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* Pakistani Intelligence/WTC Link - Getting Uglier
*
Let's All Contact Local Media About 'Times of India' Story
* Rohrabacher Reveals Much (more than he intended?) on C-SPAN
* U.S. Actions - Curiouser & Curiouser
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Pakistani Intelligence/WTC - Getting Uglier

To the editor:

In "Did Pakistani Intelligence ('Our' Allies) Fund the WTC Attackers?" you reprinted a 'Times of India' article. It states that Ahmad Umar Sayeed Sheikh wired $100,000 to one of the alleged WTC hijackers at the behest of the head of the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI.

The 'Times' story continues as follows: "Indian officials say they are vitally interested in the unraveling of the case since it could link the ISI directly to the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Kathmandu-Delhi flight to Kandahar last December. Ahmad Umar Sayeed Sheikh is a British national and a London School of Economics graduate who was arrested by the police in Delhi following a bungled 1994 kidnapping of four westerners, including an American citizen."

I am not sure but I seem to recall that Ahmad Umar Sayeed Sheikh was released following the hijacking of the Indian Airlines Kathmandu-Delhi flight to Kandahar last December and returned to Pakistan where he operates with bin Laden and (it seems) the ISI. Maybe I am confusing two different people.

- Paul Davidson
London

Note: The TENC article to which Mr. Davidson refers can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/misc/isi.htm

Emperor's Clothes responds:

We checked and found two relevant, earlier stories in 'Times of India.' Apparently Ahmad Umar Sayeed Sheikh, a convicted terrorist, was released last year by the Indian government in exchange for Indian citizens who were at that time being held hostage by pro-Taliban airplane hijackers who had landed in Afghanistan. In other words, the airplane hijackers considered him a prisoner from their side of the war. Once released apparently he became a trusted aide to the head of Pakistani intelligence, a key U.S. ally in the 'infinite war' against terror. Ironically, the original criminal charges against him included - attacking an American.

To read the 'Times of India' and 'Hindu' articles that we found, see 'Further Reading.'

- Jared Israel

***

Let's All Contact Local Media About 'Times of India' Story

To the editor:

It seems clear from the "Times of India" story re: Pakistani ISI wiring of $100,000 to Atta, that Pakistan, and implicitly U.S. intelligence, are linked to the WTC bombing.

According to the story the FBI itself, with Indian assistance traced the link. Rather than simply continuing to run more stories like the Congressional hearing back in summer 2000, shouldn't the Emperors New Clothes put out a call to all readers to phone local media outlet news desks (i.e. Boston Globe) to ask why this incredible story has not been picked up? It seems to me that this link exposes the whole rotten game the U.S. has been playing-- building up the ISI through the 80s as the regional ops base for the Afghan "holy war" against the Soviets, and now asking the public to buy that a U.S.-Pakistan alliance is key to toppling the Taliban and capturing Bin Laden.

- R. Montgomery
Massachusetts, USA

Note: The article to which Mr. Montgomery refers can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/misc/isi.htm

Rohrabacher Reveals Much (more than he intended?) on C-SPAN

To the editor:

Dana Rohrabacher gave a one hour speech in the house today (Wed.)-- it was televised live on C-SPAN. If you missed it, sometimes they repeat in evening/night-time hours. Definitely worth hearing -- confirms Jared Israel's characterization (turns out to be kind of the Pat Robertson of the House, and an absolutely dyed-in-the-wool colonialist -- surprise) and adds detail on a number of the things raised in the TENC Rohrabacher posting. Repeated both his current changed tune and his claims of July 2000, both in more detail. And a great deal on the "moderate, warm-hearted exiled king" -- how US should ensure Afghan people right to choose own government by executing Taliban and installing monarch. (For conceptual clarity, right up there with Christiane Anampour's remarkable closing line in CNN broadcast from Kashmir last night: "The US wants India and Pakistan to let it wage its own war in peace") (and yes, *no* irony in intonation).

New (?) in Rohrabacher's speech was claim that Madeleine Albright herself instructed that the US *refuse even to look at, never mind photocopy* file of intelligence info. that Sudan offered to the US in 98 on Bin Laden -- financial accounts, networks - names/places, etc. etc., so he says. Could it be that this was because they had other plans for him in the Balkans?

The whole thing should be heard if possible - he departed from his written speech some of the time. If not possible, can TENC get a transcript?

- M.D.C.

Note: The article to which M.D.C. refers can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/misc/rohr.htm

U.S. Actions - "Curiouser and Curiouser," said Alice

It gets curiouser and curiouser - US bombs Afghans, at the same time drops packages of food. - US is in close alliance with Pakistan ISI, the force behind the Taliban. - Now we hear that the US and Pakistan are insisting on Taliban participation in the new soon-to-be-formed Afghan Government.

The only conclusion one can come to is that the US government has been using the Taliban to control Afghanistan via Pakistan's ISI, keep Russian influence at bay, supply fighters to Kosovo, Macedonia, Chechnya etc. Things got a little out of hand, so some of the Taliban had to be killed. When order is restored, everything returns to normal.

Re. the WTC however, it is naive to think that Atta carried it out with funding such as the $100k from the ISI. He just could not have done such a complicated operation without also having heavy inside cooperation.

Thomas
Concord, California

Emperor's Clothes comments:

It's always useful to see if political analysts have a handle on what they're talking about. A good test is: does what they say is going to happen ever happen?

Regarding Thomas' comment that, "the US [i.e., Secretary of State Powell] and Pakistan are insisting on Taliban participation in the new soon-to-be-formed Afghan Government," note that a month ago in 'Why Washington Wants Afghanistan," three of the Emperor's Clothes editors wrote:

"Some argue that NATO would be crazy to try to pacify Afghanistan. They say the British failed to do it in the 1800's, and the Russians failed in the 1980's.

"But Washington does not need or intend to pacify Afghanistan. It needs a military presence sufficient to organize and direct indigenous forces to penetrate the Central Asian republics and instigate armed conflict.

"Rather than trying to defeat the Taliban, Washington will make the Taliban an offer they cannot refuse: work with the U.S.; get plenty of money and guns plus a free hand to direct the drug trade, just as the U.S. has permitted the KLA to make a fortune from drugs in the Balkans.
( http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/mis.htm#a )

"Or oppose the U.S., and die.

"In this way, Washington hopes to duplicate what it did in Kosovo where NATO took drug-dealing gangsters and violently anti-Serbian secessionists and out of that raw material fashioned the terrorist Kosovo Liberation Army. ( http://emperors-clothes.com/news/howwill.htm )

"In this case the raw material would mainly be members of the Taliban. Reorganized and under strict direction, reborn as Liberation Fighters, they would be directed against the Central Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union. This would duplicate what NATO has done in the Balkans. There it has sent the KLA, beefed up by Islamist reinforcements and 'advised' by U.S. specialists, against neighboring Macedonia. (http://emperors-clothes.com/mac/list-m.htm )

"As the Central Asian Republics battle the intruders, NATO could offer them military assistance, thus penetrating the region on both sides by means of a conflict instigated by Washington. This tactic of simultaneously attacking and defending Central Asia - has been employed to great effect against Macedonia. The goal is to produce decimated, NATO-dominated territories. No more Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan. Then on to Kazakhstan, and then Russia."
(http://emperors-clothes.com/mac/times.htm )

The above is from 'Why Washington Wants Afghanistan,' published 18 September. To read the entire article, please go to http://emperors-clothes.com/analysis/afghan.htm

[Note: The letter from Thomas in Concord, California, uses the phrase 'Curiouser and curiouser.' This is from Lewis Carroll's great and delightful children's book/adult satire, 'Alice in Wonderland.' In the article "Out of the Looking Glass Into a Brave New World, Emperor's Clothes Editor Jared Israel is urged by a certain Mr. Dumpty to correct his outdated political thinking. Mr. Dumpty's views first appeared in 'Alice in Wonderland.' If you wish (like our editor) to benefit from Dumpty's Diktat, go to http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/through.html Mr. Dumpty makes his appearance at the end of the article. ]

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Further Reading
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Below are two Indian articles concerning Mr. Ahmad Umar Sayeed Sheikh and the hijacking of an Indian airliner. The first article is from 'The Hindu' and the second from 'The Times of India.' - Emperor's Clothes.

RAW CHIEF PRESSED FOR RELEASE OF MILITANTS BYLINE: LAW KUMAR MISHRA

'The Times of India'
January 1, 2000

SRINAGAR: The three militants whose release was ordered by the Union government on Thursday were set free despite strong opposition from the state government and the security forces.

The state government and security officials told the Central team, which met the governor and the chief minister to discuss the issue, that the release of the militants would demoralise the police and the security forces and give a fillip to militancy in the state.

RAW chief A S Dullad had rushed to Jammu on Friday and held talks with governor Girish Saxena and CM Farooq Abdullah for about two hours. The list of 36 militants whose release was demanded by the hijackers was discussed. The CM opposed the suggestion to release the militants as he felt it would bolster militancy in the state. The governor held another meeting with senior officials of the Army, BSF, CRPF and ITBP on Friday. A meeting of the unified headquarters, the apex body of the organisation engaged in counter- insurgency operations in the state was also held at Raj Bhavan. The meeting was attended by the chief secretary, principal home secretary, the GOC of the 16th Corps and the deputy GOC of the 15 Corps and IGs of the para-military organisations. It discussed the post-release situation in the state.

An official who attended the meeting admitted that the release of the militants would demoralise the security forces and definitely encourage militancy.

The three released militants, all hardcore members of the Hizbul Mujahideen, are Mushtaq Ahmad Zargar alias Mushtaq Latram, Ahmad Umar Sheikh and Maulana Masood Azhar. While Zargar was in the Srinagar jail, Umar Sheikh was in the Tihar jail of Delhi and Azhar in the Kot Bhalwal jail in Jammu.

Azhar and Zargar were airlifted, under heavy security, to New Delhi in a special plane around 1 p.m. on Friday and taken straight to the Indira Gandhi International airport, where they were joined by Umar Sheikh released from Tihar. The announcement of their release was made only after the Friday prayers were over in the mosques.

A senior police officer told The Times of India News Service on Friday evening: "We are fortunate. The news broke out after the prayers were over.'' He added that their release would create problems for the security agencies who feel demoralised. There was no instant reaction from the downtown area from where Zargar hails. Downtown is still considered a militant stronghold.

The three released militants were involved in a number of heinous crimes in the Valley. The hijackers had earlier pressed for release of another militant from Srinagar's Rainawari area, Abdul Aziz alias Gen Musha, who was district commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen and is at present jailed here.

Maulana Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, acting chairman of the All Party Hurriyat Conference, commenting on the release of the militants, said it was the discretion of the Centre. There would be not much impact in the Valley as Kashmiris had nothing to do with the hijacking of the plane, he told The Times of India News Service.

Former Union home minister Mufti Mohammad Sayed, when contacted, refused to comment and repeatedly said: "Please do not involve me in the controversy, I have nothing to do with these cases. I will give my comments at a later stage.''

***

'THE HINDU' - EDITORIAL: DEFEAT AT KANDAHAR

'THE HINDU'
January 3, 2000
By PREM SHANKAR JHA

Since Mr. Jaswant Singh decided to accompany the three released terrorists to Kandahar and bring back the released hostages himself, we can assume that the Government regards the end of the hostage crisis as a feather in its cap. The truth is rather different. India has just been handed its most serious psychological defeat of the entire Kashmir war. Worse still, it has been humiliated before the eyes of the entire international community.

First, India has been forced into a de facto recognition of the Taliban regime despite its close links with organisations like Osama bin Laden's Al-Badr and the Harkat-ul-Ansar. Second, the selection of the three hostages whom India agreed to release was a resounding victory for Pakistan. Mushtaq Latram is a genuine Kashmiri militant, whose release could breathe a new life into the Al-Umar Mujahideen and other pro-Pakistani groups. Given the popular disenchantment with the Farooq Abdullah Government in Kashmir, it might do more.

Maulana Masood Azhar is the founder - no less - of the Harkat-ul- Ansar, and the master architect of the Afghan incursion into Kashmir that began in 1992 and 1993. The release of Ahmad Umar Sayeed Sheikh, a British national, will boost international recruitment for the Jihad in Kashmir, for it will confirm that India is a soft target.

The third and most humiliating part of the debacle is that India sent Mr. Jaswant Singh, it's most respected External Affairs Minister in decades, to make the surrender to the hijackers. And India got literally nothing out of the "deal". After five days of negotiations, the Government has failed even to establish the identities of the hijackers. All that the world has are conflicting claims, by India - that four of them came from Pakistan on a PIA flight the same day and were smuggled into the IA flight's departure lounge, and by Pakistan - that they were Sikh and Hindu militants whom it had nothing to do with.

Pakistan was lying, as usual. The hijacking had all the audacity of planning of the Kargil invasion, and all the well-prepared disinformation that went with it. However, it is also clear from the many zigzags that occurred, that the hijackers had a high degree of autonomy, and planned the outlines of the operation at least on their own. In this they were only following the practice of their counterparts operating in Kashmir. Where they entered new ground - and therefore blundered - was in assessing the impact of the hijacking on international opinion, and working out how they would proceed in the face of the international response. Having been given all the infrastructural support they needed in Kathmandu by Pakistan's Intelligence network, they assumed they could simply take the plane to Lahore.

They received their first shock when, Janus-faced as ever, Pakistan refused them permission to land. In their confusion they accepted the pilot's suggestion to land at Amritsar. Their panic and fear - that they were losing control at that point - were the most probable causes of Rupin Katyal's death.

But something changed at this point that Indian negotiators were at a loss to understand. After Captain Dev Sharan had fooled the hijackers into thinking that he was desperately low on fuel and had to land in Amritsar, why did the hijackers suddenly decide to force him to take off even as a fuel tanker was on its way to refuel the plane? Why did they then try to fly to Afghanistan? When they were not allowed to land in Afghanistan what made them choose Dubai? And when they had been refused permission to land in Afghanistan the previous day, what made them fly directly to Kandahar the second time? Why, for that matter, did the Taliban refuse permission the first time, but grant it the second time? It could not have been concern for the safety of the passengers since the plane was already on the ground in Dubai. Even if it took off from Dubai without permission to land in Kandahar, the Taliban was not obliged on humanitarian grounds to let it do so for the plane now had all the fuel it needed to fly to a dozen destinations. Even after the plane landed in Kandahar, why was the Taliban so distinctly cool to the hijackers, threatening even to storm the plane if they killed any more passengers, but end up as their protectors, forbidding an Indian commando assault and throwing a protective cordon around the plane? If the Taliban viewed the hijacking with distaste why did it agree to speak on their behalf to the Indian negotiators? For that matter, why did the Taliban take such pains to protect the identity of the hijackers?

All these anomalies disappear like wraiths the moment we make one simple assumption: from Amritsar onwards, the hijackers, and a little later the Taliban, were in constant touch with Pakistan. The little electronic marvel that made this possible is the satellite phone.

Here is what probably actually happened. When the plane landed in Amritsar, the leader of the hijackers in a panic, called his controller in Islamabad or Kathmandu. The latter must have screamed at them to take off immediately at any price, as the fuel tanker the Indians were allegedly sending to the plane could block its exit.

The controller may have told them to head for Afghanistan, saying that he would work something out. But the Taliban was either not available in time, were slow to decide what they wanted to do, or were sufficiently annoyed by Pakistan freezing their bank accounts and arresting a key Taliban aide, to make them beg for favours. At any rate, the plane was forced to continue to Dubai which may have been chosen because the UAE was among the only two countries, other than Pakistan, that had recognised the Taliban regime.

But Dubai did not want to get involved. Captain Dev Sharan undoubtedly saved the passengers' lives by forcing a touchdown at the airport, but thereafter it is a fairly sure bet that it was serious pressure from Pakistan, and perhaps an assurance from the Taliban, that made Dubai allow the plane to take off a third time.

***

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