U.S. senators penalize Pakistan for jailing CIA helper

Party Rooster

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Apr 27, 2005
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U.S. senators penalize Pakistan for jailing CIA helper
Reuters – Thu, May 24, 2012

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. senators scandalized by Pakistan's jailing of a doctor for helping the CIA track down Osama bin Laden voted on Thursday to cut aid to Islamabad by $33 million -- one million for each year in the doctor's sentence.

"It's arbitrary, but the hope is that Pakistan will realize we are serious," said Senator Richard Durbin after the unanimous 30-0 vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee.

"It's outrageous that they (the Pakistanis) would say a man who helped us find Osama bin Laden is a traitor," said Durbin, the Senate's number two Democrat.

The Senate Armed Services Committee later passed a measure that could lead to even deeper cuts in aid.

The sentencing on Wednesday of Dr Shakil Afridi for 33 years on treason charges added to U.S. frustrations with Pakistan over what Washington sees as its reluctance to help combat Islamist militants fighting the Afghan government and the closure of supply routes to NATO troops in Afghanistan.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the jailing of the doctor "unjust and unwarranted" and vowed to continue to press the case with Islamabad. "The United States does not believe there is any basis for holding Dr. Afridi."

Afridi was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign, in which he collected DNA samples, that is believed to have helped the American intelligence agency track down bin Laden in a Pakistani town last year.

The al Qaeda leader was killed in the town of Abbottabad a year ago in a unilateral U.S. special forces raid that heavily damaged ties between Islamabad and Washington. Since then, there have been growing calls in the U.S. Congress to cut off some or all of U.S. aid.

Senator John McCain, top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, said lawmakers had agreed to withhold certain military aid for Pakistan until the defense secretary certifies that Pakistan is not detaining people like Afridi.

"All of us are outraged at the imprisonment and sentencing of some 33 years - virtually a death sentence - to the doctor in Pakistan who was instrumental ... in the removal of Osama bin Laden," McCain said, adding that Afridi was innocent of any wrongdoing. "That has frankly outraged all of us."

The Senate Appropriations Committee's action docking Pakistan's aid came after a subcommittee earlier in the week slashed assistance to Islamabad -- and warned it would withhold even more cash if Pakistan does not reopen supply routes for NATO soldiers in neighboring Afghanistan.

Pakistan has been one of the leading recipients of U.S. foreign aid in recent years. Even after the cuts voted this week it still would receive about $1 billion in fiscal 2013, if the full Senate and House of Representatives approve.

http://news.yahoo.com/senators-penalize-pakistan-jailing-doctor-aided-cia-200533646.html
And the story of the sentencing:

Pakistani doctor jailed for helping CIA find bin Laden

By Ibrahim Shinwari and Jibran Ahmad
PESHAWAR, Pakistan | Wed May 23, 2012 4:00pm EDT

(Reuters) - Pakistani authorities have sentenced a doctor accused of helping the CIA find Osama bin Laden to 33 years in jail on charges of treason, officials said, a move almost certain to further strain ties between Washington and Islamabad.

Shakil Afridi was accused of running a fake vaccination campaign, in which he collected DNA samples, that is believed to have helped the American intelligence agency track down bin Laden in a Pakistani town.

The al Qaeda chieftain was killed in a unilateral U.S. special forces raid in the town of Abbottabad in May last year.

"Dr Shakil has been sentenced to 33 years imprisonment and a fine of 320,000 Pakistani rupees ($3,477)," said Mohammad Nasir, a government official in the northwestern city of Peshawar, where the jail term will be served. He gave no further details.

Afridi is the first person to be sentenced by Pakistani authorities in the bin Laden case.

The sentence was handed down under tribal laws, which unlike the national penal code, do not carry the death penalty for treason.

U.S. officials were strongly critical of the sentencing.

"Without commenting on specific individuals, anyone who helped the United States find bin Laden was working against al Qaeda and not against Pakistan," said Pentagon spokesman George Little.

Bin Laden's long presence in Pakistan -- he was believed to have stayed there for years -- despite the worldwide manhunt for him raised suspicions in Washington that Pakistani intelligence officials may have sheltered him.

Pakistani officials deny this and say an intelligence gap enabled bin Laden to live here undetected.

No one has yet been charged for helping the al Qaeda leader take refuge in Pakistan. A government commission tasked with investigating how he managed to evade capture by Pakistani authorities for so long is widely accused of being ineffective.

Afridi's imprisonment will almost certainly anger ally Washington at a sensitive time, with both sides engaged in difficult talks over re-opening NATO supply routes to U.S.-led troops in Afghanistan.

Senior U.S. officials had made public appeals for Pakistan, a recipient of billions of dollars in American aid, to release Afridi, detained within weeks of the raid that killed bin Laden and strained ties with Islamabad.

In January, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in a television interview that Afridi and his team had been key in finding bin Laden, describing him as helpful and insisting the doctor had not committed treason or harmed Pakistan.

U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher introduced legislation in February calling for Afridi to be granted American citizenship and said it was "shameful and unforgivable that our supposed allies" charged him.

VIOLATION OF SOVEREIGNTY

The U.S. raid that killed bin Laden in the garrison town of Abbottabad, just a few hours' drive from the capital Islamabad, humiliated Pakistan's powerful military, which described the move as a violation of sovereignty.

Intelligence cooperation between the United States and Pakistan, vital for the fight against militancy, has subsequently been cut drastically.

Afridi's prison term could complicate efforts to break a deadlock in talks over the re-opening of land routes through Pakistan to U.S.-led NATO forces in Afghanistan, which are crucial for supplies.

Pakistan closed the supply routes, also seen as vital to the planned withdrawal of most foreign troops from Afghanistan before the end of 2014, in protest against last November's killing of 24 Pakistani soldiers in a NATO air attack along the Afghan border.

Afridi's case highlighted severe tensions between Pakistan and the United States.

He was arrested soon after bin Laden was killed, and has not been publicly heard of since. Seventeen health workers who worked with Afridi on the vaccination drive were fired in March, according to termination letters seen by Reuters, which described them as having acted "against the national interest".

On May 2, one year after bin Laden's death, some of them appeared at the site where bin Laden's run-down white cement and brick house stood before it was demolished by Pakistani authorities.

"He (Afridi) was very nice to all the people in the team and did his job very diligently," Naseem Bibi, one of the health workers told Reuters, holding one of the notices.

"Yes he was very interested in this house on that day (of the vaccination drive) but I am not sure why."

The sackings underscored Pakistan's lingering fury over the bin Laden affair, which exposed the military to rare public criticism, both because of the presence of the al Qaeda chief in the country, and the fact that U.S. special forces just swept in and out of the country and faced no resistance.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/05/23/us-pakistan-binladen-idUSBRE84M0MM20120523
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
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#3
The decision to kill bin Laden was the easiest choice Obama could've made. Actually acting to help this guy, on the other hand, would take some courage. Not quite the courage it took to walk into that house and ID a mass murderer surrounded by his henchmen, but it would still take some courage.

Let's hope Romney has it, and he only has another six months to wait.
 

whiskeyguy

PR representative for Drunk Whiskeyguy.
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Jan 12, 2010
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#4
We should really just cut all our aid to that fucking country.

"It's arbitrary, but the hope is that Pakistan will realize we are serious," said Senator Richard Durbin after the unanimous 30-0 vote by the Senate Appropriations Committee.
If it's arbitrary, then why would they realize we're serious?
 

KRSOne

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#8
Our, us, we..... don't include me in that shit, I vote against all this welfare for the rich.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

Liberal Psycopath
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#10
So Kirk, since the CIA didn't really kill Bin Laden, what is the real reason Pakistan jailed the doctor and why are the US Senators making such a big deal about it?
 

Norm Stansfield

私は亀が好きだ。
Mar 17, 2009
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#11
Did you post in the wrong thread, or are you just talking random nonsense?
Come on. You know what he's talking about. I don't know who he's been parroting lately, or maybe he's back on his meds, but he keeps bringing up good points. Most of that billion dollars we hand Pakistan goes to houses and cars for various generals and politicians. That's just how third world countries work.
 

NuttyJim

Registered User
Feb 18, 2006
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#12
So Kirk, since the CIA didn't really kill Bin Laden, what is the real reason Pakistan jailed the doctor and why are the US Senators making such a big deal about it?
What no one is telling you is that OBL has been "corrrrrected" and working the midnight shift at a undisclosed 7-11. If anyone found this out how would the good people of this country get their fill of slushies and taquito's! Plus he promised to keep the shelves stocked with Alex Jones films, silver, and survival seeds.
 

KRSOne

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Dec 8, 2011
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#13
Did you post in the wrong thread, or are you just talking random nonsense?
Foreign aid is nothing but a bribe to the leaders of these countries. I thought everyone knew that. Pakistan clearly warned Osama when Clinton bombed his camp in Afghanistan. That alone should have been enough to cut off the welfare for Pakistans leaders.
 

JoeyDVDZ

That's MR. MOJO, Motherfucker!
Aug 20, 2004
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#14
A rare occurrence where I'm down with Kirk. Pakistan should not get another cent from us, period. If they squawk, back India on a campaign to wipe Pakistan off the planet.
 

MayrMeninoCrash

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#15
Foreign aid is nothing but a bribe to the leaders of these countries. I thought everyone knew that. Pakistan clearly warned Osama when Clinton bombed his camp in Afghanistan. That alone should have been enough to cut off the welfare for Pakistans leaders.
Why wouldn't the CIA just warn Osama if he was about to be bombed?
 
Dec 8, 2004
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#16
***Update***

'Bin Laden doctor' jailed for militant link, says court

A Pakistani doctor was jailed last week for alleged links to a banned militant group - not for helping the CIA to track down Osama Bin Laden, the text of the trial court's judgement shows.

The BBC's Orla Guerin says the papers add a bizarre twist to the case.

It was originally thought that Shakil Afridi had been imprisoned for running a fake vaccination programme to gather information for US intelligence.

Dr Afridi's brother, Jamil, has dismissed the allegations as "rubbish".

Shakil Afridi was jailed for 33 years by the tribal court in a closed hearing.

His family have said the treason charges against him are also baseless.

The text of the judgement - released on Wednesday - shows that Dr Afridi was convicted for providing support and medical treatment to members of the militant group, Lashkar-e-Islam.

The judgement says there is also evidence that he was involved with foreign intelligence agencies, and this should now be considered by other courts.

Our correspondent says that whatever the official reason for his conviction, many in Pakistan will believe that Dr Afridi was jailed for helping the CIA locate Osama Bin Laden.
'Changing tune'

The text of the judgement makes clear Dr Afridi was tried for "anti-state activities". The controversial hearing was held behind closed doors under Pakistan's tribal justice system.

The BBC's M Ilyas Khan in Islamabad say that the court action was unusual because no militant leader or abettor has been tried and jailed in Pakistan's tribal regions.

Meanwhile, Jamil Afridi has told the BBC that suggestions that his brother supported Lashkar-e-Islam were "rubbish".

He said that far from giving a donation to the militants, Dr Afridi had been kidnapped by them and forced to pay a ransom.

"The authorities keep changing their tune," said Jamil Afridi. "Last week they were accusing him of something else. What kind of justice is that?"

In an earlier BBC interview, Jamil Afridi said that he was concerned for his safety and the safety of his brother.

There is some speculation that Wednesday's release of the judgment - which will almost certainly be the subject of a legal appeal by Dr Afridi's lawyers - may have been done under pressure from Washington.

On Friday a US Senate panel cut $33m (£21m) in aid to Pakistan in response to the jailing - $1m for every year of his sentence.

US officials say Dr Afridi was instrumental in tracking down the al-Qaeda leader and have called for his release.

It is not clear if any DNA from Bin Laden or any family members was ever obtained, or whether the doctor even knew the identity of the target.

His conviction has added to strains in US-Pakistani relations, already under pressure because of continuing US drone strikes in Pakistan and because of Islamabad's refusal to re-open overland Nato supply routes through Pakistan to Afghanistan. The routes were shut down in November since a US airstrike killed 24 Pakistani soldiers on the Afghan border.

Bin Laden was killed by US forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in May 2011.

His presence in Pakistan embarrassed Islamabad, which argued that the covert US operation was a violation of its sovereignty.
Link
 

Ego

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Feb 15, 2005
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#17
We had to know this was going to happen. This guy did us a massive favor by making sure we got the right man. He and his family should have been offered asylum and smuggled out of Pakistan before or immediately after the raid.