| Pakistan Taliban name Mullah Fazlullah new leader!

Pakistan Taliban name Mullah Fazlullah new leader ~ BBC.

Pakistan‘s Taliban have named Mullah Fazlullah as their new leader, after the death of Hakimullah Mehsud in a drone attack, a spokesman has said.

Mullah Fazlullah is a hardline chief from the Swat area whose men reportedly shot schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.

Mehsud was killed when missiles struck his vehicle in the North Waziristan region on 1 November.

Pakistan’s government accused the US of destroying its attempts to start peace talks with the Taliban.

Interior Minister Chaudry Nisar Ali Khan said that the drone strike was “not just the killing of one person, it’s the death of all peace efforts”.

The BBC’s Richard Galpin in Islamabad says Mullah Fazlullah is likely to be very much opposed to any peace initiative.

One Taliban spokesman, Shahidullah Shahid, told Reuters: “There will be no more talks as Mullah Fazlullah is already against negotiations with the Pakistan government.”

Mehsud clanThe announcement was made by the Taliban’s caretaker leader Asmatullah Shaheen at a press conference at an undisclosed location.

There was reportedly heavy celebratory gunfire in the Miranshah area when the news was announced.

Mullah Fazlullah led a brutal campaign in Swat between 2007 and 2009, enforcing hardline Islamic law that included burning schools, and public floggings and beheadings.

A military operation was launched to retake the area.

Mullah Fazlullah reportedly fled over the border into Afghanistan but Islamabad says he has continued to orchestrate attacks in Pakistan.

He was known for his radio broadcasts calling for strict Islamic laws and earning him the nickname “Mullah Radio”.

Prior to the latest announcement, the BBC’s M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad said that Mullah Fazlullah was not a member of the Mehsud clan and, if appointed, would face a challenge to control the Mehsud fighters, who make up the bulk of the Taliban’s manpower.

A Pakistani delegation had been due to fly to North Waziristan to discuss peace talks with Hakimullah Mehsud but he was killed in the drone strike the day before.

There had been some hope the new leader of the Taliban would be more open to the peace initiative.

Regional Taliban commander Khan Said Sajna, said to favour such a move, had been touted as a favourite before the latest announcement.

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| Drone known unkowns – no thanks Obama!

6 Months After Obama Promised to Divulge More on Drones, Here’s What We Still Don’t Know ~ Cora CurrierProPublica.

Nearly six months ago, President Obama promised more transparency and tighter policies around targeted killings. In a speech, Obama vowed that the U.S. would only use force against a “continuing and imminent threat to the American people.” It would fire only when there was “near-certainty” civilians would not be killed or injured, and when capture was not feasible.

The number of drone strikes has dropped this year, but they’ve continued to make headlines. On Friday, a U.S. drone killed the head of the Pakistani Taliban. A few days earlier came the first drone strike in Somalia in nearly two years. How much has changed since the president’s speech?

We don’t know the U.S. count of civilian deaths

The administration says that it has a count of civilian deaths, and that there is a “wide gap” between U.S. and independent figures. But the administration won’t release its own figures.

Outside estimates of total civilian deaths since 2002 range from just over 200 to more than 1,000.  The Pakistani government has given three different numbers: 400, 147, and 67.

McClatchy and the Washington Post obtained intelligence documents showing that for long stretches of time, the CIA estimated few or no civilian deaths. The documents also confirmed the use of signature strikes, in which the U.S. targets people without knowing their identity. The CIA categorized many of those killed as simply “other militants” or “foreign fighters.” The Post wrote that the agency sometimes designated “militants” with what seemed like circumstantial or vague evidence, such as “men who were ‘probably’ involved in cross-border attacks” in Afghanistan.

The administration reportedly curtailed signature strikes this year, though the new guidelines don’t necessarily preclude them. A White House factsheet released around Obama’s speech said that “it is not the case that all military-aged males in the vicinity of a target are deemed to be combatants.” It did not say that people must be identified. (In any case, the U.S. has not officially acknowledged the policy of signature strikes.)

Attorney General Eric Holder confirmed only that four Americans have been killed by drone strikes since 2009: Anwar al Awlaki and his sixteen-year-old son, Abdulrahman,Samir Khan, and Jude Kenan Mohammed. Holder said that only the elder Awlaki was “specifically targeted,” but did not explain how the others came to be killed.

Although Obama said that this disclosure was intended to “facilitate transparency and debate,” since then, the administration has not commented on specific allegations of civilian deaths.

We don’t know exactly who can be targeted

The list of groups that the military considers “associated forces” of Al Qaeda is classified. The administration has declared that it targets members of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and “elements of Al Shabaab, but there are still questions about how the U.S. determines that an individual belonging to those groups is in fact a “continuing and imminent threat.” (After the terror alarm that led to the closing of U.S. embassies this summer, officials told the New York Times they had “expanded the scope of people [they] could go after” in Yemen.)

This ties into the debate over civilian casualties: The government would seem to consider some people legitimate targets that others don’t.

Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch conducted in-depth studies of particular strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, respectively. They include eyewitness reports of civilian deaths. (Most of the deaths investigated happened before the Obama administration’s new policies were announced, although the administration has not said when those guidelines went into effect.) The reports also raised questions of the legality of specificstrikes, questioning whether the deaths were all unavoidable casualties of legitimate attacks.

It does not appear that the U.S. plans to expand strikes against Al Qaeda to other countries – officials have reportedly told Iraq, for example, it won’t send drones there. But the U.S. has established a surveillance drone base in Niger, and fed information from drones to French forces fighting in Mali.

We don’t know if the U.S. compensates civilian casualties

CIA director John Brennan suggested during his confirmation hearing that the U.S. madecondolence payments to harmed families. But there is little evidence of it happening. U.S. Central Command told ProPublica that it had 33 pages related to condolence payments – but wouldn’t release any of them to us.

We don’t always know which strikes are American

While unnamed officials sometimes confirm that strikes came from U.S. drones, other attacks may be from PakistaniYemeni, or even Saudi planes.

(It’s also worth noting that the U.S. has also used cruise missiles and Special Forces raids. But the bulk of U.S. counterterrorism actions outside Afghanistan in recent years appear to rely on drones.)

We don’t know the precise legal rationale behind the strikes

Some members of Congress have seen the legal memos behind targeted killing of U.S. citizens. But lawmakers were not granted access to all memos on the program.

Other congressmen have introduced bills with more reporting requirements for targeted killings. (Proposals for a “drone court” for oversight have not gotten very far.)

It’s far from clear that any of that additional oversight would lead to public disclosure.

The government and the American Civil Liberties Union and the New York Times arestill locked in court battles over requests for drone documents. While a judge has ruled the CIA can no longer assert the “fiction” that it can’t reveal if it has any interest in drones, the agency hasn’t been compelled to release any information yet. The government has also so far fought off disclosure of legal memos underpinning targeted killings.

 

And here are some things we’ve learned through leaks and independent reporting:

How the U.S. tracks targets: Documents provided by Edward Snowden to the Washington Post detailed the NSA’s “extensive involvement.” Lawyers in a terrorism-related case also uncovered reports that government surveillance of their client may have led to a drone strike in Somalia. The Atlantic published a detailed account of Yemen using a child to plant a tracking chip on a man who was killed in a U.S. strike.

What people in the countries affected think: The Pakistani government’s cooperation with at least some U.S. drone strikes – long an open secret – has now been well-documented. Public sentiment in the country is vividly anti-drone, even when violent Taliban commanders are killed, and politicians continue to denounce them as American interference. Limited polling in the region most affected by drones is contradictory, with some saying that at the very least, they prefer drones to the Pakistani military campaigns. Life in those areas is between a drone and a hard place: Residents told Amnesty International of the psychological toll from drones, and they also facereprisals from militants who accuse them of spying.

Yemen’s president continues to openly embrace U.S. strikes, though the public generally opposes them – particularly those strikes that hit lower-level fighters, or those whose affiliations with Al Qaeda aren’t clear. Foreign Policy recently detailed the aftermath of an August strike where two teenagers died. Their family disputes they had any link to terrorism.

The physical infrastructure: More of the network of drone bases across the world has been revealed – from the unmasking of a secret base in Saudi Arabia to the fact that drones had to be moved off the U.S. base in Djibouti, in the Horn of Africa, after crashes and fear of collision with passenger planes.

The CIA’s role: The administration had reportedly planned to scale back the CIA’s role in targeted killing, moving control of much of the drone program to the military. But the CIA reportedly still handles strikes in Pakistan and has a role in Yemen as well.

The history of the programs: Revelations continue to change our understanding of the contours of the drone war, but two books published this year offer comprehensive accounts – The Way of the Knife, by Mark Mazzetti of the New York Times, and Dirty Wars, by Jeremy Scahill.

A Scan Eagle unmanned aerial vehicle sits on the flight deck of the USS Gunston Hall in February 2012. (U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Lauren Randall/Released)

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hypocrisy meterC

| Another Murderous American Drone Strike!

Another Murderous American Drone Strike. ~ Peter Koenig, ICH.

The Western media are happily touting the success of another murderous American drone strike – killing Pakistan Taliban chief Hakimullah Mehsud – and 25 other Pakistani – just collateral damage, no more. Glorifying drone strikes. Glorifying killing. The West is used to it. Deep inside they may even like it.

Under the Obama Regime, assassinations are the order of the day.

Obama – so he proudly says, controls personally who has to die and who may live. He blesses the trigger boys.

That has never happened in US history before. Not even in the hell of the Bush years.

Washington has not only become the capital of a failed state – but the capital of a willing killing machine, lying around the world about terrorism that justifies eradication by random and cruel killing. It justifies the CIA, NSA and the US military as the good-doers of the world – which is basically what the US Senate accepted these last days after their soft questioning of NSA chief, Keith Alexander.

And the Western drugged-like indoctrinated populace buys it.

Not realizing that the only way this country, self-styled US empire, can survive is when its military-security killing complex – that swallows more than 50% of the state budget and spits out about two thirds of the American blood-soaked GDP – keeps assassinating people randomly, and is waging ‘freedom’ wars, one after one – keeping the military industrial complex – and the dollar printing presses alive.

We, the People, must halt this gruesome empire, this horrifying killing machine.
It must be stopped.

One assassination must be the last one.

We, the people, have an obligation, we the People – our future is at stake, our free and creative thinking, our countries ‘ sovereignty – our planet’s and children’s future is in danger – we the People, must act now.

Let me take the liberty to call upon the leaders of Russia and China, to do another humanitarian act, as they did before when they saved Syria from the immediate threat of US aggression – now again – — the only way the US does retreat from their criminal actions, is if their sick greed economy is jeopardized.

We the people want no more bloodshed. No more wars. We want to stop the killing. We want to ground the drones at once. We want the elite’s puppet, Obama’s criminal functions paralyzed at once. Once and for all.

We want to halt American aggressions, abuse and supremacy of one nation over the rest of the world.

We want equality.

Sovereign countries and people.

Freedom.

The Western economy is based on greed – economics of greed. Human greed is so strong – as Edward Bernays knew well, when he invented the almighty propaganda machine – that a sheer threat to its feeding economy may succeed. It will prompt a retreat – just to postpone as long as possible the feeder of greed, the fodder for greed – its sick economy.

We need an alternative economy – one of peace and equality, protecting our planet, one of justice and one that offers our children a future.

That’s why we ask the Russian and Chinese Governments for another humanitarian act. This time more than a threat – the actual launching of a new economy – abandoning the dollar, replacing it with local moneys and eventually with a new common currency – a new currency emerging from a basket of currencies initiated by the BRICS – and eventually of all those sovereign nations that participate.

The world will flock to this basket.

The American killing machine and the economy of greed that drives it will implode.

Peter Koenig is an economist and former World Bank staff. He worked extensively around the world and writes regularly forInformation Clearing House and other internet sites.

See also –

US Kills 25 people in Pakistan: The head of the Pakistani Taliban was killed by a US drone strike in Pakistan on Friday. “Among the dead, are Hakimullah’s personal bodyguard Tariq Mehsud and his driver Abdullah Mehsud, two of his closest people,” said one intelligence source, adding at least 25 people were killed in the strike.

Pakistan Taliban secretly bury leader, vow bombs in revenge: “Every drop of Hakimullah’s blood will turn into a suicide bomber,” said Azam Tariq, a Pakistani Taliban spokesman.

Khan Said is the new leader of the Taliban: Pakistan’s Taliban has chosen a veteran insurgent with a reputation for brutality as its new leader after a US drone strike killed Hakimullah Mehsud.

Pakistan accuses US of ‘scuttling’ Taliban talks with drone strike, summons ambassador:“Brick by brick in the last seven weeks we tried to evolve a process by which we could bring peace to Pakistan and what have you (the US) done?” Pakistan’s Interior Minister, Chaudhry Nisar, Ali Khan said. “You have scuttled it”

Pakistan reviews US relationship over Taliban drone kill: The Pakistani government is holding a high-level meeting to review its ties with the US. The country’s top officials were infuriated with the US drone assassination of a Taliban commander, who was about to engage in talks with Islamabad.

President Obama Reportedly Told His Aides That He’s ‘Really Good At Killing People‘: This will not go over well for the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize winner. According to the new book “Double Down,” President Barack Obama told his aides that he’s “really good at killing people” while discussing drone strikes.

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STOP DRONE WARa

| Pakistan reviews US relationship over Taliban drone kill!

Pakistan reviews US relationship over Taliban drone kill ~ RT.

The Pakistani government is holding a high-level meeting to review its ties with the US. The country’s top officials were infuriated with the US drone assassination of a Taliban commander, who was about to engage in talks with Islamabad.

The gathering on Sunday is to hammer out Islamabad’s response to the death of the Pakistani Taliban leader, Hakimullah Mehsud, who was killed by a US drone attack on Friday, hours before a planned meeting with a group of cleric mediators and ahead of an invitation to start talks with the Pakistani government.

“The murder of Hakimullah is the murder of all efforts at peace,” Pakistan Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisa said earlier, as he was decrying the drone attack.

“Brick by brick, in the last seven weeks, we tried to evolve a process by which we could bring peace to Pakistan and what have you [the US] done?” he said.

 

Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar (AFP Photo / Aamir Qureshi)Pakistani Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar (AFP Photo / Aamir Qureshi)

 

The killing of the Taliban commander sparked the worst-in-months outcry in Pakistan over American actions in the country. Some politicians called for a blockade of US truck convoys, which deliver supplies to the NATO-led coalition fighting in neighboring Afghanistan.

The Pakistani government halted the US transportation of military cargoes for seven months last year, in response to the botched US raid on two checkpoints in November, which left 24 Pakistani troops killed. Pakistan also ordered US troops to vacate the Shamsi airbase, which the Americans used for its Pakistan operations, including drone surveillance and strikes.

The threat to cut supply lines may be quite serious ahead of the planned pullout of troops from Afghanistan. However, Washington has considerable leverage over its uneasy ally, providing financial aid to cash-strapped Pakistan.

Under normal circumstances, the people of Pakistan would have celebrated the death of Mehsud, but the timing and means in which the Taliban leader died has made it very difficult for “Pakistanis to swallow”, Sultan M. Hali, a retired Pakistani Air Force officer and journalist, told RT.

Hali says one theory popularized within Pakistan is that the United States does not want fully withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014, but would rather leave a 20,000 strong contingent until 2024.

“It appears that everyone else is on board as far as the American plan is concerned except for Pakistan, so perhaps [the assassination of Mehsud] may be a move to destabilize Pakistan, to force them to withdraw whatever tacit approval or support they have for the Taliban, so that the American plans may continue. That is one of the major conspiracy theories going around, and there may be some credence to it.”

Meanwhile the Pakistani Taliban leaderships are going to choose a successor to Mehsud. Some reports said on Saturday that 38-year-old Khan Said, known as Sajna, had been chosen, but later comments said no final decision had been taken. The main competitor to Said, who is thought to be relatively moderate, is Mullah Fazlullah, a strictly conservative commander.

Following the killing the Taliban called off rapprochement with official Islamabad and pledged a campaign of retaliation bombings. If Fazlullah is chosen over Said, experts say, any attempts of peace talks with the radical movement is likely to be buried for months.

In a similar incident in Afghanistan, American military action last month ruined Kabul’s attempts to engage with the Afghan branch of the Taliban. US forces captured the Taliban commander, Latif Mehsud, who was Hakimullah Mehsud’s lieutenant, the man the Afghan government hoped could help them negotiate with the movement.

Pakistani Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud. (AFP Photo)

Pakistani Taliban commander Hakimullah Mehsud. (AFP Photo)

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