* What’s really going on in Pakistan? *

2007-12-27

Richard Moore

Friends,

In order to understand what's going on in Pakistan now, we need first to 
understand what Pakistan has been doing for Washington over the past two 
decades. The story begins when the US decided to undertake the destabilization 
of Afghanistan, as a means of undermining the Soviet Union, depleting its 
treasury, and pushing it toward its eventual breakup process. The means selected
for destabilization was a protracted guerilla war, to be carried out by 
fanatical terrorists, funded and and armed by the US, and trained according to 
US specifications.

Pakistan was the base in which the various recruits were trained, and from which
the invasion was launched and supplied. It was in Pakistan that the Islamic 
Jihad rhetoric was taught to the recruits, who eventually became the Taliban as 
we know them. "Taliban" means "student", in this case a student of the 
CIA-designed indoctrination program. They learned their lessons well. One thing 
the CIA knows how to do is to spawn and nurture radical cults.

So basically Pakistan turned into a school for terrorists, and a staging area 
for terrorists. The infrastructure for this was established in the intense 
guerilla war with the Soviets, but it was not dismantled when that conflict was 
over. Instead Pakistan has continued to operate as a kind of 'terrorist on 
demand' factory, providing graduates with the right flavor of fanaticism, and 
the right ethnicity, to participate in various US projects, such as the 
destabilization of Kosovo (ie, the KLA mercenaries).

If you recall, when the Soviet Union fell, and everyone was hoping for a 'peace 
dividend', they warned us not to relax our guard, our next big enemy was going 
to be terrorism. They knew an enemy would be needed and they had their terrorist
factory, so they knew of what they spoke. Every President has called on this 
resource, for one project or another, from Yugoslavia to Macedonia to Iran and 
numerous others.

After 9/11, this network of CIA-managed terrorists, with logistics handled out 
of Pakistan, has been given the label Al Qaeda. In this post-9/11 world it seems
that the primary role of Al Qaeda graduates is to serve as stooges for false 
flag incidents. We put somebody through terrorist school, not really caring 
whether they learn anything, and then leave a trail of evidence that reveals 
their 'Al Qaeda links' and ties them into our planned 'terrorist incident'. The 
incidents themselves have been too important and too complex to leave in the 
hands of such amateurs.

So Pakistan has in fact for two decades been playing a very important role in 
the War on Terrorism on behalf of Washington. Pakistan has been supplying the 
most important part, the terrorists, in small or large batches, customized to 
each job. Naturally, when this kind of covert activity is going on, the funding 
requests are going to be fabrications, as anyone could have determined if they 
had investigated earlier. Similarly, in these kinds of contracted out affairs, a
lot of leeway is given for graft, and for funding unrelated projects that serve 
the interests of the tin-horn dictator we are dealing with. It's a 'scratch my 
back, I'll scratch yours' kind of relationship.

So now there's some kind of shake-up going on in the Washington-Pakistan 
relationship, and the article below is one of many that have been in the media 
recently. It's message, "U.S. Officials See Waste in Pakistan Aid" is exactly 
what you would expect to see once any kind of real investigation was permitted. 
It will be very difficult to show evidence of success in 'fighting terrorism' if
your mission has been in fact the opposite.

Any big shift in the Washingon-Pakistan relationship must reflect some 
underlying big shift in the War On Terror game plan. Given that we know the 
neocon agenda has been put on hold on one front, vis a vis Iran and military 
expansionism,  I suspect that what we are seeing in Pakistan is a tightening of 
the reins on the terrorism component of the neocon agenda as well. It seems the 
stage is being set to enable a major shift in where public attention will be 
focused when Hillary or whoever comes into the White House.

rkm

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Original source URL:
http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/122407J.shtml
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/24/world/asia/24military.html

December 24, 2007

U.S. Officials See Waste in Pakistan Aid
By DAVID ROHDE, CARLOTTA GALL, ERIC SCHMITT and DAVID E. SANGER

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan ‹ After the United States has spent more than $5 billion in 
a largely failed effort to bolster the Pakistani military effort against Al 
Qaeda and the Taliban, some American officials now acknowledge that there were 
too few controls over the money. The strategy to improve the Pakistani military,
they said, needs to be completely revamped.

In interviews in Islamabad and Washington, Bush administration and military 
officials said they believed that much of the American money was not making its 
way to frontline Pakistani units. Money has been diverted to help finance 
weapons systems designed to counter India, not Al Qaeda or the Taliban, the 
officials said, adding that the United States has paid tens of millions of 
dollars in inflated Pakistani reimbursement claims for fuel, ammunition and 
other costs.

³I personally believe there is exaggeration and inflation,² said a senior 
American military official who has reviewed the program, referring to Pakistani 
requests for reimbursement. ³Then, I point back to the United States and say we 
didn¹t have to give them money this way.²

Pakistani officials say they are incensed at what they see as American 
ingratitude for Pakistani counterterrorism efforts that have left about 1,000 
Pakistani soldiers and police officers dead. They deny that any overcharging has
occurred.

The $5 billion was provided through a program known as Coalition Support Funds, 
which reimburses Pakistan for conducting military operations to fight terrorism.
Under a separate program, Pakistan receives $300 million per year in traditional
American military financing that pays for equipment and training.

Civilian opponents of President Pervez Musharraf say he used the reimbursements 
to prop up his government. One European diplomat in Islamabad said the United 
States should have been more cautious with its aid.

³I wonder if the Americans have not been taken for a ride,² said the diplomat, 
who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Lawmakers in Washington voted Thursday to put restrictions on the $300 million 
in military financing, and withheld $50 million of that money until Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice certifies that Islamabad has been restoring democratic 
rights since Mr. Musharraf lifted a state of emergency on Dec. 16. The measure 
had little effect on the far larger Coalition Support Funds reimbursements.

While it was a modest first step, any new conditions in aid could have a major 
effect on relations between the United States and Pakistan. Pakistan¹s military 
relies on Washington for roughly a quarter of its entire $4 billion budget.

In interviews, American and Pakistani officials acknowledged that they had never
agreed on the strategic goals that should drive how the money was spent, or how 
the Pakistanis would prove that they were performing up to American 
expectations.

After Six Years, a Plan

Early last week, six years after President Bush first began pouring billions of 
dollars into Pakistan¹s military after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the 
Pentagon completed a review that produced a classified plan to help the 
Pakistani military build an effective counterinsurgency force.

The plan, which now goes to the United States Embassy in Islamabad to carry out,
seeks to focus American military aid toward specific equipment and training for 
Pakistani forces operating in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas where 
Qaeda leaders and local militants hold sway.

For their part, Pakistani officials angrily accused the United States of 
refusing to sell Pakistan the advanced helicopters, reconnaissance aircraft, 
radios and night-vision equipment it needs.

³There have been many aspects of equipment that we¹ve been keen on getting,² 
said Maj. Gen. Waheed Arshad, the Pakistani military¹s chief spokesman. ³There 
have been many delays which have hampered this war against extremists.²

United States military officials said the American military was so overstretched
in Iraq and Afghanistan that it had no advanced helicopters to give to Pakistan.
American law also restricts the export of sophisticated drones, night-vision 
goggles and other equipment for security reasons.

There is at least one area of agreement. Both sides say the reimbursements have 
failed substantially to increase the ability of Pakistani forces to mount 
comprehensive counterinsurgency operations.

Today, with several billion more in aid scheduled for the coming years, American
officials estimate it will take at least three to five years to train and equip 
large numbers of army and Frontier Corps units, a paramilitary force now 
battling militants.

³I don¹t forecast any noticeable impact,² a Defense Department official said. 
³It¹s pretty bleak.²

The program¹s failures appear to be a sweeping setback for the administration as
it approaches its final year in office. American intelligence officials say they
believe that Mr. Bush is likely to leave office in January 2009 with the Qaeda 
leader Osama bin Laden still at large.

³We haven¹t had a good lead on his exact whereabouts in two years,² another 
senior American military official lamented recently.

Al Qaeda More Active

This spring, American intelligence officials said the Qaeda leaders hiding in 
Pakistan¹s tribal areas had reconstituted their command structure and become 
increasingly active. Backed by Al Qaeda, pro-Taliban militants have expanded 
their influence from the remote border regions into the more populated parts of 
Pakistan this year and mounted a record number of suicide bombings in Pakistan 
and Afghanistan.

The Coalition Support Funds program was intended to prevent that from happening.
Under the program, Pakistani military officials submit bills and are paid for 
supplies, wear and tear on equipment and other costs, as well as for the 
American use of three Pakistani air bases, according to American officials.

The United States since 2001 has deposited more than $5 billion in 
reimbursements into the Pakistani government¹s general budget account, the 
largest single portion of some $10 billion in aid to Islamabad in that time. 
Also included in that larger amount is $1.9 billion in security assistance, 
which Pakistan has used in part to buy new radios for troops, night-vision 
goggles and refurbished Cobra attack helicopters.

Pakistani officials say the Coalition Support Funds money goes into the national
treasury to repay the government for money already spent on 100,000 troops 
deployed in the tribal areas. But American military officials say the funds do 
not reach the men who need it. That is especially the case for helicopter 
maintenance and poorly equipped Frontier Corps units.

During a recent visit to the border, an American official found members of the 
Frontier Corps ³standing there in the snow in sandals,² according to the 
official. Several were wearing World War I-era pith helmets and carrying barely 
functional Kalashnikov rifles with just 10 rounds of ammunition apiece.

³It is not making its way, for certain, we know, to the broader part of the 
armed forces which is carrying out the brunt of their operations on the border,²
the senior American military official said.

Members of Congress also express growing frustration with the Coalition Support 
Funds program.

³The situation in the tribal areas seems to be getting worse, not better, and 
that¹s despite a billion dollars in aid,² said Senator Jack Reed, a Rhode Island
Democrat on the Armed Services Committee who visited Pakistan in fall 2006. 
³Just pouring the money in and asking them to do this is not producing the 
results that we need.²

Complaints Over Support

The most glaring example of the Coalition Support Funds program¹s failure is 
helicopter maintenance, according to both Pakistani and American officials. In 
an interview with The New York Times last month, Mr. Musharraf complained 
specifically that a lack of American spare parts and assistance had handicapped 
the country¹s 20 refurbished Vietnam-era Cobra attack helicopters provided by 
the United States.

³Ten days back, of 20 Cobra helicopters, we have only one that was serviceable,²
he said. ³We need more support.²

In interviews, American military officials scoffed at the statement. They said 
the United States had provided $8 million worth of Cobra parts in the past six 
months and would provide $4 million to $6 million in parts next year.

In addition, Washington reimbursed Pakistan $55 million for helicopter operation
and maintenance costs for an eight-month period in 2007, American officials 
said. The United States later found out that the army received only $25 million 
from the Pakistani government for operations and maintenance of their entire 
national helicopter fleet for the whole of 2007.

American officials said they suspected that Pakistan had been overcharging for 
helicopter maintenance. Yet at the same time, maintenance of Pakistani 
helicopters is not being performed.

³Come March or April,² one official said, ³I fully expect catastrophic failure 
of a large part of their helicopter fleet.²

For years, how money from the Coalition Support Funds was disbursed to the 
Pakistani government was veiled in secrecy. The size and scope of the payments 
to Pakistan was held so closely that one senior American military officer in 
Afghanistan said that he did not know that the administration was spending $1 
billion a year until he attended a meeting in Islamabad in 2006.

³I was astounded,² said the officer, who would not speak for attribution because
he now holds another senior military post. ³On one side of the border we were 
paying a billion to get very little done. On the other side of the border ‹ the 
Afghan side ‹ we were scrambling to find the funds to train an army that 
actually wanted to get something done.²

But by mid-2007, the $1 billion-a-year figure became public, largely because of 
the objections of some military officials and defense experts who said that 
during an ill-fated peace treaty between the military and militants in the 
tribal areas in 2005 and 2006, the money kept flowing. Pakistan continued to 
submit receipts for reimbursement, even though Pakistani troops had stopped 
fighting.

Even then, however, American officials said there was little effort to rethink 
the purposes of the aid, or impose stricter controls.

Defense Department officials in the United States Embassy in Islamabad check the
claims and ensure the receipts are well substantiated, officials said. The 
Pentagon¹s comptroller and State Department then also certify the claims.

Dov Zakheim, who served as the Pentagon¹s top financial officer until 2004 and 
helped set up the program in late 2001, said in a telephone interview that while
he was at the department, the military carefully checked whether Pakistan 
carried out the operations it claimed and typically approved only 80 to 90 
percent of each invoice.

But by July 2006, the Pentagon comptroller and Central Command were concerned 
enough about insufficient accountability to dispatch a team to Pakistan to lay 
out new requirements for more detailed invoices, a Pentagon spokesman said.

And by that fall, senior military officials at the embassy in Islamabad were 
telling visiting American lawmakers that the support fund program needed to be 
revamped to pay for specific objectives.

Inflated Invoices

Today, American officials say they believe that some of the invoices are 
inflated by as much as 30 percent.

³The claims that they submit are probably in some cases exaggerated and the 
amounts inflated,² said the senior American military official who had reviewed 
the program. ³When it comes to reimbursement for the cost of food, bunker 
material, barbed wire fences, those are much more susceptible to inflation.²

Even the efforts to send Pakistan the refurbished Cobra helicopters, for 
instance, have cost more than expected and have fallen behind schedule. 
Pakistani forces have received only 12 of the 20 aircraft promised, and have 
been dissatisfied with the quality of them, a senior Pentagon official said.

One retired Pakistani military official said the American system of paying 
reimbursements did not allow for any forward planning. He expressed irritation 
that the Americans offered help, but not advanced American attack helicopters 
and drones, which are vital for counterinsurgency in the inaccessible tribal 
areas.

Praising Pakistan¹s new army chief, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who took command 
after Mr. Musharraf resigned as the head of the army last month, American 
military officials called for a complete restructuring of American military aid 
to Pakistan. They said that the United States should supply the same amount of 
overall military assistance to Pakistan, but also require that it be supplied 
under traditional military aid programs with tighter controls.

But they fear that members of Congress will react to the troubled reimbursement 
program by slashing military aid to Pakistan.

³It¹s not all or nothing,² the senior American military official said. ³You need
to regulate and manage it for more benefit both to Pakistan and the United 
States.²

David Rohde and Carlotta Gall reported from Islamabad, and Eric Schmitt and 
David E. Sanger from Washington.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company
-- 

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