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Old 06-21-2003, 09:37 PM   #1
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Kashmiri's arrest to put pressure on Pakistan


WASHINGTON, June 20: The arrest of a Kashmiri activist in the United States, with confessed links to Al Qaeda, will increase pressure on Pakistan to crackdown on Kashmiri groups, observers said on Friday.

Iyman Faris, 34, whose real name is Mohammed Rauf, is pleading guilty. His arrest would also increase the surveillance of Pakistanis and other Muslims who have already been signalled out for extra- scrutiny since the Sept 11 terrorist attacks, the observers said.

For Pakistan, there could not have been a worse time for this story to appear in the US newspapers - the day President Pervez Musharraf lands in Boston for a key US visit.

Pakistani diplomats fear that the president may have to face several embarrassing questions on the links between Al Qaeda and Kashmiri groups during his press engagements in the United States.

US Attorney General John Ashcroft told a news conference that the Azad Kashmir native came to the United States in May 1994 and became a naturalized US citizen in December 1999.

Mr Ashcroft would not discuss where or when Faris, who drove trucks for a living, was arrested. Faris provided cash, thousands of sleeping bags, aeroplane tickets and cellular telephones to Al Qaeda operatives, Mr Ashcroft said. From late 2000 to March this year, he spent much of his time "scouting sites for acts of terrorism in the United States", Ashcroft said.

"Faris led a secret double life," Mr Ashcroft said, seeking flight training, travelling to Pakistan and Afghanistan, and meeting with Osama bin Laden in late 2000. He met with two 'senior Al Qaeda figures' one of whom officials told NBC News was Mohammed in 2000, 2001 and early 2002 in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the US attorney general said.

Faris had acknowledged that he met Osama bin Laden in 2000 at an Al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan and provided operatives there with sleeping bags, cell phones and other assistance.

Faris pleaded guilty on May 1 to providing material support to terrorists and conspiracy to provide support, according to documents unsealed on Thursday in US District Court in Alexandria, near Washington DC.

Authorities said Faris received attack instructions from top terror leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed for what they suggested might have been a second wave planned for New York and Washington to follow the attacks of Sept 11.

Faris, who is represented by a lawyer, said in the documents he was not coerced to plead, could face 20 years in prison and up to $500,000 in fines. Sentencing was set for Aug 1.

Court documents also show that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, a top Al Qaeda planner now in US custody, identified Faris. The officials said that Shaikh Mohammed, who was captured on March 1 in Pakistan, told US authorities that Faris had been trained to blow up bridges and derail trains. One of his assignments was to explore the possibility of bringing down the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, US officials said.

They said that Faris had been cooperating with interrogators since his arrest and had pleaded guilty to providing material support to a terrorist organization and conspiracy to provide such support.

A terrorist from pakistani controlled kashmir? Big surprise.

I'm going not going to say a word more about this. I'd rather just let other ppl post their thoughts.


incidentally this is taken from a pakistani news source.

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Old 06-21-2003, 09:49 PM   #2
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interesting, considering it's on the heels of pakistani general musharaff's visit to the US.

time magazine also has done an expose on karachi:
the article does a good job explaining the gap between the rich and poor, as well as the increasing talibanization of pakistan.

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Old 06-22-2003, 10:33 AM   #3
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This will be an interesting visit for the general in the States.
I wonder how Walker Bush will fare during their get together.

the hand that leads you
is the hand that
will push you away..
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Old 06-22-2003, 12:47 PM   #4
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If anything, what Pakistan needs is not critism at the moment.. They need more support, because Musharaff, and PM Jamali, are trying their best to re-construct the infrastucture to battle the constant violence over taking Pakistan.
Beleive me, some of my friends and relatives have been killed or hurt by the violence that has overtaken the Sunni-Shia violence... And it is known in Pakistan that this problem needs to stop... But, instead of having people accuse Pakistan of being a terrorist country... They need to realize that ever since 1947, Pakistan has built ties b/w china and the US, they have given the US all the space they need in Pakistan to put military bases, when war was in Afghanistan, thus, millions of Afghanis had taken refuge in the undeveloped Pakistan.... Pakistan is a country that is trying to develop, and stay clear from terrorism, they have been trying to fight it, but, they need some more support from other countries to fight it.. Afterall, Pakistan has proved to be important in international relations....

I love Pakistan only b/c that is where my parents are from... And their are many beauties to this country.. Even though, many deared ones of mine and others have been killed in some of the social-political conflicts. But, it still needs space to develop, and sadly with all the political conflicts it has faced since its independence, it has neglected to prioritize their needs.. Pakistan is in need of support.. If anything this is the best time for US volunteers, which i am planning to do, to go abroad and help build facilities, schools, improve water, get kids of the street for schools, this initself will help build a bridge of peace...

Terrorists will be spotted like buildings.... If their is less poverty...
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Old 06-22-2003, 02:22 PM   #5
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I read this in my morning paper.

A Delicate U.S. Dance in S. Asia

Washington's policy has rankled India and thus threatened America's balancing act in the region.

By Selig S. Harrison

Selig S. Harrison has covered India and Pakistan since 1951 and is the author of five books on South Asia. He is director of the Asia program at the Center for International Policy.

June 22, 2003

WASHINGTON Since Sept. 11, the Bush administration has engaged in a delicate balancing act in South Asia. It has embraced Pakistan's military ruler, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, as an ally against Al Qaeda. At the same time, it has worked to prevent its Islamabad connection from damaging continuing efforts to improve a potentially more important relationship with democratic India.

Until recently, the administration had succeeded in maintaining good relations with both Islamabad and New Delhi. But three new developments threaten the balance. The U.S. has tilted toward the Pakistani position in its policy toward the conflict in Kashmir; it has expressed discomfort with India's growing ties with Iran; and it has disappointed New Delhi by maintaining restrictions on the sale of military hardware and industrial high technology to India.

Musharraf's visit to Washington this week will further test the administration's balancing act. The White House is on the verge of a new, five-year economic and military aid commitment to Pakistan. That would firm up the two countries' cooperation in the pursuit of Al Qaeda, but it should be conditioned on termination of Pakistani support for Islamic militants' infiltration into Indian-held areas of Kashmir.

An unconditional commitment to Musharraf would give hard-line, anti-U.S. Hindu nationalists a new lease on life in India. It would also directly conflict with the administration's view that India, eight times larger than Pakistan, is a "growing world power with which we have common strategic interests." The U.S. sees India as a counterweight to China in the Asian balance of power and as a de facto naval ally in the Indian Ocean.

When Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage visited New Delhi and Islamabad last August, he publicly criticized Pakistan for sponsoring cross-border insurgent operations in Kashmir. By contrast, on his peace mission last month, he told India that the United States had done all it could to pressure Pakistan to stop the infiltrators. Despite clear evidence to the contrary, Armitage didn't challenge either Musharraf's "absolute assurance" to him that Pakistan had shut down base camps for Islamic militants or his denial that militants were currently infiltrating into Kashmir.

India has recently provided the United States with detailed maps showing 174 locations where Pakistani base camps of varying sizes now operate. State Department and Defense Intelligence Agency sources say that U.S. reconnaissance satellite findings broadly corroborate the Indian maps.

To sustain the improvement in Indo-U.S. relations since the end of the Cold War, the administration should insist that Pakistan dismantle all its base camps as a condition for new aid; stop badgering New Delhi to curtail its economically vital links with Iran; and loosen restrictions that are sharply limiting U.S. and U.S.- licensed sales of military hardware and high technology to India.

Tensions between New Delhi and Washington over Iran center on U.S. suspicions that India is helping Iran's nuclear and missile programs by giving it dual-use technology. But so far, the United States has produced no evidence to back up these suspicions. Indeed, India has never transferred nuclear technology to others, as Pakistan allegedly did with North Korea. Still, that hasn't stopped Washington from threatening sanctions against New Delhi.

India regards Shiite Iran as a counterweight to Sunni-majority Pakistan. India and Iran share an interest in countering the current resurgence of Pakistani-supported Taliban activity in Afghanistan. Their economic ties are growing rapidly, spurred by a "strategic partnership" announced in January. India is importing more Iranian oil and gas, and negotiations are underway for an undersea pipeline from Iran to India that would enable India to get gas from Turkmenistan via Afghanistan without going through Pakistan. Iran has agreed to make the port city of Chah Bahar a tax-free transit point for Indian overland trade with Russia and Europe via Afghanistan and Central Asia, and to let India build new roads northward from Chah Bahar to make this expansion possible.

On the surface, there has been a striking improvement in U.S.-India military relations in recent years, symbolized by routine refueling of U.S. warships in Indian ports and seven joint exercises involving air, naval and special operations forces. But this new relationship has carried with it Indian expectations that the United States will sell it a greater range of military equipment. The Pentagon has made moves in this direction but is balking at authorizing the sale of such sophisticated equipment as the U.S.-licensed Arrow antimissile system, which Israel is willing to sell to India, and P3 anti-submarine maritime patrol aircraft.

U.S. curbs on selling industrial high technology have particularly rankled India. These restrictions, primarily on items that could be used for civilian and military purposes, originated before India became a nuclear power. They should be lifted, because U.S. policy is now based on the implicit strategic premise that Asia is more stable with India having a minimum nuclear deterrent than with China enjoying a nuclear monopoly.

The United States should also end its ban on the sale of civilian nuclear technology to India. The fact that China is able to buy such technology has long been an irritant in India-U.S. relations. The United States should treat India as a major power, not only on issues arising from its membership in the nuclear club. It should also support India's participation in an expanded G8 economic summit and its permanent membership in the U.N. Security Council.

Lingering Indian criticism of the U.S. invasion of Iraq has crystallized a pervasive mood of resistance to American unilateralism similar to that found in many other countries. Significantly, public opposition to the U.S. role in Iraq has been almost universal among both the Muslim minority and the Hindu majority. Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee persuaded Parliament to tone down a resolution "condemning" the U.S. to one "deploring" the war. But Vajpayee, too, has changed his tone of late: He is resisting a U.S. request to provide peacekeeping forces in Iraq.

The prime minister reflected the new mood in his answer to critics who asked him why he had suddenly made his May 1 peace overture to Pakistan. To a group of editors, he said that India and Pakistan should get together to create a new independent power center in a multipolar world. In Parliament, he was more oblique, but his meaning was unmistakable.

"What has changed that has forced us to extend a hand of friendship?" Vajpayee asked. "The international situation has changed. The world is standing on one axis. There should be different sources of power in the world. One key should not turn the world."
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Old 06-28-2003, 07:22 AM   #6
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from the NY Times:

Group of Muslims Charged With Plotting Against India

WASHINGTON, June 27 Federal authorities today charged seven men in the Washington area and an eighth in Philadelphia with stockpiling weapons and conspiring to wage "jihad" against India in support of a terrorist group in Kashmir.

The F.B.I. arrested six of the suspects in morning raids in Virginia, Maryland and Pennsylvania as part of an investigation into ties between American residents and the terrorist group Lashkar-e-Taiba, which is dedicated to the overthrow of Indian rule in Kashmir. Two other men who were also charged in the plot were taken into custody earlier this month, officials said, and three men are still wanted in Saudi Arabia.

Although the officials said there was no evidence of a plot against the United States, they charged that members of the group pledged support for pro-Muslim violence overseas, hoarded high-powered rifles and received military training in Pakistan.

Nine of the 11 defendants are American citizens, and three spent time in the United States military, the officials said. Justice Department officials called these details evidence that terrorist threats can be rooted in American society.

"Right here in this community, 10 miles from Capitol Hill, in the streets of northern Virginia, American citizens allegedly met, plotted and recruited for violent jihad," Paul J. McNulty, the United States attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia, told reporters today at a press conference in Alexandria, Va.

All the defense lawyers and family members of the men who responded to phone calls today denied the charges and said the young men, all in their 20's and 30's, were being wrongly accused in part because they were Muslims. They said the F.B.I. harassed the defendants after some of them were spotted in rural Virginia playing "paint ball" a game in which players use pressurized guns to shoot capsules of paint at each other.

"This is all just a falsification," said Ray Royer, a photographer in St. Louis whose son, Randall T. Royer, 30, of Virginia, was charged in the grand jury indictment. "There is no way in the world he did what they say he did."

"These allegations are untrue," said Salim Ali, defense lawyer for Ibrahim al-Hamdi, who is the son of a Yemeni diplomat. "These people were engaging in innocent and lawful activities."

Justice Department officials sketched a more sinister picture.

Seven members of the group traveled to Pakistan in the last several years, and some received military training in small arms, machine guns, grenade launchers and other weaponry at a camp in northeast Pakistan connected to Lashkar-e-Taiba, officials said.

Lashkar-e-Taiba, designated by the United States in 2001 as a terrorist group, opposes the continued Indian rule of the disputed province of Kashmir. It has been blamed for a series of high-profile terrorist attacks in the region, and law enforcement officials said that Iyman Faris the Ohio truck driver from Kashmir implicated last week in a plot to destroy the Brooklyn Bridge may have had ties to the group.

The 41-count indictment unsealed today charges the 11 suspects with conspiracy, firearms violations and commencing an expedition against a friendly nation in this case, India.

The indictment does not link the men to plans for any specific attack overseas, nor is there evidence the men were considering an attack within the United States or had ties to Al Qaeda. And officials were careful not to describe the group as a "sleeper cell" a term used to characterize suspected terrorist supporters in Lackawanna, N.Y., Seattle and elsewhere.

But Justice Department officials said the indictment demonstrated the government's aggressive strategy since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to prevent rather than react to terrorism.

Officials charged that the men conspired to help Muslims abroad in violent jihad not only in India, but also in Chechnya, the Philippines and other countries. The men, authorities charged, obtained AK-47's and other high-powered weaponry and practiced small-unit military tactics in Virginia using their paint ball weapons to simulate combat.

The indictment relies partly on the testimony of an unnamed, unindicted co-conspirator who was close to the group and appears to have given incriminating information about the others as part of an agreement with the government.
The indictment charges that the men pledged their willingness to die as martyrs in support of the Muslim cause and gathered in private homes and at an Islamic center in suburban Washington to hear lectures "on the righteousness of jihad" in Kashmir, Chechnya and elsewhere. They also watched videotapes showing Muslim fighters engaged in jihad, the indictment said.

The informant advised the group in a message in February of this year, celebrating the crash of the space shuttle Columbia, that "the United States was the greatest enemy of Muslims," according to the indictment. It said Masoud Khan, a Maryland man who was indicted, had a document titled "The Terrorist's Handbook," with instructions on how to manufacture and use explosives and chemicals as weapons, as well as a photograph of F.B.I. headquarters in Washington.

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