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Huge Protest in Pakistan Against US Drone Attacks January 29, 2012

Posted by rogerhollander in Pakistan, War, War on Terror.
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Roger’s note: if the use of drone missiles is “counterproductive,” as most everyone seems to agree, the one has to ask the question: why does Obama continue with such a useless strategy?  I am not sure that there is a simple answer to this question.  In general I would have to say that is mostly a matter of being out of touch with reality.  In a sense, Obama is a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome.  He has come to love the generals, the industrialists and war profiteers, and the CIA super boogeymen who have in effect kidnapped him.  The weapons they have foisted upon him are the only weapons he knows how to use.  Diplomacy and disengagement are not options available to him.  He is the leader of an imperial Behemoth, which is driven by the relentless economic and military needs of the military industrial complex.  Not a pretty picture, especially for the civilian men, women and children who are victims of the deadly drone strikes.
Published on Saturday, January 28, 2012 by Common Dreams

‘Drones are counter-productive’

  – Common Dreams staff

Over 100,000 Pakistanis rallied in Karachi Friday afternoon to protest US drone strikes on their country. The demonstrators also demanded that the Pakistani government continue the blockade on the NATO supply route to Afghanistan.

Over 100,000 Pakistanis rallied in Karachi Friday afternoon to protest US drone strikes on their country. The Times of India reports:

DAVOS — Pakistan’s prime minister said today that there was “a trust deficit” between Islamabad and Washington as he criticized the resumption of US drone strikes on his country’s tribal belt.

Speaking the day after over 100,000 people massed in Karachi to protest the strikes, Yousuf Raza Gilani said they only served to bolster militants.

“Drones are counter-productive. We have very ably isolated militants from the local tribes. When there are drone attacks that creates sympathy for them again,” Gilani told reporters at the Davos forum.

“It makes the job of the political leadership and the military very difficult. We have never allowed the drone attacks and we have always maintained that they are unacceptable, illegal and counterproductive.”

Relations between the United States and Pakistan have deteriorated sharply over the last year, with Islamabad furious about the surprise deadly raid on al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden’s hideout in Abbottabad last year. […]

In public, Pakistani leaders always insist they are against drone strikes, which are deeply unpopular in the country, but US officials insist that they privately cooperate with the program.

Agence France-Presse reports:

“We are being forced to become extremists. When you and your religion are humiliated in Guantanamo Bay detention center and your children are being crushed under tanks, then what the victims will ultimately do? They’ll counter your extremism with extremism.”[…] “We are not the enemies of the people of the West and the United States, but we reject the Americans’ attitude by which they always demand of a servile obedience from us,” JUI leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman told the crowd in Pakistan’s financial capital.

The party was not against the talks between Pakistan and the US, “but it should be between two equal sides,” the leader of the country’s most influential religous party said, kicking off campaigning ahead of general elections scheduled next year.

Senior police official Ahsan Zulfiqar said more than 100,000 people attended the gathering in front of the mausoleum of the country’s founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah.

Rehman said communism vanished after the fall of Soviet Union and a similar fate was beckoning the West, with the US staring at an “imminent defeat” in Afghanistan.

“Movements like Occupy Wall Street are just the beginning of the end of the imperialism of America and its Western allies,” he said.

“We are being forced to become extremists. When you and your religion are humiliated in Guantanamo Bay detention center and your children are being crushed under tanks, then what the victims will ultimately do? They’ll counter your extremism with extremism.”


Drones fuel terrorism, says Imran May 22, 2011

Posted by rogerhollander in Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uncategorized, War, War on Terror.
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By Shamim-ur-Rahman | From the Newspaper

// Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan waves to supporters along with party leaders during a rally in Karachi. -AFP Photo
Pakistani cricket legend-turned politician Imran Khan, center wearing cap, addresses a large crowd during a rally against the U.S. drone strikes in Pakistani tribal areas, Saturday, April 23, 2011, in Peshawar, Pakistan. Pakistan stopped NATO supplies from traveling to Afghanistan on Saturday as thousands of protesters rallied on the main road leading to the border, demanding U.S. Washington stop firing missiles against militants sheltering inside the country. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad

KARACHI: Tehrik-i-Insaf chief Imran Khan has said that the “war on terror” is not Pakistan’s war and it is harming the country’s integrity.

Addressing thousands of supporters at a rally held on Saturday at the Natives Jetty bridge leading to the Karachi harbour, he said that drone and other such attacks were breeding terrorism.

Imran Khan said had the leaders heeded his advice, taken a stand against the attacks and opted out of the American-led coalition, this situation would not have emerged.

He termed the sit-in the harbinger of a revolution and vowed to lay the foundation of a new Pakistan with the support of the people after emancipating them from plunderers of national wealth and honour.

He said the protest would convey to the US that “we will not be cowed down by drone attacks”. He said that if and when his party came into power it would finish the terrorists and assimilate the tribal people into the mainstream. He said it was the worst time for the country and the nation had been made subservient to the Americans.

Imran Khan said the drone attacks were being carried out with the connivance of the government and it was only making protests to hoodwink the people.

“It is a fixed match between the government, army and America,” he said.

Representatives of some other parties and civil society groups also joined the sit-in held in protest against American drone attacks and to call upon the government to change its policy towards the US. The sit-in will continue till Sunday evening.

“Whenever the government wants, drone attacks will stop,” he claimed.

The PTI’s campaign is not only against drone attacks and Nato supplies through the country, but is also aimed at forcing mid-term elections as Imran says the government is not truly democratic and has capitulated to the US. He terms the drone attacks a breach of Pakistan’s sovereignty.

Imran Khan also mustered the support of some of the right-wing parties, including the Sunni Tehrik and Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam, and the Sindh National Front. Because of a strong line taken by him against American attacks that have killed people in the tribal areas, a large number of people from the northern region of the country who eke out their living here were also seen at the rally.

They were carrying PTI’s flags and photographs of Aafia Siddiqui and chanting anti-America slogans.

Yet More “Plus ça change…” You Can Believe In March 29, 2009

Posted by rogerhollander in About Barack Obama, About Pakistan, About War, Barack Obama, Iraq and Afghanistan, Pakistan, War.
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Roger Hollander, www.rogerhollander.wordpress.com, March 29, 2009

“Good morning. Today, I am announcing a comprehensive, new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“This marks the conclusion of a careful policy review that I ordered as soon as I took office. My Administration has heard from our military commanders and diplomats. We have consulted with the Afghan and Pakistani governments; with our partners and NATO allies; and with other donors and international organizations. And we have also worked closely with members of Congress here at home. Now, I’d like to speak clearly and candidly to the American people. “

These are the opening sentences in Barack Obama’s March 27 speech in which he announced the escalation of the U.S. occupation and agression in Afghanistan.  Note the list of people and institutions with whom the President consulted before coming to a decision about his policy: military commanders and diplomats, Afghan and Pakistani governments, partners and Nato allies, donors and international organizations, members of Congress.  There is one glaring omision: THE AMERICAN PEOPLE .  Not to mention world public opinion.  Note that Obama has a tendeny to speak down people rather than listen to them.  As with his excluding from consideration a single-payer national health plan, which is favored by a vast majority of Americans, for President Obama a peaceful and diplomatic solution in Afghanistan/Pakistan which for most Americans is a fervent hope, is “off the table.”

The lead in a Time Magazine article covering the speech suggested that George Bush must have left an old speech lying around in his desk.  

When Obama was criticized from the left prior to his inauguration for retaining the key members of the Bush team of militarists and war profiteers (Gates, Petraeusl, Mullen, Jones) and adding Hawks such as Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emmanuel, he countered by declaring that he would be making the decisions and not his advisors (Obama the Decider).  Well, if Obama ever was indeed a peacenik, he surely has since succumbed to the Stockholm Syndrome in a big way.

Yet More “Plus ça change…” You Can Believe In.

“There was a day when the world rightly called Americans honest even if crude; earning their living by hard work; telling the truth no matter whom it hurt; and going to war in what they believed a just cause after nothing else seemed possible.  Today we are lying, stealing and killing.  We call all this by finer names: Advertising, Free Enterprise, and National Defense.  But names in the end deceive no one; today we use science to help us deceive our fellows; we take wealth that we never earned and we are devoting all our energies to kill, maim and drive insane men, women, and children who dare refuse to do what we want done.  No nation threatens us.  We threaten the world.” (italics added)

These words could have been written today, but they weren’t.  They appeared forty one years ago in the Autobiography of the Afro-Aerican activist and historian, W.E.B. Du Bois.  Plus ça change… plus c’est la même chose.   I despair to say it, but our nation’s first Afro-American president is turning out to be a traitor to his heritage.

Question: is there any difference at all between the foreign policy of President Obama and his predecessor?  Only if you believe that the part’s of Obama’s speech on Afghanistan/Pakistan that spoke of investment in non-military programs constitute more than window-dressing.  I don’t.  I believe that with respect to the militaristic policies of peace candidate Barack Obama, the more things change, the more they stay the same.