What should be done to help Dr. Shakil Afridi?

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What should be done to help Dr. Shakil Afridi?

When I was a young lad I had a book which contained some of the famous speeches and writings from US History, with excerpts from Martin Luther King, Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Paine and others.  My favorite was always JFK’s inaugural address, but not as much the “ask not” section as much as the section that was his defense of liberty….

Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans—born in this century, tempered by war, disciplined by a hard and bitter peace, proud of our ancient heritage—and unwilling to witness or permit the slow undoing of those human rights to which this Nation has always been committed, and to which we are committed today at home and around the world.

Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe, in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.

 Later I would get some of the backstory on this speech, mostly his anger when China was lost to the Maoists….

Mr. Speaker, over this weekend we have learned the extent of the disaster that has befallen China and the United States. The responsibility for the failure of our foreign policy in the Far East rests squarely with the White House and the Department of State. The continued insistence that aid would not be forthcoming, unless a coalition of government with the Communists were formed, was a crippling blow to the National Government.…This is a tragic story of China, whose freedom we once fought to preserve. What our young men had saved, our diplomats and our President have frittered away.

I was thinking about this quote the other day as I read numerous reports about the sad case of Pakistani Doctor Shakil Afridi who has been charged and convicted of Treason, with a sentence imposed of 33 years. A reminder from The Washington Post:

The ISI [Pakistani Inteligence] detained Afridi, a government surgeon, three weeks after U.S. commandos killed bin Laden. Afridi, 48, ran a fake hepatitis vaccination drive to collect bin Laden’s DNA as a way to verify the al-Qaeda leader’s presence in Abbottabad, the garrison town in Pakistan where he hid for six years until his death.

Senior U.S. officials and several members of Congress have expressed outrage at Pakistan’s punishment of Afridi, while lauding him as a hero and patriot. But Pakistani leaders call him a traitor who spied for a foreign power that launched an illegal unilateral operation.

Within the context of JFKs world view, is Pakistan a friend or foe?  And what can be done about Doctor Afridi?

Now, I am certain that there are things going on at the State Department on this issue, but I’m not entirely certain I have any idea what they are.  The trial itself is in question, as the Washington Post piece made clear…

On Monday, relatives and supporters of Afridi said at a news conference in the northwestern city of Peshawar that they will seek to overturn his conviction, handed down last week in a tribal court. Under that system, Afridi did not have the right to present evidence or have an attorney.

“The United States should help us,” Jamil Afridi, 50, brother of the doctor, said in an interview.

Peshawar prison authorities have barred him and the family’s attorneys from communicating with Shakil Afridi, saying a no-visitors policy had been imposed for his safety. The doctor’s wife and three children have not seen him for a year, according to Jamil Afridi.

Shakil Afridi has a right to an appeal under rules that govern the tribal areas, but lawyers seeking to represent him said they have been unable to obtain a copy of the court’s verdict, which they need to file an appeal. They also said they have been barred from getting the doctor’s signature, which they need to establish power of attorney so they can represent him.

An article in The Guardian even disputes that that is what he was convicted of:

The Pakistani doctor who assisted the CIA in its hunt for Osama bin Laden was given a 33-year jail sentence not for aiding the US intelligence service but for providing medical care to banned terror groups, according to leaked legal documents.

According to a five-page verdict seen by Pakistan's Dawn newspaper, the administrator from the country's tribal areas that tried and convicted Shakil Afridi did not even consider evidence that the doctor had conspired with the CIA on a fake vaccination programme.

So, what can be done?  There are a few efforts ongoing in the House and Senate.  In the House, Congressman Dana Rohrbacher of California has introduced two separate bills on Afridi’s behalf, one to grant him US Citizenship, and another to bestow on him the US’s highest civilian medal. 

He also introduced an Amendment (which failed) to cut Pakistani Aid, saying in defense of his efforts that:

How can we forget this same Pakistani Government gave safe haven to Osama bin Laden after he led the conspiracy that slaughtered 3,000 Americans on 9/11? After our SEALs went in to get him, the Pakistani Government took the wreckage of our downed stealth helicopter and gave it for study to Communist China, whom they refer to as their ‘‘all-weather friend.’’ The Pakistani Government has gone so far as to arrest and imprison, without trial, Dr. Afridi, the doctor who helped us gather the intelligence that located Osama bin Laden in the nest that the Pakistani Government had provided him right there in Pakistan. The Pakistani Government threw him in jail and is talking about trying him for treason for the good deed that he helped us in bringing to justice the man who slaughtered 3,000 of our citizens.

And we can continue to give money to these people, even as we ignore the suffering of Dr. Afridi, who is in prison now, languishing in prison?

And all of us are forgetting this hero?


In the Senate, Lindsey Graham is leading a similar effort:

If the Senate Appropriations Committee has its way, Pakistan’s military assistance package will be docked $33 million— $1 million for every year the doctor who assisted the U.S. in tracking down Osama bin Laden sits in a Pakistani jail.

The amendment by Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., was adopted during the full Appropriations committee markup of the State and Foreign Operations bill on Thursday with a unanimous 30-0 vote. A Pakistani court this week sentenced Shakil Afridi, a doctor from the Khyber tribal area, to 33 years in prison for helping the CIA collect DNA for a vaccination program, which eventually confirmed the al-Qaida leader’s presence in Abbottabad where he was killed last May.

 “We need Pakistan. Pakistan needs us. But we don’t need a Pakistan that is this double dealing,” said Graham, ranking member of the State and Foreign Operations Appropriations subcommittee.

Today’s Big Q asks what your opinion is on how the US should address this issue:

  What should the US do to aide in trying to free the jailed Pakistani Doctor who helped locate Osama Bin Ladin?

-          Cut off all foreign aid funds to Pakistan until this man is released.

-          Cut off $1 million for each year that this Doctor is supposed to be imprisoned, for a total of $33 million.

-          We must exert as much diplomatic pressure as possible, while being aware that we need Pakistani support to continue our efforts against Al Qaeda.

-          Nothing.  The man was convicted of aiding terrorists, and we shouldn’t second-guess foreign courts.

The US has a mixed track record on supporting our friends when they aren’t a state unto themselves.  For instance we clearly were of great aid to Kuwait during the 1990’s.  And we’ve supported many friends through the years with covert aid and military support.  But then there is the disgraceful lack of effort by the US Government in the early 70’s to aid our Vietnamese allies, the Montagnards.  As I said in my previous post about the “Yards” 

The U.S. betrayal of the Montagnard people is a national disgrace, made no less ignominious by the fact that almost no one knows about it. In 1975 the U.S. Gov’t met with the Montagnards and promised them help if they continued the fight against the Communist Government. They did, we didn’t. And thousands of Montagnards have been killed since.

Our track record with Afghan and Iraqi interpreters is only slightly better…

To come to the United States, Dash must negotiate a dizzying course of bureaucratic hurdles. He has to fill out an I-360 petition for special immigrant status form and pay the $375 filing fee, locate a certified English translation of his Iraqi birth certificate, present proof that he has served as an Iraqi interpreter, provide a letter of recommendation by a U.S. Army general or chief of mission and forward these documents to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' Nebraska service center for processing.

If approved, the documents are sent to the National Visa Center, where U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services collects the filing fees and the visa application, form DS-230, parts one and two. The entire package is then shipped back from the United States to the American consulate in Jordan. If and when an immigrant visa becomes available, Dash will go to the consulate in Amman to be interviewed, fingerprinted, photographed and given a mandatory medical examination. Finally, he will be admitted into the United States as a green card holder, a status he must apply to renew after 10 years.

 So, what can be done about Doctor Shakil Afridi?  I would like your thoughts on the matter if you could share them in the comments section.

Will be support our friends and oppose our foes?  And which is Pakistan?

Added: After writing this, I found out that Bill O’Reilly discussed this on his show last night:

Posted in the burner | 25 comments
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this is so easy. cut off ALL financial and military aid and start monitoring their nuclear program and give them signs we are snuggling up with india and china.

33 Million? How 'bout 3.3 BILLION? Or, better yet, cut it ALL off! Then kick out all of their "foreign-exchange" students (particularly those studying Physics, Chemistry and Math - all vital to a nuclear development program).

"LEAVE NO MAN BEHIND" With being said do you really think that ANYBODY will ever help
our piece of crap government???

Sorry I forgot to thank...

This poor doctor got sucker punched by both our leaders and Pakistan. He put his life on the line for both countries and was left to fend for himself by gutless, spinless politicians who shouldn't even be running a nursery school much less a great super power like America. What has happened to our country? We allow children to be excuted in Syria. We allow Iran to just flip us off and disrespect us. We allow our own politicians to hurt Americans by acting stupid and child like with our lives. We allow our president to disreguard the constitution when it suites him. And now, we allow some third rate country, who we give money, to jail a hero. If not for his help and assistance, we may not have killed Bin Laden. As Americans we should all be mad as hell over these pilgrams running our country. They all need to find other work. Lets get Dr. Shakil Afridi and his family out of Pakistan now. WE OWE HIM.

the sick ba****ds in this scurrilous administration leaked the identity of the doctor and his role in the killing of Bin Laden. Panetta revealed his identity and role in a "60 Minutes" interview.

Al Qaida has been looking for ways to acquire WMD's. Pakistan is much less stable since their flooding having pulled 40,000 military and security personnel off the counter terror fight and into the human suffering mission. Cutting further from Pakistan's aid could make it that much easier for Al Qaida to acquire nuclear weapons that could be used against the US or its allies and interests.

The US State Dept should offer to remove the good doctor and his entire family to the USA and work out a prisoner exchange if needed. (I'm sure we have a few tucked away)

In the meantime:
1. the State Dept could initiate a call for all US citizens to return to the USA within 72 hours
2. Place temporary travel restrictions for all Pakistani travel to and from the USA.
3. Reduction of US aid to the Pakistani govt for the sending of our advanced technology to China.

The imprisonment of this courageous person who helped the USA's military mission needs to be brought under the spotlight and the duplicitous actions of the Pakistani government need to be addressed by congress.

Stop ALL aid, monetary and material. Expel their students studying in this country. Expel their manufacturing and retail representatives. Start trade sanctions. In other words, treat them as the same kind of pariah state as Iran. Closely monitor their nuclear program and isolate them from expanding it or exporting it, as they did to North Korea. We do NOT need duplicitous "friends" such as Pakistan.

By giving China access to the wreckage of our rescue chopper we have the right to retaliate with some serious table pounding response.Hit Pakistan where it hurts,their pocket.No travel permits,send their students home,reduce aid in all forms.
None of this will happen though due to a gutless administration.

Cut all aid and $$ until he and his family are in a safe country! Believe me ths will get more action than all the negotiation in the world, anything less would indicate that the US is not really serious about a resoloution

Keep your friends close. Keep you enemies closer! This must be the US stratagy. Otherwise sanctions would already be in place.

I'm in total agreement with most off those responding. Hit them where it hurts. Stop all funding until he and his family are turned over to the U.S. As it turned out, he was most likely one of the very few Pakistanis that we could actually trust. It just proves that there are those higher up in the military and government were protecting Bin Laden. I personally think it went beyond looking the other way.
Here is gentleman that perhaps knew what the consequences could be and helped anyhow. Plus the dogs allowed the Chinese to inspect the helicopter, are you kidding me? I'm sure the Chinese would gladly make up the lost revenue if we cutoff the extortion payments.

Cut off all foreign aid, starting with Pakistan. Send Six back in for a snatch and grab(to include the Dr.'s family), and pull all of our military out of all of the 'Stans. Since they dislike us so much, leave all of them to their own devices and let us tak care of our own people and country.

It is estimated that Pakistan will receive over $1.6B in military aid and over $1.5B in Economic aid in 2012 ... that it was proposed that foreign aid be cut by $33M is ludicrous ... that is about 1% of their total package .... cutting foreign aid by $3B would possibly get their attention - coupled with a decrease in trade by - say 50% may round out our package to those who are NOT OUR FRIENDS.

pakistan was harboring bin laden all this time. they denied it yet imprison this doctor? any congressman that would vote against strong sanctions on pakistan should be identified to his or her constituants. it is laughable to consider pakistan an ally. they certainly don't consider us a friend.

I say to hell with pakistan and the rest of the middle east, they are all living in the 6th century AD.
We need to cut all ties, and all aid money to all of the middle eastern countries. We need to make sure that the people elected to office by we the citizens get on board and stop sending billions of tax payers dollars to these Satan Worshipping Nations.
Vet of USA's Genocide Vietnam

I say to hell with pakistan and the rest of the middle east, they are all living in the 6th century AD.
We need to cut all ties, and all aid money to all of the middle eastern countries. We need to make sure that the people elected to office by we the citizens get on board and stop sending billions of tax payers dollars to these Satan Worshipping Nations.
Vet of USA's Genocide Vietnam

I honestly feel that we should take some of the "gutless" poliitions, go to Pakistan and rescue Dr. Shakil from the prison he is in and replace him with the some of the stupid polititions from her.

Whether the folks in our government know it or not he did us a very great service and I truly think we should stand behind him for that. We managed to get Bil Laden, why can't we rescue him too?. Bring him back here and give him and his family Honary Citenship status. Then when he is safe turn the entire country of Pakistan into a large sheet of glass. No more money to them, no more aid in the way of arms or anything else.

We should treat Dr. Shakil just like any other Soldier in this war. Leave NO-ONE Behind. We went in once and got that job done in outstanding fashion. Lets call on Special Forces to do the job they were trained for. We have spent a lot of money and time training these people and they rarely get a chance to use it.
They are ready as they proved before. then as Don Schmidt said "Bring him back here and give him and his family Honary Citenship status.". I am all for cutting off foreign aid to them and any other country that talks like a friend and acts in ANY WAY as a foe. SSG Robert Kessler U.S. Army retired

Whatever can be done for him should be done for him by us.

We should abandon all of our friends and continue to send billions of dollars to our enemies! We should also ellect political leaders that are more interested in their personal agenda or political power than the national interest at home and abroad! Oh hell, we've appear to have already done this. We as voters need to more closely monitor how our federal officials vote on the issues. I'm guilty of assuming that they are voting for the good of the nation. This sad situation that the doctors in is due to my on lack of knowledge. I intend to call my congressman today and explain mad I am that we would abandon this poor guy. Money is mothers milk to these nations, so cut it off. God bless our great country!

Pakistan is a sovereign nation with its own laws and form of government. The State Department has not confirmed that Pakistan gave safe haven to Bin Laden. To say otherwise is an individual's assumption. The U.S. needs not to interfere with their internal affairs, as we would not appreciate them interfering in ours. Foreign aid is appropriated, not by showing the goodness of our hearts, but to secure our own agenda, whatever that may be. All those advocating military action, sign up to be on the Special Forces Team assigned to the mission. Diplomacy may eventually solve this issue.

It is very simple, Stop all trade with Pakistan and bring some jobs back to this country. When their people get hungry, their government will change. If they want our money, they need to learn to play nice. Our wisshy wasshy polititions won't always be in office. We should make demands and threats, not kiss their a**es. We used to be a Super Power everyone was afraid not to have us as a friend. Now we let our friends down and kiss up to our enimies. Who's pockets are being lined at the cost of the American people?

Just in case anyone needs to fill out Application for Immigrant Visa form DS-230, I found a blank form in this link goo.gl/xoqWW5. This site PDFfiller also has several related forms that you might find useful.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.