Suspected US drones kill 38 in Pakistan
Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:18 PM
The unusually heavy barrage suggests the US has no intention of halting its drone programme despite tensions with Pakistan
Three suspected US missile strikes in north-western Pakistan in less than 12 hours have killed at least 38 alleged militants, an unusually heavy barrage at a time when relations between the two countries are badly strained, Pakistani intelligence officials said.
The strikes follow the Obama administration's announcement that it is suspending more than one-third of US military aid to Pakistan until disagreements are worked out. The attacks indicate the White House has no intention of stopping the unmanned drone programme, even though the attacks have increasingly caused tension with Pakistan.
In the latest strike, suspected US missiles hit a house in Dremala village in the South Waziristan tribal area early on Tuesday, killing at least eight alleged militants, according to two Pakistani intelligence officials. Two other officials put the death toll from the strike at 13. The village is located close to the border with North Waziristan.
Before dawn on Tuesday, suspected US missiles hit a house in the Shawal area of North Waziristan, killing 10 alleged militants, said Pakistani intelligence officials.
Late on Monday, suspected US missiles hit a house in Gorvak village in North Waziristan, killing at least 20 alleged militants, said two Pakistani intelligence officials. Pakistani intelligence officials put the death toll at 23. The village is located very close to the Afghan border and is often used as a route for militants to cross into Afghanistan.
The US refuses to publicly acknowledge the covert CIA drone programme in Pakistan, but officials have said privately that the strikes have killed senior Taliban and al-Qaida officials.
Pakistan is widely believed to have supported the strikes in the past, even though officials often criticise them publicly as a violation of the country's sovereignty. But that support has become less certain in recent months, especially following the covert US raid that killed Osama bin Laden.
Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:19 PM
CIA organised fake vaccination drive to get Osama bin Laden's family DNA
The CIA organised a fake vaccination programme in the town where it believed Osama bin Laden was hiding in an elaborate attempt to obtain DNA from the fugitive al-Qaida leader's family, a Guardian investigation has found.
As part of extensive preparations for the raid that killed Bin Laden in May, CIA agents recruited a senior Pakistani doctor to organise the vaccine drive in Abbottabad, even starting the "project" in a poorer part of town to make it look more authentic, according to Pakistani and US officials and local residents.
The doctor, Shakil Afridi, has since been arrested by the Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) for co-operating with American intelligence agents.
Relations between Washington and Islamabad, already severely strained by the Bin Laden operation, have deteriorated considerably since then. The doctor's arrest has exacerbated these tensions. The US is understood to be concerned for the doctor's safety, and is thought to have intervened on his behalf.
The vaccination plan was conceived after American intelligence officers tracked an al-Qaida courier, known as Abu Ahmad al-Kuwaiti, to what turned out to be Bin Laden's Abbottabad compound last summer. The agency monitored the compound by satellite and surveillance from a local CIA safe house in Abbottabad, but wanted confirmation that Bin Laden was there before mounting a risky operation inside another country.
DNA from any of the Bin Laden children in the compound could be compared with a sample from his sister, who died in Boston in 2010, to provide evidence that the family was present.
So agents approached Afridi, the health official in charge of Khyber, part of the tribal area that runs along the Afghan border.
The doctor went to Abbottabad in March, saying he had procured funds to give free vaccinations for hepatitis B. Bypassing the management of the Abbottabad health services, he paid generous sums to low-ranking local government health workers, who took part in the operation without knowing about the connection to Bin Laden. Health visitors in the area were among the few people who had gained access to the Bin Laden compound in the past, administering polio drops to some of the children.
Afridi had posters for the vaccination programme put up around Abbottabad, featuring a vaccine made by Amson, a medicine manufacturer based on the outskirts of Islamabad.
In March health workers administered the vaccine in a poor neighbourhood on the edge of Abbottabad called Nawa Sher. The hepatitis B vaccine is usually given in three doses, the second a month after the first. But in April, instead of administering the second dose in Nawa Sher, the doctor returned to Abbottabad and moved the nurses on to Bilal Town, the suburb where Bin Laden lived.
It is not known exactly how the doctor hoped to get DNA from the vaccinations, although nurses could have been trained to withdraw some blood in the needle after administrating the drug.
"The whole thing was totally irregular," said one Pakistani official. "Bilal Town is a well-to-do area. Why would you choose that place to give free vaccines? And what is the official surgeon of Khyber doing working in Abbottabad?"
A nurse known as Bakhto, whose full name is Mukhtar Bibi, managed to gain entry to the Bin Laden compound to administer the vaccines. According to several sources, the doctor, who waited outside, told her to take in a handbag that was fitted with an electronic device. It is not clear what the device was, or whether she left it behind. It is also not known whether the CIA managed to obtain any Bin Laden DNA, although one source suggested the operation did not succeed.
Mukhtar Bibi, who was unaware of the real purpose of the vaccination campaign, would not comment on the programme.
Pakistani intelligence became aware of the doctor's activities during the investigation into the US raid in which Bin Laden was killed on the top floor of the Abbottabad house. Islamabad refused to comment officially on Afridi's arrest, but one senior official said: "Wouldn't any country detain people for working for a foreign spy service?"
The doctor is one of several people suspected of helping the CIA to have been arrested by the ISI, but he is thought to be the only one still in custody.
Pakistan is furious over being kept in the dark about the raid, and the US is angry that the Pakistani investigation appears more focused on finding out how the CIA was able to track down the al-Qaida leader than on how Bin Laden was able to live in Abbottabad for five years.
Over the weekend, relations were pummelled further when the US announced that it would cut $800m (
Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:26 PM
Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:30 PM
This administration is showing itself to be every bit as criminal as the last one
but a lot less criticized...we've been duped
Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:32 PM
Speak for yourself, I knew this guy was full of shit from the go
but a lot less criticized...we've been duped
Posted 12 July 2011 - 01:33 PM
I can recall other empires of history that followed this path to internal implosion....actually, all of them pretty much followed it through verbatum. It's just a matter of time before the shithouse burns up. Get your kicks?