You’ll be forgiven if you did not know that your Department of State in Pakistan hosted Social Media Summit 2014. A bunch of bloggers gathered under the wings of the U.S. embassy to discuss “Social Media for Social Change.” Panel sessions focused on perennial, go-to U.S. feel good topics such as youth activism, peace promotion, women’s empowerment, and entrepreneurship. Fun fact: those same topics form the “broad themes” of U.S. reconstruction efforts now in Afghanistan, and were our major goals in Iraq.
You could have followed this dynamic event on Twitter via #SMS14. There you can see a sub-theme of the event, awkward selfies by white people, which count as diplomacy nowadays. That’s your American ambassador pictured there, “getting down” with “hip” youngsters prior to their initiation ceremony as Taliban recruits.
The Summit’s Twitter output also includes the Tweet above, sent by the U.S. embassy in Kabul. If anyone can explain in the comments section exactly what the hell that Tweet means, I’ll feel much better about this whole thing.
Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!
Woooooooooooooo! It’s soon Spring Break ya’all, so get ready to party. And what better way to get it on than to travel overseas on a university exchange program. Need ‘da dinero for party essentials? How about one million sequester-free free dollars courtesy of your Department of State?
While you might have to leave the bikini at home in exchange for a head scarf, your Department of State is celebrating the upcoming Federal government sequester-driven furloughs by offering one million dollars of American tax money to any four-year college or university in the U. S. willing to establish a cooperative agreement with the University of Karachi in Public Policy and Public Administration.
All you need do is setup some “collaborative research, curriculum development, and faculty and student exchanges. Faculty exchange programs of one semester and graduate student exchange programs of one month are preferred by the University of Karachi.”
The tender does not say, but it is likely that collaborative research on nuclear topics is discouraged. It is good to know that the University of Karachi does already have some academic affiliations, including with the Pakistani Army School of Ordinance, Malir Cantt., Karachi in the subject area of “Explosive Chemistry.” (page 4, item 7). One wonders if the State Department read any of the fine print on the University’s own web site?
Now the State Department does not feel the need to lay out in detail exactly why a million dollars of your tax money should be spent setting up a collaborative arrangement between some U.S. school and a Pakistani school, but we can assume the goals are vague and unfocused, you know, blah blah brotherhood of man and world peace.
But before you regurgitate breakfast over the one million bucks above, take a look at another tender from your State Department. This one is titled “Afghanistan Is Getting Better, Website and Story Corps” and offers $250,000 of sequester-proof tax dollars to someone who can “create and design a stand-alone website or dedicated channel on YouTube.com that allows individuals from within Afghanistan and across the globe to upload short personally recorded videos describing why and how the individual is contributing to the betterment of Afghanistan and/or the ways in which the Afghanistan of today has provided opportunities that didn’t exist before, and offering messages of hope for the country’s future.”
Now in some forms of reality that might be called simple propaganda; however, in the new world of your State Department, it is known as “social media” and “public diplomacy.” Orwell would be proud.
Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!
Imran Khan, a former cricket star, and Pakistani politician critical of U.S. drone strikes, says American authorities detained and questioned him at a Canadian airport.
He had boarded a plane in Toronto bound for New York, but was removed from the plane and interrogated on his views on drones. This month he led a contentious march to the border of Pakistan’s tribal region to protest drone strikes. A person traveling with Khan said Khan was told there was concern about possible violence at an anti-drone protest the politician was scheduled to lead in the United States. But that protest had been canceled. Khan also was asked about the fund-raising he was doing in the country. He was allowed to enter the U.S. on a later flight, albeit after a two hour interrogation.
So, whatever, freedom!
What could be the possible point of detaining and interrogating Khan? Was he a threat to the passengers and the plane? Did he have Semtex stapled to his underwear? Was he planning to take the last chicken meal and leave everyone behind him with the fish?
The only possible rationale of course was intimidation, the American government letting one of its critics know that We Are Watching, and even though we chose to let you go this time buddy boy, don’t assume it’ll always work this smoothly. Just like that– finger snap– you could be on another plane, straight to sunny Gitmo. Oh, and have a nice day.
The intimidation game is amplified given who Khan is. A once and possibly future leader of Pakistan (he is aiming at Prime Minister, and is considered one of the most popular politicians in Pakistan), the U.S. is getting its licks in early and often. Also, with Khan’s status in Pakistan and the Muslim world, the U.S. knew his detention would make world news. It was intended to do so, warning non-celebrity drone opponents of what awaits them in free America. This should all buttress America’s “soft power” efforts to make friends abroad.
Ya’ll watch your step now in this part of ‘da countryside boy!
BONUS: What were U.S. law enforcement agents doing working in Canada? Why, enforcing U.S. law on foreign soil, of course! For the “convenience” of travelers, the U.S. has worked out pre-inspection regimes with certain countries, mostly Canada, Shannon, Ireland and some Caribbean nations. These agreements allow the U.S. to station law enforcement personnel abroad and throw people out of the U.S. even before they enter the U.S. The U.S. also has TSA “advisors” in fifteen other foreign airports. And what a nice cover job those make!
From Glenn Greenwald, more on the use of border controls to intimidate and harass U.S. critics.
Copyright © 2014. All rights reserved. The views expressed here are solely those of the author(s) in their private capacity. Follow me on Twitter!
William Astore, in a HuffPo column, nails it:
Both President Obama and Governor Romney prefer to praise the troops rather than to address the tragic consequences of continuing military action in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The latter, when they’re addressed at all, are reduced to sound bites and homilies about the need to “stay the course” and “support our troops.”
So what’s to talk about?
Candidates, we have been at war in Afghanistan for eleven years, three times as long as World War II. What has the U.S. gained? If we have gained anything, have the gains been worth the costs in lives and money?
Based on Afghanistan, what lessons have you derived that will inform your future decisions to invade/intervene/occupy other countries?
You talk a lot about supporting the troops. Good for you. Very specifically, what are you planning to do to help veterans find employment, reduce suicide and get out of debt? For Obama, you’ve been president for almost four years. What, very specifically, HAVE you done to do to help veterans find employment, reduce suicide and get out of debt?
John Nagl, who teaches at the Naval Academy and has been a strong proponent of U.S. military action in Iraq and Afghanistan, defines “success” in Afghanistan in part as “maintaining our own bases in the region from which to operate drones, manned aircraft and Special Operations forces.” Do you agree with this? If you do, then does Iraq qualify as a “defeat” given that we have no bases there?
If you accept/desire/support maintaining U.S. drone and special forces in Afghanistan indefinately, explain how this is anything but a prescription for endless war.
The U.S. stood by as Afghan president Karzai stole the last election and installed a government that can be defined only as a kleptocracy. How has this benefited the U.S.?
The war in Afghanistan has spread to Pakistan. The U.S. is engaged in combat there, via drones and special forces. Pakistan sheltered bin Laden for years. Define our relationship with Pakistan and your goals there, without using the word “ally.”
Or anything else, just please talk about Afghanistan and the 2000 dead Americans there in any way you like other than tired bromides about “the troops.” I dare you.
After wasting half the money, the US terminated a $20 million project to develop a Pakistani version of Sesame Street, the US Embassy announced.
The decision came as a Pakistani newspaper reported allegations of corruption by the local puppet theater working on the initiative. The Pakistan Today newspaper reported Tuesday that the cause was “severe” financial irregularities at the production company. The producers allegedly used the US money to pay off old debts and awarded lucrative contracts to relatives.
As recently as late April of this year, just five weeks ago, the US Embassy in Islamabad featured a story about Ambassador Cameron Munter and Consul General Nina Fite visiting the Sesame Street set at Pakistan Children’s Television to reaffirm the US government’s commitment to children’s education in Pakistan. This was the Ambassador’s second showcase visit to the project.
Each episode was to be based around a word and a number, like the US version, and tackle general themes like friendship, respect and valuing diversity. This last theme is particularly important in Pakistan, where Islamist extremists often target minority religious sects and others who disagree with their views.
Unfortunately, the lesson taught was that the US cannot find its own butt for a hole in the ground, once again, as another “hearts and minds” project implodes.
Reached for comment, a Sesame Street spokespuppet said: “Elmo sad.”
What It Means
As much as it is fun to write lines like “Today’s public diplomacy Failure is brought to you by the letter F,” or, “No word on where the US oversight was while $10 million in taxpayer money was eaten by the Cookie Monster,” this project shares too many similarities with State’s failed efforts at hearts and minds work in Iraq and Afghanistan:
–The fanfare came first, and came on strong, with two high-profile Ambassadorial visits before any results were seen. Results first, press releases later, is a better policy.
–Where was the oversight? The US had been putting money into this project since 2009 and only after $10 million was thrown down the hole did anyone pull the plug.
–The press releases trumpeting this project proclaimed “Starting April 2011, seventy eight Urdu language television episodes and 13 episodes in each of the four major provincial languages will broadcast throughout Pakistan. The same number of radio programs will be developed and broadcast as well. The project will also bring 600 live puppet performances and video shows to various rural areas. In addition, the project will work to include out-of-school children in various educational activities.” In fact, only thirteen episodes were produced. Who at State was overseeing the other aspects of this project? A touch of humility, with modest, sincere goals, builds US credibility.
–Why is it required that an outside source, in this case a newspaper, do State’s due diligence on these projects? Corruption is endemic and close monitoring should be required.
–If the point was to influence Pakistani youth by having the US give them Sesame Street, what is the public diplomacy impact of the US taking Sesame Street away?
–(rhetorical question) Will anyone on the US side be fired for another waste of US money and credibility? Or, more likely, will someone be fired for leaking the story?
Inside Baseball Bonus: The $20 million was USAID money. Inevitably some bonehead will write in to me claiming this was a failed USAID project and not a failed public diplomacy project. Guess what? As far as Pakistan is concerned this is a failed United States project, so get on the team, stop infighting and try to accomplish something besides adding rhetoric to the already steaming pile.
Holding one of her endless signature “Town Hall Meetings,” this time on the role of enhancing civil society, Secretary Clinton stated (apparently without irony as she is programmed to do):
Each time a reporter is silenced or an activist is threatened it doesnt strengthen government, it weakens a nation… We have to continue making the case for respect, tolerance, openness, which are at the root of sustainable democracy.
As a sign of commitment to such openness, the State Department continues to censor Washington Post articles about my case from its internal press summary. While running other articles from the Post’s Federal page, State did not include yesterday’s or today’s story. Luckily, despite such pathetic efforts at message control, the Washington Post has a greater circulation than State’s own press summary.
Meanwhile, Clinton’s own State Department struck blows against respect, tolerance and openness, this time through the denial of visas to enter the United States for people whose words scare us.
That’s what the State Department has done ahead of the 30th Conference of the Latin American Studies Association, to be held this week in San Francisco. Of the 2000 or so conferees expected from Latin America, eleven Cubans have been singled out and denied visas to enter the United States. Of the eleven, many are well known and internationally respected academics with long-standing ties to top American scholars. One is a former ambassador to the European Union. Another once taught at Harvard. All eleven had previously traveled to the US. The State Department’s form letters to the rejected applicants said that their presence would be “detrimental” to American interests.
As if to make it abundantly clear that such actions are policy, not happenstance, the same week the Cuban scholars were deemed too dangerous to enter the US, the State Department also denied a visa to the US to Muhammad Danish Qasim, a Pakistani student and filmmaker. Qasim released a short film entitled The Other Side, that shows the social, psychological and economical effects of American drone attacks on the people in tribal areas of Pakistan.
Denying visas to people whose ideas scare America has a long history, and was a favorite tactic of the Bush administration. That it is in healthy use by the Obama administration is not a surprise, but do we have to listen to Clinton’s endless empty prattle about freedom alongside of it?
Following the US decision to resume killing people by remote control drone in Pakistan against the demands of Pakistan’s alleged sovereign government, Pakistan has announced that it will too resume drone strikes inside the United States against what it labels “suspected terrorists or somebody.”
After almost eleven years of victories in Afghanistan, the United States has come to believe most terrorists in the area now seek refuge in Pakistan. After learning that during the Vietnam war bad guys ran away into the neighboring countries of Cambodia and Laos and needed to be bombed there, President Obama has ordered repeated drone strikes inside Pakistan. It is uncertain who is being killed, but the White House has been clear that once drone struck, the targets magically do morph into suspected terrorists. A spokesperson described it “kind of like Avengers superpower transformation.”
Failing to get the US to quit doing this despite asking pretty please twice, Pakistan has purchased its own drone from eBay and will soon begin launching strikes in the US mainland. “There are a helluva lot of Americans in the US who have killed people in Pakistan,” claimed an unnamed source in Islamabad now being circled overhead by a Predator. “Many of them are CIA and military with Pakistani blood on their hands, so we will smite them.” The US Congress took a short break from not approving anything to vote to say “No” to the Pakistani drones, only to be met by a rude gesture from the Pakistani Ambassador sent via Twitter and read by an intern.
Meanwhile, the new US policy of signature killings in Yemen, where targets that are people are terminated which means killed based on suspicious actions which means being in Yemen without being identified first is reportedly paying off well. “We have killed dozens of suspected terrorists in Yemen,” claimed a visibly stimulated Obama on an unannounced visit to Afghanistan to urinate into the skull of bin Laden preserved just for such a moment, “And we will keep killing them until I get re-elected. And then maybe some more. Man, once upon a time this shit counted as going to war, but now I can just freaking do it. Cool.”
In other news, the suspected terrorists of Yemen are seeking to raise $12.5 million dollars on Kickstarter to purchase their own drone.
One of the used-to-be strengths of the United States’ foreign policy was a big tool box. We had the military of course, but in the right place at the right time the CIA, the State Department, charities and NGOs, each one doing something different. A smart leader could choose the right tool for the job.
The militarization of foreign policy since 9/11 has been a huge mistake, one that has rendered the State Department largely a vestigial limb of government. You see, there is something to be said for having America’s engagements overseas done by civilians. That system—we call it diplomacy—has worked pretty well for what it is for most of the last couple of thousand years. The military does some stuff well, and diplomats do some stuff well. Remember your Clausewitz: war is what happens only after diplomacy fails.
The other problem with militarization is that it makes military targets out of people like NGO workers who should not be in the cross hairs of the bad guys. The latest sad revelation out of Pakistan only serves to put more American lives abroad in danger.
According to the National Journal’s Marc Ambinder in his new book on Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), The Command: Deep Inside the President’s Secret Army:
The U.S. intelligence community took advantage of the chaos to spread resources of its own into [Pakistan]. Using valid U.S. passports and posing as construction and aid workers, dozens of Central Intelligence Agency operatives and contractors flooded in without the requisite background checks from the country’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency. (emphasis added)
So thanks JSOC, we’re all more valuable targets now that the bad guys can’t tell a legitimate reconstruction worker or NGO staffer from one of your goons.
Iraq continues to represent the vision of two American presidents who apparently had nothing better to do than invade and occupy the place because, hey, why not? On Saturday, seven people were killed and 28 others wounded when three roadside bombs exploded mid-morning in the busy Bab al-Sharji commercial district of central Baghdad. Another six men died and 10 others were injured when a roadside bomb hit a minibus carrying young laborers and construction workers in al-Annaz area in eastern Falluja. Both area were primarily Sunni.
But don’t worry, because earlier in the week 50 people were killed and more than 50 others were hurt when three explosions hit a commercial district in Basra, an oil-rich, predominantly Shiite city. The universe of sectarian killing in Iraq remains in balance.
America firmed up ties with its best buddy and ally Pakistan by gunning down at least 26 Pakistani troops. NATO helicopters opened fire on two Pakistani military checkpoints near the border with Afghanistan early Saturday, killing 24 soldiers. Another 13 soldiers were wounded in the attack in the Mohmand Agency area. But it’s OK– Marine General John R. Allen offered his “sincere and personal heartfelt condolences” to the families of any Pakistan Security Forces members killed or injured. OK, that’s settled!
Elsewhere in Afghanistan, six children were among seven civilians killed in a NATO airstrike. A spokesman for the governor of Kandahar said that a NATO reconnaissance aircraft spotted five militants planting mines in the village of Siacha. The plane targeted the insurgents, killing two and wounding a third, and then pursued the other two suspects as they carried their wounded comrade away. “The plane chased them, the insurgents entered a street where children were playing and, as a result of its shooting, seven people have been killed, including six children, and two girls also have been injured.”
There is more, but my stomach can only handle so much loaded down with turkey and stuffing, so I’ll leave it to your imagination and Google. Americans, thank you, and please now return to your shopping and over-eating.
OK, sure, once in awhile I have complained here about working for the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer (FSO), especially in the garden zones of Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, where some 1600 FSO positions exist.
I need to cut back my complaining.
Federal employees deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan who are not in the Foreign Service are losing numerous travel, medical and leave benefits because those benefits were not renewed by Congress after they expired October 1. This can include government colleagues from Treasury, Justice, Agriculture and more.
The following benefits, which are available to Foreign Service officers, will no longer be available to non-Foreign Service personnel posted in Iraq, Afghanistan or Pakistan, according to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM):
• Reimbursement of travel costs when going home on leave (State estimates $21,000 per year for the cost of these breaks).
• Reimbursement of travel costs when obtaining necessary medical care when such care is not available locally.
• Reimbursement of travel costs when evacuating family members who are in imminent danger.
• Reimbursement of travel costs when transporting furniture and other personal effects when moving to another duty station. State estimates this cost at $25,000; USAID estimates it at $48,983.
• Mandatory leave for employees who have returned home after a three-year deployment. Agencies also will no longer have the option to offer leave to employees who had served in a war zone for 18 months.
• Medical examinations, mental health care, inoculations, vaccinations and other preventative care.
• A death gratuity equal to one year’s salary when an employee dies of injuries sustained while supporting military operations.
The death gratuity expiration will only affect federal employees making more than $100,000, since the Labor Department in 2009 finalized regulations authorizing a $100,000 death gratuity when a civilian employee dies of injuries incurred while supporting a combat operation.
Those benefits that expired were originally extended to non-Foreign Service personnel in a 2006 war supplemental bill. OPM issued a notice Oct. 7 reminding agencies those benefits had expired. The proposed 2012 Defense authorization bill, which Congress is still considering, does not contain an extension of those benefits.
This will not improve morale on Team America.
For those still trying to get through the day without a pocket NewSpeak dictionary (is there an app for that?), it is time to give up, or give in. The Obama Ministry of Truth people have begin using the term “coercive diplomacy” to refer to what most normal people would call war, now with former US-homeboy Pakistan.
Coercive diplomacy means using special forces, drones, CIA shooters and other such kinetic influences against a sovereign nation. It is not diplomacy and to call it diplomacy insults us all.
In the high-stakes poker game between Washington and Islamabad, “the new chip on the table is the fear in Pakistan that the U.S. could move beyond drone strikes” and start a wider air or land campaign to strike a blow against the Haqqani network, a senior official close to the issue told The Cable last week.
The fussing is over the Haqqani network, the designated group of all evil now that al Qaeda no longer polls well in the Democratic demographic.
Senator Lindsey Graham (R- Closet) has appeared closer to the administration’s views on the issue of Pakistan. On September 25, he said on Fox News Sunday that “the sovereign nation of Pakistan is engaging in hostile acts against the United States and our ally Afghanistan that must cease … if the experts believe that we need to elevate our response, they will have a lot of bipartisan support on Capitol Hill.” (emphasis added after I spit out a mouthful of beer hearing Afghanistan called “our ally.”)
Some history: After the War on Poverty, more poverty. After the War on Drugs, still have lots of drugs. Now, following the War on Terror (entering its 11th year), we have more terror. On September 10, 2001, the US was pretty much at war with no one. By September 10, 2011, we have wars aplenty in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Pakistan and places like the Philippines and Indonesia where it is still off the front pages.
Obama as a leader is like a man whose dog learned to scoot his ass across the carpet by watching his master do it.
The Pakistan Observer ran an editorial today that was scary in its frankness and simplicity of tone as we approach the anniversary of 9/11 once again:
Despite using excessive force and resorting to torture and intrigues for a decade, the US couldn’t disable Taliban power. Rather, they have become more powerful and resilient and are enjoying a military edge over the collection of most powerful armies of the world and are unprepared to negotiate with USA on its terms. With the killing of bin Laden, America is left with no excuse to prolong its stay, particularly when it claims that al-Qaida’s back has been broken. In fact it had barged into Afghanistan with the main objective of punishing al-Qaeda for its alleged role in 9/11. Ten years intense oppression and massacre of tens of thousands of Afghans and al-Qaeda operatives and death of most wanted top leader are enough to avenge deaths of about 3000 Americans.
This amount spent in the name of insane war which has given nothing except pain and ignominy to USA is a big waste which can be profitably utilized for welfare of home public. It is ironic to see the sole super power mired in heavy debt and getting more and more dependent upon its archrival China for its sustenance.
Read the whole article.
Our posts below detail the sad state of Arabic language speakers at State. Now an inspection report by State’s own internal team shows that pretty much nobody speaks the key languages of Afghanistan and Pakistan either.
The report shows that a total of FOUR FSOs speak Pashto at a professional level. Man, those poor four bastards are gonna be locked into an endless cycle of tours of that region. Sorry about those dreams of a year or two out in Paris, or anywhere else with flush toilets.
State still remains properly stubborn, refusing to hire FSOs based on their existing skills (such as languages) and insisting that everyone pass through the hallowed testing process blind. Of course, since it has been only ten years since 9/11, State’s plan to train up a bunch of people to talk that foreign talk is working out well.
Other than being embarrassing, why does this matter? One reason is this: The January 27, 2011, arrest in Lahore, Pakistan, of an American official assigned to Embassy Islamabad drew attention to a public affairs skills gap. Not once during nearly two months that coincided with the inspection did a Pakistan-based American public affairs official engage the Urdu-speaking media in that local language about this issue.
No wonder they hate us, shouting at them in English all the time. Some good news though: a friend of ours just got accepted into two years of Japanese language training, and another into Finnish, so those are covered if al Qaeda or the Taliban relocated.
In what passes as good news these days, the Taliban has no plans to attack Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, its spokesman declared, as the militants kept up their campaign to avenge Osama bin Laden’s death, ramming a pickup truck laden (Laden?) with explosives into a police station and killing six people.
A larger assault earlier this week by the Pakistan Taliban on a naval base renewed fears that Pakistan’s sizable nuclear arsenal could be vulnerable. The Taliban’s spokesman dismissed those concerns, saying that “Pakistan is the only Muslim nuclear-power state.”
Whew, I’m sleeping sounder tonight. Back to your bin Laden death celebrations, citizens.
You can be equally sure that the hard drives and computer gear taken from bin Laden’s house must be being analyzed in the most Wikileaks proof facility the US government has. So then how is it that everyone in the world now knows that the SEALS discovered loads of porn inside Dr. Evil’s lair?
The US Government leaked the info.
With all the secrecy around what was found with bin Laden, it is odd at first that our premiere look inside reveals the guy’s hard drives were loaded with porn. Media speculation throbbed with delight in wondering if he liked gay stuff, or pedophilia, or bestiality or corpo or shemales or BDSM or Trump sex or lesbian wrestling or amputee masturbation or futanari or sexy clowns or schoolgirl anime or… well, if you want more, just Google it yourself. Whatever bin Laden did or not have is available on your desktop anyway and your teenage kids have already seen it. Start with “Two Girls, One Cup” and digress from there. Go ahead, I’ll wait.
So why did the US leak that bin Laden had wank fodder, er, at hand? To discredit him, of course. The US seems to get some sort of self-pleasuring out of insinuating that world leaders we don’t like are sexual freaks. I guess the idea is that devout Muslims will think even less of Osama now that we all know he jerks the gherk even with three wives.
It is an old game. In fact, blog SpyTalk had the story a year ago that the CIA actually made a video purporting to show Osama bin Laden and his cronies sitting around a campfire swigging bottles of liquor and savoring their conquests with boys. The actors were drawn from “some of us darker-skinned employees,” quoting a former CIA officer.
Spytalk also reminds us that the CIA had a bag of dirty tricks ready for Saddam Hussein in preparation for the 2003 American invasion of Iraq that included making him look like a pedophile. Citing former CIA officials, the blog said one devious tactic involved creating a video showing the Iraqi strongman purportedly having sex with a teenage boy. “It would look like it was taken by a hidden camera,” one ex-CIA official told Spy Talk’s Jeff Stein. “Very grainy, like it was a secret videotaping of a sex session.”
However, no real need to go all the way back to 2003 to find the US Government trying to make bad world leaders look like hairy palmed teenagers.
Just last month the US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, claimed that Gaddafi is supplying his troops with Viagra to encourage mass rape. Rice made the claim while accusing Gaddafi of numerous human rights abuses. The Viagra claim surfaced in an al-Jazeera report from Libya-based doctors who said they had found Viagra in the pockets of pro-Gaddafi soldiers.
Or take North Korean Netflix buff Kim Jong Il. Otherwise reliable news sources reported on the 2000 girls employed in the dictator’s “pleasure groups”. Each “pleasure group” is composed of three teams — a “satisfaction team”, which performs sexual services; a “happiness team,” which provides massage and a “dancing and singing team.” The good news for Kim is that he is only accused of heterosexual excesses. Plus really bad hair for such a stud.
Some folks really seem to believe that portraying bin Laden as a porn hoover will undercut his support. For example:
This is why the leaks about Bin Laden’s “porn stash” are more than a joke. His sympathizers and potential followers are, by several measures, more categorically averse to pornography, adultery, and the mixing of men and women than they are to suicide bombing of civilian targets. If you want to sour these people on Bin Laden and his movement, calling him a terrorist won’t cut it. You’re better off portraying him as a hypocritical porn hound who lived in a million-dollar mansion, touched himself up for videos, and hid behind women when martyrdom called.
Got it. Mass murder: OK. Boobs: Bad. Does that even make sense? We’re trying to persuade folks who think killing innocents is OK by appealing to their prudish side?
Bottom Line: Cheap propaganda does not influence hearts and minds. Like telling fibs, it only serves to discredit the source, us in this case. Can we please stop the silliness America?
Note: if you’re current on your to-do list, have fixed that leaky faucet, cleaned out your wallet, returned library books, made some extra for leftovers and put it in the freezer, spell-checked your Facebook, deleted your spam folder and sharpened all your pencils, then check out the hash tag #binLadenpr0n on Twitter for more fun.
Luckily, Reuters bought off some loyal Pakistani, who produced photos of the other dead guys inside La Casa de bin Laden. That ain’t ketchup on the floor, bud.
The photo shows what appears to be a modified tail rotor that does not match any previously photographed US helicopter. Press reports state that the SEALS inserted via Chinook helos, but that rotor is not from a Chinook. The rotor piece came from a US helicopter that crashed on site and was blown up by the SEALS. The rotor piece somehow survived.
As usual, Aviation Week has the best take on this, suggesting the “new” helicopter is in fact a highly-modified Black Hawk. It does not appear to be a Yellow Fruit-type Little Bird, but that might also be a possibility. Hopefully the good guys got the contract for the scrap removal and no Chinese Embassy bombings will be necessary.
UPDATE: The whole story at Army Times.
Now, again, which ones are the insurgents, which are the rebels and which are the terrorists? Jeez, since all the 9/11 conspirators were in Pakistan just before the attacks, and now that it appears Osama was living in Pakistan literally under the eyes of the Pakistani military, I guess is it still a good idea that we invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Also that we killed another Gaddafi kid this week (we nailed one of his daughters in 1986) and the other night popped one of bin Laden’s sons, who no doubt was also resisting.
Bad news: McDonald’s didn’t stop serving burgers when the original Ronald passed away. Damn Hamburgler!
Switch to our mobile site