Posts Tagged: Pakistan

Inside Balochistan With Willem Marx

Signed copies of Balochistan at a Crossroads, by Willem Marx and Marc Wattrelot, are available directly from the authors via Paypal. You can get plain old unsigned ones via Amazon in the U.S.

"I was supposed to fly to Afghanistan today but my body armor didn't arrive in time," was something Willem Marx said to me one of the first times we met. He says things like this on a not infrequent basis. Marx currently works at Bloomberg TV and has reported from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uzbekistan, the Arctic Circle, and other less trodden parts of the world.

In 2009, he spent time [...]


In a World… One Nurse Dares to Enter bin Laden's Compound!

Every screenwriter in Hollywood's mind exploded last night, with the news that the CIA recruited a doctor in Pakistan to launch a fake hepatitis vaccination program in order to veryyyy slowly gain access to the bin Laden compound so as to collect DNA. There's a hot role there for, I dunno, Sheetal Sheth or Mindy Kaling or someone, because: 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.

Now the [...]


Video Report From Poorly-Marketed Natural Disaster In Pakistan

"Humanitarian organizations cited sparse media coverage globally and the relatively low death toll as the main factors in the slow pace of donations. Other elements, they said, included the preoccupation many nations have right now with their own economic problems, donor fatigue left over from the Haiti earthquake; and the August vacation season, when people are somewhat detached from the world." -Come on, Pakistan. Everyone knows if you want to roll-out a natural disaster that that puts one-fifth of your country (60,000 square miles, an area roughly the size of England) under water, you don't do it in August! Also, if you want to get those [...]


Zadari Not Immune

I cannot claim to have anything more than a cursory understanding of the political situation in Pakistan, but this strikes me as something to be concerned about: "Pakistan's top court today struck down a controversial amnesty deal that has protected President Zardari and his allies from corruption charges, deepening country's political turmoil as it battles Islamic militants." Yay instability! What a cheering year this has turned out to be.


Great Day For The Obama White House!

• "Contrary to assurances it has deployed U.S. drones only against known senior leaders of al Qaida and allied groups, the Obama administration has targeted and killed hundreds of suspected lower-level Afghan, Pakistani and unidentified “other” militants in scores of strikes in Pakistan’s rugged tribal area, classified U.S. intelligence reports show."

• "A number of small banks used $2.1 billion in government cash intended to boost small-business lending to repay bailout funds from the financial crisis, a government watchdog said Tuesday in a report that also concluded the banks lent less money than firms that didn't take bailout aid."


U.S. Federal Funds Still Underwriting Proselytizing in Haiti

On January 20th, we published the results of an investigation that proved the use of United States Agency for International Development funding in Haiti, in direct violation of executive orders. While we noted considerable evidence of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) chaplains proselytizing at USAID-funded Samaritan's Purse cholera clinics, USAID dismissed the findings, attributing the abuse to "an individual" and noted that this NGO partner "is working to re-educate their staff about regulations pertaining to religious activities."

The BGEA itself seems happy to sell this claim as well. A January 24th story about Graham's organizations in the Charlotte Observer (later picked up by McClatchy Newspapers) noted, "Samaritan’s [...]


Is Pakistan, Of All Countries, Winning the War on Terror?

In the latest of what seems like a real string of major developments in a war against the Taliban and al-Qaeda, Mullah Abdul Kabir, said to be very influential in east Afghanistan, has been detained by the Pakistan government. Even though this reportedly took place several days ago, the American government says it still can't confirm this for sure-even though the Times (by way of the impeccable Dexter Filkins) asserts it directly. Weird, right?


Revisiting Partition

Who was responsible for the partition of India? Traditionally the blame has been placed on Pakistani founding father Mohammad Ali Jinnah. But: "A controversial new book by a senior politician from India's Hindu nationalist party suggests that Mr Jinnah, a secular man who drank and smoked but rarely visited the mosque, has too long been demonised by Indian society. Furthermore, it argues that he only raised the prospect of a separate Pakistan with independence leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi as a bargaining tool and that it was the inflexibility of Jawaharlal Nehru, the man who became independent India's first prime minister, that ultimately led to the division of the [...]


The Endless Drone War in Pakistan

"A group of Pakistanis met in Islamabad late last month to discuss the impact of U.S. drone strikes in their communities. One of the attendees was a 16-year-old boy named Tariq Aziz who had volunteered to learn photography to begin documenting drone strikes near his home. Within 72 hours of the meeting Aziz was killed in a U.S. drone strike. His 12-year-old cousin was also killed in the Oct. 31 attack." U.S. drones have killed 175 children. (via)


Wikileaks and the Dangers of Hubris

As anybody who has read a John le Carré novel knows, the spooks, many of whom work with or as diplomats, are in the habit of putting false information about in order to achieve this or that noble or nefarious end. Which raises a number of subtle questions regarding the recent WikiLeaks cable disclosures: how much of this stuff is exaggerated or untrue? Is it even possible to untangle the web of deceit and counter-deceit (and incompetence and foolishness) woven by our diplomats and their masters? Exactly what methods are El Pais, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, the New York Times and the Guardianthe newspapers called on to vet [...]


Cultural Globalization and Pakistani Rap Beggars, with Cord Jefferson

About two years ago, on a sluggish L into Manhattan, the train stopped suddenly somewhere under the East River, flinging forward anyone who hadn't been gripping seat or strap. I watched as a white gentleman-neo-nerdy and a bit old for his skinny jeans-reached much too late for the pole to his left. He stumbled hard into a black guy about 15 years his junior and one foot taller, causing the black guy to drop his soda. Immediately, everyone fell silent and stared, as if the spilled Dr. Pepper were a Baselitz he'd been delivering as a gift.