Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Land of the Pure, Part 1

By now I'm sure that, unless you've been living in a cave, you are aware of the failed attempt to detonate a car bomb in Times Square. And, even if you have been living in a cave, you might still know about it, if you have the right roommates. ;)

Let's take a closer look at this situation.

We begin with Accused bomber believed to have acted alone in US, dated just minutes ago as I write this:

NEW YORK – The Pakistani-American accused of the failed Times Square car bombing is believed to have been working alone when he began planning the attack almost immediately after returning from a five-month visit to his native land, authorities said Wednesday.

They said they have yet to find a wider link to extremist groups.

It is important to parse the words of our mainstream media.

The title of the article is "Accused bomber believed to have acted alone in US", with emphasis added. Then, the second sentence leads us to believe that there are no other links at all:

They said they have yet to find a wider link to extremist groups.

But, that's misleading, isn't it?

Skipping down to the fifth paragraph, we have:

One law enforcement official told the AP that authorities don't believe there are any other suspects in the plot and that several arrests in Pakistan in the past two days were not related.

Not related?

We now consider Pakistan arrests suspects linked to Times Square bomber, dated May 5, 2010:

ISLAMABAD, May 5 (Xinhua) -- In the wake of the arrest of a U.S. citizen of Pakistani origin in New York, Pakistani law-enforcement agencies swung into action on Tuesday and nabbed several suspects, local newspapers reported Wednesday.

The arrests came when the special investigation group of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was tasked to investigate the car bombing plot in which Faisal Shahzad, a naturalized U.S. citizen arrested Monday late night, was allegedly found guilty.

The friend Tausef and father-in-law Iftikhar Mian of Shahzad were picked up by intelligence personnel from a house in southern city Karachi, the DAWN said.

According to the report, Faisal's immediate family, his wife Huma Mian and two children are also in Pakistan, but it could not be confirmed if his wife has also been detained.

Sources said that Faisal Shahzad had come to Karachi in 2009. He is son of Air Vice Marshal (retd) Baharul Haq, who retired in early 1990s. Later, he got a senior post in the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and his family moved to Karachi, the sources said.

Here is a militant in the US, a terrorist wannabe, whose dad happens to have been a big shot with the Pakistani Air Force.

(Here's something for you to research on your own: What Pakistani big shot military officer helped pass money to Al Qaeda immediately prior to 9/11? Here's a hint: his assistant had a daughter working as a translator for the FBI in Washington. Still not ringing any bells? Just pick any link, maybe you'll get lucky.)

Continuing with Pakistan arrests suspects linked to Times Square bomber:

Air Vice Marshal (retd) Baharul Haq has two sons. The elder son is settled in Canada.

Faisal had been living in the United States. His father lives in Hayatabad area of Peshawar in northwest Pakistan.

The Nation newspaper said Shahzad received militant training in Kohat, quoting an intelligence official. The area around Kohat is a stronghold of Tariq Afridi, the main Pakistani Taliban commander in the region, it said.

Meanwhile, the News reported that officials said several people had been taken into custody in Karachi since the failed attack Saturday. They said no charges had been filed.

According to the report, security officials in Karachi said they had arrested a Pakistani man who had spent time with Shahzad during a recent visit there. Investigators said they arrested the man, Muhammad Rehan, in Batkha Mosque in the North Nazimabad area just after morning prayers. The mosque is known for its links with the militant group, Jaish-e-Muhammad.

So, this son of a retired Pakistani Air Force general is arrested in the US for this bomb plot, Pakistani security forces take others into custody - admittedly without filing charges - and the investigations show this guy appeared to have been trained in Pakistan.

Our news services tell us that a authorities "have yet to find a wider link to extremist groups" and that the arrests in Pakistan are "unrelated".


Finishing Pakistan arrests suspects linked to Times Square bomber:

Investigators said Rehan told them he had rented a pickup truck and driven with Shahzad to Peshawar where they stayed from July 7 to July 22, 2009. The account could not be independently verified.

Karachi police officials, however, expressed disassociation with the developments and said they had not received any orders in connection with Faisal Shahzad.

"We didn't get any order, but at our end we have collected information which confirms that a young man by the name of Faisal Shahzad did arrive in Karachi in April 2009 and left in August the same year. We have received information that some of his relatives live somewhere in North Nazimabad and police are trying to locate the house," Capital City Police Chief Waseem Ahmed was quoted as saying.

In the eastern province of Punjab, police and intelligence personnel picked up a few suspects from different parts in connection with the recovery of explosives from a vehicle in New York, reports said.

Informed sources in the Punjab police said that the arrests had been made in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

Arrests in Rawalpindi....

Did you know Rawalpindi is to Pakistan kind of what Langley, VA, is to the US? Langley is home to the CIA headquarters, and "Pindi" is home to Pakistan's Interservices Intelligence (ISI). Oh, yeah, it's kind of like their "Pentagon", too: home to Pakistan's military headquarters.


From No indication of long grudge in Times Square suspect, official says, dated May 5, 2010, the fifth paragraph into the story:

Additionally, the official suggested, detentions in Pakistan over the past two days were carried out to collect information and were not because officials had reached any conclusions about their guilt or ties to any groups.

"They are reaching out to people, bringing them in and doing their due diligence, but 'arrest' suggests a strong connection to the guy. While anything is possible, they haven't arrived at any conclusion," the source said.

Fair enough. Skipping down:

A senior U.S. official said investigators were looking into possible links between Shahzad and Pakistani groups and had found none, "but that doesn't say there is no connection."

The official added that there was nothing to indicate that Shahzad is from an extremist family.

The suspect is the son of a big shot with the PAF, Pakistani security forces are sniffing around Rawalpindi.... but "nothing to indicate that Shahzad is from an extremist family."

I don't think they want to find that this guy is from an "extremist" family, because once they do, the extensive ties between the Pakistani military - especially the ISI - and the militants near the Afghan border will come to light, and then our government is going to have to explain a few things to us about our ally.

Just like they would have to explain a few things about our "ally" Saudi Arabia if people ever realized how Saudi-funded mosques are spreading the hatred of Wahhabism around, radicalizing Islamic communities worldwide, turning them into breeding grounds for anti-US jihadists.

Finally, from a really useful news source, Asia Times Online, an excerpt from an article entitled Terror roads lead back to Pakistan - and dated tomorrow, no less! (The embedded map is not from the same article.)

Shahzad, who became a US citizen in April 2009, spent five months in Pakistan before he returned in February, according to reports and law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity. Shahzad has clearly denied any links with any militant outfit, saying that he worked alone.

Shahzad was born in June 1979 in the southern port city of Karachi, but his family hails from Pabi, a town in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa province - formerly known as North-West Frontier Province. His father is a retired air vice-marshal. Reports in the US media describe Shahzad as giving the impression of a quiet family man, with a wife and two small children - a girl of about four and a boy of about one - and telling neighbors he worked on Wall Street.

Pakistani officials are reported to have made at least eight arrests on the basis of information obtained during Shahzad's interrogation. These include Mohammad Rehan, taken in Karachi, who is said to have recruited Shahzad and taken him to Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa, and then to North Waziristan, where he was introduced to Qari Hussain Mehsud, the chief of the TTP's suicide squads and an expert in explosives.

Remember: Shahzad worked alone (he has said so), and the arrests in Pakistan, which are based on Shahzad's interrogation, are "unrelated" according to the "free press" in America - connections to the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistani Taliban - TTP) and their bomb-makers who recruited and trained Shahzad not withstanding.

I smell a cover-up to bury connections between Pakistan's military and Pakistani-trained jihadists whose training camps are in Pakistan in places Pakistan's military supposedly can't get to.

(Did you catch that?)

And, it wouldn't be the first cover-up of such links. From For sale: West’s deadly nuclear secrets, January 6, 2008:

The Turks and Israelis had planted "moles" in military and academic institutions which handled nuclear technology. Edmonds says there were several transactions of nuclear material every month, with the Pakistanis being among the eventual buyers. "The network appeared to be obtaining information from every nuclear agency in the United States," she said.

They were helped, she says, by the high-ranking State Department official who provided some of their moles – mainly PhD students – with security clearance to work in sensitive nuclear research facilities. These included the Los Alamos nuclear laboratory in New Mexico, which is responsible for the security of the US nuclear deterrent.

In one conversation Edmonds heard the official arranging to pick up a $15,000 cash bribe. The package was to be dropped off at an agreed location by someone in the Turkish diplomatic community who was working for the network.

The Turks, she says, often acted as a conduit for the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's spy agency, because they were less likely to attract suspicion. Venues such as the American Turkish Council in Washington were used to drop off the cash, which was picked up by the official.

Edmonds said: "I heard at least three transactions like this over a period of 2½ years. There are almost certainly more."

The Pakistani operation was led by General Mahmoud Ahmad, then the ISI chief.

Intercepted communications showed Ahmad and his colleagues stationed in Washington were in constant contact with attachés in the Turkish embassy.

Intelligence analysts say that members of the ISI were close to Al-Qaeda before and after 9/11. Indeed, Ahmad was accused of sanctioning a $100,000 wire payment to Mohammed Atta, one of the 9/11 hijackers, immediately before the attacks.

The results of the espionage were almost certainly passed to Abdul Qadeer Khan, the Pakistani nuclear scientist.

Khan was close to Ahmad and the ISI. While running Pakistan's nuclear programme, he became a millionaire by selling atomic secrets to Libya, Iran and North Korea. He also used a network of companies in America and Britain to obtain components for a nuclear programme.

Khan caused an alert among western intelligence agencies when his aides met Osama Bin Laden. "We were aware of contact between A Q Khan's people and Al-Qaeda," a former CIA officer said last week. "There was absolute panic when we initially discovered this, but it kind of panned out in the end."

It is likely that the nuclear secrets stolen from the United States would have been sold to a number of rogue states by Khan.

Edmonds was later to see the scope of the Pakistani connections when it was revealed that one of her fellow translators at the FBI was the daughter of a Pakistani embassy official who worked for Ahmad. The translator was given top secret clearance despite protests from FBI investigators.

Edmonds says packages containing nuclear secrets were delivered by Turkish operatives, using their cover as members of the diplomatic and military community, to contacts at the Pakistani embassy in Washington.

Following 9/11, a number of the foreign operatives were taken in for questioning by the FBI on suspicion that they knew about or somehow aided the attacks.

Edmonds said the State Department official once again proved useful. "A primary target would call the official and point to names on the list and say, 'We need to get them out of the US because we can't afford for them to spill the beans'," she said. "The official said that he would 'take care of it'."

Not the first? Maybe it's just a continuation of the same cover-up.

Watch for Part 2!

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