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Thread: Pakistan Pays U.S. Lobbyists To Deny It Helped Bin Laden

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    Pakistan Pays U.S. Lobbyists To Deny It Helped Bin Laden

    Pakistan pays U.S. lobbyists to deny it helped bin Laden

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7445GK20110505

    By Tim Reid
    WASHINGTON | Thu May 5, 2011 6:53pm EDT

    (Reuters) - Pakistan's Washington lobbyists have launched an intense campaign on Capitol Hill to counter accusations that Islamabad was complicit in giving refuge to Osama bin Laden.

    Alarmed by lawmakers' demands to cut off billions of dollars of U.S. aid after bin Laden was found living in a Pakistani safe house for six years, President Asif Ali Zardari has ordered a full-court press to quell mounting accusations that it helped the al Qaeda leader avoid capture.

    Mark Siegel, a partner in the Washington lobbying firm of Locke Lord Strategies -- which is paid $75,000 a month by the Pakistani government -- told Reuters on Thursday he had spoken twice to Zardari since U.S. special forces killed bin Laden on Sunday, and "countless" times to the Pakistani ambassador in Washington.

    "They are certainly concerned," Siegel said, adding that suggestions the Pakistani government knew about bin Laden's whereabouts was nothing more than speculation.

    Referring to a statement by President Barack Obama's counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, that there must have been a support system for bin Laden inside Pakistan, Siegel said: "There is no proof that a support system was government-based."

    There is much at stake for Pakistan as many lawmakers question how bin Laden could have lived in a large fortified compound close to a Pakistani military base for so long.

    Some members of Congress are now demanding that nearly $3 billion in annual aid for Pakistan, included in Obama's 2012 budget, be blocked until the Zardari administration explains how bin Laden lived untouched just 30 miles outside Islamabad, the Pakistani capital. Pakistan has received over $20 billion in U.S. aid since the September 11, 2001, attacks.

    Patrick Leahy, the Democratic chairman of the Senate subcommittee that allocates foreign aid, said on Thursday he wants a complete review of U.S. aid to Pakistan.

    Leahy said he was certain that some Pakistani military and intelligence officials knew that bin Laden was hiding so close to Islamabad.

    "It's impossible for them not to have some idea he was there," Leahy told Vermont Public Radio.

    But Siegel, referring to claims by the Afghan government that Pakistan must have known bin Laden's whereabouts, said: "Must have known doesn't mean knew."

    Siegel's firm was retained by the Zardari government in 2008 and has earned nearly $2 million in fees since then, according to Justice Department records. Siegel said his firm is paid $900,000 a year by Pakistan.

    Since bin Laden's death, Siegel says he has been on Capitol Hill every day to promote Pakistan's position on the bin Laden killing, talking to congressmen, senators and their aides.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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    Scapegoating The Pakistani ISI

    Jon Gold
    5/7/2011

    After Osama Bin Laden's death on 5/1/2011, many people in Government and in the media have questioned whether or not the Pakistani ISI was involved in harboring or protecting Osama Bin Laden.

    Matt Taibbi writes, "he lived half a mile from a military academy, in a giant walled compound eight times the size of adjacent properties. He burned his trash, instead of putting it out like everyone else. When local kids kicked their ball over his wall, a guy would come out to give them money for a new one, rather than let them in. What more of a tip-off did Pakistani intelligence need?!"

    Macleans reports that John Kerry "complained that not only did Pakistani intelligence fail to look for bin Laden, but for years fed the U.S. what he called "misdirects"—false information—such as "the notion that he’s out in the western part of the country and they can’t control that and so forth." Democratic Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate armed services committee, called on Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari to "follow through and ask some very tough questions of his own military and his own intelligence. They’ve got a lot of explaining to do." For his part, the Pakistani president issued a personal defence: "Some in the U.S. press have suggested that Pakistan lacked vitality in its pursuit of terrorism, or worse yet that we were disingenuous and actually protected the terrorists we claimed to be pursuing. Such baseless speculation may make exciting cable news, but it doesn’t reflect fact," Zardari wrote in the Washington Post."

    CIA Director Leon Panetta said that the Pakistani ISI was "involved or incompetent. Neither place is a good place to be."

    The Associated Press reported that "Congress may consider cutting the almost $1.3 billion in annual aid to Pakistan if it turns out the Islamabad government knew where Osama bin Laden was hiding, the head of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Tuesday."

    After 9/11, many allegations of the Pakistani ISI's involvement in the attacks surfaced. After a decade of barely receiving any funds from the United States, Pakistan was declared our ally in the "War On Terror," given billions of dollars, and the Pakistani ISI's involvement in the 9/11 attacks was covered up. It seems the media has helped with that cover up.

    Since around 2009, the United States Government has slowly started to acknowledge the Pakistani ISI's role with terrorism. Many are acting as though this is a new revelation.

    Here is an article from the Times of India in 2001 that says, "despite continuing revelations about islamabad's complicity in terrorist activity, the United States continues to shield Pakistan from terrorism charges in the hope it will turn a new leaf, with the Western media readily toeing the official line. the latest disclosures came at a Congressional hearing on Wednesday at which US intelligence analysts not only spoke about Pakistan's official role in fomenting and bankrolling terrorism but also addressed the connections between the Taliban and terrorism in Kashmir."

    There is nothing new about it. I think the hypocrisy of calling out the Pakistani ISI now, after rewarding them and covering up their involvement in the 9/11 attacks, should be recognized by everyone. Should the ISI's role with terrorism be looked at and dealt with? Of course. But so should the U.S.'s support and usage of that "terror nexus."

    Speaking of hypocrisy, one of the most dangerous men in the world, Dick Cheney, is living within a mile of CIA Headquarters. Are they harboring or protecting him?
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


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