Thursday, December 30, 2010

Top 100 Baby Names of 2010

Sophia and Aiden lead  

Please step down, Isabella. Sophia is taking your place as the most popular girl's name of 2010.

Congratulations, Aiden. You've held onto the number-one boy's spot for the sixth year in a row.

Welcome to the pack, Liam and Abigail. You're now officially a part of the coveted top 10.

Baby Center released its list of the Top 100 Baby Names of 2010 today. The online parenting and pregnancy destination compiled some 350,000 baby names and combined those that sound the same but have different spellings (such as Sophia and Sofia) to create a true measure of popularity.

Top 10 Girls’ Names of 2010

1.    Sophia
2.    Isabella
3.    Olivia
4.    Emma
5.    Chloe
6.    Ava
7.    Lily
8.    Madison
9.    Addison

See the top 100 girls’ names of 2010.

Top 10 Boys’ Names of 2010

1.    Aiden
2.    Jacob
3.    Jackson
4.    Ethan
5.    Jayden
6.    Noah
7.    Logan
8.    Caden
9.    Lucas

See the top 100 boys’ names of 2010.

What's influencing baby-naming parents? Parents turned to pop culture, politics, a bygone era, and the ever-popular Old Testament for inspiration. Here's a look at the Hottest Baby Name Trends of 2010:

·                                 Glee's cheerleader queen Quinn may be mean, but her name is certainly popular, jumping up in the ratings a whopping 60 percent. Finn, Jenna, and Lea are also singing a happy tune.

·                                 The critically acclaimed drama Mad Men has struck a nerve with the American public. Dishy Don (as in Draper) inched up the charts, and his ex-wife is bringing the cool back to Betty. The silver-haired fox Roger rose 21 percent, while his wife, Jane, also gained popularity.

·                                 The names of the moms on MTV's reality show 16 and Pregnant are also popular: Maci, Farrah, and Katelynn are up by 60, 51, and 7 percent, respectively.

·                                 Sarah Palin's daughters' names – Bristol, Willow, and Piper – are climbing the ladder, but the name Sarah is actually in decline.

·                                 The golden age of film (think 1930 to 1959) played a starring role in this year's list. Audrey, Ava, Scarlett, Evelyn, Vivien, and Greta all got rave reviews.

·                                 Parents are reaching back for names…way, way back to the Old Testament. Jacob has made the BabyCenter top ten for the past ten years, while Levi, Caleb, Elijah, and Jeremiah are rising in the charts. For more about the hottest trends see BabyCenter’s Baby Names Special Report of 2010.

What about names below the top ten?

Some are flying up the list, while others are spiraling downward.

·                                 Newcomers who broke into the top 100 include Annabelle (69), Stella (72), Nora (83), Jeremiah (90), Hudson (96), and Ryder (97).

·                                 Ellie, who leapfrogged 26 spots to come in at number 61, is a rising star.
·                                 So is Charlotte, who was bumped up 20 to number 38.

·                                 And then there's Grayson, who enjoyed a 25-spot jump to land at number 66.
·                                 Some names lost a lot of ground. Brooke shot down 23 spots to number 82, while Hayden tumbled 20 spots to number 91.

·                                 Ashley and Brendan exited the top 100 entirely.

What's up for next year?

BabyCenter uses a top-secret algorithm to unearth the names that are likely to become even more popular in 2011.

·                                 Of the top 100 girls' names from 2010, it looks like Layla, Lila, Evelyn, Charlotte, Lucy, Ellie, Aaliyah, Bella, Claire, and Aubrey will continue to rise in 2011.

·                                 Of the top 100 boys' names from 2010, BabyCenter predicts that Eli, Colton, Grayson, Wyatt, Henry, Mason, Landon, Charlie, Max, and Chase will gain momentum in 2011.

And what about names that haven't even broken into the top 100? Who will be next year's newcomers?

·                                 Among the less popular names now moving up the girls' list are Isla, Adalyn, Giuliana, Olive, Kinsley, Evangeline, Paisley, Vivienne, Maci, and Kinley.

·                                 And although Bentley, Kellan, Kingston, Aarav, Ryker, Beckett, Colt, Paxton, Jax, and Lincoln are well below the top 100 on the boys' list, they're all fast climbers.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Veena Malik and the moral brigade

December 24, 2010

Pakistan’s electronic media is now a repository of the grand opinion setters of the Urdu press. Almost all channels have employed conservative writers of the Urdu press and given them immense outreach to air their well-known views on nationalism, religion and ‘culture’. Whilst the primary pastime of these wise men is to fan anti-Americanism, their domestic agenda is directly related to what the clergy, since 1947, has wanted Pakistan to be: an unadulterated Islamic state. The only caveat is that none of them can define what an Islamic state and society entails.

In recent days, there has been a concerted campaign to malignVeena Malik, our television starlet who has dared to participate in the famous and brainless Indian reality TV show, “Bigg Boss”. Pakistani artists have continuously defied jingoism and performed across the border. Currently, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan and Atif Aslam are immensely popular in India and their nationality makes little difference to millions who admire them.

Veena’s case is altogether different. She appeared on “Bigg Boss” with Begum Nawazish Ali in the first phase. Viewers voted Ali out while Veena Malik survives on the show as a lone Pakistani and thus far has integrated herself into mainstream Indian TV imperatives. Her conduct on the show is a huge concern for the clergy who think the way she dresses is immodest, her interaction with men is unbecoming and, therefore, she has undermined the great values of an Islamic nation. Incidentally, the fortress of Islam is also known for honour killings, Hudood laws and a wide gambit of discriminatory laws and practices. Never mind, only we are allowed to mistreat our women.

In a nutshell, Veena Malik has challenged the middle class morality embedded in the Urdu press and, by extension, its electronic counterpart. The mere fact that a Pakistani performer is prancing around in western clothes and playing to the Indian viewers’ gallery by indulging in mock-romance with a ‘Hindu’ actor has alerted the guardians of public morality also endearingly known as the ghairat brigade. The imbecile notion of ghairat largely focuses on controlling women and regurgitating militant nationalist narratives through state and non-state actors. Anchor after anchor has prodded hostile commentary on Veena Malik and declared her short of wajib-ul-qatl. This is not too dissimilar to the public floggings of the Taliban variety.

Thus, the brainwashing project of Pakistan’s questionable journalists continues. Hate the US, crush India, fire nuclear weapons to free Kashmir and let mullahs set head money for alleged blasphemers. These are the perennial messages, with a few exceptions, relayed on a continuous basis.

It is also true that Indian TV and its inspiration, the Bollywood circus, resort to the worst kind of commodification of women. By supporting Veena’s choice, one is not condoning all that is wrong with the corporate model of entertainment across the border. However, that is a separate debate. If unofficial estimates are correct, Indian TV channels such as Star Plus and Colors had a huge following in Pakistan before their transmission was banned. This demand for Indian pop culture is a reality and needs to be dealt with. Passing fatwas and declaring cross-border entertainment a ‘Hindu’ conspiracy is simply disingenuous. It is ironic that these same TV channels play Indian film songs to comment on serious political developments.

Given that we live in a country where media regulation is absent and any critical voice is construed as part of an anti-media campaign, challenging such hypocrisy is problematic. Millions of Pakistanis cannot be held hostage to a few moralists and their zeal to purify public culture. Ours is a plural and diverse country and cannot be tailored into a linear, fascist society. The thirty-year-long project to Islamicise Pakistan has faced the innate resilience of our lived cultures. This is why Veena Malik’s right of artistic expression needs to be protected.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 24th, 2010.


Hollywood has a new hero hunting down video pirates


New technology developed by researchers at Tel Aviv University detects pirated clips with what they call a "genetic code."

Hollywood’s search for a technical elixir that can curb the billions of dollars worth of lost revenue to people downloading television shows and movies from the Internet may now have a solution that mimics the techniques used to map human DNA.

Researchers at Tel Aviv University say they can hunt down pirates by using what they call the video’s “genetic code.”  The system is designed to search videos as quickly as search engines seek out texts. Its developers say the technology will let film producers’ trawl the vast ocean of the Internet in the search for video pirates. 

It works by slapping an invisible grid over the original video and using it to detect changes in color, resolution manipulations and geometric transformations, much like DNA is used to trace genealogy.   

“The method actually allows a search of a video clip in the same way that bioinformatics are used to detect basic gene sequencing,” said Alex Bronstein of Tel Aviv University's Department of Electrical Engineering, an expert in bioinformatics using algorithms in human genetic research and one of two twin brothers who in the team that devised the technology.

The illegal downloading and streaming videos of movies on the Internet are responsible for up to 40% of the movie industries losses to piracy, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. The rest comes from illegal DVDs and other physical means of storing and transferring video content.

Global losses for the entertainment industry video piracy were estimated to about $9 million last year, according to Havascope, an online database of black market activities. In the Middle East, movie pirate losses in Iran were $100 million, Saudi Arabia $95 million, Israel $61 million and Turkey $29 million. 

The most pirated video this year, according to The Hollywood Reporter, was the American-produced science fiction hit Avatar, which was downloaded over 16 million times. Even after such monumental theft, the movie still was the highest grossing box office hit with $2.8 billion. 

Digital encryption has proved ineffective in stopping pirates bootlegging movies, who use high-definition recorders to make a new master. But while technology has been the major factor enabling piracy, Bronstein’s new technique proves technology can be used to combat it.

According to Bronstein, downloading movies on BitTorrent and other file-sharing applications on the Internet are commonplace and the movie studios don’t love them to say the least. These applications work by splitting up movies into thousands of pieces and then assembling them again so that the source can’t be detected. 

Bronstein said his video-search technology replicates the process by video sequencing.  Called “video DNA matching,” the system automatically sweeps Web sites where suspected pirated videos are offered to locate not only aberrations of the original video’s fingerprint, but common ancestry. 

"It's not only members of the animal and plant kingdom that can have DNA," Bronstein, said in a press release. "If a DNA test can identify and catch criminals, we thought that a similar code might be applicable to video. If the code were copied and changed, we'd catch it."

This data would be taken to the owners of the video who would then decide whether to press charges of piracy or not, said Bronstein, who developed the technique with his twin Michael and Israeli researcher Ron Kimmel.

One of the major video-sharing sites, YouTube, has attempted to detect copyright infringement, but the system they use doesn’t work when a video is altered. According toThe New York Times, more than one-third of the two billion clips viewed on YouTube each week contain content uploaded without the original owners’ permission.

YouTube has an automated system that detects music uploaded without a license. But its video detection relies on sweeping the text attached to it rather than the video itself, and that can easily be manipulated to get through. Bronstein said his method could save thousands of man hours of search time since it is fully automated and can detect altered videos.  

Production companies have been engaged in automating the detection of bootlegged and pirated videos and the introduction of an automated “Video DNA” system is bound to be a welcomed.

Still, some have argued that Hollywood could reduce the incentive to pirate videos if it lowered download costs. Yet, there will always be those who will try to get videos for free no matter what. 

David Blumenfeld, a documentary film maker, told The Media Line that the simple knowledge that a film someone is watching was pirated wouldn’t stop the general public from watching it. 

“Most people know that when they pay five bucks or download a video from the Internet that they are pirated and I’m not sure they care. A lot of people don’t even think that is stealing, even though it is.”

Saturday, December 18, 2010

India China Trade Relations


India China trade relations are the most important part of bilateral relations between India and China. From a temporary decline in the the influx of Chinese imports in the Indian markets, the scenario seems to have changed - India is enjoying a positive balance of trade with China. The India China trade relations are regulated by the India China JBC, which ensures a free exchange of products and services between the two nations.

India & China signed a Trade Agreement in 1984 which provided for Most Favored Nation Treatment and later in 1994, the two countries signed an agreement to avoid double taxation. The bilateral trade crossed US$13.6 billion in 2004 from US$ 4.8 billion in 2002, reaching $18.7 billion in 2005. The India China trade relationshave been further developed from 2006, with the initiation of the border trade between Tibet, an autonomous region of China, and India through Nathu La Pass, reopened after more than 40 years. The leaders of both the countries have decided to enhance the bilateral trade to US$ 20 billion by 2008 and further to US$ 30 billion by 2010. According to the Indian Commerce Minister, Kamal Nath, China would soon become India's largest trade partner within the next 2-3 years, after the US and Singapore.

Indian Exports to China under the India China Trade Relations

The principal items of Indian exports to China are ores, slag and ash, iron and steel, plastics, organic chemicals, and cotton. In order to increase the extent of exporting Indian goods to China, however, there should be a special emphasis on investments and trade in services and knowledge-based sectors. The other potential items of trade between India and China are marine products, oil seeds, salt, inorganic chemicals, plastic, rubber, optical and medical equipment, and dairy products. Great potential also exists in areas like biotechnology, IT and ITES, health, education, tourism, and financial sector. 

Chinese Exports to India under the India China Trade Relations

The main items that comprise Chinese exports to India are electrical machinery and equipment, cement, organic chemicals, nuclear reactors, boilers, machinery, silk, mineral fuels, and oils. Value added items like electrical machinery dominates Chinese exports to India. This exhibits that Chinese exports to Indiaare fairly diversified and includes resource-based products, manufactured items, and low and medium technology products. It is said that if India is to capture the markets of China and enjoy profits, then it would have to discover new merchandise and branch out its exports to China.

India-China Relations

Relations with India 'fragile', says Chinese ambassador

AFP – Zhang Yan, China's Ambassador to India,
has said relations with India are "fragile", but …
Mon Dec 13, 3:42 am ET
NEW DELHI (AFP) – Relations with India are "fragile", China's ambassador said on Monday, but the two countries can work together to emerge as a "world factory and a world office".
Ahead of a visit to India on Wednesday by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, ambassador Zhang Yan said trust was badly needed between the neighbours.
"It is a fragile relationship and it needs special care," Zhang said.
Taking up the view that Asia can accommodate the rise of both countries peacefully, Zhang stressed how both had different strengths -- China in manufacturing and India in the IT and outsourcing sectors.
"The two neighbouring countries should work together as a world factory and world office," Zhang said at a summit organised by an industry body in New Delhi.
Wen's two-day visit sees an agenda topped by festering border disputes that have vexed ties for decades between the world's most populous countries.
In New Delhi, Wen is expected to highlight increasing two-way trade in talks with his counterpart Manmohan Singh.
India is likely to raise concerns including their competing claims over two Himalayan border regions -- a bone of contention over which they fought a war in 1962 and which has come to the fore again with recent strong assertions by China of its territorial rights.
"Both sides should not allow the border issue to effect other aspects of the equation," Zhang said.
India's Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao said New Delhi looked forward to a growing economic partnership and invited fresh Chinese investment in infrastructure.

Candice Crawford engaged to NFL's Tony Romo

Candice Crawford and Tony Romo are engaged, upping the excitement in the "How Many Jessica SimpsonExes Can Get Engaged This Year" sweepstakes.
TV news host Crawford, 24, said yes to the 30-year-old Cowboys quarterback's proposal on Thursday in Dallas, where she was celebrating her birthday with family, according to the Dallas Morning News.
The future Mrs. Romo is sister to "Gossip Girl" star Chace Crawford and a former Miss Missouri.
Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, left,
and Candice Crawford during an NBA game in Dallas
on April 3, 2010. Credit: Mike Fuentes / Associated Press
Romo and Simpson broke up in July 2009. The singer's ex-husband, Nick Lachey, announced his engagement to Vanessa Minnillo on Nov. 4. Simpson, 31, got engaged a week later to former NFL player Eric Johnson.
So is John Mayer even dating anyone? You know, other than Giada De Laurentiisand Taylor Swift? If not, can we hire someone as a pinch-fiancée, just for the it-happens-in-threes fun of it? There's still time, John!
See a picture of the ring courtesy of KDAF-TV, Crawford's employer. In addition to co-hosting a lifestyle segment for the station, she covers nightlife and the high school sports scene, her bio says.
Think Tony Romo has a type? Check out the pics at left and let us know in the poll.

Waterboarding and CIA

CIA gave waterboarders $5M legal shield

The CIA agreed to cover at least $5 million in legal fees for two contractors who were the architects of the agency's interrogation program and personally conducted dozens of waterboarding sessions on terror detainees, former U.S. officials said.

The secret agreement means taxpayers are paying to defend the men in a federal investigation over an interrogation tactic the U.S. now says is torture. The deal is even more generous than the protections the agency typically provides its own officers, giving the two men access to more money to finance their defense.

It has long been known that psychologists Jim Mitchell and Bruce Jessen created the CIA's interrogation program. But former U.S. intelligence officials said Mitchell and Jessen also repeatedly subjected terror suspects inside CIA-run secret prisons to waterboarding, a simulated drowning tactic.

The revelation of the contractors' involvement is the first known confirmation of any individuals who conducted waterboarding at the so-called black sites, underscoring just how much the agency relied on outside help in its most sensitive interrogations.

Normally, CIA officers buy insurance to cover possible legal bills. It costs about $300 a year for $1 million in coverage. Today, the CIA pays the premiums for most officers, but at the height of the war on terrorism, officers had to pay half.

The Mitchell and Jessen arrangement, known as an "indemnity promise," was structured differently. Unlike CIA officers, whose identities are classified, Mitchell and Jessen were public citizens who received some of the earliest scrutiny by reporters and lawmakers. The two wanted more protection.

The agency agreed to pay the legal bills for the psychologists' firm, Mitchell, Jessen & Associates, directly from CIA accounts, according to several interviews with the former officials, who insisted on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

The company has been embroiled in at least two high-profile Justice Department investigations, tapping the CIA to pay its legal bills. Neither Jamie Gorelick, who originally represented the company, nor Henry Schuelke, the current lawyer, returned messages seeking comment. Mitchell and Jessen also didn't return calls for comment.

The CIA would not comment on any indemnity agreement.

"It's been nearly eight years since waterboarding - an interrogation method used on three detainees - was last used as part of a terrorist detention program that no longer exists," CIA spokesman George Little said.

After the terrorism attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Mitchell and Jessen sold the government on an interrogation program for high-value al Qaeda members. The two psychologists had spent years training military officials to resist interrogations and, in doing so, had subjected U.S. troops to techniques such as forced nudity, painful stress positions, sleep deprivation and waterboarding.
But those interrogations had always been training sessions at the military's school known as SERE - Survival, Evasion, Resistance, Escape. They had never conducted any actual interrogations.

That changed in 2002 with the capture of suspected al Qaeda facilitator Abu Zubaydah, now held as a war on terror captive at a secret prison camp at Guantánamo. The agency believed tougher-than-usual tactics were necessary to squeeze information from him, so Mitchell and Jessen flew to a secret CIA prison in Thailand to oversee Zubaydah's interrogation.

The pair waterboarded Zubaydah 83 times, according to previously released records and former intelligence officials. Mitchell and Jessen did the bulk of the work, claiming they were the only ones who knew how to apply the techniques properly, the former officials said.

The waterboarding technique involved "binding the detainee to a bench with his feet elevated above his head," formerly top-secret documents explain. "The detainee's head is immobilized and an interrogator places a cloth over the detainee's mouth and nose while pouring water onto the cloth in a controlled manner."

The documents add that "airflow is restricted for 20 to 40 seconds and the technique produces the sensation of drowning and suffocation." The session was not supposed to last more than 20 minutes.

The psychologists also waterboarded USS Cole bombing plotter Abd al Rahim al Nashiri twice in Thailand, according to former intelligence officials. Nashiri is held in the same prison at Guantánamo as Abu Zubaydah.

The role of Mitchell and Jessen in the interrogation of confessed Sept. 11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed is a bit murkier.

At least one other interrogator was involved in those sessions, with the company providing support, a former official said. Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times in Poland in 2003, according to documents and former intelligence officials.

The CIA inspector general concluded in a top secret report in 2004 that the waterboarding technique used by the CIA deviated from the rules outlined by the Justice Department and the common practice at SERE school. CIA interrogations involved far more water poured constantly over the prisoner, investigators said.

"One of the psychologists/interrogators acknowledged that the agency's use of the technique differed from that used in SERE training and explained that the agency's technique is different because it is 'for real' and is more poignant and convincing," the inspector general's report said.
It was not clear whether Mitchell or Jessen made that remark.

Justice Department prosecutor John Durham is investigating whether any CIA officers or contractors, including Mitchell and Jessen, should face criminal charges.
In at least two instances, Mitchell and Jessen pushed back. During Zubaydah's interrogation, the psychologists argued he had endured enough waterboarding, believing they had reached the point of "diminishing returns." But CIA superiors told them to press forward, two former officials said.
In another case, Mitchell and Jessen successfully argued against waterboarding admitted terrorist Ramzi Binalshibh in Poland, the official said.

On top of the waterboarding case, Mitchell and Jessen also needed lawyers to help navigate the Justice Department's investigation into the destruction of CIA interrogation videos.

Mitchell and Jessen were recorded interrogating Zubaydah and Nashiri and were eager to see those tapes destroyed, fearing their release would jeopardize their safety, former officials and others close to the matter said.

They often contacted senior CIA officials, urging them to destroy the tapes and asking what was taking so long, said a person familiar with the Durham investigation who insisted on anonymity because the case's details remain sensitive. Finally the CIA's top clandestine officer, Jose Rodriguez, made the decision to destroy the tapes in November 2005.

Durham investigated whether that was a crime. He subpoenaed Mitchell, Jessen & Associates last year, looking for calendars, e-mails and phone records showing contact between the contractors and Rodriguez or his chief of staff, according to a federal subpoena. They were ordered to appear before a grand jury in northern Virginia in August 2009.

Last month, Durham closed the tapes destruction investigation without filing charges.

Read more:


Yahoo May Shut Down Some ServicesD

December 16, 2010, 3:49 PM


As part of its effort to streamline its beleaguered Web business, Yahoo may shut down several well-known Web products, including Delicious, a social bookmarking tool, and Upcoming, a social calendar.
The news surfaced online Thursday through what appears to be a leaked snapshot of a Yahoo presentation that shows several Yahoo services the company is apparently thinking about shuttering or merging with other services. The picture was first posted online by Eric Marcoullier, co-founder of MyBlogLog, a social network for bloggers that was acquired by Yahoo in 2007. Mr. Marcoullier no longer works at Yahoo and said on Twitter that he had found the slide on the Web.
In addition to Delicious and Upcoming, the slide appears to show plans to merge or shrink several other standalone products, including Yahoo Buzz, a news aggregator, and AltaVista, a search tool.
Dana Lengkeek, a Yahoo spokeswoman, said in an e-mail: “Part of our organizational streamlining involves cutting our investment in underperforming or off-strategy products to put better focus on our core strengths and fund new innovation in the next year and beyond. We continuously evaluate and prioritize our portfolio of products and services, and do plan to shut down some products in the coming months such as Yahoo Buzz, our Traffic APIs, and others. We will communicate specific plans when appropriate.”
To many in Web land, the news is likely to cause dismay. Although Yahoo failed to capitalize on the social networking niche now dominated by Facebook and Twitter, many of the company’s tools, including Delicious, which it acquired from its creator Joshua Schachter in 2005, were among the first wave of services aimed at the social Web and reinventing how people shared content online.
Yahoo said Monday that it was looking to lay off 650 employees, roughly 5 percent of its work force, as a way to trim costs amid sluggish growth. The cuts are expected to come largely from Yahoo’s products division, which oversees services like Delicious and Yahoo Buzz.

Top U.S. Spy Leaves Pakistan After His Name Is Revealed


Published: December 17, 2010

WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency’s top clandestine officer in Islamabad was pulled from the country on Thursday amid an escalating war of recriminations between American and Pakistani spies, with some American officials convinced that the officer’s cover was deliberately blown by Pakistan’s military intelligence agency.
The C.I.A. officer hastily left Pakistan on the same day that an Obama administration review of the Afghanistan war concluded that the war could not be won without greater cooperation from Islamabad in rooting out militants in Pakistan’s western mountains.
American officials said that the C.I.A. station chief had received a number of death threats after he was named publicly in a legal complaint sent to Pakistani police this week by the family of victims of the spy agency’s campaign of drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas.
But the officials said there is strong suspicion that operatives of Pakistan’s powerful spy service, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, had a hand in revealing the C.I.A. officer’s identity — possibly in retaliation for a civil lawsuit filed in Brooklyn last month implicating the I.S.I. chief in the Mumbai terror attacks of November 2008.
The American officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, did not immediately provide details to support their suspicions.
A senior Pakistani official, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the Pakistani government “believes that the suit in New York does not have a sound legal basis, and is based on conjecture. We did not need to retaliate”
“As far as the Government of Pakistan and the I.S.I. are concerned,” he said, “we look forward to working with the Americans in securing the world from transnational threats, especially the shared threat of terrorism.”
The intensifying mistrust between the C.I.A. and I.S.I., two uneasy but co-dependent allies, could hardly come at a worse time. The Obama administration relies on Pakistan’s support for the armed drone program, which this year has launched a record number of strikes in North Waziristan against terror suspects.
“We will continue to help strengthen Pakistani capacity to root out terrorists,” President Obama said on Thursday. “Nevertheless, progress has not come fast enough. So we will continue to insist to Pakistani leaders that terrorist safe havens within their borders must be dealt with.”
Michael J. Morell, the C.I.A.’s deputy director, met with Pakistani officials in Islamabad on Thursday, but American officials said his visit was not the result of the station chief’s case.
The relationship between the spy services has often frayed in recent years. American officials believe that I.S.I. officers helped plan the deadly July 2008 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, as well as provided support to Lashkar-e-Taiba militants who carried out the Mumbai attacks later that year.
The lawsuit filed in Brooklyn last month, brought by families of American victims of the Mumbai attacks, names the I.S.I. chief, Lt Gen.Ahmed Shuja Pasha, as being complicit in the terror attacks.
The legal complaint that named the station chief, who was working undercover and whose name is classified, was filed on Monday over attacks that killed at least two Pakistanis. The complaint sought police help in keeping the station chief in the country until a lawsuit could be filed.
The agent’s name had already been revealed in a news conference last month by Mirza Shahzad Akbar, the lawyer who filed the complaint this week, and the name had been reported in local media.
Mr. Akbar said in an interview that he did not believe security was the reason for the C.I.A. agent’s leaving. “Obviously, his name had come out in the open and maybe he feared police action or an action by the Supreme Court,” Mr. Akbar said. The breach of security comes as attacks attributed to American drones in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas continued to intensify, with three strikes on Friday killing at least 26 militants, according to civilian and intelligence officials in Khyber and a local tribesmen.
But the threats against the station chief “were of such a serious nature that it would be imprudent not to act,” according to one American intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity.
George Little, a C.I.A. spokesman, would not confirm that the station chief had to leave Pakistan, but did say that “station chiefs routinely encounter major risk as they work to keep America safe,” and that “their security is obviously a top priority for the C.I.A., especially when there’s an imminent threat.”
Mr. Akbar, who said the case would continue despite the station chief’s absence, is representing Kareem Khan, a resident of North Waziristan who claimed that his son and brother were killed in a drone strike. The complaint also named Leon Panetta, the agency director, and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Mr. Khan, a resident of Mir Ali in North Waziristan, which has often been a target of drone strikes, is seeking $500 million as compensation for the deaths, accusing the C.I.A. officer of running a clandestine spying operation out of the United States embassy in Islamabad. He also alleged that the C.I.A. officer was in the country on a business passport.
“My brother and son were innocent,” Mr. Khan had said in a recent interview. “There were no Taliban hiding in my house.”
For several years, drone attacks have been a regular element of American tactics to counter militants in Pakistan’s tribal areas, but the number of such strikes has increased markedly this year.
Two British converts to Islam appeared to be among many killed in drone attacks in recent days, officials in North Waziristan said on Friday.
Two officials, a senior civilian Pakistani official based in Peshawar and a security official, who both spoke in return for anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters, said the Britons were believed to have assumed Islamic names — Abu Bakar, said to be his late 40s, and Mansoor in his mid-20s — after their conversion to Islam in Britain a few years ago.
The two Britons are believed to have traveled to North Waziristan a year ago to join Al Qaeda, the officials said, and died when a missile struck the vehicle in which they were traveling along with two local militants who were also killed.
The officials said the vehicle seemed to have been electronically tracked as it traveled from Afghanistan. The attacks took places in the Dattkhel area, well inside Pakistan.
The British Foreign Office said diplomats were aware of the reports and were trying to confirm them.
The report was the second in recent months suggesting the presence of some foreigners among militants fighting American forces in the border area. In July, American forces in Afghanistan detained a German citizen, Ahmed Sidiqi, 36, said to have ties to the men who helped plot the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Then in October, Pakistani officials said that several German citizens were killed in a drone strike in Pakistan.
The attack earlier this week was followed on Thursday by a drone strike in the Terah valley in the Khyber region along the Afghan border where Pakistani militants have fled to escape military operations in the Swat, Khyber, Orakzai and South Waziristan tribal regions.
In three more strikes in the same area on Friday, a government official said 26 militants were killed, the fourth attack in the area two days.
Almost all American drone attacks this year have been in the North Waziristan tribal region, a known sanctuary for Al Qaeda and Taliban militants.
The attacks in Khyber are uncommon. The area is home to Lashkar-e-Islami, a militant organization sometimes allied with the Pakistani Taliban, but which has often clashed with other groups.
As it published its year-end review of its Afghan war strategy on Thursday, the Obama administration indicated that it planned to step up attacks on Al Qaeda and Taliban insurgents in the area.
That would mean using Predator and Reaper drones in Pakistan’s tribal areas, and possibly carrying out Special Forces operations along the border, officials indicated.
Mark Mazzetti reported from Washington and Salman Masood from Islamabad, Pakistan. Ismail Khan contributed reporting from Peshawar, Pakistan, Alan Cowell from Paris, and J. David Goodman from New York.
This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:
Correction: December 17, 2010
An earlier version of this article referred incorrectly to the actions of a lawyer representing a Pakistani man over deaths allegedly connected with a drone attack. The lawyer filed a complaint with police in Islamabad on Monday and had threatened to file a lawsuit last month; he has not yet filed the suit.