Thursday, March 20, 2014

Carlotta Gall

She claims physical abuse by the Pakistan Special Branch (or perhaps even agents of the ISI or MI).

This may have provided her with the motivation to write her book which accuses the Army Chief (Gen Ashfaque Pervez Kayani) and ISI chief (Gen Ahmed Shuja Pasha) in Pakistan of being knowledgeable about the presence of Osama Bin Laden.

Conclusion: keep a (well connected, foreign) reporter happy or else. We can also see the example of Neville Maxwell (reporting on the Indo-China war and his comments with regards to the Henderson-Brooks report).

New York Times correspondent Carlotta Gall tells ABC News she was assaulted by plain-clothed government security agents while reporting in Quetta, a Pakistani city near the Afghan frontier where NATO suspects the Taliban hides its shadow government.
Akhtar Soomro, a freelance Pakistani photographer working with Gall, was detained for five-and-a-half hours. According to Gall, the agents broke down the door to her hotel room, after she refused to let them enter, and began to seize her notebooks and laptop. When she tried to stop them, she says one of the men punched her twice in the face and head.
"I fell backwards onto a coffee table smashing the crockery," she recalled in a written account of the incident. "I have heavy bruising on my arms, on my temple and my cheekbone, and swelling on my left eye and a sprained knee." 

Gall says the agents accused her and Soomro of trying to meet the Taliban. They identified themselves as working for Pakistan’s Special Branch, an undercover police department, but Gall said other local reporters identified them as employees from one of the country’s two powerful spy agencies: Inter-Services Intelligence or Military Intelligence.  

a few of the conclusions as laid out in her book

On ISI and evidence of actual culpability (still no smoking gun as we can see):
In trying to prove that the ISI knew of Bin Laden’s whereabouts and protected him, I struggled for more than two years to piece together something other than circumstantial evidence and suppositions from sources with no direct knowledge. Only one man, a former ISI chief and retired general, Ziauddin Butt, told me that he thought Musharraf had arranged to hide Bin Laden in Abbottabad. But he had no proof and, under pressure, claimed in the Pakistani press that he’d been misunderstood. 

Finally, on a winter evening in 2012, I got the confirmation I was looking for. According to one inside source, the ISI actually ran a special desk assigned to handle Bin Laden. It was operated independently, led by an officer who made his own decisions and did not report to a superior. He handled only one person: Bin Laden. I was sitting at an outdoor cafe when I learned this, and I remember gasping, though quietly so as not to draw attention. (Two former senior American officials later told me that the information was consistent with their own conclusions.) This was what Afghans knew, and Taliban fighters had told me, but finally someone on the inside was admitting it. The desk was wholly deniable by virtually everyone at the ISI — such is how super secret intelligence units operate — but the top military bosses knew about it, I was told.

On Afghanistan: When I remember the beleaguered state of Afghanistan in 2001, I marvel at the changes the American intervention has fostered: the rebuilding, the modernity, the bright graduates in every office. Yet after 13 years, more than a trillion dollars spent, 120,000 foreign troops deployed at the height of the war and tens of thousands of lives lost, Afghanistan’s predicament has not changed: It remains a weak state, prey to the ambitions of its neighbors and extremist Islamists. This is perhaps an unpopular opinion, but to pull out now is, undeniably, to leave with the job only half-done. Meanwhile, the real enemy remains at large.

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