McCain: India airstrikes if Pak does not act fast
Pak cracks down on LeT: Report
Gilani calls meeting on security
Pakistan militants destroy Western army vehicles
World leaders for ‘zero’ nuclear arms
US to strengthen troop base around Kabul: NYT
Theory that US knew about Pearl Harbor attack ‘debunked’
Kennedy’s daughter may replace Hillary in Senate
Shooting sparks riots in Greece
Lanka seeks India help to ‘finish’ LTTE faster
‘Japanese navy slaughtered leprosy victims in WW II’
China offers military assistance to Nepal
China summons French envoy after Sarkozy meets Dalai Lama
McCain: India airstrikes if Pak does not act fast
US Senator John McCain has said there was enough evidence of the involvement of former ISI officers in the planning and execution of the Mumbai attack.
“If Pakistan does not act, and act fast, to arrest the involved people, India will be left with no option but to conduct aerial operations against select targets in Pakistan,” McCain said.
McCain who arrived in Pakistan on Friday from New Delhi with Senators Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham, was talking to a select group of Pakistanis at an informal lunch in Lahore.
When quizzed on the issue of possible use of force by India, he said this was what he and the other Senators were told by India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who, as McCain put it, was visibly angry and reeling from the shock of the attack.
“The democratic government of India is under pressure and it will be a matter of days after they have given the evidence to Pakistan to use the option of force if Islamabad fails to act against the terrorists,” he said.
To a question about what the United States would do in the event that India carries out such a threat, McCain said Washington would not be able to do much even as “privately I will try to dissuade India from doing so”.
“We were angry after 9/11. This is India’s 9/11. We cannot tell India not to act when that is what we did, asking the Taliban to hand over Osama Bin Laden to avoid a war and waging one when they refused to do so,” the US Senator said.
He conceded the point that such an Indian attack could beget retaliation from Pakistan and that this is precisely the trajectory of actions and reactions that those who attacked Mumbai were hoping for but stressed that at this point, if Pakistan does not do anything to find and arrest the “bad guys”, India will have no option but to use force.
Islamabad, December 7
According to reports, the security agencies and officials of the PoK administration conducted swoops on several offices of the two groups in Muzaffarabad and its surrounding areas.
Some members of the two groups were also detained, the reports said.
However, there was no immediate official word from the Pakistan government on the development.
Sources said the authorities targeted offices of the Jamaat-ud-Dawah and the LeT that were involved in “unwanted activities”. The raids were carried out for “law and order reasons,” the sources said.
LeT founder Hafiz Mohammad Saeed set up the Jamaat-ud-Dawah shortly after the Pakistan government banned the Lashker in 2001.
The development came days after the Indian and the American governments urged Pakistan to crack down on the LeT, which has been linked to the Mumbai terror attacks that killed over 180 persons and injured many. The only terrorist captured by the Indian security agencies following the Mumbai attacks has said he was recruited and trained by the LeT.
The US has stepped up pressure on the Pakistan government to act against Pakistan-based elements linked to the Mumbai attacks, with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and senator John McCain reportedly telling Pakistani interlocutors that the administration needed to act urgently to address India’s concerns about the terrorist strike.
President Asif Ali Zardari has extended Pakistan’s assistance in probing the Mumbai incident and pledged to act against any Pakistani individual found to be connected to the attacks.
Meanwhile, two meetings were held here yesterday that were chaired by Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and attended by senior ministers, military officials and opposition leaders. The meetings reviewed the security situation on Pakistan's eastern and western borders and the fallout of the Mumbai attacks.
The first meeting, in which opposition leaders were not present, decided to confront "negative propaganda by the Indian media" by explaining Pakistan's position to world, The News, a pro-establishment daily, reported.
The top leadership also decided to ask India to provide "solid evidence" before levelling "baseless allegations" against Pakistan, the newspaper quoted sources as saying.
There was no official word on the discussions at the two meetings. A brief statement issued after the first meeting only said that it had discussed "various issues of national importance".
The first meeting, which was attended by defence minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, army chief Ashfaq Parvez Kayani and Inter-Services Intelligence chief Ahmad Shuja Pasha, lasted more than two hours.
The meeting discussed the security situation in the tribal areas and the NWFP and Kayani briefed the Prime Minister about a recent corps commanders meeting. The ISI chief briefed the Prime Minister about the national security issues, The News reported. — PTI
Gilani calls meeting on security
Reviving the long dormant Cabinet Committee for Defence (CCD), Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani has convened its meeting on Monday to discuss the grave security situation arising out of the Mumbai carnage and strong Indian and international reaction.
Pakistan is under immense pressure from friends and others to act against extremist organisations and individuals accused by India for masterminding the Mumbai attacks and running training camps inside Pakistan for terrorists. India has also provided list of some leaders of terrorist outfits to Pakistan and called for their arrest and deportation to India for trial. Pakistan has acknowledged that "non-state" elements could have planned the attacks and promised to act if India provides credible evidence.
The committee that also includes three services chiefs was virtually replaced by former president Musharraf by the National Security Council under his chairmanship for defence and security issues.
Earlier Prime Minister Gilani last evening met top civilian and military leaders amid rising tensions with India in the wake of the Mumbai terror attacks, and a private TV channel reported that the meeting reviewed the preparedness of the country's armed forces.
Defence minister Ahmad Mukhtar, foreign affairs minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, army chief Ashfaq Kayani and ISI director general Lt Gen Shuja Pasha had called on Gilani at Prime Minister's House.
The meeting, which came a day after the ISI chief briefed the prime minister on the country's security situation, discussed other issues of national importance as well.
Gilani later met a US Senate delegation headed by Senator John McCain at Prime Minister's House. He said Pakistan was determined to maintain cordial relations with India, and had assured the neighbour of its co-operation in investigating the Mumbai attacks. Gilani said the US and Pakistan's other allies should have a better understanding of the ground realities related to the regional security situation.
Peshawar, December 7
Security guards said they were overpowered by more than 200 militants who attacked two terminals on the ring road round the northwestern city of Peshawar, where the trucks carrying Humvees and other military vehicles were parked.
“It happened at around 2.30 a.m. They fired rockets, hurled hand grenades and then set ablaze 96 trucks,” senior police officer Azeem Khan said.
Most of the fuel and other supplies for U.S. and NATO forces in landlocked Afghanistan are trucked through Pakistan, much of it through the mountainous Khyber Pass between Peshawar, capital of North-West Frontier Province and the border town of Torkham.
Khan said one private security guard was killed in an exchange of fire between police and the militants. “They were shouting Allah-o-Akbar (God is Great) and Down With America. They broke into the terminals after snatching our guns,” said Mohammad Rafiullah, security guard at one terminal. Militants destroyed 22 trucks carrying food supplies in the same area a week ago.
Last month the government closed the main supply route to Western forces in Afghanistan for a week after militants hijacked more than a dozen trucks on the road through the Khyber Pass. — Reuters
Dubai, December 7
“They killed three persons, not two,” said Rabbi Shimon Rosenberg, the father of Rivka Holtzberg, during her funeral, indicating that she had been pregnant, Haaretz quoted Army Radio as saying.
In his eulogy, Rosenberg revealed that his daughter had been five months pregnant, and promised the couple’s 2-year-old son that the Mumbai Chabad Centre would be rebuilt soon.
Rivka and her husband were both killed during a terror attack at the Chabad house in Mumbai past week. — UNI
Washington, December 7
“If there is growing support by nuclear powers and public opinion worldwide, I think it becomes harder for any government, including Iran, to cross that barrier,” Burt said.
The group, Global Zero, is proposing deep cuts in the US and Russian nuclear arsenals, a verification and enforcement system, and phased reduction leading to the elimination of all stockpiles.
After the kickoff meeting, delegations will go to Moscow for talks with Russian officials on Wednesday and to Washington to see Bush administration officials and possibly advisers to President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday. Ultimately, the planners are hoping to stage a world summit in January 2010. More than 100 political, military, business, religious and civic leaders have lent their support to the campaign.
“In recent months, the threat of proliferation and nuclear terrorism has led to a growing chorus of world leaders calling for the elimination of all nuclear weapons,” the group said in a statement announcing its plans.
Listed supporters include former President Jimmy Carter; former secretary of state Lawrence Eagleburger; former Defence secretary Frank Carlucci; former soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev; Shaharyar Khan, a former Pakistani foreign minister; retd Air Chief Marshal Shashindra Pal Tyagi of India; and Malcolm Rifkind, a former British foreign secretary. — AP
New York, December 7
It will be the first time that American or coalition forces have been deployed in large numbers on the southern flank of the city, a decision that reflects the rising concerns among military officers, diplomats and government officials about the increasing vulnerability of the capital and the surrounding area, the New York Times said. It also underscores the difficult choices confronting the US military commanders as they try to apportion a limited number of forces not only within Afghanistan but also between Afghanistan and Iraq, it added.
The troops, third Brigade of the 10th Mountain Division, are scheduled to arrive in Afghanistan in January and will consist of 3,500 to 4,000 soldiers. The “vast majority” of them will be sent to Logar and Wardak Provinces, adjacent to Kabul, Lt-Col Rumi Nielson-Green, a spokeswoman for the American units in eastern Afghanistan said.
A battalion of at least 700 soldiers from that brigade will go to the border region in the east, where the US forces have been locked in some of the fiercest fighting this year. In all, the Pentagon is planning to add more than 20,000 troops to Afghanistan in response to a request from Gen David D. McKiernan, the top commander in Afghanistan.
Those troops are to be sent to violent areas in the south. But they are expected to be deployed for over 12 to 18 months. Nearly all would be diverted from Iraq, officials were quoted as saying.
The plan for the incoming brigade, then, means that for the time being fewer reinforcements or none at all will be immediately available for the parts of Afghanistan where the insurgency is most intense, the Times said. In an interview with the Times, the president’s spokesman, Humayun Hamidzada, said there was no conflict between the January deployment and Karzai’s declarations.
There are about 62,000 international troops currently in Afghanistan, including about 32,000 Americans, a military spokesman said, but they are spread thinly throughout the country, which is nearly the size of Texas.
Wardak and Logar, the Times noted, had been relatively secure until late past year. But by most accounts, Taliban activity has soared in the two provinces in the past year, as the insurgents have stepped up attacks against Afghan and foreign forces, sometimes even controlling parts of major roads connecting Kabul to the east and south. — PTI
New York, December 7
Who in Washington knew in advance about the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour on December 7, 1941, was one of World War's most enduring mysteries. Now, a team at the National Security Agency (NSA) has carried out a study which debunked the long-held belief.
According to the historians, decoded messages buried in Japanese-language weather reports, meant to alert Japanese diplomats worldwide to destroy confidential codes as war with America, Russia and Britain was beginning, did not reach US officials prior to the attack, “The New York Times” reported.
Under Japan's “winds execute plan”, East wind rain meant the US, north wind cloudy was the erstwhile Soviet Union and west wind clear was Britain if diplomatic relations were "in danger" with one of three countries.
Washington also missed potential warning signs because intelligence resources had been diverted to Atlantic theatre and the Japanese deftly practised deception to mislead the US about the whereabouts of Tokyo’s naval strike force, Robert J Hanyok, one of the study's authors, said.
"The problem with the conspiracy theory is it diverted attention from the real substantive problems, the major issue being the intelligence system that was so bureaucratised," Hanyok was quoted as saying. Beginning about December 1, Washington became aware that the Japanese were ordering diplomats overseas to destroy confidential documents. But, the NSA study found, “because of the sometimes tardy exploitation of the messages, intelligence officers knew only parts of the complete programme.” "It is possible," the study went on, "that they viewed the Japanese actions as ominous, but also contradictory and perhaps even confusing. More importantly, though, the binge of code destruction was occurring without the transmittal of the winds execute message".
According to the historians, the weight of the evidence “indicates that one coded phrase, 'west wind clear', was broadcast according to previous instructions some six or seven hours after the attack on Pearl Harbour”.
“In the end, the winds code never was the intelligence indicator or warning that it first appeared to the Americans, as well as to the British and Dutch. From a military standpoint, the winds coded message contained no actionable intelligence either about the Japanese operations in Southeast Asia and absolutely nothing about Pearl Harbour.
“In reality, the Japanese broadcast the coded phrase (s) long after hostilities began-useless, in fact, to all who might have heard it,” the historians said. — PTI
New York, December 7
Caroline, a close adviser of Obama, had talked with New York Governor David A Paterson who has to nominate the replacement for Clinton who is expected to resign once she is appointed in the incoming administration.
But analysts said Caroline, who had guarded her privacy fiercely, would have to think whether she is prepared for back-to-back campaigns in 2010 for serving out rest of Clinton’s term and in 2012 for a full six-year term.
But reports as also analysts suggested that Democrats would welcome her nomination by Paterson.
The New York Times quoted her cousin Robert F Kennedy Jr, as saying that she is considering the possibility as a lot of people in the last couple of weeks have urged her to do so. — PTI
Athens, December 7
The protests began in the capital late yesterday soon after the boy was killed, with youths throwing petrol bombs at riot police, smashing shop windows and burning several cars. They quickly spread elsewhere, including Greece’s second city of Thessaloniki, and the holiday islands of Crete and Corfu.
Athens was peaceful today, though barricades erected by protesters and charred vehicles remained on some streets, while broken bottles and rocks littered the main avenues. Left-wing groups called for protests later today in the capital.
“Regarding the planned demonstrations, everyone has the right to protest but not by destroying property or turning against innocent people,” interior minister Prokopis Pavlopoulos told a news conference, defending the police’s track record.
“No rage, even if justified, must lead to protests like those we saw yesterday. Such actions are against human rights.” Pavlopoulos said he offered to resign but this was rejected by Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis, whose fragile government has lost three ministers to scandals in the last year.
Fire services said they tackled blazes in 16 banks, about 20 shops and more than a dozen cars in Athens alone. Police officials declined to give figures for the number of people arrested or injured.
“It is the first time in my life that I see the city ravaged in this way. The government is to blame,” said Ioannis Damascos, 59, surveying the damage in central Athens, where passersby used handkerchiefs to hide the smell of lingering tear gas.
Two police officers had been arrested in connection with the shooting of the 15-year-old boy and Pavlopoulos said the findings of a preliminary investigation would be announced tomorrow.
A police statement said one of the officers fired three shots after their patrol car was attacked by a group of 30 youths in Athens’ volatile Exarchia neighbourhood.
Witnesses told Greek TV he fired directly at the boy but a police official, who declined to be named, told Reuters the officer said he fired warning shots.
A police spokesman said it was the first time since 1985 that police had killed a minor in Greece. That killing sparked months of almost daily clashes between police and protesters.
Greece has seen a wave of anti-government strikes and protests in recent months as the global economic crisis has started to bite.
A 24-hour strike is scheduled for Wednesday to protest privatisations, pension reform and the cost of living in a country where one in five live below the poverty line. “I am upset, very upset ... why did they have to kill that boy? said a 65-year-old pensioner who identified himself as Giorgos. — Reuters
Colombo, December 7
He said the plight of the displaced Tamils in Sri Lanka was India's concern and that Colombo did its utmost to ensure that innocent Tamils were not harmed.
"During the military operation to liberate the East, we have proved it very well. Today, the security forces have adopted the same strategy in the Wanni liberation. That is what India expects from us," Lt Gen Fonseka said.
The Indian government cannot just look the other side when it comes to Tamil sentiments, he said. "That is why India is sending food and other relief to make sure that innocent Tamils are not suffering." "If we are supported by India, we also could finish the LTTE faster than this," Lt Gen Fonseksa said in an interview to the Sunday Observer, referring to the stepped-up army offensive against the Tiger rebels.
On whether he was worried about reports that the LTTE was allegedly using some Tamil Nadu politicians to influence New Delhi, Lt Gen Fonseka expressed confidence that the Indian government would not yield.
"I am confident that the Indian government is not interested in a ceasefire in Sri Lanka and they listed the LTTE as a terrorist organisation. They have already accepted V Prabhakaran (Tiger supremo) as a criminal and given him the death sentence," he was quoted as saying. — PTI
‘Japanese navy slaughtered leprosy victims in WW II’
Tokyo, December 7 The documents discovered by Hirofumi Hayashi, professor of modern history at Kanto Gakuin University, are the first public documents that disclose details of the killings during World War II, although they had been mentioned by local residents and others. The Republic of Nauru, an island nation in the South Pacific that Japan seized in 1942, established independence in 1968 with a population of about 10,000. The documents concerning trials of Class B and C war criminals include records of court testimony by a soldier who was involved in the killings and was later sentenced to life in prison. The documents shed light on discrimination against sufferers from leprosy as well as war crimes against civilians. According to the documents from the trial, held in Hong Kong from November 29 to December 3, 1948, a leader of the Sea Defense Branch of the Navy, who was executed on a separate charge, ordered one of his subordinate officers around July 9, 1943, to kill the Hansen’s disease victims, who were quarantined due to the disease, to prevent them from escaping during possible air raids by US forces. The Australian government, which once ruled the area, earlier conducted an investigation based on testimonies from local residents but was unsuccessful in discovering how much senior-level officers of the former Japanese military knew about the killings.
Tokyo, December 7
The documents discovered by Hirofumi Hayashi, professor of modern history at Kanto Gakuin University, are the first public documents that disclose details of the killings during World War II, although they had been mentioned by local residents and others.
The Republic of Nauru, an island nation in the South Pacific that Japan seized in 1942, established independence in 1968 with a population of about 10,000.
The documents concerning trials of Class B and C war criminals include records of court testimony by a soldier who was involved in the killings and was later sentenced to life in prison.
The documents shed light on discrimination against sufferers from leprosy as well as war crimes against civilians.
According to the documents from the trial, held in Hong Kong from November 29 to December 3, 1948, a leader of the Sea Defense Branch of the Navy, who was executed on a separate charge, ordered one of his subordinate officers around July 9, 1943, to kill the Hansen’s disease victims, who were quarantined due to the disease, to prevent them from escaping during possible air raids by US forces.
The Australian government, which once ruled the area, earlier conducted an investigation based on testimonies from local residents but was unsuccessful in discovering how much senior-level officers of the former Japanese military knew about the killings. — Kyodo
China offers military assistance to Nepal
Kathmandu, December 7
During a meeting with defence minister of Himalayan nation Ram Bahadur Thapa, Ma offered the support to strengthen the security force.
Defence secretary Baman Prasad Neupane and Lieutenant General Ma signed the memorandum of understanding to this effect on behalf of their respective governments.
"China has provided the support in a way not to affect the ongoing peace process in the country," said defence minister Thapa, emerging from the meeting. The defence minister further said that China was willing to help Nepal in the army integration also.
According to Thapa, Chinese officials have also expressed commitment to provide Chinese government's support for the integration and rehabilitation of Maoist combatants and take the ongoing peace process to a logical end.
Beijing, December 7
Expressing strong indignation over Sarkozy’s action, Chinese deputy foreign minister He Yafei summoned the French ambassador to China Herve Ladsous to lodge a strong protest.
He told Ladsous that Sarkozy’s meeting with the Dalai Lama yesterday in Poland has “severely hurt” the feelings of the Chinese people.
Sarkozy, whose country holds the EU’s rotating presidency, met the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader while attending activities to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to former Polish President Lech Walesa.
China had earlier demanded Sarkozy cancel the meeting with the Dalai Lama and called off a major Sino-EU summit earlier this week in protest.
“The French side’s wrong action grossly interfered in China’s internal affairs and also severely hurt the feelings of the Chinese people,” Foreign Ministry Spokesman Liu Jianchao was quoted as saying by the state-run Xinhua news agency.
China maintains that Tibet has been part of its territory since ancient times and denounces the Dalai Lama as a globe-trotting “separatist” who wants to divide the nation.
Beijing is opposed to any foreign leader meeting with the Dalai Lama.
Liu noted that China had always valued Sino-French ties.
He asked France to take China’s position and concerns into serious consideration, take a proper attitude and correct its mistake with substantial action, so as to ensure the steady and sound development of bilateral relations.
Sino-French and Sino-European ties were maintaining a momentum of improvement and development. “The hard-earned relations should be cherished with doubled effort,” Liu had said last week.
Sino-French ties experienced serious trouble earlier this year when Sarkozy said his attendance at the Beijing Olympic Games opening ceremony was conditional on progress in talks between Beijing and Dalai Lama envoys on the Tibet issue.
Pro-Dalai Lama activists in Paris also disrupted the passage of the Olympic flame following unrest in Tibet, further damaging bilateral ties.
In August, Sarkozy had avoided angering Beijing by deputing his wife, Carla Bruni to meet the Dalai Lama.
The Dalai Lama has sought “meaningful autonomy” for Tibet since he fled his homeland following a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959.
Since the successful conclusion of the Beijing Olympics, China has hardened its stance toward the Dalai Lama and the 1989 Nobel Peace Prize winner’s appeal for genuine autonomy for his Himalayan homeland. — PTI