Thursday, March 24, 2011

US Super Embassies or Imperial CIA Cantonments in Pakistan?

Pakistan pays $1 Billion for US Embassy out of US Aid package to Islamabad!
A few years ago, we were working interfaith events and tyring to fight racist bigotry in America. The period right after 911 was a tough time for Muslims and Pakistanis in America. There was a lot of anger and reprisals. Muslims were being targeted, tens of thousands were deported, and thousands ran to Canada. Muslim businesses were being boycotted and employment was being denied to Muslims and citizens of Pakistani origin.

At the time it was easy to profit from the misfortunes of Muslims and Pakistanis. If one spoke against Pakistan and Muslims, one got on the speaking circuit for $5000 a pop. Those who did it made a lot of money. Irshad Manji, Amir Tahiri and many others became millionaires.
One such individual was an ex-Jamat e Islami worker, who had been a staunch opponent of the PPP. His name was Husein Haqqani, now the US Ambassador for Pakistan–err the Pakistani Ambassador to Washington.
In an interesting email conversation took place with the current Pakistani Ambassador Mr. Hussain Haqqani. Mr. Haqqani was at the time opposing Pakistan, accusing the Pakistan Army of all sorts of evil and he was working against the plans for US aid to Pakistan. In our email conversation he opposed all aid to Islamabad. We posted the entire email when we got wind that he was going to be nominated as an Ambassador in Washington. I got an email two days before he became the ambassador asking me to remove his part of the emails, claiming that it was privileged information. From an ethical point of view, Mr. Haqqaniwas right–it was a personal exchange. I therefore deleted his part of the emails and published only my side. I sent a confirmation to Mr. Haqqani of the deletion. He sent me a response back thanking me for my integrity.
We bring this up in the context of the aid package recently given to Pakistan. Mr. Haqqani worked night and day to get it approved. The package is a joke. It is an abomination. Half the aid has to be spent in the US. A quarter is lost in administrative expenses.
Right before the aid package was approved, we read the package and highlighted the facts on this site (Washington wants to spend half of “US aid to Pakistan” on upgrading US Embassy & Consulates) that the aid package included $1 Billion that will be deducted from the total amount given to Pakistan. This further reduces the efficacy of the aid package. The mainstream media has finally caught up to the facts of the aid package.
Half of US aid to Pakistan is to be spent on upgrading US Embassy & Consulates.
US “Aid” to Pakistan is a joke!
The ineptitudede, inefficiency and total incompetence of the US Administration is evidenced by the deluge of confused, contradictory and utterly imbecilic comments emanating from the Freshman diplomats of the Obama Administration. The concocted hysteria and the farcical panic in the voices of Hillary Clinton, Admiral Mullen and General Petraeus seems comical, is disingenuous and reflects the image of consummate “The Ugly American“. The stink from the acerbic comments permeates the air and deprecates the stature of the Stars and Stripes, once loved and revered from Morocco to Indonesia.
When the American U2 spy planes used to take off from the US Badabare Air Force base near Peshawar, Pakistanis would cheer the American GIs. When Brezinski used to visit Torkhan an ocean of well wishers would throw flowers at him. When Persident Johnson visited Pakistan, entire cities came out to welcome him. In recent years, US diplomats sneak in and out of Pakistan and are unable to face Pakistani journalists.

The recent Pakistanphobic statements of the Administration have utterly alienated the Pakistani elite and the Pakistani masses. Despite the 5th column, the US message of doom and gloom has fallen off like water off a ducks back. The implied threats from Holbrooke and his acolytes create more Anti-Americanism and is reminiscent of 2001 when the US Air Force was dropping red colored cluster bombs and green colored relief packages for the Afghans.
The absurdity of that acts (of dropping death and destruction and food by the same vehicle and at the same time) also showed the hubris and the abject poverty of intellect of the Bush Administration. Today the US is doing the same in Pakistan. It is bombing people with drones, and then sending aid (which is actually loans) to its own consultants and embassies (a framing it as “aid” being sent to Pakistan). The acturail practice of calling “loans” as “aid” is not lost to all. Any dimwit with half a brain knows this. It is amazing the neither Najam Sethi, nor, Ayaz Amir, nor Ikram Sehgal, nor Asma Gilani ever refutes this architected amphigory.
American aid for Pakistan: Half the aid is for upgrading US embassies
The number of Marines Washington intends to station in Islamabad for security of its embassy is being widely discussed by various sections. – File photo Provinces
ISLAMABAD: In what could be a recipe for a new controversy, the United States will spend nearly one billion dollars from its $2.4 billion war supplement aid for Pakistan on the construction and fortification of its new embassy in Islamabad and additional staffing of the mission, in what is seen here as a departure from the usual practice of using State Department finances for such projects.

Under a programme to strengthen its presence in Pakistan, the US will bring here about 1,000 personnel, including a large number of Marines.
It has already undertaken a project to rebuild and refurbish the embassy building and construct accommodation for the new staff and a massive complex for the Marines to be stationed in the capital.
The US plan to reinforce its presence has already created ripples here and, according to a senior official, it would mean stationing of ‘more American military and intelligence personnel in diplomatic guise.
And a retired diplomat says the upcoming American hub in Islamabad will be used to influence development in the region by remote control.
US Charge d’Affaires Gerald Feierstein, in a letter, described the plan as a positive development symbolising US commitment to stand by its friends in Pakistan. He said the new embassy building would be a landmark in the diplomatic enclave.
The US media, meanwhile, has described the upcoming structure as a ‘super embassy’ rivalling only the American mission in Baghdad.
The project, US official estimates show, will cost about $1 billion. And the Obama administration has worked out an easy way out, footing the bills from Pakistan’s $2.4 billion share in the Pentagon War Supplemental Package for the fiscal year 2009.
A breakdown of the war supplemental aid package shows that $707 million has been earmarked for economic assistance, $700 million for counter-insurgency capability fund, $896 million for the new secured US embassy and consulates in Pakistan and $46 million for enhanced diplomatic operations covering logistics for civilian staff surge and security.
From the package, Pakistan will practically receive $707 million as economic assistance and that will include $225 million announced by Washington as assistance for displaced persons.
‘Closer scrutiny of the much trumpeted aid package shows that the government after subtracting the assistance for IDPswill be getting a mere $482 million and some improved counter-insurgency capacity,’ a senior Pakistani official dealing with aid said.
American officials defend the staff surge by saying it has been necessitated by the tripling of aid for Pakistan by the Obama administration. ‘We need the capacity to disburse money and exercise oversight.’
When asked about the clubbing of the cost for the new embassy and associated logistics with the war supplemental aid package, they said it was because of legislative procedures on the Capitol Hill. ‘That’s how legislative system works in Washington.’
Will Reconstruction Opportunity Zones (ROZ) make a difference in Pakistan?
Pakistan’s “Do More” list to the USA
Will ROZ help reduce extremism in Pakistan? FTA would do more!
Pakistan needs Trade First not Aid First
Marines controversy
The number of Marines Washington intends to station in Islamabad for security of its embassy is being widely discussed here by diplomatic circles, media and informed sections of the public and there are speculations about the number of Marines who will land in Islamabad.
A report earlier published said the number could be around 350. Although Mr Feiersteinin his clarification had dismissed the figure as simply untrue, State Department documents indicate an allocation of $112.5 million for the Marines complex to be built inside the embassy compound.
The document does not suggest how many Marines would the new complex accommodate, but another allocation of $111 million in the same document for construction of a new annexe says it would house 330 personnel.US to use funds for aid on ‘super embassy’ project.
Why does the US need to build the largest embassy in the world in Islamabad–almost as big as that of Iraq?
Why is the US purchasing the Pearl Continental Hotel and make it into a Consulate?
Why is the US taking over most of Saddar in Karachi to expand the Consulate and shut off major traffic?
Are these embassies or are they Cantonments?–imperial outposts to run the country and monitor the Nuclear program?
There are news reports that half the US aid will be spent on improving the security of the US Embassies and Consulates. This means that Karachi will be further inconvenienced because the Embassy will close further roads and disrupt the normal functioning of the arteries. This also means that Pakistan will be paying for a long time for upgrading the US embassy facilities. This also means that Fox news will continue to berate Pakistan about ”the billions of Dollars of “Aid” (actually loans) given to Pakistan.
For some reason these loans give the White Man some sort of inalienable right to interfere in the internal affairs of Pakistan. These Dollars seem to allow low level US diplomats to tangle up the Pakistani politicians and purchase media personnel. The US Ambassador will also have discretionary spending of $5 million per year. A diplomat that earns only $70,000 can now corrupt the “natives”, fulfill the White Man’s burden in Afghanistan, and institute “The Doctrine of Lapse” type of policies which allowed the East India Company to take over entire states.
Humayun Gauhar is a prodigious columnist for Pakistan’s fiercely independent newspaper called “The Nation”, a newspaper that has maintained its integrity in the face of many obstacles. There are few Pakistani newspapers that remain true to the cause. The Frontier Post and the Statesman are among the ones that still portray real news.
Unlike, the respectable Nation has not madeany Faustian deals for economic profit and still publishes news and views that are genuine, real and show moral rectitudede. Humayun Gauhar is the progeny of Information Secretary of President Ayub Khan.– Altaf Gauhar. Humanyun Gauhar is known for his deep insights into the working of the Pakistani government and has recently written an effulgent article on US Aid to Pakistan.Humayun should know the ropes, his father wascalled a CIA spy by G.M. Syed and is considered to be the ghost writer of Ayub’s book, ‘Friends not Masters”.
There is news about the much heralded US aid to Pakistan. From Barack Obama, to Hillary Clinton, to the US media all keep harping on the billions of Dollars sent to Pakistan. Utter nonsense and garbage.
The US aid to Pakistan is “Peanuts”. Egypt gets 2.5 Billion per Anum, Israel gets twice as much in grants per year. The loss to Pakistan according to the DOD accounting office was $20 Billion per year. Afghanistan got $143 Billion in the past eight years while Iraq got $605 Billion. The aid to Pakistan was $5 Billion (about $5 Billion was for reimbursement for expenses, 4 air force bases, and use of supply routes from Karachi to Torkhan etc.)
US Aid. Here is some simple math. Half the US aid is to spent on enhancing the security of the American diplomatic corps. It is also a well known fact that half the US aid is always spent on US consultants. 25% is spent on administration of the USAID. Only 25% of this so called makes it to Islamabad to be routinely handed over to the American Ambassador’s favorite NGO. So much for the $1.9 Billion Dollar Aid. Pakistan needs Trade First not Aid First
The word ‘aid’ is another deception to hide the fact that most of the money ‘given’ us by America is a loan which we have to return one day with interest. An editorial entitled Deceptive aid in The Nation of May 13, 2009, encapsulates this hypocrisy: “It is quite surprising to learn that out of the $1.9 billion of US aid, almost half would be spent on enhancing the security of [the] US embassy and consulates in Pakistan. This belies the common impression given by the American leadership that the sum is directed at strengthening the country’s economy. It sounds pretty devious.”
The American presidential team is not discussing the real long term solutions to the issues relating to the generation poverty in SouthAsia. Pakistan has been asking for an Free Trade Agreement (FTA) withthe USA for a decade. Jordan and Egypt enjoy FTAor their equivalents with America and have been able to use the low tariffs to export their products to America. Pakistan’s FTA has been blocked by the Textile growing states of the USA because stalwarts like Jesse Helms believed that imports from Pakistan would jeopardise the economy of the Carolinas. Trade First not Aid First for Pakistan: FTA would reduce terror
Experts also say there are serious problems with the way U.S. aid is disbursed. A large portion of development assistance is spent on international consultants and overhead costs, which the new U.S. strategy acknowledges. Some analysts, including the RAND Corporation’s C. Christine Fair, say that the United States pursues a policy of supply-driven aid (Washington Quarterly) that measures output, such as schools built, rather than services delivered, such as quality of education. This observation is disputed by Charles North, a senior official for the region at USAID, in a podcast.
The US Textile industry has resisted allowing tariff free Pakistani textile imports. Pakistan pays more tariffs than Sweden. If the US lifted the tariffs on Pakistani textiles this would funnel $15 Billion into the hands of the textile owners and their employees. The EU has started to become aware of the solutions. The first EU-Pakistan summit is going to be held soon.
Aid is also a very funny thing. It implies that it is money which has been “given” to a country. This can be misleading. Aid can come in the shape of a grant, a loan and, of course, expertise. More often than not there are several conditions attached to every programme. For instance, if there is a grant to buy wheat from USAID, Pakistan can only buy wheat from the United States at a predetermined rate, and not from the international market where rates can be negotiated. This takes care of surplus production from US farmers. The wheat will only be shipped on US ships, insured by US companies, etc. If the DFID, which is the British equivalent of USAID, puts fortha “development” programme, then only British consultants will be used and they can subcontract to local consultants, etc. The gravy train starts right at the beginning. Joseph Stiglitz, a former World Bank chief economist and author of several excellent books, has gone through this entire process in several of his writings and narrates how he left the World Bank in disgust eventually.No thank you, we’re Pakistani, Hit and run, Saturday, April 11, 2009, Shakir Husain
There’s also been a push for enhancing economic opportunities inside Pakistan through trade. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council view expanded bilateral economic cooperation (PDF) as an essential component to achieving security goals for both countries. The United States is Pakistan’s largest investor and trading partner; however, U.S. tariffs on Pakistan’s textiles (over 50 percent of the country’s total global exports) undermine its ability to compete in the U.S. market. A 2001 billto ease textile trade with Pakistan never passed. Reducing tariffs might be even more difficult in the current global economic crisis. CFR Senior Fellow Isobel Coleman told that by being closed on the trade front, the United States is punishing the same poor, rural populations in Pakistan that it is trying to help through development aid. “It should be viewed in totality,” she said. CFR
Pakistan needs trade not aid. It needs aFTA and easy access to US and European markets. Pakistan needs massive reparations for lost economic activity since 1980. The Reconstruction Opportunity Zones should constructed as soon as possible. 2010 is too far off a date. The aid is lost in corrupt coffers.
Devious is not the word. It’s Satanic; for it is the American people they are really deceiving who in their simplicity go on harping about the $10 billion they have supposedly ‘given’ us. Someone should tell these dolts that half that amount was payments due for costs incurred in fighting America’s war. Even this $1.9 billion will probably be called ‘aid’ while we will be paying interest on refurbishing US property. Truth to tell, if we added up all the damage America’s vacillating ‘friendship’ has done to us, it will come to trillions. We should invoice them for it one day, when we have a government with you know what.
The incompetence of the US effort in Afghanistan is self evident by the results on the ground in Afghanistan. There is much discussing of the “accountability” and blank checks of Aid to Pakistan. What about the accountability of the results of the war in Afghanistan? Blank checks to the US army has resulted in inflaming not only Pakistan but it has also increased repression in the Central Asia Republics.
The inevitable conclusion is that either America is very stupid or it is instability-short-of-chaos that it really wants so that it can continue its presence in the region to control pipeline routes, make military bases and be within striking distance of all the enemies that it has created. Actually it is both stupid and deceptive, which is why none of its grand plans has ever worked and only caused chaos. An American says that it is not ‘Operation Enduring Freedom’ at all but ‘Operation Enduring Instability’.
There are solutions, if one can get through the US Tin ear.
The best way America can help Pakistan is to put people to work. And the best way to do this would be to give duty-free treatment to Pakistan’s clothing, leather and textile industries.
In earlier decades, Southeast Asia and Central America used labor-intensive exports to create jobs, promote economic growth and defang radicals. Pakistan should be able to do the same. Though it is a small exporter, it has an efficient textile industry. Household linens earn most of the hard currency Pakistan uses to buy food and fuel, and are good job creators – each container full of towels puts 500 urban residents to work.

Today, though, American trade policy hurts these industries more than it helps. Tariffs on Pakistan’s goods are far above those imposed on products from affluent countries. To choose a simple example: Pakistan’s towels and T-shirts trigger 7.5 percent and 19 percent tariffs, while tariffs on Sweden’s cars and airplane parts are only 2.5 percent and zero. So last year, Pakistan’s $3.6 billion in goods exported to the U.S. faced a $365 million tariff penalty – almost three times the $142 million penalty on Sweden’s $13 billion. Why this perverse outcome? Lobbying campaigns have kept U.S. tariffs on the textiles Pakistan makes much higher than our tariffs on rich-country goods. To make matters worse, our exemption of most African and Latin American towels and shirts from tariffs puts Pakistan at a disadvantage against its direct competitors.
The logical step is to give Pakistan a break. Waiving tariffs on Pakistan’s millions of towels and shirts – and soccer balls and everything else it makes – could boost urban employment, help Pakistan’s government cool the political temperature, and thus help the new democratic system succeed.
Retail politics has blocked such a step until now. Fear of Pakistani competition in textiles, augmented by industry lobbying, stopped the Bush administration from pushing a tariff waiver in 2001 on the grounds that Congress would never go along. But as one-time congressional staffers, we think this sells Congress short. When a grave national security interest is at stake, Congress usually responds. We think it would do so again.
Shifting support for Pakistan from “aid first” to “trade first” would require leadership from the White House and support from Democrats. But given the dangers – for Pakistanis, Afghans, Americans and others – should Pakistan fail, the Bush administration should use its remaining time in office to take on this fight.
Just imagine if the USA had agreed to the FTA and the free access of Textiles, this would have transferred more than $6 Billion per Annam to the cotton producing areas of Pakistan. $42 Billion plus increased export of other commodities would have created new opportunities for the farmers. They would have sent their kids to the best schools in Pakistan and America–not to madarssas. Thomas Freidman of the New York Times suggested opening up American markets for Pakistan products this in 2001!
The cumulative affect of $40-$100 Billion would have totally transformed the entire infrastructure of the country because the money would have gone directly to the farmers without any leakage into kleptomaniac hands of government officials.
source: defence pk


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