Robert Fisk: Clinton's $33m raid on Pakistan shows that, in the end, hypocrisy will win

The Long View: Are the Pakistanis being so dastardly when they lock up a national who has helped in a murder?

Share
Related Topics

La Clinton hath spoken. Thirty-three million smackers lopped off Pakistan's aid budget because its spooks banged up poor old Dr Shakeel Afridi for 33 years after a secret trial. And, as the world knows, Dr Afridi's crime was to confirm the presence of that old has-been Osama bin Laden in his grotty Abbottabad villa.

Well, that will teach the Pakistanis to mess around with a brave doctor who is prepared to help the American institution that tortures and murders its enemies. Forget the CIA's black prisons and rendition and water-boarding, and the torture of the innocents in the jails of our friendly dictators. Dr Afridi was just doing the free world a favour. And WOW, Dr Afridi got shopped by Leon Pannetta when he was CIA boss, and now Barack Obama is accused of letting him down.

Well, I pause here. Dr Afridi was brought before a secret trial in the Khyber tribal area – no charge sheets, no lawyers, no statements from the defendant or the prosecution, just a measly accusation of conspiracy against the state of Pakistan and "high treason". I've never known the difference between "treason" and "high treason" but – since Pakistan's security apparatus is a mirror image of the British Empire – I assume it was invented by us. "High treason" means treason against the monarch. By fingering Bin Laden, after using a ruse about vaccinating his family against hepatitis B to gain access to him, Dr Afridi was committing treason against King Asif Ali Zardari, otherwise known as the President of Pakistan.

But hold on a moment. Let's suppose Vladimir Putin sent a KGB/FSB hit squad to Britain to murder a former agent called Alexander Litvinenko who had turned against his old spymasters. And let's suppose that the Russians murdered Litvinenko. Which – in real life – they did. And Litvinenko – in real life – was indeed a trusted agent of the Russians, just as Bin Laden was a much-admired servant of the CIA when he was fighting the Russians in Afghanistan.

Getting a bit close to home? Well, let's go a stage further. Supposing Litvinenko was murdered after being identified by a friendly British GP – working for the KGB/FSB – who vaccinated the Litvinenko family against hep B. What do Messrs Cameron and Clegg and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police and the Lord Chief Justice and the Lord High Executioner and all the other nabobs do? Do they accuse the British GP of treason, clap him in irons, stage a hush-hush trial covered by the Official Secrets Act and send the chap off to rot in the Tower of London for – say – 33 years?

Or do they accept a bribe from Moscow of, say, $33m (£21m) to let the GP out of jug so he can potter off to Moscow to be given a new home and restart his career as a doktor for the nomenklatura?

In other words, are the Pakistanis being so dastardly when they lock up a national who has helped a foreign power murder an exile inside his own country of Pakistan? And, more to the point, wouldn't we do the same?

And let's take the story of hypocrisy a stage further. Wasn't there a brave Israeli citizen called Mordechai Vanunu, who, in opposition to the nuclear weapons that his country was amassing in secret, spoke out to the world about this outrageous threat to international world order and was subsequently kidnapped from Italy by intelligence agents, tried in Israel for "treason" – in secret, of course – and spent 18 years in prison? Now I grant you that's 15 years shorter than poor old Dr Afridi, but Vanunu still lives under grave restrictions to his liberty and has twice been imprisoned again for the heinous crime of chatting to foreign journalists.

And has La Clinton threatened to suspend a single dollar of Israel's annual $3bn in aid from the United States for the next 33 years in order to protest Israel's treatment of Vanunu? Not to mention – not even to utter the words – Sabra and Chatila, Gaza, a 45-year occupation, illegal colonisation of West Bank land, etc, etc, or, indeed, for producing nuclear weapons. And we absolutely must not mention Jonathan Pollard, the former CIA and US Navy intelligence officer sentenced to life in prison in 1987 for spying for Israel. For if Pollard is not released, is Israel threatening to cut its aid to America? Hold on, that doesn't quite compute, does it? But you get the point.

It's about hypocrisy. Sure, Pakistan is a corrupt country. Sure, it is corrupt from the shoeshiner up to the pinnacles of power. But I suppose in the end, if you're going to prostitute yourself to America – financially and militarily, as Pakistan has done for decades – that's the price you pay. Which is why hypocrisy will win. For Dr Afridi, I predict, will be quietly given a substantial reduction in his sentence, will be released – or disappear – from his Pakistani prison and, in a few months/ years, when Zardari has scored enough points from Dr Afridi's imprisonment, the good doctor will pop up in the US with a fine medical practice and the pleasure of knowing – of course – that La Clinton has re-endowed Pakistan with its missing $33m.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: PMLD Teacher A specialist primary school i...

Recruitment Genius: Online Media Sales Trainee

£15000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Now our rapidly expanding and A...

Recruitment Genius: Public House Manager / Management Couples

£15000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about great ...

Recruitment Genius: Production Planner

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing reinforcing s...

Day In a Page

 

Political satire is funny, but it also causes cynicism and apathy

Yasmin Alibhai Brown
As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Dame Harriet Walter: The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment

Dame Harriet Walter interview

The actress on learning what it is to age, plastic surgery, and her unease at being honoured by the establishment
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's winter salads will make you feel energised through February

Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
Michael Calvin: Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links