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Tue Apr 24, 2012, 04:23 PM

US relents and grants visa to lawyer for CIA drone strike victims in Pakistan

Source: The Guardian

The US government has granted a visa to a lawyer representing civilian victims of drone strikes in Pakistan who is due to speak at a Washington conference this weekend, following months of pressure by activists and lawyers.

After a 14-month delay in his visa application, which began after he sued the CIA over drone strikes in Pakistan, Shahzad Akbar will now be able to attend the drone summit.

Akbar, a Pakistani lawyer who founded the Islamabad-based human rights organisation, Foundation for Fundamental Rights, said he was grateful for the pressure brought to bear on the government by the conference organisers, their supporters and those who covered the story.

Last month, the Center for Constitutional Rights, Reprieve, and the peace group Codepink criticised the failure to grant a visa to Akbar, a critical advocate for victims of drone attacks and a key speaker who was to provide a voice for the victims of drone strikes in tribal Pakistan.

Read more: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/apr/24/lawyer-cia-drones-visa-granted?newsfeed=true



It's about time! Anyone who's willing to expose and condemn the civilian-slaughtering drone strikes should be welcomed to speak in the United States.

I can't think of any justifiable reason(s) for him to be denied a visa at all.

20 replies, 2800 views

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Arrow 20 replies Author Time Post
Reply US relents and grants visa to lawyer for CIA drone strike victims in Pakistan (Original post)
The Northerner Apr 2012 OP
DeSwiss Apr 2012 #1
msanthrope Apr 2012 #2
cosmicone Apr 2012 #3
The Northerner Apr 2012 #4
limpyhobbler Apr 2012 #5
cosmicone Apr 2012 #6
happyslug Apr 2012 #17
Comrade Grumpy Apr 2012 #8
limpyhobbler Apr 2012 #11
msanthrope Apr 2012 #14
cosmicone Apr 2012 #7
Comrade Grumpy Apr 2012 #9
cosmicone Apr 2012 #18
The Northerner Apr 2012 #10
Nihil Apr 2012 #15
cosmicone Apr 2012 #20
cosmicone Apr 2012 #19
limpyhobbler Apr 2012 #12
Ash_F Apr 2012 #13
libodem Apr 2012 #16

Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 05:54 PM

1. K&R



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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 06:10 PM

2. Why was he denied a visa??? He outed the CIA station chief in Pakistan via his ISI contacts.**

I am betting that CIA will make sure that his trip is well-monitored.

Given who this player is, I am not surprised that the government deliberately waited until a week before the conference.


**Remember that the ISI helped hide Bin Laden.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 06:24 PM

3. This guy is most probably an ISI agent anyway. n/t

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Response to cosmicone (Reply #3)


Response to msanthrope (Reply #2)

Tue Apr 24, 2012, 11:08 PM

5. If he wants to help end drone strikes why doesn't he pressure his own government

to stop hiding terrosists? That's a realaistic way that drone strikes can stop. If he piped up in Pakistan and even suggested that he would probably be silenced in about 5 minutes. So that's part of the problem too. Much easier and safer for him to criticise America I guess, instead of getting to the root of the problem.

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 12:58 AM

6. +1000000 n/t

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Response to limpyhobbler (Reply #5)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:03 PM

17. Pakistan SUPPORTS and FEARS the Taliban

Last edited Wed Apr 25, 2012, 06:35 PM - Edit history (3)

Pakistan's ISI created and support the Taliban, they view Afghanistan as PART of Pakistan. Thus from the View of Pakistan, the Taliban are fighting FOR Pakistan against a foreign invader. .

Now, the leadership of Pakistan have been on the US payroll for decades and do NOT want to lose that cash. Thus Pakistan permit us to use Pakistan as the supply line to Afghanistan. On top of this to fully secure that supply line the US has to pay off a lot of the locals along that supply line, who also happen to be pro-Taliban. If the US does NOT pay them off, with part of the supplies, they do all they can to stop the convoys. Thus we end up supplying NOT only out side, but the Taliban. Another lesson form Vietnam we are re-learning. You have to make sure guerrillas do NOT get any of your own supplies, even your trash (The after war reports of the Viet Cong reported one of their main source of supply was US trash dumps, for example US Forces would throw away batteries that started to dim in their flashlights, but the batteries had enough electricity in them to operate a bomb).

Furthermore, you have to understand Pakistan. Four basic groups exist in Pakistan, the Pusthans in the mountains, the people who live in the Indus Valley, the Baluch in the desert of Baluchistan and the Urdi speakers, most of whom parents immigrated to Pakistan from the rest of British India when Britain gave both India and Pakistan independence.

The most support for the Taliban is among the Pusthans, who tend to be very tribal, and their tribes tend to be on BOTH sides of the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. Given a choice between fighting a fellow Pusthan or Pakistan, it is clear these Pusthans in Pakistan would fight Pakistan. The border between Pakistan and Afghanistan divide these people in theory only. In real life they view themselves as one people. Pakistani control of this area is weak at best (and then ONLY with the permission of the locals). Thus even if Pakistan wanted to STOP these Pusthans living in Pakistan from supporting their fellow Pusthans in Afghanistan, they could not.

We have to remember what we call Afghanistan is more a convenience for map makers then anything else. No one has ever had more then nominal control of the whole area, but making areas "tribal areas, no defined borders" went out of fashion in the 1800s. The locals are loyal only to their immediate family members, not to any higher group. Tribes are more collection of families who speak the same language and interact. Language is thus more for trade purposes then national identity. The trade routes also hold the tribes together and why at times they work together at higher then local family level. The Taliban used this as the base for their support, smoothing out dispute between families, keeping the trade routes open,

Please note, Iraq and Afghanistan have been called "Tribal Areas" but the nature of the tribes in both areas are fundamentally different. In Afghanistan and Pakistan the tribes are collection of people with share language and trade relations nothing more. In Iraq the tribes are rigid social structure, more like the concept of a Nation-State then a collection of people who speak the same language. In Iraq Tribal leaders are elected by other members fo the Tribe, who in turn agree to obey the leader's orders. That is NOT the situation in Afghanistan, no such rigid tribal hierarchy exists.

The Baluch's live in the desert between Pakistan and Iran and the Arabian branch of the Indian Ocean. They are different tribe then the Pasthuns but similar in tribal setup.

The people of the Indus valley are NOT tribal. Tribes main exist within that area, but they are more extended families than anything else (Egypt is similar, some tribal existence, but more in the form of extended families then anything like Iraq or Afghanistan). The reason for this is this area is an extensive agricultural area and as such who owned what land is more important then who is head of the family. Since the structured government is the only way to secure and define land ownership, Government of what we would call the Nation-State has always existed in the Indus Valley (as it has in the Nile Valley in Egypt). These people worry more about who decided what the land boundaries are more then who they are related to. Government was created by such people not only in the Indus Valley but all of the other cradles of Civilization (Egypt, Indus River valley, Ganges River Valley, and even China). Government exist to protect people property rights, but also the people as a whole. Many of these Indus River valley people speak Urdu, but I separate them from what I call the Urdu speakers.

The Urdu speakers where Moslems who lived not only in the Indus valley but elsewhere in the Indian Sub-Continent under Mogul and later British rule. Under both, the Moslem Urdu had a elevated status in India (With the exception of South India which never came under Mogul Rule, but did come under British Rule). Even with the immigration of many urdu speakers to Pakistan in the late 1940s, India has the second largest Moslem population in the world, behind only Indonesia.

Do to the fact that Urdu speakers who moved from elsewhere in India are a minority even in Pakistan, they have maintain their hold on Pakistan through the Pakistani Army. They view Afghanistan as a potential place to retreat to in case of an attack by India (especially if India decided to take over the Indus Valley subsequent to a failed attack by Pakistan).

In many ways man Urdu speakers see India as something that belong to them, and that they lost when the British gave India its independence and they want it back. Thus they are hostile to India and like many people who have plans on another country, hate the government ruling that country.

More on Urdi as a languge group:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urdu

Map of Languages of Pakistan:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Pakistan

These four groups interact in Pakistan all the time. The problem is the ruling Urdu have been living off the US dime for Decades while having plans on India. They care more about how to fight India then keeping the other three groups happy.

The majority, the people living in the Indus Valley, expect a Government to protect their property rights AND to help them in natural disasters, The Government has been failing in both areas for years, and thus more and more are turning to the local Al Queda related groups for the same services. This has NOT made the Government popular among the Indus valley residents.

The Pusthans has NEVER trusted the Pakistan Government (At times not even leaving them into the mountains without their permission). Their sympathies is with their fellow Pusthans in Afghanistan more then Pakistan and view the attacks on the Taliban, a Pusthan dominated group, as an attack on fellow Pusthans not attacks against Afghanis.

The Baluch's are a minor concern, more a problem for Iran then Pakistan (Again on both sides of the border) but a factor in Pakistan.

The ruling Urdu speakers have managed to use India as a potential enemy to keep these groups from NOT fighting the rule of the Urdu speakers. The problem is the same Urdu Speakers have been known for years to steal anything not nailed down and the other groups have come to hate their rule. The only thing keeping the Urdu speakers in control of Pakistan is their opposition to India AND their Support for the Taliban. The Taliban both oppose the Urdu speakers and are depended on them. It is a careful dance both are playing with each other. The Taliban in Pakistan along with their allies in Al Queda see America as the greater threat and thus willing to work with Pakistan against the Americas. Pakistan also view the Americans as the greater threat, but are depended on America support to stay in power. Thus the Government of Pakistan does enough against the Taliban and Al Queda to America happy, and when America demands more, threaten to cut the American Supply line to Afghanistan via Pakistan.

The Americans have a problem, the only other routes into Afghanistan, are via Iran or Russia, and neither are presently happy with the US. Thus the US demands Pakistan do something about the anti-american guerrillas in Pakistan, but when the Pakistan does nothing the US dare NOT do anything against the Pakistan least Pakistan cuts off the US Supply line to Afghanistan.

Pakistan objects to the attacks in the Pusthans areas of Pakistan, but does nothing to stop the Pusthans for the control of that part of Pakistan is in the hands of the Pusthans NOT the Pakistani Government. on the other hand the Pusthans resent these US attacks and tell the Pakistan government to do something about them OR the Pusthans will do what they have done in past centuries, attack the Indus Valley.

The Indus Valley is willing to support such a Pusthan attack for what ever you may say of the Pusthan, they are honest. Thus the Government of Pakistan fears the Pusthans more then the US. The US can NOT topple the present Government without replacing it with many of the same people, the Pusthans and the people of the Indus valley can replace the present rulers of Pakistan. Thus the ruling elite of Pakistan fear the Pusthans more then the US and will do NOTHING to really get the Pusthans mad at them.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:12 AM

8. Poor CIA station chief. Boo fucking hoo.

He was named in a lawsuit by relatives of people killed in drone strikes. Tough shit. Wanna play secret army in a foreign country, sometimes you gotta pay the price.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #8)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:06 AM

11. Boo hoo? egads.

The CIA is over there running our intelligence gathering operations to help us identify some very dangerous people so the Pakistani government can then choose to arrest them or if not then sometimes we kill them by remote with our flying robots. Wouldn't the Pakistan CIA chief be like one of our most important roles for helping catch the militant religious terrorists? Why call it "playing secret army" and act like it's happy that he got outed? It would put his life at risk and US operations there could be compromised. That would suck because then we wouldn't be able to have good intelligence to know about threats from religious groups who might want to take over Pakistan. That is important type shit to have all the info on. The President and his team need that info to be able to make decisions about our policy in that country. Personally I hope the CIA has a lot of success in their mission there. By the way I am not a person who usually supports any military actions or imperialist projection of US power. But in this case I support it because of who we are fighting, dangerous true-beieving political-religious extremist militants. We should all hope for them to be defeated. So anyways yeah.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #8)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 08:37 AM

14. I weep not for the CIA, but I don't think ISI machinations

should come without consequence.

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Response to The Northerner (Original post)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:00 AM

7. I love the drone strikes in Pakistan.

If they don't want innocent people to die, turn over their own ISI terrorists to the US authorities and stop being a state sponsoring terror.

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Response to cosmicone (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:13 AM

9. People become embittered by their own obsessive hatreds.

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Response to Comrade Grumpy (Reply #9)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:50 PM

18. I harbor no hatred.

Look at it this way,

Pakistani military and ISI recruits, trains, funds and arms these terrorists and then refuses to take action against them.

What is the world to do? Let them commit terrorist acts in India, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Thailand and Philippines with impunity?

If they don't want drone strikes, stop the terrorist infrastructure. It is simple.

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Response to cosmicone (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 01:31 AM

10. I never thought I'd read that someone actually "loves" drone strikes

Do you also love the slaughtering of numerous civilians, violations of a country's sovereignty, and the ever-increasing anti-US sentiment and blowback that results?

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Response to The Northerner (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 08:51 AM

15. That person doesn't care as long as it results in pain/death/mayhem for Pakistani people.

Check their posting history if you think this is laying it on a bit thick.


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Response to Nihil (Reply #15)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:54 PM

20. I have nothing against the Pakistani people.

My criticisms are against the terrorist sponsoring state that Pakistan has become.

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Response to The Northerner (Reply #10)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 07:51 PM

19. No, I don't love the slaughtering of civilians.

However, the drone strikes have been an effective tool in controlling Al Q'aida, Taliban and assorted Pakistani terrorist groups created and supported by the Pakistani military.

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Response to cosmicone (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 02:28 AM

12. omgwtf?

See when you say stuff like you love the drone strikes, that's horrible. It's horrible and sad. It also makes it more difficult for someone like me who supports the current policy as a tragic but necessary choice to combat religious militants when the Pakistan gov't is unable and/or unwilling. I don't want to be associated with those kinds of sentiments so it makes it hard to support the policies. Most people on this web forum are really against US military actions. I think it's better to draw more nuanced distinctions and say some actions are bad and some good. Depends on the details. But then if people say they love the drone strikes that is actually even worse than stopping strikes and coming home altogether. I can support self defense and violence to eliminate terrorists, but not if it is fueled by bloodthirst or hatred. We have to be sad when we kill people.

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Response to cosmicone (Reply #7)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 05:24 AM

13. Another DU duzy

This site never ceases to amaze.

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Response to Ash_F (Reply #13)

Wed Apr 25, 2012, 10:54 AM

16. Not the site

The posters.

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