|China places six Uighurs on ‘terror’ list|
|BEIJING: China placed six men from the Uighur ethnic minority on a “terror” list, accusing them of involvement in terrorist training camps and of inciting attacks in the country’s restive western Xinjiang region. |
China’s Ministry of Public Security said the men, whose names identify them as Uighurs, were members of the outlawed East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), blaming one for orchestrating violent attacks in the city of Kashgar last July.
Chinese authorities have accused the ETIM, which wants an independent homeland for Xinjiang’s Uighurs, of orchestrating attacks in the region on many occasions. They also gave rare details of what they says are links between the militant groups and neighbouring countries, as it unveiled a list of six wanted suspects. The Ministry of Public Security published the names of the suspects, all apparently ethnic Uighurs, on its website late on Thursday, along with their photographs and an outline of their alleged crimes. All six had spent time in what the ministry called
The public security ministry on Thursday said in a statement that it had frozen the funds and assets of the six men, whose whereabouts are not known. China has blamed incidents of violence in Xinjiang, home to the Turkic-speaking Muslim Uighur people, on religious separatists who want to establish an independent state of East Turkestan.
|Pakistan doesn't want to be used by militants, says FM Khar|
|...it just works out that way.|
[Dawn] Pakistain does not want to be used as a base for groups and needs the world's understanding as it tries to handle its problems, the foreign minister said Wednesday.
Hina Rabbani Khar also said after a two-day trip to Beijing that she wanted to further bolster ties with China, which has been Pakistain's main supporter.
Chinese officials have blamed trained in Pakistain for deadly attacks in the far west region of Xinjiang last month.
"Pakistain just seeks the world's understanding for the current challenges that Pakistain is going through....we are the ones and our people are the ones that are paying the price who are experiencing the brunt of it," said Khar, who was named foreign minister about five weeks ago.
Khar, who held talks with her Chinese counterpart Yang Jiechi and met Premier , said Pakistain did not want groups.
"We have made it clear to our neighbours and we make it clear again that Pakistain has no interest for its territory to be used by any non-state actors against any other country," she said.
Islamabad is struggling to deal with the Pak Taliban and their affiliates, which seek to topple Pakistain's government.
Khar said Pakistain was increasing its counter-terrorism cooperation with China.
Last month about 20 people were killed in violence in the far western city of Kashgar in Xinjiang, and Chinese authorities said one attack was carried out by trained in weapons and bomb-making at camps run by the East Turkistan Islamic Movement in Pakistain.
The government hasn't disclosed evidence for that allegation.
Security has been tight across Xinjiang since 2009 when almost 200 people were killed in fighting between majority Han Chinese and the Uighur ethnic group.
Uighurs say they face employment and religious discrimination. China says all ethnic groups are treated equally and government investment and aid have dramatically raised living standards.
Xinjiang is China's Central Asian frontier, bordering Pakistain, Afghanistan, Russia and other countries. Kashgar was an important hub on the ancient route through which Chinese silk and other goods reached Europe.
|MSM gushes over Terrorists in Paradise Program|
|By Joel Mowbray|
It did not come with the promise of 72 virgins, but newly released Guantanamo Bay detainees managed to make it to paradise after all. What the fawning media neglected to mention was that these supposedly friendly lads all trained at an Al Qaeda-linked terrorist camp in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan. Not that you’ll hear any such inconvenient facts from the mainstream media, of course. Reporting the actual consequences of releasing terror suspects doesn’t help Obama’s goal—shared by most in the mainstream media—of closing Guantanamo Bay.
The absence of critical coverage might help explain why Team Obama is proudly still planning to reward even more Gitmo detainees soon with new digs in paradise—almost all of whom possess terror training on their résumés. Nor will the press spend much time explaining that taxpayers could be footing a bill of over $1 billion for the new Terrorists in Paradise Program (TM). Serving as a painful reminder to Americans about the degradation of journalism, the mainstream media “reported” on the exploits of hardened Islamic extremists—as they went swimming, fishing, and frolicking. Aside from FOX News, not one mainstream media outlet turned a critical eye to the “former” terrorism suspects flying to Bermuda on a private jet accompanied by President Obama’s lawyer, White House Counsel Greg Craig.
One aspect of the story did generate actual reportage—but only on one side of the Atlantic. U.K. news outlets reported that the British government was, ahem, “pissed.” Because of U.K. journalists, we know that the State Department ignored basic protocols by keeping in the dark America’s steadfast friend, which as Bermuda’s colonial master is responsible for its foreign policy. U.S. media outlets, in sadly typical fashion, largely glossed over the kerfuffle. Just for sheer news value, wouldn’t it make sense to cover the man-bites-dog story of how the president who was supposed to usher in an era of good diplomatic feelings had managed to “piss off” one of America’s closest allies?
Many fascinating angles abound, yet the media only regurgitated what it was spoon-fed by the White House. The most obvious question to explore: Why, if these Uighurs (as the Chinese Muslims are known) are actually the sweet souls suggested in countless stories over the weekend, did no other country want them? And why did the U.S. have to resort to knee-capping (or worse) one of its oldest—and most important—friends? News accounts have suggested that they are harmless chaps who were caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. Perhaps. But the “wrong place” was very wrong: Pakistan and Taliban-controlled Afghanistan, and most of them trained an al Qaeda-linked training camp in Tora Bora. And the “wrong time” was equally troubling: shortly after 9/11. The very same U.S. government now tripping over itself to declare as genuinely benign the Uighurs also believes that the Tora Bora camp at which most of them trained was sponsored by Al Qaeda. (To the casual reader, Tora Bora sounds familiar because it is the place where U.S. forces barely missed a fleeing Usama bin Laden in late 2001.)
Officially, the Uighurs are not a threat to the United States because the sole focus of their rage is China. Then why, a reasonable observer might ask, does the U.S. government deem the Uighur organization with which most of the Gitmo detainees were affiliated, the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), a Specially Designated Global Terrorist? Despite this weekend’s news accounts conveniently describing the Uighurs as simply unlucky tourists, evidence suggests otherwise. The ETIM-run Tora Bora camp wasn’t exactly a vacation resort, as the vast majority of the Gitmo-detained Uighurs admitted receiving weapons training, according to U.S. government documents that have been made public. As the blog The Long War Journal observed, ETIM “is dedicated to international jihad and shares a similar ideology with Al Qaeda and the Taliban.” ETIM and al Qaeda share more than common goals and beliefs. “Leaders of the ETIM belonged to the inner circle around bin Laden, including Hasan Mahsum (a.k.a. Abu Muhammad al-Turkistani, who was killed by Pakistani security forces in 2003), so it’s dubious that these guys are truly ‘freedom fighters,’” notes David Draper of the NEFA Foundation. “It’s even more unlikely that these guys are telling the truth when they say they’d never heard of al Qaeda.” Contrast known facts to the fuzzy feature stories about the Uighurs in paradise. Typical is this pleasant description from the Associated Press: “The four men in short-sleeve shirts looked like ordinary tourists, enjoying a Sunday lunch and butter pecan ice cream afterward as they observed the sparkling waters surrounding this Atlantic resort island.”
And there’s more news coming up for the mainstream media to ignore. Thirteen additional Uighurs are scheduled to be released soon from Gitmo, bound for the picturesque Pacific island of Palau, best known for hosting one season of the CBS reality show, “Survivor.” This “relocation” will cost the taxpayers a mint, too. Palau is reportedly receiving $200 million in “development assistance,” which works out to roughly $15 million per “former” terrorism suspect. All parties involved deny any sort of quid pro quo, which would mean the timing was pure serendipity. Again, perhaps. Assuming that the facts are actually as they appear, though, paying countries to take terrorists could result in quite a tab. If Obama wants to release an additional 70 Gitmo detainees, a fairly conservative estimate in order to minimize the number of suspects held after the base’s scheduled shuttering early next year, the total cost would be over $1 billion in taxpayer money—assuming no inflation.
While many in the mainstream media are not-so-privately cheering Obama’s planned closure of Guantanamo Bay, does their fervor excuse them from meeting even minimal journalistic standards? Here’s the key question: Would they maintain their superficial coverage if the Gitmo detainees were going to move into their neighborhoods?
|China asks Pakistan to uproot militants|
|China has asked Pakistan to use all its resources to uproot the militant organisation 'East Turkistan Islamic Movement' from the country.|
According to BBC, Chinese President Hu Jintao has sent this message through diplomatic channels to President Asif Ali Zardari. Hu also asked the president to step up the security of Chinese nationals working or living in Pakistan. BBC quoted a Foreign Ministry source as saying that there was a news report on East Turkistan Islamic Movement members hiding and operating in different parts of the Tribal Areas. The source said the militant organisation was involved in terrorist activities in China and was provoking Chinese Muslims to join them.
In the official documents obtained by the BBC, the Chinese president expressed concern over the security of around 10,000 Chinese professionals in Pakistan, especially the 3,000 working on the Karakoram Highway near Swat.
|Home Front: WoT|
|Obama declines to take "yes" for an answer on detaining terrorists|
|Jeb Babbin reports that "White House lawyers are refusing to accept the findings of an inter-agency committee that the Uighur Chinese Muslims held at Guantanamo Bay are too dangerous to release inside the U.S." |
The inter-agency committee -- comprised of all the national security agencies -- was told to start with what the Obama administration believed to be the easiest case, that of the seventeen Chinese Muslims, known as Ughurs, who were captured at an al-Queda training camp.
According to Babbin, the inter-agency panel found that the Ughurs weren't "the ignorant, innocent goatherds the White House believed them to be."
Would anyone be surprised if, indeed, the Obama administration is overruling the intelligence community in order to implement preconceived policy preferences? Would anyone be surprised if those policy preferences include erring on the side of aiding suspected terrorists (to "repair our image," of course) rather than protecting the United States?
|Jamia Hafsa likely to dominate Pak-Chinese talks|
|China’s concern about increasing extremism in Sinkiang and the kidnapping of its nationals by a madrassa students in Islamabad will dominate the four-day Pak-Chinese talks starting today (Monday) in Beijing.|
|US Finessing China Out Of Gwadar Port?|
|The port project at Gwadar in Pakistan's restive Balochistan province appears to be in trouble. Baloch insurgents battling Islamabad are opposed to the project and have been attacking people working on it. Besides, some differences appear to have cropped up between the Pakistan government and the project's main funder - China - over financial aspects of the project.|
Gwadar is on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast, just 72 kilometers from Iran. It is near the mouth of the Persian Gulf and is 400km from the Strait of Hormuz. The Pakistani government identified
Gwadar as a port site way back in the 1960s, but it was only in 2001-02 that concrete steps on the proposal were taken.
It was the arrival of US troops in Afghanistan - literally at China's doorstep - in the autumn of 2001 that spurred Beijing into action. China agreed to participate in funding, construction and development of a deepsea port and naval base in Gwadar and in March 2002 Chinese premier Wu Bangguo laid the foundation for the port. Its engineers are engaged in the port's design and construction.
China insists its interest in Gwadar is purely commercial. No doubt it is hoping that the port will transform the economy of its landlocked Xinjiang province.
However, Gwadar port has a far-larger significance in China's scheme of things. It is said to be the western-most pearl in China's "string of pearls" strategy (this is a strategy that envisages building strategic relations with several countries along sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea to protect China's energy interests and other security objectives), the other "pearls" being naval facilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and the South China Sea.
China's interest in the Gwadar project stems from the port's proximity to the Strait of Hormuz. A base at Gwadar enables China to secure the flow of its oil - 60% of its energy supplies come from the Middle East - through the strait. More important, Gwadar is said to be a "listening post" for the Chinese, one that will enable Beijing to monitor movement of US and Indian ships in the region.
Pakistan is eyeing huge economic and strategic gains, with Gwadar poised to become a key shipping hub at the mouth of a strategic waterway. A port at Gwadar provides Pakistan with strategic depth vis-a-vis India. Gwadar is 725km to the west of Karachi port, making it that much less vulnerable than Karachi to an Indian naval blockade.
Not surprisingly, the construction of Gwadar port and Sino-Pakistan cooperation in the project are causing concern for India, the United States and Iran. The Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea heightens India's feeling of encirclement by China. Iran fears that the development of Gwadar port will undermine the value of its own ports as outlets to Central Asia's exports.
As for the US, it has been uncomfortable with Chinese presence at the mouth of a key waterway. And now in the run-up to a possible war with Iran, Washington appears to be eyeing Gwadar's naval facilities all the more. It appears that the US is pressuring Pakistan to reduce Chinese involvement in the project and to involve Washington instead.
The New Delhi-based online Public Affairs Magazine has reported that the US "could be [pressuring] Pakistan to outprice the Chinese from Gwadar to take over the entire facility". Citing diplomats, the report said: "Pakistan has now raised the cost of Chinese participation to US$3 billion in addition to the $1.5 billion yearly payment, which China has refused, saying it is steep, and in breach of the terms of the contract. China has said that it had already agreed to offset construction costs by giving Pakistan four frigates, but Pakistan is unmoved, and offered to return all the Chinese investment, if they would have it that way."
Dismissing such reports as "wishful thinking on the part of India", a Pakistani government official told Asia Times Online that the Gwadar project was "very much on track" and that "Sino-Pakistan cooperation in the venture remains strong".
But even if the reported differences between China and Pakistan in the Gwadar project were indeed "wishful thinking on the part of India", the project is under fire from Baloch insurgents.
Balochis are not opposed to the Gwadar port project or other megaprojects per se. What they are opposed to is the way these projects have been conceived and implemented. They resent the fact Balochis have been excluded from the benefits of these projects and that "outsiders" have grown rich by exploiting Baloch resources. Balochistan's Sui gas reserves, for instance, meet 38% of Pakistan's energy needs, but only 6% of Balochistan's 6 million people have access to it, and the royalties Balochistan receives for its gas are very low, especially when compared with what other provinces receive.
Likewise, the Gwadar project does not seem to be transforming Baloch lives for the better. Baloch nationalists see Gwadar as "a non-Baloch project", one that has been conceived and implemented without provincial approval or participation, in which "outsiders" have gained the most. They point out that land in Gwadar is being sold at throwaway prices to non-Baloch civil-military elites.
There is concern, too, that the Gwadar project would leave Balochis a minority in their homeland. As the Baloch leader, the Khan of Kalat, pointed out in an interview to the Pakistani daily Dawn, the entire project would need at least a million people, and with Gwadar being a town of 60,000, people from "Karachi, mostly Urdu-speaking", would be brought in.
Not surprisingly, then, the Gwadar project has been repeatedly targeted by Baloch insurgent groups such as the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), the Baloch Liberation Front and the Baloch People's Liberation Army. Insurgents have struck repeatedly with bombs and rocket attacks. In 2004 for instance, Gwadar airport was the target of rocket attacks.
Several of the insurgent attacks in Gwadar have targeted Chinese working on this project. About 500 Chinese engineers are employed in Gwadar. On May 3, 2004, three Chinese engineers were killed and nine others injured in a bomb blast by the BLA. On May 14 last year, four bombs went off in Gwadar. Then in October, several Chinese engineers had a narrow escape when the vehicle in which they were traveling missed a landmine. The following month, insurgents launched a rocket attack on a Chinese construction company in the Tallar area of Gwadar district. The Chinese engineers and other staff escaped unhurt but several vehicles were damaged.
In total, according to official data, there were 187 bomb blasts, 275 rocket attacks, eight attacks on gas pipelines, 36 attacks on electricity-transmission lines and 19 explosions on railway lines in 2005. At least 182 civilians and 26 security force personnel died in the province during 2005.
An interesting aspect about Baloch nationalist insurgents, who are by and large secular, and the religious militants is that while both view China as an enemy, their opposition to Chinese involvement in the Gwadar project differs. Tarique Niazi, a specialist on resource-based conflict, said: "Baloch nationalists, for instance, are opposed to the Chinese government for advancing its strategic goals at the expense of their freedom and autonomy. But several religiously inspired groups are opposed to the Chinese government for its putative persecution of the Uighur Muslim minority in the autonomous region of Xinjiang."
The kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in October 2004 by members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is said to have been a response to Pakistan's killing of ETIM chief Hasan Mahsum, to whom it had provided shelter in South Waziristan, on Beijing's request.
While India, Iran and the US might be wary of the Sino-Pakistan cooperation in Gwadar, internal opposition to the bonding seems far greater, as indicated by the ferocity and frequency of attacks on the Gwadar project and Chinese employees there.
With the Baloch insurgency growing in intensity and the Pakistani government's military approach to the problem only fueling Baloch resentment and the insurgency further, it does seem that even if the Gwadar port project is, as officials claim, "on track", it will be near impossible to realize its full potential.
 In Bangladesh, China is building a container port facility at Chittagong and is "seeking much more extensive naval and commercial access", according to reports.
In Myanmar, China is building naval bases and has electronic intelligence-gathering facilities on islands in the Bay of Bengal and near the Strait of Malacca.
In Cambodia, China signed a military agreement in November 2003 to provide training and equipment.
In Thailand, Chinese navy ships took part in a joint search-and-rescue exercise with the Thai navy in the Gulf of Thailand December 13, 2005. The drill, the first between the two navies, was launched after a Chinese navy ships formation concluded a four-day visit.
|Hasan Mahsum toe tag with Khadr|
|A leading al-Qaeda member was confirmed as one of eight terror suspects killed in an army operation in a Pakistani tribal area in October. Information Minister Sheikh Rashid told AFP the identification of Abdur Rehman Khadr, a Canadian-born Egyptian, was established after DNA testing because his body had been badly mutilated during the operation.|
|China tells Pakistan to get rid of the Uighur terrorists|
|The Chinese government has sent Islamabad a list and profile of terrorists and terrorist organisations of concern to the Government of China and wants them investigated by Pakistan. Highly-placed sources told Daily Times that â€śthe list of the first batch of identified Eastern Turkistanâ€ť terrorist organisations and terrorists compiled by the Ministry of Public Security, China, on December 15, 2003, has been sent through diplomatic channels to Pakistan, with a request to forward the list to the departments concerned for investigation. Diplomatic sources say that Pakistan and China have been cooperating for a long time in the field of counter-terrorism. But they have intensified their efforts after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. â€śTo give concrete shape to this cooperation, the Foreign as well as Interior Ministers of the two countries met in 2002 and discussed counter-terrorism issues. Recently when President General Musharraf visited China, an extradition treaty was signed between the two countries,â€ť sources explained. â€śPakistan has declared on many occasions that it will not allow its soil to be used to destabilise Xinjiang, the Chinese province that neighbours Pakistanâ€™s Northern Areasâ€ť, sources said. They said that counter-terrorism operations have been taking place against the East Turkistan Islamic Movement for some time.|
The recent list sent to Pakistan noted various aspects of at least two terrorist organisations, Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) and Eastern Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO) as well as terrorists attached to these organisations. It also claims that these organisations and terrorists are well connected to Osama bin Ladenâ€™s Al Qaeda outfits and receive training as well as funding etc. Sources said the Chinese have provided details of the origin of these organisations, a brief description of the major acts of terrorism committed by them, their chief leaders, major sources of funds and personnel, as well as an outline of relations between them and other global terrorist organisations.
The Eastern Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO) is also known as the Eastern Turkistan National Party. It is said to be working for the founding of an Eastern Turkistan State in Xinjiang, China, by means of violence and terror. â€śThe ELTO was founded in Turkey with its headquarters in Istanbul. The founder of the organization is Muhametemin Hazret and its main leaders include Kanat, Dolqun Isa and Ubul Kasimuâ€ť, says the Chinese document. Among the major acts of terrorism committed by the ETLO are a series of violent terrorist crimes in China and across Central Asia, with some South and West Asian countries as the base camp for terrorist training and Central Asia as the forward position and bridgehead for terrorist operations. In May 1998, ETLO agents committed arson in a series of cases in Urumqi, capital city of Xinjiang. Between May and June 1998, Askar Tuhti, Ahmet, Balamjan Ahmet and some other ETLO members launched bomb attacks in the state of Oshskaya, Kyrgyzstan.
In 1999, the Kazakhstan government cracked a major criminal case in which four Uygurs were murdered with their bodies cut into pieces. Investigations showed that it was Abulimit Turxun, a chieftain of ETLO, who had committed the murder. In May 2000, ETLO terrorists killed officers, including the Foreign Office director, of the Kirgiz Autonomous Prefecture of Kizilsu and injured a Deputy Chief of public security, after which they escaped to Kazakhstan and murdered several policemen. In September 2001, Abulat Tursun and Ahmet collected a large quantity of arms and weapons including 7 India-made handguns. The two later entered China from the Zham Port in Tibet but in February, 2003, the Chinese police uncovered the terrorist group they had developed. On June 29, 2002, Arken Yakuf and Rahmutulla Islayil, both ETLO members, murdered Chinese diplomat Wang Jianping in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
The funding of the ETLO mainly comes from gift money from Al Qaeda outfits. They also make money through drug trafficking, arms smuggling, kidnapping and armed robbery. It mainly recruits young Xinjiang Uygurs under the age of 30 in Central Asia and convicted criminals and violent terrorists who have escaped from Xinjiang. Relations with global terror networks are also mentioned in the Chinese document. Under the Taliban, the ETLO was allowed to run special military training camps at Mazar-i-Sharif and Khost. In 1999, when the armed forces of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan invaded the southern part of Kyrgyzstan, Muhametemin Hazret provided financial assistance of $600,000, one third of which was for the training of Eastern Turkistan terrorists, says the Chinese report.
The ETIM, also called as the East Turkistan Islamic Party or the Eastern Turkistan National Revolution Association, has been described as one of the most dangerous terrorist organisations among the Eastern Turkistan terrorist forces. â€śIn 1993, Muhammad Tuhit and Abudu Rehman, both natives of Hotan, Xinjiang, founded the ETIM but it disintegrated later the same year. However, in 1997, Hasan Mahsum and Abudukadir Yapuquan ganged up with other East Turkistan activities to restore this organization. On September 11, 2002, the ETIM was put on the list of global terrorist organisations by the United Nationsâ€ť.
As far as major acts of terrorism performed by the ETIM are concerned, the Chinese communication says that this organization has set up bases outside China to train terrorists and has been constantly sending agents to sneak into Chinese territory to mastermind terrorist and sabotage activities. Between early 1998 and the end of 1999, the ETIM ordered the Hotan Kulex terror gang to set up several secret lairs in Hotan Prefecture. It was responsible for the December 14 terrorist killings in Moyu County of Hotan in 1999, the February 4 robbery and murder case in Urumqi the same year and other acts of terror. The chief leaders from the Uygur ethnic group are Hasan Mahsum, also known as Ashan Sumut, and Abdu Muhammad or Hasang Zunduliohe. Mr Mahsum was arrested in October 1993 by the Chinese police on the charge of performing acts of terror but he fled in 1997 and has since stayed in terrorist camps in Afghanistan to coach terrorists and plot deadly terrorist attacks in China, says the Chinese document. The funding of the ETIM mainly comes from Al Qaeda outfits. The group also makes money through drug trafficking, arms smuggling, kidnapping, robbery and other organized crimes. Relations between ETIM and other global terror organisations are noted. The Chinese government communication claims that the ETIM is closely linked to Mr Bin Ladenâ€™s Al Qaeda outfit and had got all-out support from the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.