Consider the fate of Detroit. It provides a preview of America’s socialist future (if Obama gets re-elected).
This is from Investor’s Business Daily:
“Will the last one to leave please turn off the lights?” goes the old joke. In the socialist worker’s paradise that was the Motor City, nearly half the streetlights are broken and the city can’t afford to fix them.
Detroit, the buckle on the Rust Belt that as recently as the 1970s had 1.8 million people, now has only 713,000 in an area of 139 square miles.
It fell victim to one-party Democratic rule and labor unions that made its key industry — auto manufacturing — uncompetitive and financially unstable. Before there was Greece, there was General Motors.
Yes, that is what happened.
Now Detroit has announced plans to reorganize that could have come right out of Pyongyang.
As Bloomberg reports, some 40% of the city’s 88,000 streetlights are broken, and the city will try to “nudge” people into moving into a smaller, more compact area that can be better maintained.
Mayor Dave Bing proposes to decommission nearly half the city’s lights, including all those in alleys, two-thirds of those in declining neighborhoods and a third of those in more stable neighborhoods.
“You have to identify those neighborhoods where you want to concentrate your population,” said Chris Brown, Detroit’s chief operating officer. “We’re not going to light distressed areas like we light other areas.”
Aha! The phrase “concentrate your population” gives the game away.
This is not about economizing – since when do Democrats in power economize?
The Democrat-controlled City Council has found a pretext for implementing Agenda 21.
So Detroit residents can continue to reside in sparsely populated unlit areas — or move where the government wants them to move. …
In 2008, Obama czar Cass Sunstein co-authored a book called “Nudge” in which he argued that people could be pushed by government action into behaving in ways or doing things they would not ordinarily do or accept. The consent of the governed or the will of the people was considered an anachronism.
The scary part is that Detroit is what President Obama wants to fundamentally transform America into, a place where wealth is redistributed, not created, and where government picks winners and losers in an economy in which we all ultimately lose.
For the evils of Agenda 21, see our posts: World Communist government begins, May 13, 2012; Blessed are the slimy, May 5, 2012; Beware “Agenda 21″, June 24, 2011; The once and new religion of earth-worship, October 27, 2011; Agenda 21: the “smart growth” conspiracy, November 21, 2011;Three eees for environmental equalizing economics, December 4, 2011; Prepare to be DICED, March 23, 2012.
We praised the Stuxnet computer virus for doing an enormous amount of harm to Iran’s centrifuges.
Now we are delighted with the news that more harm is being done to Iran by a virus named Flame.
This is from Investor’s Business Daily, by Andrew Malcolm:
Someone has developed a computer virus that can infiltrate foreign networks and installations, eavesdrop on conversations near laptops, grab images off the screens and send it all back home without being detected. …
The Russians were the ones who blew the cover on this clandestine op, apparently aimed at Iran. According to the Russian internet security firm, Kaspersky Lab, which reported the Flame virus this week, it was Kaspersky Lab, which reported the Flame virus this week, it was designed for espionage.
Not sabotage like the Stuxnet virus that was silently delivered by someone into Iranian nuclear project computers back in 2009. It [Stuxnet] was even programmed to silence infection alarms, so it had time to penetrate deeper and successfully screw up Iran’s centrifuge program more …
Experts said the Flame virus was likely the most complex and sophisticated ever discovered. It’s like unearthing the tip of an ancient pyramid buried in desert sands. No one yet knows how large it is or what all is inside. Much of the virus has yet to be found and gauged. But it’s been reported widespread in the Mideast, primarily Iran, Lebanon, Palestinian areas and Saudi Arabia.
Flame even controls its own spread to avoid detection, can turn on internal desktop microphones to record nearby conversations, can capture and encrypt screen images such as blueprints and transmit the material undetected outside to shifting sets of servers positioned globally to defy locating.
They suggest, given its nature and scope, that it had to be developed by a nation.
Let’s see, it could actually be disinformation from Russia. But who else might be up to such trickery aimed primarily at Iran?
Tuesday Iran announced it had been the victim of a cyber-attack, accusing the U.S. and Israel. Well, we can certainly rule out the United States as Flame inventor. The jabber-mouths of the Obama administration couldn’t keep that kind of secret for two days, let alone two years. They were so eager to garner credit for the campaigning president that they blew the cover on the British mole underwear bomber inside al Qaeda a couple of weeks ago.
So who then? But it matters not, just as long as the thing is working against Iran and the Islamic enemy in general.
We hope this is true.
It comes from PowerLine, by Steven Hayward:
The green energy bubble … is bursting …, and as usual environmentalists are slow to see that they’re about to get run over by a revival of the hydrocarbon economy. … Fossil fuels are crushing the so-called green “fuels of the future” beloved of fruit-juice drinkers and vegans everywhere. …
In an extremely curious New York Times story last week, Times environmental writer John Broder notes that President Obama pushed hard for the final approval of Shell Oil’s long sought permit to begin drilling in a new offshore oil field in Alaska, which has been held up for years by bureaucratic red tape and environmental lawsuits …
Watch out for that pig flying over your neck of the woods.
The fruit-juice vegans are upset about it.
“We never would have expected a Democratic president — let alone one seeking to be ‘transformative’ — to open up the Arctic Ocean for drilling,” said Michael Brune, executive director of the Sierra Club [one of the oldest biggest organizations of environmentalists]. …
Obama has grown very quiet about climate change. He can spot a political loser from a Chicago mile away. He’s not attending the UN’s 20th anniversary of the Earth Summit that started the whole climate diplomacy circus. Twenty years ago the greens browbeat President Bush to attend, which he ultimately did. But the craven greens seem to be giving Obama a pass.
As Roll Call reports: “President Barack Obama’s first Earth Day proclamation in 2009 was an urgent call to address global warming. This year? The word “climate” didn’t even get a mention…
Gone are the urgent statements warning of melting glaciers and rising sea levels. …
This Washington Post headline tells why the enviros are about to get run over: “Center of Gravity in Oil World Shifts to Americas”
From Canada to Colombia to Brazil, oil and gas production in the Western Hemisphere is booming, with the United States emerging less dependent on supplies from an unstable Middle East. Central to the new energy equation is the United States itself, which has ramped up production and is now churning out 1.7 million more barrels of oil and liquid fuel per day than in 2005. . .
“We have a revolution here,” said Larry Goldstein, director of the Energy Policy Research Foundation in New York. “In 47 years in this business, I’ve never seen anything like this. This is the equivalent of a Category 5 hurricane.” …
In Germany, too, … the pledge to phase out nuclear power is looking increasingly unrealistic and … renewable energy subsidies are being cut sharply. … Some leading Social Democrats [party of the left] have called for building . . . more coal-fired power plants (gasp)! …
And the Berliner Morgenpost reports:
The German government no longer believes in the green energy transition. Doubts are growing in the ruling coalition government that the ecological project can succeed.
The news has not yet reached the middle-sized US town where we are headquartered. Our City Council is dominated by voluntary agents of Big Green. They say the town must “urgently” achieve “carbon neutrality” in its electricity supply. They seem pleased to add that there will be “significant rate increases to cover added costs”. One of the Councilmen, a leading shout in the movement, proclaimed this “the greatest moral issue of our time”. After which there was a rush for the doors as the hour had struck when fruit juice and broccoli are served in the grand marble entrance hall.
The generation that carried on the war has been set apart by its experience. Through our great good fortune, in our youth our hearts were touched with fire. It was given to us to learn at the outset that life is a profound and passionate thing.
– from the famous Memorial Day address delivered by Oliver Wendell Holmes for Memorial Day, May 30, 1884, at Keene, NH, before John Sedgwick Post No. 4, Grand Army of the Republic.
Here is another extract from it:
When it was felt so deeply as it was on both sides that a man ought to take part in the war unless some conscientious scruple or strong practical reason made it impossible, was that feeling simply the requirement of a local majority that their neighbors should agree with them? I think not: I think the feeling was right – in the South as in the North. I think that, as life is action and passion, it is required of a man that he should share the passion and action of his time at peril of being judged not to have lived.
If this be so, the use of this day is obvious. It is true that I cannot argue a man into a desire. If he says to me, Why should I seek to know the secrets of philosophy? Why seek to decipher the hidden laws of creation that are graven upon the tablets of the rocks, or to unravel the history of civilization that is woven in the tissue of our jurisprudence, or to do any great work, either of speculation or of practical affairs? I cannot answer him; or at least my answer is as little worth making for any effect it will have upon his wishes if he asked why I should eat this, or drink that. You must begin by wanting to. But although desire cannot be imparted by argument, it can be by contagion. Feeling begets feeling, and great feeling begets great feeling. We can hardly share the emotions that make this day to us the most sacred day of the year, and embody them in ceremonial pomp, without in some degree imparting them to those who come after us. I believe from the bottom of my heart that our memorial halls and statues and tablets, the tattered flags of our regiments gathered in the Statehouses, are worth more to our young men by way of chastening and inspiration than the monuments of another hundred years of peaceful life could be.
But even if I am wrong, even if those who come after us are to forget all that we hold dear, and the future is to teach and kindle its children in ways as yet unrevealed, it is enough for us that this day is dear and sacred.
The word “sacred” is, strictly speaking, inseparable from religious belief. But anything that is revered may be called sacred by analogy. If we hold liberty to be sacred in this way, then to us, atheists and secularists who revere those who died fighting for liberty, this Memorial Day is sacred too.
To the conservative right (which is to say, us “knuckle-dragging Neanderthals”), the nation-state is a Very Good Thing.
To the collectivist left (if you’ll pardon the tautology) it is an abomination from which in their imaginations they have long since moved on (“Forward!” their slogan commands) to International Collectivism under all-powerful, wealth-redistributing, environment-preserving, energy-rationing, contraceptive-distributing, abortion-enforcing, euthanasia-practicing, dissident-eliminating, (Obama-headed?) global governance.
Don’t say “world government”, even though it means the same as “global governance”.
John Bolton, who should be Secretary of State, explains (in a book review* to be found here):
Global governance, the next new thing in trendy international thought, has been typically portrayed as the nearly inevitable evolution upward from the primitive nation-state and its antiquated notions of constitutionalism and popular sovereignty. Not “world government,” wildly unpopular among knuckle-draggers in America, but a rebranded alternative, more nuanced and sophisticated, would creep in on little cat feet before the Neanderthals knew what was up.
American exceptionalism was on its way to the ash heap. Terms like shared and pooled sovereignty were bandied about like new types of cell phones rather than fundamental shifts in the relationship between citizens and state. Multilateral treaties on an astounding array of issues were in prospect — not just the usual subjects of international relations, but matters heretofore quintessentially decided by nation-states: gun control, abortion, the death penalty, among others. …
Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration was surely the high point of global governance’s advance. Here was a president who saw global warming as the threat it was, promising to stop the seas from rising. This self-proclaimed “citizen of the world” rejected U.S. unilateralism, took the United Nations seriously, and understood that European Union-style institutions were the real future. Not only would America have social democracy domestically, but it would join its like-minded confreres worldwide to celebrate global governance’s emerging transcendence. What could go wrong? …
The United States is the main threat to global governance, with its antiquated attachment to its Constitution rather than to multilateral human rights treaties and institutions. …
For Americans, sovereignty is not an abstract concept of international law and politics, nor was it ever rooted in an actual “sovereign” as head of state. … Americans see themselves as personally vested with sovereignty, an ineluctable attribute of citizenship, and they therefore react with appropriate concern when globalistas insist that “pooled” or “shared” sovereignty will actually benefit them. Since most Americans already believe they have too little control over government, the notion of giving up any authority to unfamiliar peoples and governments whose tangible interests likely bear little relation to our own is decidedly unappealing. …
In considering traditional foreign affairs issues, the laws of war, the ICC [International Criminal Court], and the isolation of Israel are all excellent examples of the globalist approach. They seek to exploit both international law and domestic U.S. law to limit, constrain, and intimidate the United States and its political and military leaders from robustly defending our national interests abroad.
One should begin … with skepticism for the very idea of international law ….
Nonetheless, there is no doubt that the proponents of “lawfare” have used this strategy successfully against Israel, and increasingly against the United States. By threatening U.S. officials with prosecution for alleged war crimes or human rights abuses, asserting jurisdiction over them when they travel abroad, for example, the globalistas seek to impose their version of international law over our own constitutional authorities. The American response should be that we recognize no higher earthly authority than the Constitution, which no valid treaty can supersede or diminish. And we certainly do not accept that “customary international law” which we do not voluntarily follow can bind us, especially today’s variety, formed not by actual custom but by leftist academics who hardly have our best interests at heart. …
He concludes with a warning that “the struggle to preserve our constitutional system of liberty and representative government is a great unfolding political war, and the outcome is far from certain.”
First, the political battle over the future of America, by which will be decided whether it will be a thriving capitalist nation or a stagnant socialist region, has to be won by us Neanderthals this coming November. (Likely.)
Then the United States should withdraw from the UN and send it packing from Turtle Bay – to the Antarctic, for instance. (Unlikely.)
But the UN must be destroyed.
* Sovereignty or Submission:Will Americans Rule Themselves or Be Ruled by Others? by John Fonte, Encounter Books, New York, 2011
Munir Muhammad’s Coalition for the Remembrance of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad is one of the fragmented organizations squabbling over the vicious legacy of the Nation of Islam … one of the country’s oldest hate groups. [It] has an ugly fratricidal history. Along with its violent attacks on those outside its circle of race and religion, fueled by a belief that white people are subhumans created by a black mad scientist, it has carried on an equally violent campaign against its own. The list of Nation of Islam dissidents murdered or assaulted by their own people stretches back nearly eighty years. …
Daniel Greenfield writes about Munir Muhammad, the Nation of Islam, and the Coalition for the Remembrance of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, and how they stand in high favor with powerful Democrats in Illinois, at Front Page:
The difference between the Nation of Islam and most hate groups is that NOI members and groups can receive government contracts and plum posts from the Democratic Party.
Munir Muhammad … has spent the last nine years sitting on the Illinois Human Rights Commission, with a nearly fifty thousand dollar salary …
How does the business manager for a hate group get appointed by two Illinois governors to a human rights commission? It’s surprisingly easy. It’s just a matter of knowing the right people. …
CROE-TV, the Coalition for the Remembrance of The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s broadcasting arm … puts out several television shows featuring Munir Muhammad. … Guests include Valerie Jarrett [senior advisor and assistant to President Obama], Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Barack Obama. … former Chicago mayor and brother of the former Chief of Staff, Richard M Daley, .. Senator Dick Durbin, … Louis Farrakhan …
When Cook County Sheriff Michael Sheahan wanted to get rid of one of his critics, he just swapped him out with Munir Muhammad, who became Vice-Chairman of the Board of Corrections, not to mention also serving on the Cook County Sheriff’s Committee on Religious Tolerance …
Ponder that: a man notorious for his intolerance serves on a County Sheriff’s Committee on Religious Tolerance …
… and the Chicago Police Department’s Multicultural Forum.
Illinois politicians didn’t just give Munir Muhammad lucrative policy gigs, they donated thousands of dollars directly to his organization. An organization whose reason for existence is promoting the ideas of a bigot, whose views, aside from skin color, have little to distinguish them from those of Aryan Identity groups.
Governor Blagojevich had doled out some 50,000 dollars in state money to Munir’s hate group and even proclaimed February 12, 2006 to be “Coalition for the Remembrance of Elijah Muhammad Day” and encouraged citizens of the state to recognize the organization for its “ongoing commitment to ensuring the legacy of this influential African-American leader”—an influential leader who had described white people as devils and “born murderers”.
Similar proclamations from the governor’s office in 2004 and 2005 described the Coalition as “an important voice in both the African-American community and the general public”. …
After Blagojevich was gone, Governor Pat Quinn renominated Munir Muhammad to the Illinois Human Rights Commission.
But this time – confusingly to observers like us, resigned to the extreme cynicism of most politicians – there was a sudden astonishing upsurge of decency, or conscience, or revulsion, or something we don’t know about, in the minds of some Democrats, and this notorious racist was voted down:
The result was a brief debate and a close vote with the Illinois Senate splitting mostly down party lines. Twenty senators voted to reappoint Munir Muhammad and thirty voted against—with only seven Democrats crossing party lines to vote against him. … The Illinois State Senate transcript for Munir Muhammad’s original appointment shows that it was carried without a single opposing vote. Obama appeared to be present at the session, which means that he voted to confirm Munir Muhammad.
In 2001, 75,000 dollars was allotted to the Coalition for the purchase of television cameras for its production studios, courtesy of Illinois State Senator Donne E. Trotter. When Gilad Atzmon, a figure so repulsive that even Anti-Israel groups have deemed him too Anti-Semitic to be associated with, appeared on Munir Muhammad’s show, the cameras filming the whole thing may well have been the ones paid for by taxpayer dollars. At the time Barack Obama was a member of the Illinois State Senate and his funding requests appear next to those of Trotter.
But wait, there’s more:
It would be nice to think that Munir Muhammad’s success was an individual blind spot in the system, but it wasn’t. Claudette Marie Muhammad, Chief of Protocol in the Nation of Islam, had been appointed to the Illinois Anti-Discrimination Panel.
And there was Willie Barrow, the Chairwoman of the Commission on Discrimination and Hate Crimes, an enthusiastic admirer of Farrakhan and one of Obama’s Faith Endorsers. A woman whom Michelle Obama described as “our friend”.
Munir Muhammad has lost his position and his fifty thousand dollar salary, but there is little doubt that Illinois politicians will continue trooping down to the studio to chat with the bigot …
Corruption is the way things are done in Chicago and that includes turning a blind eye to black racist groups who may believe that white people are the devil, but can be counted on to deliver the votes from Elijah Muhammad’s mothership.
Chicago’s dirt is no longer just the property of that city; it belongs to all of us. And Munir Muhammad also belongs to all of us. The men and women he sat across from are no longer just big wheels in state politics — they run the country. And the Chicago Way has become the American Way.
Only for a little while longer, we hope.
The forthcoming presidential election in the US is about socialism versus capitalism.
“Capitalism” was Karl Marx’s word for what Adam Smith called “the natural order of liberty”. To be for capitalism is to be for individual freedom.
Obama, whether he admits it or not, is a socialist, and his agenda is to change America into a socialist welfare state. As the collapse of one after another of such states in Europe demonstrates, that is the road to economic ruin.
Romney is a capitalist. He would keep America the free market country it has always been. The free market is the only road to general prosperity.
Here’s Milton Friedman on Socialism versus Capitalism – as the short video clip is titled – in a 1979 Phil Donahue show:
The Obama administration will go to any length to prevent America developing its own mineral resources.
This is from Townhall Finance, by Lincoln Brown, writing on May 24, 2012:
The news came out today that the administration imposed its 20 year ban on uranium mining on federal land in Arizona with no scientific basis to support the move. In fact, an email from a National Park Service hydrologist states that the Draft Environmental Impact Statement fails to establish links between impacts on water and uranium mining. The leaked email states in part:
This is obviously a touchy case where the hard science doesn’t strongly support a policy position. Probably the best way to ‘finesse’ this would be fall back on the ‘precautionary principle’ and take the position that in absence of even more complete certainty that there is no connection between uranium mines and regional ground water, we need to be cautious.
One thousand jobs and $29 million in revenue are on the block in this situation.
Utah Congressman Rob Bishop who is the chairman of the House, National Parks, Forests and Public Lands Subcommittee released this statement [which he quotes in part and we have shortened further]:
I am concerned and troubled by the Department of Interior’s decision to proceed with the ban despite the fact their own experts cautioned that scientific evidence was lacking. It is now increasingly apparent that the decision was motivated by politics rather than science as the Administration would have us believe. … These emails illustrate that Secretary Salazar blatantly ignored the scientific analysis in order to advance the Administration’s narrow-minded political agenda.
It’s one thing to oppose nuclear energy. It is another thing to curtail it without scientific evidence.
Lincoln Brown obviously reckons as we do that the “progressive” Left’s objection to the mining of uranium has nothing to do with any threat to water, but because it is used to produce nuclear energy.
Its hatred of nuclear energy derives irrationally from a hatred of nuclear weapons (if owned by the United States, that is – not necessarily if owned by Russia, China, North Korea, Pakistan, or Iran).
Uranium is not the only mineral that the Left-in-Power is against extracting from American soil.
This is from American Resources Policy Network:
Sounding the alarm on the possible impact of hypothetical mining — in spite of the fact that no permit application or specific plans have been submitted — the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has released a cursory review of the Bristol Bay Watershed in Alaska.
The EPA is the main instrument of Obama’s dictatorship.
The EPA’s unprecedented early action is part of the agency’s effort to derail the development of one of the largest domestic deposits of key strategic mineral resources (Copper, Molybdenum, Gold, Silver and Rhenium) – the so-called Pebble Deposit in Southwestern Alaska.
While the project has not even entered the permitting process, EPA seems ready to hit the kill switch — preemptively vetoing the project before any application has been filed. Here are some key facts:
· While the U.S. is the world’s third-largest Copper producer, the related risk exposure to possible supply disruption is disproportionately greater than it is for any other mineral. On the national security front, the Pentagon has already reported a “significant delay” to a major weapons program due to inadequate copper supply.
· The unilateral expansion of EPA powers under section 404(c) of the Clean Water Act would effectively give the agency ultimate authority to derail any project in the United States that touches on water — with potential impact for projects in every sector of the US economy, from mining to farming, manufacturing, building, energy, and water treatment.
· The EPA has asserted this preemptive power before, and it has been rebuffed in Federal Court. In April, a District Court judge ruled that the EPA’s previous unilateral expansion of its authority to revoke permits already granted for a coal mining project in West Virginia was illegal. In issuing the ruling, the judge termed EPA’s argument for such an expansive power a case of “magical thinking.”
American Resources principal Dan McGroarty’s statement on the issue:
The EPA’s decision to conduct a premature watershed study on a mining project that has yet to enter the established permitting process is a dramatic expansion of the agency’s authority. When it comes to critical metals and minerals, the US is heavily dependent on foreign sources of supply. The EPA’s actions will have a chilling effect on domestic resource development, which will impact our national security, manufacturing competiveness, and ability to innovate.
(See also our post Elements of future conflict, February 18, 2012)
“This photo was taken at La Bastille Plaza in Paris, during the election celebration for the comrade socialist president Hollande. See any French flags? Anywhere? Actually, there is ONE towards the bottom right. The other flags are in order of appurtenance, Palestinian (2 flags top right+1 center left), Algerian, Turkish (towards center), Syrian (towards left of pic + below Palestinian flag), Moroccan (w. star in center), and European Union flag. The other flags I can’t recognize, there are also Syndicates or Unions’ flags. That’s France in a nutshell.”
This is from Townhall, by Bob Beauprez:
In the recent French presidential election, Nicolas Sarkozy was narrowly defeated by Francois Hollande. Faced with a similar financial crisis as much of Europe and raging unemployment …
Caused by decades of redistributive socialism …
… Sarkozy had championed cutbacks in government spending, but Hollande had promised even more government largesse, “Austerity can no longer be inevitable!” he declared in his Sunday night victory speech. …
Cure for the disease? More of the disease!
But did the French electorate really vote for bankruptcy?
No – a majority of French voters did not. Hollande was voted in by Muslims:
The challenges created by the large foreign Muslim population have been evident on many occasions including the Paris riots in 2005, 2007, 2009, and again in 2011. [A] chilling, ominous analysis of the election results [see below] suggests that it was just manifested again. And, the French experience is far from unique in Europe.
He goes on to quote this:
Hello to my American friends,
As you know, the Socialist François Hollande won the presidential elections in France, last Sunday. It is a catastrophe for France.
Hollande was elected by the Muslims:
A survey (of 10,000 Muslims) shows that 93% of the Muslims voted for him.
As 2 million Muslims participated in this election, Hollande got 1,720,000 Muslim votes more than Sarkozy did: (0.93-0.07) x 2,000,000 = 1,720,000. But at the end, from the entire population, he got only 1,139,316 votes more than Sarkozy. So, without the Muslims’ votes, Sarkozy would have been re-elected.
All the Muslim criminals feel now empowered. Criminality is already on the rise (1,700 cars were burnt in France for the first night). Muslims are screaming anti-French and anti-Jews watchwords in our streets.
Veiled women, wearing the illegal burqa, are strolling in our streets.
And, as if this wasn’t enough, Hollande wants to give to all the [as yet unenfranchised] foreigners the right to vote in our elections!!
France will face a very hard situation. We are heading for civil war in a few years.
That’s the last news from occupied France.
That great injustice has been done by a court in Pakistan cannot come as a surprise, but it must be angrily deplored. A brave man, Dr. Shakil Afridi, who should receive honor and reward for carrying out an act beneficial to the whole world, including his own country, is instead to be punished for it, by imprisonment for 33 years.
A Pakistani doctor who helped the U.S. track down Osama bin Laden was convicted of high treason Wednesday [today] and sentenced to 33 years in prison, officials said, a verdict that is likely to further strain the country’s relationship with Washington.
Could any strain be great enough to persuade the Obama administration that Pakistan is not an ally of the US?
[Dr. Shakil] Afridi was also ordered to pay a fine of about $3,500 and will spend an additional three and half years in prison if he does not …
Afridi was tried under the Frontier Crimes Regulations, or FCR, the set of laws that govern Pakistan’s semiautonomous tribal region. Human rights organizations have criticized the FCR for not providing suspects due process of law. There is no right to legal representation, to present material evidence or cross-examine witnesses. Verdicts are normally handed down by a Khyber government official in consultation with a council of government elders.
Dr Shakil Afridi, at personal risk, helped to identify bin Laden.
Shakil Afridi ran a vaccination program for the CIA to collect DNA and verify bin Laden’s presence at the compound in the town of Abbottabad where U.S. commandos killed the al-Qaida chief last May.
The operation outraged Pakistani officials because they were not told about it beforehand.
Considering that bin Laden was sheltering under the wing of the Pakistani government, and that their secret services are buddies of the Taliban, it was not only sensible but essential to keep them ignorant of the plan.
Indeed the verdict, which treats Dr. Afridi’s courageous act as treasonous, proves that the Pakistani authorities are on the side of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
What is the US government going to do to help the man who, at his own peril, did such vitally important work for it?
Senior U.S. officials have called for Afridi to be released, saying his work served Pakistani and American interests. His conviction comes at a sensitive time because the U.S. is already frustrated by Pakistan’s refusal to reopen NATO supply routes to Afghanistan. The supply routes were closed six months ago in retaliation for American airstrikes [with helicopters] that [mistakenly] killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.
It is morally imperative that the US government bring all the pressure it can to bear on the Pakistani authorities to reverse the conviction of Dr. Shakil Afridi. But will the Obama administration do any such thing? To judge by its past form, the Obama administration is more likely to increase the aid it gives to Pakistan than to threaten it with punitive action.
(Hat-tip to reader and commenter Frank)