Archive | August 15th, 2018

Internet Users Crowdfund Release of 4,358 CIA MKUltra Documents

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A redacted CIA document showing Sidney Gottlieb's June 9, 1953 letter approving an MKUltra sub-project on LSD. Photo | Public Domain

A redacted CIA document showing Sidney Gottlieb’s June 9, 1953 letter approving an MKUltra sub-project on LSD. Photo | Public Domain

Black Vault, a website that publishes government documents, appealed to the internet for help after the CIA refused to waive the a fee it was demanding to release the documents

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Following Trump Sanctions and Tariff Storm More Nations Ditch the Dollar

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A Turkish waits to change his US dollars with Turkish liras inside a currency exchange shop in Ankara, Turkey, Aug. 10, 2018. Burhan Ozbilici | AP

The number of countries switching to national currencies to settle bilateral trade deals is growing in the face of the US weaponization of the dollar.

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ISIS Likely Behind Suicide Bombing That Killed 25 Students in Afghanistan

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A man who was injured in a deadly suicide bombing that targeted a training class in a private building in the Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-i Barcha is placed in an ambulance in western Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2018. Both the resurgent Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan have targeted Shiites in the past, considering them to be heretics. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

A man who was injured in a deadly suicide bombing that targeted a training class in a private building in the Shiite neighborhood of Dasht-i Barcha is placed in an ambulance in western Kabul, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2018. Both the resurgent Taliban and an Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan have targeted Shiites in the past, considering them to be heretics. Rahmat Gul | AP

A year after the Trump administration introduced its strategy for Afghanistan, the Taliban and ISIS are asserting themselves on the battlefield even as U.S. officials talk up hopes for peace, raising questions about the viability of the American game plan for ending a war that began when some of the current U.S. troops were in diapers.

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Mexico’s New President Reaffirms Commitment to Nationalize Oil Resources

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During his campaign, Lopez Obrador said he wanted to ‘reactivate’ the state’s role in petrol production.

Protesters hold candles by a sign that reads in Spanish "Enough already!" outside the headquarters of the government-run PEMEX oil company in Mexico City, Sunday, Jan. 8, 2017. People are protesting a 20-percent gasoline price hike after the government stopped subsidizing and regulating prices for gasoline and diesel. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Top Photo | Protesters hold candles by a sign that reads in Spanish “Enough already!” outside the headquarters of the government-run PEMEX oil company in Mexico City, Jan. 8, 2017, after Mexico’s government stopped subsidizing and regulating prices for gasoline and diesel. Marco Ugarte | AP

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Radioactive Sheep Prove Nazi Illegally Tested Nuclear Weapons

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Radioactive Sheep Prove Israel Illegally Tested Nuclear Weapons

Israel's Sorek nuclear reactor center near the central Israeli town of Yavne.

Israel’s Sorek nuclear reactor center near the central Israeli town of Yavne.

A study published by Princeton University’s Science and Global Security journal claims Israel conducted an illegal nuclear test off the southern tip of Africa.

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TSA Defends Orwellian Secretive Domestic Surveillance Program

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Just like Edward Snowden and the NSA, the pushback against indiscriminate profiling is rising as “dozens of air marshals have raised concerns about the Quiet Skies program.”

People wait in line to check in at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. John Locher | AP

People wait in line to check in at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas. John Locher | AP

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Lawmakers Demand Answers About US Role in Saudi Slaughter of Yemeni Civilians

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Noting that he served on active duty as a Judge Advocate General officer in the U.S. Air Force, Lieu wrote that “a number of the coalition’s airstrikes look like war crimes.”

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Foreign Interests Have Spent Over $530 Million Influencing US Policy, Public Opinion Since 2017

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Foreign lobbyists and agents acting on behalf of foreign interests have reported hundreds of millions of dollars in payments since January 2017, an analysis of OpenSecrets’ exclusive new Foreign Lobby Watch data reveals.

Today we’re making available, for the first time, a searchable database of foreign interests spending on lobbying and influence in the United States.

Foreign lobbyists and other operatives acting on behalf of foreign interests wield a significant amount of power, impacting economic and diplomatic policies as well as public opinion.

The law that governs most foreign influence disclosure requirements, the Foreign Agent Registration Act (FARA), requires any foreign agent or lobbyist representing a foreign principal to register with the US Department of Justice and file detailed public disclosures.

These reports may include details that are not found in the more familiar lobbying reports submitted to Congress under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, including names of US officials with whom the lobbyist had contact and copies of materials disseminated, such as ads, press releases, or flyers.

While FARA reports are publicly available through the Justice Department, following the money can be difficult, requiring laborious research and records sleuthing. With Foreign Lobby Watch, anyone can quickly learn what foreign interests are spending on lobbying or to influence policy in the United States and how much they are spending.

Since the Center for Responsive Politics inherited this project from the Sunlight Foundation, we’ve added a number of features to make the records easier to access. In addition to a full-text search feature, Foreign Lobby Watch data is now searchable by lobbyist or political operative name, registrant, country, and foreign principal. For example, you can find every mention of “tariff” in all of the FARA filings or choose to filter result by firm, lobbyist, country, date, or any combination of the filters.

Here’s what we found: At least $534.7 million has been spent by foreign governments, political parties and other foreign interests to influence US policy or public opinion.

An examination of the records since 2017 shows more than 300 lobbying firms and other registrants representing more than 350 foreign clients, including governments, political parties, nonprofits, businesses, and individuals.

Countries, Regions

Since 2017, no country has spent more money on US influence efforts than South Korea. Governmental and non-governmental entities have spent about $70.5 million in the US Japan ranks second with $51.4 million.

The majority of the spending came from a single organization: the Korea Trade Promotion Center (KTPC), a state-funded nonprofit promoting foreign investment and partnerships, which accounts for $45.9 million of the spending. KTPC also ranks first among registrants.

About $3 out of every $10 spent on foreign lobbying in the US since last year originated from East Asian countries, specifically South Korea, Japan, ChinaHong Kong and Taiwan. The five countries have spent a combined $158.2 million since January 2017 — or nearly half of the $374.5 million spent on behalf of the remaining 128 countries in our data.

Foreign Principals

The South Korean government has spent $54.2 million since last year on US lobbying, ranking first among foreign principals.

Overall, 10 of the top 20 foreign principals are governments, including Japan and China. But four of the top-spending governments are from the Middle East.

Facing a diplomatic crisis with neighboring countries, Qatar turned to Washington for help. Since 2017, the Qatari government has spent $15.7 million on US influence campaigns.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), which is feuding with Qatar, spent a combined $26.1 million and rank tenth and eleventh overall among top-spending foreign principals. UAE’s capital city of Abu Dhabi added $14.8 million in spending.

Registrants

Foreign agents spend a lot to attract US currency, whether through foreign investment and trade partnerships or travel and tourism.

Seven of the top 20 registrants are trade or tourism-related organizations. No country has spent more to attract tourism than Irelandwith $23.3 million in reported spending since 2017. The Cayman Islands, a Caribbean resort and notorious tax haven for the uber-rich, ranks second with about $18.6 million.

Much of the spending on behalf of South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong is focused on US trade relations. Since 2017, $69.6 million of the $534.4 million — or 13 percent — of total spending in foreign lobbying spending was about improving trade in these three countries.

US companies and trade groups hire lobbying firms to advocate their interests in Washington, and so do foreign governments.

Since 2017, 69 US firms that also file reports under the Lobbying Disclosure Act have earned $72.9 million through its contracts with foreign entities. Nearly a quarter of the money has gone to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, a top Washington, DC, firm, which has earned $16.5 million representing non-US organizations and governments.

Podesta Group and Sonoran Policy Group have each earned over $7 million, ranking second and third, respectively.

Notably absent from 2018 foreign lobbying spending, Podesta Group ranks second among FARA registrants based on $7 million in receipts from 2017 alone. Podesta Group’s sole 2018 filing was the lobbying powerhouse’s termination of work for foreign clients after the firm dissolved following scrutiny over foreign lobbying activities with ties with President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and his business associate, Rick Gates.

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Outrage Mounts Over US Role in Airstrike on Yemeni School Bus Carrying Children

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Image result for SAUDI WAR IN YEMEN CARTOON

 

Thousands of mourners gathered in Yemen’s northern city of Saada Monday for the funerals of 51 people, including 40 children, who were killed in a US-backed Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a school bus last week. The massacre of school boys between the ages of 6 and 11 was one of the worst attacks on children in the history of Yemen’s brutal war. Images posted online suggest a US-built Mark 82 bomb was used in the bombing. We speak with Shireen Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni scholar and activist and an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University. Her latest piece for In These Times is titled “Fine Print in Defense Bill Acknowledges US-Backed War in Yemen Will Go On Indefinitely.”

TRANSCRIPT

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, Democracynow.org, The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. As we continue to look at Yemen, we now turn to an absolutely critical report on what has been taking place in Yemen right now — the bombing of a school bus. The bombing of a school bus. Thousands of mourners gathered in the northern city of Sa’dah for funerals of 51 people, including 40 children killed in a US-backed Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a school bus last week. Images posted online suggest a US-built Mark 82 bomb was used in the bombing. The massacre of school boys between the ages of six and 11 was one of the worst attacks on children in history of Yemen’s brutal war. This is Moussa Abdullah who witnessed the bombing.

MOUSSA ABDULLAH: The strike happened in the middle of the market and it targeted a bus carrying children. Our shops were open and the shoppers were walking around as usual. All of those who died were residents, children and shop owners.

AMY GOODMAN: The children had spent the day celebrating the end of summer school by taking a field trip to a cemetery, one of the last remaining green spaces in a region devastated by war. Video released by Houthi media captures the school boys laughing and talking on the bus. Just hours later, most of the kids in the video were dead. This is Hussein Hussin Tayeb, whose son Ahmed was killed in the bombing.

HUSSEIN HUSSIN TAYEB: I was one of the first people on the scene. As soon as I arrived with others wanting to help out, we figured we had to quickly nurse the wounded because there was chaos. People were running over bodies and shouting. It was a scary situation. Very scary, but may God give us patience from his strength.

UNKNOWN: Did you find your children here?

HUSSEIN HUSSIN TAYEB: As I was nursing people, I lifted a body and found that it was Ahmed’s face. I carried him and hugged him. He was my son.

AMY GOODMAN: UN Secretary-General António Guterres has condemned the air strike, calling for an independent investigation into the deadly attack. Saudi Arabia responded by saying it will launch its own investigation, claiming the air strike was a legitimate military operation. US Defense Secretary James Mattis said Sunday he is sending a three-star general to Riyadh to assist the Saudi investigation. The US-backed Saudi-led bombing campaign has repeatedly been accused of committing war crimes by targeting civilians.

We’re going now to East Lansing, Michigan to speak with Shireen Al-Adeimi, a Yemeni scholar and activist, assistant professor at Michigan State University. Her latest piece for In These times headlined Fine Print in Defense Bill Acknowledges US-Backed War in Yemen Will Go On Indefinitely. We welcome you back to Democracy Now!, Shireen. Talk about this bombing, where it was, who was killed.

SHIREEN AL-ADEIMI: Good morning, Amy. This is just the latest string, unfortunately, of really brutal attacks on civilians in Yemen. It is not the worst of its kind in terms of the numbers of people killed, but certainly because all of the — 40 out of the 51 people who were killed were children, it really is just an extreme form of this Saudi-led coalition bombing in Yemen. Here were these kids on a school trip. They were excited. There’s footage — we see them laughing and really being excited. Some of the parents said that they couldn’t really sleep the night before because they were so looking forward to — and here’s the sad part — they’re going to a cemetery just to be able to enjoy some time outside. And as the bus entered a busy market, it was targeted by the Saudi-led coalition and most of these children were killed. Of course, we know that the US is part of the Saudi-led coalition, so we are in fact responsible, just as much as the Saudis and Emiratis are, in the bombing of those children.

AMY GOODMAN: Explain what has happened since. You have the UN calling for an independent investigation, Saudi Arabia — that killed them — saying “no,” Saudi Arabia backed by the United States and now General Mattis saying he is sending a general to Saudi Arabia to help with the investigation.

SHIREEN AL-ADEIMI: Well, it’s just preposterous to think that they are continuously allowed to investigate their own crimes. We’ve seen this committee that they’ve put together and the kinds of investigations they have done in the past. Remember, this is not the first massacre in Yemen. Two years ago, they killed 120 people in a market. The also killed 140 mourners in a funeral hall. And of course, every single day, there are airstrikes and casualties and civilians who have been killed by Saudi-led airstrikes. They have essentially absolved themselves of all wrongdoing every time they have investigated themselves. And of course they would. Who would trust a criminal to investigate his or her own crimes?

And for the US to say that we’re going to send a general — well, the US is also part of this coalition that has targeted civilians since three and a half years ago, since this war started. What Yemenis need is really an independent investigation, which has been put forward in the UN twice already and has been rejected by the Saudi-led coalition and the US unfortunately has provided cover for the Saudi-led coalition at the UN

We need an independent investigation, yes, but the Saudis have already admitted that they have targeted this bus. They have said that this was a legitimate target. They’ve characterized the children inside the bus as people who were responsible for launching missiles into Saudi Arabia. And then the colonel, the spokesperson of the Saudi-led coalition, went on to say that those who launch missiles into Saudi Arabia will get what they deserve.

So they have already admitted that they have targeted the bus. They’ve characterized those children as missile launchers. And what is there to investigate? We know who’s the only party capable of committing such acts in Yemen, which is the Saudi-led coalition. We know that they have done this over and over again. So really what would an investigation even prove, that we don’t already know?

AMY GOODMAN: This colonel, Turki Al-Malki, the spokesperson for the Saudi-led coalition, saying, “No, this is not children in the bus. We do have high standard measures for targeting.” Shireen Al-Adeimi, what does the US military bill that President Trump signed off on yesterday at Fort Drum, New York — this unprecedented bill, a record-setting $716 billion military spending bill, $82 billion above the current year — say about Yemen?

SHIREEN AL-ADEIMI: Well, if you remember, Amy, Congress has now twice tried to invoke — has invoked the War Powers Resolution to try to extricate the US from Yemen, and Congress passed a resolution back in December of last year acknowledging that the US is at war in Yemen without congressional approval. So now here we have this defense bill that just got passed, and some senators and congresspeople have managed to insert some Yemen provisions that are meant to limit US military spending on refueling missions in Yemen.

We know that the Saudi-led coalition relies on the US military to refuel their jets midair. This is just one of the many services that the US provides for the Saudi-led coalition. This bill contained these provisions saying that this money cannot be used toward midair refueling, but when you look at the language, it allows for some exceptions.

It says that the secretary of state can issue a waiver, and it says that these midair refueling missions can occur as long as the Saudis and the Emiratis show that they are taking certain actions to prevent civilian casualties.

So again, this is very vague language that essentially provides a loophole for using military spending toward midair refueling, and in essence it contradicts Congress’s earlier stance of saying that, “We are in Yemen, this is not authorized in Congress, but here we are allowing midair refueling under certain conditions.” Which again does nothing to protect the Yemeni citizens from Saudi bombs, US-sold bombs to the Saudis and the US assistance of the Saudi-led military.

————————————

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ALEC Is Pushing a New Slate of Viciously Anti-Worker, Pro-Corporate Laws

 

 

 

 

 

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US-led Secret Strategy Compelled Pakistan to Fortify Relations with Russia

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Image result for Pakistan LEADER PHOTO
By Sajjad Shaukat
There are no permanent friends and enemies in international politics, because friendship and
enmity change in accordance with the states’ interests which are of primary importance.
After having strong relationship with the United States for more than 60 years, a shift has
occurred in Pak-US ties because of a number of reasons, and Pakistan has inclined towards the
Russian Federation which also needs the latter. Particularly, the US-led secret strategy which is
part of American double game compelled Pakistan to fortify its relations with Russia.
In this regard, an agreement has been signed on August 7, this year between Pakistan and Russia
for training of Pakistani troops in Russia, decided at culmination of first meeting of joint Military
Consultative Committee (JMCC) in Islamabad. Pakistan’s defence ties with Moscow are
growing strong with each passing day and this pact has opened new avenues of cooperation
between the two countries.

A desire from both sides has already been seen in the near past in boosting economic and political

relation. Obviously, these moves are seen with suspicion by the US and India including Israel.

The fact of the matter is that American President Donald Trump’s pro-Indian strategy and anti-

Pakistan policies have forced Islamabad to find new alliances. Earlier, America announced to stop

military training programmes with Pakistan. In this respect, Western media said, “The U.S. has stopped

financing military training in the U.S. for Pakistani soldiers…The effective suspension of Pakistan from

the US government’s International Military Education and Training program (IMET) will close off places

that had been set aside for 66 Pakistani officers this year.”

Pakistani officials warned it could push their military to further look to Russia and China.
Pakistan’s Chairman of the Foreign Affairs committee, Senator. Mushahid Hussain called the
American move “wrong and counterproductive” and said: “The U.S. is repeating past mistakes
through failed policy of trying to bully and browbeat Pakistan with such shortsighted sanctions.”
On August 3, the US Congress on approved a $716 billion defence authorization bill to cut
Pakistan's defence aid from $750 million to $150 million.

The Senate passed the conference report on National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA).

The bill then was sent to president Trump seeking his assent. Last year, US defence bill had authorized

a significant aid of $700 million for Pakistan under Coalition Support Fund (CSF) that has been reduced now.The defence policy bill backs President Donald Trump’s call for a bigger, stronger military and sidestepping a
potential battle with the White House over technology from major Chinese firms.

It is notable that in an interview with CNBC television on July 30, this year, the US Secretary of
State Mike Pompeo warned on that any potential International Monetary Fund bailout for
Pakistan’s new government should not provide funds to pay off Chinese lenders. Pompeo
elaborated that the United States looked forward to engagement with the government of
Pakistan’s new Prime Minister Imran Khan, but there was “no rationale” for a bailout that pays
off Chinese loans to Pakistan.

Islamabad has dismissed America’s concerns  that any new International Monetary Fund bailout
for the nation would be used to repay Chinese debt as “totally wrong”.

It is mentionable that soon after the victory of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the general
elections of 2018, China agreed to further US$ 2 billion loan to aid its foreign currency reserves,
something which cites trust in the new government. The Chairman of PTI, Imran Khan
emphasized close ties with Beijing and the implementation of the China-Pakistan Economic
Corridor (CPEC).

This comes timely as Pakistan continues to face strained relationships with the
US government, and does not want to rely on the IMF for a bail-out. Chinese announcement
caused Pakistan’s rupee to jump the most in nearly a decade, as Khan is likely to take power with
an economy in chaos. Beijing has stepped up to reinforce a geopolitical alliance which shapes the
South Asian nation’s policies towards the US and India which are following a secret strategy
against Islamabad. The gesture speaks to Pakistan’s overwhelming reliance on China as a source
of financial, diplomatic and military support at a time when US President Donald Trump has cut
military aid to Islamabad.

Besides China, coming Prime Minister Imran Khan also wants to strengthen Pakistan’s relation
with Russia and Iran.

As regards Pak-Russian ties, in this connection, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff General General
Javed Bajwa arrived in Russia for two-day visit on April 24, this year. It was General Bajwa’s
first visit to Russia.

The statement of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said, “Chief of Army Staff
(COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa arrived in Russia…where he met with Commander of
Russian Federation Ground Forces Colonel General Oleg Salyukov at the Kremlin
Palace…During the meeting, the Russian ground forces commander acknowledged
achievements of Pakistan Army in fight against terrorism and contributions for regional
peace and stability. Colonel General Salyukov said that Pakistan is a geo-strategically
important country and Russia is keen to expand its existing bilateral military-to-military
cooperation…The COAS thanked the Russian commander and said that Pakistan
reciprocates desire of enhanced bilateral military engagements. General Bajwa said that
Russia has recently played a positive role to help resolve complex situations in the region.”
However, during the meetings between the top military and security leadership of the two
countries, Pakistan and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to intensify and expand bilateral
military cooperation.

In his meeting with the Gen. Qamar Javed, Russian Ground Forces Commander-in-Chief
Colonel General Oleg Salyukov said his country was interested in expanding the existing
military cooperation with Pakistan. Gen Bajwa, too, expressed Pakistan’s desire to enhance
bilateral military engagements with Russia.

The two countries had in February, 2018 agreed to set up a military cooperation commission for
promoting military cooperation. Both sides had signed a defence cooperation agreement in

November 2014 and later inked military-technical cooperation accord, which allows arms trade
between the two countries and cooperation in weapon development, in October 2015.
Gen. Bajwa told the Russian Ground Forces commander that Pakistan would continue to play its
part to “keep conflicts away from the region and seek approaches which bring regional
convergences into play rather than divergences”.

The press service of the Russian Security Council reported that in their meeting, “issues of
bilateral military cooperation in information security and countering international terrorism were
studied.”

The army chief’s trip was preceded by the visit of National Security Adviser retired Lt. Gen.
Nasser Janjua to Russia. His meeting with Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev
resulted in an understanding that the security cooperation between the two countries needed a
boost.

The latest developments suggest that the engagement is all set to accelerate. According to a
Russian source, an intense programme has been developed for this year.
The rapprochement between the previous Cold War adversaries was driven by Russian concerns
about instability in Afghanistan. Islamabad and Moscow share common opinion that the
presence of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan failed to restore stability in the country.

Speaking to Chief of General Staff of Russian Armed Forces Gen Valery Vasilevich Gerasimov,
Gen. Bajwa stated: “Pakistan wants to get out of the zero-sum dynamics of Cold War era that is
still prevalent in South Asia…We have no hostile designs towards any country and will keep on
working towards a cooperative regional framework based on sovereign equality and mutual
progress through connectivity.

Gen Gerasimov said Russia supported Pakistan’s efforts towards reconciliation and peace in
Afghanistan and it was willing to play a role towards that end.” He noted that Pakistan welcomed
any initiative which could bring peace and stability to Afghanistan and the whole region would
benefit from it.

Notably, in 2002, the 7th meeting of the Pakistan-Russia Consultative Group on Strategic
Stability was held in Moscow. The two sides had discussed matters of mutual interest relating to
international issues, including arms control, nonproliferation and counter-terrorism.

On May 12, 2011, Islamabad and Moscow agreed to promote trade, investment and joint projects
particularly in energy, infrastructure development, metal industry and agriculture. Rissia has
shown special interest in energy projects. A working group of both countries had met in October,
2011 to explore cooperation in this sector. Islamabad is interested in Russian investment in its oil
and gas sectors as well as in heavy industries.

Russia has offered Pakistan counter-terrorism equipments. The package includes 10 MI-17
helicopters of unarmed configuration. When Russian military Chief Col-Gen. Alexander

Postnikov visited Pakistan in May 2011, he discussed with the former Army Chief Gen. Ashfaq
Parvez Kayani—the possibility of expanding defence ties by holding joint military exercises,
exchanging trainees and trainers and selling and buying weapons. Moscow has also offered to
sell Sukhoi Superjet 100, a modern aircraft with a capacity of up to 95 passengers, while
upgradation of Pakistan Steel Mills by Russia is being finalized

In the recent past, it was the first time that joint military exercises were conducted between the
two countries in Pakistan.

Cordial relations with Moscow suit Islamabad’s long-term strategic interests, as it seeks to
diversify resources, especially in view of continuing problems with Washington that has hitherto
been its biggest supplier.

During the Cold War, Pakistan was allied with the United States and the former Soviet Union
backed India. However, Soviet Union’s arms sales to New Delhi and criticism of Pakistan’s
position in the 1971 war with India weakened bilateral relations.

The U-2 incident in 1960—US spy plane was shot down by the former Russia and the pilot was
captured alive. The fact that the plane flew from Pakistani territory enraged the Soviet Union.
The Soviets threatened to bomb the Pakistani base if future missions were flown from it. In
relation to the incident, Pakistani General Khalid Mahmud Arif had stated, “Pakistan felt
deceived because the US had kept her in the dark about such clandestine spy operations launched
from Pakistan’s territory.”

In 1974, the then Prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto visited Moscow. For the first time in the
history, Soviet Union’s ties with Pakistan began to warm. His talks prompted the former Russia
to establish steel mill in Karachi on its own expanse. However, after the American CIA
orchestrated removal of Bhutto, tensions began to mount with General Zia-ul-Haq who opposed
Soviet Union ideologically.

The two countries were bitter enemies in the 1980s when Pakistan became a frontline state of the
US-led war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan—and also during the Taliban’s rule in
Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001.

After Pakistan joined US war against terrorism in 2001, Russia vowed its support for
Islamabad’s fight against the Taliban militants. In 2007, the relations between Pakistan and
Russia were reactivated after the visit of Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov.

It is of particular attention that in 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin had stated that
Russia was against developing strategic and military ties with Pakistan because of its desires to
place emphasis on strategic ties with India. But Moscow changed its policy in 2011 when Putin
publicly endorsed Pakistan bid to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and
remarked that Pakistan was a very important partner in South Asia and the Muslim world for
Russia. In the recent years, besides, various annual summits of the Shanghai Cooperation
Organisation which includes Russia, China and four Central Asian states including Pakistan and
Iran, on 16 August 2007, in their summit, the leaders of the SCO displayed strength against the

US rising dominance in the region and military presence in Afghanistan, near the region of
Central Asia.

It is noteworthy that on June 9, 20, Pakistan’s ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif held a meeting
with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of SCO summit in Astana, Kazakhstan.
President Putin stated that Pakistan is an important partner for Russia in South Asia and
congratulated the then Prime Minister Sharif on Pakistan’s full membership to the SCO. Putin
elaborated, “Russian-Pakistani relations have been constructive and mutually beneficial…our
relations are developing in many areas, and our trade has increased.”

In a major development, Russia has offered its support for Pakistan’s entry into a free trade
agreement with Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), of which Russia is a leading member.
The disqualified Prime Minister Sharif who thanked the Russian Federation for supporting
Pakistan’s full membership in the SCO, said, “The SCO gives us a powerful platform for
partnerships to promote peace, build trust and spur economic development for shared
prosperity…it helps us all combat terrorism…expansion of the SCO has taken place at an
opportune time, as China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative has transformed the global economic
landscape…in Pakistan, we are diligently implementing the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,
which is a flag of the OBOR.”

Nevertheless, Pak-Russian trajectory cannot be seen in isolation, as it is part of various
developments in the region.

In this context, to bolster its strategic contest with China and Russia, the US is moving towards a
military alliance with India. America which is backing Indian hegemony in Asia, especially to
counterbalance China is supplying New Delhi latest weapons, arms and aircraft.

During ex-President Barack Obama’s second visit to India, the Washington and New Delhi had
announced a breakthrough on a pact which would allow American companies to supply India
with civilian nuclear technology, as agreed upon in 2008. During Indian Prime Minister
Narendra Modi’s first visit to America, President Obama had strongly assured him to favour
India’s membership in the coming meeting of the Nuclear Supplier Group. Earlier, Washington
also pressurized the International Atomic Agency (IAEA) to sign an accord of specific
safeguards with India. America had already contacted the NSG to grant a waiver to India for
starting civil nuclear trade on larger scale.

During his trip to the USA, Prime Minister Modi’s first meeting with the American President
Donald Trump held on June 27, 2017. Both the leaders pledged to work together to boost their
respective economies and other fields. Besides, President Trump and Prime Minister Modi
pledged to deepen defence and security cooperation, building on the US’s recognition of India as
a major defence partner. The president also thanked India for seeking a $2 billion arms deal with
the United States for 22 naval surveillance drones.

Trump said, “The relationship between the United States and India is very, very strong and very,
very powerful.” While, ignoring ground realities that the US-led Israeli Mossad and Indian RAW
are sponsoring terrorism in Asia and Western countries, in the joint statement, Trump hailed
pledges of closer cooperation between India and the United States, especially in the fight against
the Islamic State group (Also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh).

In fact, since the occupation of Afghanistan by the US-led NATO forces, the country has become
center of the intelligence agencies such as CIA, RAW and Mossad which are in connivance to
obtain the covert designs of the their countries and some Western countries against Russia, China
and Pakistan, including Iran. Under the cover of fighting terrorism, these foreign agencies which
are also in collaboration with Afghan intelligence agency, National Directorate of Security
(NDS) support the militants of ISIS and Afghanistan-based Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP),
including their linked outfits which have been conducting terror-assaults in Afghanistan and
Pakistan as part of the secret strategy of the US-led countries. Besides, these terrorist groups are
weakening Tibetan regions of China and Iranian Sistan-Baluchistan through subversive
activities.

Apart from Islamabad, the US has also accused Iran and Russia of assisting the Taliban in
Afghanistan. The main purpose of Washington is not only to pacify their people and justify the
unending war in Afghanistan, but also to fulfill the secret strategic designs against Russia, China,
Pakistan and Iran.

Trump has so far focused on outreach to China, India’s strategic rival, as he also initiated a trade
war with China. However, the joint statement of Trump and Modi also indicated that Washington
and New Delhi share concerns about North Korea’s missile programme and China’s rise as a
military power.

It is of particular attention that India was openly opposing the CPEC and China’s One Belt, One
Road (OBOR) initiative; the US also joined New Delhi. In this connection, on October 3,
2017, the then US Defence Secretary James Mattis told the Lawmakers, “The United States has
reiterated its support for India’s opposition to China’s One Belt, One Road initiative…the
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) a part of which traverses Pakistan-Kashmir.”

Islamabad strongly rejected the statement from the American defence chief that the multibillion-
dollar road and rail network CPEC which is part of China’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative,
passes through a disputed territory of Kashmir, urging the international community to focus on
blatant human rights violations and ‘heinous crimes’ committed by Indian occupation forces in
the Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK), and reminded the US that Washington had also
participated in an OBOR summit.

Earlier, a statement from the Chinese foreign ministry also dismissed Mattis’ statement, saying
that the OBOR plan was backed by the United Nations and that CPEC was an economic
cooperation initiative. Russia also supports the OBOR and CPEC.

It is worth-mentioning that the US and India do not want to see peace and prosperity in the
region. Sadly, Pakistan’s dominant role in Afghanistan’s peace process under the Quadrilateral

Coordination Group (QCG) has, deliberately, been sabotaged by killing of the Taliban leader
Mullah Akhtar Mansur in CIA-operated drone attack in Balochistan. After the incident, Afghan
Taliban leaders refused to participate in the US-sponsored talks with the Afghan government.

While, in the recent past, with the help of Pakistan, a series of meetings were held in Islamabad
and Kabul among the representatives of Pakistan, Afghanistan, China and the US to develop an
understanding for the earliest possible resumption of stalled talks between the Afghan
government and the Taliban with view to ending nearly 16 years of bloodshed in Afghanistan.
During the sixth Heart of Asia Conference which was held in the Indian city of Amritsar on
December 3 and 4, 2016 proved fruitless in achieving its goals due to secret diplomacy of the
US, India and Afghanistan owing to the blame game, especially of New Delhi and Kabul against
Islamabad. In his opening remarks, following American secret diplomacy in Asia, in his frenzy
and ferocious speech, Indian Prime Minister Modi had lashed out at Pakistan on terrorism as the
central subject of the moot.

Speaking in the Indian tone, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani also accused Pakistan of providing
sanctuary to terrorists and cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan.

Addressing the conference, Russian envoy Zamir Kabulov had rejected the Indian and Afghan
allegations against Pakistan. He stated that Afghanistan is the pivot of the conference and the
agenda of the conference should not be hijacked. He added that being friends and supporters, we
should avoid the blame game and work together. He also said that Pakistan’s Adviser to the
Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz’s speech at the conference was friendly and
constructive.

Earlier, due to the double game of the US and failure of the QCG, China, Russia and Pakistan
held secretary-level trilateral talks in Moscow on December 27, 2016 and discussed regional
stability, including the restoration of peace in Afghanistan. The meeting also discussed anti-
terrorism cooperation amid growing influence of the ISIL in the region and a peace process
between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

It is noteworthy that the American President Donald Trump has withdrawn from the Iran nuclear
deal and is following war-mongering diplomacy against Tehran, while Israel is also doing the
same against Iran. Hence, Iran could abandon the US-backed India-Afghanistan Chabahar
project and could join the CPEC project.

There are also some other reasons which resulted into close relationship between Islamabad
and Moscow. Notably, in the recent years, unbridgeable trust deficit existed between
Pakistan and the United States because of America’s double game with Islamabad. But,
President Trump’s flawed strategy in South Asia, based upon anti-Pakistan moves, has taken
the Pakistan-US ties to point of no return.

During the heightened days of the Cold War, despite Pakistan’s membership of the US
sponsored military alliances SEATO and CENTO, including Pak-US bilateral military
agreement, America did not come to help Pakistan against India which separated the East
Pakistan in 1971.

After the end of the Cold War, the US left both Pakistan and Afghanistan to face the fallout of
the Afghan war 1. By manipulating the nuclear programme of Islamabad, the US imposed
various sanctions on Pakistan.

But, after the 9/11 tragedy, America, again, needed Pakistan’s help and President George W.
Bush insisted upon Islamabad to join the US global war on terror. Pakistan was also granted the
status of non-NATO ally by America due to the early successes, achieved by Pakistan’s Army
and country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) against the Al-Qaeda militants.

Within a few years, when the US-led NATO forces felt that they are failing in coping with the
stiff resistance of the Taliban in Afghanistan, they started accusing Pak Army and ISI of
supporting the Afghan Taliban. They constantly emphasized upon Pakistan to do more against
the militants and continued the CIA-operated drone attacks on Pakistan’s tribal areas by ignoring
the internal backlash in the country.

Reviving the double game as part of anti-Pakistan approach, President Donald Trump stated in
his tweet on January 1, this year, “The US has foolishly given Pakistan more than $33 billion in
aid over the last 15 years, and they have given us nothing but lies and deceit, thinking of our
leaders as fools. They give safe haven to the terrorists we hunt in Afghanistan, with little help.
No more!”

Weeks earlier of this tweet, while, unveiling national security strategy, Trump had said, “We
make massive payments every year to Pakistan. They have to help.”
In his speech on August 21, 2017, while announcing the US new strategy regarding Afghanistan
as part of the policy in South Asia, President Donald Trump, particularly, singled out Pakistan
for criticism. Using tough words against the US ally Pakistan, Trump revived the old blame
game of his predecessors Bush and Obama regarding the cross-border terrorism in Afghanistan
by saying Washington could “no longer be silent about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist
organizations”, and threatened to target the terrorists’ sanctuaries in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Trump stated, “We have been paying Pakistan billions of dollars, at the same time, they are
housing the very terrorists we are fighting…that must change immediately.”

Regarding Pakistan’s regional rival India, Donald Trump added, “We appreciate India’s
important contributions to stability in Afghanistan…We want them to help us more with
Afghanistan.”

Meanwhile, on January 5, 2018, the US suspended $255 million of military aid to Islamabad as a
condition to do more against terrorism.

Taking cognizance of the latest tweet of the President Trump, Pakistan’s civil and military
leaders, including all the mainstream political parties united against the US aggressive stance
against the country and offered a stark response to Trump’s false accusations.
The then Foreign Minister Khawaja Muhammad Asif remarked, “Terrorist sanctuaries are
present in East Afghanistan. It is from these safe havens inside Afghanistan that terrorist attacks

are being launched on Pakistan…The claim by Trump regarding the funds, if we account for it,
they include reimbursements too for the services rendered by Pakistan…Our land, roads, rail
and, other different kinds of services were used for which we were reimbursed.”
According to the earlier statement of the ISPR, “Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar
Javed Bajwa stated that “Pakistan was not looking for any material or financial assistance from
USA but trust, understanding and acknowledgement of our contributions…peace in Afghanistan
is as important for Pakistan as for any other country.”

Overtly, American high officials remark that they seek stability in Pakistan, while praising
military operations against terrorism, but covertly, they continue destabilizing it, especially with
the assistance of India as part of the anti-Pakistan, anti-China and anti-Russia diplomacy.
While, encouraged by the US President Trump, Indian Prime Minister Modi is flowing
aggressive diplomacy against Pakistan, and India has continued shelling in Pakistani side of
Kashmir which remains a nuclear flashpoint between both the neighbouring countries.
And various other developments such as Russia-Iran-Turkey alliance to fight the ISIS, and US
decision to dispatch more troops in Afghanistan etc. are equally notable.

Nonetheless, taking note of the US secret strategy, Islamabad which has already
strengthened its relations with Beijing has also been cultivating its ties with Russia. In this
respect, Former Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif has openly stated that Islamabad will prefer
Russia over America. In an interview to the “The Wall Street Journal” on January 5, 2018,
Khawaja Asif said, “He sees his country’s alliance with the US as over after the Trump
administration announced the suspension of U.S. security-related aid to Pakistan…This is n’ot
how allies behave.”

Pakistan is also improving its relations with Iran. In the end of last year, Pakistan’s Chief of
Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa paid a visit to Tehran where he met Iranian civil and
military high officials.

We can conclude that the US-led secret strategy compelled Pakistan to fortify relations with
Russia, and Pak-Russian relations are part of the Russian-led China-Pakistan-Iran-Turkey
alliance.

Note: I have revised and updated my similar article.
Sajjad Shaukat writes on international affairs and is author of the book: US vs Islamic Militants,
Invisible Balance of Power: Dangerous

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