At times its better not to speak but only remind of what world thinks of you. With muscles you can brutalize or vulgarize society if you desire so but to win hearts and minds you require logics, value, peace and love for law and equality . All extracts for the readers to make their own opinion.
US and CIA linkage with Dr. Afridi
In an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes”, in Jan 2012, Panetta acknowledged that Afridi, a doctor in Abbottabad, the town where Bin Laden was found, had in fact been working for US intelligence, collecting DNA to verify the 9/11 mastermind’s presence. He said, “I’m very concerned about what the Pakistanis did with this individual … who in fact helped provide intelligence that was very helpful with regards to this operation,” Panetta said, according to excerpts of the interview. Read here
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said that Pakistan has no justification for holding Dr Shakil Afridi, who had a role in the CIA operation to hunt down Osama bin Laden in Abbotabad.
This she said while addressing US Congress Committee. Hillary Clinton said Dr Shakil Afridi provided key information to US before the Abbotabad operation, adding that he served for the interest of both Pakistan and the US. Clinton said Pakistan has no basis for detaining Dr Shakil. Read here
Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s remarks came in the wake of Pakistani media reports that the government has sealed all of Dr Shakil Afridi’s bank accounts and property, including his house. “Afridi’s daring act to help bring Osama bin Laden to justice deserves proper recognition. He should not to be abandoned by the White House. President Obama should personally intercede,” Rohrabacher said in a statement. Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, Rohrabacher recently introduced a Congressional resolution to award Afridi the Congressional Gold Medal for his bravery and sacrifice for helping the United States locate and identify bin Laden. “Pakistan’s leaders continue to show the US they are a hard-core, two-faced enemy not worthy of the $ 2.2 billion in foreign assistance the Obama Administration plans to give them next year,” he said. Read here
Levin and McCain said what Afridi did was “the furthest thing from treason. It was a courageous, heroic, and patriotic act, which helped to locate the most wanted terrorist in the world — a mass murderer who had the blood of many innocent Pakistanis on his hands. “Dr. Afridi set an example that we wish others in Pakistan had followed long ago. He should be praised and rewarded for his actions, not punished and slandered. “At a time when the United States and Pakistan need more than ever to work constructively together, Dr. Afridi’s continuing imprisonment and treatment as a criminal will only do further harm to US-Pakistani relations, including diminishing Congress’ willingness to provide financial assistance to Pakistan.” Read here
Mona Afridi, the jailed doctor’s wife, accused America of abandoning her husaband, adding: “They have used him like a piece of tissue paper and thrown him in the bin.”
Pakistan jails doctor who helped find bin Laden: why the US may not intervene…Today, it’s hard to see how the relationship can be repaired. In the end, the US can console itself that if Afridi had been tried under Pakistani national law – not a tribal court – he could have faced the death penalty.(CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR of 24 May)
Who is Dr. Shakeel Afridi
Dr.Shakeel Afridi is a Pakistani physician who allegedly helped the CIA run a fake vaccine program in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in order to confirm Osama bin Laden’s presence in the city by obtaining DNA samples. Details of the doctor’s activities emerged during the Pakistani investigation of the raid on Bin Laden’s residence, Operation Neptune Spear. He was arrested from Torkham border while trying to escape the country days after the raid that killed bin Laden. On 23 May 2012, Shakeel Afridi was sentenced to 33 years imprisonment for treason. He is father of three and his wife is an American citizen.
Education and Life
Dr Afridi graduated from the Khyber Medical College, Peshawar in 1990 and was working as the doctor in-charge of Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. He is a native of Khyber Agency.
On 6 October 2011, the Pakistani commission investigating Bin Laden’s death recommended that he be charged with “conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and high treason” on the basis of available evidence. The 15 female health workers, that assisted Dr Afridi in the fake vaccination program, were also declared not fit for any future employment. Read here . Getting Osama
Protest by Humanitarian and Aid groups
Médecins Sans Frontières has lashed out at the CIA for using a fake vaccination programme as a cover to spy on Osama bin Ladenon, saying it threatened life-saving immunisation work around the world. The international medical aid charity said the ploy used by US intelligence, revealed this week in the Guardian, was a “grave manipulation of the medical act”. Read here
A leading coalition of American humanitarian aid groups has written to the CIA chief to protest the agency’s use of a Pakistani doctor to help track Osama bin Laden, linking the ploy to a worsening polio crisis in Pakistan. “The CIA’s use of the cover of humanitarian activity for this purpose casts doubt on the intentions and integrity of all humanitarian actors in Pakistan, thereby undermining the international humanitarian community’s efforts to eradicate polio, provide critical health services and extend life-saving assistance during times of crisis, like the floods seen in Pakistan over the last two years,” the coalition of aid agencies, InterAction, wrote in its letter to CIA director David Petraeus. Read here letter to Gen. Petraeus
Treason and similar cases in US
Jonathan Jay Pollard (born August 7, 1954, Galveston, Texas) worked as an American civilian intelligence analyst before being convicted of spying for Israel. He received a life sentence in 1987. Israel granted Pollard citizenship in 1995, but denied until 1998 that they had bought classified information from him. Israeli activist groups, as well as high-profile Israeli politicians, have lobbied for his release. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has voiced particularly strong support for Pollard, visiting the convicted spy in prison in 2002. Read more about Pollard here
Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai
The arrest of Executive Director of the Kashmiri American Council (KAC) Dr Ghulam Nabi Fai, a US citizen of Kashmir descent, by Washington came as a surprise to many including US officials. Lobbying in America is a recognised political activity and profession operating within the law. The Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) in the US requires those who receive funding or lobby on behalf of a foreign government to register as foreign agent. Thus Fai’s mistake was that he did not file the correct paperwork declaring that he was working with a foreign government. The US Indian Political Action Committee (USINP AC) and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AlPAC) are not, however, held to the same standards. They are not registered under FARA because USTNPAC claims it focuses only on the Indian American community, whereas AIPAC states that it does not receive funding from Israel. However, it is difficult to separate the policies of these two groups from those of India and Israel. India-friendly policies proposed by USINPAC promote India’s national interest as well. For instance, USINPAC played a role in pushing the US-India nuclear deal through the US Congress. Meanwhile, AIP AC lobbies for financial aid to Israel, securing up to $3 billion annually, making Israel the largest collective recipient of US aid over the past 60 years.
Dr. Fai’s arrest, and Indian media carried features and articles on the subject. Read more here
US on NATO Supply
US Senators John McCain and Carl Levin, the chair and ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies to troops in Afghanistan, which McCain called extortion.
Extortion, dear McCain, is defined as, the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority’. He also stated, while talking to ‘The Cable’ “We can’t look at aid in that light. It’s now becoming a matter of principle”.
Talking of principles is not very pretty when one has been on a killing spree, killing children, civilians and older people-the more the merrier. Talking of principles is not pretty when you invade one country after the other. Talking of principles is not very pretty when an American citizen goes trigger happy causing deaths and when his hide is saved on basis of the very Shariah Laws US curses. Talking of principles is not very pretty when US decides to unilaterally attack Abottabad for Osama Bin Laden. And in case you missed my dear McCain, we are not the only ones pointing out your ’lack of principles here’. Amnesty International has, in it’s recent report criticized the USA for it’s use of lethal force, particularly for the ‘unlawful’ killing of Osama Bin Laden in a clandestine US commando raid in Pakistan last May. LINK: http://www.thenews.com.
Treason Trial Complicates U.S.-Pakistani Relations
By Julie McCarthy on 26 May 2012
RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: It’s been another rough week diplomatically for the U.S. and Pakistan. It started with Pakistan’s president traveling to the NATO summit in Chicago. There, he was nearly snubbed by President Obama, because Pakistan did not – as expected – reopen critical NATO supply routes to Afghanistan. Then Pakistani officials announced that a doctor who had helped the U.S. find Osama bin Laden has been sentenced to 33 years in prison. All of this has fueled outrage in both countries. NPR’s Julie McCarthy reports from Islamabad.
JULIE MCCARTHY, BYLINE: Dr. Shakil Afridi has done what few others have managed: unite Washington. On Capitol Hill, outraged members of the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday voted unanimously to slash Pakistan’s aid by a symbolic $33 million – one million for every year of Afridi’s sentence. At the State Department, Secretary Hillary Clinton called the conviction unjust and unwarranted.
SECRETARY HILLARY CLINTON: The United States does not believe there is any basis for holding Dr. Afridi. His help, after all, was instrumental in taking down one of the world’s most notorious murders. That was clearly in Pakistan’s interests, as well as ours and the rest of the world.
MCCARTHY: The CIA hired Afridi to run a phony vaccination program in a bid to collect blood and DNA samples at bin Laden’s compound to verify his presence. But Robert Grenier, a former CIA station chief in Islamabad, says it’s unlikely that Afridi even knew that his CIA handlers were closing in on bin Laden.
ROBERT GRENIER: I could imagine that they might have told him that they were seeking information concerning militants in the area, including some who might be enemies of Pakistan, but certainly without having told him who it was exactly that they were trying to track down.
MCCARTHY: The proceedings against Afridi were held far from public view. A powerful political agent convened a jirga of elders to hear the evidence in Khyber Agency, where Afridi had worked. The tribal area is beyond Pakistan’s judicial reach. Experts say the doctor had no lawyer. Constitutional law expert Salman Raja suspects the authorities sought to avoid a detail proper trial in a court.
SALMAN RAJA: In a court, there might be, you know, arguments and counterarguments and evidence, and so on. So they were probably not, you know, as sure as they would have liked to be of getting a swift conviction before the courts.
MCCARTHY: Mehdi Hassan, the former chairman of Pakistan’s Human Rights Commission, says the prosecution was for the benefit of public opinion that had been whipped into an anti-American froth. Hassan also says Afridi’s work for the United States could not have undermined the national security of long-time ally Pakistan.
MEHDI HASSAN: United States is a Pakistani ally for the last 64 years. So how can a person be a traitor working for an ally?
MCCARTHY: But the bogus vaccination campaign would seem to have breached all medical ethics, and reports about payments from the CIA suggest Afridi may have been motivated by money. Whatever the motive, the former chief of Pakistan’s premier intelligence service, the ISI, says Afridi got what he deserved. Javed Ashraf Qazi says his crime was that he kept hidden from Pakistan what he was doing for the Americans.
JAVED ASHRAF QAZI: Then it is espionage. It is betraying your country. It is working on the quiet for a foreign intelligence agency. This would be a crime in any country of the world.
MCCARTHY: Robert Grenier notes that Jonathan Pollard, an American who spied for Israel against the United States, was sentenced to life in prison in the U.S. He says senior American officials pressing loudly for Afridi’s release are, quote, “tone deaf.” One former senior intelligence official asked: What did we think would happen to the doctor? Julie McCarthy, NPR News, Islamabad.
Must Read This One (This is a cross post from salon.com)
American rage at Pakistan over the punishment of a CIA-cooperating Pakistani doctor is quite revealing
Americans of all types — Democrats and Republicans, even some Good Progressives — are just livid that a Pakistani tribal court (reportedly in consultation with Pakistani officials) has imposed a 33-year prison sentence on Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani physician who secretly worked with the CIA to find Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil. Their fury tracks the standard American media narrative: by punishing Dr. Afridi for the “crime” of helping the U.S. find bin Laden, Pakistan has revealed that it sympathizes with Al Qaeda and is hostile to the U.S. (NPR headline: “33 Years In Prison For Pakistani Doctor Who Aided Hunt For Bin Laden”; NYT headline: “Prison Term for Helping C.I.A. Find Bin Laden”). Except that’s a woefully incomplete narrative: incomplete to the point of being quite misleading.
What Dr. Afridi actually did was concoct a pretextual vaccination program, whereby Pakistani children would be injected with a single Hepatitis B vaccine, with the hope of gaining access to the Abbottabad house where the CIA believed bin Laden was located. The plan was that, under the ruse of vaccinating the children in that province, he would obtain DNA samples that could confirm the presence in the suspected house of the bin Laden family. But the vaccine program he was administering was fake: as Wired‘s public health reporter Maryn McKenna detailed, “since only one of three doses was delivered, the vaccination was effectively useless.” An on-the-ground Guardian
That means that numerous Pakistani children who thought they were being vaccinated against Hepatitis B were in fact left exposed to the virus. Worse, international health workers have long faced serious problems in many parts of the world — including remote Muslim areas — in convincing people that the vaccines they want to give to their children are genuine rather than Western plots to harm them. These suspicions have prevented the eradication of polio and the containment of other preventable diseases in many areas, including in parts of Pakistan. This faux CIA vaccination program will, for obvious and entirely foreseeable reasons, significantly exacerbate that problem.
As McKenna wrote this week, this fake CIA vaccination program was “a cynical attempt to hijack the credibility that public health workers have built up over decades with local populations” and thus “endangered the status of the fraught polio-eradication campaign, which over the past decade has been challenged in majority-Muslim areas in Africa and South Asia over beliefs that polio vaccination is actually a covert campaign to harm Muslim children.” She further notes that while this suspicion “seems fantastic” to oh-so-sophisticated Western ears — what kind of primitive people would harbor suspicions about Western vaccine programs? – there are actually “perfectly good reasons to distrust vaccination campaigns” from the West (in 1996, for instance, 11 children died in Nigeria when Pfizer, ostensibly to combat a meningitis outbreak, conducted drug trials — experiments — on Nigerian children that did not comport with binding safety standards in the U.S.).
When this fake CIA vaccination program was revealed last year, Doctors Without Borders harshly denounced the CIA and Dr. Afridi for their “grave manipulation of the medical act” that will cause “vulnerable communities – anywhere – needing access to essential health services [to] understandably question the true motivation of medical workers and humanitarian aid.” The group’s President pointed out the obvious: “The potential consequence is that even basic healthcare, including vaccination, does not reach those who need it most.” That is now clearly happening, as the CIA program “is casting its shadow over campaigns to vaccinate Pakistanis against polio.” Gulrez Khan, a Peshawar-based anti-polio worker, recently said that tribesman in the area now consider public health workers to be CIA agents and are more reluctant than ever to accept vaccines and other treatments for their children.
For the moment, leave to the side the question of whether knowingly administering ineffective vaccines to Pakistani children is a justified ruse to find bin Laden (just by the way, it didn’t work, as none of the health workers actually were able to access the bin Laden house, though CIA officials claim the program did help obtain other useful information). In light of all the righteous American outrage over this prison sentence, let’s consider what the U.S. Government would do if the situation were reversed: namely, if an American citizen secretly cooperated with a foreign intelligence service to conduct clandestine operations on U.S. soil, all without the knowledge or consent of the U.S. Government, and let’s further consider what would happen if the American citizen’s role in those operations involved administering a fake vaccine program to unwitting American children. Might any serious punishment ensue? Does anyone view that as anything more than an obvious rhetorical question?
There are numerous examples that make the point. As’ad AbuKhalilposes this one: “Imagine if China were to hire an American physician who would innocently inject unsuspecting Americans with a chemical to obtain information for China. I am sure that his prison term would be even longer.” Or what if an American doctor of Iranian descent had done this on behalf of the Quds Force, in order to find a member of the designated Iranian Terror group MeK who was living in the United States (one who, say, has been working with Israel to help assassinate Iranian nuclear scientists and wound their wives, or one who was trained by the U.S.), after which Iranian agents invaded his American home, pumped bullets in his skull and shot a few others (his wife and a child) and then dumped his corpse into the Atlantic Ocean? Or take the case of Orlando Bosch, the CIA-backed anti-Cuban Terrorist long harbored by the U.S.; suppose a Cuban-American doctor sympathetic to Castro had injected American children as part of a fake vaccination program in order to help Cuba find and kill Bosch on U.S. soil; he’d be lucky to get 33 years in prison.
In fact, the U.S. Government tries to impose the harshest possible sentences on Americans who do far less than Dr. Afridi did in Pakistan. The Obama administration charged former NSA official Thomas Drake with espionage and tried to imprison him fordecades merely because he exposed serious waste, corruption and illegality in surveillance programs — without the slightest indication of any harm to national security. Right now, they’re charging Bradley Manning with “aiding the enemy” — Al Qaeda — and attempting to impose life imprisonment on the 23-year-old Army Private, merely because he leaked information to the world showing serious war crimes and other government deceit (something The New York Times does frequently) which nobody suggests was done in collaboration with or even with any intent to help Al Qaeda or any other foreign entity. Given all that, just imagine how harshly they’d try to punish an American who secretly collaborated with a foreign intelligence service — who created a fake vaccine program for American kids — to enable secret military action on U.S. soil without their knowledge.
But of course none of these comparisons is equivalent. It’s all different when it’s done to America rather than by America. That’s the great prize for being the world’s imperial power: the rules you impose on others don’t bind you at all. I’m quite certain that none of the people voicing such intense rage over Pakistan’s punishment of Dr. Afridi would voice anything similar if the situation were reversed in any of the ways I’ve just outlined. Can you even imagine any of them saying something like: yes, this American doctor injected American kids with ruse vaccines in order to help the intelligence service of Iran/Pakistan/China/Cuba conduct clandestine operations on U.S. soil without the knowledge of the U.S. Government, but I think that’s justified and he shouldn’t be punished.
If you read or watch any accounts of life in the Roman empire, what you will frequently witness is someone being severely punished for an act against a Roman citizen. That was the most severe crime and the one most harshly punished: one could do any manner of bad things to non-citizens, but not so much as raise a hand to a Roman citizen.
Watch how often that formulation is used in our political discourse: he tried to kill Americans, people will emphasize when justifying all sorts of U.S. government actions. In other words, there are ordinary, pedestrian crimes (like this one, from today: “An American drone fired two missiles at a bakery in northwest Pakistan Saturday and killed four suspected militants, officials said, as the U.S. pushed on with its drone campaign despite Pakistani demands to stop. This was the third such strike in the country in less than a week”). But then there is the supreme crime: he tried to kill Americans! It’d be one thing if this outrage were honestly expressed as self-interest (we give massive aid to Pakistan so they should do our bidding), but instead, it is, as usual, couched in moral terms.
That is the imperial mind at work. Its premises are often embraced implicitly rather than knowingly: American lives are inherently more valuable; foreign lives are expendable in pursuit of American interests; the U.S. has the inalienable right to take action in other countries that nobody is allowed to take in the U.S. (just imagine: “An Iranian drone fired two missiles at a bakery in the northwest U.S. Saturday and killed four suspected militants, Iranian officials said, as Iran pushed on with its drone campaign despite American demands to stop. This was the third such strike in the country in less than a week” or “Thirty five women and children were killed by a Yemeni cruise missile armed with cluster bombs which struck an alleged Marine training camp in Texas”).
These self-venerating imperial prerogatives are the premises driving the vast bulk of American foreign policy and military discourse. It is certainly what’s driving the spectacle of so many people pretending that the punishment of Dr. Afridi is some sort of aberrational act which the U.S. and other Decent, Civilized Countries would never do.
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Two related points:
(1) NPR emphasizes what appear to be the genuine due process deficiencies in the punishment imposed on Dr. Afridi, though he certainly is receiving more due process than those informally and secretly accused of Treason by the U.S. Government and given the Anwar Awlaki treatment, or accused of Terrorism and targeted with a U.S. drone or locked for a decade or so in a cage without charges of any kind.
(2) Zaid Jilani, formerly of Think Progress, asks a really good question about the Hollywood Election Year film depicting the bin Laden raid being produced by Sony Pictures with the help of the Obama administration: “Will the movie feature Pakistani kids tricked into getting fake vaccines? Probably not.” If the film does mention this, I’d bet it will be to marvel at and celebrate the James-Bond-like ingenuity of the CIA.
JUNE 1, 2012, New York Times
The Doctor Who Wouldn’t VaccinateBy HUMA YUSUF (Extracts Only)
The trial’s many irregularities are attracting a fair bit of attention. Afridi was denied legal representation. He was tried under the Frontier Crimes Regulation, a draconian code governing Pakistan’s tribal areas but not Abbottabad, where he was operating. Even by the standards of that law he was givenan excessive sentence. And it remains unclear what exactly he was tried for: “antistate” activities or providing support and medical treatment to members of the Lashkar-e-Islam, a militant group based in Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas?
Meanwhile, the far more lasting fallout of Afridi’s activities on health campaigns in Pakistan is going unnoticed. Afridi really is a doctor, but rather than dispense vaccinations against hepatitis B, as he was claiming, he was taking DNA samples in the hope of locating Bin Laden.
Many Pakistanis, especially those in the tribal areas and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, have long been suspicious of polio vaccinations. They fear that these are a ploy to sterilize Muslims even though they are carried out by government health workers and local NGOs (albeit with international funding). Rumors along these lines, coupled with inadequate health care and persistent insecurity, mean that up to 200,000 children in Pakistan have already missed their polio vaccinations in the past two years. Some 198 cases of polio were reported in Pakistan in 2011, the highest number for any country in the world and up from 144 cases in 2010. This year, 16 cases have already been reported, primarily from the tribal areas.
In 2009, I met residents of the tribal areas fleeing military operations in their villages for refugee camps near Peshawar. At every opportunity, women asked me whether the vaccinations on offer were safe or if they were “American weapons.” I can only imagine how much worse their perceptions of vaccinations are after hearing about Afridi’s phony program.
If the Pakistani authorities had to convict Afridi for anything, it should have been for breaching the Hippocratic Oath. That they didn’t is yet more proof of just how low health features on Pakistan’s list of national priorities, especially compared with security.