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NightWatch 20100309


For the Night of 9 March 2010

Japan: Update. A Foreign Ministry panel concluded that secret pacts on nuclear arms and other issues were reached by Japan and the United States in the Cold War era, The Associated Press reported 9 March. Among the secret pacts acknowledged by the expert panel was "a tacit agreement" that emerged during the revision of the Japan-U.S security treaty in 1960, which led Japan effectively to allow port calls by U.S. vessels carrying nuclear weapons without prior consultation.

Foreign Minister Katsuya Okada stated that Japan will stick to the three non-nuclear principles, first declared in 1967 by then Prime Minister Eisaku Sato. Okada seems to ignore the panel's conclusion that Japan has not "stuck" to its non-nuclear principles since before they were declared.

The panel findings signify that Japan's claim to moral high ground in nuclear matters is partly phony. A better explanation seems to be by proclaiming to be non-nuclear Japan avoided having to pay to defend itself after World War II.

The National Security Archive has a collection that contains the texts of the secret agreements.

Burma: The ruling military junta announced passage of two of five laws governing the first general elections in two decades. The laws will set out the mechanisms and rules for the election and campaigning, and the conditions under which parties may participate.

The Union Election Commission Law stipulates that the junta will appoint a commission with a minimum of five members. Decisions of the body would be final. Members, who cannot be members of political parties, must be persons "deemed prominent and reputable" by the junta. Details of the remaining four laws will soon be released.

This resembles Indonesia's "guided democracy" under Suharto. It is pretty much a farce in that another law, the Political Parties Registration Law, bans anyone convicted in a law court, members of religious orders and civil servants from joining political parties. Those prohibited classes of people include Aung San Suu Kyi, the Buddhist monks and anyone of importance who has opposed the junta in the past 20 years.

In a gift for understatement about the obvious, a US State Department spokesman said the Department remains skeptical that the elections will be credible. Hmmm….

Indonesia: Tonight's good news. According to the BBC, President Yudhoyono confirmed today that Indonesian police killed terror suspect Dulmatin, aka Joko Pitono, in a raid in Jakarta. He made the announcement during his current visit to Australia. He was alleged to be the mastermind behind the Bali nightclub bombing in 2002 in which 200 Australians died. He was one of the top terrorists in Southeast Asia.

India-Pakistan: Update. An Indian prosecutor in a special court in Mumbai said active duty members of the Pakistan Army and a serving major general oversaw the training of Lashkar-e-Taiba militants who carried out the deadly Mumbai attacks in November 2008, Press Trust of India reported 9 March. Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said in his final arguments that it could be inferred that the attack was state-sponsored.

The Hindu account is sharper. "The November 26 attack was not an ordinary attack by 10 indoctrinated terrorists. It was well orchestrated, meticulously planned and [reflected] a deep-seated hatred for our country. It was a classic case of sponsored terrorism. Evidence by the prosecution has successfully established that the attack was sponsored by Pakistan. Irrefutable inference [can be drawn] that it was sponsored by State actors involved in the security apparatus of Pakistan," Mr. Nikam argued.

He said the Major General's name was not revealed to the attackers "undoubtedly because he was from the Pakistan Army." "He is an entity separate from the Lashkar-e-Taiba [LeT]; he must have been the supreme authority running the training camp."

Citing excerpts from the judicial confession statement of lone surviving terrorist Mohammad Ajmal Amir Kasab, recorded on 20 February 2009, Mr. Nikam said the Major General visited the training camps when military and intelligence training was being imparted to the attackers. He had enquired whether the trainees had any complaints and was keen that they completed the mission given by the LeT.

Comment: The Indians are serious about improving anti-terror cooperation, whereas Pakistan wants to restart a comprehensive dialogue. Pakistan has arrested terrorists from every group except those that target India. When that occurs, India will know Pakistan has abandoned terror as an instrument of state policy.

Since mid-January, Pakistan has done more to disrupt Pakistan-based terrorists and insurgents than any administration in a quarter century. But it has done little to suppress anti-Indian terrorists, which explains the public embarrassment of the Mumbai trial.

Afghanistan-Pakistan: Taliban reintegration, the extradition of Mullah Berader, and the status of kidnapped Afghan diplomat Abdul Khaliq Farahi are among topics likely to be discussed when Afghan President Hamid Karzai visits Pakistan on 10 and 11 March, Dawn News reported. Karzai is due to meet with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

At least the atmosphere for discussions is better than at any time in Karzai's administration, owing to Coalition successes in Helmand Province and Pakistan's arrest of half of the Quetta/Karachi Shura that advises Mullah Omar.

Ironically, Pakistan's success gives Karzai a strong argument that Pakistan has the capability, intelligence and resources to round up the other half of Omar's advisory group and Omar himself … as well as deliver the whole lot into Afghan custody.

UN-Iran: For the record. Israel's Ambassador to the United Nations Gabriella Shalev said there is little chance the U.N. Security Council will approve crippling sanctions on Iran, Ynet News reported today. Shalev said China and Russia are preventing a decision on a fourth round of sanctions.

Shalev might have included India, Pakistan and most of South America among the ranks of those UN members opposed to harsh sanctions.

France-Somali anti-pirate patrol: The French Defense Ministry announced that one of its frigates made "the biggest seizure" of pirates and craft since European Union navies started patrolling the Gulf of Aden and the western Indian Ocean in December 2008.

The French frigate Nivose, with the help of a Spanish aerial patrol and two helicopters identifying and tracking down the pirates, seized 35 pirates, four "mother ships" and six skiffs in four sweeps on pirates since Friday.

End of NightWatch for 9 March.

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