INDIA DEFENCE CONSULTANTS

WHAT'S HOT? ANALYSIS OF RECENT HAPPENINGS

AIRPORT SECURITY USA STYLE

An IDC Report 

 

New Delhi, 05 July 2004

The interest rates in USA were increased by a quarter percent but the stock market fell 100 points and those who sold stock entered the Bond market. The early hand over of Saddam Hussein to the Iraqi Government was the talk of all analysts and what exactly it will mean for the 160,000 US troops as Gen Casey took over from Gen Sanchez in Baghdad. In USA the Coast Guard took a serious view of the International Security At Sea Code and any ship not certified was denied permission to enter US Ports as of 1July. A Bolivian freighter was the first ship to be turned away from Miami. On terrorism, a news item on Pakistan is appended and the bad news for foreigners working in USA including Indians with H1 and equivalent visas was that they will have to go back to their home countries to get visas extended.

 

U.S. Steps Up Airport Focus on Pakistan

By Josh Meyer, Times Staff Writer

LOS ANGELES TIMES, JULY 1, 2004

(All travelers of Pakistani descent, including American citizens,

will get extra scrutiny in an effort to intercept terrorist trainees.)

In a sign of growing concern over Islamic militants' training camps in Pakistan, the Department of Homeland Security has ordered its inspectors at America's largest airports to scrutinize all travelers of Pakistani descent including U.S. citizens in an effort to catch terrorist trainees who might try to enter the United States, officials said Wednesday.

In its warning, which began circulating June 17, the Customs and Border Protection agency requested intensified searches at checkpoints at Los Angeles International Airport and at the main international airports in New York, Washington, Chicago, Detroit and Newark, N.J.

In particular, agents are being told to look for signs of injuries that could have been received during paramilitary training such as rope burns, unusual bruises and scars.

A Pakistani diplomat in Washington decried the warning as unwarranted and said it could undermine relations between the U.S. and Pakistan.

A Homeland Security official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the warning had been issued, but said it was confidential and described it as one of many such briefings given to agents as part of the department's developing border enforcement process. He said it was the first to address training camps in Pakistan.

"We don't have specific intelligence that indicates there is a mass exodus of people from Pakistan training camps intent on coming here to do attacks," he said. "It's more that there are terrorist training camps there, as there are elsewhere around the world, and we want to tell people to be on the lookout."

The official said he could not discuss operational details, including how the agents will try to ascertain whether a passenger is of Pakistani origin. But he said the agents have been instructed to take particular note of recent travelers to Pakistan and "to look for other clues."

Most of the camps in Pakistan are thought to be overseen by militants who belong to fundamentalist Islamic organizations with links to Al Qaeda, the official said. He added that they were probably less sophisticated than the training operations that Al Qaeda oversaw in Afghanistan before the U.S.-led military campaign to destroy them in late 2001.

The warning to customs agents was based on general concerns about activity at such camps, and not on any specific information about a planned attack, the official said.

The warning cites information obtained during Pakistani military raids near the border with Afghanistan. "It is reasonable to expect that many of the individuals trained are destined to commit illegal activities in the United States," the warning states.

Mohammed Sadiq, deputy chief of mission at the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said the warning threatened to undermine the close relationship between the two countries in the fight against terrorism.

"It is not only unfortunate, but based on ignorance," Sadiq said. "Warnings like these harm us a lot and they harm Pakistani Americans and people from Pakistan who visit the United States."

Even before the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, U.S. authorities and their counterparts in India were closely monitoring such camps. They contend that the camps have trained Islamic militants fighting along with Pakistan against India in the contested area of Kashmir.

Last month, the staff of the independent commission investigating the Sept. 11 attacks concluded in a report that Pakistan's military and intelligence services had worked closely with Al Qaeda and its former supporters in Afghanistan, the Taliban, in training militants and in other operational efforts.

And though Pakistan is a key ally of the United States in its war on terrorism, its troops have been unable to prevent Al Qaeda and Taliban fugitives from sneaking into Pakistan and finding safe haven in its mountainous tribal areas and cities. Several of Al Qaeda's most senior operatives have been captured in Pakistan, including Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, Abu Zubaydah and Ramzi Binalshibh.

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