Posts Tagged ‘actionable intelligence’

Joint military operation out of question, Pakistan will tell Tillerson — Does China’s Money Run Pakistan? Or The ISI?

October 22, 2017

By Amir Khan

Published: October 22, 2017
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to arrive in Islamabad on his maiden visit later this month. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is set to arrive in Islamabad on his maiden visit later this month. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

KARACHI: Pakistani policymakers have put together their agenda for talks with US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson who will arrive in Islamabad on his maiden visit later this month to enlist “Pakistan’s help for American effort to reach a peaceful solution in Afghanistan”.

Tillerson’s trip comes amid an uptick in Taliban violence in Afghanistan where US-led coalition forces have been battling to quell an increasingly bloody insurgency since the ouster of the Taliban regime in 2001.

President Donald Trump’s top foreign policy aide would be told that Pakistan is willing to further strengthen the intelligence information sharing mechanism with the US in consonance with its national security, according to the agenda shared with Daily Express.

Pakistan offered US joint operation against Haqqanis: Khawaja Asif

“He [Tillerson] will be told that only Pakistani security forces will conduct counterterrorism operations on its soil – and that a joint operation with American or Afghan forces is out of question,” a source said.

Earlier this month, Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif, who recently toured the US, said in a television interview that Pakistan has offered the United States a joint operation against terrorists on its soil. However, he later clarified that he never said Pakistan could allow foreign boots on ground.

According to sources, Pakistani officials have prioritised the issues to be taken up with Tillerson which include the recent strain in Pak-US ties; President Trump’s new Afghan strategy; Pakistan’s role in the Afghan peace process; and Pakistan’s reservations on India’s role in Afghanistan, etc.

Army says ‘joint operation’ on Pakistan’s soil out of question

Top government functionaries would also tell President Trump’s aide that the American policy of pushing Pakistan to ‘do more’ must end as no other country has done as much as Pakistan has in the global war against terrorism. “It would also be conveyed to Tillerson that Pakistan wants to promote relationship with the US on the basis of sovereign equality,” a second source told Daily Express.

The Pakistani side, especially the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) would stress the need for intelligence sharing in the fight against terrorists. The Americans would be asked to share actionable intelligence on terrorists on Pakistan’s soil, and Pakistani forces would take action against them.

US and Afghan officials allege that the Haqqani network, the Afghan Taliban faction responsible for some the most deadliest attacks in Afghanistan, maintains safe havens inside Pakistan – an allegation Islamabad vehemently denies.

‘Seven JuA militants killed in NATO, Afghan forces raid’

Sources said that Pakistani officials would also ask Tillerson to impress upon the administration of President Ashraf Ghani to dismantle the sanctuaries of terrorists who are using the Afghan soil as a launching pad for mounting attacks inside Pakistan. Though Kabul denies any sanctuaries of Pakistani terrorists on its soil, but Omar Khalid Khorasani, the chief of TTP-Jamaatul Ahrar, was killed in a US drone strike in eastern Afghan province of Paktia earlier this month.

Pakistan would also called for revitalising and reenergising the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) for finding a political solution to the insurgency in Afghanistan, sources said. The quartet, which is made up of Afghanistan, Pakistan, China, and the United States, met on October 16 in Oman after a long hiatus in an effort to resurrect the moribund Afghan peace process.

President Trump’s Afghan strategy envisages a greater role for Pakistan’s arch-rival India in Afghanistan. But Tillerson would be told that Islamabad could never reconcile to this idea because it is convinced that New Delhi wants to use the Afghan soil to destabilise Pakistan.

Pakistan, Afghanistan to conduct joint border ops under US supervision: Kabul

The multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is also expected to come up for discussion during Tillerson’s visit. US Defence Secretary James Mattis said last week during a hearing of the US Senate Armed Services Committee that CPEC runs through a disputed territory — an allegation originally levelled by India to thwart the project.

The Pakistani side, according to sources, would make it clear to Tillerson that CPEC is very important project for the development of its economy and for regional connectivity and hence any attempt to make it controversial would not be acceptable.

Sources said that Tillerson’s visit is very significant as it would clarify Trump’s policy and set course for future Islamabad-Washington relations.

https://tribune.com.pk/story/1538241/1-joint-military-operation-question-pakistan-will-tell-tillerson/

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Paul Allen Wants to Use Satellites and Software to Fight Illegal Fishing

October 5, 2017

Bloomberg

The Microsoft co-founder is donating $40 million to the effort

By Dina Bass

Paul AllenVulcan

Microsoft Corp. co-founder Paul Allen, concerned about illegal fishing depleting global fish populations, will spend $40 million to develop a system that uses satellite imagery and data-analysis software to help countries spot and catch unlicensed fishing boats.

Called SkyLight, the system is being tested in the Pacific Island of Palau and the African nation of Gabon. Allen is trying to use technology to aid enforcement, particularly in countries with thousands of miles of coastline to patrol and few resources to do so. Allen will announce the initiative at the Our Oceans Conference in Malta on Friday.

Illegal fishing accounts for about 20 percent of the world’s catch, costing up to $23.5 billion a year, according to the World Wildlife Foundation, and placing additional stress on a wild fish population that has declined by about half since 1970. Overfishing raises the risk of conflict among fishing nations and raises the risk of hunger and joblessness in an industry that provides employment for more than 1 in 10 of the world’s people. Allen, an avid diver, has backed other ocean health projects and is also active in conservation efforts like trying to save the African elephant population  by using drones and sensors to track their movements.

“The stakes are high and the threat is real,” said Dave Stewart, general counsel and head of government affairs for Allen’s Vulcan Inc. “Very few countries have access to timely, actionable intelligence and technology to address this issue. We are developing an illegal fishing intelligence network that will bring this to them.”

About 90 percent of the world’s fishing grounds are being harvested at or beyond sustainable limits. Some species, such as the southern bluefin tuna, are threatened with extinction. Shrinking supplies off the central and western coast of Africa have raised concerns about future food shortages there. In the Mediterranean and Black seas, catches have fallen by a third since 2007.

SkyLight, which will be broadly available in the first half of next year, takes multiple data sources from satellite images, to shipping records to information manually collected by officials standing on docks, and uses machine learning software to track and predict which vessels might be operating illegally. Over time, Vulcan is building its own database of all the boats it tracks. That allows countries to better focus limited resources. Some of the countries impacted have “one enforcement boat that goes out once a month if they have gas money,” he said.

Along with the tracking network, countries will also get access to Vulcan’s in-house scientists and business analysts, who will help advise them on how to make the best decisions about fishery management, the number of fishing licenses issued and appropriate penalties for illegal fishing

The service is cloud-based and will enable different countries to communicate and share information as boats move from one country’s waters to the next, a challenge currently. Allen’s donation will cover the cost of setting up the service and starting with the initial countries. Vulcan is charging participating countries for using SkyLight but plans to use the funds to expand and sustain the program rather than as a money maker, Stewart said.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-10-05/paul-allen-wants-to-use-satellites-and-software-to-fight-illegal-fishing

Hague prosecutors say U.S. forces may have committed war crimes — International Criminal Court

November 15, 2016

Mon Nov 14, 2016 | 6:51pm EST

Reuters

By Thomas Escritt | AMSTERDAM

Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague said on Monday there were preliminary grounds to believe U.S. forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan and at secret detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004.

In a report, prosecutors said there was a “reasonable basis to believe” that U.S. forces had tortured prisoners in Afghanistan and at Central Intelligence Agency detention facilities elsewhere in 2003 and 2004.

“Members of US armed forces appear to have subjected at least 61 detained persons to torture,” the prosecutors’ office, wrote. It added that CIA officials appeared to have tortured another 27 detainees.

The prosecutors’ office, headed by Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, said it would decide imminently whether to pursue a full investigation.

The results of a full investigation could potentially lead to charges being brought against individuals and the issuing of an arrest warrant. The ICC is a court of last resort, however, meaning it could only bring charges if domestic authorities were not dealing adequately with allegations.

Monday’s finding marks a significant step forward in the court’s decade-old examination of conflicts in Afghanistan and could draw a sharp response from a U.S. administration that is set to become less internationalist under President-elect Donald Trump.

“These alleged crimes were not the abuses of a few isolated individuals,” the report said. “They appear to have been committed as part of approved interrogation techniques in an attempt to extract ‘actionable intelligence.'”

The United States occupied and patrolled large parts of Afghanistan during their hunt for the Taliban and al Qaeda forces behind the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Further crimes may have been committed at CIA facilities in Poland, Lithuania and Romania, prosecutors added, because individuals captured in Afghanistan were allegedly transferred to those sites.

The report, covering all the many preliminary examinations being carried out by the court, found grounds to suspect all belligerents, including the Taliban and the Afghan government, had committed war crimes.

The ICC was set up in 2003 to prosecute the gravest war crimes and crimes against humanity. The United States, which under President George W. Bush was fiercely opposed to the court, is not a member, but Afghanistan, Lithuania, Poland and Romania all are, giving it jurisdiction over crimes committed on their territories.

Under Bush, officials led by U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, now being cited as a potential member of Trump’s cabinet, attacked the court and legislation was passed mandating U.S. forces to free any soldiers arrested on the court’s authority.

The U.S. Senate Intelligence committee released in 2014 excerpts from a report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation program from 2001 to 2006 that it said included torture of detainees.

(Reporting By Thomas Escritt; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

A US Marine in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2012
A US Marine in Helmand province, Afghanistan, in 2012. Photograph: Adek Berry/AFP/Getty Images