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Publisher’s Shock and Awe

As I mentioned yesterday, the Pentagon has now gotten a copy of Osama bin Laden kill team member Matt Bissonnette’s book, No Easy Day. They’re reviewing it for classified information.

So today, the publisher announced that it has almost doubled its print run–from 300,000 to 575,000–and moved up publication a week.

In response to a crush of media attention, criticism and consumers clamoring to buy the book, the publisher behind the first-hand account of the Navy SEALs raid that killed Osama bin Laden has decided to move up the release date to next Tuesday.

Dutton, the imprint of Penguin that acquired the book in secret, said that “No Easy Day,” which will appear under the pseudonym Mark Owen, will go on sale Sept. 4, a week ahead of the planned date, Sept. 11.

“The publisher now feels it is important to put ‘No Easy Day’ on sale and let the book speak for itself,” Dutton said in a statement.

[snip]

Christine Ball, a spokeswoman for Dutton, also said on Tuesday that the publisher had increased the planned print run to 575,000 hardcover copies from the original total, 300,000.

And while Dutton claims these moves are simply a response to the media attention, I’m guessing they’re primarily designed to make it harder for DOD to affect publication of the book.

Remember what happened to Anthony Shaffer when the Defense Intelligence Agency found sensitive information in his Operation Dark Heart after it had already been printed.

Defense Department officials are negotiating to buy and destroy all 10,000 copies of the first printing of an Afghan war memoir they say contains intelligence secrets, according to two people familiar with the dispute.

[snip]

Release of the book “could reasonably be expected to cause serious damage to national security,” Lt. Gen. Ronald L. Burgess Jr., the D.I.A. director, wrote in an Aug. 6 memorandum. He said reviewers at the Central Intelligence Agency, National Security Agency and United States Special Operations Command had all found classified information in the manuscript.

In that case, DOD paid $47,300 to take 200 passages out of fewer than 10,000 copies.

The upshot was that the Pentagon paid $47,300 in taxpayer money for the 9,500 books that constituted almost the entire first print run of the book and had the volumes destroyed Sept. 20, while the publisher, Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, issued a second edition Sept. 24 with roughly 200 words or passages blacked out.

To do the equivalent now–particularly with the doubled print run–would be quite a bit more expensive. And DOD now has just a week to decide what, if anything, they’re going to do about someone completely bypassing their censorship system.

ABC, Reuters Parrot Deceptive State Department Spin on Terrorism Data

Yesterday, the State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism and held a briefing regarding the findings. Both ABC and Reuters covered the report and crafted their stories around a single finding from it: world-wide terror attacks decreased from 11,641 in 2010 to 10,283 in 2011. Both outlets decided (as the State Department dictated to them) that this decline was due to the death of Osama bin Laden just before the midpoint of 2011. ABC chose to use “Sharp Decline in Terror Attacks After Bin Laden Death” as their headline and Reuters went with “Al Qaeda decline hard to reverse after Bin Laden killing: US“.

However, even a cursory look beyond the comparison of the attack totals for 2011 compared to 2010 shows that drawing the conclusions stated by these headlines is completely unwarranted. First, take a look at the “noise” in the annual numbers for worldwide attacks. Data have only been collected for four years, 2007-2011 and the number jumps considerably from year to year:

I don’t think bin Laden also died in 2008 and 2009, so there must be some other reason the worldwide attack numbers went down in those years.

Looking further into the data, we see that the NCTC did break out the attacks that could be directly attributed to al Qaeda. Neither ABC nor Reuters chose to present this information in their stories, perhaps because it directly contradicts the narrative that the State Department wanted delivered:

Attacks by AQ and its affiliates increased by 8 percent from 2010 to 2011. A significant increase in attacks by al-Shabaab, from 401 in 2010 to 544 in 2011, offset a sharp decline in attacks by al-Qa‘ida in Iraq (AQI) and a smaller decline in attacks by al-Qa‘ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al-Qa‘ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).

That’s right. Attacks by al Qaeda actually went up in 2011, and yet the State Department and our subservient press are happily chirping that we have them on the run. From ABC Read more

More Damage from Panetta’s Vaccine Ruse: UN Doctor on Polio Vaccine Drive Shot; Hundreds of Thousands Denied Polio Vaccine

As one of only three countries in the world where polio is still endemic, Pakistan launched a three day vaccination drive yesterday with a target of vaccinating the 318,000 children in North and South Waziristan who have not received their vaccinations. Across all of Pakistan, the goal is to vaccinate 34 million children under the age of five. The drive is being held despite a push by the Taliban to prevent vaccinations in tribal areas. The Taliban’s ban on vaccinations is aimed at stopping US drone strikes in the tribal areas and is in response to the vaccination ruse by the CIA.  Dr. Shakeel Afridi pretended to be doling out hepatitis vaccines in a failed attempt to retrieve DNA samples for the CIA from the bin Laden compound when it was under surveillance prior to the attack that killed Osama bin Laden. Today, a UN doctor and his driver were wounded when a shooter opened fire on them in Karachi. The doctor was reported to be working on the vaccine program.

Dawn reported yesterday that a jirga was convened today in the tribal areas to try to find a solution to the Taliban’s vaccine ban. That article gives good background information on the ban:

Although a nationwide anti-polio campaign was launched on Monday, the authorities were yet to convince the Taliban shura on the importance of getting children of North and South Waziristan vaccinated against the debilitating disease.

/snip/

Commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who leads the powerful Taliban Shura, had banned the anti-polio drive in North Waziristan on June 16 and said that children would not take polio drops unless the government stopped drone strikes in the area.

He was followed by Commander Mullah Nazir in South Waziristan and other militant commanders in FRs D.I. Khan and Kohat.

In South Waziristan, the ban is much stricter because it prohibits vaccination against all eight childhood diseases, including polio.

“We have asked health workers to be careful and don’t put their lives at risk,” the official said, adding that they were waiting for the government’s response.

However, the Taliban ban is not the only barrier to vaccines:

He [the official quoted above] said the military operation in Orakzai and Khyber agencies was one of the factors which deprived children of the much needed vaccines.

Just the two tribal agencies of North and South Waziristan account for a large number of unvaccinated children: Read more

Umar Patek: Indonesia’s 20 Year Sentence Versus One Errant Drone Strike

Mark Mazzetti has a fascinating collection of details on drones. In addition to showing drone pilots training in New Mexico practicing by tracking (and therefore incidentally collecting intelligence on) US civilian cars and displaying a real callousness about their video game killing, Mazzetti describes this 2006 drone strike in the Philippines.

Over the years, details have trickled out about lethal drone operations in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen and elsewhere. But the drone war has been even more extensive. According to three current and former intelligence officials I spoke to, in 2006, a barrage of Hellfire missiles from a Predator hit a suspected militant camp in the jungles of the Philippines, in an attempt to kill the Indonesian terrorist Umar Patek. The strike, which was reported at the time as a “Philippine military operation,” missed Patek but killed others at the camp.

The detail is interesting not just because it reveals the scope of our drone war. It also provides an opportunity to compare two possible outcomes for Patek, who built the bombs used in the 2002 Bali bombings: death by drone strike in 2006, versus his conviction in an Indonesian court last year.

The outcome of the trial last month is a mixed bag. Because Patek apologized and argued successfully that he did not have as significant a role as the other conspirators (who have already been executed), he got just a 20 year sentence. But his conviction brings closure to the 2002 attacks (though it’s not clear whether Hambali will ever be charged); compare that with 9/11, where victims still have seen none of the plotters convicted.

So while counterterrorism officials might argue Patek got off easy (and I wouldn’t put it beyond the US to render him at the close of his sentence), some kind of justice has been served, which is more than the US can say.

Then there’s the possibility that Patek served an added purpose.

At the very least, Patek underwent interrogation in Pakistani custody for 7 months before his extradition to Indonesia. Presumably, he provided intelligence on matters unrelated to the Bali bombings.

But there’s a question that has, AFAIK, never been answered. Patek was arrested in January 2011 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. There have always been suspicions that the arrest of Patek in the city Osama bin Laden was hidden out in (Patek reportedly planned to meet OBL) helped to solidify the case that he was in fact the “Pacer” in the compound. Did Patek help the US get OBL?

We can’t really compare that to what might have happened had Patek died in 2006. How do you weigh the ongoing training Patek offered in the interim 5 years? How many innocents were killed in that strike in 2006?

But given how much intelligence the CIA appeared to be sustaining on Patek, it seems arrest rather than drone strike might bring additional tangible benefits.

Anwar al-Awlaki FOIA: The CIA Speech the CIA Did Not Mention

John Brennan and Eric Holder gave speeches–the government says–and therefore the CIA admits it has documents pertaining to targeted killing, but cannot say any more about those documents.

As I noted yesterday, the government explained its changed stance toward the NYT and ACLU FOIAs for the Anwar al-Awlaki OLC memo and related documents by pointing to a bunch of speeches. The motion mentioned speeches by four Administration officials officially–those of Harold Koh, Jeh Johnson, Eric Holder, and John Brennan.

One result of that analysis has been a series of speeches by the State Department Legal Adviser, by the Department of Defense General Counsel, by the Attorney General, and by the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism that have set forth for the American people the legal analysis and process involved in the determination whether to use lethal force.

It focuses on two in particular: those by Eric Holder and John Brennan.

Since the filing of these cases, senior U.S. officials have publicly addressed significant legal and policy issues pertaining to U.S. counterterrorism operations and the potential use of lethal force against U.S. citizens who are senior operational leaders of al-Qaida or associated forces. Bennett Decl. ¶ 17. These include speeches by Attorney General Eric Holder on March 5, 2012, and by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan on April 30, 2012, addressing the circumstances in which it would be lawful to use lethal force against such U.S. citizens, and the process employed by the government in making decisions to employ targeted lethal force, respectively.

As noted by the citation to the Bennett declaration above, this focus comes from the declaration the Director of Clandestine Services, John Bennett, submitted in this suit.

However, the CIA has since determined that it can acknowledge the existence of responsive records reflecting a general interest in these broad topics without harming national security. These records include, for example, the speech that the Attorney General gave at Northwestern University Law School on 5 March 2012 in which he discussed a wide variety of issues pertaining to U.S. counterterrorism operations, including legal issues pertaining to the potential use of lethal force against senior operational leaders of al-Qa’ida or associated forces who have U.S. citizenship. The Attorney General explained that under certain circumstances, the use of lethal force against such persons in a foreign country would be lawful when, among other things, “the U.S. government . . determined, after a thorough and careful review, that the individual pose[d] an imminent threat of violent attack against the United States.” These records also include the speech that the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism gave on 30 April 2012, in which he addressed similar legal and policy issues related to the U.S. Government’s counterterrorism operations.

There’s one speech that never gets mentioned in all of this discussion, however: the one CIA General Counsel Stephen Preston made on April 10. While Preston engaged in a liberal use of hypothetical, his speech clearly addressed targeted killing.

Suppose that the CIA is directed to engage in activities to influence conditions abroad, in which the hand of the U.S. Government is to remain hidden, – in other words covert action – and suppose that those activities may include the use of force, including lethal force.

As I noted, Preston blathered on at length about the Osama bin Laden “triumph,” but the underlying context seemed to relate to Anwar al-Awlaki, as well.

And yet, neither the CIA nor DOJ wants to mention it now.

I’m not sure what to make of that, mind you. Perhaps the CIA speech is irrelevant because this FOIA response really is kabuki intended to distract from a DOD document search conducted before the government had acknowledged its targeted killing programs. Perhaps the CIA speech goes unmentioned because doing so would constitute further acknowledgment of CIA’s involvement, meaning it would have to turn over more. Perhaps the CIA speech goes unmentioned because it appeals to inherent Presidential authority rather than the AUMF usually used to justify the Awlaki killing.

In short, I don’t know what to make of the CIA’s silence about the CIA’s own speech on targeting killings. But the silence sure seems notable.

Vaccination and Leak Wars

In spite of the fact that the Administration’s cooperation with Hollywood on an Osama bin Laden flick is included among the leaks Republicans want investigated, there has been no discussion about how the CIA’s use of a vaccination program as cover got reported in the press.

Now that a Pakistani Taliban leader, Hafiz Gul Bahadur, has frozen polio vaccinations for 161,000 children, maybe we ought to look more closely at that leak, which (along with the terrible judgment to use it as CIA cover in the first place) is officially putting thousands of children–and the effort to completely eradicate polio generally–at risk.

The Leak War

As I noted last year, the vaccination cover was not among the things Administration officials discussed for Eric Schmidle’s propagandistic account of the OBL raid; for that, he relied–alone among all details on the raid–on the Guardian’s report on the vaccination cover. And while the Guardian is generally credited with breaking the story–at least in the English and American press–the story appeared a month and a half after the doctor in question, Shakeel Afridi, was arrested three weeks after the raid. A version of the Guardian story, with additional reporting from Jonathan Landay, appeared the same day in McClatchy.

The ISI learned of Afridi’s role in their own investigation of the OBL raid.

Pakistani intelligence became aware of the doctor’s activities during the investigation into the US raid in which Bin Laden was killed on the top floor of the Abbottabad house.

A source quoted by the Guardian–a Pakistani official–described how irregular the doctor’s actions were, which may have tipped them off.

“The whole thing was totally irregular,” said one Pakistani official. “Bilal Town is a well-to-do area. Why would you choose that place to give free vaccines? And what is the official surgeon of Khyber doing working in Abbottabad?”

Subsequent reports make it clear Afridi told his colleagues enough–that he had business in Abbottabad–that might have roused suspicion.

His medical colleagues at Jamrud Hospital in Pakistan’s northwestern Khyber tribal agency suspected he was having an extramarital affair. When they asked Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the hospital’s chief surgeon, why he was absent so often last spring, he replied curtly that he had “business” to attend to in Abbottabad. The mystery only grew when one doctor accused Afridi of having taken a half-dozen World Health Organization cooler boxes without authorization. The containers are for keeping vaccines fresh during inoculation campaigns, and yet no immunization drives were underway in Abbottabad—or the Khyber agency either, for that matter.

In addition, the nurse who went into OBL’s compound, Mukhtar Bibi, would have realized after the fact what she had been involved in–though she did not speak with the Guardian.

A nurse known as Bakhto, whose full name is Mukhtar Bibi, managed to gain entry to the Bin Laden compound to administer the vaccines. According to several sources, the doctor, who waited outside, told her to take in a handbag that was fitted with an electronic device. It is not clear what the device was, or whether she left it behind. It is also not known whether the CIA managed to obtain any Bin Laden DNA, although one source suggested the operation did not succeed.

Mukhtar Bibi, who was unaware of the real purpose of the vaccination campaign, would not comment on the programme.

In other words, Afridi’s colleagues and Abbottabad locals would have known enough to be suspicious, and the ISI presumably learned of these suspicions and arrested and interrogated the doctor (they learned the name of his CIA handler, for example).

The Guardian cites the following sources: Pakistani and US officials and residents of Abbottabad.

The US sources seem to have been trying to pressure the Pakistanis for investigating how CIA found OBL rather than how OBL managed to hide for so long.

American officials are concerned that Pakistan is more focused on finding out how the CIA tracked down bin Laden than on determining how he managed to remain undetected for as long as five years in Abbottabad, a military garrison town where the nation’s premier military academy is less than a mile from the bin Laden compound. So far, no one is known to have been arrested for helping to hide bin Laden.

None of that reveals who first went to the press with this story, though it seems like it arose in response to or conjunction with US efforts to put more pressure on Pakistan. Perhaps the US sources revealed that the Pakistanis still held one of the people who had helped find OBL, and the Pakistanis responded by revealing what he had been doing? Or perhaps the Pakistais responded to US pressure by revealing what the doctor had been doing, and the US downplayed the efficacy of it, noting (for example) that they had not succeeded in obtaining OBL’s DNA.

Read more

Beatings Drone Strikes Will Continue Until Morale Improves'>Brennan to Pakistan: The Beatings Drone Strikes Will Continue Until Morale Improves

There was yet another US drone strike in Pakistan today. According to Bill Roggio at Long War Journal, today’s strike is the fourth strike in six days. After the first strike in this series, I posed the question of whether that strike was more politically based than strategically based, as the strike came just two days (Roggio has it as one day after the summit, but there are large time zone differences; the summit ended on Monday in Chicago and the first strike was early Wednesday local time in Pakistan) after US-Pakistan negotiations on reopening NATO supply routes through Pakistan broke down at the NATO summit in Chicago and on the very day that Dr. Shakeel Afridi was sentenced for treason because he helped the CIA to gather intelligence that aided the US raid to kill Osama bin Laden.

There is now ample evidence to believe that politics are indeed behind the recent strikes and, as Marcy and I have been noting on Twitter, they likely will continue on a virtually daily basis to make the political points that the US is stressing. Recall that after the first strike in the series, I quoted a Guardian article that also came to the conclusion the strike was politically motivated:

The attack came as Washington runs out of patience with Islamabad’s refusal to reopen supply routes for Nato troops in Afghanistan.

US drone strikes have complicated negotiations over the routes, which Pakistan closed six months ago in retaliation for US air strikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers along the Afghan border. Pakistan’s parliament demanded the strikes stop after the attack, but the US refused.

In today’s report, Roggio provides a quote with direct evidence that the strikes now are tied politically to the impasse over reopening the supply routes (although it seems likely that Dana Rohrabacher isn’t the only one advocating the use of a “stick” on Pakistan over the Afridi sentencing, too):

A US intelligence official involved in the drone program in the country told The Long War Journal that the strikes would continue now that Pakistan has refused to reopen NATO’s supply lines for the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

“There certainly hasn’t been a shortage of targets in Pakistan’s tribal areas,” the official said. “Unfortunately the politics of getting the GLOC into Afghanistan has trumped the targeting of bad guys in Pakistan’s tribal areas,” the official said, referring to the Ground Lines of Communication.

But hold on just a minute here. Note the misdirection in this quote. Despite the claim that the US is “targeting bad guys” with these strikes, Roggio reports elsewhere in this article that no high value target has been reported as killed in today’s attack. In fact, he reports that there have been 17 US drone strikes in Pakistan this year, but only two high value targets have been killed in them.

Where have we heard someone recently trying to make the false claim that “signature strikes” are targeted rather than based simply on patterns of activity? Why that would be in John Brennan’s April 30 drone speech, which Marcy has cleanly dissected as a failed attempt to direct attention away from the war crimes committed regularly in signature strikes.

Roggio’s anonymous source says basically that the strikes will continue until the political situation improves. Despite the source’s claim that the strikes target “bad guys” the evidence instead shows that these are signature strikes that at best target mid-level or even lower level militants who happen to be in areas “known to harbor insurgents”. Given how closely this misdirection about targeting mirrors Brennan’s speech (and the fact that Brennan himself now controls signature strikes) it seems likely that the strikes themselves are Brennan’s way of telling Pakistan that the beatings will continue until morale improves.

Panetta: We Do Not Share Anything Inappropriate with Anybody … Except Our Assets’ Identities

When Leon Panetta confirmed that Shakeel Afridi was working with the CIA when he used a vaccination program to collect intelligence on Osama bin Laden, he likely made it much harder for Pakistan to release the doctor, or even give him a light sentence. Had the Pakistanis gone easy on Afridi after that confirmation, it would have amounted to the government admitting it had ceded the government’s sovereignty to the war on terror.

While I’m sure he had authorization to confirm the ties, there are a whole bunch of reasons it was stupid to do so (including the delegitimization of public health programs).

Panetta’s own role in increasing the likelihood Afridi would face harsh punishment from Pakistan didn’t prevent him from complaining about Afridi’s fate on ABC’s Sunday show, however, claiming he just couldn’t understand why a country would punish one of its citizens working as a spy for an ally.

“It is so difficult to understand and it’s so disturbing that they would sentence this doctor to 33 years for helping in the search for the most notorious terrorist in our times,” Panetta told me in a “This Week” interview.

“This doctor was not working against Pakistan. He was working against al Qaeda,” Panetta added. “And I hope that ultimately Pakistan understands that, because what they have done here … does not help in the effort to try to reestablish a relationship between the United States and Pakistan.”

I sort of wish Jake Tapper had asked Panetta if he’s ever heard of Jonathan Pollard, who we’ve imprisoned, thus far, for 25 years, for spying for an ally. Even more, I’m, um, disappointed that Tapper didn’t ask Panetta WTF he confirmed Afridi’s work for the US, particularly since Tapper himself commented on Panetta’s earlier comments this morning.

Panetta in January was first US official to on-the-record confirm the doctor’s help

More curious still, when Tapper asked Panetta why the Administration shared so much information with Hollywood about the Osama bin Laden raid–and Panetta claimed the Administration “do[es] not share anything inappropriate with anybody”–Tapper didn’t ask the obvious follow-up. Read more

Afridi’s Trial: Similar to Gitmo Military Commissions? Bonus: Rohrabacher Goes Bold

Abbottabad district, red, is within Kyhber Pakhtunkhwa Province, green, which is next to the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, blue, where the town of Bara is in Khyber Agency. (Wikimedia Commons)

Fallout continues from yesterday’s sentencing of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, the doctor who helped the CIA to identify Osama bin Laden prior to the US raid that killed him. Marcy commented yesterday on the poor outcome from Leon Panetta disclosing Afridi’s cooperation with the CIA and I noted how the sentencing may have been one motivation behind the potential political impetus for yesterday’s drone strike in Pakistan (which has been followed up by yet another drone strike today).

I will get to the obligatory statement of outrage from Dana Rohrabacher in a bit, but first there is a very interesting article in Dawn that has a few details from Afridi’s trial. Although Afridi’s cooperation with the CIA occurred in Abbottabad, which is in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province (formerly referred to as North West Frontier Province), Afridi was tried in the town of Bara, which is in the Khyber Agency of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The map on the left shows the FATA in blue, most of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in green and the Abbottabad district in red.

In the Dawn quotations below, “Khyber” refers to Kyber Agency within FATA and not Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, as far as I can tell.

Dawn describes where the trial took place and the convictions that were handed down:

Officials said Afridi had been tried at the office of assistant political agent (APA) in Bara. He was sentenced on the charges of conspiring “to wage war against Pakistan or depriving it of its sovereignty”, “concealing existence of a plan to wage war against Pakistan” and “condemnation of the creation of the state and advocacy of abolition of its sovereignty”.

“The trial conducted under the Frontier Crimes Regulation continued for one year during which Dr Afridi was denied the right to engage a lawyer,” said Rahat Gul, an administrative official at the Khyber House.

Dawn then moved on to citing criticism about where the trial took place:

Critics have said he should not have been tried under tribal law for an alleged crime that took place outside tribal jurisdiction, in the town of Abbottabad where he ran a fake vaccination programme designed to collect bin Laden family DNA.

A senior official in Khyber, Nasir Khan, defended Afridi’s trial.

“We have powers to try a resident of FATA (the federally administered tribal areas) under the FCR enforced in tribal areas,” he told AFP.

Hmmm. Venue-shopping. That would never happen in the US, especially when the chosen venue is seriously lacking in due process.

And the trial had to be secret so that Afridi would not be attacked: Read more

Rorhrabacher’s Attempt to Defund Pakistan Falls 335-84

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2p9H77tj8c[/youtube]

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAKdZvetng0[/youtube]

Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) worked himself into quite a bit of anger yesterday defending his amendment to the NDAA which was intended to cut off funding for Pakistan. He gave a remarkable performance, railing against practices by the Pakistani government which he avidly endorses when carried out by the US.

He railed against Pakistan providing haven for Osama bin Laden even though Rohrabacher actually took up arms and fought alongside the mujahideen, which included bin Laden, back in the mid-80’s when they were fighting the Soviets. He blasted Pakistan for supporting terrorists like the Haqqani network at the same time that he is agitating for the delisting of the MeK as a terrorist group. He decried the arrest and detention without charges of Dr. Shakeel Afridi, who carried out the polio vaccine ruse on behalf of the CIA at the bin Laden compound, and yet he has for years been at the forefront of advocating in favor of the prison at Guantanamo, where many remain held indefinitely without charge.

Here is how Rohrabacher described his amendment in a press release:

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) has introduced H.R. 5734, the “Pakistan Terrorism Accountability Act of 2012.” The legislation would require the Department of Defense to list all Americans killed by terrorist groups operating with impunity inside Pakistan and Afghanistan and supported by elements of the Pakistani government. For each person killed, $50 million would be subtracted from U.S. foreign assistance to Pakistan, a requested $2.2 billion, and given to the victim’s family.

“For too long America has funded the Pakistani government, giving it free money, while elements of the ISI and Pakistan’s military operate radical Islamic groups that are actively murdering Americans,” said Rohrabacher. “Americans will not accept this.” 

“Pakistan has for decades leveraged radical terrorist groups to carry out attacks in India and Afghanistan,” continued Rohrabacher. “Pakistan helped to create the Taliban and Pakistan’s intelligence service hid Osama Bin Laden from the U.S. for years. Today, one of the most dangerous and sophisticated groups killing American troops in Afghanistan is the Haqqani Network, which is closely operated by the Pakistani government.” 

I suppose it’s too much to hope for that someone who operates on the fringes of American politics might realize that the Pakistani government is not a monolith that always acts with all of its participants working together for the same outcome. Rather than supporting those within Pakistan who will advance US interests, Rohrabacher wants to punish all of Pakistan because of those who work against US interests.

Rohrabacher’s attempt at lead pipe diplomacy has failed miserably, going down by a vote of 335 to 84.  Here is how Pakistan Today described the outcome:

Dashing Congressman Dana Rohrabacher’s drastic designs, the US Congress on Thursday turned down the bill proposing curbs on American aid to Pakistan.

/snip/

The House of representative rejected the bill as 335 votes were cast against the bill while 84 in favour. Pakistan ambassador to US, Sherry Rehman played an active role against the bill.

At least he did a better job pronouncing Balochistan