Stories about USA

US airport panic: Stopped because I was carrying a book called ‘The Taliban’

The mayhem surrounding the busy terminal of the Minneapolis-St Paul International Airport was evaded by the striking and almost pin drop silence as the check-in machine – more precisely known as the explosive detection machine – started to beep breathlessly. What followed was not a very pleasant sight to witness, to say the least. The officers surrounding the terminal I was checking in through were overtaken by a wave of panic and confusion. Almost taken aback, the officers tried their best to veil the feelings of uncertainty and fear that were clearly visible through their faces. All this time the beeper ...

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Sense prevails over Syria, finally

It is commonplace to find Russia and America at odds with one another, especially in the recent past, from the Edward Snowden saga to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, relations between the two have generally been cold. In contrast, however, the latest development in relations between the two has been an amiable one, when Obama saw eye-to-eye with Putin’s proposal of disposing of Syria’s chemical weapons under international supervision. The congress vote-in, which Obama was tipped to face stiff resistance on, has been put on hold to give diplomacy a chance. Incidentally, it seems that America ...

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I am Bradley Manning and you should be too!

As the sentencing hearing gets underway for Bradley Manning, who faces 136 years in prison after being convicted of 20 charges including espionage and theft, it’s hard not to feel that a travesty of justice is taking place. Here is a person who had made a commitment to serve his country and was put in a difficult situation of deciding whether to follow protocol and turn a blind eye to abuses and war crimes being carried out in his country’s name, or to do the morally right thing and bring the atrocities to light. Bradley Manning chose to follow his conscience, knowing ...

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Shahid Khan: Another Pakistani success story we failed to appreciate

On Saturday, 13 July, my heart swelled with national pride when Shahid Khan, a Pakistani-born billionaire based in the USA, completed the purchase of the English Premier League football club Fulham FC from Egyptian business mogul Mohamed Al Fayed. The completion of the deal, which is valued at around 150 million to 200 million pounds sterling, has made Khan the sixth American and probably the first man of Pakistani origin to purchase a Premier League club. The purchase of Fulham is not Khan’s first venture into the world of sport. In November 2011, he purchased the National Football League (NFL) team ...

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Abbottabad Commission Report: An apt summary of why we may be a “failed state”

Now that we know the details of how we harboured the world’s most wanted man for nearly a decade, before letting a foreign power invade our territory without being detected, let alone countered, the term “failed nation” has a deeper resonance for us. Osama Bin Laden entered Pakistan in 2002, and after loitering in Peshawar, Swat and Haripur, made a cozy, comfy, illegal home with his wives, children and grandchildren in Abbottabad. Here, he helped plot al Qaeda initiatives through electronic communication. Protected from arrest and tortured by the laughable incompetence of Pakistani law enforcement agencies, he encouraged his grandchildren ...

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Negotiating with the Afghan Taliban is a good idea

Recent news of the Taliban opening an office to facilitate negotiations captured headlines across the world. First, Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai reacted with indignity to the decision made by the Taliban leadership to open an office under the banner of the Islamic Emirates of Afghanistan. Karzai then announced that Afghanistan will not be participating in peace negotiations with the Taliban. What followed was last week’s bombing by the Taliban at the Presidential Compound, believed to be the most secure area in Afghanistan. The negotiations so far have been inconsequential. No prisoners swapped, no eleventh-hour deal, no power-sharing agreement. There exist only desperate pleas from Secretary Kerry ...

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Drone-fare: A clueless rant

As a Pakistani, it is safe to be ranting out against drones. However, if you happen to be an international relations graduate, you are often at loggerheads with your patriotism and reality. The question of legality concerning drones is a myriad of crisp talks and writings. The major issues encircling the drone debate, under international law’s spectrum, are questions regarding national sovereignty and targeted killings. It is common knowledge now (bless the Wikileaks!) that under the mutual agreement between the then US administration and former president Pervez Musharraf,  Islamabad was obliged to provide the relevant information for the predator drones to ...

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NSA and PRISM: Say a wrong word and you’re on the watch list

Edward Snowden, a former employee of the National Security Agency (NSA), has created a nightmare for the United States government by leaking information about a programme called ‘PRISM’. The programme, run by the NSA, essentially aims at comprehensively monitoring all calls in and out of the US. It sifts through huge amounts of user data collected from cyber big wigs such as Apple, Microsoft and Facebook. Once the agency has this wild amount of data, it uses a sophisticated tool called ‘Boundless Informant‘ to make sense of it. I must admit, the uproar as a result of the PRISM leaks is ...

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In an explosive world: On making India a part of the Nuclear Supplier’s Group

On May 18, 1974, India conducted its nuclear test. It reaffirmed the international community’s fears that nuclear technology and materials provided for peaceful purposes can be used in nuclear weapons. In 1975, in order to curtail such gross misuse Canada, France, West Germany, Japan, Soviet Union, United States and United Kingdom got together and formed the Nuclear Supplier’s Group (NSG). The purpose was to regulate the nuclear trade so further diversions like India’s don’t take place. Forty years later the situation has changed. France, Russia, the UK, and the US are campaigning to make India a member of the NSG. The motives are simple; the huge ...

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President Obama’s speech and the continuation of drone strikes

President Obama delivered his much anticipated speech on counter-terrorism at the National Defense University, at Fort McNair in Washington, on Thursday. In the days before the address the focus was mainly expected to be policies governing drone attacks. According to White House officials, the speech would particularly give procedural details explaining the process leading up to decisions to use drones in counter-terrorism. It was also said that the remarks would outline, in detail, this administration’s counter-terrorism policies. Pakistan has had a long and violent relationship with American drones since 2004, the fifth year under the presidency of Pervez Musharraf. According to ...

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