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And the Winner is... Pakistan! Billions in Aid, With No Accountability

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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 09:58 AM
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And the Winner is... Pakistan! Billions in Aid, With No Accountability
Billions in Aid, With No Accountability
Pakistan receives the most post-9/11 U.S. military funding, yet has failed to ferret out al Qaeda, Taliban leaders

By Sarah Fort

WASHINGTON The runaway winner of the post-9/11 race for new U.S. military aid dollars is Pakistan, but where did the money go?

Human rights activists, critics of the Pakistani government and members of Congress all want to know, but most of the money totaling in the billions came through a Defense Department program subject to virtually no congressional oversight.


The World Factbook Central Intelligence Agency

U.S. Military Aid Rank Amount
Three Years Before 9/11 (1999-2001) 56 $9.1 M
Three Years After 9/11 (2002-'04) 3 $4.2 B

Spending on Influence (FARA)
1999-2004 $3.4 M

Human Rights Violations
Ethnic/Minority/Refugee Oppression
Violence Against/Oppression of Women
Threats to Civil Liberties
Child Exploitation
Religious Persecution
Judicial/Prison Abuses
Sources: Center for Public Integrity analysis of U.S. Defense Department, U.S. Justice Department and U.S. State Department records

That is a major finding of more than a year of investigation by the Center for Public Integrity's International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). U.S. military aid to Pakistan since the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks includes almost $5 billion in Coalition Support Funds, a program controlled by the Defense Department to reimburse key allies in the global war on terror. Pentagon reports that ICIJ obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests show that Pakistan is the No. 1 recipient of these funds receiving more than 10 times the amount that went to the No. 2 recipient, Poland and that there is scant documentation of how the money was used.

Pakistan also benefited from other funding mechanisms set up in the aftermath of the 2001 attacks. In the three years after the attacks, Pakistan was the third-largest recipient of the Pentagon's new Regional Defense Counterterrorism Fellowship Program, designed to train foreign forces in counterterrorism techniques. More than $23 million was earmarked for Pakistan in fiscal 2006 for "Improving Counter Terrorism Strike Capabilities" under another new Pentagon program referred to colloquially as Section 1206 training, which allows the Pentagon to use a portion of its annual funding from Congress to train and equip foreign militaries. Pakistan finished first in the race for this new Pentagon-controlled training.

ICIJ's data show that when all U.S. programs are combined, Pakistan's increase in U.S. military aid in the three years after 9/11 is a stunning 45,000 percent, growing from just $9 million in the three years before the attacks to more than $4 billion in the three years after. In the process, Pakistan has become the No. 3 recipient of U.S. military training and assistance, trailing only longtime leaders Israel and Egypt.

This tsunami of new funding reflects Pakistan's key role in the U.S. global war on terror. Shortly after 9/11, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, Pakistan's leader, made a commitment to align his regime with the United States as it went after Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda forces that were being protected by the Islamist Taliban regime in neighboring Afghanistan.

Since Musharraf closed ranks with the U.S., Pakistan's financial rewards have been bountiful and he has been the target of several assassination attempts and plots. On a visit to the U.S. in 2006, Musharraf told television interviewers that he made the commitment to join the war on terror after threats from the U.S., which Bush administration officials have denied. More recently, the administration has accused Musharraf of turning a blind eye to Taliban and al Qaeda operations in his own country, and critics in the U.S. and abroad have assailed U.S. support for Musharraf.

Pakistan is the sixth most populous country in the world, and, after Indonesia, the second largest Muslim-majority country. Violence and political instability have characterized the country throughout its history. Pakistan is teeming with intrigue; it is home to some of the world's most vocal anti-American clerics and to religious schools that have served as recruiting grounds for the Taliban and other Islamist extremist groups. In tribal areas near the Afghanistan border, some leaders support the Taliban, and its largest province, Balochistan, has long been unstable and barely controlled by the central government in Islamabad.

The U.S. State Department rates Pakistan's human rights record as poor and reports a long litany of abuses. That nourishes critics' claims that U.S. largesse has been put to abusive purposes, including to buy weapons that have been turned against Pakistani civilians and to offer bounties on suspects the U.S. is seeking.

A key ally
Shortly after 9/11, Pakistan offered bases to the U.S. for its use in counterterrorism operations, banned numerous militant groups, began sharing intelligence and deployed tens of thousands of troops to tense regions, including the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan where al Qaeda leaders and Taliban remnants from Afghanistan were rumored to be hiding out.

According to Sen. Sana Baloch, an opposition lawmaker who fled the country out of safety concerns, the U.S. has several military bases inside Pakistan including some in the senator's home province of Balochistan. "Most of the U.S. bases are based in Balochistan," Baloch told ICIJ in an interview. "One or two of them are in Kharan, my own home district. The U.S. is using the bases in this area for the war on terror. We are very supportive of the U.S. in this role."

In return for Pakistan's assistance, in March 2005 the U.S. announced that it would resume sales of American F-16 fighter aircraft to Pakistan after a 16-year ban that had served to punish Pakistan for its clandestine nuclear weapons program. Pakistan also got debt write-offs, the reestablishment of U.S. military training programs and support for Musharraf's administration despite concerns about his anti-democratic policies (Musharraf came to power through a military coup).
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mzmolly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 10:02 AM
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1. Seems to me that BUSH is harboring Al Qaida?
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Joanne98 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-16-07 12:46 PM
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2. And now he wants to give the tribal areas 750 million. He thinks we're made of money.
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