Archive for the ‘Prisoners’ Category

India Tells Pakistan To Hand Over Terrorists

December 2, 2008

India demanded that Pakistan hand over suspected terrorists believed living in the country — including its most-wanted man — as diplomatic wrangling between the nuclear rivals intensified Tuesday following the deadly Mumbai attacks.

A list of about 20 names was given to Pakistan‘s high commissioner to India during a meeting Monday night, Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee told reporters.

By RAMOLA TALWAR BADAM, Associated Press Writer

India has already demanded Pakistan take “strong action” against those responsible for the attacks, and the U.S. has pressured Islamabad to cooperate.

The moves come as the government faces widespread accusations of security and intelligence failures after suspected Muslim militants carried out a three-day attack across India’s financial capital, killing 172 people and wounding 239.

The 10 gunmen had trained for months in camps operated by a banned Pakistani militant group before slipping into Mumbai from the sea, the only known surviving attacker told police.

India’s foreign intelligence agency received information as recently as September that Pakistan-based terrorists were plotting attacks against Mumbai targets, according to a government intelligence official familiar with the matter.

The information was then relayed to domestic security officials, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorized to talk publicly about the details.

India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting ... 
India Prime Minister Manmohan Singh during the all-party meeting in New Delhi November 30, 2008. India warned Monday that the Mumbai attacks were a major setback to relations with Pakistan and promised a “stern” response, as Washington urged Islamabad to cooperate fully with investigations(AFP/Raveendran)

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Obama Expected to Replace Key National Intelligence Team

November 12, 2008

The nation’s top two intelligence officers expect to be replaced by President-elect Barack Obama early in his administration, according to senior intelligence officials.

A number of influential congressional Democrats oppose keeping Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden in their posts because both have publicly supported controversial Bush administration policies on interrogation and telephone surveillance. One Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee said there is a “consensus” view on the matter.

From left, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden testified on Capitol Hill in February about the annual threat assessment.

From left, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell and CIA Director Michael V. Hayden testified on Capitol Hill in February about the annual threat assessment. (By Nikki Kahn — The Washington Post)

By Walter Pincus and Karen DeYoung
The Washington Post

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Justice Dept. ‘Cannot’ Probe Waterboarding, Mukasey Says

February 8, 2008

By Dan Eggan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 8, 2008; Page A04

The attorney general yesterday rejected growing congressional calls for a criminal investigation of the CIA‘s use of simulated drownings to extract information from its detainees, as Vice President Cheney called it a “good thing” that the CIA was able to learn what it did from those subjected to the practice.

The remarks reflected a renewed effort by the Bush administration to defend its past approval of the interrogation tactic known as waterboarding, which some lawmakers, human rights experts and international lawyers have described as illegal torture.

Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey said Justice Department lawyers concluded that the CIA’s use of waterboarding in 2002 and 2003 was legal, and therefore the department cannot investigate whether a crime had occurred.

Pakistan: Muhammad Reports From the Tribal Areas

November 5, 2007

November 5, 2007 

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir,

What you have stated a few days ago in an email to me has happened. Your observation was proved to be correct. It shows that you have been doing a good job for the your country and Pakistan. In other words I shall simply say that you have been great to us.

After the declaration of emergency the situation of our areas has taken a dramatic turn for better. According to a report, Tribal militants released 213 Pakistan Army soldiers in South Waziristan on Sunday after the government freed 25 of their men under a prisoners’ swap made possible by a 21-member peace Jirga.

The soldiers had been in the custody of militants loyal to Baitullah Mahsud since August 30. They had surrendered along with 35 other troops to the militants after their military convoy was trapped in the Shawangi Naray area near Wana.

Maj-Gen Waheed Arshad, director-general, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), confirmed the reports about the release of the Pakistan Army troops. Talking to newsmen, he said 25 tribesmen held under the Frontier Crimes Regulations (FCR) by the local authorities had also been freed and delivered to the Jirga. In reply to a question, he said the militants had already returned the military vehicles and the arms seized from the troops.

Tribal and official sources said the 213 soldiers were handed over by the militants to the Jirga at Tiarza, a village located in the Mahsud tribal territory, and then driven in 13 vehicles to Wana. Once in Wana, the freed soldiers were delivered to the military authorities. The militants gifted a pair of new shalwar-kameez and chappals to each soldier before seeing them at Tiarza.

Among the freed soldiers were six army officers, including a colonel, majors and captains. Colonel Zafar led the military convoy that was seized by the militants.

Militants’ sources said the prisoners’ swap became possible when the government agreed to release 25 of their men. They said the 25 tribesmen were collected from different jails in various cities and brought to Dera Ismail Khan Saturday before being flown to Wana in a helicopter Sunday. They said these men were then handed over to the tribal Jirga which brought them to Tiarza to complete the prisoners’ swap. Contrary to the claims by government officials, almost all of them were booked on terrorism charges and jailed.

These 25 men included Suhail Zeb, a cousin of militants’ commander Baitullah Mahsud. He was arrested by the police from a bungalow on Canal Road in Dera Ismail Khan along with three suicide bombers reportedly wearing explosives-filled jackets. They were later tried in a court and sentenced to 24 years imprisonment. Two of these 25 men were arrested in Karachi and were being held in a jail there.

The 21-member peace Jirga, which comprises 11 Mahsud tribal elders and 10 clerics from the tribe, had been mediating between the militants and the government. Maulana Merajuddin, a former MNA from South Waziristan affiliated with JUI-F and MMA, and his colleague Senator Saleh Shah, were among the more active members of the jirga.

The militants had also demanded an end to all military deployment and operations in the areas inhabited by Mahsud tribe in South Waziristan. They wanted the removal of roadside checkpoints in their area. The government appears to have accepted most of their demands.

Dear Sir, now President Musharraf has been showing seriousness in war on terrorism. One thing is disturbing his team, through which he is running the administration, is consisting of the same corrupt officials. At least the people of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas will never forget your cooperation in their struggle against terrorists.

Thank you very much,

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,
Tribal Areas Pakistan

Tricky Vietnamese Truth About Catfish

July 9, 2007

In light of all the discussion on tainted seafood from China, we thought we might republish this saga on the “Catfish War” between the U.S. and Vietnam.  The Chinese are just as clever as the Vietnamese, of course.   Like Vietnam, China feeds its pond raised seafood some interesting subtances like feces.  And we wonder why the fish has bacteria in it….. But there is more to this story.  Sometimes we Americans knowingly or unwittingly move our suppliers in a dangerous direction….

By John E. Carey
First Published: March 2, 2007

After normalization of bilateral relations between Vietnam and the United States in 1995, an American technical mission visited Vietnam to look for opportunities to promote trade and investment.

The delegation identified catfish as an ideal commodity to harvest from the Mekong delta, saying that strong fresh water flows would improve the quality of the catch over fish raised in stagnant ponds.

Once Vietnam got good at catfish farming and exports to the United States soared, the United States argued that catfish raised in flowing waters posed hygiene problems and Congress even passed a law declaring that there is no catfish in Vietnam.

Even so, the Commerce Department slapped an import duty onto the non-existing catfish from Vietnam.By 2003, the situation was widely being called the  “Catfish War.”

And Vietnam was losing.

The U.S. worked to stop imported catfish from Vietnam from reaching the American dinner table.

Many southern U.S. states like Louisiana make a lot of money raising catfish.

“It’s totally unfair and does not reflect the objective fact,” said Phan Thuy Thanh, spokeswoman for Vietnam’s foreign minister. “The application of unfair protective barriers to Vietnam’s tra and basa catfish exports to the US over the protest of public opinion – including American opinion – shows the increasing tendency to protect domestic production in the United States.”

By May 2006, the Department of Commerce ruled that the penal tax on giant tra and basa catfish exporter, Vinh Hoan Company, would be cut sharply to 6.81 percent from an earlier 36.84 percent.

But for another company, Cataco, it had increased the tax to a whopping 80.88 percent from 45.81 percent but had offered no explanations.

Ngo Phuoc Hau, chairman of the Mekong Fresh Fish Committee, said local exporters ignored the DOC’s actions since their products were in demand in the EU, Middles East, Russia, and Asia.

Admittedly, it was the US anti-dumping action which forced the Vietnamese businesses to explore other markets and diversify into exporting fresh fillet products and value-added products which fetch higher profits.

Catfish orders worth more than US$100 million poured in from the EU and other markets at the end of last year, a rise of 75 percent year-on-year. But here is the tricky and funny part. Some genius thought it would be a good idea to have a taste competition and let catfish eaters tell us who has the best catfish: America or Vietnam.

The Vietnamese won!

Later a Vietnamese told me: “We cheat on that a little.”

The pond catfish in Vietnam have a very poor diet, feeding on the bottom where there is lots of, lets say, filth. The Vietnamese raised the fish in this system until two months from harvest. This saved a lot of money.

So every pond farmer was allowed to submit ideas on how to improve the taste of the catfish and dozens of ideas were tried.

Here’s the winner: with two months to go before harvesting, they scooped the fish out of a smelly pond and put them in the cleanest water they had with the most nutritious diet. This “washed” the catfish, my friend said. Only two months of the process was expensive and after that last two months the fish tasted great!

My friend said, “Big cultural difference in how two countries appoached the problem.  Americans get too scientific and too honest.  We try things until we make the fish the best! Everyone participate.”

I call this the “The Asian Group Dynamic.”

John E. Carey is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times.

This essay was also posted on “Media for Freedom” by our dear freind Kamala.

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China not sole food-safety offender

After we first published the Vietnam Catfish story, we heard from several former prisoners of the Communist regime.  They told us they were marched twice each day (once in the morning and once in the evening) do “do their business” above a river or pond.  When the daily routine started the catfish would be teeming in the river to get “food.”