The American Bear

Sunshine/Lollipops

Five Polio Workers in Pakistan Killed in Further Fallout From Panetta’s Leak | Jim White

White on a new form of blowback:

Providing more evidence that perhaps the best move President Obama can make for world affairs is to quickly appoint a new Secretary of Defense so that Leon Panetta can retire to a soundproof booth, five more polio workers in Pakistan paid with their lives for Panetta’s leak that conclusively tied Dr. Shakil Afridi and a vaccination ruse to the CIA effort to identify and kill Osama bin Laden. The tragic shootings in Pakistan consisted of three separate incidents in Karachi and one in Peshawar.

Dawn summarizes various news services’ reports on the shootings:

Four were killed in three different incidents in the port city of Karachi and the fifth in the northwestern city of Peshawar, on the second day of a nationwide three-day drive against the disease, which is endemic in Pakistan.

All of the victims were Pakistanis working with a UN-backed programme to eradicate polio.

Sagheer Ahmed, the health minister for Sindh province said he had ordered a halt to the anti-polio drive in the city in the wake of the shootings.

These killings come on the heels of previous incidents:

On Monday, police said a gunman killed a volunteer for the World Health Organization’s anti-polio campaign was shot dead on the city outskirts in Gadap Town.

Earlier in July 2012, a local paramedic associated with the polio vaccination was shot dead and a World Health Organisation doctor, Fosten Dido, from Ghana along with his driver were wounded in two separate attacks in the Sohrab Goth area.

WHO, a partner in government efforts to eradicate the disease, suspended vaccination activities in part of Pakistan’s largest city in July after a spate of bloody shootings.

These killings come just under three weeks since it was announced that Dr. Afridi had started a hunger strike at Peshawar Central Jail after the jail retaliated against him for his telephone interview with Fox News. Since the report of the start of the hunger strike, the jail has fired the guard whose phone was used for the interview, but I’ve seen no further reports on the status (or whereabouts) of Afridi. That is striking, since the report on Afridi’s hunger strike appeared within 24 hours of its apparent start. Further, we learn from the New York Times today that US funds for Pakistan’s military have once again begun to flow, despite repeated threats from various members of Congress that these funds would be blocked until Afridi is released from jail. These events also take place in the wake of Panetta’s ham-handed “clarification” last week on the status of Pakistan’s cooperation in anti-terrorism activity.

The Times article tells us that the Pentagon notified Congress of the release of funds to Pakistan on December 7, just a week after the Afridi hunger strike started on November 30. Is Afridi still in Peshawar Central Jail or has he been quietly released and removed from the country as part of the normalization of US-Pakistan relations?

I’m reminded of something Robert Fisk wrote roughly 6 months ago:

Sure, Pakistan is a corrupt country. Sure, it is corrupt from the shoeshiner up to the pinnacles of power. But I suppose in the end, if you’re going to prostitute yourself to America – financially and militarily, as Pakistan has done for decades – that’s the price you pay. Which is why hypocrisy will win. For Dr Afridi, I predict, will be quietly given a substantial reduction in his sentence, will be released – or disappear – from his Pakistani prison and, in a few months/ years, when Zardari has scored enough points from Dr Afridi’s imprisonment, the good doctor will pop up in the US with a fine medical practice and the pleasure of knowing – of course – that La Clinton has re-endowed Pakistan with its missing $33m.

Pakistani doctor was jailed for giving care to militants, not for helping CIA | guardian.co.uk

Interesting and confusing:

The Pakistani doctor who assisted the CIA in its hunt for Osama bin Laden was given a 33-year jail sentence not for aiding the US intelligence service but for providing medical care to banned terror groups, according to leaked legal documents.

According to a five-page verdict seen by Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper, the administrator from the country’s tribal areas that tried and convicted Shakil Afridi did not even consider evidence that the doctor had conspired with the CIA on a fake vaccination programme.

Instead the quasi-legal process found Afridi guilty of “anti-state activities” relating to his alleged involvement with Mangal Bagh, the leader of Lashkar-i-Islam, a group that has fought against government forces.

The court document accused Afridi of giving the banned group nearly £14,000, providing medical care to various militant commanders and holding meetings with them shortly before attacks on government checkposts.

Dawn said the court argued Afridi’s work with the CIA fell outside its jurisdiction and that the former public health official should be tried again in a full court. He could face the death penalty if found guilty of a treason charge in a regular court.

Sure, Pakistan is a corrupt country. Sure, it is corrupt from the shoeshiner up to the pinnacles of power. But I suppose in the end, if you’re going to prostitute yourself to America – financially and militarily, as Pakistan has done for decades – that’s the price you pay. Which is why hypocrisy will win. For Dr Afridi, I predict, will be quietly given a substantial reduction in his sentence, will be released – or disappear – from his Pakistani prison and, in a few months/ years, when Zardari has scored enough points from Dr Afridi’s imprisonment, the good doctor will pop up in the US with a fine medical practice and the pleasure of knowing – of course – that La Clinton has re-endowed Pakistan with its missing $33m. Robert Fisk

Lies of the Times | As'ad AbuKhalil

On the “unjustly sentenced” Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi:

Look at this headline in the Times: “Prison Term for Helping C.I.A. Find Bin Laden”. What a misleading headline and story. No, Times: the man injected innocent Pakistanis with “harmless” chemicals in order to provide information for a foreign power and to obtain information about the people in the compound, not to mention that he violated his medical oath. 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. Who are you fooling?

Our imperial subjects, who else?

Pakistani doctor who helped U.S. find Osama bin Laden jailed, fined

shortformblog:

  • 33 years in prison for running a fake vaccination program in an attempt to find Osama bin Laden using DNA
  • $3,500 fine for his actions, which led to the U.S. finding and killing the al-Qaeda leader a year ago source

» And no, the U.S. isn’t happy: Previously, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she hoped to see Shakil Afridi freed, as his work helped capture a pretty bad dude. Instead, Afridi is heading to jail, a move which will likely strain relations between the U.S. and Pakistan, who are currently locked in a diplomatic battle over Afghan War supply routes.

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