Sovereign Of the Week: Anna Hazare (Fasting against corruption)

Hunger striking Indian activist Anna Hazare has called for mass protests by his supporters against corruption. The 72-year-old campaigner is on the fourth day of a fast to push for stringent new anti-corruption laws. He wants his followers to “fill India’s jails” in a mass campaign of non-violent civil disobedience on 13 April.

Thousands of people have joined Mr Hazare’s protest. In recent months India has been rocked by a string of corruption scandals. On Thursday, the government agreed to include civil society members in a new panel which Mr Hazare is demanding be set up to draft tighter anti-corruption legislation. But differences remain over who will lead the panel and whether it will have legal powers.

Mr Hazare has said he wants the “jail bharo” (fill the prison) movement to take place across India. “But you should participate in the agitation keeping in mind Mahatma Gandhi. There should be no violence anywhere,” he told his supporters.

India’s governing Congress party leader Sonia Gandhi has urged Mr Hazare to give up his fast. She said his views would receive the government’s “full attention” in the fight against corruption. Doctors are checking Mr Hazare twice a day to monitor his health. The 72-year-old says he will refuse food until the government accedes to his demands.

There has been widespread support for Mr Hazare with protests and hunger strikes reported across India. Some 2,000 people have joined the activist at the historic Jantar Mantar observatory in Delhi, where he is conducting his fast. Correspondents say Mr Hazare has rallied people across the country disillusioned with the recent spate of scandals – he is highly respected as a social activist with an untarnished reputation.

Some of the recent corruption scandals to have angered Indians include a multi-billion dollar alleged telecoms scam, alleged financial malpractices in connection with the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and allegations that houses for war widows were diverted to civil servants.

Last month the head of the country’s anti-corruption watchdog was forced to resign by the Supreme Court on the grounds that he himself faced corruption charges.

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The Guardian: Census reveals that 17 % of World’s Population is Indian


The first results from India‘s latest census – the second biggest in the world – were released on Thursday,revealing that the country has added 181 million new citizens in the last decade, making it home to 17% of the world’s population. China remains the most populous country on the planet, with 1.34 billion, but India is closing the gap with 1.21 billion.

The additional Indians found by the census are roughly equivalent to the population of Brazil, the fifth largest country in the world. One Indian state alone – Uttar Pradesh – now has a population of 199,500,000 people, just under that of Britain, France and Germany combined.  However C Chandramouli, the census commissioner, told reporters in Delhi that the new count showed population growth in India had slowed. The 17.6% increase was down from 21.5% recorded in 2001.

Though Indian economists and politicians talk frequently of the “demographic dividend” from the hundreds of millions of young people in their country, there is fear that overpopulation is placing a huge strain on poor social services and infrastructure.

The first modern census in India was conducted under British rule in 1872. Since then, Indian census officials have gone forth more or less every decade and counted how their countrymen have multiplied. The most recent exercise involved 2.3 million “enumerators” travelling to more than 630,000 villages and more than 5,000 cities, logging how many people live in any one place, establishing identities and ages, and noting details such as whether a household has air conditioning, a car, a computer, phones and internet access, as well as basics such as water and power.

The controversial question of caste, the ancient hierarchy rooted in the Hindu religion which permeates all parts of Indian society, has been left to a separate census.  Care was taken to include the homeless, with enumerators, who are often schoolteachers, scouring streets and railway stations to arrive at an accurate count.  The Indian media made much of the inclusion of even Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, a Pakistani national who is the only surviving member of the group of terrorists who launched the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks, and who is on death row.

Though there is good news – a rise in literacy of nine points to 74% for Indians aged seven and older – there is also bad news. The figures indicate a continuing preference for male children over females in a country where female infanticide is still common and the government has been forced to ban doctors from revealing the sex of unborn children.

This is particularly marked in the north, even in more prosperous states such as Haryana. Some experts attribute this to the availability of new, cheap ultrasound scans which allow parents to easily determine the gender of child, others to families deciding to have fewer children and wanting to ensure a son.

The breakdown showed 914 girls being born or surviving for every 1,000 boys under the age of six, compared with 927 for every 1,000 in the last census. “This is a matter of grave concern,” said Chandramouli. Efforts to stop female infanticide and foeticide have largely failed. “Whatever measures that have been put in over the last 40 years has not had any impact on child sex ratio and therefore that requires a complete review,” G.K. Pillai, India’s Home Secretary, told reporters.

The overall gender ratio showed a marginal improvement, with 940 women counted for every 1,000 men, compared with 933 in the last census. The southern state of Kerala, which has long enjoyed high literacy rates for men and women, had the healthiest sex ratio in the country, the census has found.

One of the most difficult facts to establish has been age of Indians, officials involved with the count told the Guardian. Few among the poor know their date of birth, which nonetheless has to be established so that they can all be issued with the biometric identity card which is a key part of new government programmes to broaden and improve access to India’s vast but inefficient welfare schemes. To help find ages, the enumerators were given a “local event calendar” listing significant dates which respondents would remember.

The calendar in use around Delhi – every region has its own – starts in 1905 and includes India’s independence in 1947, the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi in 1991 and Mother Teresa’s death in 1997. There is also the Indian victory over the West Indies to win the 1983 cricket World Cup.

BBC: Wikileaks reveals that India’s Congress Party ‘bought votes’


India’s ruling Congress party bribed MPs to survive a crucial vote of confidence in 2008, a diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks suggests. It describes how a senior Congress aide showed a US embassy official “chests of cash” to pay off MPs ahead of a vote over a controversial nuclear deal.

The ruling party has denied the allegations. The leak heaps further pressure on embattled Prime Minister Manmohan Singh after a string of corruption scandals. The leaked cable, reported in The Hindu newspaper, has caused uproar in the Indian parliament with the main opposition parties saying that Congress had “brought shame to the nation” and calling on the prime minister to resign.

‘Chests of cash’

The cable by US official Steven White said that the embassy employee had met Nachiketa Kapur, an aide of senior Congress leader Satish Sharma. It says that Mr Kapur told the embassy employee that “money was not an issue at all, but the crucial thing was to ensure that those who took the money would vote for the government”.

The embassy employee said he was shown “two chests containing cash and said that around $25m (£15.5m) was lying around the house for use as pay-offs”.  Nachiketa Kapur denied the report, saying: “I vehemently deny these malicious allegations. There was no cash to point out to.”

Satish Sharma told a news channel that he did not even have an aide called Nachiketa Kapur. “I never had and still don’t have a political aide,” he said. Mr Sharma is described as a “close associate of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi [and] considered to be a very close family friend of [Congress party chief] Sonia Gandhi”.

The cable said that Mr Kapur also claimed that MPs belonging to regional party Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) had been paid 100 million rupees ($2.5m; £1.5m) each to ensure they voted for the “right way”.  RLD leader Ajit Singh has denied the charge and said that he was “opposed to the nuclear deal” and his party MPs “voted against the government”.

These exchanges are alleged to have happened at the time of a controversial deal between India and the US which paved the way for India to massively expand its nuclear power capability. The government’s left-wing allies withdrew their support over the deal but the Congress party narrowly survived the vote despite substantial opposition. If the government had lost the vote, India could have faced early elections. A defeat would have also put the nuclear deal in doubt.

Accusations of vote-buying were also made at the time: opposition MPs waved wads of money in parliament alleging they were offered bribes to abstain. Widespread corruption in India costs billions of dollars and threatens to derail the country’s growth, a recent report by consultancy firm KPMG says.

The report says corruption is no longer just about petty bribes but about the major scandals where billions of dollars are allegedly siphoned off by government and industry. India’s Telecoms Minister Andimuthu Raja is under arrest on suspicion of underselling billions of dollars worth of mobile phone licenceshe denies the allegations.

The government was also forced by the courts to quash the appointment of its anti-corruption commissioner, on the grounds that he himself faces corruption charges. Congress was recently forced by the opposition to set up a cross-party investigation into corruption

The Guardian: Obama Lifts Suspension on Gitmo Trials


Barack Obama  has given the green light to resume military trials of terror suspects detained at Guantánamo Bay, making a sharp departure from his election promises to close the camp and bring America’s fight against terrorism back into the remit of civilian law.  The US president lifted a suspension on so-called “military commissions” which he had imposed on his first full day in the White House. By so doing, he permitted the revival of trials conducted by military officers, with a military judge presiding.

Obama also signed an executive order that moved to set into law the already existing practice on Guantánamo of holding detainees indefinitely without charge. The president sought to sweeten the pill among civil rights and liberal groups of the resumption of two of the most widely criticised aspects of George Bush‘s war on terror by emphasising that he still wished to see Guantánamo close. When he came into office in January 2009, he repeatedly promised to have the campclosed within one year. It was set up in the wake of 9/11 in 2001 and thereafter the war in Afghanistan.

As another sweetener, he also defied Republican opposition and said he would continue to allow terror suspects to be tried in federal civilian courts, known as Article III courts, on the US mainland. “I strongly believe that the American system of justice is a key part of our arsenal in the war against al-Qaida and its affiliates. We will continue to draw on all aspects of our justice system including Article III courts to ensure that our security and our values are strengthened,” he said.

But civil rights groups condemned what they saw as a decision that flew in the face of the president’s earlier promises to close the camp. “The irony could not be more pronounced,” said Wells Dixon, a lawyer with the Centre for Constitutional Rights (CCR). “He came into office saying it was one of his national security priorities to close Guantánamo, yet he has now become one of the first presidents to codify a policy of indefinite detention.”

Critics see the resumption of the military trials as confirmation that Guantánamo will be closing no time soon. Under the executive orders allowing detention without charge, there is an in-built review process that allows cases to be reconsidered after the first year and then every four years thereafter. CCR said that was in itself a tacit admission that Guantánamo would remain a place of extra-judicial detention. Dixon said that the four-year reviews were also, in legal terms, strikingly similar to the so-called combatant status review tribunals set up by the Bush administration in 2005 and struck down by the supreme court as essentially unconstitutional in 2008. “This is creating a bureaucratic morass that will achieve nothing legally but will ensure Guantánamo remains open,” he said.

Some relatives of victims of the September 2001 attacks said that they were also disappointed by the resumption of military trials. Colleen Kelly, whose brother Bill Kelly Jr died in the Twin Towers on 9/11, said that she knew all too well how important it was to protect all people, not just Americans, from the threat of terrorism. “There are some seriously dangerous people being held in Guantánamo Bay, I think the world understands that.

But I think there’s also a huge opportunity here being missed to show the world that not only does the US talk the talk, we walk the walk also.” She said that the past nine years since 9/11 showed that the criminal system of justice had proven to be fully robust enough to deal with difficult terrorism cases. “There have been more than 170 successful anti-terror prosecutions in civilian courts since 9/11, which to me suggests they work.” Some 172 detainees remain in Guantánamo, of whom fewer than 40 have been earmarked for trial in either criminal courts or military commissions.

Before the military commissions were suspended by Obama, only a handful of cases were ever fully processed under them. Most of them involved guilty pleas, such as that of the Australian David Hicks who was returned to Australia after his conviction. Salim Ahmed Hamdan, Osama bin Laden’s driver, was convicted by military tribunal in 2008 and was returned later that year to Yemen to serve the remainder of his five-and-a-half-year sentence.

Foreign Policy: Inside the Secret US-Pakistan Meeting in Oman


A host of top U.S. military officials held a secret day-long meeting with Pakistan’s top military officers on Tuesday in Oman to plot a course out of the diplomatic crisis that threatens the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. The United States was represented by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. David Petraeus, commander of International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), Adm. Eric Olson, commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, and Marine Corps Gen. James Mattis, commander of U.S. Central Command, Stars and Stripes reported. The Pakistani delegation included Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, Pakistan’s chief of army staff, and Maj. Gen. Javed Iqbal, director general of military operations.

The meeting was planned long ago and covered various aspects of the U.S.-Pakistani relationship, but a large portion was dedicated to the diplomatic crisis surrounding Raymond Davis, the CIA contractor who was arrested in Lahore, Pakistan, last month after fatally shooting two armed Pakistani men.

“Where do you go to think seriously and bring sanity to a maddening situation? Far from the madding crowd to a peaceful Omani luxury resort of course. So that’s what the military leadership of the US and Pakistan did,” wrote Gen. Jehangir Karamat in a read out of the meeting obtained by The Cable and confirmed by a senior Pakistani official. Karamat is a former chief of Pakistan’s army, and also served as Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States from 2002 to 2004.

“The US had to point out that once beyond a tipping point the situation would be taken over by political forces that could not be controlled,” Karamat wrote about the meeting, referring to the reported split between the CIA and the Pakistani Inter-services Intelligence (ISI) that erupted following the Davis shooting.

In Oman U.S. officials implored the Pakistani military to step up its involvement in the Davis case, following the Pakistani government’s decision to pass the buck to the judicial system on adjudicating Davis’ claim of diplomatic immunity. However, their concerns also went beyond this most recent diplomatic spat.

“[T]he US did not want the US-Pakistan relationship to go into a free fall under media and domestic pressures,” Karamat wrote. “These considerations drove it to ask the [Pakistani] Generals to step in and do what the governments were failing to do-especially because the US military was at a critical stage in Afghanistan and Pakistan was the key to control and resolution.”

“The militaries will now brief and guide their civilian masters and hopefully bring about a qualitative change in the US-Pakistan Relationship by arresting the downhill descent and moving it in the right direction.” A senior Pakistani official confirmed the accuracy of Karamat’s analysis to The Cable. The official said that the Davis incident would hopefully now be put on a path toward resolution following a feeding frenzy in the Pakistani media, which has reported on rumors of an extensive network of CIA contract spies operating outside of the Pakistani government’s or the ISI’s knowledge.

“The idea is to find a solution whereby the Davis incident does not hijack the U.S.-Pakistan relationship,” the official said. The most probable outcome, the official explained, is that Davis would be turned over to the United States, following a promise from the U.S. government to investigate the incident.

The United States would also compensate the families of the two Pakistani men killed by Davis, and a third man who died after two other U.S. embassy personnel ran him over while racing to the scene of the shooting. Negotiations between U.S. officials and the family members are already underway, the official said.

Shuja Nawaz, director of the South Asia Center at the Atlantic Council, said that it was the responsibility of the Pakistani Foreign Ministry, led until recently by Shah Mahmood Qureshi, to resolve the Davis case. Qureshi was removed as Foreign Minister after reportedly refusing to go along with the government’s plan to grant Davis immunity.

It’s really the Foreign Ministry’s responsibility,” said Nawaz, “But in the absence of action by the civilian government, if the military can help persuade them to resolve this matter and find the way, that’s all for the better.”

But once the Davis case is resolved, there’s still much work to be done in repairing the relationship between the CIA and the ISI. The ISI is widely suspected of airing its anger with the CIA in both the Pakistani and U.S. media. The latest example was Wednesday’s Associated Press story that featured a never-before released ISI “statement” that said the Davis case was putting the entire ISI-CIA relationship in jeopardy.

The CIA and the ISI are talking, the Pakistani official said, but the path toward reconciliation will be a long one.

“It’s a spy game being played out in the media and the CIA has told the ISI to cut it out,” the official said. “The relationship remains testy. But after the meeting between Mullen and Kayani the likelihood of some resolution has increased.”

Inside the Pakistani government, the Davis case has exacerbated internal tensions between the civilian government, led by President Asif Ali Zardari, and the ISI. Pakistani news agencies have been reporting that the Pakistani embassy in Washington has approved hundreds of visas for American officials without proper vetting, increasing the ease with which covert CIA operatives could enter the country.

Pakistan’s Ambassador to Washington Husain Haqqani has denied that any visas had been issued from his embassy without proper authorization. An analysis of Pakistani visas granted to U.S. government employees, conducted by the Pakistani government, shows there has been no significant increase in the number of visas issued since 2007.

Regardless, the gentlemen’s agreement between the ISI and the CIA that the two organizations would keep each other informed on each other’s actions in Pakistan has now broken down. “It’s a vicious circle. Davis was in Pakistan because Pakistan can’t be trusted. But Davis getting caught has increased the mistrust,” the Pakistani official said. “Their interests are no longer congruent. Eventually the ISI and the CIA will have to work out new rules of engagement.”

Rasul Bakhsh Rais- The Wave of Liberation

Published in Express Tribune.

Let us not get into the semantics of whether what happened in Tunisia was a revolution and what is happening in Egypt and Yemen is a revolt or uprising. It is liberation from the native masters who cast themselves in the role of nationalist reformers to revive Arab national identity, provide freedom and space for self-expression, along with social reconstruction and economic development.

In many parts of the post-colonial world, the nationalist revivalists didn’t keep the promise of national liberation. Using popular idiom of nationalism, they imposed personalised authoritarian rule or, at best, one-party rule supported by the military. The Arab people suffered the most at the hands of their nationalist liberators, most of them, in fact, were coup makers who ousted weaker monarchs and established themselves as new voices for the masses. The Egyptian state and powerful elite — and many others from Iraq to Syria, Tunisia and Yemen — presented themselves as representatives of the masses, mixing strands of socialism and Arab nationalism. In the international polarisation between the superpowers, they plunged themselves into the Soviet camp because the western option was either not available or American and British role in the establishment of Israel and their continued backing of Israel made it impossible for them to look in that direction.

Egypt under Anwar Sadat had a volte-face, realising that it couldn’t get back what it had lost in the 1967 war, although its military was able to retake a big chunk of the lost territory in the war of 1973 war. Simply, the Americans wouldn’t allow Israel to stand defeated. Egypt broke the ranks with the confrontational Arab states, made peace with Israel and ever since lived happily in the American camp, receiving the largest amount of economic and military assistance after Israel.

From the very beginning of nationalist revolutions in the Arab world, authoritarian rulers took over the state. They cultivated supportive elite networks using resources of the state and established ruling family dynasties that were no different in essence from the traditional monarchies of the region. They applied fascistic means against the opposition elements, both Islamists and modernist liberals, suppressed dissent and ruled by using fear and intimidation. Never was the consent of the Arab people of any value, or the common Arab man of any real importance to them. Instead of sinking roots in society through liberal politics of rights, equality and justice for all, they relied on use of force, manipulation and state violence against every individual and group that dared to question their authority or right to rule.

They used some instruments of democracy, like elections, but they were single horse races, and obviously a big political fraud. In many ways, the Arab authoritarianism is no different than European fascism of the 1920s and 30s. They have used emotion, political rhetoric and control over the media and the political process to demonise opposition and destroy it in the name of state, nation and public interest.

The emerging revolutionary situation in some Arab countries, Egypt being the focal point, reflects the ethos of a new generation of Arabs. This new generation is not willing to be humiliated. The new Arab wants to recover lost dignity, national self-respect and political rights. The authoritarian model of the Arab state has served the interests of the ruling classes and their foreign backers. The developing revolutions represent the sentiment of true liberation. The Middle East is not going to be the same as we have known it, and ripple effects may touch the political soul of countries as far as Pakistan.

New York Times: Ex Spy starts his own Private C.I.A.

WASHINGTON — Duane R. Clarridge parted company with the Central Intelligence Agency more than two decades ago, but from poolside at his home near San Diego, he still runs a network of spies.

Over the past two years, he has fielded operatives in the mountains of Pakistan and the desert badlands of Afghanistan. Since the United States military cut off his funding in May, he has relied on like-minded private donors to pay his agents to continue gathering information about militant fighters, Taliban leaders and the secrets of Kabul’s ruling class.

Hatching schemes that are something of a cross between a Graham Greene novel and Mad Magazine’s “Spy vs. Spy,” Mr. Clarridge has sought to discredit Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Kandahar power broker who has long been on the C.I.A. payroll, and planned to set spies on his half brother, the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, in hopes of collecting beard trimmings or other DNA samples that might prove Mr. Clarridge’s suspicions that the Afghan leader was a heroin addict, associates say.

Mr. Clarridge, 78, who was indicted on charges of lying to Congress in the Iran-contra scandal and later pardoned, is described by those who have worked with him as driven by the conviction that Washington is bloated with bureaucrats and lawyers who impede American troops in fighting adversaries and that leaders are overly reliant on mercurial allies.

His dispatches — an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated reports — have been sent to military officials who, until last spring at least, found some credible enough to be used in planning strikes against militants in Afghanistan. They are also fed to conservative commentators, including Oliver L. North, a compatriot from the Iran-contra days and now a Fox News analyst, and Brad Thor, an author of military thrillers and a frequent guest of Glenn Beck.

For all of the can-you-top-this qualities to Mr. Clarridge’s operation, it is a startling demonstration of how private citizens can exploit the chaos of combat zones and rivalries inside the American government to carry out their own agenda. It also shows how the outsourcing of military and intelligence operations has spawned legally murky clandestine operations that can be at cross-purposes with America’s foreign policy goals. Despite Mr. Clarridge’s keen interest in undermining Afghanistan’s ruling family, President Obama’s administration appears resigned to working with President Karzai and his half brother, who is widely suspected of having ties to drug traffickers.

The private spying operation, which The New York Times disclosed last year, was tapped by a military desperate for information about its enemies and frustrated with the quality of intelligence from the C.I.A., an agency that colleagues say Mr. Clarridge now views largely with contempt. The effort was among a number of secret activities undertaken by the American government in a shadow war around the globe to combat militants and root out terrorists.

The Pentagon official who arranged a contract for Mr. Clarridge in 2009 is under investigation for allegations of violating Defense Department rules in awarding that contract. Because of the continuing inquiry, most of the dozen current and former government officials, private contractors and associates of Mr. Clarridge who were interviewed for this article would speak only on the condition of anonymity.

Mr. Clarridge declined to be interviewed, but issued a statement that likened his operation, called the Eclipse Group, to the Office of Strategic Services, the C.I.A.’s World War II precursor. “O.S.S. was a success of the past,” he wrote. “Eclipse may possibly be an effective model for the future, providing information to officers and officials of the United States government who have the sole responsibility of acting on it or not.”

A Pentagon spokesman, Col. David Lapan, declined to comment on Mr. Clarridge’s network, but said the Defense Department “believes that reliance on unvetted and uncorroborated information from private sources may endanger the force and taint information collected during legitimate intelligence operations.”…

A Staunch Interventionist

From his days running secret wars for the C.I.A. in Central America to his consulting work in the 1990s on a plan to insert Special Operations troops in Iraq to oust Saddam Hussein, Mr. Clarridge has been an unflinching cheerleader for American intervention overseas.

Typical of his pugnacious style are his comments, provided in a 2008 interview for a documentary now on YouTube, defending many of the C.I.A.’s most notorious operations, including undermining the Chilean president Salvador Allende, before a coup ousted him 1973. “Sometimes, unfortunately, things have to be changed in a rather ugly way,” said Mr. Clarridge, his New England accent becoming more pronounced the angrier he became. “We’ll intervene whenever we decide it’s in our national security interests to intervene.”

“Get used to it, world,” he said. “We’re not going to put up with nonsense.”

He is also stirred by the belief that the C.I.A. has failed to protect American troops in Afghanistan, and that the Obama administration has struck a Faustian bargain with President Karzai, according to four current and former associates. They say Mr. Clarridge thinks that the Afghan president will end up cutting deals with Pakistan or Iran and selling out the United States, making American troops the pawns in the Great Game of power politics in the region.

Taking on Afghan Leaders

Mr. Clarridge and his spy network also took sides in an internecine government battle over Ahmed Wali Karzai, head of the Khandahar Provincial Council. For years, the American military has believed that public anger over government-linked corruption has helped swell the Taliban’s ranks, and that Ahmed Wali Karzai plays a central role in that corruption. He has repeatedly denied any links to the Afghan drug trafficking….

Ultimately, though, the military could not amass enough hard proof to convince other American officials of Mr. Karzai’s supposed crimes, and backed off efforts to remove him from power.

Mr. Clarridge would soon set his sights higher: on President Hamid Karzai himself. Over the summer, after the Pentagon canceled his contract, Mr. Clarridge decided that the United States needed leverage over the Afghan president. So the former spy, running his network with money from unidentified donors, came up with an outlandish scheme that seems to come straight from the C.I.A.’s past playbook of covert operations.

There have long been rumors that Hamid Karzai uses drugs, in part because of his often erratic behavior, but the accusation was aired publicly last year by Peter W. Galbraith, a former United Nations representative in Afghanistan. American officials have said publicly that there is no evidence to support the allegation of drug use.

Mr. Clarridge pushed a plan to prove that the president was a heroin addict, and then confront him with the evidence to ensure that he became a more pliable ally. Mr. Clarridge proposed various ideas, according to several associates, from using his team to track couriers between the presidential palace in Kabul and Ahmed Wali Karzai’s home in Kandahar, to even finding a way to collect Hamid Karzai’s beard clippings and run DNA tests. He eventually dropped his ideas when the Obama administration signaled it was committed to bolstering the Karzai government.

Still, associates said, Mr. Clarridge maneuvered against the Karzais last summer by helping promote videos, available on YouTube, purporting to represent the “Voice of Afghan Youth.” The slick videos disparage the president as the “king of Kabul” who regularly takes money from the Iranians, and Ahmed Wali Karzai as the “prince of Kandahar” who “takes the monthly gold from the American intelligence boss” and makes the Americans “his puppet.”

The videos received almost no attention when they were posted on the Internet, but were featured in July on the Fox News Web site in a column by Mr. North, who declined to comment for this article. Writing that he had “stumbled” on the videos on the Internet, he called them a “treasure trove.”

Mr. Clarridge, his associates say, continues to dream up other operations against the Afghan president and his inner circle. When he was an official spy, Mr. Clarridge recalled in his memoir, he bristled at the C.I.A.’s bureaucracy for thwarting his plans to do maximum harm to America’s enemies. “It’s not like I’m running my own private C.I.A.,” he wrote, “and can do what I want.”