Category Archive 'Mullah Omar'

08 May 2011

DEBKAfile: US Demanding Pakistan Intel Purge, Hunting Zawahiri & Mullah Omar in Pakistan

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Mossad’s Internet mouthpiece has posted two intriguing articles offering inside-the-Intelligence-industry perspective on US activities related to Pakistan. Article one contends that the US has notified Pakistan’s government and ISI, Pakistan’s Intelligence Service, that the US knows Pakistani officials have been working with Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda and is now demanding that Pakistan clean house.

DEBKA is not above lying, but its credibility tends to be better in areas in which no actual interest of its own is at stake, and where it is just showing off its information access.

The Obama administration is presenting the successful Osama bin Laden hit as an epic American solo operation, unparalleled in military and intelligence annals, while leaning hard on Islamabad to sack certain officers of the powerful military intelligence army ISI including its head Lt. Gen. Ahmad Shuja Pasha, accusing them of keeping the dead al Qaeda leader hidden for eight years.

The ISI chief is a close confidant of Pakistan’s chief of staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani with whom Washington works closely and so the demand for Pasha’s head is seen as casting aspersions on him too.

American sources reported Saturday, May 7 that five days earlier, just hours after bin Laden was killed in Abbottabad, Pakistan, a high-ranking US official landed in Islamabad with a demand to bring the ISI officers involved in sheltering the al Qaeda leader to book.

It now appears that the iconic jihadi leader first arrived in Pakistani in 2003 and stayed in the small village of Chak Shah Mohammad near Haripur 40 kilometers north of the Pakistani capital. According Pakistani sources, this information came from questioning the Bin Laden wife found and detained in the Abbottabad villa where he was killed. She said the family stayed in the village two and-a-half years before moving to Abbottabad in 2005.

debkafile’s intelligence sources report that details are slipping out over bin Laden’s secret Pakistani addresses over the years. The ISI used some of those compounds as safe houses for terrorists from other organizations. The Abbottabad villa compound is now revealed as having served as a byway station for terrorists from Pakistan-backed organizations heading for Kashmir, long a violent bone of contention with India.

In summer, however, it had a very different use: High-ranking diplomats and officials of the Pakistani foreign office used it as a holiday villa, attracted by the pleasant climate in this North West Frontier town.

Far from being off the beaten track, the property was therefore in regular use by the authorities in Islamabad. …

Washington is not only cutting Pakistan out of any [credit for Osama’s takedown] but [is] bent on weakening Pakistani military intelligence and, in particular, the officials tied to Osama bin Laden, on the assumption that they are also in touch with other high-profile al Qaeda leaders and may even be harboring them too. The US also presumes them to be in connection with the very Taliban leaders American soldiers are fighting in Afghanistan.

The Obama administration is vitally interested in weakening the Pakistani factions maintaining those ties and showing Taliban they can no longer be relied on as protection against America’s long arm. The US will ultimately corner Taliban’s leaders, whether by diplomatic engagement or the methods which ended Osama bin Laden’s life.

Pakistan’s take is not just different but increasingly resentful: Its military intelligence insists the bin Laden operation would not have succeeded without close cooperation between the CIA and ISI and the two armies – or some factions thereof – which was maintained at least up until President Obama’s decision to authorize the Abbottabad raid. This view is supported by some Western counterterrorism agencies engaged in the war on al Qaeda.

Pakistani officials suspect the US administration heads is deliberately denying them a measure of credit for the successful mission because, with bin Laden gone, Obama feels confident enough to go straight to the Taliban to negotiate an end to the Afghanistan war and dispense with Pakistan’s good services as intermediaries. With the al Qaeda leader out of the way, he wants to see the back of a Pakistan role in Afghanistan.

debkafile’s counter-terror sources warn that the rising acrimony between Washington and Islamabad may well deter Pakistani intelligence from fingering more wanted al Qaeda figures and their hideouts – or even encourage the ISI to stand aside when Taliban goes for American targets in revenge for bin Laden’s termination.

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Article 2 has the even more interesting account of a new US manhunt underway.

In the wake of the Osama bin Laden operation, the US is sustaining the momentum of the war on terror by sending more Special Forces and drones into Pakistan after his top lieutenant, the Egyptian Ayman al Zawahiri, Taliban leader Mullah Omer and al Qaeda’s chief operations officer, Seif al Adal.

debkafile’s counter-terror sources report that on May 2, the day bin Laden was killed, the Taliban leader and his top staff were thought to be in Karachi, southern Pakistan and the two al Qaeda leaders in the tribal region of North Waziristan. All three are presumed to have since moved on.

US intelligence suspects their whereabouts are known to Pakistan’s Inter-Services-Intelligence agency (ISI).

Our Washington sources report that Saturday night, May 7, President Barack Obama gave the Pakistani government, army and intelligence an ultimatum: Cooperate in the capture of the three wanted men or else we shall pump more American soldiers into Pakistan to take up the pursuit with or without your permission.

US intelligence is convinced that Omer, Zawahiri and al-Adal have joined forces and are plotting a revenge attack on America dramatic enough to outdo the psychological impact of the bin Laden killing.

Al-Adal, whom Iran released in Sept. 2010 and allowed to cross into Pakistan, is rated the most competent and innovative planner of large-scale terrorist attacks.

23 Jan 2011

Letters of Marque

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Lynx, a 2001-built replica of a sharp-built Maryland schooner commissioned for service against Britain in the War of 1812

As the official American covert intelligence grows larger, more politicized and sclerotic, and increasingly circumscribed in its operations by congressional oversight and media hostility, there is increasing evidence the US government is covertly delegating some hazardous and controversial operations to private contractors, and that these private companies are becoming a modern intelligence equivalent of the naval privateers of yore, similarly supplying smaller, faster, and more manueverable vessels capable of meeting operational needs the official service finds it inconvenient to address.

In the Washington Post, Jeff Stein recently identified one of these.

Mullah Omar, the elusive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, had a heart attack Jan. 7 and was treated for several days in a Karachi hospital with the help of Pakistan’s spy agency, according to a private intelligence network run by former CIA, State Department and military officers.

The intelligence network, operating under the auspices of a private company, “The Eclipse Group,” said its source was a physician in the Karachi hospital, which was not identified in the report, who said he saw Omar struggling to recover from an operation to put a stent in his heart. …

The Eclipse Group is run by Duane “Dewey” Clarridge, a former head of the CIA’s Latin American operations who was the first chief of the CIA’s counterterrorism center; Kim Stevens, a retired U.S. diplomat who served in Bolivia and Italy; and Brad A. Patty, a civilian advisor to the U.S. Army’s 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team in Iraq from 2007 to 2009.

The Eclipse Group’s reports are available “by invitation only” on its Web site, Stevens said.

By all appearances, the Eclipse network is the just the latest iteration of a shadowy, Pentagon-backed operation that began contracting with former CIA and military operatives to supply intelligence in Afghanistan and Pakistan in 2009. Amid adverse publicity last year, the Pentagon supposedly cut off its funding.

Stevens declined to discuss The Eclipse Group’s financing, except to say it has “no DoD clients.”

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US Intelligence adversary Mark Mazzetti, at the New York Times, is doing his best to expose and discredit Mr. Clarridge’s operation.

Over the past two years, he has fielded operatives in the mountains of Pakistan and the desert badlands of Afghanistan. Since the United States military cut off his funding in May, he has relied on like-minded private donors to pay his agents to continue gathering information about militant fighters, Taliban leaders and the secrets of Kabul’s ruling class. …

His dispatches — an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated reports — have been sent to military officials who, until last spring at least, found some credible enough to be used in planning strikes against militants in Afghanistan. They are also fed to conservative commentators, including Oliver L. North, a compatriot from the Iran-contra days and now a Fox News analyst, and Brad Thor, an author of military thrillers and a frequent guest of Glenn Beck. …

On May 15, according to a classified Pentagon report on the private spying operation, he sent an encrypted e-mail to military officers in Kabul announcing that his network was being shut down because the Pentagon had just terminated his contract. He wrote that he had to “prepare approximately 200 local personnel to cease work.”

In fact, he had no intention of shuttering his operation. The very next day, he set up a password-protected Web site, afpakfp.com {Does not seem to be accessible to outsiders –JDZ], that would allow officers to continue viewing his dispatches. …

It is difficult to assess the merits of Mr. Clarridge’s secret intelligence dispatches; a review of some of the documents by The Times shows that some appear to be based on rumors from talk at village bazaars or rehashes of press reports.

Others, though, contain specific details about militant plans to attack American troops, and about Taliban leadership meetings in Pakistan. Mr. Clarridge gave the military an in-depth report about a militant group, the Haqqani Network, in August 2009, a document that officials said helped the military track Haqqani fighters. According to the Pentagon report, Mr. Clarridge told Marine commanders in Afghanistan in June 2010 that his group produced 500 intelligence dispatches before its contract was terminated.

When the military would not listen to him, Mr. Clarridge found other ways to peddle his information.

For instance, his private spies in April and May were reporting that Mullah Muhammad Omar, the reclusive cleric who leads the Afghan Taliban, had been captured by Pakistani officials and placed under house arrest. Associates said Mr. Clarridge believed that Pakistan’s spy service was playing a game: keeping Mullah Omar confined but continuing to support the Afghan Taliban.

Both military and intelligence officials said the information could not be corroborated, but Mr. Clarridge used back channels to pass it on to senior Obama administration officials, including Dennis C. Blair, then the director of national intelligence.

And associates said that Mr. Clarridge, determined to make the information public, arranged for it to get to Mr. Thor, a square-jawed writer of thrillers, a blogger and a regular guest on Mr. Beck’s program on Fox News.

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Our friend Mark Mazzetti is also gravely concerned the Blackwater‘s founder, Eric Prince, now a resident of Abu Dhabi, may be involved with anti-piracy activities not specifically authorized by the residents of Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

Erik Prince, the founder of the international security giant Blackwater Worldwide, is backing an effort by a controversial South African mercenary firm to insert itself into Somalia’s bloody civil war by protecting government leaders, training Somali troops, and battling pirates and Islamic militants there, according to American and Western officials. …

With its barely functional government and a fierce hostility to foreign armies since the hasty American withdrawal from Mogadishu in the early 1990s, Somalia is a country where Western militaries have long feared to tread. The Somali government has been cornered in a small patch of Mogadishu by the Shabab, a Somali militant group with ties to Al Qaeda.

This, along with the growing menace of piracy off Somalia’s shores, has created an opportunity for private security companies like the South African firm Saracen International to fill the security vacuum created by years of civil war. It is another illustration of how private security firms are playing a bigger role in wars around the world, with some governments seeing them as a way to supplement overtaxed armies, while others complain that they are unaccountable.

Mr. Prince’s precise role remains unclear. Some Western officials said that it was possible Mr. Prince was using his international contacts to help broker a deal between Saracen executives and officials from the United Arab Emirates, which have been financing Saracen in Somalia because Emirates business operations have been threatened by Somali pirates. ..

Somali officials have said that Saracen’s operations — which would also include training an antipiracy army in the semiautonomous region of Puntland — are being financed by an anonymous Middle Eastern country.

Several people with knowledge of Saracen’s operations confirmed that that was the United Arab Emirates.

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The rest of us can only nod with approval, and raise a glass to Dewey Clarridge and the Eclipse Group, Eric Prince and Saracen, comment quietly, “Well done,” and drink to them.

10 May 2010

Mullah Omar in Pakistani Custody?

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Mullah Mohammed Omar

Brad Thor, at Breitbart, claims to be the recipient of a major Intel leak.

Through key intelligence sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan, I have just learned that reclusive Taliban leader and top Osama bin Laden ally, Mullah Omar has been taken into custody. ….

At the end of March, US Military Intelligence was informed by US operatives working in the Af/Pak theater on behalf of the D.O.D. that Omar had been detained by Pakistani authorities. One would assume that this would be passed up the chain and that the Secretary of Defense would have been alerted immediately. From what I am hearing, that may not have been the case.

When this explosive information was quietly confirmed to United States Intelligence ten days ago by Pakistani authorities, it appeared to take the Defense Department by surprise.

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Meanwhile, Fox News quotes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as accusing Pakistan as recently as last weekend of knowing both Osama bin Ladin and Mullah Omar’s whereabouts and not telling.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accused members of the Pakistani government over the weekend of practically harboring Usama bin Laden, raising questions about whether the U.S. is pushing hard enough on its presumed ally to give up the world’s most wanted terrorist.

Clinton leveled the charge in an interview on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” She praised Pakistan for a “sea change” in its commitment in going after terrorists, but she added that she expects more cooperation.

“I’m not saying that they’re at the highest levels, but I believe that somewhere in this government are people who know where Usama bin Laden and Al Qaeda is, where Mullah Omar and the leadership of the Afghan Taliban is, and we expect more cooperation to help us bring to justice, capture or kill those who attacked us on 9/11,” she said.

But Brad Thor knew of the Clinton interview, and still seems convinced that he is better informed than Mrs. Clinton.

DEVELOPING

03 Feb 2010

CIA Hunting Osama bin Ladin in Baluchistan

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According to a report published late last year in the subscriber-only version (I’m afraid NYM does not have the funding for subscription services) of a certain Israel-based Intelligence rumor mill (generally believed to be connected to Mossad), during the second half of 2009, intelligence reports reached Washington that Osama bin Ladin, along with his staff and security entourage, had crossed the border from Afghanistan into the Pakistani province of Baluchistan.

The BBC had reported that Osama Bin Ladin had allegedly been sighted most recently previously by a captured Taliban in the eastern Afghan province of Ghazni in January or February of last year.

Baluchistan is large and sparsely populated, and borders both Afghanistan and Iran. The Bolan Pass offers a direct route from Kandahar.

Taliban leader Mullah Omar is thought to be hiding in Baluchistan along with his staff and shura, despite Pakistani denials. It is generally known, however, that elements of Pakistani intelligence loyal to jihadism have been systematically hiding Taliban leaders and Pashtun insurgents in Baluchistan.

Moving to Baluchistan could have brought bin Ladin into direct contact with the Taliban’s chief leadership.

Baluchistan is really the home of anti-American Islamic terrorism. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Yousef are relatives and are Baluch raised in Kuwait.

It also would have placed bin Ladin for the first time since 2001 with reach of the open sea. If he chose to take ship, bin Ladin could move his base of operations to the Horn of Africa or, even more interestingly, return triumphantly to the Arabian Peninsula to his native Hadhramaut in Yemen to take direct command of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).

Consequently, the CIA and the pro-Western portion of the Pakistani Intelligence Service are currently intensifying joint operations in Baluchistan attempting finally to kill or capture bin Ladin, Mullah Omar and the Taliban leadership, or at the very least to prevent their escape by sea.

02 Dec 2009

Needed Immediately: 18 Month Vacation Rental

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Barack Obama, West Point speech, December 1, 2009:

“Taken together, these additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011. Just as we have done in Iraq, we will execute this transition responsibly, taking into account conditions on the ground. We will continue to advise and assist Afghanistan’s Security Forces to ensure that they can succeed over the long haul. But it will be clear to the Afghan government – and, more importantly, to the Afghan people – that they will ultimately be responsible for their own country.”

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Mullah Omar, Craigslist Real Estate Wanted Ad, December 2, 2009:

Islamic scholar and Commander of the Faithful taking 18 month sabbatical starting January 1st needs vacation rental running up to August 1, 2011. Pleasant climate and complete privacy essential. Housing for large security staff, athletic and recreation facilities required (shooting range preferred). Contact: AmiralMuminin@alqaeda.org


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