Thursday, March 10, 2011

Attempts anew at Af/Pak Peace and questions about the US killing Linda Norgrove

Every so often I have to take a step back in time.

Focusing so much on Pakistan lately has got me thinking about their ties to Afghanistan.
There most recent attempts at making peace and resolving issues between Afghanistan and Pakistan. Something the US has been less then keen about.

Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on Thursday to set up a joint commission for reaching out to Afghan Taliban. According to this article a Pakistan initiative failed last summer because the US was uninterested.

"Washington appeared unwilling to accept reconciliation"

It was precisely because of a lack of American support that a Pakistani initiative last summer to push some insurgent factions to make peace with the Karzai government could not succeed.

Pakistan's foreign minister "advocated the inclusion of military and intelligence elements in the joint body"

And just before the talks are to begin, we have the arrest of Ray Davis, the bombing of the ISI, the bombing at a Peace Committee members funeral... I wonder how really supportive of this joint Afghan/Pakistan peace initiative the US truly is. Turkey may get involved with this.

Anyway, time for the step back.
To the killing of the USAID worker in Afghanistan. Linda Norgrove. Remember that?
The US/NATO lie promptly surfaced via the main stream media that she had been 'killed by the Taliban" Which was a complete fabrication! And the US/NATO war machine was completely aware of this at the time they planted their mind control fabrication.
I did a post on this news story, at that time, you can find it here

This woman had allegedly been "held captive" by her hostage takers for three weeks.
And elders of the area had been working tirelessly for her release and NATO was well aware of this! But, for some reason..special forces went in on a "rescue mission", throwing a grenade, blowing Linda Norgrove to bits. Because when you "rescue" someone, you launch an attack-right? Wrong.
I am actually of the mind that this operation was undertaken to kill Linda Norgrove. I had my suspicions previously. But upon reading this recount of the negotiation process, I think it is safe to say Linda Norgrove could not go free.

"Afghan tribal leaders spent 12 days negotiating for the release of Linda Norgrove, covering 150 miles on foot as they criss-crossed the mountains of Kunar seeking to intercede with her captors"

These tribal leaders traversed 150 miles on foot with the knowledge of NATO forces. They had to have, they could not have made this passage without NATO's knowledge.

The gang holding her had reached the point where it was ready to free Miss Norgrove, but they say hopes of a peaceful resolution were thwarted.

They blame Nato's refusal to assist them, and to call off the special forces search operation which led to the bungled rescue in which she died.

"Some days after Linda was killed the Americans came to talk to us. I told them it was their fault she was dead," said Haji Kamil, the 39-year-old leader of the delegation"
Thwarted by NATO.

The Timeline-

One farmer said he had seen Miss Norgrove being led up into the hills on a donkey after she was seized by between six and eight men, armed with Kalashnikovs and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, on a stretch of road where the mountainside meets a fast-flowing river.

Suspicion for the kidnapping immediately fell on Mullah Basir, the local commander of a 20-strong band of insurgents (allegedly) loyal to a leader called Qari Dawat, the head of Jamaat-ud-Dawa al Quran wal Sunnah (JDQ) in Kunar province.
Basir was already notorious as a kidnapper and had been responsible for attacking a nearby polling station and killing two voters during the parliamentary elections.
(attacking polling stations and killing voters, obviously to make it difficult to have proper elections. But, who would want that outcome in Afghanistan?)

Was he kidnapping for money only?

Mullah Basir was well known in the area, but was not considered powerful.

Well known, but not powerful.

The news that a foreign woman had been seized reached Mr Kamil through the governor about two hours after she was taken.

Four hours later, Mr Kamil and 13 elders arrived at Mullah Basir's home village of Islam Khane in the Dewagal Valley.

The delegation walked straight through the village of 40 houses, high above the valley, to his (Mullah Basir's) modest four-room home.

The delegation stayed overnight in a neighbours home and was awakened by American helicopters and jets flying overhead.

The group walked back home for five hours!

The following day, the elders asked the governor to speak to Lieutenant Colonel Joel Vowell, commander of US forces in the area, to call off the operation and allow them to negotiate

(US forces knew what the elders were trying to accomplish)

The suggestion was rejected. The Americans told the group their negotiations could continue, but the search operation would not be called off.

This is what I find a bit problematic, we have these elders, they know who has the woman, and they are working to get her freed. Why wouldn't the US cooperate?

On the fifth day of the crisis, 18 elders again set out on foot for Mullah Basir's home in Islam Khane.

They found a village with no men, and with the women hidden in their homes or leaving. An American patrol was there, but without an interpreter they could not communicate. "We said we were trying to help Linda, they gestured we should go away or they would shoot."

Then finally a meeting with the Americans!

Nearly a week into the kidnapping, an American commander finally met the delegation, arriving by helicopter where the elders were staying at their base in the nearby village of Spindar.

The Americans promised the delegation they would not be fired on if they told them in advance where they were heading each day.

The elders did so, but found each time they mentioned a village, it would be raided by troops in helicopters before they could get there, leading the elders to suspect they were being used as a source of intelligence.

So NATO impedes the negotiations for Linda's release, and they do that repeatedly. After the group of elders make a number of threats towards the captors family a meeting is agreed to.

The threat of a feud appeared to have an effect. Nur Rahman and another associate of Mullah Basir contacted the elders by telephone, telling them to rendezvous at a remote spot, on the border of the Dewagal and Mazar valleys.

The group said that if they were to attend, they would insist on seeing Linda in person, or having proof she was alive. They also said that they should be accompanied by a Nato officer. However, as the elders waited to hear back, Nato began a large operation in the vicinity of the rendezvous, again thwarting negotiations.

That's twice now.

Walking back to the district centre, to use their telephones, the elders again made contact with Nur Rahman and a close associate of Mullah Basir.

He remained willing to talk, Mr Kamil said and even agreed to hand over Miss Norgrove if Nato stopped the operation.

But Nato told the elders any let up in the operation would only allow the insurgents to smuggle Miss Norgrove across the border into Pakistan.

In any event, the decision to launch a rescue attempt had already been made. The failed raid then took place in a remote, wooded area called Matakan, on the border of the Dewagal and Mazar valleys. Two of Mullah Basir's nephews were killed in the raid, while Mullah Basir himself remains on the loose. "The game was finished," said Mr Kamil, "Linda was dead."

Three times the elders tried, three times they may have succeeded if not for NATO "operations"

For three weeks Linda Norgrove was with her captors, for three weeks the elders tried to get her freed. NATO impeded every move they made. Why would they do that?

The only thing that makes any sense to me, is that they did not want her to go free.

Now, I am going to get into a totally speculative mode.

For the three weeks what might Linda Norgrove had seen or heard? If she knew of connections between her kidnappers and real terrorists or Pakistan, she might have been useful to NATO.

But, what if in the three weeks she was held, she became aware of connections between her kidnappers and western intelligence?. If freed, she may just do some talking to the media. Since she was blonde and fair, she would be sure to get alot of attention. She would then have become a liability.

Perhaps that is why NATO thwarted her rescue every step of the way.


  1. This is not entirely on-topic, but after reading about the "suicide" of Army Spc. Alyssa R. Peterson at Suspicious Deaths, it got me thinking about the record number of US military suicides over the last couple years.

    The numbers of course depend on where you look, and what you include, but it appears that just among active duty soldiers, the death toll has exceeded combat deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    No doubt, many personnel are unable to cope with what they've done. But, is raising too many questions a risk factor for suicide? Given the scale and boldness of these sorts of terror operations, it would seem unlikely for some not to notice.

    Your thoughts?

    BTW, great job Penny. Yours is among the hand full of great blogs I check first thing every morning.

  2. Hey anonymous!

    Can I share my complete thoughts on the topic tomorrow?

    I have to do the dinner thing and all the assorted chores afterwards, so I won't be able to do all the required reading, but I will,.

    "BTW, great job Penny. Yours is among the hand full of great blogs I check first thing every morning."

    I cannot tell you how good it is to know that my work, is appreciated.

  3. Of course! It's just a little speculative exercise.

    It would be very interesting to know though, how many of these suicide victims actually fired weapons and took lives, versus how many never saw combat or casualties.

  4. Hey anonymous!

    "No doubt, many personnel are unable to cope with what they've done. But, is raising too many questions a risk factor for suicide? Given the scale and boldness of these sorts of terror operations, it would seem unlikely for some not to notice."

    wow, that post about Alyssa!
    I had know idea.

    But to get to your thoughts..
    I would think that raising too many questions or refusing certain actions would most definitely constitute a risk for being suicided.

    Recall specifically Pat Tillman, he was suicided in spectacular fashion.
    (though they blamed that one on the "fog of war" type bullshit
    I have a really good post somewhere on his murder. If I can find it I will relink it here.
    He asked alot of questions.

    So to answer your question, yes, I would say being to inquisitive or free thinking would definitely see one being suicided or murdered out right, oh I mean, death by fog of war.

    If you were interested, here is the link back to the post on Tillman

  5. I'd never given much though to Pat Tillman's case, though it's rather obvious now (once you learn how to anticipate the behavior of sociopaths). Great post, some interesting comments in that one..

    You know, you expect to stop being horrified by this shit at some point, but it just doesn't happen.

    Thanks Penny.