Friday, May 25, 2012

American Hypocrisy on Dr. Afridi's Sentence

The US Congress and the Obama administration are incensed by the 33-year prison term handed to Dr. Shakil Afridi accused by Pakistan of spying for the CIA. In their usual response, the lawmakers in Washington have voted to cut aid to Pakistan for the umpteenth time and some in Congress are proposing to honor Afridi as a hero for his help in killing Osama bin Laden. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton has also chimed in and demanded Afridi's immediate release.

As Washington rises to defend Dr. Afridi, no mention is being made of the potential damage his actions have inflicted on Pakistan's most vulnerable children. The CIA-inspired fake vaccination scheme in Abbottabad to collect bin Laden family's DNA samples has reinforced the fears and doubts in the minds of the parents of the children who really need to be vaccinated. It has also raised suspicions against charities such as Save the Children Fund with which Dr. Afridi claimed affiliation. This misguided effort by Afridi and the CIA has put at risk the heath and well-being of millions of young lives in Pakistan and other developing nations where polio and other similar diseases still persist. Here's how a piece by Maryn McKenna published in Wired magazine describes the outrage:  

"I felt, and still feel, that the maneuver — which was belatedly acknowledged by the CIA — was a cynical attempt to hijack the credibility that public health workers have built up over decades with local populations. I especially felt it 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 — an accusation that seems fantastic, but begins to make sense when you realize some of those areas have perfectly good reasons to distrust vaccination campaigns."

Even without the outrageous scheme by Afridi conducted in collusion with the CIA, the US demands are still hypocritical if one looks at the prison sentences handed out by US courts to Israeli Mossad agent Jonathan Pollard and Pakistani ISI agent Ghulam Nabi Fai in the United States. Both are US citizens.

Some argue that Pakistan should bear the responsibility for CIA's actions because of the country's failure to find bin Laden. While I agree that Pakistan failed badly in capturing bin Laden, there is no evidence to support the assertion that Pakistani government was deliberately hiding bin Laden.

As to the failure to find a most wanted fugitive, one must not forget that it took the FBI 16 years to find crime boss Whitey Bulger. On December 23, 1994, after being tipped off by his former FBI handler about a pending indictment under the RICO Act, Bulger fled Boston and went into hiding. For sixteen years, he remained at large in the United States. For twelve of those years, Bulger was prominently listed on the FBI Ten Most Wanted Fugitives list. On June 22, 2011, Bulger was arrested outside an apartment in Santa Monica, California.

 Shuja Nawaz, a scholar with the Atlantic Council in Washington, put it well when he told Voice of America that Pakistanis "see it as the subversion of a Pakistani citizen and his willing participation in an act that was to support the United States intelligence operations inside Pakistan."

Related Links:

Haq's Musings

US Military Undermining Interests in "AfPak"

Northern Distribution Network

From Pakistan to Afghanistan, U.S. Finds Convoy of Chaos

Is US-Pakistan Military Confrontation Inevitable?

Seeing Bin Laden's Death in Wider Perspective

Who Are the Haqqanis?

Military Mutiny in Pakistan?

Can US Aid Remake Pakistan?

The Obama Surge Strategy

US War Effort in Afghanistan Relies on Pakistan


Farhan Jalil said...

Argument about mistrust in public on Save the children organization and polio vaccination in Pakistan should be backed by credible source e.g. a gallop survey

Anonymous said...

They are not doing this out of their love for that mole. they are sending a message to other potential moles that US takes care of them and that they should keep selling their mother land for a few ****** dollars.

Why prison, why provide food and bed to a deserter for 33 years from our tax money? why not just execute him Saudi style after Friday prayers outside his hometown mosque/ or preferably an Abbotabad mosque where he committed the crime.

Anonymous said...

, there is no evidence to support the assertion that Pakistani government was deliberately hiding bin Laden.

Really? So UBL chose 1 km outside the national military academy out of his own free will??

If this isn't circumstantial evidence I don't know what is!

kaakhtar said...

The US by publicly defending and championing the cause of Dr Afridi has established beyond all doubt that Dr Afridi, a Pakistan government employee, was subverted and recruited to work for the CIA. What the US has not explained is why Dr Afridi was left to face the music and why he and his family were not taken out especially when his role was sure to be discovered. The US had abandoned Cuban collaborators after the Bay of Pigs fiasco in the Kennedy era. South Vietnamese collaborators were also abandoned to a horrific fate and now the Afghans are bracing for what awaits them. Angry US law makers have now woken up and demanded that Afridi be released as he has done nothing wrong. He hasn’t under US law but can Pakistan ignore the fact that a Pakistani government official collaborated with a foreign intelligence agency in a clandestine manner? Not if they do not want to set a precedent for others. Dr Afridi under US direction also recruited other government employees to work with him and by using a vaccination campaign as a cover discredited the government’s health care programs. US law makers have proposed a cut of US$ 33mn—one for each year of Dr Afridi’s prison term—to be deducted from the aid to Pakistan and perhaps paid to Dr Afridi as compensation. This cut comes after a proposal to cut all aid to Pakistan by half for the continued closure of the NATO logistics route. The gloves are off and the strategy is to brow beat Pakistan into compliance. Pakistan, and Dr Afridi, are learning what collaboration with the US really means.

Riaz Haq said...

Anon: "If this isn't circumstantial evidence I don't know what is!

Whitey Bulger fled Boston after being tipped off by his former FBI handler about a pending indictment under the RICO Act. How's that for "circumstantial evidence" of US govt's role in helping a "most wanted" fugitive?

Iqbal Singh said...

The movie about the hunt and killing of OBL is shooting in the Indian city of Chandigarh after Bigelow was denied permission to film in Pakistan. The Indian location is standing in for the Pakistani city of Lahore.

If Pakistan was not involved in secretly harboring OBL then the question still remains why OBL was living in a city of high ranking Military Brass of the Pakistan's armed forces. These are the same people who are supposedly in charge of safeguarding Pakistan's nuclear weapons!

The US has to ponder an even more grim situation now.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Reuters' report on Dr. Afridi's character:

The Pakistani doctor who helped the CIA find Osama bin Laden faced accusations of corruption and other wrongdoing long before he was captured by Pakistani intelligence agents and then jailed for 33 years for treason.

In interviews over the weekend, several current and former Pakistani officials described the doctor, Shakil Afridi, as a hard-drinking womanizer who had faced accusations of sexual assault, harassment and stealing. They said his main obsession was making easy money.

According to a 2002 Pakistan health department document seen by Reuters, Afridi was deemed to be corrupt and unreliable and unfit for government service.

U.S. officials have hailed Afridi, aged in his 40s, as a hero for helping pinpoint bin Laden's location in the Pakistani town of Abbottabad where the al Qaeda leader was killed in May last year in a raid by U.S. Navy SEALs.

Officially Pakistan has said nothing about Afridi except that the court's decision to sentence him should be respected. But the fresh accusations about Afridi's character, coupled with his imprisonment, will almost certainly lead to further strain on already tense bilateral ties.

Pakistani officials' attempts to cast doubt on Afridi's character will likely be viewed in some quarters as retaliation for his work with the Americans, despite the disclosures in the 2002 Pakistani document.

U.S. officials on Monday called the accusations character assassination. In Washington, one senior official said the U.S. government was unaware of any questionable behavior by Afridi.

"Available information showed Afridi was a respected member of the Pakistani health care community," said the senior official. "We are aware of efforts, put in place since Dr. Afridi's arrest, to denigrate his character."

Another U.S. official said: "It's nothing short of puzzling that Pakistani officials would disparage someone who helped in the hunt for bin Laden, a terrorist who had Pakistani blood on his hands."
His reputation hurt by allegations, Afridi was easy prey for the CIA which found him through his connections to Western aid agencies in about 2009, said the former security official.

"The man was living beyond his means after he was fired," said the former security official. "He got married a third time. He maintained a couple of cars."

Afridi, who came to Abbottabad to carry out the vaccination campaign apparently at the CIA's behest, blundered when he visited the district health officer in the town.

He told the officer he was a volunteer who wanted to provide vaccinations in a certain area and he gave the officer his real name, the former security official said.

The team moved from house to house conducting vaccinations and leaving chalk marks on the door to show the people inside had been vaccinated, as is customary in Pakistan.

"They went in systematically the way a team is supposed to work," said the official. "No eyebrows were raised."

But after bin Laden was killed, his widows unwittingly helped Pakistani authorities track Afridi.

"They said that the only time when somebody from outside visited the house, was this polio vaccination (team)," said the former security official, who believed the only other visitor to the house was bin Laden's courier, about once a month.

Afridi was quickly scooped up by security officials.

When interrogated, Afridi initially said he had no ties with Americans, said the former security official.

"He categorically denied everything to start with," said the former security official. "But when the Americans started asking for him, then I think the cat was out of the bag."

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times story on Obama's "kill list":

Nothing else in Mr. Obama’s first term has baffled liberal supporters and confounded conservative critics alike as his aggressive counterterrorism record. His actions have often remained inscrutable, obscured by awkward secrecy rules, polarized political commentary and the president’s own deep reserve.

In interviews with The New York Times, three dozen of his current and former advisers described Mr. Obama’s evolution since taking on the role, without precedent in presidential history, of personally overseeing the shadow war with Al Qaeda.

They describe a paradoxical leader who shunned the legislative deal-making required to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba, but approves lethal action without hand-wringing. While he was adamant about narrowing the fight and improving relations with the Muslim world, he has followed the metastasizing enemy into new and dangerous lands. When he applies his lawyering skills to counterterrorism, it is usually to enable, not constrain, his ferocious campaign against Al Qaeda — even when it comes to killing an American cleric in Yemen, a decision that Mr. Obama told colleagues was “an easy one.”

His first term has seen private warnings from top officials about a “Whac-A-Mole” approach to counterterrorism; the invention of a new category of aerial attack following complaints of careless targeting; and presidential acquiescence in a formula for counting civilian deaths that some officials think is skewed to produce low numbers.

The administration’s failure to forge a clear detention policy has created the impression among some members of Congress of a take-no-prisoners policy. And Mr. Obama’s ambassador to Pakistan, Cameron P. Munter, has complained to colleagues that the C.I.A.’s strikes drive American policy there, saying “he didn’t realize his main job was to kill people,” a colleague said.

Riaz Haq said...

ere are NY Times editorial excerpts on Obama's kill list:

How can the world know whether the targets chosen by this president or his successors are truly dangerous terrorists and not just people with the wrong associations? (It is clear, for instance, that many of those rounded up after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks weren’t terrorists.) How can the world know whether this president or a successor truly pursued all methods short of assassination, or instead — to avoid a political charge of weakness — built up a tough-sounding list of kills?

It is too easy to say that this is a natural power of a commander in chief. The United States cannot be in a perpetual war on terror that allows lethal force against anyone, anywhere, for any perceived threat. That power is too great, and too easily abused, as those who lived through the George W. Bush administration will remember.

Mr. Obama, who campaigned against some of those abuses in 2008, should remember. But the Times article, written by Jo Becker and Scott Shane, depicts him as personally choosing every target, approving every major drone strike in Yemen and Somalia and the riskiest ones in Pakistan, assisted only by his own aides and a group of national security operatives. Mr. Obama relies primarily on his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan.

To his credit, Mr. Obama believes he should take moral responsibility for these decisions, and he has read the just-war theories of Augustine and Thomas Aquinas.

The Times article points out, however, that the Defense Department is currently killing suspects in Yemen without knowing their names, using criteria that have never been made public. The administration is counting all military-age males killed by drone fire as combatants without knowing that for certain, assuming they are up to no good if they are in the area. That has allowed Mr. Brennan to claim an extraordinarily low civilian death rate that smells more of expediency than morality.

In a recent speech, Mr. Brennan said the administration chooses only those who pose a real threat, not simply because they are members of Al Qaeda, and prefers to capture suspects alive. Those assurances are hardly binding, and even under Mr. Obama, scores of suspects have been killed but only one taken into American custody. The precedents now being set will be carried on by successors who may have far lower standards. Without written guidelines, they can be freely reinterpreted.

A unilateral campaign of death is untenable. To provide real assurance, President Obama should publish clear guidelines for targeting to be carried out by nonpoliticians, making assassination truly a last resort, and allow an outside court to review the evidence before placing Americans on a kill list. And it should release the legal briefs upon which the targeted killing was based.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Counterpunch Op Ed on Obama's snub for Zardari & Pakistan at Chicago's NATO summit:

This is a sharp rebuke, given the level of ongoing support that Pakistan has provided to the U.S./NATO war in Afghanistan, which has lasted more than 10 years. Mr. Zardari was apparently under some serious pressure to capitulate. According to an Article in the Christian Science Monitor on May 22, there were high hopes for a deal when he attended the NATO meeting. It appears, however, that he offered to reopen the routes, without demanding the cessation of the Drone Strikes, at a price about 20x higher than what the U.S./NATO had been paying before the routes were closed, an offer unlikely to be accepted . Meanwhile, back in Pakistan, according to any number of sources, Prime Minister Gilani has been convicted by the powerful Supreme Court of Pakistan for refusing to reopen an old corruption case against President Zardari. Their government is in a very vulnerable position.

This is not a happy circumstance in a country where the civilian government has frequently been removed by a military coup, and Mr. Zardari’s father in law was actually executed by Zia al Haq, the military dictator, supported by the U.S., who removed him from office. From the viewpoint of the Pakistani government, this is a defeat any way you look at it. If even the reputedly corrupt Asif Zardari cannot bring himself to reopen the supply routes while the drone strikes continue to wreak havoc on the civilian population of North Waziristan, and cause upheaval in the general population of Pakistan, then it might be time to revisit the policy. However, the self proclaimed Masters of the Universe do not see it that way. This is their world and they will have their way. Violence, humiliation and oppression are their tools of choice. The lives of individuals have no meaning for them, and their mantra of freedom and democracy is meant to drown out the cries of the impoverished and brutalized masses of their victims. As you may imagine, an insult to a already debased opponent was hardly an adequate response to the refusal of a chattel to provide the expected services. So, that wasn’t the end of the affair.
Mr. President, I have to ask, “What Principles are reflected here? It would appear that Mr. Obama is playing God. Seduced by the power of the Presidency, and at the same time barred from constructive domestic action, President Obama has turned to the minute details of day to day issues of life and death for strangers on the far side of the planet who do not have it in their power to protect themselves from his personally structured version of state terrorism. And last week, his eminence apparently decided to teach the Pakistanis a lesson about defying the mighty powers of the American Olympians. Perhaps, Mr. Obama, you would deign to look down from your lofty post and say a few words of comfort to little Fatima and the dozens of others like her.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's Asia Times Op Ed by Ambassador M K Bhadrakumar on Chinese & Russian envoys' visits to Pakistan:

The back-to-back visits to Pakistan this week by China's Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi and the Russian president's special envoy for Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, are rich in political symbolism and strategic content.

The consultations came at a time when Pakistan is reeling under pressure from the United States, the future of Afghanistan remains complicated and regional security is in flux.

The timing of the consultations will draw attention - since they were sandwiched between the summit of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Chicago on May 20-21 and the forthcoming summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Beijing on June 6-7. Afghanistan is a burning issue for both international groupings.
Yang underscored that China will unwaveringly pursue the policy of further strengthening its friendship with Pakistan and is willing to work together to deepen practical cooperation and strengthen the strategic coordination and elevate the partnership to new heights.

Xinhua news agency reported that China and Pakistan have agreed to "strengthen multilateral coordination and to safeguard the common interests of both sides." The reference seems to be to Pakistan's role in the SCO, whose forthcoming summit in Beijing will be attended by Zardari.

While Yang's official visit had a broad-ranging agenda, Kabulov's consultations were focused and purposive. He came to Islamabad primarily to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and the forthcoming visit to Pakistan by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Kabulov is Moscow's ace diplomatic troubleshooter on Afghanistan. The Pakistani accounts quoted him as saying to Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani that "enormous commonalities" existed between Russia and Pakistan on regional issues and bilateral cooperation. Clearly, the reference is to the situation surrounding the Afghan problem, where both Russia and Pakistan have been seeking a bigger role while the US selectively engages them for specific roles.

Putin's visit to Pakistan, which is expected "soon", will be the first by a Russian head of state in the six-decade long history of relations between the two countries. It will consolidate the remarkable makeover in the two countries' relations in the past two to three years.

The fact that Putin picked Pakistan to be one of his first visits abroad after taking over as president in the Kremlin itself testifies to the "mood swing" in the geopolitics of the region. Many trends need to be factored in here.

Russia is gearing up to play an effective role in world affairs. Its assertive stance on Syria and Iran can be expected to extend to Pakistan and Central Asia. Russia kept its participation over the NATO summit on a low-key and saw to it that none of the Central Asian leaders who were invited - from Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan - attended either. Meanwhile, Moscow also hosted a summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Putin is undertaking visits to Belarus, Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan during the week ahead and is virtually launching his Eurasian project.
The utter failure of the US strategy in Afghanistan stands exposed in terms of its exceptionalism and the stark absence of a regional consensus. Yang and Kabulov could and should have been the US's best allies in urging Pakistan to work with the international community for an enduring peace in Afghanistan. The paradox is that even in the prevailing situation of high volatility in the US's relations with Russia and China they might well have done that, but without Washington's bidding.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times blog on lomg term damage caused by CIA's fake vaccination scheme:

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. Yet the diplomatic hullabaloo is drowning out any discussion of his severe breach of medical ethics and the adverse impact his actions will have on vaccination programs, particularly polio eradication drives, in Pakistan.

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.

For years, health workers have tried to prove that various misgivings about vaccination drives are groundless. But the Afridi affair will only confirm Pakistanis’ worst fears, namely that these campaigns are a cover used by the U.S. government to take advantage of the local population, and it will significantly damage the credibility of similar health initiatives.

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.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times story about Salong Pass as choke point on northern supply routes for NATO:

Nowhere is the impact of Pakistan’s ban on NATO truck traffic more visible than here at the top of the Hindu Kush, on one of the only alternative overland routes for supply convoys to reach Kabul and the rest of the country.

For 20 miles north and south of the old Soviet-built tunnel at Salang Pass, thousands of trucks are idled beside the road, waiting for a turn to get through its perilous, one-and-a-half-mile length.

This is the only passable route for heavy truck traffic bringing NATO supplies in from the Central Asian republics to the north, as they now must come.

There are other roads, but they are often single-lane dirt tracks through even higher mountain passes, or they are frequently subject to ambushes by insurgents and bandits. So a tunnel built to handle 1,000 vehicles a day, and until the Pakistani boycott against NATO in November handling 2,000, now tries — and often fails — to let 10,000 vehicles through, alternating northbound and southbound truck traffic every other day.

“It’s only a matter of time until there’s a catastrophe,” said Lt. Gen. Mohammad Rajab, the head of maintenance for the Salang Pass. “One hundred percent certain, there will be a disaster, and when there is, it’s not a disaster for Afghanistan alone, but for the whole international community that uses this road.” He said 90 percent of the traffic now was trailer and tanker trucks carrying NATO supplies.

The tunnel near the top of this 12,000-foot pass is so narrow — no more than 20 feet across at the base, and less toward the top — that the heavily laden trucks often jam as they try to pass one another, lodging in tightly against the sloping, rough-hewn walls. The trucks have to be winched apart and dragged out by heavy equipment.
A tanker driver named Mohammadullah, hauling fuel for a NATO contractor, was eight days out of Kabul and still climbing. He said the drivers often ran out of food and were forced to pay exorbitant prices to vendors who drove up with supplies. He expected the round trip would take him most of a month.

“I’d rather be driving to Kandahar,” he said. Trucks need to have armed guards because of insurgents on that route, he said, “but I’d rather do that than all this waiting.”

The much-shorter Pakistani routes, from seaports like Karachi on better roads, were closed to protest the deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers in an American airstrike. But Pakistan has expressed willingness to reopen the frontier: for a fee of thousands of dollars per truck, compared with $250 previously. “We’re not about to get gouged in the price,” Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said on ABC’s “This Week.”

The Salang Pass tunnel, built in 1964 by the Soviets and never completely finished (it lacks amenities like interior surfacing of the walls and an escape tunnel), has a tragic history. Nine hundred Russians and Afghans reportedly died of asphyxiation in the tunnel in 1982 when a military convoy was trapped inside by an accident or an explosion.

Two years ago, huge avalanches at the southern mouth of the tunnel killed at least 64 people, buried alive in cars and buses.
The only remotely viable alternative route, General Rajab said, is over the Shibar Pass, farther west. It involves a three-day detour, which could be an improvement over Salang these days. However, the military would have to work at improving security on that route, he said — when he recently detoured trucks that way, they were looted before reaching the pass.

Riaz Haq said...

Israeli foreign minister cites US precedent for refusing Turkey apology, according to Jerusalem Post:

f the US adamantly refuses to apologize to Pakistan for the accidental killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers last November, Israel certainly need not say sorry to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara deaths, Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman said Monday.
“The Pakistanis asked the US to apologize, and the Americans said ‘no way,’” Liberman said in reference to the November incident where US forces accidentally fired on two Pakistani border posts.

The US has since expressed regret for the incident, something Israel has also said it was willing to do regarding the killing of nine Turks on the May 2010 flotilla that aimed to break the blockade of Gaza.

“So when they come to us and pressure us to apologize over the Marmara, because of this or that constraint, sometimes even to best friends you must say ‘no.’ Otherwise, no one will respect you,” Liberman declared.

Liberman said the commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara and clashed with those on the ship were clearly exercising their rights of self defense. The Turkish pressure on Israel to apologize now is to “deter us from using the legitimate right for self defense,” he said....
Michele Flournoy, who served as the third top official in the Pentagon before stepping down earlier this year, said last week at an Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv that it was very important for “Israel to repair its relationship with Turkey.”

Flournoy, who played a key role in shaping US President Barack Obama’s national security policy, hinted that Israel should apologize, saying Turkey was one of the strongest and most influential voices in the region, remained a close and valued NATO ally for the United States, and shared “our interest in preventing Iran from becoming a nuclear weapon state.”

While acknowledging that “she understands that past events have made concrete steps towards reconciliation quite difficult,” Flournoy said “if there is ever a time for Israel to rise above past differences and recriminations with Turkey, now is that time.

“Israel must act more strategically, and I think there is tremendous opportunity to rebuild its partnership with Turkey and with other partners where it can. This is really important at a time of such [regional] uncertainty.”

The Wall Street Journal reported in May that during discussions last December in Washington over whether it should apologize to the Pakistanis, Flournoy suggested language whereby the US would apologize for the “unintentional and tragic” deaths, but would not accept full responsibility. According to the paper, she argued that the “US risked the issue festering.”

No US apology has yet been forthcoming, and The Wall Street Journal quoted a senior administration official as wondering how Washington could apologize to a country that was providing, at least through some parts of its government, tacit support to those attacking US troops.

“This isn’t about politics,” the official is quoted as saying. “This is about the message that would send to our troops and that is what no one in the military or the White House could countenance.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a CNN report on the impact of CIA's fake vaccination scheme on polio eradication in Pakistan:

Pakistan is causing particular consternation among health officials who say their efforts to vaccinate more children are being frustrated by the CIA's use of a fake vaccination program last year to gather intelligence on Osama bin Laden.

In a letter to CIA director General David Petraeus in February, InterAction, which represents nearly 200 U.S.- based non-government organizations, expressed "deep concern" about the fake campaign.

"Among other factors, international public health officials point to the distrust of vaccines and immunization campaigns as contributing to the lack of progress in eradicating the disease in Pakistan," it said.

"This distrust is only increasing in light of reports about the CIA campaign," it added.

Bin Laden was killed in a raid by U.S. Navy SEALs in May 2011 at a heavily fortified compound in Abbottabad, in northeastern Pakistan.

Local news reports linked Pakistani doctor Shakeel Afridi to the U.S. intelligence operation, alleging he tried to gain access to bin Laden's compound through the fake vaccination scheme.

Pakistan recently sentenced Afridi to 33 years in jail for providing financial and medical assistance to the now defunct militant group Lashkar-e-Islam.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an excerpt of a Reuters' blog on "US War in FATA":

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is using increasingly forthright terms to describe the spillover of the war in Afghanistan into Pakistan’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in its campaign of drone strikes. “We are fighting a war in the FATA, we are fighting a war against terrorism,” he said during a visit to India. The idea that the United States is at war inside Pakistan, albeit in its tribal areas bordering Afghanistan, is not new. But the use of language is significant, requiring as Spencer Ackerman noted at Danger Room, “a war-weary (US) public to get used to fighting what’s effectively a third war in a decade, even if this one relies far more on remote controlled robots than ground troops”.

Panetta’s choice of words (and venue for delivering them) may not go down too well with Pakistani authorities in Islamabad/Rawalpindi. It is not particularly promising for the people of FATA either, who find themselves caught in the middle of a shadow war between the United States and Pakistan. But in one respect, it is not necessarily a bad thing. Rarely has the United States fought a war in a place about which it knows so little. If Panetta’s comments force people to learn about FATA, it might even lift us out of what until now has been a polemical debate between supporters and opponents of drone strikes, with little attention paid to the voices of people who actually live there.
This week I unearthed a book I had borrowed in order to return it – a 1938 edition of the British ”Handbooks for the Indian Army” dealing with “Pathans”. Coming from a generation who grew up learning to be ashamed of colonialism, I expected it to appal me. What I found was a tract which was sympathetic and respectful. It cautioned against using stereotypes about the Pathans, as the British used to call the Pashtun. It admired their history and poetry, commended them as soldiers; noted their respect for democracy and justice and insisted on paying attention quickly to their grievances. Avoiding the trap of
thinking that all people of FATA are the same, it described in detail the different tribes – their lifestyles often influenced by availability of arable land. The British liked to study and classify their imperial subjects all the better to control them - rather as a collector pins rare butterflies to a wall – so let’s not get carried away with the supposed benevolence.

But consider what it said about the need for political reform. “Pathans have often been stimatized as combining some of the worst traits of human character,” it noted, when describing their violent lifestyle and endless blood feuds. “But it is difficult to perceive in what other manner the tribesman is to protect himself, and his property and family, unless there is a complete social change of the conditions under which he lives; and as long as there is no settled government, and the principle of might being right prevails, this cannot occur.”

Remember that was 1938 and the British had already acknowledged the need for “settled government” even if they did not implement it. By now, one would have thought we would have become more aware. If nothing else, in the long years since the Sept 11 attacks on New York and Washington we might have studied the region where the United States is, as Panetta said, “at war”. Yet we know less about FATA now than the British did more than 70 years ago. These are the “tribal badlands”, the terms of their isolation defined by us rather than them, a place we choose not to know. Rather than knowledge we have polemics on drones. What have we become?

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a piece by Noam Chomsky titled "Somebody Else's Atrocity":

In his penetrating study “Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-Opted Human Rights,” international affairs scholar James Peck observes, “In the history of human rights, the worst atrocities are always committed by somebody else, never us”—whoever “us” is.

Almost any moment in history yields innumerable illustrations. Let’s keep to the past few weeks.

On May 10, the Summer Olympics were inaugurated at the Greek birthplace of the ancient games. A few days before, virtually unnoticed, the government of Vietnam addressed a letter to the International Olympic Committee expressing the “profound concerns of the Government and people of Viet Nam about the decision of IOC to accept the Dow Chemical Company as a global partner sponsoring the Olympic Movement.”

Dow provided the chemicals that Washington used from 1961 onward to destroy crops and forests in South Vietnam, drenching the country with Agent Orange.

These poisons contain dioxin, one of the most lethal carcinogens known, affecting millions of Vietnamese and many U.S. soldiers. To this day in Vietnam, aborted fetuses and deformed infants are very likely the effects of these crimes—though, in light of Washington’s refusal to investigate, we have only the studies of Vietnamese scientists and independent analysts.

Joining the Vietnamese appeal against Dow are the government of India, the Indian Olympic Association, and the survivors of the horrendous 1984 Bhopal gas leak, one of history’s worst industrial disasters, which killed thousands and injured more than half a million.

Union Carbide, the corporation responsible for the disaster, was taken over by Dow, for whom the matter is of no slight concern. In February, Wikileaks revealed that Dow hired the U.S. private investigative agency Stratfor to monitor activists seeking compensation for the victims and prosecution of those responsible.

Another major crime with very serious persisting effects is the Marine assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November 2004.

Women and children were permitted to escape if they could. After several weeks of bombing, the attack opened with a carefully planned war crime: Invasion of the Fallujah General Hospital, where patients and staff were ordered to the floor, their hands tied. Soon the bonds were loosened; the compound was secure.

The official justification was that the hospital was reporting civilian casualties, and therefore was considered a propaganda weapon.

Much of the city was left in “smoking ruins,” the press reported while the Marines sought out insurgents in their “warrens.” The invaders barred entry to the Red Crescent relief organization. Absent an official inquiry, the scale of the crimes is unknown.

If the Fallujah events are reminiscent of the events that took place in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, now again in the news with the genocide trial of Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, there’s a good reason. An honest comparison would be instructive, but there’s no fear of that: One is an atrocity, the other not, by definition.

As in Vietnam, independent investigators are reporting long-term effects of the Fallujah assault.

Medical researchers have found dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukemia, even higher than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Uranium levels in hair and soil samples are far beyond comparable cases.

One of the rare investigators from the invading countries is Dr. Kypros Nicolaides, director of the fetal-medicine research center at London’s King’s College Hospital. “I’m sure the Americans used weapons that caused these deformities,” Nicolaides says.

The lingering effects of a vastly greater nonatrocity were reported last month by U.S. law professor James Anaya, the U.N. rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.....

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a German review by Dr. Ludwing Watzal of a book titled "Pakistan: The US, Geopolitics and Grand Strategies":

The killing of Osama Bin Laden highlighted the already shattered relationship between the American and Pakistani governments. This incursion, the illegal drone war and other encroachments upon the Pakistan’s sovereignty by the US have brought the “special” relationship to square one. Yet, “the post 9/11 US-Pakistan relationship is not as special it is often portrayed as being. It reflects a complex combination of the phenomena of the war on terror, regional alliances and geopolitical realities, and Indian-Pakistani arch rivalries.” The skillful balancing of this political mélange is seen by the US and its Western cronies as a double game. Despite its close relationship with China and its difficult political and geopolitical maneuvering, Pakistan is still perceived as a key Western ally.

The book’s editors, Usama Butt, director of the Institute of Islamic Sociopolitical and Strategic Affair (IISA), and Julian Schofield, deputy director of the Centre d’études des politoques étrangères et de sécurité (CEPES) at the Université du Québec in Montréal, have gathered leading scholars from Pakistan and some Western countries. Even a scholar from the American Enterprise Institute, a neo-conservative think tank, is on board.

The book is divided into two parts: The first one deals exclusively with Pakistan-US relations; the second part discusses Pakistan´s foreign relations with other states. Pakistan’s domestic setting is as complex as its geopolitical situation and cannot be reduced to the decade of the “war on terror” or solely explained by its complicated relation to India. Both sections of the book are based on the paradigm that the country’s foreign policy should not be defined by the war on terror. Beside the US, Pakistan’s staunchest allies are Saudi Arabia and China, and the relations with Iran and Afghanistan are also excellent.

The book leaves the reader with the strong impression that the US Empire is not sensitive enough to the regional interests of its “ally” Pakistan, let alone of other actors. US President Obama’s drone war that causes many more deaths among civilians than among alleged terrorists infuriates the Pakistani people and contributes to the instability of the country. The global war on terror has badly affected the central Asian region. It serves only the hegemonic interests of the US and is directed against China and Russia.

Unfortunately, some authors use the phrase “global war on terror” to describe the havoc that is caused by the US Empire in the region. However, this terminology is a language construction. First, it is not a “war” and secondly, the operations going under this heading are not directed against “terrorists” but aim at US hegemony. The current discussions in the US show that the “drone war” and President Obama’s “hit list” are seen by some pundits as “state terrorism”. Unfortunately, the authors do not render these issues problematic.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a NY Times report on CIA's ruse hurting anti-polio campaign in Pakistan:

In Pakistan, where polio has never been eliminated, the C.I.A.’s decision to send a vaccination team into the Bin Laden compound to gather information and DNA samples clearly hurt the national polio drive. The question is: How badly?

After the ruse by Dr. Shakil Afridi was revealed by a British newspaper a year ago, angry villagers, especially in the lawless tribal areas on the Afghan border, chased off legitimate vaccinators, accusing them of being spies.

And then, late last month, Taliban commanders in two districts banned polio vaccination teams, saying they could not operate until the United States ended its drone strikes. One cited Dr. Afridi, who is serving a 33-year sentence imposed by a tribal court, as an example of how the C.I.A. could use the campaign to cover espionage.

“It was a setback, no doubt,” conceded Dr. Elias Durry, the World Health Organization’s polio coordinator for Pakistan. “But unless it spreads or is a very longtime affair, the program is not going to be seriously affected.”

He and other leaders of the global war on polio say they have recovered from worse setbacks. The two districts, North and South Waziristan, are in sparsely populated mountains where transmission is less intense than in urban slums. Only about 278,000 children under age 5 — the vaccine target population — live there. By contrast, in northern Nigeria, where polio is being beaten after years of public resistance to the vaccine campaign, children number in the millions.

Also, Dr. Durry said, vaccinators reached 225,000 Waziristan youngsters in early June, before the ban. All will need several doses to be fully protected, but each dose buys time.

And, said Dr. Bruce Aylward, the W.H.O.’s chief of polio eradication, vaccination teams are posted at highway checkpoints, train stations and bus stations. They give drops to all the children they find.

The truth probably won’t emerge until the summer spike of polio cases tapers off in the fall. The virus likes hot weather, and the summer monsoons flood the sewage-choked gutters where it lurks.

Paralyzed children may also be found in neighboring countries with better surveillance, as they have been before just over the China and Tajikistan borders. Genetic testing will show whether the strains are Pakistan-based.
Local anger was at its height last July, when The Guardian exposed the C.I.A. connection. It was confirmed by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta in January. Public outrage flared again in May after Dr. Afridi was sentenced. A coalition of aid groups protested to David Petraeus, the director of Central Intelligence.

“There could hardly have been a more stupid venture, and there was bound to be a backlash, especially for polio,” said Dr. Zulfiqar A. Bhutta, a vaccine specialist at Aga Khan University in Pakistan.

Dr. Bhutta, who also heads the government’s research ethics committee, said both Dr. Afridi and the C.I.A. could be “sued or worse.” To establish their credibility, Dr. Afridi’s teams vaccinated whole neighborhoods in Abbottabad without permission.
Victory gets tantalizingly close, and then recedes, forcing health authorities to appeal for another $1 billion, as they did recently in Geneva.

Nigeria had only 62 cases last year; Pakistan had 198. For every known case, there are about 200 carriers with no symptoms, experts believe. Thus far in Pakistan this year, only 22 confirmed cases have been found. But the virus is still in sewage samples, meaning people are still shedding it.

Hopewins said...

Year Total Blasts Killed Injured
2002 2 27 91
2003 2 65 115
2004 8 82 399
2005 4 83 230
2006 9 161 230
2007 57 842 2008
2008 61 940 2426
2009 90 1090 3462
2010 58 1153 2954
2011 44 625 1386
2012 16 119 254


This is ONLY suicide attacks as far as terrorist fatalities go.

For a total body count of ALL terrorist attacks, use this link:

Hopewins said...

^^RH: The US Congress and the Obama administration are incensed by the 33-year prison term handed to Dr. Shakil Afridi accused by Pakistan of spying for the CIA.....

....the US demands are still hypocritical if one looks at the prison sentences handed out by US courts to Israeli Mossad agent Jonathan Pollard....


A) You cannot convict someone for spying unless they have transferred classied or restricted information. Transfer of unrestricted information is not considered "spying" under the law.

Dr. Afridi did NOT transfer any classified or restricted information to the CIA. He did not betray any National secrets.

Therefore, he cannot be convicted of spying.

How do I know this? See (B)

B) Dr. Afridi could NOT be convicted of spying because he did was not legally "spying". So instead they convicted him of "supporting Lashkar-i-Islam" after embracing an “ideology based on hatred” that "sought to overthrow the Government of Pakistan"

Obviously, this was a show trial in a Kangaroo court. Dr. Afridi was not locked up for spying or harming the National Interest of Pakistan, but for making the Army/ISI look foolish and incompetent.

This is not the "law taking its own course" withing "an independent judiciary" as Bilawal has been falsely saying to the Western Media. This was a act of revenge by the Army/ISI and had nothing to do with the law.

Riaz Haq said...

HWJ: "This is not the "law taking its own course" withing "an independent judiciary" as Bilawal has been falsely saying to the Western Media. This was a act of revenge by the Army/ISI and had nothing to do with the law. "

Bilawal is absolutely right.

Afridi is already challenging his conviction and the courts will decide his fate.

In my view, Afridi is guilty of multiple counts of being a foreign agent in the same way that Dr. Ghulam Nabi Fai was in the eyes of the US. Fai transferred no "restricted" US info to Pakistan...he was merely a Washington lobbyist for Kashmiri freedom seekers who was allegedly paid by the ISI...the same way that Afridi was paid by the CIA.

In addition, Afrdi and his CIA handlers have done incalculable harm to the polio vaccination campaign designed to save many millions of children.

The fact is that CIA has screwed up big time first by organizing the bogus polio campaign which is badly hurting the genuine polio campaign in Pakistan and then abandoning Afridi by failing to evacuate him before he got caught.

And now the CIA officials are worried it sends the wrong message to their other "assets" in Pakistan and elsewhere that they'll be on their own if they get caught.

Riaz Haq said...

Here's a Dawn story on polio eradication in Pakistan:

LAHORE, Jan 26: A World Health Organization (WHO) official says this is for the first time in the public health history of Pakistan that the country is on the track to get rid of poliovirus type 3 (P3), one of the two globally continuing strains of the wild poliovirus, in April.

Last time, a P3 case was reported on April 14, 2012 and it would be a great breakthrough in the fight against polio if the virus is not found in any part of the country till April 14 this year.

India is gearing up to be declared polio free by 2014. The WHO has already removed India from the list of polio endemic countries.

“We believe that Pakistan is on the right track to become free of poliovirus type P3, as the last P3 case was reported in the Bara Tehsil in Khyber Agency in the second week of April 2012, whereas all recent sewage samples show no active transmission of the P3 strain across the country,” Dr Elias Durry, head of the Polio Eradication Initiative at WHO Pakistan, told Dawn.

According to the WHO, type 2 strain of the poliovirus (P2) has been eradicated globally since 1999.

About eradication of the P3 strain throughout the world, Dr Durry says Nigeria reported 19 cases of the P3 strain and the most recent case was reported in November. He says that recent security-related incidents disrupted national polio campaigns. “Though there is more than 70 per cent decrease in polio cases in Pakistan, no corner of the country can be considered polio free until the poliovirus is eradicated throughout the country,” says the WHO official.

“Pakistan successfully brought down the number of cases by 71 per cent in 2012 compared to 2011. All provinces except Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have brought down the number of cases from 66 per cent to 95 per cent,” says the official.

Dr Durry says last year Balochistan brought down the number of polio cases by 95 per cent, Sindh by 88 per cent, Punjab by 78 per cent and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) by 66 per cent. “The most promising sign for Pakistan during the last year was a massive decrease in the number of polio cases during the high transmission season,” he said.

He said the last polio case of 2012 was reported on Nov 30 and a small number of samples from last year was still pending with the polio virology lab for evaluation. “Most likely, Pakistan is going to close its tally of 2012 polio cases at 58,” Dr Durry said.

The official says that all sewage samples collected from cities of Punjab in recent weeks were found negative. He says: “Most samples collected from Peshawar, Gadap Town in Karachi and Hyderabad produced positive results in the past, but they showed negative results now.”

Riaz Haq said...

Here's NY Times blog post by Huma Yusuf on conspiracy theories in Pakistan:

As the security situation in Pakistan continues to deteriorate, trading conspiracy theories has become the new national pastime. Nothing is more popular on the airwaves, at dinner parties or around tea stalls than to speculate, especially about American activities on Pakistani soil.

According to many Pakistanis, the C.I.A. used a mysterious technology to cause the devastating floods that affected 20 million people in 2010. Washington had the teenage champion for girls’ education, Malala Yousafzai, shot as part of a campaign to demonize the Pakistani Taliban and win public support for American drone strikes against them. The terrorists who strike Pakistani targets are non-Muslim “foreign agents.” Osama bin Laden was an American operative.

The Pakistani penchant for conspiracy theories results from decades of military rule, during which the army controlled the media and the shadowy Inter-Services Intelligence agency controlled much of everything else. The lack of transparency and scarcity of information during subsequent democratic rule has further fueled rumors.

Mostly, however, conspiracy theories persist because many turn out to be true.

A few years ago, Pakistan’s independent media denounced the presence in Pakistan of C.I.A. agents and private security firms like Blackwater. While U.S. and Pakistani government officials denied any such infiltration, private television channels broadcast footage of the homes of Westerners, allegedly Blackwater agents. One right-wing newspaper, The Nation, even named one Wall Street Journal correspondent as a C.I.A. spy, forcing him to leave the country.

For a time liberal Pakistanis condemned this as a witch hunt and decried poor journalistic ethics. But soon the international media disclosed that Blackwater was in fact operating in Pakistan at an airbase in Baluchistan used by the C.I.A.

Then it was revealed that the American citizen who shot and killed two Pakistanis in Lahore in January 2011 — an American diplomat, the U.S. government claimed initially — turned out to be a C.I.A. agent, just as many conspiracy theorists had surmised.

And what about those U.S. drone strikes targeting militants in Pakistan’s tribal belt? It turns out those suspicious Pakistanis were right to imagine that their own government was complicit. That became clear when, in November 2011, to protest a NATO airstrike that killed Pakistani soldiers near the border with Afghanistan, the Pakistani government ordered the C.I.A. to leave the Shamsi airbase in Baluchistan, from where the drone attacks were being launched.

Other rumors concern India, Pakistan’s long-time rival. Zaid Hamid, a jihadist-turned-policy analyst, alleges that the Indian spy agency R.A.W. funds and arms the Pakistani Taliban. Some Pakistani officials accuse New Delhi of facilitating the separatist insurgency in Baluchistan.

This paranoia was confirmed this week by Chuck Hagel, the new U.S. secretary of defense. A video clip from 2011 that circulated during his confirmation hearings shows Hagel claiming that India uses Afghanistan as a “second front” against Pakistan and “has over the years financed problems for Pakistan on that side of the border.”

The allegation outraged the Indian government and undermined liberal Pakistanis who believe India wants a stable Pakistan and support improved bilateral ties. Meanwhile, of course, it validated those conspiracy mongers who have long warned that India wants to culturally subsume, colonize or destroy Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

Here are excerpts of NY Times summary of “The Way of the Knife: The C.I.A., a Secret Army, and a War at the Ends of the Earth” by Mark Mazzetti:

More than two years later, the Raymond Davis episode has been largely forgotten in the United States. It was immediately overshadowed by the dramatic raid months later that killed Osama bin Laden — consigned to a footnote in the doleful narrative of America’s relationship with Pakistan. But dozens of interviews conducted over several months, with government officials and intelligence officers in Pakistan and in the United States, tell a different story: that the real unraveling of the relationship was set off by the flurry of bullets Davis unleashed on the afternoon of Jan. 27, 2011, and exacerbated by a series of misguided decisions in the days and weeks that followed. In Pakistan, it is the Davis affair, more than the Bin Laden raid, that is still discussed in the country’s crowded bazaars and corridors of power.
Back in Washington, Ambassador Haqqani was summoned to C.I.A. headquarters on Feb. 21 and taken into Panetta’s spacious office overlooking the agency’s campus in Langley, Va. Sitting around a large conference table, Panetta asked Haqqani for his help securing Davis’s release. “If you’re going to send a Jason Bourne character to Pakistan, he should have the skills of a Jason Bourne to get away,” Haqqani shot back, according to one person who attended the meeting.
Munter said he believed that the C.I.A. was being reckless and that his position as ambassador was becoming untenable. His relationship with the C.I.A. station chief in Islamabad, already strained because of their disagreements over the handling of the Davis case, deteriorated even further when Munter demanded that the C.I.A. give him the chance to call off specific missile strikes. During one screaming match between the two men, Munter tried to make sure the station chief knew who was in charge, only to be reminded of who really held the power in Pakistan.
On the streets and in the markets of Pakistan, Raymond Davis remains the boogeyman, an American killer lurking in the subconscious of a deeply insecure nation. On a steamy summer night last summer, Hafiz Muhammad Saeed — the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba and the reason Davis and his team were sent to Lahore in the first place — stood on the back of a flatbed truck and spoke to thousands of cheering supporters less than a mile from Pakistan’s Parliament building in Islamabad. A $10 million American bounty still hung over Saeed’s head, part of a broader squeeze on Lashkar-e-Taiba’s finances. But there he was, out in the open and whipping the crowd into a fury with a pledge to “rid Pakistan of American slavery.” The rally was the culmination of a march from Lahore to Islamabad that Saeed ordered to protest American involvement in the country. The night before the march reached the capital, six Pakistani troops were killed by gunmen riding motorcycles not far from where the marchers were spending the night, leading to speculation that Saeed had ordered the attack.

But Saeed insisted that night that he was not to blame for the deaths. The killers were foreigners, he told the crowd, a group of assassins with a secret agenda to destabilize Pakistan and steal its nuclear arsenal. With a dramatic flourish, he said he knew exactly who had killed the men.

“It was the Americans!” he shouted to loud approvals. “It was Blackwater!” The cheers grew even louder. He saved the biggest applause line ...

Riaz Haq said...

Here's an AFP story on anti-polio campaign in Pakistan's North West:

Peshawar: Pakistani health teams will on Sunday launch a drive to vaccinate some 750,000 children in the troubled north-west, with thousands of police guarding against attacks by militants who claim the polio campaign is a front for spying.
The campaign in Peshawar district, which covers Peshawar city and dozens of towns and villages, is the ninth phase of a push to eradicate polio in Pakistan, which along with Nigeria and Afghanistan are the only countries where the disease remains endemic.
The World Health Organisation has warned that Peshawar is the world’s “largest reservoir” of polio.
“At least 750,000 children will be administered the vaccine in Peshawar district where 335,000 houses have been identified for the purpose,” campaign organiser Yunus Zaheer told AFP on Saturday.

The campaign, which started early February, will continue until the end of April.
Vaccinators go door-to-door every Sunday across Peshawar district to administer drops to children for various diseases including polio, tuberculosis, tetanus, pneumonia, whooping cough, measles and hepatitis.
Zaheer said more than 6,200 teams comprising 12,500 workers have been set up to administer the vaccines, adding 6,700 police officials would be deployed on security duty during the campaign.
He said the campaign is likely to be extended to other districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province later.
A senior local administration official, Zaheer-ul-Islam, also confirmed the details of the campaign.
According to the WHO, Pakistan recorded 91 cases of polio last year, up from 58 in 2012.
Pakistan’s failure to defeat polio stands in stark contrast to its neighbour and great rival India, which recently celebrated the eradication of the disease three years after its last case.
Some 56 people including health workers and police officials providing security have been killed in militant attacks on polio vaccination teams in Pakistan since December 2012.
Militant groups such as the Pakistani Taliban oppose the immunisation drive, saying it is a cover for US spying.
Violence, and the threat of it, have badly hampered the campaign to stamp out polio in Pakistan.

Riaz Haq said...

International health officials in Pakistan believe they can resolve the country’s polio crisis in the coming year, despite the number of cases of the crippling disease soaring to their highest level in 14 years.

So far this year, 262 cases have been detected in the country, including in Swat, an area that had been free of polio for five years.

The setback in the effort to eradicate polio comes despite a big campaign that has seen millions of vaccines administered to children to protect them from a disease that can kill or permanently paralyse limbs.

But Elias Durry, one of the World Health Organisation’s top officials in Pakistan, said the disease would “most probably be fixed in the first half of 2015”. He said there was new hope for the programme after the army launched operations this summer in North Waziristan, wresting control of a tribal area bordering Afghanistan that had long been controlled by militants, who banned all vaccinations.

Riaz Haq said...

PESHAWAR, Pakistan—When Navy SEALs raided a high-walled compound in Pakistan in May 2011 and killed the world's most wanted terrorist, another long-standing source of terror also was facing elimination: polio.

After nearly half a century of vaccinating children and adults around the globe, international health workers finally had cornered the polio virus in a few remaining pockets in northern Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan. Although polio may lack the panic-inducing effect of Ebola—usually crippling its victims rather than killing them—Americans and Europeans over the age of 60 remember a period when the disease loomed as a terrorizing childhood scourge.

But the killing of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden that spring and the subsequent fallout in Pakistan and the surrounding region—which included targeted assassinations of polio vaccination teams—allowed the virus to fight back. Almost four years later, polio remains a significant threat in Pakistan, which reported 327 new cases in 2014, 60 percent of the world total. This month, gunmen attacked a polio vaccination team in northwestern Pakistan and another four-member team was kidnapped and murdered in the Balochistan region, near the Afghan border.

Meanwhile, polio has surfaced amid the war and chaos in Iraq and Syria, places where the crippling disease, which is spread via person-to-person contact, had been eradicated as recently as 2000.

Scientists from the World Health Organization (WHO) who study the spread of diseases say that the strain of polio virus now cropping up in jihadist-controlled territories in Iraq and Syria originated in Pakistan and followed the same route taken by the Islamist fighters who left their camps in Pakistan to fight in Syria.

In the nearly four years since bin Laden was killed, pieces of this story have come to light. But many of the unintended consequences of the raid have not been reported. This four-part series offers the first comprehensive narrative of the strange twists the war on polio has taken since bin Laden was killed.

Over the past several months, National Geographic, with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, sent reporters to Pakistan and the Middle East to interview scientists, members of the intelligence community, government and military officials, foreign policy analysts, and health workers who are risking their lives in conflict zones. Their accounts offer a detailed picture of the political and biological forces that fueled polio's resurgence, and the heroic—and largely unheralded—efforts to vanquish a contagion that has plagued mankind for more than 3,000 years.

Mystery House in Abbottabad
In the spring of 2010, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's (CIA) search for bin Laden began to focus on a certain villa in Abbottabad, a garrison town in the Himalayan foothills of Pakistan. A mystery man was shuttered away on the villa's top floor. CIA agents suspected it might be bin Laden, but they needed to be sure before launching a raid. So they devised an imaginative plan to identify him.

Riaz Haq said...

New Delhi, April 24: The Home Ministry's decision to place the Ford Foundation under watch reminds us of a very interesting account by Author Frances Stonor Saunders of how the CIA roped in NGOs as fronts and also participants in the spy game. The account is excellently narrated in the book, Who Paid the Piper? CIA and the Cultural Cold War. The Narendra Modi led NDA government is extremely serious about the issue of NGOs and their funding. The Intelligence Bureau in a very detailed dossier had listed out the names of several NGOs which were bringing in the funds to India only with the intention of spreading a false propaganda and in simple terms, "make India look bad."

Greenpeace was the first NGO to come under the hammer and the Ministry of Home Affairs had suspended its licence with an option to show cause how it was bringing in the funds and also why it had not filed its statement of accounts. Yesterday the Ford Foundation was placed under watch.

A US Congressional investigation that was conducted in the year 1976 revealed nearly 50% of the 700 grants in the field of international activities by the principal foundations were funded by the CIA. It was also observed that the CIA found the Ford Foundation to be one of the best funding cover. It was further discovered that the Ford Foundation link to the CIA was a deliberate one and the effort that was being made was to strengthen the US cultural scene while undermining left wing cultural and political influence. The Ford Foundation according to various investigations conducted was considered to be an extension of the government and it was only carrying out the international cultural propaganda. Another observation was that the Ford Foundation had contributed 7 million US dollars to a CIA organized Congress for Cultural Freedom in the year 1960. Frances Stonor Saunders writes that the CIA had roped in NGOs not only as fronts but as willing participants in the spy game. She writes that the Ford Foundation and the Rockefeller Foundation were conscious instruments of covert US policy, with directors and officers who were closely connected to, or even members of American intelligence. At times, it seemed as if the Ford Foundation was simply an extension of government in the area of international cultural propaganda. The foundation had a record of close involvement in covert actions in Europe, working closely with Marshall Plan and CIA officials on specific projects, Saunders also writes in her book.

Read more at:

Riaz Haq said...

Assange believes #Google is an extension US govt and instrument of US Policy. …
From Newsweek by Julian Assange of Wikileaks:
It was at this point that I realized Eric Schmidt might not have been an emissary of Google alone. Whether officially or not, he had been keeping some company that placed him very close to Washington, D.C., including a well-documented relationship with President Obama. Not only had Hillary Clinton’s people known that Eric Schmidt’s partner had visited me, but they had also elected to use her as a back channel.
While WikiLeaks had been deeply involved in publishing the inner archive of the U.S. State Department, the U.S. State Department had, in effect, snuck into the WikiLeaks command center and hit me up for a free lunch. Two years later, in the wake of his early 2013 visits to China, North Korea and Burma, it would come to be appreciated that the chairman of Google might be conducting, in one way or another, “back-channel diplomacy” for Washington. But at the time it was a novel thought.
I put it aside until February 2012, when WikiLeaks—along with over thirty of our international media partners—began publishing the Global Intelligence Files: the internal email spool from the Texas-based private intelligence firm Stratfor. One of our stronger investigative partners—the Beirut-based newspaper Al Akhbar— scoured the emails for intelligence on Jared Cohen.
The people at Stratfor, who liked to think of themselves as a sort of corporate CIA, were acutely conscious of other ventures that they perceived as making inroads into their sector. Google had turned up on their radar. In a series of colorful emails they discussed a pattern of activity conducted by Cohen under the Google Ideas aegis, suggesting what the “do” in “think/do tank” actually means.
Cohen’s directorate appeared to cross over from public relations and “corporate responsibility” work into active corporate intervention in foreign affairs at a level that is normally reserved for states. Jared Cohen could be wryly named Google’s “director of regime change.”
According to the emails, he was trying to plant his fingerprints on some of the major historical events in the contemporary Middle East. He could be placed in Egypt during the revolution, meeting with Wael Ghonim, the Google employee whose arrest and imprisonment hours later would make him a PR-friendly symbol of the uprising in the Western press. Meetings had been planned in Palestine and Turkey, both of which—claimed Stratfor emails—were killed by the senior Google leadership as too risky.
Looking for something more concrete, I began to search in WikiLeaks’ archive for information on Cohen. State Department cables released as part of Cablegate reveal that Cohen had been in Afghanistan in 2009, trying to convince the four major Afghan mobile phone companies to move their antennas onto U.S. military bases. In Lebanon, he quietly worked to establish an intellectual and clerical rival to Hezbollah, the “Higher Shia League.” And in London he offered Bollywood movie executives funds to insert anti-extremist content into their films, and promised to connect them to related networks in Hollywood.
If the future of the Internet is to be Google, that should be of serious concern to people all over the world—in Latin America, East and Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa, the former Soviet Union and even in Europe—for whom the Internet embodies the promise of an alternative to U.S. cultural, economic, and strategic hegemony.
A “don’t be evil” empire is still an empire.
Extracted from When Google Met Wikileaks by Julian Assange published by OR Books. Newsweek readers can obtain a 20 percent discount on the cover price when ordering from the OR Books website and including the offer code word NEWSWEEK.

Riaz Haq said...

Exclusive: A shadow foreign policy apparatus built by Ronald Reagan for the Cold War survives to this day as a slush fund that keeps American neocons well fed and still destabilizes target nations, now including Ukraine, creating a crisis that undercuts President Obama, reports Robert Parry.

By Robert Parry

The National Endowment for Democracy, a central part of Ronald Reagan’s propaganda war against the Soviet Union three decades ago, has evolved into a $100 million U.S. government-financed slush fund that generally supports a neocon agenda often at cross-purposes with the Obama administration’s foreign policy.

NED is one reason why there is so much confusion about the administration’s policies toward attempted ousters of democratically elected leaders in Ukraine and Venezuela. Some of the non-government organizations (or NGOs) supporting these rebellions trace back to NED and its U.S. government money, even as Secretary of State John Kerry and other senior officials insist the U.S. is not behind these insurrections.


NED was founded in 1983 at the initiative of Cold War hardliners in the Reagan administration, including then-CIA Director William J. Casey. Essentially, NED took over what had been the domain of the CIA, i.e. funneling money to support foreign political movements that would take the U.S. side against the Soviet Union.

Though the Reagan administration’s defenders insist that this “democracy” project didn’t “report” to Casey, documents that have been declassified from the Reagan years show Casey as a principal instigator of this operation, which also sought to harness funding from right-wing billionaires and foundations to augment these activities.

In one note to then-White House counselor Edwin Meese, Casey endorsed plans “for the appointment of a small Working Group to refine the proposal and make recommendations to the President on the merit of creating an Institute, Council or National Endowment in support of free institutions throughout the world.”

Casey’s note, written on CIA stationery, added, “Obviously we here should not get out front in the development of such an organization, nor do we wish to appear to be a sponsor or advocate. … We would be pleased to make suggestions on the composition of the Working Group and Commission.”

To organize this effort, Casey dispatched one of the CIA’s top propaganda specialists, Walter Raymond Jr., to the National Security Council. Putting Raymond at the NSC insulated the CIA from accusations that it institutionally was using the new structure to subvert foreign governments – while also helping fund American opinion leaders who would influence U.S. policy debates, a violation of the CIA’s charter. Instead, that responsibility was shifted to NED, which began doing precisely what Casey had envisioned.

Many of the documents on this “public diplomacy” operation, which also encompassed “psychological operations,” remain classified for national security reasons to this day, more than three decades later. But the scattered documents that have been released by archivists at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, reveal a whirlwind of activity, with Raymond in the middle of a global network.

Riaz Haq said...

When the Student Movement Was a CIA Front

The CIA's manipulation of the National Student Association foreshadowed other forms of Cold War blowback that compromised democracy at home.

n its March 1967 issue, Ramparts, a glossy West Coast muckraking periodical that expired in 1975, and that strongly opposed American involvement in the war in Vietnam, published an exposé of the close relationship between the Central Intelligence Agency and the National Student Association. This other NSA—not to be confused with the National Security Agency—was then the leading American organization representing college students, with branches on about 400 campuses. Its ties with the CIA were formed in the early years of both institutions following World War II, as the Cold War was getting under way.
According to Ramparts, the CIA had been providing much of the funding for the NSA through various “conduits.” NSA officers, many of them wittingly, had served the interests of the CIA by participating actively in international youth and student movements. The NSA’s activities were financed by the Agency both to counter communist influence and also to provide information on people from other countries with whom they came in contact. The disclosures about the CIA’s ties to the NSA were the most sensational of a number of revelations in that era that exposed the Agency’s involvement in such institutions as the Congress for Cultural Freedom; the International Commission of Jurists; the AFL-CIO; Radio Free Europe; and various leading philanthropic foundations. Karen Paget’s new book, Patriotic Betrayal, is the most detailed account yet of the CIA’s use of the National Student Association as a vehicle for intelligence gathering and covert action. (See author’s endnote.)

With the passage of half a century, it may be difficult to understand why so many political and cultural organizations, led by individuals with a generally liberal or leftist outlook, covertly collaborated with the CIA in the 1950s and first half of the 1960s, before exposés in Ramparts and other publications put an end to most such arrangements. After all, many of the activities of the Agency in that era are among those that we now regard as particularly discreditable. These include the CIA’s cooperation with the British intelligence services in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Iranian Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953; its cooperation with the United Fruit Company in overthrowing the democratically elected government of Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz in 1954; and its cooperation with the Republic of the Congo’s former colonial rulers, the Belgians, in overthrowing the country’s newly elected prime minister, Patrice Lumumba, in 1960.

Riaz Haq said...

Bill Gates predicts #polio eradication in #Pakistan by 2017 - Pakistan - Dunya News …

Bill Gates said Wednesday that "with any luck" polio will be eradicated by 2017 in the last two countries where it remains active, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The Microsoft founder, who has donated billions to fight global diseases, was speaking in Doha at the official announcement of a $50 million donation from Qatar to "The Lives and Livelihood Fund".

This is a partnership fund between the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), who together have been working to try to eradicate diseases, including polio, since 2012.

"There’s very few cases left, just two countries at this point, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and with any luck either this year or next year we will have the last cases of those," Gates said.

Pakistan has already made it an official target to rid the country of polio -- an infectious viral disease resulting in muscle damage -- in 2016 though there have already been eight recorded cases so far this year.

Although these are the two countries where the disease remains endemic, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative calculates eight countries are "vulnerable" to the virus, including Cameroon, South Sudan and Syria.

The billionaire, who is the world’s richest-man according to Forbes, is also well-known for his work in trying to combat malaria.

Earlier this year he announced the launch of a $4 billion fund to help eradicate malaria, which he called the "world’s biggest killer".

The donation he received in Doha will go towards a fund seeking to provide affordable financing for the 30 least-wealthy countries among IDB members.

It aims to ease the burden for some of the world’s poorest people through grants and Sharia-compliant loans.

Gates said the injection of cash from Qatar will enable the fund to begin its work.

"This is a great milestone for helping the poorest," he said. "Qatar has always been very generous as a donor."
In total, the fund is trying to raise $2.5 billion.

The money has been donated by Doha through the Qatar Development Fund (QDF), a public body which distributes foreign aid.

The head of the QDF, Khalifa bin Jassim Al-Kuwari, said Qatar was "very interested in poverty reduction".

"We aim at launching several projects in the health sector, which will improve the quality of life for millions of people across the Muslim world," he said.

IDB president Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani said help would go to those in war-torn regions, where possible.

"We try as much as we can to help the countries that suffers from conflicts depending on conditions," he said.

"If the conditions allow us to work, the Bank works."

Riaz Haq said...

BBC News - #Pakistan could beat #polio in months, says WHO

Polio could be eradicated in Pakistan within months, health officials say, as a mass vaccination drive is launched.
A World Health Organisation spokesman told the BBC only a handful of cases have been reported this year in Pakistan and neighbouring Afghanistan.
The two countries are the last places where polio remains endemic.
It is hoped millions of children will be vaccinated over three days. Police escorts will guard against Islamist militants who oppose immunisations.
"The challenges we have are both logistics and security," the WHO's representative for Pakistan, Dr Michel Thieren, told the BBC.
He said about 70,000 medical staff aimed to immunise almost 10 million children in the drive, which is taking place in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and semi-autonomous tribal areas in the north-west, as well as in south-west Balochistan province.
"They have with them 12 million doses for the coming three days," he said.

"We are very close. A handful of cases [were] noticed this year - about 11 in Pakistan and I think about five in Afghanistan.
"This is the lowest toll of cases in history. We expect to be within months of polio elimination in Pakistan."
The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad says the WHO's expression of optimism comes after the Pakistani authorities launched repeated anti-polio drives in high-risk areas.
Health teams gained access to formerly hostile regions in the north-west after the Pakistani military launched a 2014 offensive against the Taliban in North Waziristan.
Attacks on health workers have dropped since then, although they still remain a threat.
Islamist militants oppose vaccination, saying it is a Western conspiracy to sterilise Pakistani children.
In April seven policemen, three guarding polio workers, were killed in Karachi. A January bomb attack on a vaccination centre in Quetta killed 15 people.
Pakistan recorded more than 300 polio cases in 2014, its highest number since 1999. The number of cases fell to 52 last year.

Riaz Haq said...

Wikileaks: Pakistani journalists Ahmad Zuberi and Talat Husain work for Stratfor, a US CIA front.

I'd like to send the signed pdf back to Mr Zuberi. Is that OK with you?
I'll cc you of course.

-----Original Message-----
From: Kamran Bokhari []
Sent: Saturday, October 31, 2009 3:33 PM
To: 'Meredith Friedman'
Subject: RE: News services

Hi Meredith,

Here is the revised draft of the MoU from Ahmad A. Zuberi, Managing
Director of Recorder Television Network. His email address is

As indicated in the MoU, Syed Talat Hussain, Executive Director, News &
Current Affairs (my source) will be the PoC on behalf of AaJ TV. His email
address is

Once you have the final draft with George signature's ready, email it to
Zuberi and cc Talat and myself. Asif A. Zuberi, CEO of Recorder Television
Network will sign it and send it back. Let me know if you have any



Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network
From: "Meredith Friedman"
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 12:28:09 -0500
Subject: RE: News services

Good news - will look for the adjusted version - pls cc me on your next
email to him so he knows who I am and I can get the agreement signed here.
I'm VP of Communications.

From: Kamran Bokhari []
Sent: Tuesday, October 27, 2009 1:22 PM
To: Meredith Friedman
Subject: Re: News services
Meredith, Aaj TV's CEO, Ahmad Zuberi, has signed off on the agreement. He
has made some minor adjustments to the draft such as the deal will be with
Business Recorder Group (parent company of Aaj TV). Waiting on him to send
the adjusted version back to me. Will forward once I get it.

Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network
From: "Meredith Friedman"
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 11:17:49 -0500
Subject: RE: News services

That's great Kamran.

From: Kamran Bokhari []
Sent: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 12:11 PM
To: Meredith Friedman
Subject: Re: News services
Hi Meredith,

Sounds great but dtill waiting on the approval from the CEO of Aaj TV.
let you know as soon as I hear from my contact.



Sent from my BlackBerry device on the Rogers Wireless Network

From: Kamran Bokhari []
Sent: Monday, October 19, 2009 3:29 AM
To: Meredith Friedman
Subject: Re: News services
Hi Meredith,

I just got out of a meeting with the top director dealing with news and
current affairs at Aaj TV and he at his level is extremely interested in
forming the relationship we are seeking. I shared with him a generic
of the sample MoU (minus the details of APA), which he has sent to his
principals at their corporate headquarters in Karachi. He expects them to
sign off on it. We will know in about 24 hours. If we can get this deal
them it will be perfect because Aaj has the best quality of information
it comes to geopolitical developments. They have a great source network in
the areas we are interested in: NWFP, FATA, Baluchistan, Kashmir, army,
intelligence, nuclear establishment, Afghanistan, and Iran. Aaj produces
best quality news and analyses. Will let you know as soon as I hear back
from my contact.



Riaz Haq said...

#American #CIA Contractor #RaymondDavis Exposes Pimps, Prostitutes & #Politicians of #Pakistan … via @The London Post

By Shahid Qureshi –

Raymond Davis, a CIA asset in his book ‘The Contractor’ exposed the cancerous elements of the so-called elite of Pakistan and how they all prostituted in his release, used Sharia Law of ‘Diyat’ (paying blood money) to get his swift release from the jail. They were all in one cage, generals, civil servants, judges, lawyers and politicians. Those who were colluding with the US were the high and mighty of Pakistan from Asif Zardari to Shabaz Sharif, Nawaz Sharif and General Shuja Pasha. These people have disgraced the country for their interests. Interesting thing to ponder is how foreign agencies could cultivate its assets in Pakistan and nobody knew about it? Chinese experts says about Pakistani elite – “Fish start rotting from the Head”. This book is to undermine the confidence of the armed forces but at the same time armed forces need to keep its backyard clean. No?

“Do you know which organisations and groups are working against Pakistan here in UK”, a young and dynamic journalist asked me. I said, ‘No I don’t’. I told him that ‘Pakistan’s number one problem is treachery’ and I do know individuals and groups working against Pakistan for many years in Pakistan’. What about them?

Did you not see how politicians, military and civil servant all got together in the quick release of Raymond Davis a CIA killer and murderer? They all have Green Cards and kids in USA. This law and nationalism is only for up to grade 16 and below in Pakistan.

In the words of Indian politician Laluparsad Yadav: “You take the calf and cow will follow you”. Following that theme US, UK and other western countries offered scholarships and visas and green cards to the sons and daughters of high and mighty generals, civil servants and politicians. There is no such thing as free lunch and these people are not more than a prostitute who trade in national honour both in cash and kind.

And they glow and shine as moon in the night and sun in day nothing happens to them and all are living happily now and ever after’. I didn’t mean to dampen his nationalism and patriotism but the reality is those treacherous elements and who sold the national interests and harmed Pakistan being awarded and showered with wealth and honour. It is more about your weakness than smartness of your enemies. I said to him, ‘a country which can make a nuclear bomb, long range missiles, fuel its fighter jets in the air, whose girls are flying fighter jets, make drones so on and so forth.

But the same people could not make few holes to drain water from Attaabad Lake in North of Pakistan for 6 months, which swallowed the miles of Silk Road and then caused huge floods downstream from southern Punjab to rural and urban Sindh while our than President Asif Zardari spent his holidays in London. By simply not making few holes these elements have caused losses to the state and lives of the people. Don’t you see any treachery in it? (a) Crucial road link to China was shut down due to flooding (b) this could be stopped?

Indus water commissioner allowed India to violate the water treaty and continue with the plan to water bomb Pakistan for over 12 years. A politician from ANP installed as Railway Minister and he destroyed the entire system in few years. Hence weakens the national defence and transport network?

Riaz Haq said...

Pakistan, Polio and the CIA
Jonathan Kennedy 8 September 2017

By the mid-2000s, Pakistan had almost eradicated polio: there were only 28 cases in 2005, 1.4 per cent of the global total. But there have been 380 in the last three years, 81 per cent of polio cases worldwide. More than half of them were in the semi-autonomous Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) of northwest Pakistan, where only 2 per cent of the population live.

After the invasion of Afghanistan by American-led forces in 2001, many Taliban fighters relocated to the FATA, from where they launched cross-border attacks. The Pakistani army tried to bring the region under government control but the incursion aggrieved local communities, who joined forces with the militants. The CIA used drone strikes to support Pakistani military action from 2004 onwards. According to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, there have been 428 drone strikes, leading to between 2511 and 4020 fatalities.
Vaccination campaigns were suspected of being a smokescreen for collecting intelligence ahead of drone strikes. Organisations involved in the Pakistan Polio Eradication Initiative include the Pakistani state and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Polio vaccinators visit the FATA every few months, walking from door-to-door, offering to vaccinate children, and recording who has been vaccinated. The data is collected for public health purposes, but you can see how it might be misconstrued as intelligence gathering.

There have also been complaints that ‘billions of dollars’ are spent on vaccination campaigns when ‘polio infects one child in a million’, while malnutrition and diarrhoea receive far less attention from the international community despite causing much more suffering. Polio workers have been attacked and vaccination campaigns interrupted, reducing the number of children being immunised and leading to an increase in polio cases.

Between 2004 and 2012, the numbers of drone strikes and polio cases corresponded closely. Until mid-2008, the US carried out a small number of drone strikes to assist Pakistani military operations and there were relatively few polio cases. From mid-2008, the number of drones strikes increased rapidly, peaking in 2010 at 128. The number of polio cases also rose markedly, reaching 198 cases the following year. Drone strikes were reduced after 2012 because of concerns they were destabilising Pakistan and generating anti-American sentiment. Polio also decreased rapidly between 2011 and 2012.

But it increased sharply from 2012, hitting 306 cases in 2014. Before the assassination of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the CIA organised a fake hepatitis B vaccination campaign in Abbottabad in a failed attempt to obtain his relatives’ DNA. When the story broke a few months later, it seemed to vindicate people’s suspicions of the polio programmes in the FATA. ‘As long as drone strikes are not stopped in Waziristan,’ one militant leader declared, ‘there will be a ban on administering polio jabs’ because immunisation campaigns are ‘used to spy for America against the Mujahideen’. More than 3.5 million children went unvaccinated as a result of the boycott and associated disruption, in which several health workers were killed. Polio increased in Pakistan and further afield, as the virus spread to Afghanistan and the Middle East.

The CIA have conducted only a handful of drone strikes in Pakistan in recent years and polio is now at an all-time low. But the plan to eradicate the disease may face further setbacks. ‘We can no longer be silent,’ President Trump said last month, ‘about Pakistan’s safe havens for terrorist organisations, the Taliban and other groups that pose a threat to the region and beyond.’

Riaz Haq said...

#Trump's #Afghanistan policy set to hinder #war on #polio in #Pakistan. #CIA #drones

In Pakistan and Afghanistan, the big obstacle, experts say, is not lack of money to fight it, but mistrust of the western governments who bankroll the vaccines.

Now Donald Trump could be about to deepen that mistrust. If the president makes good on his bellicose threats to take a harder line on Pakistan, he will undoubtedly incite anti-US sentiments, which in the past have led to attacks on polio workers and prompted tribal leaders to ban vaccination campaigns.

It would not be the first time the US got in the way of the war on polio.

The fight against polio suffered its biggest blow in 2011 when the CIA concocted a fake hepatitis vaccination campaign as part of its efforts to find Osama bin Laden. The ruse, exposed in the Guardian, only confirmed Taliban claims that inoculation campaigns were smokescreens for espionage. The Taliban issued fatwas and murdered dozens of health workers. In 2014, Pakistan recorded more than 300 polio cases.

But even before the vaccination ploy, polio was gaining ground, coinciding with an intensified US drone campaign. As attacks spiked in 2008, so did polio cases. When drone strikes hit a high of 128 in 2010, the number of polio cases reached 198 the following year.

Drone strikes in Pakistan have now become rare and since 2014, the fight against polio has bounced back. In 2016, only 37 cases were recorded worldwide, 20 of them in Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in his recently announced South Asia strategy, Trump signalled a tougher line on Pakistan:

“We have been paying Pakistan billions and billions of dollars at the same time they are housing the very terrorists that we are fighting. But that will have to change, and that will change immediately,” he said.

Trump has shown a penchant for airpower. In Afghanistan, the US is dropping more bombs than at any point since 2012.

It is hard to predict how local communities will respond to health workers if bombings pick up, said Monica Martinez-Bravo, a researcher at CEMFI and co-author of a new paper on mistrust of vaccines in Pakistan.

But she has documented a clear correlation between support for Islamist groups, at times a result of air campaigns, and decline in immunisation rates.

“Everything the US does that reduces trust will damage the vaccination campaigns,” Martinez-Bravo said.

Bombings complicate access for immunisers, and insurgents have used polio to demand a halt to air strikes in return for allowing vaccinations.

This year, in Kunduz in northern Afghanistan, the Taliban banned inoculators for 15 months, relenting only when a 14-month girl contracted polio.

Polio primarily affects children under five, and is incurable. The virus causes paralysis, sometimes within hours of infection. It often hits the legs and spine, but can also kill victims by immobilising breathing muscles.

Since the Global Polio Eradication Initiative was launched in 1988, an estimated 16 million people have been saved from paralysis, and 1.5 million children from death.

Yet, without sustained efforts, polio could flourish and spread quickly. For every known case, about 200 people carry the disease without symptoms.

Riaz Haq said...

Stephen Kinzer, author of "The (John Foster and Allan Dulles) Brothers", says the brothers preferred " open society" in foreign lands because is "very easy for covert operatives to penetrate that society and corrupt it".

On the Dulles' ability to overthrow regimes in Iran and Guatemala but not in Cuba or Vietnam

They were able to succeed [at regime change] in Iran and Guatemala because those were democratic societies, they were open societies. They had free press; there were all kinds of independent organizations; there were professional groups; there were labor unions; there were student groups; there were religious organizations. When you have an open society, it's very easy for covert operatives to penetrate that society and corrupt it.

Actually, one of the people who happened to be in Guatemala at the time of the coup there was the young Argentine physician Che Guevara. Later on, Che Guevara made his way to Mexico and met Fidel Castro. Castro asked him, "What happened in Guatemala?" He was fascinated; they spent long hours talking about it, and Che Guevara reported to him ... "The CIA was able to succeed because this was an open society." It was at that moment that they decided, "If we take over in Cuba, we can't allow democracy. We have to have a dictatorship. No free press, no independent organizations, because otherwise the CIA will come in and overthrow us." In fact, Castro made a speech after taking power with [Guatemalan President Jacobo] Árbenz sitting right next to him and said, "Cuba will not be like Guatemala."

Riaz Haq said...

#Pakistan to Shut Down @georgesoros' #Opensociety Foundation Along With 28 Other #NGO Groups. Soros gave away $37 million to various groups to promote "open society". #Espionage read more:

Move comes as Pakistan cracks down on non-profit human rights groups, accusing some of secretly engaging in espionage
read more:

Pakistan has told at least 10 foreign-funded aid groups to close, an umbrella agency said on Wednesday, including a charity founded by hedge fund billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, the group said.

Pakistan has toughened its stance towards domestic and international non-governmental groups in recent years, accusing some of using their work as a cover for espionage.

In January, it ordered about a dozen groups working on women’s issues and human rights to halt their operations.

A representative of the Pakistan Humanitarian Forum (PHF), which represents 63 international aid groups, said the Ministry of Interior had issued 10 of its members “letters of rejection”, meaning their applications to register had been rejected.
read more:

“We obviously find what has happened both disappointing and surprising, and are urgently seeking clarification,” the executive director of the Open Society’s Pakistani office, Saba Khattak, said in a statement.

The group had spent $37 million on grants and relief assistance in Pakistan since 2005, she said.

The interior ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

However, the ministry, in a letter to one of the 10 groups and seen by Reuters, said its registration application had been denied.

“Wind up operations/activities of above said INGO within 60 days,” the ministry said in the letter.

It did give a reason why the group had to stop its work.

The ministry lists 139 international non-governmental organizations (INGO) on its website that have submitted registration applications, of which 72 are still being processed.

There is no list of those whose applications have been denied.

“During the lengthy INGO registration process we provided all the information and documents required and are confident we comply with all necessary rules and regulations,” ActionAid country director Iftikhar Nizami said in a statement.
read more:

This year, medical charity Medecins Sans Frontieres was ordered to stop work at three facilities in violence-plagued ethnic Pashtun areas bordering Afghanistan, although the interior ministry lists the group as an approved INGO.

The Save the Children aid group fell afoul of the government in 2011, when it was linked to a Pakistani doctor recruited by the CIA to help in the hunt that led to the killing of al Qaeda militant leader Osama bin Laden in the town of Abbottabad.

Save the Children’s foreign staff were expelled from Pakistan soon after the accusations surfaced, but more than 1,000 local staff continued to operate.

The charity denied any links with the doctor or the CIA.
read more:

Riaz Haq said...

‘What the hell is going on?’ Polio cases are vanishing in Pakistan, yet the virus won't go away
By Leslie RobertsJan. 11, 2018 , 1:00 PM

Just a year ago, poliovirus seemed on its last legs in Pakistan, one of its final strongholds. Polio cases were steadily falling, from 306 in 2014 to 54 in 2015, 20 in 2016, and, by last count, eight in 2017. Blood tests showed that, overall, immunity to the virus had never been higher, even among children aged 6 to 11 months, thanks to years of tireless vaccination campaigns. Surely, there were not enough susceptible kids to sustain transmission, and the virus would burn itself out within a year.

Unsettling new findings, however, show it is far from gone. In the most extensive effort in any country to scour the environment for traces of the virus, polio workers are finding it widely across Pakistan, in places they thought it had disappeared. They are wondering “just what the hell is going on” and how worried they should be, says epidemiologist Chris Maher of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva, Switzerland, who runs polio operations in the eastern Mediterranean region. Does this mean the virus is more entrenched than anyone realized and is poised to resurge? Or is this how a virus behaves in its final days—persisting in the environment but not causing disease until it fades out?

“We have never had this level of environmental sampling anywhere else. We have nothing to compare it to,” Maher says. “We don’t understand the dynamic,” agrees Michel Zaffran, who leads the Global Polio Eradication Initiative at WHO. “But we take it very seriously.” In response to the sampling data, he and his colleagues are already changing their tactics—and their definition of success.


One possible explanation for the disconnect is that AFP surveillance is missing cases. Maher doubts that the number is significant, but others suspect that too many children among the mobile populations, including the marginalized Pashtun minority, still aren’t being vaccinated despite ramped up efforts to reach them. “I don’t think polio is entrenched across Pakistan, but this last reservoir of ‘people on the move’ is sustaining the virus,” says Steve Cochi, a polio expert at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Maher has another view. “My own suspicion is this is part of what we see at the end,” he says. “The lack of cases means immunity is high, but because of the very difficult circumstance in Pakistan,” the virus still has a tenuous hold. Ultimately, he says, “The virus will die out because it is not getting enough purchase.”

The program is not taking any chances. The response to each positive environmental test is now as aggressive as to a case of paralysis. And the program is hammering the virus with repeated vaccination campaigns throughout the “low season,” between December and May, when cold weather makes it tougher for the virus to survive. Whether the strategy works will become clear later this year when the weather turns warm. But one thing is certain: The absence of cases is no longer enough to declare victory over polio. Going forward, a country will not be considered polio-free until 12 months have passed without a case—or a positive environmental sample.

Riaz Haq said...

Ex-CIA officer arrested after US spy network is exposed in China
It was one of the worst intelligence failures for years

Andrew Buncombe New York @AndrewBuncombe a day ago


Last spring, The New York Times reported that as many as 20 US intelligence assets had been killed by China since 2010, destroying years worth of intelligence efforts in the country. One operative was allegedly shot and killed in front of his colleagues and his body left in the car park of a government building as a warning to others.

US officials described the losses as “one of the worst” intelligence breaches in decades, comparing it to the number of assets lost in the Soviet Union in the 1980s and 1990s, when two prominent US assets worked as double agents for the Soviets. Officials said the breach has destroyed years of network-building within the country.

The arrest of Mr Lee come as China is looking to increasingly spread its international influence – economically, diplomatically and militarily. At the same time, the US, under the America First strategy adopted by Donald Trump, appears to be retreating from many areas, such as the environment and international security, it once led.


A former CIA officer has been arrested and charged as part of an alleged espionage scandal investigators claim resulted in the collapse of the US spying network in China and the deaths or imprisonment of up to 20 agency informants.

Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, a naturalised US citizen, was arrested earlier this week after arriving at JFK International Airport in New York. Mr Lee, who currently lives in Hong Kong, appeared in court and was charged with illegally retaining classified records, including names and phone numbers of covert CIA assets.

Mr Lee, who served in the US Army from 1982-86, joined the CIA in 1994 and worked as a case officer trained in covert communications, surveillance detection, and the recruitment and the handling of assets.

“[Mr] Lee began working for the CIA as a case officer in 1994, maintained a Top Secret clearance and signed numerous non-disclosure agreements during his tenure at CIA,” according to a statement released by the US Department of Justice.

The arrest of Mr Lee, who has not offered a plea, is said to have marked the culmination for more than five years of intense counter-espionage operation launched by the FBI. That investigation was established in 2012, two years after the CIA started losing assets in China.

Reports in the US media said investigators were initially unsure whether the agency had been hacked by the Chinese authorities or whether the losses were the result of a mole.

According to an eight-page affidavit, Mr Lee, who left the CIA in 2007 and has been working for a well-known auction house, travelled from Hong Kong to northern Virginia, where he lived from 2012 to 2013 – apparently having been lured there with a fake job offer.

When he flew to Virginia, the FBI obtained a warrant to search Mr Lee’s luggage and hotel room. The court documents say agents found two small books with handwritten notes containing names and numbers of covert CIA employees and locations of covert facilities.

Mr Lee left the US in 2013 after being questioned on five different occasions by FBI agents. He never mentioned his possession of the books containing classified information, say the court documents.

The FBI affidavit makes no allegations of espionage against Mr Lee, only alleging illegal retention of documents. Any conviction on that offence carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

Riaz Haq said...

#WaPo Must Accept #CIA Role in #Pakistan #Polio Crisis. #CIA used #health workers as spies, destroying decades of trust-building by international aid organizations in Pakistan. Stop finger-wagging at those subjected to the cynical ruse for being ignorant.

If the last three years have taught us anything, it’s that it’s much easier to blame “fake news” than to look in the mirror and see how one’s own country, and their powerful institutions, may bear responsibility for a social ill. This jingoistic narcissism is on full display in a Washington Post editorial (5/10/19) that blamed a recent upsurge in polio in Pakistan on “guns, fear and fake news”—while ignoring the CIA’s central role in the crisis entirely.

The editorial, “The World Is Close to Conquering Polio. Humans Are Holding Us Back,” started off naming the Official Oriental bad guys:

The world’s long and ambitious quest to conquer polio has come tantalizingly close to success, only to slip away because of unforgivable behavior by thugs and exponents of ignorance.

The “thugs” named by the Post are “hard-line Islamist forces,” fueled by nebulous “social media.” While no doubt Islamist forces and their ability to communicate amongst themselves contribute to the problem, the other party primarily responsible for the recent surge in anti-vax sentiment in Pakistan—the US Central Intelligence Agency—is notably unmentioned.

Reading the scolding editorial, one would never imagine that anti-polio efforts in Pakistan (as well as Afghanistan), according to numerous reports—including the New York Times (4/29/19) last month—have been severely undermined by the 2011 revelation (Guardian, 7/11/11) of a secret ruse cooked up by the CIA to use a hepatitis B vaccine drive to gather DNA in an effort to track the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden (efforts, it’s worth nothing, that didn’t actually help in finding bin Laden).

Not only did the vaccine drive have an ulterior motive, it wasn’t even a real vaccine drive. While the hepatitis vaccine doses themselves were real, the undercover CIA operators administering them did not return a month after the first dose to give the necessary second inoculation, rendering the whole process inert—meaning that the rural Pakistanis who were promised immunization were lied to, and left vulnerable to a life-threatening disease.

After the revelation, Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders) harshly criticized the CIA ruse, with MSF’s international president Unni Karunakara telling the Guardian (7/14/11):

The risk is that vulnerable communities—anywhere—needing access to essential health services will understandably question the true motivation of medical workers and humanitarian aid….The potential consequence is that even basic healthcare, including vaccination, does not reach those who need it most.

Indeed, this is exactly what has happened. As the New York Times (4/29/19) reported last month:

The fact that the CIA used a vaccination team to track down Osama bin Laden in a Pakistani town in 2011 has helped fuel the resistance to vaccination campaigns in the country.

An earlier Washington Post report (3/4/19) from March about the rise of anti-vax sentiment in Pakistan, by Pamela Constable and Haq Nawaz Khan, also conspicuously failed to mention the CIA’s role in creating the crisis. Instead, the 1,150-word dispatch linked to an article that did mention it, but the hyperlinked text dismissed it as “tales of foreign plots,” without noting that it was a very real foreign plot that the Pentagon itself has admitted to.

Riaz Haq said...

WaPo Editor's Non-Response to FAIR on WaPo story on #Polio, #Pakistan and the #CIA: Ask "Pam Constable, who has reported from the region since 1998 and who has maintained the highest journalistic standards over her long and distinguished career." -

Washington Post editor Martin Baron responded to FAIR’s recent action alert (5/14/19) calling on the Post to acknowledge the role of CIA deception in fueling distrust of vaccination in Pakistan. Asked about the alert by FAIR associate Norman Solomon, Baron replied (links added by FAIR):

First, I have nothing to do with editorials. I oversee our news and features coverage. So, I had no involvement in the editorial cited by FAIR, which was mistaken in suggesting otherwise.

Second, with respect to the Post’s May 10 news story mentioned: It notes that it was an April 22 incident that set off the recent panic, after many years in which vaccines were being administered frequently and safely, sharply reducing the incidence of polio in the country. As the New York Times noted: “In the vaccination drive that ended Saturday, Pakistan managed to vaccinate more than 37 million children, nearing its target of 39 million.”

That’s quite an achievement. As to whether a fake 2011 vaccination drive in Abbottabad related to the hunt for bin Laden bears meaningful responsibility for today’s scares and violence against medical personnel, you might wish to directly ask the reporter, Pam Constable, who has reported from the region since 1998 and who has maintained the highest journalistic standards over her long and distinguished career.

As Baron notes, the alert dealt with an omission manifested in both Washington Post news reporting and editorializing. There’s no one who oversees both aspects of the paper—other than publisher Fred Ryan or owner Jeff Bezos, neither of whom we want to encourage to interfere in the Post‘s content—which is why we selected Baron as a contact.

Constable (and co-author Haq Nawaz Khan) indicate—in a way that would be missed by the vast majority of readers—that they do believe that the CIA’s use of a fake vaccination campaign as a cover for a hunt for Osama bin Laden in 2011 has at least some connection to Pakistanis’ distrust of vaccines. Blaming lack of vaccination on “mistrust, born of ignorance and rumor-mongering,” the reporters write that Pakistani parents’ “fear is fanned by cultural taboos, religious propaganda and tales of foreign plots.”

Washington Post editor Martin Baron responded to FAIR’s recent action alert (5/14/19) calling on the Post to acknowledge the role of CIA deception in fueling distrust of vaccination in Pakistan. Asked about the alert by FAIR associate Norman Solomon, Baron replied (links added by FAIR):

First, I have nothing to do with editorials. I oversee our news and features coverage. So, I had no involvement in the editorial cited by FAIR, which was mistaken in suggesting otherwise.

Second, with respect to the Post’s May 10 news story mentioned: It notes that it was an April 22 incident that set off the recent panic, after many years in which vaccines were being administered frequently and safely, sharply reducing the incidence of polio in the country. As the New York Times noted: “In the vaccination drive that ended Saturday, Pakistan managed to vaccinate more than 37 million children, nearing its target of 39 million.”

That’s quite an achievement. As to whether a fake 2011 vaccination drive in Abbottabad related to the hunt for bin Laden bears meaningful responsibility for today’s scares and violence against medical personnel, you might wish to directly ask the reporter, Pam Constable, who has reported from the region since 1998 and who has maintained the highest journalistic standards over her long and distinguished career.

Riaz Haq said...

In #Pakistan, Legacy of Fake CIA Vaccination Programs Leads to Vaccine Hesitancy. In hunt for Osama bin Laden, #US #CIA organized a fake hepatitis B vaccination program. Now, after years of distrust, Pakistanis don’t want to get the #coronavirus #vaccine.

Gul and others's mistrust stems from a much more sinister source, involving the murky legacy of American intervention and involvement in Pakistan, and the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

While hunting for Bin Laden in the sleepy Pakistani city of Abbottabad, the CIA organized a fake hepatitis B vaccination program to aid in their search.

Operatives recruited Pakistani health official Shakil Afridi, who, in March 2011 with a team of nurses, began conducting the vaccination program in the city. Afridi began first in poorer neighborhoods before moving to the well-to-do suburb of Bilal Town, where Bin Laden was thought to be hiding. The program was part of an elaborate ruse meant to obtain DNA evidence from members of Bin Laden’s family, but did not work as planned. Afridi and his team were turned away by the woman who answered the door. Instead, he was given a phone number—it belonged to Bin Laden’s messenger.

On May 1, 2011, Bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs in the Abbottabad home Afridi had attempted to enter. Months later, when news of the fake vaccination program broke, Pakistani health officials issued words of caution, fearing vaccine refusals in regions of the country frequently targeted by American drones. But the damage had already been done.

In May 2014, over the course of a decade and though the White House announced that the CIA would no longer use vaccination programs as cover for espionage, Pakistan moved from being a country that had almost eradicated polio to one whose polio cases accounted for a whopping 85 percent of the global share.

The Pakistani Taliban banned polio vaccines in the country’s tribal areas, linking the ban to American drone strikes and the CIA’s prior use of vaccination programs for espionage purposes. After repeated attacks and assassination attempts on health workers administering vaccines—nine were shot dead in December 2012, another seven in January 2013—the United Nations suspended their polio eradication campaign in the country. In the years that followed, over 100 vaccinators were killed in targeted attacks.

Taimur Khan Jhagra, the health minister of Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province which faced the bulk of violence against polio vaccinators, said the CIA’s vaccine ruse has undoubtedly obstructed healthcare workers for years to come. “If you want to set us back by a decade, then you do what [the CIA] did,” he told me over the phone from Peshawar. “Because it gives every conspiracy theorist, every vaccine avoider, ammunition to feed public damage.”

Now, Jhagra believes that local messaging is key when it comes to coronavirus vaccine distribution. “The vaccine rollout has to be seen as a local, indigenous, Pakistani effort—a lot of public communication, a lot [of] leadership by example, a lot of more proactive myth-busting,” he said. “Our partners at DFID, USAID, Gates Foundation certainly help us, but they must not become the face of our campaigns. And when these [healthcare] campaigns are used for the sort of purpose the Shakil Afridi [CIA ruse] campaign was used for, it sets us back a decade.”

Riaz Haq said...

It's not just #Trump supporters on the far right but liberal icon Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is an Anti-vaxxer Icon. Before his Instagram was shut down, RFK Jr. posted a photo of his father speaking with Martin Luther King Jr. #Covid_19 #vaccine via @VanityFair

Despite the newfound glut of vaccine information, Kennedy has made it his mission to spread “awareness” firsthand through his website, and at private fundraising events like the one held at the Malibu Fig Ranch near Point Dume—an area he knows well. In 2014, Robert F. Kennedy Jr. married former Curb Your Enthusiasm star (and longtime Los Angeleno) Cheryl Hines at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, in a ceremony attended by various family members, including Kennedy’s brother Joe and mother Ethel, as well as Larry and Cazzie David, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus. The bridal party included Kennedy’s six children and Hines’s daughter. Kennedy had previously lived in the Mount Kisco area of Westchester, New York. Soon after their wedding the couple purchased a Point Dume compound comprising a four-bedroom primary residence, two guesthouses, a pool house, and a two-story treehouse, in a community that includes Julia Roberts and Chris Martin, where residents bump down manicured streets on golf carts to the keyed-access beach Little Dume. When they sold that home three years later for more than $6 million, it was described as “reminiscent of a Connecticut compound with mature trees and beautiful landscaped flat grounds.” Their new house in Brentwood, reportedly purchased for $5.2 million, is a “Monterey colonial.” Hines, while active in fundraising for cerebral palsy research—and a one-time star of a pro-whooping cough booster vaccine PSA—has seemingly remained quiet about her husband’s stance on vaccinations. Through a representative, Hines declined to comment.

“It is imperative for us to come together as we face the loss of so many of our personal freedoms,” wrote Denise Young, the executive director of the Children’s Health Defense’s California chapter, in an email to Malibu Fig Ranch event attendees, obtained by V.F. Those freedoms, she wrote, include “our choice over what we put into our bodies, uncensored media, and the right to transparency on the full effects of 5G and wireless products.” (The last is one of Kennedy’s newer crusades.) Malibu was a bastion of anti-vax sentiment long before COVID-19; in 2014, a local whooping cough outbreak aligned with a seriously lowered rate of vaccinations among children at Santa Monica and Malibu schools; that year and the next measles outbreaks also hit California hard. (For context: From 1956 to 1960, before the introduction of the measles vaccine, an average of 450 Americans died of the virus each year, at a rate of about 1 in 1,000 reported cases. Between October 1988 and May 2021, just 19 petitions for compensation for an alleged measles vaccine-related death were filed.)

“The way we promote health, and the way public health agencies promote health, is to really focus on individual level solutions,” says Jennifer Reich, a professor of sociology at the University of Colorado Denver, and the author of the 2016 book Calling the Shots: Why Parents Reject Vaccines. “People are told that their personal behaviors can mitigate disease risk. What I’ve heard from parents a lot was, We’re really healthy. We eat organic food, I breastfed my children, which provided immune protection. This idea that somehow personal behaviors and hard work—or even vigilance to pay attention to who might be seemingly infected—could successfully prevent infectious disease is just scientifically untrue.”

Riaz Haq said...

Dr. Fauci says #polio would still exist in the #US if the 'false information' currently being spread existed decades ago. #disinformation #misinformation #COVID19 #vaccine #Pakistan #pandemic

If the health misinformation currently spreading regarding coronavirus vaccines existed during the days of polio, it would have never been eradicated, Dr. Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden's chief medical adviser, said Saturday.

Asked by CNN's Jim Acosta about the misinformation spread by Fox News regarding the Covid-19 vaccines, Fauci said, "We probably would still have polio in this country if we had the kind of false information that's being spread now."
He added, "If we had that back decades ago, I would be certain that we'd still have polio in this country."
The statement comes as dangerous falsehoods about Covid-19 vaccines are swirling and as health experts warn of the more transmissible Delta variant's increasing spread among unvaccinated Americans.

Nationwide vaccination rates are dropping, while in 46 states, the rates of new Covid cases this past week are at least 10% higher than the rates of new cases the previous week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told Acosta the vaccines are shown to be "highly effective in preventing symptomatic, clinically apparent disease."
Yet less than half of the US population -- 48.5%, per the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention -- are fully vaccinated. And it's the communities with lower vaccination rates that are at risk.
"Despite the rise of the Delta variant, still 97% of people who are hospitalized or killed by this virus are unvaccinated," said Dr. Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia and a member of the US Food and Drug Administration's vaccine advisory committee. "If the Delta variant were escaping, essentially, immunity induced by vaccination, then you should have seen a rise in people who are vaccinated, but nonetheless were still hospitalized and killed. And that hasn't happened."
Covid-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease, experts say, as rising cases threaten unvaccinated
Covid-19 vaccines are effective at preventing severe disease, experts say, as rising cases threaten unvaccinated
Among those states that have fully vaccinated less than half of their residents, the average Covid-19 case rate was 11 new cases per 100,000 people last week, compared to 4 per 100,000 among states that have fully vaccinated more than half of their residents, according to a CNN analysis of data from Johns Hopkins University.
"If you look at the extraordinary success in eradicating smallpox and eliminating polio for most of the world -- and we're on the brink of eradicating polio -- if we had had the pushback for vaccines the way we're seeing on certain media, I don't think it would've been possible at all to not only eradicate smallpox, we probably would still have smallpox," said Fauci.
Polio once was a common virus. In some young children it can affect the nerves and cause muscle weakness or paralysis. There is no treatment and no cure but getting vaccinated can prevent infection.
Just in August 2020, polio was eradicated from Africa after governments and non-profits had worked since 1996 to eliminate the virus with sustained vaccination campaigns.
Polio has now been eradicated in the Americas, Southeast Asia, Europe, most of Australasia and in Africa. Wild strains of polio circulate now in only two countries: Afghanistan and Pakistan.