5 years, 9 months ago
The US on Monday announced a series of arrests in cases involving alleged spying by the Chinese government, including one where a Pentagon official was alleged to have helped Beijing obtain secret information.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation arrested Gregg Bergersen, a Pentagon employee with top secret security clearances, for allegedly providing a Chinese government agent with information about US weapons sales to Taiwan. In another case, Chung Dongfan, a former Boeing employee, was arrested for economic espionage involving US military programmes.
Two employees of Pakistan’s atomic energy agency have been abducted in the country’s restive north-western region abutting the Afghan border.
Police say the technicians went missing on the same day as Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan, Tariq Azizuddin, was reportedly abducted in the same region.
U.S. fighter planes intercepted two Russian bombers flying unusually close to an American aircraft carrier in the western Pacific during the weekend, The Associated Press has learned.
A U.S. military official says that one Russian Tupolev 95 buzzed the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz twice, at a low altitude of about 2,000 feet, while another bomber circled about 50 nautical miles out. The official was speaking on condition of anonymity because the reports on the flights were classified as secret.
A suicide bomber killed six pro-government tribal elders and wounded nine others in Edak village in North Waziristan’s Mirali sub-district on Monday. Local people said that a pro-government peace committee had been in session when the bomber struck at 12.55pm. Tribal elders were planning to form a force comprising local volunteers to go after foreign militants in the area.
Witnesses said the suicide bomber entered the open courtyard close to Madressah Nizamia and mingled with the people who were attending the meeting. Haji Nekam, a tribal elder who heads the Edak peace committee, was wounded in the incident. He had survived an earlier bomb attempt on his life by militants. ANP leader Nisar Ali Khan, who is contesting polls from North Waziristan as an independent candidate, also suffered injuries. He was said to be stable last night.
In a stunning turn of events, a high-level Muslim military aide blamed for costing an intelligence contractor his job will step down from his own Pentagon post, WND has learned.
Meanwhile, his rival, Maj. Stephen Coughlin, a leading authority on Islamic war doctrine, may stay in the Pentagon, moving from the office of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to the office of the secretary of defense. However, sources say a former U.S. ambassador to Turkey is trying to block his new contract.
The top Pentagon aide, Egyptian-born Hesham H. Islam, came under a cloud of suspicion after reports raised doubt about his resume and contacts he had made with radical Muslims. He is expected to leave the government next month, officials say.
Islam and Coughlin recently quarreled over intelligence briefings Coughlin presented showing a close connection between the religion of Islam and terrorism. Coughlin’s contract with the Joint Chiefs, which ends in March, was not renewed.
Pakistan Army on Monday called back all its serving officers from 23 civil departments, in what is being termed here as part of a plan to improve the image of the armed forces.
“More than 300 army officers are presently working in various civil departments and majority of them have been asked to report to the General Headquarters (GHQ) immediately,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj-Gen Athar Abbas told Dawn here on Monday.
He said the army authorities had written a letter to the federal government asking it to relieve all serving military officers from civil departments.
The move is in line with a decision taken by the 106th Corps Commanders’ Conference on Feb 7. The conference was presided over by Chief of the Army Staff Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, who had in an earlier statement, directed army officers to “stay away from political activities.”
The army chief’s decisions about reversal of officers from civil departments and restrictions on meeting politicians have been lauded by the civil society and all major political parties.
The induction of army officers in civil organisations has always been a controversial issue and has been questioned on different forums, including parliament.
The reversal of this policy is part of an ongoing diminution of the preceived power, authority and standing of the Pakistan army. The army is seen as the center of gravity of Pakistan society, the king-maker, and the stabilizing force. Or at least, this was once so.