoor Ijaz claimed that “President Clinton and his national security team ignored several opportunities to capture Osama bin Laden and his terrorist associates”. And how does Mr Ijaz know about this high-level American intelligence failure? “I know because I negotiated more than one of the opportunities”.

Mr Ijaz claimed in 2001 that he was secretly negotiating between the governments of Sudan and the United States. Unfortunately, America’s National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States says otherwise.

Sudan’s minister of defense, Fatih Erwa, has claimed that Sudan offered to hand Bin Ladin over to the United States. The Commission has found no credible evidence that this was so. Ambassador Carney had instructions only to push the Sudanese to expel Bin Ladin. Ambassador Carney had no legal basis to ask for more from the Sudanese since, at the time, there was no indictment out-standing.

In 2001, though, Mansoor Ijaz was not a humble “American of Pakistani Ancestry” who secretly negotiated between foreign governments. At that time, his by line identified him as “a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, is chairman of a New York-based investment company”.

Mansoor Ijaz is not a passive investor. Writing about his alleged links with Sudan in the 1990s, The Washington Post reporter David B. Ottaway noted that Mr Ijaz uses politics to advance his financial interests1.

Wealthy and well-connected, Ijaz was more than willing to pitch in. By Election Day in November, he had raised $525,000 for the Democratic cause, including $250,000 from his personal funds and $200,000 donated by guests at a fund-raising reception for Vice President Gore at Ijaz’s New York penthouse in September, according to Federal Election Commission records, White House documents and Ijaz.

Now Ijaz is trying to reap what he has sown. Having earned access to the Clinton administration through his fund-raising prowess, Ijaz has met with a succession of senior officials in the White House, State Department and Congress to further his business interests through changes in U.S. policy toward Islamic countries, particularly Sudan, a government long accused of sanctioning international terrorism.

A 2006 by line appearing in The National Review gives little more information about Mansoor Ijaz’s ‘business interests’.

Mansoor Ijaz is chairman of Crescent Investment Management LLC, a New York private equity firm developing homeland-security technologies related to Internet security, air and seaport-cargo security, and airship-surveillance technologies.

In addition to investing heavily in both politicians and security technologies, Mansoor Ijaz finds the time to write rather prolifically. Benador Associations, a PR firm representing Mansoor Ijaz as an ‘expert’, was also involved in managing media in the lead up to the 1992 invasion of Iraq.

The newly-formed Committee for the Liberation of Iraq (CLI) sits at the center of the PR campaign, which is coordinated closely with other groups that are actively promoting an attack on Iraq, including the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, Middle East Forum, Project for a New American Century, the American Enterprise Institute, Hudson Institute, Hoover Institute, and the clients of media relations firm Benador Associations.

CLI sends its message to American citizens through meetings with newspaper editorial boards and journalists, framing the debate and providing background materials written by a close-knit web of supporters. CLI also works closely with Condoleezza Rice and other administration officials to sponsor foreign policy briefings and dinners.

Nor is this the first time that Mansoor Ijaz has written about the need for America to take on the ISI. Writing in June of this year, Mansoor Ijaz wrote a piece strikingly similar to his latest:

The time has come for America to take the lead in shutting off the political and financial support that gives life to an organ of the Pakistani state dedicated to undermining global anti-terror efforts. The ISI embodies the scourge of radicalism and Islamist terror that emanates from the soil it runs roughshod over.

No mention then of the author acting as secret liaison between Islamabad and Washington, though. Perhaps he forgot? One thing Mansoor Ijaz did remember back in June is that not only did he negotiate with Sudan and the US, “He was also involved in the negotiation of the ceasefire in Kashmir between militants backed by ISI and Pakistan’s armed forces and Indian security forces in August 2000″. Is there no crisis that Mansoor Ijaz has not either created or solved?

Actually, the ISI is not Mr Ijaz’s only recommended target. Recently, writing for The Washington Post, Mansoor Ijaz encouraged Obama “to violate Pakistan’s sovereignty at every future opportunity it gets”. His credentials when trying to create this crisis, though, were that he was not only involved in negotiations between Kashmiri militants and Indian security forces, he “was the joint author of the blueprint for a ceasefire”. No, I’m not making this up.

Mansoor Ijaz is, like James Bond, an ‘International Man of Mystery’. In the 1990s, Mansoor Ijaz carried out secret negotiations between the government and Sudan and President Clinton to give Osama bin Laden to the Americans, but Washington wouldn’t listen. In 2000, he secretly negotiated a ceasefire between Kashmiri militants and Indian forces. And, once he remembered that he forgot, he was a secret messenger between Islamabad and Washington following the Abbottabad operation. His missions were so secret that nobody knew about them but him.

Mansoor Ijaz is also, like Nicholas Schmidle, a storyteller. In 1999, he told News Hour that “his father was a founder of the Pakistani nuclear program”. In 2004, he recited a tearful memory of how his father could not “fulfill his dream of helping his country become a peaceful nuclear power”.

In 2007, Mansoor Ijaz wrote that Benazir Bhutto, “looted the treasury, sparked conflict with India in Kashmir to cover her financial misdeeds and ignored the fundamental needs — jobs, education, basic healthcare — of her people”, and said that “Pakistan requires a revolution, not a bunch of has-been, corrupt politicians who self-servingly and halfheartedly claim they want to fix what they themselves tore apart.” After her death a few months later, his story took a different tone.

“But I firmly believe that she loved Pakistan, and for all her faults, had returned there this time to turn a new page in its troubled political history. We should remember her for her courage to stand up in the face of incalculable odds to bring some semblance of sanity to the disaster that Pakistan has become.”

His latest revelations come at a curious time. Just when America’s and Pakistan’s agencies appear to be turning around what was a souring relationship, along comes Mansoor Ijaz who remembers what he had forgotten the last time he wrote the same article attacking ISI – that they were sold out by the civilians in Islamabad.

It’s hard to question a man who wrote in 2003 that “the growing body of publicly available evidence offers sufficient proof of Baghdad’s mendacious designs to warrant the immediate use of force”. But maybe this time, before anyone rushes to judgment, we ought to ask for a little more proof.


1. Ottaway, David B. ‘Democratic Fund-Raiser Pursues Agenda on Sudan’. The Washington Post. 29 April 1997.

جنگ گروپ کی جھوٹی اور من گھڑت رپورٹنگ

Monday, August 8th, 2011

اتوار کے جنگ اخبار کی سرخی کو دیکھنے کے بعد جنگ اخبار کی کھوکھلی رپورٹنگ کھل کر سامنے آ جاتی ھے۔ اتوار کی سرخی نیچے ملاحضہ فرمائیے

اگر غور کریں تو پتا چلتا ھے کہ صارفین سے ایک نھیں بلکے کئی جھوٹ بولے جارھے ھیں۔ سب سے پھلی کوتاھی ھے بنا تصدیق یہ خبر چھاپنا کہ جاںبحق ھونے والے امریکی سیل امریکی اسپیشل فورسز کا وھی دستہ تھا جو کہ ایبٹ آباد ریڈ میں ملوث تھا۔

جنگ گروپ کھانیاں گھڑنے میں اس حد تک مہارت رکھتا ھے کہ اس نے اس سراغ رساں کتے اور اسکے ٹرینر تک کو خالق حقیقی سے جا ملوایا جو کہ اسامہ بن لادن آپریشن میں موجود تھے۔

اس کے علاوہ عوام کے ساتھ کھلم کھلا جھوٹ بولنا اور ان کے دینی جزبات کے ساتھ کھیلنا  بھی جنگ گروپ کے لئے کوئی بڑی اور نئی بات نھیں۔

اس خبر میں جنگ اخبار رپورٹ کرتا ھے کے امریکی ہیلی کاپٹر گرنے کے فورن بعد نیٹو نے طیارے بلوائے اور آٹھ بے گناہ لوگ جاں بحق ھو گئے۔ جنگ اخبار اس حد تک جھوٹی رپورٹنگ کرتا ھے کے ان من گھڑت جاں بحق ھونے والوں کی نشان دھی بھی کئیے دیتا ھے۔ ان میں سے ایک آدمی کو مسجد کا امام بنا دئیا۔ایک کو اس کی بیگم اور باقی چھ انکے من گھڑت بچے۔

یہ تمام باتیں جھوٹ اور من گھڑت ھیں اور اصلیت نیو یارک ٹائمز اخبار میں چھپ چکی ھے۔ لیکن جنگ اخبار اپنی عادت سے مجبور ھے اور جھوٹی رپورٹنگ کی روایت کو برقرار رکھے ھوئے ھے۔

اب یہ سرخی جو کہ اسی دن کے اخبار میں چھپی ھے نیچے ملاحضہ فرمائیے

Helicopter crash conspiracy by Jangپاکستان میڈیا واچ نے چونکہ یہ بات پھلے واضح کر دی ھے ھم اس موضوع پر صرف یہگزارش کریں گے کہ طالبان نے اس حادثے کی ذمہ داری لی ھے۔ اس میں کوئی شک والی بات نھیں اور اسے ایک کانسپرسی تھیوری بنا کر عوام کی نظر میں پیش کرنا تاکہ وہ گمراہ ھوں ایک بڑی ھی نیچی اور گری ھوئی بات ھے۔

ان سب باتوں اور اس کے علاوہ جنگ گروپ کی روزمرہ کی رپورٹنگ سے اس بات کا اندازہ ھوتا ھے کہ جنگ گروپ نے عوام کو دھوکے پر دھوکہ دیتے چلے جانے کی حامی بھری ھوئی ھے۔ شاید جنگ گروپ کو یہ نھیں پتا کہ عوام پاگل نھیں ھے اور اس کو دو جمع دو کرنا آتا ھے۔ شاباش۔ لگے رھو جنگ بھائی۔

Proof of Osama’s death, or proof of media credibility has vanished?

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

The News (Jang Group)A sensational headline on the front page of The News (Jang Group) announces the latest conspiracy theory concocted to confuse the masses over Osama bin Laden’s Abbottabad compound and the US raid that killed him. The News reports that US chopper crash removes all proof of Osama’s death, but is it all proof of Osama’s death, or all proof of Jang Group’s credibility that has vanished?

According to the article by Khalid Mahmood Khalid, “The only proof of the death of Osama Bin Laden (OBL) were the 20 Navy SEALs reportedly on board this helicopter and all of them died”.

This is not so according to US officials as reported by The New York Times.

American officials said that 22 of the dead were Navy Seal commandos, including members of Seal Team 6. Other commandos from that team conducted the raid in Abbottabad, Pakistan, that killed Bin Laden in May. The officials said that those who were killed Saturday were not involved in the Pakistan mission.

But the problems with The News report do not stop there. Khalid Mahmood Khalid goes further, suggesting that the Americans killed their own troops in order to cover up the conspiracy. Quoting an Indian TV report, Khalid says, “Now no one can say with certitude whether the helicopter had in fact met an accident or there were some other reasons of its destruction”.

But wait. The report by New York Times tells a different story.

In the deadliest day for American forces in the nearly decade-long war in Afghanistan, insurgents shot down a Chinook transport helicopter on Saturday, killing 30 Americans, including some Navy Seal commandos from the unit that killed Osama bin Laden, as well as 8 Afghans, American and Afghan officials said.

The helicopter, on a night-raid mission in the Tangi Valley of Wardak Province, to the west of Kabul, was most likely brought down by a rocket-propelled grenade, one coalition official said.

According to American officials, it was not an accident but a rocket attack by Afghan militants, and Taliban has claimed responsibility.

Does this mean that Taliban have killed the SEALs to cover up an American conspiracy? Ridiculous.

It should be noted that Khalid Mahmood Khalid appears to have done no actual research for this article as he refers throughout the piece to “According to an Indian TV channel”. Is this the state of Pakistani journalism? Sitting and watching Indian TV and then spinning fantastic conspiracy theories from their reports?

What appears on the front page of Jang Group’s The News does not remove all proof of Osama’s death. It may, however, remove all proof of Jang Group’s credibility.

Conspiracy theories and hate speech in the media

Wednesday, June 29th, 2011

The Nation logoIn The Nation this week, senior journalist and project consultant/editor at Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI) Ghani Jafar approaches a worthwhile subject – media used for propaganda in Pakistan. But instead of a serious investigation of the issue, readers are spoon fed tired conspiracy theories and hate speech.

Allegedly an examination of American influence in media, Ghani Jafar’s piece quickly descends into transparently silly claims packaged in hate speech. Take for example his claim that the electronic media is becoming a puppet of American propaganda.

The onslaught has become so pervasive that, barring some honourable exceptions, the electronic media space of Pakistan is becoming their Master’s Voice. A la CNN and Fox News, they have employed half-literate, attractive young females to keep male viewers glued to the screens.

Where to begin? First, the idea that the electronic media is a mouthpiece for the US is so laughable that I cannot help but wonder if Jafar sahib actually owns a television. But then let us ourselves examine the evidence he gives for this claim – TV channels “have employed half-literate, attractive young females to keep male viewers glued to the screens”.

Ghani Jafar

What a proper journalist should look like?

 

The sexism of such a statement is beyond the pale and frankly shocking coming from such an esteemed journalist. Should the role of TV anchors be reserved for men only? And which of the female journalists does Jafar sahib believe are “half-literate”? Is he speaking of Ayesha Tammy Haq? Or Ayesha Siddiqa? Or does he mean Munizae Jahangir or Fareeha Adrees? Please tell which are the stupid women journalists you mean!

 

 

But Jafar’s hatred is not reserved for Pakistani women alone. He goes on to spit his venom at American journalists by terming a major American newspaper as a tool of “the powerful Jewish lobby”.

Talking of this mother of the US strategic communicators, I must confess being taken aback when a senior journalist in the New York Times editorial department had; in anticipation of my question regarding the daily’s linkage with the powerful Jewish lobby, for I was then visiting America (in 1991) as the Executive Editor of dear departed The Muslim in Islamabad; volunteered to confide that, yes, they did advance the cause of the Shylocks in the City of Gold.

Again, the writer offers no name for this New York Times editor who volunteered that the newspaper is a tool of Jewish hegemony leaving us to take Jafar’s word despite our own mind’s telling us that this conversation never really took place at all.

Neither is this the first time that hate speech has been featured prominently in mainstream media and neither is The Nation the only offender. Anjum Niaz infamously termed the same American newspaper as ‘Jew York Times’ in 2002 for a piece published by Dawn.

In both the instances of Anjum Niaz’s racist hate speech in Dawn and Ghani Jafar’s racist hate speech in The Nation, the question must be asked where were the editors when these pieces came across their desks? Were they sleeping on the job, or does this type of hate speech accurately reflect the beliefs of the media groups which own them?

After lashing out at the Jewish bogey, Ghani Jafar then proceeds to term Pakistani media as “terrorists” due to the response to the murder of fellow journalist Saleem Shahzad. According to Jafar sahib, “Fingers were instantly pointed at the ISI without the slightest clue as to who had picked him up, where, how – or other ‘unnecessary’ details.”

Actually, the ISI fell under suspicion after it was revealed that Saleem Shahzad had emailed Ali Dayan Hasan informing him that he was summoned to an ISI office.

Shahzad came under ISI scrutiny in October when he wrote in the Asia Times that Pakistan had freed a detained Afghan Taliban commander.

Within days, he was summoned to an ISI office, according to an email he sent to Ali Dayan Hasan, a researcher for Human Rights Watch. Intelligence officials pressured him to reveal his sources or retract the story. He refused.

At the end of the meeting, one of the intelligence officials issued what he took as a veiled threat. The official told Shahzad intelligence agents had recently arrested a terrorist who was carrying a hit list. The official then said he would tell Shahzad if his name was on the list.

This does not prove ISI complicity in Saleem Shahzad’s death, but it certainly provides “the slightest clue” that any investigative journalist worth his weight would be negligent to ignore. So why is Jafar sahib so quick to ignore it?

What is most curious about this bizarre rant in The Nation is that just a few weeks ago the same journalist wrote a long piece in Daily Times criticising Liaquat Ali Khan for “forcing both Islam and Urdu down the throats of his adoptive homeland of Pakistan”, Nurul Amin as “a wily, scheming and ruthless butcher”, and terms Gen Zia-ul-Haq as the biggest “compulsive liar”. Why is Ghani Jafar so offended by those who will question the establishment when he does the same in his next breath?

Jafar Sahib then goes on to claim that Osama bin Laden was innocent of the 9/11 attacks and that this was all an invention of CNN.

Anyway, going back to 9/11 and its scheme of things, President Bush had wasted little time after the establishment of the ‘fact’, by who else but the CNN, that the ‘terrorist’ happenings of the day were the handiwork of a little known network of Al-Qaeda, to announce the start of the global ‘crusade’ [his words] that now must be wrapped up because, among other things, Uncle Sam has gone broke.

Osama may well have been quick in condemning the 9/11 happpenings, but who was listening? Ten years later, America’s lackeys in Pakistan are not listening to anything that Uncle Sam may not like to hear.

But let us once again look at the facts. It was CNN that published the alleged statement of Osama bin Laden denying involvement only a few days after the attacks. When Osama bin Laden sent a video tape admitting responsibility, the statement was published by Al Jazeera. If Ghani Jafar performed even the minimum of research he would know these facts. Instead he has simply repeated transparently silly and easily debunked conspiracy theories.

It is both puzzling and unfortunate that Jafar stooped to this peddling of conspiracy theories and hate speech in what could have been an important and informative piece. Complaints about intelligence agencies using media for propaganda purposes have been bubbling under the surface for some time. None other than Ansar Abbasi has complained of this in his own writings that the military establishment is “feeding the media with distorted information”.

Additionally, Wikileaks cables have revealed that editors at Jang Group may even be aware of journalists taking payments from intelligence agencies but choose to look the other way.

10. We have protested directly to reporters, editors, and the Group Chief Executive and Editor in Chief Mir Shakil ur Rehman over the consistent inaccuracy of “Jang Group” reporting, as well as their refusal to apply the most basic standards of journalistic ethics, stating that we expect to be called about and to respond to any story any entity of the group is carrying about the Embassy or its activities, and even provided them with direct telephone numbers for the IO, the PAO, and the Ambassador. Despite these efforts, the “Jang Group” has not changed its practices.

11. All of this occurs under the eye of the Group Editor who has not exercised supervision or applied good journalistic practices when assigning and reviewing stories. When queried by Post’s IO he stated that they know that many of their reporters have political agendas, are paid by ISI, military intelligence, Jamaat-e-Islami, or other interests but that they prefer not to fire or reprimand these reporters.

If it is true that “the US has allocated $50 million” for buying media channels and journalists, why not conduct investigative research and provide facts that reveal which media channels and journalists are taking payments whether from US accounts or any other agency accounts? Does this not seem to be the sensible and rational reaction to such a claim? Instead, readers of The Nation are told this claim and then paragraph after paragraph following contains nothing on the subject.

Perhaps the most troubling of all, though, is that Ghani Jafar is referenced in his bio as “project consultant/editor at the Institute of Strategic Studies (ISSI)”. Does this article then reflect the quality of work being performed at ISSI? Let us hope that there has been some mistake, and that the conspiracy theories, hate speech, and lack of basic research were an accident that does not reflect the true nature of Ghani Jafar, The Nation, or ISSI.

Daily Jang Terms Ilyas Kashmiri ‘Patriot’

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

The News (Jang Group)An article in Daily Jang provide an interesting look at how Jang Group characterises jihadis in Urdu publications. The articles describe the jihadi leader Ilyas Kashmiri who is believed to have been killed recently in a drone strike.

You will please recall that a sympathetic piece was published in Daily Jang following the death of Osama bin Laden.

Now let us look at another profile in the same newspaper. Abid Shah interviews Ilyas Kashmiri’s brother for an article titled, lyas Kashmiri Tahaffuz-e-Pakistan aur Azadi-e-Kashmir kay liye masroof raha, bhai Chaudhry Asghar.

Ilyas Kashmiri profile of Daily Jang

According to Jang Group reporter Mazhar Tufail “there are clear signs of the involvement of Ilyas Kashmiri group in the terrorism incident at the naval base, PNS Mehran” as well as GHQ. The reporter wrote that “Ilyas Kashmiri group has been playing an important role in planning attacks on Pakistan’s defence system and institutions”. In Jang Group‘s English newspaper, Hamid Mir terms Ilyas Kashmiri as “one of the most dangerous threats for the security of not only Pakistan but the whole of South Asia”.

So why then does Jang Group follow these reports by going to Kashmiri’s village to ask his family for their opinion? What could the editors expect except for a sympathetic report?

The question must be asked why is Jang Group projecting militants who attack the nation’s defence as pro-Pakistan? As the nation continues to suffer terrorist attacks, a major media group is characterising a jihadi leader as “patriot of the highest degree”.

One possibility is that Jang Group is projecting extremism and anti-Americanism as a cynical strategy to sell newspapers. According to a recently revealed Wikileaks document, this has been an admitted scheme of Jang Group employees.

12. The problem of reporting rumor, innuendo, and unsubstantiated allegations is bad enough when limited to the distribution numbers of “Jang” daily or “The News.” However, it is when these stories are amplified by the “GEO TV Network” that the truly negative influence expands to substantial numbers. And all of this by their own admission is calculated to maintain or increase their market share.

13. On a recent visit to “GEO TV Network” offices in Karachi, our IO had a conversation putting all of this into context. “GEO” sees its behavior as win-win with sensationalism and hate speech generating ratings and any attempt by authorities to rein it in allowing them to exploit their circumstance by claiming censorship.;

The question must be asked, is Jang Group publishing these articles out of ideological sympathy for terrorists, or are they projecting extremism and hate speech as a scheme make money? The people have the right to know.

The News Complains About, Spreads Distorted Information

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

The News (Jang Group)Ansar Abbasi, the Jang Group ‘Investigative Editor’ whose sources were termed ‘incorrigable liars’ by Chief Justice Lahore High Court last year, was featured on the front page of The News complaining that elements within the military establishment have been feeding distorted information to the media. Ironically, Ansar Abbasi concludes his complaining about “unnamed sources” by quoting his own unnamed source who claims some unnamed “ministers and ambassadors” as not satisfied with an opposition resolution.

In addition to Ansar Abbasi conveniently quoting his own unnamed sources, the same issue of The News also includes a news report by Dr Raja Muhammad Khan of National Defence University Islamabad. This is the same Dr Raja Muhammad Khan whose name has previously appeared in connection to a propaganda ring connected to retired ISI officials and Ahmed Quraishi.

Now Dr Raja M Khan is published by The News spreading conspiracy theories including that Osama bin Laden was not killed.

But this is also a fact that, the US authorities have failed so far in giving the solid and logical proof of the OBL’s death. The authorities have yet not released any video or the photographs of the operation, making the event as totally incredulous. Some analysts believe that OBL died long-ago in Afghanistan.

Just how distorted is this information? Even al Qaeda has confirmed that Osama bin Laden was killed. And this is not the only transparently silly conspiracy theory in Raja M Khan’s article. Also he says that the raid in Abbottabad was nothing but an American topi drama.

This raid in fact was a staged managed drama aiming either to; bring political victory for the re-electioneering of Obama or else to; pave the way for the US future military actions against Pakistan and to have an access to our strategic arsenals.

Actually Obama’s rating in the US has not been helped by the Osama raid. Even if Obama had intended the raid to help his re-election, why would he do it over a year before the elections? Wouldn’t it make more sense to announce the death of Osama just before the election? This conspiracy which is also being peddled by such persons as Hamid Gul and Aslam Beg simply defies all logic.

In another article in the same issue of The News, Farrukh Saleem claims that American officials are in Pakistan only to improve President Obama’s re-election campaign.

John Kerry and Mike Mullen have been tasked to secure more good news out of Pakistan and Afghanistan in order to keep up the momentum going into the Iowa Caucuses and then into the presidential election scheduled for 6 November 2012.

Again, this is a laughably absurd statement since Adm Mike Mullen was given his position not by Barack Obama who is a Democrat but by George Bush who is a Republican.

An editorial in the same edition of the newspaper includes distorted information about drone strikes.

It is also clear that drones have claimed the lives of hundreds of innocent people – and only a few militants.

Actually, the openly available data from Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann’s drones database at the New America Foundation with all sources presented for review shows that the vast majority of deaths from drone strikes are militants – not innocents.

Drone Deaths 2004-2010

This also confirms the statement by General Officer Commanding 7-Division Gen Ghayur Mehmood:

Myths and rumours about US predator strikes and the casualty figures are many, but it’s a reality that many of those being killed in these strikes are hardcore elements, a sizeable number of them foreigners.

“Yes there are a few civilian casualties in such precision strikes, but a majority of those eliminated are terrorists, including foreign terrorist elements.”

Unfortunately, this is not the first time that The News has presented misleading and distorted information about drone strikes. The fact that The News continues to publish misleading and distorted information about drone strikes calls into question their intentions whether to inform or mislead readers to promote a political agenda.

What is the intention of these stage managed conspiracy dramas we will not speculate about here. But we will laugh a bit at the obvious ridiculousness of The News running front page articles crying about distorted information while filling their paper with the same.

Crazy Talk Hamid Mir Aur Ansar Abbasi Kay Saath

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Hamid Mir hosts 'Crazy Talk'

On Crazy Talk last night, Hamid Mir and Ansar Abbasi put on an incredible show. And by ‘incredible’ I mean, of course, without a shred of credibility. Also, though, I mean incredibly funny.

Earlier in the day, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif issued a statement on the raid in Abbottabad. According to Hamid Mir, Nawaz’s speech revealed groundbreaking stuff that you would not believe. According to Hamid Mir this incredible groundbreaking stuff was that drones are being flown from within Pakistan. As if this is somehow news. According to Hamid Mir, though, this is proof that government itself is responsible for all the deaths that Gilani mentioned in his own speech.

What’s missing from this groundbreaking news? Any mention of Army or ISI. It is as if Nawaz claimed that drones are being flown from PM House in Islamabad and not an Army base in Jacobabad. But Pakistan has an Army. Pakistan has intelligence agencies. So why does Hamid Mir tells his audience that Nawaz Sharif has put this responsibility for drones on the civilian government?

Of course, Hamid Mir did notice Nawaz’s statements critical of the military later in the show. But rather than criticise Mian Nawaz, Hamid Mir also says “Kuch logon ka ye bhi khayal hai ke “ Nawaz Shareef nay darasal haqeeqat mei wohi batain kari hain jo ke saddar Zardari Sahab Chahtay thay kyonkay wo bhi ander say yehi chahty hain ke fauji qayadat kay khilaf inquiry commision ki baat ho”. (Some people also think that in actuality, these statements reflect what President Zardari wanted because from inside, he also wants talks about inquiry commission against the army leadership) . This incredible fact became even more incredible when Ansar Abbasi stated that he also hears the same voices in Hamid Mir’s head and confirmed Hamid Sahib’s statement that there is a secret faction of Zardari cronies in Islamabad who are cursing the military and trying to weaken Pakistan’s security services.

First of all Mr. Hamid Mir, can you please explain who these “kuch log” (some people) are? I mean I would really like to find out who said this because I know that you didn’t just make these people up, right? Secondly, are you saying that these critical statements were put into the speech by people in the government? Of course, this makes perfect sense now. I’m sure the government’s media advisers worked furiously to finish the opposition leader’s speech in time for his press conference.

In the mind of Hamid Mir, everything Nawaz Sharif said about Pakistan cooperating with drones is evidence against the civilian government, not the military. And anything that could possibly be considered as critical of the military is evidence against the civilian government also because they hypnotized Nawaz and made him say these things. These mind control magicians are, of course, “close to Zardari”. Again, this makes perfect sense. Asif Zardari is always using his mind control magicians to convince the media to say such sweet things about him!

Ansar Abbasi then offers his own helpful advice: Any inquiry should be independent, but should also avoid giving any points to our enemies. And who are Pakistan’s enemies? According to Ansar Abbasi, number one enemy is America and number two enemy is India. No mention of the people who have killed tens of thousands of Pakistanis with bomb attacks. In some ways, this makes sense. There are plenty of awami lives to spare, but very few general’s egos.

Ansar Abbasi continues to say that there are people in foreign capitals who tell him and his colleagues to write against the Army and ISI to push the agenda of Washington. This is when Hamid Mir cuts him off and says “Aur gandi galiyan deitay hian- Gandi galiyan deitay hian! Asif Zardari kay qareebi saathi fauji leadership ko gandi galiyan deitay hain leikin public kay samnay kuch aur kehtay hain” (And they use abusive language! They use abusive language! Asif Zardari’s close aides use abusive language for Army leadership but say something else in front of the public). Really? So are you saying Mr. Hamid Mir that you are such good friends with Zardari and his inner circle that you know what they say when they’re not in front of public? And you can see that with such authority because you hang out with them and chill on weekends discussing all of this over chai biscuits and samosas?

And finally, when one of the guests Haider Abbas Rizvi mentions that when 9/11, London bombings and Madrid bombings happened, no body asked for resignations of their intelligence heads, Hamid Mir cut him off and mentioned that there is a difference that in 9/11 terrorists entered US and that helicopters from another country did not enter airspace. Even though he later admitted that there was a security breach, my question for Hamid Mir is: Are organizations such as Al-Qaeda, Afghan Taliban, or the Haqqani network and their allies not working diligently to kill innocent civilians? Have they not claimed the lives of more than 30,000 Pakistanis? Are they not in our country uninvited? The answer to all these questions is yes, but then why is Hamid Mir so hesitant on calling these terrorists organisations out for what they really are? Why is Hamid Mir forgetting that a bigger breach of sovereignty was carried out by these terrorists plaguing our nation?

At the end of the episode, I felt exhausted. Partly I was tired from laughing and partly it was from the mental gymnastics that were required to bend logic into such contortions necessary to understand what Hamid Mir and Ansar Abbasi were trying to say. One thing is certain, whether or not Nawaz gets his enquiry, no one will be any wiser for listening to this type of Crazy Talk.