Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Rachel Maddow Show Mentions Pakistan And It's Not Good

So, there is this whole CIA official being outed in Pakistan thing. People say it's the ISI, but I'm not too sure. It could be disgruntled journalists. ISI pulls these pranks a little too often, and you need to keep your nerves around these people. Anyway, the Rachel Maddow Show, ran that story and on some USS Cole bombing suspect who escaped a drone bombing in North Waziristan and surfaced in Yemen. Anyway, sometimes her show runs Chris Hayes as a substitute host, a man who is the contributing editor in Washington DC for the progressive journal known as "The Nation". Imagine my shock when I saw this version of "The Nation" flash on my screen:

The Nation!?!?! Our "Nation"? The weird agency mouthpiece newspaper run by one of the squabbling Nizamis? It's like the intersection of the Rachel Maddow Show and Cafe Pyala! Wow! Every year there's some strange Pakistan related fear inducing news, all along the "As Usual Pakistan About to Explode" vein, but what the hell! This is when we get coverage!?!? I know I shouldn't be surprised, but I really like the Rachel Maddow Show, and it's like having your own country suddenly cast as the villain on your favourite show. I already know how stuff is Rachel, you don't have to add fear and stir. Meh. Oh, and last year, during the Scahill Blackwater-really-in-Pakistan expose, it was this:

Yeah. I could complain about Rachel Maddow saying that Pakistan is a scary, scary place, with nukes (her words, not mine), but I just stopped caring right there. My best estimate on the CIA chief thing, matches Professor Juan Cole's personal view as elaborated in this blogpost over the whole fiasco:

The Guardian reports that a lawsuit brought by a Pakistani journalist over wrongful deaths in drone strikes has forced the CIA station chief in Islamabad to flee the country. The official’s identity was discovered by the journalist, Karim Khan of North Waziristan from other journalists or possibly from disgruntled elements in the Pakistani military. It was alleged that the station chief had entered the country on a tourist visa and so had no diplomatic immunity.

The episode demonstrates the miseries of postmodern warfare, wherein President Obama is treating Pakistan the way Henry Kissinger treated Cambodia. If the US is going to conduct military operations in a country, it should be in the terms of a Status of Forces Agreement, and should be carried out by the Department of Defense. To have the CIA just lob missiles onto civilian villages in another country is wrong for all kinds of reasons. CIA operations are covert and US officials cannot even talk about them in public. There therefore can be no public debate or scrutiny of the policy. And, the whole operation breaks US law, since it is essentially a mass assassination campaign, not a war.

While the Pakistani courts might have been reluctant to pursue the case, public anger in Pakistan over the drone strikes runs high and Khan might have landed an activist judge. Activist judges, after all, played a major role both in overthrowing the US-backed military dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf, and in curbing the powers that the executive had arrogated to itself. Could the US drone program be next in its sights?

More serious, and where I would more likely scream ISI tip-off, is apparently the fact that Fahd Mohammad Al-Quoso is still alive and escaped a drone strike that killed lots of people. I'm saying "people" because Mr Mosharraf Zaidi doesn't like it when you straight up say militants. Okay.

Anyway you want a nice conspiracy theory to go with it? September was when there was like a drone every day, and that was likely because maybe the US intel net inside Waziristan had caught news that militants were moving out. Now militants were moving out because, well Pakistan would really like them to leave, what with propaganda that has appeared in the Pakistani press that militants are shifting to Somalia and they should. Here's your conspiracy theory; the ISI was shifting Al Qaeda people out so it gave away the co-ordinates of innocent people to the Americans to kill. They told the Americans that they had actually managed to hit targets they were looking for, but they lied. Then when all these militant Islamists were moved out of the country, the ISI started encouraging stories to be written on how the militants were sneaking out of the country, whilst one of the militants actually showed his face in Yemen. Now Pakistan has egg on its face, the US is embarrassed(ish) that it hit the wrong people, and a load of poor Waziri's are dead. /End Conspiracy Theory

Now go get scared. Boo.

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