Tuesday, May 31, 2011

SYED SHAHZAD SALEEM - Tortured and Killed by ISI, Pakistan


I had in many instances had e-mail interactions with Syed Saleem and he was always gracious with his inputs - a man with deep knowledge and far greater direct contacts with Taliban and Al-Qaeda than ISI could have liked. And in the end he did not pay heed to ISI warnings - he was a fearless journalist - and is the norm in Pakistan - you simply get bumped off !

Before I go to his last published article, I wish to say a few words about his book that he got published just days before he was killed. INSIDE AL QAEDA & TALIBAN - BEYOND BIN LADEN & 9/11. Saleem made very interesting assertions on 26/11 Mumbai attacks. He said 26/11 was scripted by ISI, approved by AL-QAEDA commanders and executed by Lashkar e Taiba (LeT). From Al-Qaeda the main player was Ilyas Kashmiri and from LeT Haroon Ashik.

Guess what's the common link between Haroon Ashik and Ilyas Kashmiri? They were both from Pakistan Army!!Pakistan Army has been embedding terror outfits with its own men, especially in the operations and planning department so that there is close co-ordination with what Pakistan Army & ISI demands and its seamless execution by these terror outfits !

The book and Saleem's last article reproduced below clearly incensed Pakistan Army and its terror outfit (oops sorry, its intelligence wing) -the ISI!!!

This is his last published article in Asia Times Online (Hoping the part 2 is with the journal): Here is the article : Al-Qaeda had warned of Pakistan strike

ISLAMABAD - Al-Qaeda carried out the brazen attack on PNS Mehran naval air station in Karachi on May 22 after talks failed between the navy and al-Qaeda over the release of naval officials arrested on suspicion of al-Qaeda links, an Asia Times Online investigation reveals.

Pakistani security forces battled for 15 hours to clear the naval base after it had been stormed by a handful of well-armed militants.

At least 10 people were killed and two United States-made P3-C

Orion surveillance and anti-submarine aircraft worth US$36 million each were destroyed before some of the attackers escaped through a cordon of thousands of armed forces.

An official statement placed the number of militants at six, with four killed and two escaping. Unofficial sources, though, claim there were 10 militants with six getting free. Asia Times Online contacts confirm that the attackers were from Ilyas Kashmiri's 313 Brigade, the operational arm of al-Qaeda.

Three attacks on navy buses in which at least nine people were killed last month were warning shots for navy officials to accept al-Qaeda's demands over the detained suspects.

The May 2 killing in Pakistan of Osama bin Laden spurred al-Qaeda groups into developing a consensus for the attack in Karachi, in part as revenge for the death of their leader and also to deal a blow to Pakistan's surveillance capacity against the Indian navy.

The deeper underlying motive, though, was a reaction to massive internal crackdowns on al-Qaeda affiliates within the navy.

Volcano of militancy

Several weeks ago, naval intelligence traced an al-Qaeda cell operating inside several navy bases in Karachi, the country's largest city and key port.

"Islamic sentiments are common in the armed forces," a senior navy official told Asia Times Online on the condition of anonymity as he is not authorized to speak to the media.

"We never felt threatened by that. All armed forces around the world, whether American, British or Indian, take some inspiration from religion to motivate their cadre against the enemy. Pakistan came into existence on the two-nation theory that Hindus and Muslims are two separate nations and therefore no one can separate Islam and Islamic sentiment from the armed forces of Pakistan," the official said.

"Nonetheless, we observed an uneasy grouping on different naval bases in Karachi. While nobody can obstruct armed forces personnel for rendering religious rituals or studying Islam, the grouping [we observed] was against the discipline of the armed forces. That was the beginning of an intelligence operation in the navy to check for unscrupulous activities."

The official explained the grouping was against the leadership of the armed forces and opposed to its nexus with the United States against Islamic militancy. When some messages were intercepted hinting at attacks on visiting American officials, intelligence had good reason to take action and after careful evaluation at least 10 people - mostly from the lower cadre - were arrested in a series of operations.

"That was the beginning of huge trouble," the official said.

Those arrested were held in a naval intelligence office behind the chief minister's residence in Karachi, but before proper interrogation could begin, the in-charge of the investigation received direct threats from militants who made it clear they knew where the men were being detained.

The detainees were promptly moved to a safer location, but the threats continued. Officials involved in the case believe the militants feared interrogation would lead to the arrest of more of their loyalists in the navy. The militants therefore made it clear that if those detained were not released, naval installations would be attacked.

It was clear the militants were receiving good inside information as they always knew where the suspects were being detained, indicating sizeable al-Qaeda infiltration within the navy's ranks. A senior-level naval conference was called at which an intelligence official insisted that the matter be handled with great care, otherwise the consequences could be disastrous. Everybody present agreed, and it was decided to open a line of communication with al-Qaeda.

Abdul Samad Mansoori, a former student union activist and now part of 313 brigade, who originally hailed from Karachi but now lives in the North Waziristan tribal area was approached and talks begun. Al-Qaeda demanded the immediate release of the officials without further interrogation. This was rejected.

The detainees were allowed to speak to their families and were well treated, but officials were desperate to interrogate them fully to get an idea of the strength of al-Qaeda's penetration. The militants were told that once interrogation was completed, the men would be discharged from the service and freed.

Al-Qaeda rejected these terms and expressed its displeasure with the attacks on the navy buses in April.

These incidents pointed to more than the one al-Qaeda cell intelligence had tracked in the navy. The fear now was that if the problem was not addressed, North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) supply lines could face a new threat. NATO convoys are routinely attacked once they begin the journey from Karachi to Afghanistan; now they could be at risk in Karachi port. Americans who often visit naval facilities in the city would also be in danger.

Therefore, another crackdown was conducted and more people were arrested. Those seized had different ethnic backgrounds. One naval commando came from South Waziristan's Mehsud tribe and was believed to have received direct instructions from Hakeemullah Mehsud, the chief of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (Pakistan Taliban). Others were from Punjab province and Karachi, the capital of Sindh province.

After Bin Laden was killed by American Navy Seals in Abbottabad, 60 kilometers north of Islamabad, militants decided the time was ripe for major action.

Within a week, insiders at PNS Mehran provided maps, pictures of different exit and entry routes taken in daylight and at night, the location of hangers and details of likely reaction from external security forces.

As a result, the militants were able to enter the heavily guarded facility where one group targeted the aircraft, a second group took on the first strike force and a third finally escaped with the others providing covering fire. Those who stayed behind were killed.

Thursday, May 5, 2011


Omar Patek gave the window the Americans were looking for to nab Osama bin Laden (OBL). The US had zeroed in the house OBL lived by August of 2010 but going in to raid with Pakistanis posed a serious challenge – every raid has been tipped off by ISI as OBL is a strategic asset of ISI. OBL brought in billions in aid to Pakistan.

ISI controls Al-Qaeda and much of Sunni terrorist groups around the world. One can look at ISI as terror inc but more pragmatic view would be “ISI – mercenaries on hire” and it is this unique feature that US – UK el al use to further their oil and other interests in Central Asia / Africa / Eastern Europe and even India. The cohesiveness of US – UK in using ISI to use its foot soldiers (mercenaries to them, to the rest of us – terrorists) in various terror groups is a game beyond the grasp of many of our top foreign policy makers.

It has to be understood that OBL was nothing but a worthless crown – over the deadly brain of ISI. He was an icon who brought in foot soldiers and money to the cause. OBL was not a mastermind of either 9/11 or Madrid bombings or Bali bombings or 26/11. And because OBL was a CIA asset during Soviet occupation of the Afghanistan, the poor bloke did not stand a chance of being captured alive to be tried in courts – lest CIA dirty secrets come out.

Coming back to Omar Patek. The Americans needed him – the American President needed him even more. Now they had solid (not rock solid) intel, enough for an intervention. To go into Pakistan to pick up OBL without informing Pakistan Army was fraught with dangers. Even the best of radar evading electronic jamming machines may show up blips and Pakistan Army is not a rag tag bunch who will react like bumbling idiots. The Americans had to go into Abbottabad where OBL lived but had to go in without arousing Pakistan suspicion that they are after OBL.

Hence US intel gave information about Omar Patek – who lived in Abbotabad and Pakistan ISI picked him up in January of 2011. The game began. The real intention to nab OBL was kept out. Pakistan was dulled into believing that the US is after Omar Patek and his team. The assault on May 1st to OBL was on to pick up OBL – the Pakistanis thought that US is there to pick up Omar Patek’s men. There is however a serious hole in this theory – why would US give up Omar Patek’s name to ISI and not give the “lesser names” for them to fly in. Hence either Pakistan knew there was a high Al-Qaeda target or it was completely kept out of the loop. This will require a whole new article.

Omar Patek is part of Abu Sayyaf group – a group that was trained by ISI.

The ISI hand in Bali bombings as well as 9/11 is unmistakable but US kept it out of public view for its own larger interests in Central Asia.

Little digress of dealing of ISI and various terror outfits :

A little history to see how they (ISI - Al Qaeda - Terror groups) worked in tandem..

But before that – a tale of two individuals – Ramzi Yousef and Khalid Sheikh Mohammad (both related to each other). Both are Pakistani citizen though Khalid was born in Kuwait to Pakistani Balochi parents, his first passport was from Pakistan. After 9/11 people tried to pass Khalid Sheikh as a Kuwaiti citizen.

Khalid & Ramzi were nurtured, sheltered and trained by ISI in its Peshawar camp and received training in Khowst camp. Khalid, a brilliant student, became deeply involved with ISI & Al Qaeda.

In 1993 Khalid and Ramzi planned the New York city World Trade Centre bombing which was successfully carried out by Ramzi in Feb 26th, 1993. After the bombing, he came back to Pakistan and met Khalid Sheikh and stayed in ISI safe houses.

While in Pakistan, both planned to assassinate Benazir Bhutto in collaboration with some ISI operatives. ISI masterminded the assassination attempt – which did not take place (Note – the constant Al Qaeda ISI hand in the assassination attempt on Benazir.)

After the failed attempt, Ramzi moved to Phillipines. By this time Ramzi became a coveted ISI asset.

Nur Misauri, a professor of University of Philippines formed Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF). After suffering reversals at the hand of Philippines Army, Nur fled to PAKISTAN. Nur was financially supported by the ISI and stayed in guest houses in Peshawar and Karachi. He helped MNLF recruit for Afghan Jihad. While Nur wanted autonomy, Salamat Hashmi wanted independence from Philippines and he too was actively supported by ISI – so much so that Salamat moved his organization (MILF) head quarters to LAHORE.

However, the most prominent face of Moro revolt is Aby Sayyaf group (ASG). It was originated in PAKISTAN when 400 Moro youths were inducted to Pakistan’s ISI managed camp.

At this time, 3 retired ISI officers were recruited by ISI and deputed to Mindanao under cover as religious teachers.

Simultaneously, Osama bin Laden (OBL) stationed his brother-in-law Md. Jamal Khalifa in Philippines. Al Qaeda and ISI came to a tacit understanding – to transplant Afghan jihad in South East Asia and create a distinct Islamic hub, as against the increasing Christian influence.


The other common thread binding them were students emanating from the madrassas of Karachi, Peshawar, Binori, Bannu & Quetta.

Khalifa set the Philippine operation rolling by setting up several front offices, trading units and charities. He was in charge of Saudi charity – Islamic International Relief Organization. With this he set up the terror network in Philippines and funded Al Qaeda operations in Jordan, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Committed Al Qaeda operatives – Zubair, Abu Oman and Sadiq Oden (Kenyan bombing fame) joined him.

Later Pakistani trainers, former ISI operatives, trained MILF and Abu Sayyaf guerrillas, the Malayan Kampulan Mujahideen, Jemmah Islamiyah and Lashkar Jundullah volunteers.

Linkages of ISI and Al Qaeda are very deep and stretches to the core positions of Islamic terrorism in the entire South East Asia.

Here the ISI – Al Qaeda team carried out several terrorist activities:

1. Ramzi bombed a mall at Cebu city
2. Ramzi masterminded the bombing of Miss Universe paegent
3. Wali Khan Shah, the ISI trained operative, bombed Greenbelt theatre in Manila
4. Audacious plan to assassinate Pope John Paul II and Bill Clinton (then US President) in Manila by these core group was uncovered in time and a major disaster was averted.
5. Trial run for 9-11 was hatched in Manila by ISI – Al Qaeda operatives. It was codenamed Operation Oplan Bojinka

OPLAN BOJINKA: This was conceived by Osama bin Laden, Khalifa, Ramzi,Khalid Sheikh and a faction of ISI. The grand plan was to sabotage 11 US flights over Pacific and they recruited Abu Sayyaf jehadists to carry out the plan.

An ISI trained Pakistani – Tareq Kaved Rana – resident of Paranque, Philippines, played an important role. He housed the conspirators at his place which he used to fabricate bombs.

Jamal, Ramzi & Khalid Sheikh guided the Manila cell of Al Qaeda. Another Pakistani terrorist, Wali Khan Shah (Greenway belt bomber) was entrusted by ISI to open terrorist cells in Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand. Another Pakistani born in Kuwait, Abdul Hakim Ali was trained by ISI in bomb making in Pehsawar. A product of Binori mosque and aligned to Harkat ul Ansar and trained by ISI – he joined the Philippines Al Qaeda cell.

On December 11, Ramzi boarded Philippines Airline 434 on a Manila – Cebu – Tokyo route. He assembled a bomb and planted it under his seat and deplaned at Cebu. The bomb exploded on the 2nd leg and killed one passenger – the plane had to make emergency landing at Okinawa, Japan.

The dry run for Oplan Bojinka was successful.

However, the full plan could not be carried out, as the apartment that the conspirators were living in, mysteriously caught fire. They abandoned the plans after “incriminating evidence” was collected by federal agencies in Philippines. Ramzi promptly fled to Pakistan where he was housed by ISI in their safe houses.

Filipino intelligence reported that Wali Khan Shah had visited Pakistan embassy in Manila twice to meet the ISI station in charge.

On September 5th 1996, Ramzi, Murad and Shah were convicted of Oplan Bojinka.

Under intense pressure Ramzi was arrested from a guest house in Islamabad.

Under intense pressure, Khalid Sheikh was arrested after 9/11 – described as the mastermind of 9/11.

Back to OBL – Why he was staying in a compound that was compromised once is not known and that too for 5 years. Medical treatment meant he be close to cantonment area where he cannot be “snatched” by hostile powers. The house in question is supposed to be owned by 100% ISI funded Hizbul Mujahiddeen group - as is being claimed by a Canadian newspaper and even as an ISI safe house by Gulf News. Of course even a naive person will be aware that OBL living in Abbotabad was under the protection of ISI - so what ?

That he was staying in that area was alerted by RAW to CIA in 2008 when RAW operatives sighted Ayman Al Zawahari moving from Islamabad to Abbottabad. TIMES OF INDIA: It now turns out that Indian agencies had twice warned their US counterparts about the presence of al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden in an urbanized and heavily populated area not very far from Islamabad “ once in mid-2007 and again in early 2008 when they specifically mentioned his likely presence in a cantonment area. On both occasions, the Americans either did not take the Indian intelligence seriously or perhaps were too busy working on their own inputs about Osamas whereabouts.

The first time Indian security agencies gave this information to the US authorities was in mid-2007, soon after a Taliban meeting in Peshawar which was attended by Osamas No.2 Ayman al-Zawahiri. According to the information gathered by Indian intelligence operatives, this meeting was also attended by top leaders of Haqqani network and at least two ISI officials.

Was it really the courier whose tracking blew the whistle ultimately? Or was it a “rogue” ISI senior member who blew the lid off to the Americans to humiliate his counterparts due to a serious grouse? Or was it ex-President Pervez Musharraf who struck a deal with US/UK so that he is not extradited to Pakistan to face murder charges against the killing of Bhutto? Some one sold out. Americans used intel to target OBL. Fed ISI dis-information and pulled off the biggest and most startling covert ops in recent memory.

Is Paksitan going to face heat? From public yes – and if public sentiment turns seriously negative, then President Obama’s rating that saw 11 point climb post the spl ops that killed OBL will plummet. He has to work hard to keep Pakistan happy to feed US troops in Afghanistan. And to keep Pakistan happy to keep its Central Asia / Arabian / African game going – like it is doing in Bahrain.

See Advt above that appeared in a Pakistani newspaper seeking "volunteers" to quell uprising in Bahrain.

2011 BAHRAIN: A Shia majority country has a Sunni monarchy. US 5th Fleet is based there. To quell the popular shia uprising, US took help from Pakistan to quell the uprising bysending ex-Pakistani soldiers & mercenaries (read terrorists) via Saudi Arabia to kill and control Shia protestors. All under US patronage !!

As long as great game is on, why only in Afghan soil, the CIA & ISI are as much buddies as ISI & Al Qaeda are.

1970 JORDAN : During “Black September” in 1970, when Palestinians nearly brought down King Hussein’s monarchy in Jordan, it was a unit of the Pakistani army led by none other than the late Gen. Zia-ul Haq that brutally put down the revolt and preserved Hashemite rule. All under US patronage!

From 1970 to 2011 - the game is on and will continue to the detriment of India's security environment - as long as we have weak pliable PMs at helm.

And ISI has usurped the top decision making units of all these terrorist outfits with its men. Ilyas Kashmiri is a Pakistan SSG Commando who is now the military wing head of Brigade 313 of Al Qaeda. Whether OBL lives or dies, ISI is firmly in control of all major Sunni terrorist organizations of the globe. And Kashmiri is recruiting ex- Pak Army soldiers into Al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Operationally there is no difference between Taliban, Al Qaeda, Hizbul Mujahideen, HUJI et al. In a few years - the lines between Pakistan Army and Al-Qaeda will blur - if not already !!

Read how much US did to Pakistan post 9/11 - read this: Before next 9/11 pay senators off (which incl ex - Indian ambassador Timothy Roemer)