Ilham Tohti on separatism‑related charges serving a life sentence in China


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Ilham Tohti, who has become one of the most prominent political prisoners in China after his arrest in January 2014, was sentenced to life in prison last week. Amid the developments in the Middle East and the clashes between the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) and Kurdish groups in Kobani, many have missed this important verdict and the debates on its possible outcomes for the ethnic conflict in Xinjiang and the human rights situation in China.

First of all, the verdict demonstrates that China is becoming increasingly predictable in its patterns of behavior regarding human rights and defiant to the principles of the international community. In reality, nobody was surprised when Ilham Tohti was arrested in China. Even the life sentence did not shock many human rights advocates working on different issues of human rights and basic liberties in China. For years now, by constantly witnessing these forms of violations, the international community started to be less sensitive and Western governments “learned” to become satisfied with the minimum level of improvements in human rights in China. For years, very small gestures and the release of individual political prisoners as a result of international pressure have been regarded as “a major step” toward the improvement of conditions in the country. However, these “major steps” did not bring any form of structural reform or development in the state of human rights in the country. While Beijing remained reluctant to make these reforms, Western democracies started to bring human rights less frequently to their agendas of meetings with China. The global economic recession deteriorated the situation further as many Western countries started to approach human rights issues as a burden to their economic policies and trade relations with China. This situation may bring short term benefit for the economies of these countries, however, in the long run it is generating a major threat for the international system as a whole. What is being neglected here is how the government’s treatment of its citizens can have a major influence to its pattern of behavior in foreign relations, which can make it less cooperative and more assertive and aggressive. In addition, the defiance of a single country to the principles of the international community can generate a model for other less powerful authoritarian regimes in different parts of the world and may help the spread of authoritarianism. This situation presents a clear threat for an already unstable international system today.

 

Secondly, the arrest and sentencing of Ilham Tohti, who was considered as the most moderate voice among Uighurs in China, is also indicative of the possible path of ethnic conflict in the region. So far, authorities in China rejected to recognize anyone that voiced the demands and grievances of the Uighur minority. There is no political space for Uighur dissent to organize and ask for their rights in the country and every form of criticisms is perceived as a major threat. This situation prevents the emergence of a healthy and meaningful dialogue where parties can discuss their problems and possible ways they could be resolved. Uighur organizations abroad are considered “groups under the influence of foreign powers” and “external elements,” whereas more religious and conservative organizations are portrayed as being “fundamentalists” and “radicals.” The last hope of emergence of a meaningful and healthy dialogue between Uighurs and the Chinese state was the rise of personalities such as Ilham Tohti. However, the arrest and sentencing of Tohti demonstrates that China does not recognize the existence of a problem, will continue to avoid paying attention to the despair and grievances of the Uighur people and will not engage in a dialogue with Uighurs to resolve the problems. Without this dialogue it is hard to be optimistic and to expect the highly touted “social harmony” in the country.

 

Both of these outcomes presents a clear threat for both liberty and security of Uighurs and stability and prosperity of China as well as the future of human rights and fundamental liberties in international system. Thus this verdict provides us every reason to be less optimistic for the resolution of the ethnic conflict in the region.

How does hypocrisy play a role in a civilized society?


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Hypocrisy, in the sense of professing to believe one thing but actually practicing, or believing in, something different, is essential in any civilized society. Under the broad spectrum of hypocrisy come such survival techniques as good manners, politeness, diplomacy, euphemism, those ‘little white lies’, and wisely-formulated policies which include ‘the customer is always right’ and ‘money talks’. When we meet a person for the first time, perhaps socially, in a business or work situation, or through family, and that person proves to be the most utterly boring person we’ve ever met, we would be extremely ill-mannered, not to mention unwise, to tell this person we can’t bear another second of their company, and march off. Instead, we’ll nod politely, and find somewhere else we need to be as soon as possible. This form of hypocrisy is known as good manners. Similarly, if another person is introduced to us as a cattle farmer, and proceeds to speak proudly of their business, we shouldn’t instantly inform our new acquaintance that we believe all cattle-farmers to be little better than sadistic murderers of innocent creatures, parasites who make money by gratifying barbaric and carnivorous humans, and then throw a handy bottle of blood all over the surprised farmer. No matter how fierce a vegetarian we might be at heart, we’ll instead pretend to listen politely while quickly seeking an excuse to diplomatically move away. This is also good manners. Whatever we might think of another person, or their beliefs, or their business, or whatever else about them there might be that we don’t like, to make our distaste or even disgust obvious is a bad thing to do. We can hardly avoid meeting many people we might disapprove of while in company with others to whom we give, or owe, respect. To behave badly towards another in that company is to behave badly to all present. Where hypocrisy becomes distasteful and unpleasant is in circumstances where a person professes – for instance – good intentions, or good deeds, when we know perfectly well they’d take the last piece of candy from a starving baby. In other words, we know they’re lying about themselves. Again, because we live in a civilized society, we usually dont want to, or can’t, call them a filthy hypocrite loudly to their faces or to people we know will pass our comments back to them. We might keep quiet not because we condone their behavior but because to publicly condemn them might bring about unfortunate consequences to others, not to mention ourselves. Every day we make the decision to speak to or about people in a certain way; to behave towards them in one manner or another. If in every instance we behaved exactly the way we felt, we wouldn’t last long in any civilized society. We need to temper our reactions, our responses, with the realization that our need to live within a community involves civilized behavior. Mostly we do this without much, if any, conscious thought. But when the necessity arises to behave in a way at odds with our conscience, we weigh up the alternatives, to ourselves and to others, and respond accordingly. It isn’t clear cut, not black and white, at all. A small child might see its parent behave politely towards someone that child knows is despised by the parent, and feel outraged, even without knowing the term, ‘hypocrisy’. A wise parent will explain as simply as possible what has happened and why. Even without the advantage of wise parents, the child will in any case grow to learn how to instinctively respond to others so that their place in the community – civilized society – remains as pleasant as possible. When a really important struggle with one’s conscience arises, and it doesn’t usually arise all that frequently, then we can only make the best possible decision we can, taking the needs of others into consideration as well as our personal need to be honest. There is no shame in finding hypocrisy might be the best policy. Just call it good manners, and avoid lying about yourself: that’s the bad sort of hypocrisy which is, after all, also bad manners.

Protectionism


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Any of several political-economic doctrines that have in common advocating that government impose political barriers to international trade (usually taxes on imports or quantitative restrictions limiting the volume of legally allowable imports of each particular good) in order to “protect” a domestic firm (or firms) manufacturing these same goods from foreign competition and thereby make it (them) more profitable than would otherwise be the case under free competition. Although difficult to justify on the basis of economic theory, protectionist measures often enjoy considerable political support because it is usually much easier for a tiny group of firms (and their associated labor unions) that stand to benefit greatly from a protectionist measure to organize for political influence than it is for the much larger group of consumers who each stand to lose smaller individual amounts by the proposed measure — even though the total losses normally greatly exceed the total gains.

 Social Issues in Today’s Society


The following article lists some of the prominent social issues that are present in today’s society, which should be dealt with immediately, if society has to run smoothly and progress.

Society social Issues can be defined as problems or matters, which affect a person, a group of persons or the whole society in general, either directly or indirectly. Social issues in society thus, have a very wide scope.

List of Social Issues in Today’s Society

Alcoholism

Food and Drug Safety

Tax Separation

Global Warming

Birth Control

Abortion

Suicide

Drug Abuse

Capital Punishment

Media, Sex and Violence

Animal Rights

Homosexuality

Poverty

Women’s Rights

Anti-Muslim Discrimination and Violence

World population

Same-sex marriage

Organ & body donation

Human Rights

Environmental Pollution

Children’s Rights

Corporate Downsizing

Defense Spending and Preparedness

Euthanasia & assisted suicide

Eating Disorders

Unemployment

Homelessness

Racial profiling

Welfare

Recycling and Conservation

HIV/AIDS

Civil Rights

Genetic Engineering

Consumer Debt and Bankruptcy

Obesity

Terrorism

Judicial Reform

Censorship

Violence

Academic Freedom

Gun Control

Gender issues

Environmental issues

Single Parenting

Child Labor

Immigration

Tobacco

Nuclear Proliferation

Ageism

Stress

Cancer

Prostitution

Gay Marriages

Education

Health Care

Reform

Affirmative Action

Revelations about Social Issues in Today’s Society

Health Issues

As can be seen from the above list, the social issues can affect it on a number of levels. Also, some of these common issues in society are inter-related. For example, there are health issues, which arise due to the increase in number of people detected with life-threatening diseases like cancer and AIDS every year. This social issue can be handled only if another issue i.e. health care reform, is dealt with appropriately.

Teen Issues

Teenagers most of the times feel immense pressure to do well at college, at house and in communal groups. Simultaneously, they do not have the experience and understanding of life that allows them to realise that problematical circumstances do not remain forever.

Psychological problems usually linked with teenagers, like depression, play a vital role in motivating them to commit suicide. Some of these issues, or a blend of them, can possibly turn out to be such a cause of grief that they look for their release in suicide.

In spite of this people are unwilling to talk about it. This is partially because of the disgrace, remorse or humiliation that surrounds it. Sadly, it also stops individuals from openly discussing about the grief or anguish they suffer from. If helped in the right way, the ratio of suicide among teens can be lowered. Therefore, to save the asset of our country we must make sure that we infuse our youth with self-assurance and confidence so they can pave their way to success.

Gender Issues

Geographically and culturally Pakistan is very diverse, but violence against women is endemic, and widespread, cutting across all differences. It is found on streets and in homes, in offices and bedrooms. Gender-based violence in Pakistan includes domestic violence, rape, trafficking, honor killings, forced prostitution, public humiliation, incest, child marriages, and sexual harassment. Extreme forms of physical abuse include burning, acid throwing, physical mutilation and female infanticide. However it was not until the 1980s that violence was exposed to public scrutiny, and only in the Nineties did the issue gain acceptance, especially by the government. Gender-based violence both reflects and reinforces inequities between men and women and compromises the health, dignity, security and autonomy of its victims. It encompasses a wide range of human rights violations, including sexual abuse of children, rape, domestic violence, sexual assault and harassment, trafficking of women and girls and several harmful traditional practices. Any one of these abuses can leave deep psychological scars, damage the health of women and girls in general, including their reproductive and sexual health, and in some instances, results in death.

Economic Issues

Pakistan is facing Economic challenges. It shows that our country is in the list of under developed countries. The government gained 4.3 per cent economic growth but with gas and load shedding problems they didn’t achieve the targets. So due to lake of experience and knowledge they came in the figure of 2.2 per cent growth which shows almost no growth in the current year. The major problem in Pakistan is increase in population which is directly effecting our economic growth. Of course, due to higher rate of population, we should increase our investments but due to less financial reserves this investment is not possible. The present rate of GDP is around 14 percent which is lower than the developing countries. If we want to increase our investments for getting higher growth we should increase our savings for GDP to at least 20 percent, especially when foreign investments are not involved.

International Issues

Internationally, the most important issues today are – terrorism and global warming. Global warming, as everybody knows has resulted in change in weather and temperatures all over the world. United States itself has felt its fury by way of the ferocious hurricanes in the past. Islamic terrorism, particularly handing the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, is another social issue plaguing the world.

 

These are some of the major social issues present in today’s society. Efforts need to be made at an individual, national, international and political level, to tackle them with conviction and in time.

Political Business 


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A business cycle that results primarily from the manipulation of policy tools (fiscal policy, monetary policy) by incumbent politicians hoping to stimulate the economy just prior to an election and thereby greatly improve their own and their party’s reelection chances. Expansionary monetary and fiscal policies have politically popular consequences in the short run (tax cuts, falling unemployment, falling interest rates, new government spending on services for special interests, etc.). Unfortunately these very policies, especially if pursued to excess, can also have very unpleasant consequences in the longer term (accelerating inflation, an unsustainably low rate of savings to support future investment, damage to the foreign trade balance, long-term expansion of government’s share of the GDP at the expense of people’s disposable incomes, etc.). So immediately after the election is over (and the next election is far away), politicians tend to “bite the bullet” and reverse course by raising taxes, cutting spending, slowing the growth of the money supply, allowing interest rates to rise, etc. Thus the regular holding of elections tends to produce a boom-and-bust pattern in the economy because of the on-again-off-again pattern of government stimulus and restraint encouraged by trying to schedule an artificial boom at every election time.

 

Youthful Importance in Politics


Unfortunately,  the youth of today have been given such a bad name when it is only a minority of people who are creating social disruption. Most youthful people are motivated and long to do well in everything they do, which means they could be a very important aspect in politics.

 

Firstly, young people have different perspectives and a host of different ideas. By allowing them to voice their opinion we could be opening and moving the political world forward. This is not only good for society, but necessary for society. If the young did not engage with politics, even if it is through pressure groups, there would be many issues with our political establishments in trying to keep policy fair and sustainable for future generations. For example, equal rights for women required many young women to engage with the issue at hand. Why? Because they had strong feelings for the issue at hand, and that is something that countries should work to increase – interest and opinion on political matters.

 

How do we do this? Other than the obvious, reading the paper and consulting with your area counsellor, there are a plenty of exciting opportunities for the young to get involved.

 

Many people may take this as too heavy and wish for a lighter relief of politics. Hence, the coining of the term e-democracy. Just by reading this post right now you are engaging and informing yourself with politics; e-democracy. And, double congratulations if you are young because you are doing what we want you to, and engaging with the most confusing yet important subject in the world

 

We strongly believe that not enough is done for the young of today to get involved with politics and, as a large portion of our society, they should be allowed more access to politics to shape the world they live in.

 

Unfortunately,  the youth of today have been given such a bad name when it is only a minority of people who are creating social disruption. Most youthful people are motivated and long to do well in everything they do, which means they could be a very important aspect in politics.

 

Firstly, young people have different perspectives and a host of different ideas. By allowing them to voice their opinion we could be opening and moving the political world forward. This is not only good for society, but necessary for society. If the young did not engage with politics, even if it is through pressure groups, there would be many issues with our political establishments in trying to keep policy fair and sustainable for future generations. For example, equal rights for women required many young women to engage with the issue at hand. Why? Because they had strong feelings for the issue at hand, and that is something that countries should work to increase – interest and opinion on political matters.

 

How do we do this? Other than the obvious, reading the paper and consulting with your area counsellor, there are a plenty of exciting opportunities for the young to get involved.

 

Many people may take this as too heavy and wish for a lighter relief of politics. Hence, the coining of the term e-democracy. Just by reading this post right now you are engaging and informing yourself with politics; e-democracy. And, double congratulations if you are young because you are doing what we want you to, and engaging with the most confusing yet important subject in the world

 

We strongly believe that not enough is done for the young of today to get involved with politics and, as a large portion of our society, they should be allowed more access to politics to shape the world they live in.

There is only one way out


All analysist, newsmen, or any of the speaker are unable to give a proper reply that how these problems of Pakistan can be solved, how to control the suicide bombers, how to get rid of Karachi target killings, how to overcome

The Shia Sunni conflict.

Every one only speaks Bla Bla Bla

One Champion newsmen is advising first to deweaponise the karachi City. In 1992 the Goverment of Nawaz Sharif and The than Army Chief General Asif Nawaz started vigouresly to deweaponise Karachi City, some what they were successful because the innocent masses have no information of the nefarious motives of Asif Nawaz and Nawaz Sharif. After deweaponising Innocent people of karachi they have launched a massive ethnic clensing of Urdu speaking peoples or Mohajirs fifteen thousand mohajirs as per MQM and as per UNO 17136 proples were onslaughtered and massacared in the name of Islam and Pakistan.

In Punjab secretariat, 80% officials are coming from Lahore and Gujrat.In sindh secretariat, 90% coming from Ranipur and Khairpur. In pakhtoonkhwah, 90% coming from Peshawar and Charsaddah. In Baluchistan secretariat is filled by a couple of tribes.

In Punjab all resources 48% are consumed in North Punjab, In Sindh 96% of resources are spent in rural Sindh In Pakhtunkhawa, and Baluchistan excluding the era of 2001 to 2008 all the way the situation is same.

Due to sale and purchase of Government Jobs which is 100% true . 24% Government Jobs are purchased and controlled by Qadianies ( source Tahreek e Khatam e Nabuat) 36% Jobs purchase and controlled by Shiites ( source Sipah e Sahaba)

If any Ruler, any Feudal Lord, or any vultures like politicians

Think with these insane mentality

of 1860 subject rule system will prevail then He is misleading himself as well as a to the peoples of Pakistan

The problem of Pakistan can only be solved by the system adopted by India 53 Provinces population 1100 millions Turkey 81 provinces 75 Millions and Algeria 30 provinces 35 Million pakistan has a population of 190 Million so the provinces must be 125 provinces

As adopted by General Musharraf but to the ill fate of Pakistan he has not demolished these idols like eliphanti provinces.

After these provinces can run their business as per 18th Amendments. Besides there is a no way out.

 

Pakistan’s unbeautiful minds and the Abbottabad Commission’s leaked report.


 

More than two years after U.S. Navy SEALs shot and killed Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden in the Pakistani garrison city of Abbottabad, an extensive report commissioned by the previous Pakistani government—and leaked by the Al Jazeera news network—on the daring raid leaves some old, uncomfortable questions unanswered.

Made public by Al Jazeera on July 9, the 337-page report was prepared by a four-member panel led by a Supreme Court justice, Javed Iqbal. This Abbottabad Commission holds state institutions responsible for the clandestine stay in Pakistan of the world’s most dangerous terrorist. The report doesn’t name any one institution, but uses instead blanket expressions indicting everyone responsible for national security.

This is routine. When the subject of inquiry is the Army or its intelligence agencies, inquiry commissions don’t name names and pretend to be mystified by the subject. The judicial probe into the May 2011 disappearance and killing of Asia Times online journalist Saleem Shahzad took six months instead of the mandated six weeks to say it didn’t know who killed him. Shahzad had reported on Karachi’s Mehran naval base attack the same month which killed 10. He said it was triggered by the Pakistan Navy not releasing a group of officers it had arrested on suspicion of being Al Qaeda members. Shortly after the article’s publication, Shahzad was picked up in Islamabad. His pummeled body was found in a watercourse days later.

The Abbottabad Commission report says no proof was found of anyone’s complicity in bin Laden’s nine-year stay in Pakistan; the intelligence agencies responsible for knowing his whereabouts also remained clueless. Yet it does not completely rule out complicity while asserting that the Commission found no proof of it. “This failure included negligence and incompetence and at some undetermined level a grave complicity may or may not have been involved,” states the report. Clearly, even this innuendo must have required some courage.

What the Commission wants to say is simply this: We did not find any evidence of anyone being complicit in bin Laden’s successful efforts to find safe hiding places; but “grave complicity” may or may not have taken place. It didn’t use “may” alone, and added “may not” probably to achieve consensus on whether the Commission should clearly indicate the possibility of complicity. To insist on such a possibility without clearly saying so, the report states: “[It is] a story of complacency, ignorance, negligence, incompetence, irresponsibility and possibly worse at various levels inside and outside the government.” The words “possibly worse” point to something that the five adjectives used earlier did not convey.

The reluctance of the report to speak of complicity unambiguously may point to a consensus within the Commission to stay circumscribed in its pursuit of truth so as not to tilt the country into a fresh bout of instability—and the state into a new crisis of accountability. There may have been a consensus on not pursuing certain lines of inquiry that would have required going the whole hog on possible new leads. One such lead lay in the suspicious proximity of the “Mansehra terrorist training camp” to bin Laden’s final residence.

Ghost at the Banquet

It is intriguing that the Mansehra camp was not referred to in connection with bin Laden. The report carries the following itinerary of bin Laden’s movements: he was in Pakistan for nine years, out of which he spent five or six in Abbottabad, starting 2006 first. Reports about the location of a terrorist camp in Mansehra started floating since 2001, when a group of terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament and almost triggered a sub-nuclear war between India and Pakistan. Bin Laden was in Bajaur first and probably escaped an Air Force attack because of “prior information.” He was then in Peshawar and Karachi, before going to Swat, from where he is supposed to have gone to Haripur before finally settling in Abbottabad.

The Commission should have looked into the flurry of reports about Mansehra, simply because it was a mere 20 kilometers from where bin Laden had decided to live.Daily Times’ Washington correspondent Khalid Hasan filed a report on Aug. 22, 2005, which identified one Sher Ali of North Waziristan who was sent to Mansehra by warlord Jalaluddin Haqqani for “a 20-day weapons training course at a secret mountain camp.” Ali was later captured in Afghanistan. Bin Laden had run training camps for Pakistani nonstate actors during the war against the Soviet Union; he could be funding the Mansehra camp for the same nonstate actors in 2006.

An early domestic testimony about Mansehra has come from Adnan Rasheed, the former Air Force officer turned terrorist, who was sprung from a jail in Bannu last year after a Taliban raid that was hardly resisted by the prison guards. The Taliban declared after the jailbreak that they had spent “over [Rs. 20 million] on the operation.” The money almost certainly went to those who transferred a dangerous terrorist from the military stronghold of Rawalpindi to Bannu, a semi-tribal area where the Taliban virtually rule in a doubtful diarchy with the local administration. After this clear case of “complicity,” Rasheed talked to an English-language Taliban journal, this March, and revealed how he had landed at Mansehra after joining the jihad:

“Brother X urged me to join the Taliban Air Force that needed skilled men. He kept on giving me [invitation to Islam] and kept on calling me to the path of Allah and His Prophet. Then I and Brother X left the [PAF] squadron. Brother X had some terms with Maulana Masood Azhar, so he took me to the Jaish-e-Muhammad office and then to the Mansehra training camp. He introduced me to them and then went back to his duty in Peshawar. I stayed in their camp for 23 days waiting to go along with some other brothers to Afghanistan; meanwhile, I was interviewed by many commanders; finally, they said that they had made my [delegation] back to my [PAF] Air Force squadron. They told me that I should work there and give the [invitation] of jihad.”

Maulana Masood Azhar is a wanted terrorist about whom Pakistan’s official position is that he is probably not in Pakistan. He belongs to the deniable list of internationally wanted people that once included bin Laden and now includes Mullah Omar. Blogging for the Washington-based think tank Brookings Institution, Bruce Riedel wrote on July 3: “Mullah Omar, who most believe lives under ISI protection in Quetta … He has not been seen in public in years. On rare occasions, a message is issued in his name but he never appears in front of his followers. For all the world knows, the self-styled Commander of the Faithful may be dead, mad or incapacitated.”

Karachi is supposed to be under siege from a number of Taliban terrorist groups, all of them affiliated with Al Qaeda. If the Mansehra camp belongs to Jaish it establishes a link, first between Jaish and Al Qaeda, and then between the operators of jihad within the deep state and Al Qaeda under “Sheikh Osama.” Late last year, a target-killer caught in Karachi revealed that he was working for the Taliban on a monthly salary of Rs. 15,000 and had trained at the Mansehra camp 10 months earlier. Sitting atop a loose terrorist hierarchy in Pakistan, Al Qaeda is ceremonially accepted as patron mainly because of its ability to fund camps. In the good old days of America-backed Afghan jihad against the Soviet Union, Pakistan’s ISI commandos, like Colonel Imam, were training fighters in camps financed by Al Qaeda.

If the Abbottabad Commission report has ignored Mansehra, foreign journalists have not. Right after the killing of bin Laden, the Associated Press news agency filed the following story on May 23, 2011, from Ughi in district Mansehra: “Three men who identified themselves as mujahideen told the AP that the training complex is one of at least three in the region that between them house hundreds of recruits. The mission, the three say, is aimed at taking recruits to Kashmir to fight Pakistan’s archenemy, India. But Kashmiri veterans have been known to join forces with Al Qaeda and other terror groups, including those fighting the U.S. and its allies in Afghanistan and elsewhere.” The last sentence of the report is typical: “When contacted by the AP last week, the Army denied there are any training camps or any facilities hidden away in the Mansehra area. ‘The allegations are baseless,’ said spokesman Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas.”

Why did bin Laden opt for Abbottabad, which is home to the prestigious Pakistan Military Academy training newly recruited officers and therefore unsafe for him? The reason perhaps was that he had to be closer to the training camp run by a Punjab-based terrorist group he was fond of; and he could be sure that another terrorist group similarly intimate with him dominated Abbottabad and its environs. The two groups, one run by Maulana Masood Azhar and the other run by Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khaleel, were once united under the name, Harkatul Mujahideen. Warriors belonging to these groups had accompanied bin Laden to Sudan when he fled the onset of civil war among the Pakistan-backed Afghan mujahideen after the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan.

On June 22, 2011, The New York Times reported: “Harkat has especially deep roots in the area around Abbottabad, and the network provided by the group would have enhanced bin Laden’s ability to live and function in Pakistan, analysts familiar with the group said. Its leaders have strong ties with both Al Qaeda and Pakistani intelligence, and they can roam widely because they are Pakistanis, something the foreigners who make up Al Qaeda’s ranks can’t do. Even today, the group’s leader, Maulana Fazlur Rehman Khaleel, long one of bin Laden’s closest Pakistani associates, lives unbothered by Pakistani authorities on the outskirts of Islamabad.”

Khaleel reportedly also handled bin Laden’s correspondence. It is difficult to imagine him acting as the arch-terrorist’s post office while presumably living under close intelligence surveillance. The Americans also traced cellphone calls made by Harkat operatives in Abbottabad to ISI officers. But what about the other favorite of bin Laden, the “whereabouts-unknown” Maulana Masood Azhar?

Rise Jaish

Jaish-e-Muhammad was created by Maulana Masood Azhar after falling out with Khaleel in 2001. The split was formalized by Mufti Shamzai of Banuri seminary who had facilitated the first meeting between Mullah Omar and bin Laden in Karachi in the early years of the Afghan jihad. This was the same Shamzai who, while accompanying a post-9/11 delegation led by then ISI chief Lt. Gen. Mahmud Ahmed, ended up persuading Mullah Omar to go on fighting the Americans instead of causing Al Qaeda to leave Afghanistan. (An Afghan witness has avowed that it was the general who so hated the Americans—like other ISI chiefs from Hamid Gul to Shuja Pasha—that he advised Mullah Omar to take on the Americans.)

Shamzai was killed by a sectarian hit squad in 2004 at the height of attacks on the Shia in which organizations linked to him through instruction and tutelage were involved. Maulana Azhar was his favorite student at the Banuri madrassah, and he was also close to bin Laden much in the same way as the Abdullah Ghazi family running Islamabad’s Lal Masjid: as an R&R muster point for Al Qaeda members and their nonstate actor affiliates.

Azhar was born in 1968 and completed his religious training at Shamzai’s seminary, where he then taught for two years until 1989. Jihad was a family affair. Ibrahim, his brother, went to Afghanistan at the age of 19, and later took along their father as well. Rabiya, Azhar and Ibrahim’s sister, worked for the Taliban government in Afghanistan. Ibrahim made many trips to Afghanistan and was part of the team put together for the 1999 hijacking of Indian Airlines Flight 814. The aircraft was forced to land in Afghanistan, where the Taliban released Indian passengers in return for the freedom of Azhar and others from jail in India. (The Indians had nabbed Azhar from Srinagar in 1994.)

Azhar is said to have met bin Laden in Medina in the early ’90s when both were disguised. His mission was to bring his jihadi organization under the aegis of Al Qaeda, which he accomplished in 1993 by placing himself close to warlord Farah Eidid in Somalia while bin Laden was based in neighboring Sudan. The same year Eidid ended up killing 24 Pakistani troops doing U.N. peace duty in Mogadishu. Azhar was a great fundraiser and a man of action, and was liked by both Shamzai and bin Laden. Shamzai placed him in Mansehra to guard his “sectarian belt”—stretching from Mansehra to Besham and Jaglot Kohistan, which also connects with Swat—in addition to doing the job of asymmetric terrorism in India. When his boys attacked the Indian Parliament in 2001, it nearly caused a war between India and Pakistan.

Bin Laden attracted Pakistan because of his ability to get money for terrorist training without asking if the planned terrorism was against America or India. His hatred for America was seemingly shared by many serving Pakistani senior officers in the military at the time. Secular officers hated America for its post-1965 tilt toward India and subsequent non-recognition of Pakistan as a long-term nuclearized ally; Islamist officers interfaced with Al Qaeda and its affiliated nonstate actors at a much deeper level. Nothing demonstrates this pathology more than the contents of the Abbottabad Commission report recording the deposition of the former director-general of Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt. Gen. Shuja Pasha.

Crass Brass

Questioning the role of former president and Army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pasha said “Musharraf had caved in so promptly and so completely to the U.S. demands that Shamsi airbase was given to them for drone strikes against people in Pakistan. Someone should have told the Americans that enough is enough, but in vain, and both the ‘political and military elite were responsible for this lapse.’” As if in response, the Commission too succumbed to the fallacy of “national sovereignty” and joined the former spy chief in his clearly unbalanced rhetoric without a thought for the loss of state writ over almost 60 percent of Pakistan’s territory to Al Qaeda and its Taliban allies. The Commission probably needed a psychiatrist at hand to interpret Pasha’s statements.

This year a more revealing book by a much-lionized and bemedaled retired general, Shahid Aziz, paraded this pathology more clearly. In his acclaimed Urdu-language autobiography, Yeh Khamoshi Kahan Tak (How long this Silence?), with its telltale subtitle Ek Sipahi ki Dastan-e-Ishq-o-Junoon (The Story of Passion and Madness of a Soldier), he writes: “The bombs that kill innocent Pakistanis in bazaars and mosques are planted by friends of America, and this terrorism is done to persuade Pakistan to embrace America more closely, allow the government to pursue pro-America policies and to alienate Pakistan from the mujahideen. But this trend of support to the killers of Muslims is open rebellion against Allah.”

What should interest any psychiatrist is the following confession Aziz makes about himself: “Why am I full of contradiction? Why can’t I be balanced? Then I console myself with the thought that a pendulum has a balance too; what use is balance that is static and frozen? Real balance is in movement. One should be flying back and forth on a swing.”

The change of mind about such officers among the newly-elected political leadership was revealed when on June 18, Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan uttered the following sentence: “We need to purge the Army and its leadership of people like [ex-ISI chief]  General Pasha. Although Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani has kept himself away from politics, people like Pasha still exist in the Army.”

There may be senior officers in the military who have taken one step further from where Pasha stands. Many, including some officers at the Shamsi base that Pasha mourns, have reportedly joined banned terrorist organizations like Hizb-ut-Tahrir and have thought of taking over the military’s command by staging a coup. The most blatant first indication of such indiscipline came in Maj. Gen. Ameer Faisal Alavi’s letter to London’s Sunday Times suggesting that elements within the Army might kill him because he had reported two generals to the Army high command as actually working for Al Qaeda. Alavi was promptly killed by Maj. Haroon Ashiq, a deserter to Al Qaeda, in Islamabad in November 2008 on orders from Al Qaeda’s Lashkar-e-Zil chief, Ilyas Kashmiri. (Ashiq was acquitted by an antiterrorism court in 2010, and Kashmiri was killed by a drone in North Waziristan the following year)

Just as bin Laden seems to have been clandestinely favored and kept in hiding by certain America-hating Islamist elements, those favored by America—including former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, whose assassination in 2007 was owned by Al Qaeda—were chastised through bin Laden’s organization and its terrorist adjuncts.

 

Recipes From the Islamic State’s Laptop of Doom


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ANTAKYA, Turkey — The black Dell laptop found in an Islamic State safe house inside Syria not only contains instructions for how to weaponize the bubonic plague, it also includes thousands of files that provide a window into how would-be jihadists become radicalized, and how they learn to carry out their deadly craft.

The laptop of Muhammed S., a Tunisian chemistry and physics student who joined the Islamic State, contains an eclectic mix of speeches by jihadi leaders, neo-Nazi screeds, and U.S. Army manuals on specific aspects of warfare. It also contains glimpses of the 24-year-old jihadist’s former life, showing that he once had a weakness for the music of Celine Dion and a desire to find a good recipe for banana mousse.

The files from the laptop show that, once committed to jihad, Muhammed left Celine Dion behind and became more focused on how to poison people. One 21-minute clip, featuring former American Nazi Party member Kurt Saxon, offers instructions for how to obtain the deadly toxin ricin from castor beans. Saxon provides a detailed description of the process, producing the ricin on camera. “Now you really have some lethal stuff here!” he exclaims, once he is finished. “Now this is fan-tas-tic stuff!”

This is just one example from the massive amount of data discovered on Muhammed’s laptop. The computer contains 146 gigabytes of material and 35,347 files, almost all of which were added between 2009 and May 2013. All the files opened without a password, except for seven. Six of these password-protected files are in a folder titled “Sheikh Usama CD.”

The vast majority of the files are downloaded from the Internet, and contain practical or ideological instructions for waging jihad. A small percentage of the files, meanwhile, were produced by Muhammed himself. These include scanned copies of his chemistry exams at his university in Tunisia, and pictures of him and his family attending a wedding of an unknown female family member.

The laptop’s contents make it clear that its owner has one huge passion: destruction. The folders are meticulously organized:

In one folder marked “explosives” — a sub-folder within another marked “terrorist,” which is itself in a sub-folder marked “Jihadi” — Muhammed had gathered 206 documents.

In one folder marked “explosives” — a sub-folder within another marked “terrorist,” which is itself in a sub-folder marked “Jihadi” — Muhammed had gathered 206 documents.They include publications by Western authors for commercial sale, such as How to Make Semtex, Chemistry and Technology of Explosives, CIA Improvised Sabotage Devices, and The Car Bomb Recognition Guide. Also among the documents is A Guide to Field-Manufactured Explosives, which American author William Wallace begins by writing, “This book is for academic study only.”

As the titles above show, Muhammed did not limit himself to jihadi videos or publications. He appears to have consumed material from extremists of all stripes, downloading TheTerrorist’s Handbook, The Anarchist Cookbook, and a neo-Nazi e-book called The White Resistance Manual. He wasn’t even averse to turning to the hated American military for practical instruction: In a folder marked “military,” he collected 51 U.S. Army publications that are available online, such asSniper Training: U.S. Field Manual and U.S. Army — Psychological Operations Process Tactics, Techniques, and Procedures.

Muhammed also got his hands on two obscure English-language jihadi publications, TheMujahideen Explosives Handbook and The Mujahideen Poisons Handbook. In the preface to the latter work, the author, who gives his nom de guerre as Abdel Aziz, dedicates his publication to the jihadists in Afghanistan, “who lit the flame of jihad in the hearts of every sincere Muslim throughout the world.”

Abdel Aziz warns his audience to be cautious while preparing deadly toxins. “It is much, much more dangerous than preparing explosives!” he writes. “I know several [jihadists] whose bodies are finished due to poor protection etc. On the positive side, you can be confident that the poisons have actually been tried and tested (successfully, he he!).”

The laptop also contains extensive research on previous jihadi terrorist attacks. One compressed file named “Al-Qaeda Airlines” includes videos of the July 7, 2005, attacks in London and the 9/11 attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. Another 206-page document, titled “al Qaeda hallmarks,” contains extensive jihadi analyses of the terror group’s deadly strikes in Bali, Madrid, London, and the failed 2001 shoe bombing attack aboard an international flight bound for Miami, Florida.

Muhammed appears to have been a voracious consumer of speeches by jihadi ideologues. Most popular is Anwar al-Awlaki, the Yemeni-American religious leader linked to al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in September 2011. There are also speeches by al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden, current al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri, and former al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Muhammed also compiled speeches by 112 other jihadi leaders. They include Juhayman al-Otaybi, who led the attack on the Kaaba in Mecca in 1979; Sayyid Qutb, an important ideologue of the Muslim Brotherhood; Abdullah Azzam, bin Laden’s mentor and one of the main ideologues of al Qaeda; and Abdullah al-Nafisi, a Kuwaiti professor notable for calling for massive anthrax attacks within the United States and saying on Al Jazeera Arabic that he hopes American white supremacists succeed in attacking a nuclear power plant. “May Allah grant success to one of the militia leaders,” he said.

A series of documents on the laptop also advise jihadists on how to fly under the authorities’ radar while preparing for holy war.

A series of documents on the laptop also advise jihadists on how to fly under the authorities’ radar while preparing for holy war.They include tips on how to travel from one jihadi hot spot to another without attracting attention, how to dress, and how to fake passports. One particular preoccupation is the danger of using cellphones, which one paper describes as the equivalent of “carrying a moving spy with you.”

Not all of the files on the Islamic State laptop are recipes for jihad, war, killings, explosions, or poisonings. Some of the files show that Muhammed once lived a far more normal life, before being consumed by the desire to fight a holy war.

The laptop includes pictures of Muhammed in 2009 and 2010 dressed in Western clothes and without a beard while attending a wedding in Tunisia, playing soccer, and joking with his friends. There’s also evidence that Muhammed has a sweet tooth: The laptop contains recipes for baking a cake, making banana mousse, and for the preparation of caramel. He even kept some screen shots of a music playlist he listened to in January 2010, which included the songs of Celine Dion, as well as Shaggy’s”Hey Sexy Lady.”

Muhammed appears to have changed radically around 2011, however. After that date, the only songs he added are anasheed — arrhythmic, a cappella Islamic music.

The laptop also contains evidence that Muhammed’s family and the Tunisian government were aware of his radical turn, and that he was a growing threat. A handwritten statement dated April 22, 2013, was found on the laptop, signed by Muhammed’s father and stamped by the Tunisian Interior Ministry.

The document suggests he already knew his son had been seduced by the path of destruction. It reads: “I am committed on behalf of my son Muhammed S. to pay the price of any damages he causes, wherever he is.”