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Archive for category Corruption

Disastrous decade of democracy sorry state of the state-Al Pakistan by Simon Templar

Disastrous decade of democracy sorry state of the state-Al Pakistan

by

Simon Templar

Thug life is a term used by gangsters to glorify their law breaking,heady crime sprees.

Nothing describes the misrule of two successive, so called democratically elected governments in the unstable, underdeveloped 200 million strong south Asian state of Pakistan.

How thieves, plunderers and freebooters came to rule this nuclear armed state is a sad tale in itself.

Ruled by military General Pervez Musharraf who took over in a military coup in 1999, the country became a close US ally after 9/11 and witnessed an era of growth and stability under military rule.

However when Musharaf reached his limits of flexibility, it was decided by the US and British to force him bring back the two tainted, condemned political leaders in exile and to wash away all their sins under a dubious order in the name of national reconciliation.

As in the Bond movie, Quantum of Solace, there was also a hungry, eager, more flexible General waiting in the Wings to replace him, and Deputy Chief Kayani used Military intelligence and a judges restoration movement to cripple the erstwhile strongman, now out of favor with the US.

A final thumbs down from the US Ambassador compelled Musharraf to resign and after the mysterious, unsolved murder of Benazir Bhutto, her thuggish husband, the upstart, criminal uneducated, corrupt and much reviled Asif Zardari came to power.

The deal with the West was that we bring you back, wash away your past sins and you squeeze the Army.

The game began and new Chief Kayani turned a blind eye, as he had brought the devil to sup at the table and was also busy improving his impoverished families financial condition.

So well did this team work that General Kayani got an unprecedented 3 year second term, Zardari became a billionaire, Kayani from rags to millionaire and the country went to the dogs.

The US with its two boys in place, in charge of the Presidency and military, violated Pakistani sovereignty and physical boundaries at will, using drones, choppers, covert assassin’s and whatever they chose.

As per the unholy charter of kleptocracy, Sharif kept silent during Zardari’s plunder and he returned the favor after Sharif took over in 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simple math, over invoice $ 50 billion of Chinese funded projects-whether needed or not- by ten percent, sign sovereign guarantees, leave future generations to pay off horrifying debts and pocket 5% off the top!

Walk away with a cool $ 2.5 billion dollars.Astonishingly simple as it is audacious.

Where Zardari was a street thug, looting millions, for ing neighbors to sell their properties on the cheap, the plunderers from Punjab, whose father made pots and cooking utensils with his bare hands are now certified dollar billionaires thanks to massive bank defaults,and international cuts commissions and kickbacks.

Wow! Wonderful, just one mistake…Sharif, egged on by vicious anti military Advisers like Junior Minister for Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatimi, kept on targeting the by now restive and powerful Pakistan military.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The leakage of information pertaining to thousands of offshore companies incorporated in Panama signalled the end for the strangely absent Sharif regime.

Perhaps the most corrupt and worse administered government in the history of Pakistan..certainly the most hypocritical.

Destroying the civil service structure, promoting nepotism, turning state servants especially in the Punjab into glorified pimps and facilitators.

 

Nawaz Sharif ‘s Well Hidden Taliban Connection-Taliban did Nawaz Sharif’s Dirty Work-While, US looked the Other Way-Rana Sanaulla, Nawaz Sharif’s  Killer Interior Minister Connected to Punjabi Taliban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One poor martied lady was famously peddled by her husband out to Sharif, then his younger brother and in turn was rewarded with top administrative positions for his immoral shamelessness.

Functioning without statutory, mandated positions such as State Ombudsman, National Tax Collector, Head of the Audit Service and even without the Governor of the State Bank.

Burgeoning debt,increasingly hostile borders, declining exports, a dysfunctional government, falling stock market and collapsing currency could not shake Sharif out of his stupor.

On the ropes, with his family corruption the main story in every paper, every channel and on social media, he chose to plod on shamelessly, trying one corrupt lawyer after another in a futile attempt to cover his tracks.

Described as a sicilian mafiosi by the worthy judges of the top constitutional court, Sharif scraped the bottom of the barrel, hiring the immoral Raja Salman Akram, known to have defended Zardaris drug dealing Prime Minister, all to no avail.

Functioning without a Foreign minister for four years, and appointing idiots as top envoys, the joke is on Sharif as he is now left with no friends to bail him out as before.

His Saudi patrons distanced themselves from their pet poodle after Sharif was unable to prevail upon his military who very sensibly refused to go and fight alongside Saudi troops in Yemen.

Indians and Americans have realised he cannot dominate his military and the Turks and Chinese know him and his tribe as crooked, slimy money grabbers.

Despite holding office for years, Sharif has paid no attention to healthcare, education, rule of law or job creation, focusing purely on shady, unnecessary projects providing easy kickbacks.

Now decades of money laundering, defaulted bank loans and millions in off shore accounts and overseas properties stand to be exposed for what they are, the loot and plunder from 190 million poor uneducated helpless souls who are forced to sell or kill their children due to lack of justice, poverty and a gloomy future.

The question is how will things unfold? Will the shameless, immoral, hypocritical kleptocrats escape yet again to lick their wounds and enjoy their boots abroad or shall they deservedly meet the fate of another erstwhile billionaire, the late unlamented Colonel Qaddafi who died bloodied and screaming in the street as his engeful subjects beat him to death?

The author is a geostrategist based in Brussels.

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THUG LIFE IN THE IDIOTS REPUBLIC AN EYE OPENER By Simon Templar

 

 

THUG LIFE IN THE IDIOTS REPUBLIC AN EYE OPENER

By Simon Templar

 
The level of public debate is so ill informed in this self-styled fortress of Islam, that if it were not so painful to the educated eye, it would be hilarious.
Illiteracy has been chosen as the best opiate to keep the masses ignorant and at bay by the cunning who are the gleeful beneficiaries of Pakistan kleptocratic so called system.
An exaggerated focus on the lofty, historic principles of a great religion is the other great diversion to keep the masses occupied as the ruler’s loot and plunder.
In a country where every steel mill owner drives sports cars and expensive SUVs, the Pakistan Steel Mills remain shut, bleeding billions of rupees a year.
Does anyone even remember how on the momentous return to full democracy, Asif Zardari plundered $350 million in cash from the PAK Steel Mills using front man Riaz Lalji?
This is what crippled the industrial giant within six months of Zardaris being elected.
Democracy was indeed the best revenge!
A money launderer and Tax Evader as Finance Minister will only appoint similar smaller thugs and facilitators to be the head of Federal Tax Service, The National Bank and the Securities Commission.
The national Airline is being purposefully bled, mal-administered and run into the ground to promote Air Blue owned by Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi.
A relative bodybuilders son is leading the export charge, resulting in declining exports year on year for the last three years
Another relative]s son is in charge of the power ministry, he has given the gift of 12-hour power cuts in rural areas.
Zardari’s Power Base Sind Provincial Assembly has passed a law against anti corruption efforts, he wishes for his loot and plunders to go on unimpeded.

So happy, nay gleeful is this corrupt  lot that they are all joyfully marrying the first loose, ambitious woman that they can lay hands on, Power Minister Khwaja Asif has married Kashmala Tariq, Zardari – Ayan Ali and Ishaq Dar- Marvi Memon

The PML-N lot seem to have a thing for Musharraf’s erstwhile cheerleaders!
Ancient heritage sites are being destroyed to build expensive bus & train tracks giving tremendous kickbacks
Nothing has been done to moderate or regulate the proliferation or activities of religious  Madrassahs across the country
Journalists are openly on the take, peddling blatant falsehoods on TV and in print for a fist full of dollars.
Lie loud, hard and repeatedly and the buffoons will believe you!
There is no mention of population control and the government cannot even carry out a census conclusively
Polio, eradicated around the globe, still rears it’s ugly head in the land of the pure, with medical teams and nurses attempting to administer drops regularly shot at and killed.
While still struggling to produce enough electricity despite all claims, the looming water crisis is not even mentioned by anyone!
The elected wizards making lofty claims have not been able to build a single major dam in the last four decades.
Courts cases drag on for years and decades, but no one thinks of having more judges and an improved legal system to provide effective, transparent and speedy justice
Production of poultry, eggs, sugar, cement, banking, telecom, cars, milk, meat, oil and steel is increasingly concentrated in the hands of a few hundred families, all connected to politics, all growing fabulously rich.
The poor turn to prostituting their daughters, selling their sons and killing themselves such is their misery in this cruel callous system
The government is inefficient to the point of being useless and dispensable.
Even the simple task of garbage collection in this country of 200 million illiterate souls is being done by Turkish companies connected to the ruling family. Payments and kickbacks both being made in dollars abroad!

Every single state enterprise being run by this country’s immoral, shameless ,  corrupt, complicit bureaucrats are inefficient and loss making to the point of being redundant.

 
Civil servants are little more than servile, slimy facilitators, bowing and scraping as they obsequiously pleasing their political masters while feeding off the few grubby crumbs thrown their way.
Yet this blighted lot, the masses want democracy!
 
Dear sirs, who will explain to these morons, that this is NOT a democracy, it is elected KLEPTOCRACY.
Democracy means transparency, efficiency, accountability, service delivery, social development and nation building
If this creaky structure is to carry on, if this geographic entity is to survive with its current borders, it needs a strong man at the top with a few determined good men to sort it out.
Ban and banish anyone who has ever held elected political office over the last 50 years, bring back looted money, empower the civil servants, and clean the mess up.
This is the last chance,  the final hope before this leaky ship goes under, either do it now or rename this blighted land:
“The Idiots Republic of Al-Bakistan”
The writer is a Geostrategic analyst based in Brussels

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ARCHIVE ARTICLE: Gen.Raheel Sharif is reluctant to act on the ‘National Security Breach’ by the Sharifs By Dr. Shahid Qureshi

Raheel Sharif is reluctant to act on the ‘National Security Breach’ by the Sharifs

By

Dr. Shahid Qureshi

I am wondering why Raheel Sharif is reluctant to act on the ‘National Security Breach’ by the Sharifs, currently occupying the Prime Minister House of Pakistan. I have said it before, Sharifs and Zardaris are criminals and would never have hesitated for a single moment to crucify you, had there been any breach within the ‘armed forces or security institutions’. So don’t worry about your post-retirement image as you will not be judged with ‘good guy or bad guy’ image. You will be judged whether you acted at the right time or not.
 
I am sorry to say on the issue of Dawn News Group planted story against Pakistan’s national interests and your indecisive approach is not helping the country. Those who are responsible for this national security breach should have been arrested under the Army Act and put on trial without a moment’s delay. The rest of the criminal mafia would have been running for shelters but your indecisive approach is fueling their confidence that they can get away with it. I would never trust Nisar Ali Khan or Shabaz Sharif let alone you are entertaining filthy Ishaq Dar at your House. I would have checked my crockery and all metallic objects.
 
You must understand that you are not dealing with law abiding politicians but corrupt criminals in disguise of dodgy democracy. People are wondering if you got the hard balls to deal with them or you are just looking in crystal ball about the day of retirement? You are under oath and responsibility to protect the national interests of Pakistan even one minute before you move on.
 
Nawaz Sharif is an Indian asset and continues to play Modi’s games. There are countless occasions when Nawaz Sharif damaged the interests of the state of Pakistan at national and international stages. He and his cronies have humiliated the armed forces of Pakistan and ISI countless times to please the Indians. The whole Sharif empire is built on ‘stolen metals’ bought from gypsies and stolen railways tracks. They have come a long way to the highest office in past 40 years while you were moving from one cantonment to another with your bags, kids and baggage.
 
You got only one RAW agent, Indian Navy officer Kubushan Jadav code name ‘Monkey’. Indian Prime Minister Modi is responding to Pakistan via Nawaz Sharif ‘you got my Monkey but I have Zoo in Raiwind and Islamabad’ with monkeys, donkeys and foxes. I am sure you know that all assets are at work now?
 
Nawaz – Modi both are testing Pakistan Army as part of sinister agenda. Nawaz Sharif and Narender Modi are two sides of the same coin as both want to stretch the armed forces of Pakistan to its limits. Obviously, India is not alone as media reports suggest the US is behind this latest escalation at Line of Control and inside Indian Occupied Kashmir.
 
I wrote sometimes ago that wealth and assets of Pakistani elite and politicians have become a security threat. Panama Leaks and offshore assets of Nawaz Sharif are the last straw on the camel’s back. The corrupt mafias of Pakistan and India who supported Nawaz Sharif and Narender Modi also have an interest in creating a distraction and hype in both countries.
 
The fact of the matter is that Indians have the highest numbers with Swiss accounts and some of those account holders are backing Modi regime too. Panama Leaks are growing beyond the borders of Pakistan.
 
Keep Karachi and Pakistan bleeding is the sinister plan against Pakistan launched by the Indians with the full support of its friends and assets in ruling politicians from Nawaz Sharif, Asfand Yar Wali, Mahmood Khan Achakzai, Altaf Hussain, Farooq Sattar and Asif Zardari. The constant obstructions and hurdles created by the political leadership of MQM-A, PPP Zardari Group, PML-N Ishaq Dar Group are putting lives and limbs at risk of security services, police and soldiers, who are fighting foreign-backed agents and terrorists in Pakistan especially Karachi. All the three parties in power have proved links and interests with foreign agencies and countries. Crimes of MQM-A are heinous and there is no excuse for any politician to ignore the pains and grief they have caused to the families of journalists, religious scholars, students, police, army, and Rangers personnel.
 
The state terrorism inflicted in Islamabad and Rawalpindi on 28th October 2016 by Punjab Police, a mercenary force of Sharifs, has provided images and videos to the Indians to respond and undermine current Kashmir uprising against Indian Occupation. Nawaz Sharif and his brother have provided ‘shelling and beating of common people images and videos’ to the Indian occupying forces in Held Kashmir to justify their illegal actions. Punjab Police is shelling even when there is no one there like its a funny business. This is how assets work. Any doubt?
 
The fact of the matter is that if Israelis and Indians are hands in glove in supporting terrorism in Pakistan and conspiring to disintegrate by using all ‘assets’ why Pakistani politicians and military establishment are in denial to accept that Nawaz-Modi marriage is toxic or their multi-billion dollar businesses abroad are more important than 200 million Pakistanis?
 
(Dr Shahid Qureshi is a senior analyst with BBC and editor of The London Post. He writes on security, terrorism and foreign policy. He also appears as an analyst on Al-Jazeera, Press TV, MBC, Kazak TV (Kazakhstan), Turkish TV, LBC Radio London. He was also international election observer for Kazakhstan 2015, March 2016 and Pakistan 2002. He has written a famous book “War on Terror and Siege of Pakistan” published in 2009. He is a PhD in Political Psychology and also studied Law at a British University)

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Video: TV host accuses Hollywood actor of assaulting daughter at talent show in Dubai in GULF NEWS

Nadia Khan claims her teenage daughter was grabbed from the shoulder and pushed so hard she fell.Image Credit: @Xpress/Devadasan
Hundreds of parents queued up for the casting session at The Ritz-Cartlon HotelImage Credit: @Xpress/Mazhar Farooqui

DUBAI 
Pakistani actress and TV presenter Nadia Khan has filed a police complaint against the CEO of a popular American children’s talent hunt agency accusing him of assaulting her teenage daughter during an audition in Dubai last weekend.

 

 


Dubai-based Nadia, said the incident has left her 14-year-old bruised and badly shaken.

Hundreds of parents took their children to the casting session at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in JBR on May 20 in the hope of turning their sons and daughters into television stars.

However, many left disillusion-ed as the audition was disrupted after Nadia called the police at the venue and the company’s 47-year-old CEO was held for questioning.

The American actor/producer whose company claims to represent some of the biggest music and television shows in the US, was later summoned to Al Barsha Police Station where a complaint was filed.

The injuries. The 14-year-old’s arms remained sore days after the shocking incident on May 20


Traumatic experience

Nadia recounted her traumatic experience with undercover XPRESS journalists who were at the event on a tip-off that the agency asks for astronomical amounts of money from parents when their children make the cut.

Choking back her tears, Nadia said, “I went to the audition hoping it would be good for my child, but instead got the shock of my life. When my daughter’s turn came, the judge, (name withheld for legal reasons) grabbed her roughly from the shoulder and pulled her, leaving her with deep bruises on both arms.”

Clinching evidence. Shortly after the incident, Nadia claimed she took her daughter to Dubai’s Rashid Hospital where a medical report concluded that the multiple bruises on both arms were caused by assault.


Medical report

A medical report confirmed the multiple bruises. “It happened quickly and in front of me and at least 30-40 other parents. Before my daughter, they were auditioning small children. She was the first teenager in that batch. My daughter was given a two-line script but before she could read it, she was grabbed and pushed so hard she fell on one of the parents. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. She is my daughter. No one has the right to touch my child let alone subject her to public humiliation and physical abuse,” said Nadia, adding that the incident has shattered her daughter’s confidence. “She was crying all day,” she said.

Nadia’s daughter said what hurt her most was that the physical abuse happened in front of ex-Disney stars and they did nothing to stop it. “I used to idolise these stars. Not anymore,” she told XPRESS.

Nadia said when she tried to raise the issue with the organisers they were rude to her and forced her to leave.

According to her, the next contestant – an Asian boy — was repeatedly slapped in the face during the audition.

“It was bizarre. The man kept slapping the child until a time came when the boy couldn’t take it anymore and slapped him back. “I feel equally bad for the boy. He had tears in his eyes. Abuse is abuse whether it happens to a boy or a girl,” she said.

Significantly, this is not the first time the CEO of the talent hunt agency has courted controversy. A YouTube video from a similar event in Singapore shows him spitting on a young girl.

Al Kabel, an officer at Al Barsha Police Station, said the police has taken statements of Nadia and her daughter and are waiting for witnesses to come forward.

Attempts to seek a comment from the talent agency were met with threats of a lawsuit. “I find it offensive and disgusting that a news organisation and a reporter would attempt to publish information to the public without allowing the proper authorities to finish their work,” stated an email from them in response to an XPRESS query.

– With inputs from Sara Waqar

What our investigations revealed

XPRESS undercover journalists who attended the audition at The Ritz-Carlton found that the talent and management agency uses a classic ‘bait and switch’ sales strategy to lure parents to their events and then seeks huge sums of money from them for giving acting classes to their children.

A Dubai-based mother whose eight-year-old daughter cleared the first round said she was sent an email asking her to revisit The Ritz-Carlton Hotel on Monday for a second evaluation and be prepared to pay if her child passes it.

“The forms of payment we accept are Visa or MasterCard. The payment is expected today if your child passes the second evaluation,” read the email, a copy of which is with XPRESS. Children passing the second evaluation are recommended one of five ‘Option Levels’ with fees ranging from $1,950 (Dh7,162) to $7,900.

“This is a rip-off. They are just after your money,” said another parent whose child was recommended the Fifth Option Level and asked to fork out $7,900.

Most who showed up for the audition said they learnt about the talent hunt from Facebook sponsored posts calling for children to audition for their chance to meet Disney Channel stars.

“Does your child dream of becoming a Disney Channel star? We are coming to Dubai!” the post reads. On its part the agency never says that this is an audition for Disney, but the clever wording of their advertisements and the presence of Disney stars often leads parents into believing that the company is associated with the Walt Disney Company.

Disney spokespersons have repeatedly clarified that these child talent auditions are in no way associated with or endorsed by The Walt Disney Company or Disney Channel.

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Christine Fair: An academic lacking critical thinking with venomous bias, bitterness, and animosity towards Pakistan

Christine Fair

An academic lacking critical thinking with venomous bitterness and animosity towards Pakistan

Carol Christine Fair (born 1968) is an associate professor at the Center for Peace and Security Studies (CPASS),
within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Fair is employed at the Security Studies Program (SSP) within Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service.[1][2]

Prior to this, Fair served as a senior political scientist with the RAND Corporation, a political officer with the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan and as a senior research associate with the United States Institute of Peace. She specializes in political and military affairs in South Asia.[3]

Fair has published several articles defending the use of drone strikes in Pakistan and has been critical of analyses by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and other humanitarian organizations.[4]

Fair’s work and viewpoints have been the subject of prominent criticism.[5]Her pro-drone stance has been denounced and called “surprisingly weak” by Brookings Institution senior fellow Shadi Hamid.[5]JournalistGlenn Greenwalddismissed Fair’s arguments as “rank propaganda”, arguing there is “mountains of evidence” showing drones are counterproductive, pointing to mass civilian casualties and independent studies.[6] In 2010, Fair denied the notion that drones caused any civilian deaths, alleging Pakistani media reports were responsible for creating this perception.[7]Jeremy Scahillwrote that Fair’s statement was “simply false” and contradicted byNew America‘s detailed study on drone casualties.[7]Fair later said that casualties are caused by the UAVs, but maintains they are the most effective tool for fighting terrorism.[8]

Writing for The Atlantic, Conor Friedersdorfchallenged Fair’s co-authored narrative that the U.S. could legitimize support in Pakistan for its drone program using ‘education’ and ‘public diplomacy’; he called it an “example of interventionist hubris and naivete” built upon a flawed interpretation of public opinion data.[9]An article in the Middle East Research and Information Project called the work “some of the most propagandistic writing in support of PresidentBarack Obama’s targeted kill lists to date.”[10]It censured the view that Pakistanis needed to be informed by the U.S. what is “good for them” as fraught with imperialist condescension; or the assumption that the Urdu press was less informed than the English press – because the latter was sometimes less critical of the U.S.[10]

Fair’s journalistic sources have been questioned for their credibility[11]and she has been accused of having aconflict of interestdue to her past work with U.S. government think tanks, as well the CIA.[5] In 2011 and 2012, she received funding from the U.S. embassy in Islamabad to conduct a survey on public opinion concerning militancy. However, Fair states most of the grants went to a survey firm and that it had no influence on her research.[5] Pakistani media analysts have dismissed Fair’s views as hawkish rhetoric, riddled with factual inaccuracies, lack of objectivity, and being selectively biased.[11][12][13][14] She has also been rebuked for comments on social media perceived as provocative, such as suggesting burning down Pakistan’s embassy in Afghanistan or asking India to “squash Pakistan militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically.” She has been accused of double standards, partisanship towards India, and has been criticized for her contacts with dissident leaders from Balochistan, a link which they claim “raises serious questions if her interest in Pakistan is merely academic.[13]

Controversies

Fair has been accused of harassment of former colleague Asra Nomani, after Nomani wrote a column inThe Washington Post[15]explaining why she voted forDonald Trump in the 2016 United States Presidential Election. The harassment came in the form of Tweets taking aim at Nomani with a series of emotionally charged profanity and insults that lasted 31 consecutive days.[16]

  1. “C. Christine Fair”. Georgetown University academic directory. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  2. Christine, Fair (25 September 2009). “For Now, Drones Are the Best Option”. New York Times. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  3. Author information, Oxford University Press, retrieved 6 September 2016.
  4. “Ethical and methodological issues in assessing drones’ civilian impacts in Pakistan”. Washington Post. 2014-10-06. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
  5.  to:a b c d Norton, Ben (4 November 2015). “Not playing fair: How Christine Fair, defender of U.S. drone program in Pakistan, twists the facts — and may have conflicts of her own”. Salon. Retrieved 4 November 2015.
  6. “Do drone strikes create more terrorists than they kill?”. Al Jazeera. 23 October 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  7.  to:a b Scahill, Jeremy (10 May 2010). “Georgetown Professor: ‘Drones Are Not Killing Innocent Civilians’ in Pakistan”. The Nation. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  8. Shane, Scott (11 August 2011). “C.I.A. Is Disputed on Civilian Toll in Drone Strikes”. New York Times. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  9. Friedersdorf, Conor (24 January 2013). “Yes, Pakistanis Really Do Hate America’s Killer Drones”. The Atlantic. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  10.  to:a b Waheed, Sarah (25 January 2013). “Drones, US Propaganda and Imperial Hubris”. Middle East Research and Information Project. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  11.  to:a b Ahmad, Muhammad Idrees (14 June 2011). “The magical realism of body counts”. Al Jazeera. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  12. Haider, Murtaza (27 June 2012). “An unFair comment”. Dawn. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  13.  to:a b “US professor’s anti-Pak agenda?”. The News. 7 February 2016. Retrieved 6 September 2016.
  14. Chandio, Khalid (6 May 2015). Prejudice Dominates Christine Discourse. Islamabad Policy Research Institute.
  15. Nomani, Asra (10 November 2016). “I’m a Muslim, a woman and an immigrant. I voted for Trump.”. Washington Post.
  16. Frates, Katie (27 December 2016). “‘F**K YOU. GO TO HELL’: Georgetown Prof Loses It On Muslim Trump Voter”. Daily Caller.
  17. Adeney, Katherine (2015), “Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War by C. Christine Fair (Book Review)”, Political Studies Review, 13: 623–624
  18. Shaikh, Farzana (2015), “Fighting to the end: the Pakistan army’s way of war, by C. Christine Fair (Book review)”, International Affairs, 91 (3): 665–667
  19. Ghorpade, Yashodhan (2014), “C. Christine Fair and Shaun Gregory (Eds). Pakistan in National and Regional Change: State and Society in Flux (Book Review)”, Journal of South Asian Development, 9 (1): 91–97, doi:1177/0973174113520586
  20. Argon, Kemal (September 2008), “Reviewed Work: Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance by C. Christine Fair, Peter Chalk”, International Journal on World Peace, 25 (3): 120–123, JSTOR 20752852
  21. Rizvi, Hasan-Askari (September 2008), “Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance, by C. Christine Fair and Peter Chalk (eds) (Book review)”, Journal of Contingencies and Crisis Management, 16 (3): 169–170, doi:1111/j.1468-5973.2008.00546.x
  22. Schaffer, Teresita C. (October 2008), “Book Reviews: South Asia”, Survival, 50 (5): 195–215, doi:1080/00396330802456536

 


Not playing fair: How Christine Fair, defender of U.S. drone program in Pakistan, twists the facts — and may have conflicts of her own

Leading drone defender Christine Fair claims critics are biased, yet is widely accused of her own double standards

Not playing fair: How Christine Fair, defender of U.S. drone program in Pakistan, twists the facts — and may have conflicts of her own
(Credit: Al Jareeza/Reuters/Patrick Fallon/Photo montage by Salon)

The U.S. drone program creates more militants than it kills, according to the head of intelligence for the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the U.S. military unit that oversees that very program.

 

“When you drop a bomb from a drone… you are going to cause more damage than you are going to cause good, remarked Michael T. Flynn. The retired Army lieutenant general, who also served as the U.S. Central Command’s director of intelligence, says that “the more bombs we drop, that just… fuels the conflict.”

Not everyone accepts the assessment of the former JSOC intelligence chief, however. Still today, defenders of the U.S. drone program insist it does more good than harm. One scholar, Georgetown University professor Christine Fair, is particularly strident in her support.

In a debate on the Al Jazeera program UpFront in October, Fair butted heads with Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald, a prominent critic of the U.S. drone program. Fair, notorious for her heated rhetoric, accused Greenwald of being a “liar” and insulted Al Jazeera several times, claiming the network does not appreciate “nuance” in the way she does. Greenwald, in turn, criticized Fair for hardly letting him get a word in; whenever he got a rare chance to speak, she would constantly interrupt him, leading host Mehdi Hasan to ask her to stop.

The lack of etiquette aside, Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Shadi Hamid remarked that Fair’s arguments in the debate were “surprisingly weak.”

After the debate, Fair took to Twitter to mud-sling. She expressed pride at not letting Greenwald speak, boasting she “shut that lying clown down.” “I AM a Rambo b**ch,” she proclaimed.

Fair alsocalledGreenwald a “pathological liar, a narcissist, [and] a fool.” She said she would like to put Greenwald and award-winning British journalist Mehdi Hasan in a Pakistani Taliban stronghold, presumably to be tortured, “then ask ’em about drones.”

Elsewhere on social media, Fair has made similarly provocative comments.In a Facebook post, Fair called Pakistan “an enemy” and said “We invaded the wrong dog-damned country,” implying the U.S. should have invaded Pakistan, not Afghanistan.

In another Facebook post, Fair insisted that “India needs to woman up and SQUASH Pakistan militarily, diplomatically, politically and economically.” Both India and Pakistan are nuclear states.

Fair proudly identifies as a staunch liberal and advocates for a belligerent foreign policy. She rails against neo-conservatives but chastises the Left for criticizing U.S. militarism. In 2012, she told a journalist on Twitter “Dude! I am still very much pro drones. Sorry. They are the least worst option. My bed of coals is set to 11.”

Despite the sporadic jejune Twitter tirade, Fair has established herself as one of the drone program’s most vociferous proponents. Fair is a specialist in South Asian politics, culture, and languages, with a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. She has published extensively, in a wide variety of both scholarly and journalistic publications. If you see an article in a large publication defending the U.S. drone program in Pakistan, there is a good chance she wrote or co-authored it.

Reviewing the “mountains of evidence”

After her debate with Greenwald, Fair wrote an article for the Brookings Institution’s Lawfare blog. While making jabs at Greenwald, Hasan, and Al Jazeera; characterizing her participation in the debate as an “ignominious distinction”; and implying that The Intercept, the publication co-founded by Greenwald with other award-winning journalists, is a criminal venture, not a whistleblowing news outlet, Fair forcefully defended the drone program.

Secret government documents leaked to The Intercept by a whistleblower show that 90 percent of people killed in U.S. drone strikes in a five-month period in provinces on Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan were not the intended targets. Fair accused The Intercept of “abusing” and selectively interpreting the government’s data. In a followup piece in the Huffington Post, she maintained that the findings of the Drone Papers do not apply to the drone program in Pakistan.

Greenwald pointed out that there are “mountains of evidence” showing that the U.S. drone program is killing large numbers of civilians, not just in Pakistan, but also in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and more. In these articles and the Al Jazeera debate, Fair took issue with the many studies cited by Greenwald, arguing they are flawed.

Living Under Drones: Death, Injury, and Trauma to Civilians from U.S. Drone Practices in Pakistan,” an intensive 2012 study conducted over nine months by the law schools at New York University (NYU) and Stanford University, found that the U.S. drone program had killed hundreds of civilians in Pakistan, and “cause[d] considerable and under-accounted-for harm to the daily lives of ordinary civilians, beyond death and physical injury.”

The NYU/Stanford report was based on two investigations in Pakistan; hundreds of interviews with victims, witnesses, and experts; and a review of thousands of pages of government and media documents. It concluded that the U.S. drone program had “terrorize[d] men, women, and children, giving rise to anxiety and psychological trauma among civilian communities.” The study indicated that drones have even returned to target rescuers after drone attacks, making “both community members and humanitarian workers afraid or unwilling to assist injured victims.”

Fair accused the NYU/Stanford study of being “advocacy work,” arguing its findings were influenced by the human rights organizations Reprieve and the Foundation for Fundamental Rights. Reprieve has itself investigated the casualties of the drone program. It found that, in attempts to kill just 41 militants, the U.S. military killed 1,147 people in Pakistan and Yemen, as of November 2014.

According to Fair, Reprieve’s research is biased advocacy work, not scholarly research. She also accused the Bureau of Investigative Journalism (TBIJ), whose research the NYU/Stanford study cited, of being an advocacy organization.

For years, TBIJ has meticulously documented the casualties of drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Afghanistan. It estimates between 423 and 965 Pakistani civilians have been killed by the U.S. drone program. TBIJ has also documented how U.S. drones have targeted rescuers, and even attacked funerals of people killed in drone strikes.

I reached out to the Bureau and, although it did not want to comment on the affair, it maintained it is a journalism organization, not an advocacy group. TBIJ pointed out it has done work not just on drones, but also on political corruption in Europe, British political party funding, deaths in police custody in the U.K., and more.

Numerous other studies have found the U.S. drone program in Pakistan to be wildly unpopular and counterproductive.2012 poll conducted by leading polling agency Pew found that just 17 percent of Pakistanis supported the U.S. drone program. In an article in The Atlantic, Fair and colleagues argued this Pew report was flawed. The day after the piece was published, The Atlantic’s own Conor Friedersdorf called Fair out on her sloppy methodology, accusing her of making “strained interpretations of public opinion data.” “I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a better example of interventionist hubris and naivete,” Friedersdorf observed.

In the time since Fair criticized Pew’s original survey, the polling agency has done more. A 2014 Pew poll found that 66 percent of Pakistanis opposed the U.S. drone program. And another 2014 Pew study found that 67 percent of Pakistanis agreed that U.S. drone strikes “kill too many innocent people.” Only 21% of participants said drone strikes “are necessary to defend.”

Denying civilian casualties

In 2010, Fair boldly claimed that U.S. “drones are not killing innocent civilians,” wholly writing off all reports of civilian casualties. Fair rejected the research done by David Kilcullen, a former counterinsurgency adviser to Gen. David Petraeus, and Andrew Exum, a fellow at the Center for a New American Security, that said otherwise.

At the time Fair insisted that civilians had not been killed, an investigation conducted by Peter Bergen and Katherine Tiedemann of the New America Foundation had found that the total of civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes from 2006 to mid-2010 was “in the range of 250 to 320, or between 31 and 33 percent.”

Since then, Fair has conceded that civilians have been killed in the U.S. drone program, but she avers that their deaths are, although unfortunate, justified in the fight against extremism in Pakistan. She rebukes any study that suggests the drone program in Pakistan makes things worse or even is unpopular.

In its research, Amnesty International came to the conclusions most scholars and journalists have. Amnesty’s Pakistan researcher Mustafa Qadri explained in 2012 that, because of the drone program, “when we researched these cases, we found people were fearful of the U.S. the way they’re fearful of the Taliban.” Qadri continued, noting Pakistanis “have told us they’re taking sleeping tablets at night. They don’t know when they’re going to be targeted if they’ll be targeted, why they’ll be targeted. That really is a shocking situation.”

Fair herself admitted in her article in Lawfare that, in general, the scholarship around the U.S. drone program in Pakistan “produces mixed results, with some work showing the efficacy of leadership decapitation while other studies find that it is sometimes effective or even counterproductive.”

Pakistani-American scholar Hassan Abbas joins a long list of experts who have argued that the U.S. drone program creates more militants than it kills.

The U.N., Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch have even said the Obama administration may be guilty of war crimes for its drone program. Renowned public intellectual Noam Chomsky, similarly, has characterized the U.S. government’s extrajudicial assassination of militants via drone as a massive and illegal campaign of global terrorism.

Fair’s response to most critics is to accuse them of either not being specialists (e.g., Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Prize-winning Pakistani teenager who has strongly criticized the U.S. drone program and warned President Obama it was fueling terrorism) or to claim they lack adequate data to justify their point.

After hearing Fair’s rejection of the preponderance of studies on the U.S. drone program in Pakistan, Faiza Patel, co-director of the Brennan Center’s Liberty and National Security Program at New York University School of Law, asked how Fair can “claim to be the only person who knows what Pakistanis think of drones.”

The lone study

Fair says few researchers have been to Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in northwestern Pakistan, where most U.S. drone strikes take place. She argues, therefore, that they cannot know what Pakistanis there think.

I reached out to sociologist Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, who is from Pakistan’s northwestern frontier region, near FATA, and has been researching the drone war for the past decade. Ahmad teaches at the University of Stirling and has written for years about the U.S. drone program. He is also the author ofThe Road to Iraq: The Making of a Neoconservative War.

“Fair claimed that opposition to drones was a luxury indulged in by elites living in Lahore or Islamabad. In FATA, she said, drones were popular. As a matter of fact, it’s only among the elites of Islamabad and Lahore that one usually finds Pakistan’s few drone defenders,” Ahmad said. “In FATA, outside a small Shia enclave, there is little support for drones.”

 
 

“This is hardly a revelation, and it is backed up by numerous opinion polls,” Ahmad added. Fair, however, argues that these opinion polls are flawed.

In her various media appearances and articles, Fair constantly points to a single investigation conducted by an Associated Press reporter by the name of Sebastian Abbot. The AP investigation was based on interviews with approximately 80 villagers at the sites of the 10 deadliest drone strikes in North Waziristan from 2011-2012.

Critics of this study point out that the sample sizes of both the strikes and the villagers are rather small. It uses a smaller sample size than that of the NYU/Stanford study, which Fair rejects. Moreover, from 2004 to February 2012, when the results of the AP investigation were released, the U.S. carried out at least 280 attacks in Pakistan’s tribal region.

Ahmad called the AP report “dubious.” It “refers to itself as a ‘study’ when all the reporter did — even according to Fair — is to dispatch a stringer into FATA to interview people,” Ahmad said. “So we have this big chain of credibility to accept before we can credit that report. First, that the reporter has no agendas — unlike the researchers she keeps accusing of — and then that the stringer has no agenda.”

“She assumes that anyone who confirms the official narrative has unimpeachable motives, but those who raise doubts, have axes to grind,” Ahmad argued.

Questionable sources

Recalling the people he has interviewed in Pakistan, Ahmad explained that, beyond “the much-reported civilian deaths, the drones also take a heavy psychological toll. They disrupt normal life and, given their penchant for mistakes, hang over every head like a lethal sword of Damocles.”

“It would only take someone insane to suggest that people living under this terror welcome drones — and, as it happens, Fair’s source for her fatuous claims is a zany fabulist,” Ahmad remarked. “For years Fair based her claims about the drones popularity on a mythical survey carried out by Farhat Taj, a graduate student residing in Norway, for something called ‘Aryana Institute.’”

Ahmad accused Taj of making up the fact that there is support for U.S. drone strikes in FATA. He also pointed out that her “institute was a letterhead organization which only maintained a web presence for a year before vanishing. It seemed to have existed only for the purpose of this report (which was duly picked up by international media). Its claims were refuted within months by a poll conducted by the New America Foundation and Terror Free Tomorrow,” Ahmad explained.

Leading publications including Reuters and The New York Times quoted Taj and the Aryana Institute for Regional Research and Advocacy (AIRRA) in defense of the U.S. drone program in 2009 and 2010. The Times’ link to the alleged organization’s website AIRRA.org, however, is now and has long been dead. Internet web archive the WayBack Machine shows that the website was up in 2009, but, by 2011, it had been taken down.

At the time of the controversy, Ahmad wrote in Al Jazeera about The magical realism of body counts.” He pointed out that, despite the insistence of Fair to the contrary, it was, in fact, AIRRA’s conclusions that “can fairly be described as deeply unreliable and dubious.” Ahmad also noted that AIRRA’s findings were later even debunked by another pro-drone organization.

“Few wondered why the survey’s claims were so at odds with known public opinion in the wider region where, according to a Gallup/Al Jazeera poll conducted around the same period, only nine per cent of people showed support for the drone attacks,” Ahmad wrote at the time. “Those who did wonder, such as the journalists I spoke to in Peshawar, were universally dismissive. But the Institute had served its purpose and, typical of many NGOs, it vanished after a year.”

Despite this, Fair has quoted and continues to quote Farhat Taj in numerous articles and books. Fair draws on Tajin her 2014 book Fighting to the End: The Pakistan Army’s Way of War. Taj is also cited in Pakistan’s Enduring Challenges, a 2015 volume edited by Fair. She again cites Taj in her 2014 Political Science Quarterly article “Pakistani Opposition to American Drone Strikes.”

Squaring the circle, Farhat Taj also quoted Fair in her own book, Taliban, and Anti-Taliban.

After the Al Jazeera debate, Fair continuously shared op-eds that were written by Farhat Taj in 2009 and 2010. Fair used the six-year-old articles expressing the opinion of just one Pakistani from FATA to imply that it is representative of the opinions of Pakistanis living in the overall region.

“With the ‘survey’ rug pulled from under her feet, Fair has moved to anecdote,” Ahmad explained. “She now claims the popularity of drones is proven by the fact that FATA denizens call them ‘ababeel,’ in reference to a Quranic story about a flight of birds that destroyed the invading armies of Abraha, the King of Abyssinia, by dropping stones on them.” Fair mentioned this alleged story in her Al Jazeera interview.

The problem with this anecdote, Ahmad contended, is that there is no documentation of it. “This story also took root only in Farhat Taj’s imagination,” he said.

Government revolving door

Critics have pointed that, aside from Fair’s outright rejection of an enormous body of research and double standards vis-à-vis the studies that have results that she likes, Fair also has a history of working with the U.S. government in a way some researchers would consider problematic.

Fair worked for almost 10 years for the RAND Corporation, a U.S.-based global think tank that scholar Chalmers Johnson has described as“a key institutional building block of the Cold War American empire” and “the premier think tank for the U.S.’s role as hegemon of the Western world.” Fair also served for three years at the U.S. government’s Institute of Peace and for several months at the U.N. Assistance Mission to Afghanistan. Since 2009, Fair has taught in Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program.

 

In the fall of 2011, Fair received a $330,000 grant from the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad Office of Public Affairs. A year later, she received another approximately $330,000 grant from the same agency, to do a “survey of Pakistanis to understand the connection between media consumption and views towards Islamist militancy in Pakistan.”

A professor who specializes in Pakistan but who asked to remain off the record expressed surprise in a message to me that these grants were so large, explaining that researchers rarely ever get so much money.

I reached out to Christine Fair, to get her side of the story. We spoke for almost 40 minutes on the phone. Fair strongly denied that U.S. government funding has ever influenced her research, and said that the majority of the grant money went to pay a Pakistani survey firm.

The results of the survey funded by the U.S. Embassy were published in an article titled “Pakistani Political Communication and Public Opinion on U.S. Drone Attacks,” co-written by Fair and two other scholars, in the September 2015 issue of the Journal of Strategic Studies. In the piece, the authors note that “Conventional wisdom holds that Pakistanis are overwhelmingly opposed to American drone strikes in their country’s tribal areas and that this opposition is driven by mass media coverage of the loss of life and property the strikes purportedly cause.” The authors reject this “conventional wisdom” and instead “contend that awareness of drone strikes will be limited because Pakistan is a poor country with low educational attainment, high rates of illiteracy and persistent infrastructure problems that limit access to mass media.”

Despite the pro-drone conclusion of the study, Fair insisted the funding from the U.S. government did not influence it. She noted that the research was further complicated because the State Department officially “can’t acknowledge” the drone program.

I heard from a source who asked to remain anonymous that Fair has done work with the CIA. Fair told me that she did some contractual work with the CIA while she was an employee at the RAND Corporation. She said she worked on two projects with the CIA, although the findings of only one were published, and it did not involve drones. “I’m afraid I can’t say more than that,” she added.

While working at the RAND Corporation, Fair said that most of her work involved Air Force and Office of the Secretary of Defense policy, but not drones.

Fair affirmed that she has nothing to hide and denied any conflicts of interest. “I’m an open book, as my C.V. indicates,” she said. And, in her research, Fair argued she often comes to “conclusions that are very different from the USG line.”

Shouting loudly

I asked Greenwald what he thought about Fair’s work with the U.S. government. “I think that what destroys her credibility are her arguments and her claims, not her funding sources,” he said. “But it is incredibly ironic that the person who runs around impugning everyone else’s ‘objectivity’ and credibility has her own research funded by the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, something she invariably forgets to mention when she’s maligning everyone else as biased.”

Fair insists that her work with the U.S. government, which she says has granted her some privileges and access to resources that other researchers do not have to their avail, has not influenced her research. She is certainly not a dogmatist, and has publicly criticized some elements of U.S. policy in Pakistan.

Yet Fair continues to steadfastly assert that the drone program in Pakistan is fundamentally different from the drone program in Yemen, Somalia, Afghanistan, and elsewhere. And, in order to do so, she has continuously ignored an enormous body of evidence.

Writing in the Middle East Research and Information Project, scholar Sarah Waheed characterized Fair’s work as “some of the most propagandistic writing in support of President Barack Obama’s targeted kill lists to date.”

“What Fair et al. are proposing is to educate Pakistanis about what the U.S. thinks is good for them. For these political scientists, the right kind of Pakistani possesses the right kind of knowledge: Drone strikes are for his or her own good,” Waheed wrote. “It is with U.S. intervention, through drones and propaganda, that Pakistanis can be saved from their backwardness, their tribalism, their Islamism, their nationalism — in short, themselves.”

“If there is any doubt about the morality of drone strikes,”Waheed proposes imagining “a reverse scenario: If Pakistan’s intelligence agencies were launching drone strikes into the rural Midwest with the purpose of targeting extremist militias — and in the process were killing American children with impunity — it is doubtful that most Americans would stand for it.”

Reacting to her work on drones, Ahmad ultimately summarized Fair as a “provocateur.” “It is in the unfortunate nature of our media that a person who can shout the loudest and make the most outrageous claims is seen as necessary for drawing audiences to an otherwise somnolent forum,” he said.

That Christine Fair has “become a go-to person for commentary on a subject as consequential as this,” Ahmad added, “might explain why the policy around drones is so warped.”

Ben Norton is a politics reporter and staff writer at AlterNet. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

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