• Thursday, May 23, 2019

DAWN releases the Pakistan Papers on Wikileaks

Discussion in 'Pakistani Siasat' started by EjazR, May 21, 2011.

  1. EjazR

    EjazR SENIOR MEMBER

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    Putting together The Pakistan Papers | Pakistan-Papers | DAWN.COM

    KARACHI: It was the beginning of the last week of April when I received a call from the Editor Dawn asking me to come in for a meeting. “There`s a project I think you might be interested in working on but we can`t discuss it over the phone.” Intrigued, I went in for the meeting the next day and learnt what I and the project team would willingly give up our waking hours and days off for the next month or so.

    Dawn had signed an agreement with Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of the by-now world famous WikiLeaks, to be a partner media organization for the global anti-secrecy organization. The agreement had been inked after a complicated process of negotiations which had culminated in a hush-hush meeting between the Editor Dawn and Assange outside London a few days earlier. As a consequence, Dawn Media Group would have exclusive first use access within Pakistan to a trove of secret US diplomatic cables related to the country. The project involved sifting through the enormous reams of hitherto unpublished data for possible elements of interest and writing stories to make them accessible to a wider reading public.

    Ironically for an anti-secrecy organization such as WikiLeaks, the sensitivity of the matter – these were, after all, previously confidential internal documents only for the eyes of those within the American government leaked by a whistleblower – and some of the explosive revelations contained within the cables, necessitated remarkable levels of security. The data had arrived in encrypted form and Assange had recommended that it be accessed only on computers that were disconnected from the internet, to prevent any attempts to hack into it to steal or alter it.

    Once I signed on, an operations room in Dawn was established, rejigged with a computer network completely disconnected from the net. Access to the room was also severely limited and only a select few even within Haroon House, the Dawn building, knew what was being worked on. Veteran Herald reporter Idrees Bakhtiar, already tapped to be part of the project team, had been dispatched abroad to do a crash course in the secure software required to liaise with WikiLeaks.

    The first order of business was to get a handle on the quantity and nature of data we had been presented with. There were more than 4,700 cables – of lengths varying from one page to over 10 pages – on our hands which had to be mainly perused in a matter of a couple of weeks to meet deadlines. After two days of going through the data and randomly reading about a hundred cables, I was able to devise a tentative process for tackling the information based on a simple prioritization of their possible importance.

    WikiLeaks had been unable to get their hands on cables marked `Top Secret`, the most secure level of classification and whose access is limited to a very select group of people within the US government. However, of the data accessed, the cables were classified, in descending order of confidentiality as `Secret-NoForn`, `Secret`, `Confidential-NoForn`, `Confidential` and `Unclassified`. `NoForn` indicates the material is too sensitive to be shared with foreign governments. We decided to begin with the highest classifications and work our way down. We would discover as we went along that this assumption of importance would not always hold true – many a times, we would find telling tidbits of information in cables that were ostensibly marked under a lower classification.

    The next step was thoroughly reading the cables themselves. A small team of analysts was assembled who could be counted upon not only to understand the issues and flag relevant portions but also be trusted to not divulge outside what we were working on. In addition to Dawn`s Cyril Almeida who was called in from Islamabad, Herald`s Madiha Sattar, Dawn.com`s Qurat ul ain Siddiqui and former DawnNews staffer Sophia Saifi were brought in to work on the project. Some senior members of Dawn`s editorial staff were also taken into confidence regarding the project. Timelines were drawn up, processes for sharing information among the team were worked out and potential topics to explore were flagged. As an added precaution, it was agreed that nobody would discuss details of the project even on the phone or over text messaging.

    We began the ponderous (and yet exciting) process of sifting through the cables the same day that news broke of Osama bin Laden`s killing in Abbottabad. While most outside the room were glued to breaking news, we were able to keep a track of developments only through the television in the room. But we had to press on, knowing full well that we had too little time to read all that needed to be read. We did not want to miss even the smallest bit of interesting information or comment, which could perhaps be buried inside an otherwise banal cable reiterating what everyone already knew. Of course, to glean information, we were also reading between the lines and double checking against publicly known events and statements around the time of the confidential missives.

    As the days wore on, keeping track of all we had read, marked as worthy of being written on, and cross-referenced through various unrelated cables became a great challenge. An even bigger challenge was ensuring that the entire team was in sync with each other, particularly since the person writing a particular story may not be the one who had initially read a telling cable that could form a part of it. Meeting both challenges was perhaps the team`s greatest achievement.
     
  2. Developereo

    Developereo PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    Wikileaks in a CIA disinformation channel and the idiot Assange in an unwitting chump.
     
  3. The HBS Guy

    The HBS Guy SENIOR MEMBER

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    Could you please also tell me the way to the fountain of youth?
     
  4. Developereo

    Developereo PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world he doesn't exist.
     
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  5. TruthSeeker

    TruthSeeker PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Well, if you REALLY believe what you have written here, then you have to give the CIA total kudos for an over-the-top psyops triumph! AND, the sexual mischief charge against their stooge Assange is the piece de resistance, n'est-ce pas?
     
  6. EjazR

    EjazR SENIOR MEMBER

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/21/world/asia/21wikileaks.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The leading English-language newspaper, Dawn, and its Web site on Friday began publishing a selection of more than 4,000 American diplomatic cables obtained from WikiLeaks that are devoted to Pakistan, opening a window onto the American-Pakistani relationship and domestic politics never before seen here.

    The cables, which were reviewed and in some cases reported on by The New York Times last year, include a request from the head of the Pakistani Army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, for American surveillance drones to fly over South Waziristan, where the army was fighting the Taliban.

    The request by General Kayani referred only to unarmed surveillance drones, but the very mention of the army chief’s asking the United States Central Command head at the time, Adm. William J. Fallon, in January 2008 for American surveillance drones is likely to prove embarrassing.

    The Pakistani military and the civilian government have insisted in public that they do not support the C.I.A. drones that attack militants in the tribal areas, even though they have acquiesced to the strikes in private.

    A front-page article in Dawn on Friday said the cables confirmed that the drone strikes within Pakistan had more than just the tacit acceptance of the military leadership.

    The story quoted from a cable from February 2009 by Ambassador Anne W. Patterson in which she said that General Kayani “knows full well that the strikes have been precise (creating few civilian casualties) and targeted primarily at foreign fighters” in Waziristan.

    In another example of how until recently the drone strikes were appreciated by the Pakistani leadership, the story quoted Ms. Patterson as saying that the military aide to President Asif Ali Zardari estimated that 60 Pakistani soldiers would have been killed if they had been directed to attack a site that was the target of drones.

    The newspaper wrote admiringly of what it called Ms. Patterson’s prescience when she noted in a Nov. 24, 2008, cable that the gap between the private acquiescence of the Pakistani government and the public condemnation of American action would grow, a gap that has now become a major stumbling block in the United States-Pakistan relationship.

    “Pakistani leaders who feel they look increasingly weak to their constituents could begin considering stronger action against the U.S., even though the response to date has focused largely on ritual denunciation,” she wrote.

    A spokesman for the Pakistani military, in response to the cables about the drones, said that the military had not asked for armed drones. “There has only been sharing of technical intelligence,” the spokesman said.

    In the last several months as the relationship with Washington has soured, General Kayani has become less enamored of the drones and asked the Obama administration to stop the armed drone attacks.

    The C.I.A. has refused to halt the strikes, and the question of the drones is now at the heart of the fraught Pakistani-American relationship. The drones are interpreted as an infringement of sovereignty, an argument that has intensified since the May 2 Navy Seal raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

    The editor of Dawn, Zafar Abbas, said that he had signed an agreement with Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, in April. “We thought it was important for the people to know what the politicians and army had been telling the Americans, how the United States viewed Pakistan and the Pakistani situation,” Mr. Abbas said.

    The first-day response was far more than expected, Mr. Abbas said. Telephone calls to the television station of Dawn, hits on the Web site and e-mails had been “overwhelming.”

    The cables published Friday also included embarrassing accounts of domestic politics. An account in a cable by an American diplomat, Bryan Hunt, who was posted to the American Consulate in Lahore said that Shahbaz Sharif, the chief minister of Punjab Province, was willing to have the controversial Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry removed from his position after the judge was granted a “face saving” restoration.

    Mr. Sharif is the brother of Nawaz Sharif, the leader of the main opposition party, Pakistan Muslim League-N, and the chief minister was said by Mr. Hunt to be speaking for the opposition party as a whole.

    The disclosure that the Sharif brothers were willing to abandon the chief justice after putting up a public stance that they would go to the mat for his restoration was politically damaging, said Ishaq Khakwani, a former minister of telecommunications.

    “It shows that in their heart of hearts none of the political parties, nor the army, ever want an independent judicial system,” Mr. Khakwani said. “Everyone is autocratic by nature.”

    Pakistan has developed a rambunctious printed press, and politics is hashed over nightly on an array of television talk shows. But the press is in some respects also manipulated by the political parties, the army and the intelligence agencies, so the disclosure of documents that cover behind-the-scenes conversations among top leaders lends a credence rarely seen in Pakistan.

    “Politicians can get away with a friendly chat show on TV people forget,” Mr. Khakwani said. “When people see hard facts there will be more questioning.”

    So far, there has been no direct pressure or any request to stop publication, Mr. Abbas said.

    Indeed, even the publication of WikiLeaks in Pakistan showed the relationships among the Pakistani elite.

    The head of the army public information unit who released a statement titled “Contradiction,” saying that General Kayani had not asked for the support of armed drones for military operations, is Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas. He is the brother of Zafar Abbas, the editor of Dawn.
     
  7. Leader

    Leader ELITE MEMBER

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    jo kara riya aye, amreeka kara riya aye.... :rofl:

    ---------- Post added at 09:20 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:19 AM ----------

    this is a good step by Dawn.
     
  8. jahangeer yousaf

    jahangeer yousaf FULL MEMBER

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    what a timing for this wiki leaks ........ a recent operation ..... parliamentarian passed resolution with the army against drone attack ....... shahbaz rejected the aid ............... wow .......... CIA is really something ..................... it will boast the anger of pakistani nation against kiyani and army and offcourse sharif brothers has lost their dignity way back ..... and this is another hammer over them ................

    but CIA should stop under estimating pakistani nation ...... we can break their teeth outta no where
     
  9. Developereo

    Developereo PDF THINK TANK: CONSULTANT

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    The CIA ploy only works because the American psyche has been completely reshaped after 9/11. The people have been conditioned through fear to put blind trust in everything the government says -- especially when it comes to foreign affairs. Anyone daring to question the official line is deemed an unpatriotic 'terrist' sympathizer and a conspiracy theorist to boot.
     
  10. Malik Usman

    Malik Usman FULL MEMBER

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    Wikileaks is now in the hand of CIA and now they are using this for their benefits.............its same like Osma's story
     
  11. Hindustani

    Hindustani BANNED

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    I honestly think you people overestimate CIA and RAW :lol:
     
  12. hembo

    hembo SENIOR MEMBER

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    RAW yes.. CIA no!!
     
  13. rajusri

    rajusri BANNED

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    The cables have been shared by The Hindu with Dawn.