Saturday, January 20, 2007

Washington 'snubbed Iran offer'

January 20, 2007

Iran offered the US a package of concessions in 2003, but it was rejected, a senior former US official has told the BBC's Newsnight programme.

Tehran proposed ending support for Lebanese and Palestinian militant groups and helping to stabilise Iraq following the US-led invasion.

Offers, including making its nuclear programme more transparent, were conditional on the US ending hostility.

But Vice-President Dick Cheney's office rejected the plan, the official said.

The offers came in a letter, seen by Newsnight, which was unsigned but which the US state department apparently believed to have been approved by the highest authorities.

In return for its concessions, Tehran asked Washington to end its hostility, to end sanctions, and to disband the Iranian rebel group the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq and repatriate its members.

Former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had allowed the rebel group to base itself in Iraq, putting it under US power after the invasion.

One of the then Secretary of State Colin Powell's top aides told the BBC the state department was keen on the plan - but was over-ruled.

"We thought it was a very propitious moment to do that," Lawrence Wilkerson told Newsnight.
"But as soon as it got to the White House, and as soon as it got to the Vice-President's office, the old mantra of 'We don't talk to evil'... reasserted itself."

Observers say the Iranian offer as outlined nearly four years ago corresponds pretty closely to what Washington is demanding from Tehran now.

Since that time, Lebanese guerrilla group Hezbollah inflicted significant military losses on the major US ally in the region, Israel, in the 2006 conflict and is now claiming increased political power in Lebanon.

Palestinian militant group Hamas won power in parliamentary elections a year ago, opening a new chapter of conflict in Gaza and the West Bank.

The UN Security Council has imposed sanctions on Iran following its refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment programme.

Iran denies US accusations that its nuclear programme is designed to produce weapons.

A Message from Muhammad in the Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Dear John Carey;

I hope that you will be in the best spirit of your life.

The situation in region is still fluid and uncertain as the terrorists are in the control.

An impression has been created that Taliban are more dangerous than al-Qaeda. This impression is totally wrong as al-Qaeda has still been posing threat to the very existence of this world.

The Taliban is Pashto language word which means students.

The terrorists have been using the innocent and underage students for achieving their ulterior motives. In our areas most of the poor people who cannot afford to send their children to the schools and colleges have been admitting them in the religious seminaries (madrassas). Most of the religious seminaries are being operated in big cities of Pakistan. Teachers in these seminaries have been brain washing the innocent children and then they were sent to Afghanistan or other countries for carrying out terrorist activities. For this job they were paid some money.

As I already told you that most of them were poor so they have no other option, but to go to war.

President of Pakistan in recent statement said that Taliban are more dangeruos.This statement is totally wrong.

Pakistani President General Musharraf said the center of gravity of terrorism has shifted from Al-Qaeda to the Taliban. He warned parliament that Taliban insurgents were a more dangerous terrorist force than Al-Qaeda because of the support they have of people in Afghanistan. Musharraf told the MEPs that the West and the US trained and armed 30,000 Mujahideen in Pakistan and sent them to fight the Soviet Union during its occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

"Pakistan did not create Taliban. We are against the Talibanization of Pakistan," he said. Here the question arises if Pakistan is against Talibanization then why the religious seminaries are not closed down in various cities.

If the government of Pakistan provides opportunities to the people of tribal areas to admit their children in schools then no one in the areas will send their children to the religious seminaries. All opportunities of education has been closed in the tribal areas.

I am journalist and have four children, but so far I am unable to send my children to the standard schools.

The people of Bajaur Agency will very grateful to the United States if it creates chances of education for the tribesmen. Though the officials of the United States based in Pakistan have been saying that they have been providing funds for opening schools in the tribal areas, but where the funds go no one knows.

Thank you very much.

Yours Sincerely,


In the Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

24 Hours: The International Scene Never Stops

And Neither Does Life Itself!

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom Group
January 20, 2007

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 0901:

I lunge for the telephone. If I don’t get it by the end of the second ring the answering machine clicks on.

“John, this is Hai-lan. Hello.”

Hai-lan, my old political and military science mentor, phoned from Asia to give me a piece of her mind. Well, maybe more than a piece. Maybe a chunk of thinking and criticism and insight.Hai-lan’s phone call and the spin-off thinking I needed to do as a result became the focus of the greater part of this morning.

If you missed our insight from Asia on U.S. foreign policy, you are invited to read more at:

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1120:

Phone again: “John this is Alex ‘Verbotin’ (this is Alex’s effort at a comic pseudonym) in Moscow. Can we talk later today about the U.S. intentions with regard to Iran?”

Alex is a reporter in Russia.

I tell him I will do some reading and be ready for him at about 4 or 5 PM my time.

He thanks me and promises to call back at about 5 PM.

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1135:

I depart for Catholic Mass at noon at Our Lady of Lourdes.

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1300:

I stop by to see my wife and her Vietnamese friends at work. I wind up buying them Vietnamese takeout for lunch. This is what friends are for.

They all eat noodles with their chopsticks and delighted faces!

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1400:

Cell phone: “John, this is Tom, I think I had a heart attack.”

I say immediately: “Call 911 and get to the hospital.”

Tom: “I can’t do that. My insurance isn’t paid up. I needed the money to buy the new Lincoln.”

Tom is 75 years old, suffers from Alzheimer’s, still drives and works. He has no family and has never been married. He lives alone. I am, it seems, one of the only people he trusts in a crisis.

Because of the Alzheimer’s, Tom doesn’t make good decisions. Calling me today is one of those.

Buying a Lincoln with the medical insurance money, apparently, is one of those bad decisions he’s hiding from me.

I agree to pick Tom up, and drive him to the hospital, but he argues against my plan. I decide to go anyway. I’ll pick up an expert on Iran on the way.

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1445:

Tom calls again on the cell phone several times. In each call he radiates enthusiasm and says he is getting better.

I tell him he is not qualified to make a self diagnosis.

My Iranian friend has a “ read file” so I start reading everything I can get my hands on about U.S. military preparations to deal with Iran’s nuclear program. This necessitates several phone calls to top intelligence sources and people in the know.

My Iranian friend makes half of these phone calls without prompting. We have worked together before.

Thursday, January 18, 2007, 1700:

We decide we know enough and depart to pick up Tom and head for the emergency room.

After we pick up Tom, Alex calls from Russia and interviews me by cell phone for a Moscow radio program.

I never tell him we are winding our way though the tunnel underneath the U.S. Capitol building on the way to the veterans hospital. The vision of Princess Diana and Dodi in the tennel below Paris flashes across my mind for a second. I drive more carefully for a few minutes.

Tom is a disabled American Veteran of the Korean War and we know he will be seen in the emergency room of the V.A. hospital without cost.

At the V.A. hospital Tom is evaluated first by a registered nurse from Puerto Rico named Juan, then by a RN from Kenya named Rosemary. I tell Rosemary I visited Kenya while in the Navy and we have a chatty conversation as she shoves probes into Tom and reads print outs.

Rosemary is from the Meru tribe in central Kenya. She tells us that the uniting term Meru covers several smaller tribes and village people and comes from the Maasai, who called the forests of Tigania and Imenti Mieru, meaning basically "a quiet place.”

I file this nugget away. But I have no idea when it might become useful. Maybe a New York Times crossword puzzle some day!

The head nurse is from the Philippines and we have some fun with her as we spent many happy times there while in the Navy.

Finally Tom is seen by a real honest to gosh Doctor, who happens to be a Beauty Queen of a Black woman.

She asks Tom if he had any heart palpitations or chest pains today and Tom smiles ear to ear and says: “Not until you came in!”

When you are a skinny 75 year old man you can get away with anything, I’ve found.

Tom must be feeling better!

We escape the emergency room at about midnight and I drive everyone home.

Friday, January 19, 2007, 0500:

I rise to start reading about China. A Chinese submarine surfaced within 5 miles of USS Kitty Hawk, an aircraft carrier, late last year. Tim, a former National Security Council member, has sent me reams of information to sift though. We are supposed to rendezvous for a meeting at the Pentagon at 0930.

When I glance at the morning news I see that The Washington Post is reporting that China has killed an old Chinese satellite with a ground-based rocket.

Why now, I wonder?

We’ll have to go back and reads up on this later.

Somebody told me one time what I am really good at.

“John,” said an old friend. “Better than anyone in our business you can read volumes of information, organize it, fit it together and make complete sense out of a hash that nobody else can decipher. Then you can explain it all to us and show us how it all fits together and makes sense.”

I guess that is what I do.

Friday, January 19, 2007, 0800:

I start driving to the Pentagon early. Good thing too. Wantanee phones from Thailand.

“John: you won’t believe it. I have the video of the interview by CNN of Former Thai Prime Minister Thaksin. It doesn’t air until Saturday and the Thai government already has said it won’t air here in Thailand at all.”

I can tell she is breathless.

I ask her, “What should we do with it?”

She knows: “Put it on the internet, of course, and tell all the Thais where they can see it!”

Wantanee and I don’t have a dog in the fight about who should lead Thailand but we do stand up for Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech. If the Thai government wants to keep information from the Thai people: we’re bound to be on the other side of that discussion along with organizations such as “Human Rights Watch.”

We work out the technical details and say goodbye.

At about 0856, I slow the car to a crawl as I pass Arlington national cemetery. A funeral is forming up: the soldiers in their crisp blue dress uniforms.

I am at the Pentagon and a guard I have know for more than 20 years greets me with a smile and “Morning Mister Carey.”

Another 24 hours is about to begin.

I guess my days are not as exciting as that guy's on TV. But my days are full and well spent and I've yet to find the time to see that guy on TV go though his grueling 24 hour day!