Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The American Empire Is Collapsing; The American Way Of Life Is Collapsing Does Anyone Give A Damn?








The American Empire Is Collapsing; The American Way Of Life Is Collapsing Does Anyone Give A Damn?




50 years from now historians may write about the fall of empire. But history is writing itself furiously right now, accelerated by the revolution of global freedom of information. READ MORE
                                                   

                             BAIL APPEAL For WikiLeaks Founder Assange On Thursday


Swedish prosecutors will make their appeal against bail for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange at the High Court on Thursday.
A lawyer for Mr. Assange, said he was confused at the verdict, “This is the first time someone has been freed on bail only to be forced to reside in prison.”
“I cannot understand it.  British law contorts itself into many different shapes and sizes depending on what the United States wants it to do.”

Julian Assange Bail conditions

His lawyer continued, “It kind of feels like a hollow victory.  The British government is saying look, we do respect freedom of speech because we freed him, but we don’t respect the freedom of freedom because we kept him in prison.”
“He has basically been let out, only to be led straight back in.”
“His two Swedish victims had offered to put him up, but he was too clever for that.  They live in Sweden.  Although he did say that he would happily put them up in his cell.”
It is believed lawyers for Mr Assange tried an unorthodox approach of their own, “We’ve taken their ‘free but not free’ approach to implementing the law and told them he would agree to plead guilt if they dropped the charges.”
“That sounds fair to us.”



WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Granted Bail

Channel 4: Julian Assange granted conditional bail but remains in custody after what his lawyer says is a "vindictive campaign" by Swedish prosecutors



Julian Assange, the founder of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, has been granted bail in a London court on the condition that he remains in prison for the rest of his life.

Meanwhile: Wikileaks: Anonymous Takes Down Swedish Prosecution Website








WikiLeaks: Julian Assange sex assault court case branded a 'show trial'
Telegraph.co.uk
The Swedish authorities are turning the sexual assault case against Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder, into a "show trial", his lawyers claimed. ...See all stories on this topic »

Adam Bandt Speech At Pro-Wikileaks Rally (14/12/10)




With Wikileaks Revelations, Peace Community Redoubles Demand For End To Wars And Voices Support For Whistleblowers

While only a tiny fraction of the U.S. diplomatic cables scheduled for publication by Wikileaks have thus far been made available, some conclusions can already be drawn. These cables and the Iraq and Afghan War Diaries provide an opportunity for Americans to see our government for what it is.

Our government is seen here as controlling a global military and espionage empire that impacts every region of the globe and deceives its own population. Secrecy, spying, and hostility have infected our entire government, turning the diplomatic corps into an arm of the CIA and the military, just as the civilian efforts in Afghanistan are described by Richard Holbrooke, who heads them up, as "support for the military." Secret war planning, secret wars, and lies about wars have become routine. The United States is secretly and illegally engaged in a war in Yemen and has persuaded that nation's government to lie about it. The United States has supported a coup in Honduras and lied about it.   

We have long known that the war on terrorism was increasing, rather than diminishing, terrorism. These leaks show Saudi Arabia to be the greatest sponsor of terrorism, and show that nation's dictator, King Abdullah, to be very close to our own government in its treatment of prisoners. He has urged the United States to implant microchips in prisoners released from Guantanamo. And he has urged the United States to illegally and aggressively attack Iran. Congress should immediately block what would be the largest weapons sale in U.S. history, selling this country $60 billion in weapons. And Congress should drop any idea of "updating" the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force to permit presidents to unconstitutionally launch more wars. We see what sort of wars our allies urge on our presidents.

We learn that while dictators urge war, other branches of the same governments, the people, and the evidence weigh against it. We learn from a cable from last February that Russia has refuted U.S. claims that Iran has missiles that could target Europe. We learn from September 2009 that the United States and Britain planned to pressure Yukiya Amano, the then incoming head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, to produce reports suggesting Iranian nuclear developments, whether or not merited by the facts, and that National Security Adviser Gen. Jim Jones proposed the propaganda strategy of baselessly tying Iran's nuclear program to North Korea's.

Much of the pressure for war appears to come from within the United States, whose representatives treat the entire world as a hostile enemy to be spied on, lied to, and exploited. The secrecy that permits this behavior must be broken if the United States' approach to the world is to change. Those who have helped to fulfill President Obama's campaign promise of transparency must be protected from his vengeance, while those who have abused positions of diplomatic trust to advance agendas of espionage and war planning must be held accountable.

While other countries may offer residency and protection to Wikileaks' Julian Assange, it is the United States that has most benefitted from his work. We encourage U.S. cities to offer him sanctuary.

Our Department of Justice has granted immunity for aggressive war, kidnapping, torture, assassination, and warrantless spying, while pursuing the criminal prosecution of Bradley Manning for allegedly leaking materials to Wikileaks. Were our government to indict Assange or support the extradition or rendition of Assange from anywhere in the world to Sweden, while maintaining that his work and not the Pentagon's has endangered us, our nation's moral standing would reach a new low.

Our government should cease any actions it is taking to prosecute Julian Assange for absurd criminal charges, to pressure Sweden to do so, or to sabotage Wikileaks' servers. Cover-ups of leaks have a history in Washington of backfiring in the form of larger leaks and scandals. Our State Department should focus on diplomacy and mutually beneficial partnerships with the world community.

The undersigned express our gratitude to those doing the job a representative government and an independent media are each supposed to do. We demand an end to all overt and covert wars, a ban on the use of State Department employees and contractors in spying or warfare, and a full investigation of the facts revealed in the Wikileaks cables.

We support the protest of our current wars planned for December 16th, 10 a.m., at the White House.

Signed,

Medea Benjamin
Leslie Cagan
Tim Carpenter
Gael Murphy
Cindy Sheehan
David Swanson
Debra Sweet
Ann Wright
Kevin Zeese


“ONLY FACSISTS FEAR THE TRUTH”

"This seems like a rather pointless protest," said CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin. "Our enemies can see the documents, but not those whom we trust to defend our country."





Xeni Jardin At 10:04 PM Tuesday, Dec 14, 2010
I cannot recall a media blackout this massive ever having been implemented on a US military computer network. This is unprecedented.
Reuters: "The U.S. Air Force has blocked employees from visiting media websites carrying leaked WikiLeaks documents, including The New York Times and the Guardian, a spokesman said on Tuesday."
The Wall Street Journal broke the story here (paywall link).
When Air Force personnel on the service's computer network try to view the Web sites of The Times, the British newspaper The Guardian, the German magazine Der Spiegel, the Spanish newspaper El País and the French newspaper Le Monde, as well as other sites that posted full confidential cables, the screen says "Access Denied: Internet usage is logged and monitored," according to an Air Force official whose access was blocked and who shared the screen warning with The Times. Violators are warned that they face punishment if they try to view classified material from unauthorized Web sites.
WikiLeaks cable: Aussie diplomat says PH a 'basket case' 
ABS CBN News
A leaked diplomatic cable of secret talks between Australian and US officials, released to The Age by whistleblower site WikiLeaks, revealed that Australian ...
See all stories on this topic »

WikiLeaks: Michael Moore says supporting Julian Assange 'true act of patriotism'
Telegraph.co.uk
Supporting Julian Assange and his WikiLeaks website is a "true act of patriotism", according to Michael Moore, the American filmaker. ...See all stories on this topic »-Telegraph.co.uk

WikiLeaks founder is a true patriot
Paris Post Intelligencer
By DAVID L. SHANKLE There are demonstrations across the world protesting the arrest of Julian Assange, the founder and public face of WikiLeaks, on charges ...See all stories on this topic »


By ADAM BRADLOW
COLUMNIST
Published: Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

Benjamin Franklin once warned: “Three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.” So the U.S. government should not have been surprised that 3 million — the number of people with access to the recently leaked diplomatic cables — could not keep anything confidential for long either. But the fundamental challenge that WikiLeaks is posing to society is not so much how many people we can trust with our secrets, but whether secrets themselves are good at all. This idea — that secrets are bad simply because they are secrets — is the idea at the heart of the WikiLeaks revolution. What are we, who now inherit a WikiLeaks world, to make of it?

If WikiLeaks is a revolution, then its leader, Julian Assange, is its chief revolutionary. (That, by the way, is not necessarily a good thing.) And the best evidence that he has achieved this status is the total paralysis he has induced among the current governing order. On the one hand, the U.S. government is certain that he is an enemy of the state. On the other hand, it is not even sure if it has the legal power to pursue him.

What makes Assange so confounding is that he has created a system that is outside the current governing structure. As Franklin knew, as long as there have been secrets, there have been people who have sought to expose them. But often these people were inhibited because they could not be assured anonymity or protection should they be discovered. WikiLeaks’ strong encryption is able to offer that anonymity to anyone in the world — regardless of whether their own country has laws that protect whistle-blowers. Before, the state could limit leaks by prosecuting anyone who was caught exposing secrets; now WikiLeaks has ensured that the state cannot even identify the culprit. (The man who leaked the U.S. diplomatic cables was discovered because he bragged to his friends.) This means that WikiLeaks is truly a law unto itself.

WikiLeaks’ stated goal is to expose the secrets of governments and institutions. But large institutions, from governments to corporations, all need secrets — or at least private discussions that are not shared with competitors — in order to function. In this sense, Assange is not only an enemy of the U.S. state: He is an enemy of all states and any large organization. And his political view — if he can be said to have a coherent one — is anarchy. As a measure of the level of chaos WikiLeaks can cause, consider this: Assange has released fewer than 1,000 of the over 250,000 cables he claims to have in his possession.

But Assange is more than just a political revolutionary; he is also the latest harbinger of a cultural revolution. Assange himself is highly secretive, so I doubt that he believes that personal secrets are bad simply because they are secrets. But the effect of his organization is to argue exactly that. Large institutions — such as social networking sites, banks and even our universities — all store our most sensitive information on the Web. This used not to concern me, as I believed that we could work within the system to protect our privacy of information on the Web. For example, public pressure seemed to stop Facebook from modifying its privacy policies so that it could sell personal information for money. But with WikiLeaks’ uncanny ability to infiltrate and expose the secrets of governments and corporations, it is now apparent that anyone with enough computer skills and good contacts can share our secrets with the world. Imagine, for example, a slightly less responsible version of WikiLeaks that simply released all files it obtained without redacting personal information.

In this light, WikiLeaks is a force that forces us to reevaluate whether anyone is entitled to secrets. If transparency is good for big organizations, why not in our personal lives as well? It’s a new cultural value that promotes radical openness and a life that is intimately involved in the community: Everyone should have access to everything.  

I am not so pessimistic as to say that we are destined for a truly anarchic society in which even our most personal secrets are public information. After all, history is full of surprising twists and turns. But one of the things that I find most troubling about Assange’s revolution is that we cannot even choose sides in favor or against his cause. It seems to have been foisted upon us by an army of savvy techies. We mere mortals must live with the consequences.

Thomas Jefferson, to invoke another wise founding father, once noted, “Every generation needs a revolution.” If this one is ours, I suppose I have no choice but to hope it is a good one.
Adam Bradlow is an anthropology major from Potomac, Md. He can be reached at abradlow@princeton.edu.

Mirror Malware Warning

2010-12-14 17:00 GMT, by Quentin Jenkins



In the past day Spamhaus has become aware that the main Wikileaks website, wikileaks.org, now redirects web traffic to a 3rd party mirror site, mirror.wikileaks.info. This new web site is hosted in a very dangerous "neighborhood", Webalta's 92.241.160.0/19 IP address space, a "blackhat" network which Spamhaus believes caters primarily to, or is under the control of, Russian cybercriminals. The Webalta 92.241.160.0/19 netblock has been listed on the Spamhaus Block List (SBL) since October 2008.

Spamhaus regards the Russian Webalta (also known as Wahome) host as being "blackhat" - a known cybercrime host from whose IP space Spamhaus only sees spamming, malware/virus hosting, phishing and other cybercriminal activities. These include routing traffic for Russian cybercriminals who use malware to infect the computers of thousands of Russian citizens.

The fact that recently some unknown person or persons decided to put a Wikileaks mirror on IP address 92.241.190.202 should raise an alarm; how was it placed there and by whom. Our concern is that any Wikileaks archive posted on a site that is hosted in Webalta space might be infected with malware. Since the main wikileaks.org website now transparently redirects visitors to mirror.wikileaks.info and thus directly into Webalta's controlled IP address space, there is substantial risk that any malware infection would spread widely.

Spamhaus also notes that the DNS for wikileaks.info is controlled by Webalta's even more blackhat webhosting reseller "heihachi.net", as evidenced by the DNS records for the domain:
wikileaks.info.                    13435 IN A 92.241.190.202
wikileaks.info.                    12499 IN NS ns2.heihachi.net.
wikileaks.info.                    12499 IN NS ns1.heihachi.net.
Spamhaus has for over a year regarded Heihachi as a provider run 'by criminals for criminals' in the same mould as the criminal Estdomains. The Panama-registered but Russian-run heihachi.net is highly involved in botnet command and control and the hosting of Russian cybercrime.

More information can be found on the SBL listing of Webalta's 92.241.160.0/19:
http://www.spamhaus.org/sbl/sbl.lasso?query=SBL68370

We also note that the content at mirror.wikileaks.info is rather unlike what's at the real Wikileaks mirrors which suggests that the wikileaks.info site may not be under the control of Wikileaks itself, but rather some other group. You can find the real site at wikileaks.is, wikileaks.nl, and many other mirror sites around the world.

Spamhaus takes no political stand on the Wikileaks affair. We do have an interest in preventing spam and related types of internet abuse however and hope that the Wikileaks staff will quickly address the hosting issue to remove the possibility of cybercriminals using Wikileaks traffic for illicit purposes.

Spamhaus is not alone in issuing this Wikileaks mirror malware caution. On Sunday researcher Feike Hacquebord at fellow anti-spam system Trend Micro issued a similar warning in the Trend Micro Malware Blog.

wikileaks.org - Official Wikileaks Page [88.80.13.160, 88.80.17.18, 88.80.17.21]
chat.wikileaks.org - Secure SSL Chat Page [88.80.13.160]
sunshinepress.org - Secure Document Submission Page [88.80.2.32]
wikileaks.com - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
wikileaks.net - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
wikileaks.biz - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
wikileaks.de - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
wikileaks.eu - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
wikileaks.fi - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
wikileaks.mobi - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
wikileaks.nl - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
wikileaks.pl - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
wikileaks.us - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]
ljsf.org - Points to Official Site [88.80.13.160]

Real mirrors on different IP Addresses
wikileaks.info - Mirror hosted in Switzerland [62.2.16.94]
wikileaks.se - Mirror hosted in Sweden [88.80.6.179]
nyud.net - Mirror hosted in the United States [129.170.214.192]

Important Wikileaks Links
twitter.com/wikileaks - Official Wikileaks Twitter Page

wleak.de ipv6

Rare Honesty About WikiLeaks and American Exceptionalism


Courtesy of Ben Wittes at Lawfare, responding to a question about whether he believes that, if America should be permitted to prosecute a non-American like Assange for disclosing American secrets, countries like France, China, or Iran should be able to prosecute Americans for disclosing their secrets (my emphasis):

This, in turn, leads ineluctibly to Tom’s reciprocity point: If Congress can make such a demand on Assange, the U.S. would be in a bad position to object if the Congress of People’s Deputies made a similar demand on the Washington Post. 

I actively want more Chinese secrets revealed against the will of the Chinese government. Indeed, were Wikileaks spending more of its time undermining authoritarianism and less of its time undermining democracies, I might admire it. And I would find outrageous efforts by foreign governments to require American news outlets to keep their secrets for them.

I’m not against double standards in all circumstances, so it’s possible that the right answer here is hypocrisy: Doing what we need to do and objecting when other countries do the same. But I agree with Tom that the situation would be very awkward.

This is American exceptionalism in full bloom.  Getting Chinese intelligence sources killed is fine.  Destroying the ability of China to engage in diplomacy is fine.  Not allowing China to prosecute those who undermine its national security is fine.  Hypocritical and awkward, to be sure.  But fine.  Because China is an authoritarian state, while America is a democracy.

I could offer a substantive critique of this position, but why bother?  If you believe that America is a shining beacon of freedom that should not be governed by the same rules that apply to the other 192 sovereign states in the world — or at least to those that don’t qualify on the Wittes scale as “democracies” — having a discussion about international law (or, for that matter, about any other kind of law) is completely pointless.
I don’t mean to pick on Wittes, who at least is willing to acknowledge that the double-standard means that Assange should probably be let off the hook for publishing American secrets.  But statements like these need to be highlighted, because they reveal precisely the kind of uncritical celebration of American power that has led — and, left unchecked, will continue to lead — to the worst excesses of the war on terror.

POSTSCRIPT: To be clear, I support WikiLeaks’ work no matter which government is involved — China as well as America.  And it is important to note that WikiLeaks has, in fact, also undermined “authoritarianism,” the best example being its exceptionally important work documentingextrajudicial killings in Kenya, which led to a major UN investigation and an Amnesty International Media (!) Award:

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has won the Amnesty 2009 New Media Award for work exposing hundreds of recent extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya. The award was presented last night at a ceremony in London.

Four people associated with investigating the killings have themselves been murdered, including noted human rights lawyers Oscar Kingara and John Paul Oulo, who were assassinated driving to an afternoon meeting at the Kenyan National Commission on Human Rights in March.

WikiLeaks first ran its first story on the subject for a week on its front page, beginning November 1, 2008. Eventually the story was picked up by print media, starting with Jon Swain from the Sunday Times. Earlier this year the United Nations sent a team to Nairobi, lead by U.N. Special Rapporteur Prof. Alston, to investigate.

According to AFP, earlier today a session of the U.N. Human Rights Council was told by the Rapporteur that Kenya’s police were a “major stumbling block” for probes into the killings.

Prof. Alston also told that 47 member Human Rights Council on Wednesday that “Attacks on those who document abuses do not absolve a government of its obligation to investigate, prosecute and punish those responsible for extrajudicial executions,”.

In accepting the award, Mr. Assange stated “It is a reflection of the courage and strength of Kenyan civil society that this injustice was documented. Through the courageous work of organizations such as the Oscar foundation, the KNHCR, Mars Group Kenya and others we had the primary support we needed to expose these murders to the world. I know that they will not rest, and we will not rest, until justice is done.”
It is important not to forget that if America’s witch-hunt eventually succeeds in shutting down WikiLeaks, it’s not just the U.S. that will “benefit” — the Kenyas of the world will benefit, as well.

WikiLeaks Protests: Julian Assange Supporters Demonstrate Outside ...
By The Huffington Post News Team
Dozens of demonstrators descended upon the City of Westminster Magistrate's Court in London Tuesday, jostling for room as they protested in support of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who currently faces sexual assault charges. Europe on The Huffington Post - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/europe

Egypt: Israel's Nukes Destabilizing to Region (Wikileaks ...
By Juan
Egypt: Israel's Nukes Destabilizing to Region (Wikileaks). Posted on 12/15/2010 by Juan. Retweet 0 Share 1. Whenever any US official says that Iran's civilian nuclear enrichment program is destabilizing the Middle East by posing a ...
Informed Comment - http://www.juancole.com/

Kuwait Shuts Down Al Jazeera Office

Al Jazeera: Kuwaiti authorities have closed down the office of the Al Jazeera news channel in Kuwait City

U.S. Intelligence Reports Cast Doubt On War Progress In Afghanistan

The assessments contradict defense officials' optimistic outlook. They contend that large swaths of the country remain at risk of falling to the Taliban and that Pakistan is still supporting militants, officials say.Reporting from Washington


Two new assessments by the U.S. intelligence community present a gloomy picture of theAfghanistan war, contradicting a more upbeat view expressed by military officials as the White House prepares to release a progress report on the 9-year-old conflict.

The classified intelligence reports contend that large swaths of Afghanistan are still at risk of falling to the Taliban, according to officials who were briefed on the National Intelligence Estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan, which represent the collective view of more than a dozen intelligence agencies.

The reports, the subject of a recent closed hearing by the Senate Intelligence Committee, also say Pakistan's government remains unwilling to stop its covert support for members of the Afghan Taliban who mount attacks against U.S. troops from the tribal areas of the neighboring nation. The officials declined to be named because they were discussing classified data.





The intelligence community's analysis contrasts sharply with remarks last week by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who said after visiting the region that he is convinced the administration's strategy is turning around the Afghanistan war.

On Tuesday, military officers hotly contested the intelligence estimates, saying they are "dated" because the review period ended in September, as the last of additional American forces were arriving in Afghanistan. The defense officials said the assessments did not reflect recent gains.

"You are missing at least 2 1/2 months of intensive operations with the full complement of surge forces," said a senior defense official, who added that intelligence analysts lack the "proximity and perspective that our forces have who are on the ground living this every single day."

A senior intelligence official countered that claim, saying, "The notion that intelligence officers aren't on the ground in Afghanistan and on the front lines in the fight against terrorism is preposterous. Our people are working side by side with the United States military and our foreign partners to thwart our common enemies."

National Intelligence Estimates make use of analysis and information from all the intelligence agencies, including those that are part of the Pentagon.

The contrasting assessments illustrate the difficulty in making accurate predictions or gauging progress in Afghanistan. High-profile military operations in southern Afghanistan this year have gone much slower than initially expected. Military officials have said that a key measure of the Taliban's strength will become clear only in the spring, when the traditional winter lull in fighting comes to an end.

President Obama on Tuesday signed off on a draft of the White House progress report after meeting with his top security advisors, Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

The White House review, to be released Thursday, will say that "there has been some important progress in halting the momentum of the Taliban in Afghanistan," Gibbs said, and that "we've seen greater cooperation over the course of the past 18 months with the Pakistani government."

It also will point to problems, including "the ongoing challenge and threat of safe havens in Pakistan," he said.

Obama, who sent 30,000 additional troops to support his counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan, has pledged that military withdrawals would start in July 2011, contingent on conditions there. But Obama told members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization last month that 2014 is the date by which the U.S. hopes to cede full control to Afghan forces, an indication that any 2011 drawdown is likely to be small.

The latter announcement was meant in part to emphasize to Pakistan that the U.S. intended to remain heavily engaged in the region, increasing pressure on the South Asian nation to cut its ties to Afghan Islamist insurgents, one U.S. official said.

It's unclear to what extent the intelligence estimates examined the effect of the CIA's increased use of Predator drone strikes against militants in Pakistan's tribal areas — the main tool at American disposal in a country largely off limits to U.S. troops. But in concluding that the Taliban sanctuaries in those areas remain intact, the reports suggest that drone strikes have not been sufficient to stop militants from staging attacks against NATO forces.

A U.S. official regularly briefed on the program maintained that CIA operations in Pakistan — a euphemism for drone strikes— have greatly degraded militant havens over the last two years. "They're making a hell of a difference" and "have saved numerous American lives," he said.

The CIA has primary responsibility for counter-terrorism operations in Pakistan, with technical and human resources that afford a continual stream of information about events there.

Military commanders acknowledge that a failure to destroy the Taliban's sanctuary in Pakistan could further delay the success of the Obama strategy. The intelligence estimates conclude that Pakistan is unwilling and unable to stop harboring and supporting the

Taliban, one U.S. official said.

Pakistan, which is due to receive $7.5 billion in U.S. civilian aid over three years, denies secretly backing the Taliban. However, intelligence gathered by the U.S. continues to suggest that elements of Pakistan's security services arm, train and fund extremist militants, according to military and State Department documents disclosed this year by WikiLeaks.

Unless the Taliban sanctuaries in Pakistan are closed, "it's going to take a lot longer" to achieve stability and hand over security responsibilities to Afghan troops, Army Maj. Gen. John C. Campbell, the senior commander in eastern Afghanistan, told reporters last week.

Campbell has been planning to close some of the remaining U.S. outposts near the Afghan-Pakistani border and consolidate his forces in areas where more Afghans live, in keeping with the U.S. strategy of protecting the population. But senior commanders are wary about decreasing the U.S. presence near the border, for fear that it would give insurgents an even larger sanctuary, officials said.

Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top NATO commander, is especially worried that U.S. gains in stabilizing southern Afghanistan will be at risk next year unless there is progress in curtailing the Taliban presence in and around the city of Quetta, in Pakistan's Baluchistan province, several U.S. military officers said. The Pakistani army has troops in Baluchistan but has conducted no major combat operations there.

A senior U.S. military official said he remains hopeful that Pakistan will move against Taliban sanctuaries.

At some point, the officer said, "the Pakistan government will find it difficult to protect [or] ignore the snakes who they believe

will only bite the neighbor's kids, and realize that these same snakes are part of the larger problem of an existential threat to their homeland."

Last year Pakistan's army retook the Swat Valley, a region that had fallen to militants. But the army has not moved into North Waziristan, the tribal area used by many insurgents to mount cross-border attacks in Afghanistan.

Petraeus told reporters last week that Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, the Pakistani army's chief of staff, promised recently to conduct operations in North Waziristan. Petraeus acknowledged, though, that Kayani said he would do so "when the timing is right for Pakistani forces."

The area is a stronghold for the Haqqani network, an Afghan insurgent group that has stepped up attacks across the border over the last year. The group, named for its leader, Jalaluddin Haqqani, has been the frequent target of CIA drone strikes in recent months.

Privately, a senior military official acknowledged that "there are no guarantees as to how Pakistan will ultimately address the sanctuary problem."

Key members of Congress are watching the Obama strategy warily.

"Our political and diplomatic efforts are not in line with our military efforts," said Rep. Mike Rogers(R-Mich.), who is under consideration as the next chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. "It may be time to consider a smaller troop footprint."

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, has not reached that conclusion but said, "From my point of view, we've got lots of unanswered questions in all three areas: security, governance and development."

ken.dilanian@latimes.com

david.cloud@latimes.com


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