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‘Stop Trying to Kill Me’: Man Urges UK, US to Remove Him From ‘Kill List’

MalikJalal

Sputnik – April 12, 2016

A man claiming to be on a western “kill list” of people to be targeted by US airstrikes has appealed to both the British and American governments to stop trying to kill him.

Malik Jalal, a tribal elder from Waziristan, a border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan, says he has been targeted in at least four drones strikes, narrowly missing what he believes are attempts on his life.

Traveling to Britain following an invitation from Lord Ken MacDonald, the former Director of Prosecutions, Malik Jalal told BBC Radio 4 that he had been warned by various authorities in Waziristan that he is on a western “kill list” adding that his children are “terrified” of dying in an attack.

In one close call, he says a missile hit a car traveling behind him.

“I heard the explosion and the back window of my car shattered. The car behind was in flames and the passengers were in pieces.”

A tribal elder of the region, Malik Jalal believes he is being targeted because of his connection with the North Waziristan Peace committee (NWPC) — a group facilitating peace talks between the Taliban and the Pakistani government.

While Malik Jalal says he plays an important role in trying to bring peace to the region, there have been criticisms of the NWPC, with some suggesting the committee provides Taliban members with a safe haven in Waziristan.

‘I Came Close to Being Bombed Four Times’

In a letter, addressed to UK Home Secretary Theresa May, who is responsible for MI5 and the National Crime Agency (NCA), and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who has responsibility for GCHQ and MI6, Malik Jalal has called for a meeting to clear up concerns that he may be on a government kill list.

“I had a special role to improve security and we were making progress and that’s why I think Americans targeted us […] I came close to being bombed four times, so in the end I realized they were on to me,” he told the BBC.

“I have had to leave Waziristan. In my own family there are six people who are mentally destabilized because of the strikes. In Waziristan there are more than 400,000 people who have mental problems because of the drones. My own son is too scared to go back to Waziristan.”

The US ambassador to the UK has also been copied into the letter, with Malik Jalal calling on Britain to try and influence the US to stop what he believes have been attempts on his life and others in Waziristan.

“I have a peaceful role in Pakistan. I am not involved in terrorism. I came to Britain because I feel like Britain is like a younger brother to America. I am telling Britain that America doesn’t listen to us, so you tell them not to kill Waziristanis.”

Concerns Over Long-Term UK Involvement in US ‘Kill List’

The comments follow the release of an explosive report, accusing British law enforcement and intelligence agencies of drawing up an extra-judicial kill list targeting some of the world’s most wanted terror suspects and drug smugglers.

The report, released by human rights organization Reprieve, claimed that the UK has been a long-time partner in the US’ “shoot to kill” policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with the report alleging that drug smugglers, as well as terrorists were among those targeted.

The findings follow a separate Vice News investigation that claimed that UK military personnel were exploiting a legal loophole to play a “critical” role in the US drone kill list program in Yemen.

Citing interviews with more than two dozen current and former British, American and Yemeni officials, UK forces were alleged to have taken part in so-called “hits” in Yemen, “triangulating” intelligence for kill lists, and preparing “target packages.”

The reports of long-time collaboration with the US shoot to kill policy have led to suggestions that UK Prime Minister David Cameron misled parliament on September 7, 2015, when he said that the assassination of two British nationals in Syria was a “new departure” for the UK.

Commenting on the latest developments, Clive Stafford Smith, Director of Reprieve, said: It is horrifying that, in the 21st Century, we have drawn up a list of people we want to kill.

“For a country that loudly proclaims its opposition to the death penalty even after a fair trial, the notion that we would execute him without a trial at all stunningly hypocritical. Malik Jalal puts a very human face on the horror of this policy.”

The UK government has said they don’t comment on matters of intelligence.

April 12, 2016 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment

A Failure to Understand

By Maryam Sakeenah | Dissident Voice | December 17, 2014

The attack on the Peshawar school is a tragedy that sends senses reeling, an enormity that confounds the senses. It does not help however, to dismiss the people who committed this foul atrocity as ‘inhuman’, or to say they were not really Muslims. It is a convenient fiction that implies a most frustrating unwillingness and inability to understand how human beings are dehumanized and desensitized so they commit such dastardly acts under the moral cover of a perverted religiosity.

This unwillingness and inability to understand is deeply distressing because it shows how far away we are from even identifying what went wrong, and where- and hence, how far we are from any solution.

The international media has reflected — not surprisingly — a superficial, flat and ludicrously shallow grasp of the issues in Pakistan. The CNN (and other channels) repeatedly portrayed the incident as ‘an attack on children for wanting to get an education. ’ In fact, the UK Prime Minister himself tweeted: “The news from Pakistan is deeply shocking. It’s horrifying that children are being killed simply for going to school.” It actually reeks of how the media’s portrayal and use of Malala’s story has shaped a rather inaccurate narrative on Pakistan.

Years ago shortly after 9/11, former CIA analyst Michael Scheuer had lamented Western politicians’ dim-witted understanding of terrorism and the motives behind it. Scheuer highlighted how dishonestly and dangerously Western leaders portrayed that the terrorists were ‘Against Our Way of Life’; that they were angry over the West’s progress as some deranged barbarians battling a superior civilization out of rank hatred. This rhetoric from Western politicians and the media ideologized terrorism and eclipsed the fact that terror tactics were actually a reaction to rapacious wars in Muslim (and other) lands often waged or sponsored by Western governments. It diverted focus from the heart of the problem and created a misleading and dangerous narrative of ‘Us versus Them’, setting global politics on a terrible ‘Clash of civilizations’ course.

Today, I remembered Scheuer again, browsing through responses to the Peshawar tragedy both on local social media as well as from people in positions of power; most reflected a facile understanding of the motives of terrorism.

The Taliban spokesman Umar Khorasani states: “We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females. We want them to feel the pain.”

Certainly, this is twisted and unacceptable logic. What is most outrageous is his attempt to give religious justification to it by twisting religious texts.
Certainly, the leadership of the TTP is guilty of a criminal abuse of religious sources to legitimize its vile motives and sell it to their conservative Pashtun following who are on the receiving end of Pakistan’s military offensive in the tribal areas. The TTP leaders have hands drenched in innocent blood. Even the Afghan Taliban have rejected the use and justification of such means by the TTP as unacceptable by any standards in an official statement.

But I wonder at those human beings chanting Arabic religious expressions who blew themselves up for the ‘glorious cause’ of taking revenge from innocent unsuspecting school children. I wonder how they had gone so terribly, terribly wrong in their humanity, their faith. Certainly, they were taken in with the TTP’s malevolent ideological justification for the rank brutality they committed. Certainly, they allowed themselves to be taken in because they perceived their miserable lives had no intrinsic worth except in being given up in order to exact vengeance.

I understood too when I heard a victim student writing in pain, vowing revenge. ‘I will grow up and make their coming generations learn a lesson’, he said. In that line, I understood so much about human psychology and the psychology of victimhood, and the innate need for avenging wrongdoing.

The problem with the public perception of the war in Pakistan is that we see only part of it: we see the heartrending images from Peshawar and elsewhere in the urban centres where terrorists have struck. But there is a war that we do not see, hidden from public view. This is the war in the tribal north. The familiar images we see from the war divide the Pakistani victims of this war into Edward Herman’s ‘worthy’ and ‘unworthy’ victims — both, however, are innocent victims — the ones we see and the ones we do not. But because some victims are unworthier than others, the unworthy victim claims worth to his condemned life in dying, misled into thinking that death by killing others can be a vindication.

But sometimes the ones we are not allowed to see, make themselves visible in horrible, ugly ways; they become deafeningly loud to claim notice. And in the process, they make other victims — our own flesh and blood… And so it is our bloody burden to bear for fighting a war that was not ours, which has come to haunt us as our own.

The work of some independent journalists has highlighted the war we do not see in Waziristan; their work, however, has not made it to mainstream news. Such work has brought to light enormous ‘collateral damage’ figures. Some independent journalists have also focused on the plight of IDPs who feel alienated and forgotten by the Pakistani state and nation. It must be noted, however, that there is no access to the media in the areas where the army’s operation is going on. The news we get from the war zone is solely through the Pakistan Army; there is, hence, absolutely no counter-narrative from Waziristan. And hence our one-sided vision eludes a genuine understanding.

This unwillingness and inability to understand reflects in our uninsightful militarist approach to the problem in Waziristan. While the necessity of using military means to combat a real and present danger is understood, the need for it to be precisely targeted, limited in scope and time, and planned to eliminate or at least substantively minimize collateral damage is equally important. The need to efficiently manage the fallout of such an operation and rehabilitate affectees cannot be overemphasized. On all these counts, we need to have done more.

But perhaps the most vital understanding is that military operations are never the enduring solution. They may be needed to achieve specific necessary targets, but only with the aforementioned conditionalities to minimize the fallout. Moreover, the bigger, deeper problems have to be dealt with through a wider, more insightful non-military approach: listening and understanding, dialogue, mutual compromise and reconciliation, rehabilitation and peace-building. There are numerous examples in the past — even the recent past — of how war-ravaged communities drenched in the memory of oppression and pain, seething with unrelenting hate, have successfully undertaken peace-building. There have been temporary respites in this war in Pakistan whenever the two sides agreed to a ceasefire. That spirit ought to have lasted.

I understand that this sounds unreasonable on the backdrop of the recent atrocity, but there is no other way to give peace a chance. Retributive justice using force will prolong the violence and make more victims.

Since religion is often appealed to in this conflict, its role in peace-building has to be explored and made the best of. To break this vicious, insane cycle, there has to be a revival of the spirit of ‘Ihsan’ for a collective healing; that is, not indiscriminate and unrelenting retributive justice but wilful, voluntary forgiveness (other than for the direct, unrepentant and most mala fide perpetrators). This must be followed by long-term, systematic peace-building in Pakistan’s war-ravaged tribal belt in particular and the entire nation in general. Such peace-building will involve religious scholars, educators, journalists, social workers and other professionals. Unreasonable as it may sound, it is perhaps the only enduring strategy to mend and heal and rebuild. The spirit of ‘Ihsan’ has tremendous potential to salvage us, and has to be demonstrated from both sides. But because the state is the grander agency, its initiative in this regard is instrumental as a positive overture to the aggrieved party.

But this understanding seems to have been lost in the frenzy, just when it was needed most pressingly. I shudder to think what consequences a failure to understand this vital point can bring. The Pakistani nation has already paid an enormously heavy price.

Maryam Sakeenah is a student of International Relations based in Pakistan. She is also a high school teacher and freelance writer with a degree in English Literature. She is interested in human rights advocacy and voluntary social work and can be reached at: meem.seen@gmail.com.

December 18, 2014 Posted by | Militarism | , , | Leave a comment

Pakistan’s “Red Lines” That America Crosses Everyday

By Peter Chamberlin | There Are No Sunglasses | February 6, 2013

The government of Pakistan claims that there are “red lines” which drones and ground soldiers dare not cross (US urged not to cross ‘red line’ in Fata). This is another lie. In reality, US drones (and possibly “private contractors”) cross those lines everyday. Just another day in the multi-faceted psychological war games, that are fought-out in FATA everyday.

This new public relations ploy, to allow the families of drone victims to prosecute American Predator war crimes builds a new line of defense for the Pak Army, while enhancing its credibility.  This is part of Pakistan’s new “Plan B” for Waziristan, where the civilian administration attempts to use Western courts to stop daily drone attacks upon the Wazir tribes in both North and South Waziristan, since military persuasion has failed miserably in that respect.  Military reluctance to interfere with US plans for Pakistan’s militants has derived not from a common desire to see the CIA … Pakistanis, but from a desire NOT to piss-off the paymaster, which is interpreted by the people as complicity in the attacks (SEE:  US embassy cables: Pakistan backs US drone attacks on tribal areas (23 Aug. 2008, 14:12)). Even the targeted militant leaders are aware of Army complicity in drone targetting.  I am referring here to the testimony of the recently assassinated Waziri leader Nazir (SEE: As-Sahab: English transcript of the interview with Mulla Nazeer Ahmad, the amir of the mujahideen in the South Waziristan).

The outrageous death of Nazir and his friends clarified for the other militants, along with the entire Wazir tribe, that the Pak Army is obviously complicit in the drone attacks, otherwise actions would have been taken to put an end to the air incursions (SEE: India/Pakistani Detente’ Went Into the Ground with Mullah Nazir).  As long as the Army continued to maintain its duplicitous drone acceptance/rejection strategy, denying involvement in the drone targeting (which consistently hit the pro-Army Wazirs and not the anti-Pakistan Mehsuds in both North and South Waziristan), the Wazirs continued to participate in the Pak/US development strategy of infrastructural bribery, based on building ”Quick Impact Projects” in areas previously cleared of Mehsud terrorists.

Since the UAV murder of Mullah Nazir near Wana, working in tandem with the development strategy, the Army is allowing lawsuits (Case No: CO/2599/2012) to go forward on one of the most heinous drone attacks upon the Wazirs, the March 17th, 2011 attack upon a Waziri Jirga in Datta Khel, N. Waziristan, which killed 50 (SEE: Waziristan tribesmen to move ICJ against drone hits).  This move may be a compromise between the government and the Wazir tribe, to avoid a companion lawsuit (which is coming-up for a hearing on Feb. 13) that has been filed in Peshawar High Court, which forces the government of Pakistan’s hand.  The Peshawar suit makes the following demands:

  1. Confirm the Pakistani government’s complete opposition to US drone strikes in the tribal areas as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty under Article 2(4) of the United Nations Charter.
  2. Approach the United Nations Security Council and demand adoption of a resolution condemning drone strikes and requiring the US to end the strikes in Pakistan.
  3. Issue a formal complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) and with the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions as the fundamental right to life is being breached by US drone strikes. 
  4. Publicly encourage victims of drone stacks to file complaints to the UNHRC so that the UN Secretary General can list this issue on the Council agenda for discussion. 
  5. Notify the US government of Pakistan’s intention to seek relief in the International Court of Justice for the US’s illegal operation of drones in Pakistan.
  6. Sign the Rome Treaty so that the International Criminal Court can have jurisdiction to prosecute the drone attacks as international law crimes.

The Wazir experiment was intended to reinforce existing agreements that have been made between the Army and the Tribal Authorities, which have previously delegated the policing function to the Tribes.  Under those peace deals, Tribal Leaders had agreed to keep “terrorists” and foreigners out of their territory, referring to Taliban and the Uzbek and “al-CIA-da” forces.  The Wazir Tribe has been held responsible for the terrorist attacks within their neighborhoods since this agreement was signed in 2007.  Under the agreement, the Mehsuds were to have been run-out of Wana.  The Wazirs resisted taking this extreme step for the Army, because they were forced to travel roads through Mehsud territory and obviously didn’t want to start a Tribal feud (SEE:  Pak Army Uses US Money To Build Road for Ahmadzai Wazirs To Run Mehsuds Out of Wana On).

View Map

The Wazir were expected to run the remaining 1,000 or so Mehsud out of Wana, just as soon as the new Kaur-Gomal-Tanai-Wana road was inagurated.  Mullah Nazir led a tribal jirga, which voted to run them out on December 5 (SEE:  1000 Mehsud Refugees Run-Out of Wana ).  Three weeks later, Nazir was killed in a flurry of Hellfire missiles which were fired by three or four drones (SEE:  They Had A Funeral In Wana for Mullah Nazir and 10,000 People Showed-Up–where were the drones then?).  After years of trying and  countless near-misses, the CIA finally killed the lynchpin of Pak Army plans for peace through development, by gifting him with a Quran containing a drone tracking chip.  The man who was the most feared, as well as the most effective anti-Taliban tribal leader/fighter, was the centerpiece of Pakistani peace efforts, who hopefully would inspire all of the tribes to build their own effective anti-Taliban “Lashkars.”

The S. Waziristan development projects were a type of reward for supporting govt. efforts.  The Army officials took their peace efforts so seriously that they rolled-up their sleeves and helped to build homes for the returnees, teach gardening skills, classes in fish farming, poultry and livestock handling.  They have even organized an off-road rally in South Waziristan, hoping to draw people into an entertainment venue and thereby possibly enhance their communal feelings.  The Army is whole-heartedly into the idea of “winning hearts and minds” in South Waziristan, following American counter-insurgency tactics to the letter.  But they are finding-out the hard way that it might be impossible to smooth relations with people whose homes and schools you have just flattened, not to mention overcoming those hard feelings harbored over family members who were killed by the Army’s zealous pulverizing of parts of South Waziristan.

rehabilitation zone

As you can see from this WSJ article clip, the rehabilitation effort, centered on Kotkai village (Hakeemullah Mehsud’s hometown), is not having the desired effect or speed of development.  With the killing of the Wazir leader, how much further will the Tribal elders be willing to go in trusting the Army to deal fairly?

The lawsuit in British courts against the UK Govt., for their participation in the American drone strike of the Wazir jirga will serve as a largely symbolic test which could possibly enable judicial interference to handicap further drone strikes.  The suit filed in Peshawar could prove to be a very significant test of govt. loyalty, to document whether Pakistan supports its own citizens (who are being systematically deprived of their inalienable rights to Life), or the rights of the Imperial powers to murder them at will.  A wrong choice on the Army’s part could cost them all of their remaining friends in the Tribal Regions.  It would force the govt. hand, requiring public opposition to drone strikes, as well as taking the people’s case to the UN and filing formal Human Rights violations.  In addition to this, it would force govt.  to allow charges to be filed in the ICJ (International Court of Justice).  If any of these actions are taken, they would be sufficient to suspend all further American payments to Pakistan.

therearenosunglasses@hotmail.com

February 6, 2013 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Pakistan’s “Red Lines” That America Crosses Everyday