[Marxism] Pakistan, polio and the CIA

Dennis Brasky dmozart1756 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 19 11:07:28 MDT 2017


After the invasion of Afghanistan by American-led forces in 2001, many
Taliban fighters relocated to the FATA, from where they launched
cross-border attacks. The Pakistani army tried to bring the region under
government control but the incursion aggrieved local communities, who
joined forces with the militants. The CIA used drone strikes to support
Pakistani military action from 2004 onwards. According to the Bureau of
Investigative Journalism
<https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1NAfjFonM-Tn7fziqiv33HlGt09wgLZDSCP-BQaux51w/edit#gid=1000652376>,
there have been 428 drone strikes, leading to between 2511 and 4020
fatalities.



Vaccination campaigns were suspected of being a smokescreen for collecting
intelligence ahead of drone strikes. Organisations involved in the Pakistan
Polio Eradication Initiative
<http://www.endpolio.com.pk/polioin-pakistan/partners-and-donors> include
the Pakistani state and US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Polio vaccinators visit the FATA every few months, walking from
door-to-door, offering to vaccinate children, and recording who has been
vaccinated. The data is collected for public health purposes, but you can
see how it might be misconstrued as intelligence gathering.



There have also been complaints
<https://tribune.com.pk/story/394962/cover-for-us-spies-n-waziristan-warlord-bans-polio-vaccination/>
that
‘billions of dollars’ are spent on vaccination campaigns when ‘polio
infects one child in a million’, while malnutrition and diarrhoea receive
far less attention from the international community despite causing much
more suffering. Polio workers have been attacked and vaccination campaigns
interrupted, reducing the number of children being immunised and leading to
an increase in polio cases.



Before the assassination of Osama bin Laden in May 2011, the CIA organised
a fake hepatitis B vaccination campaign
<https://www.theguardian.com/world/2011/jul/11/cia-fake-vaccinations-osama-bin-ladens-dna>
in
Abbottabad in a failed attempt to obtain his relatives’ DNA. When the story
broke a few months later, it seemed to vindicate people’s suspicions of the
polio programmes in the FATA. ‘As long as drone strikes are not stopped in
Waziristan,’ one militant leader declared
<http://www.reuters.com/article/us-pakistan-militants-polio/pakistan-militants-ban-polio-jabs-threaten-action-idUSBRE85F0E220120616>,
‘there will be a ban on administering polio jabs’ because immunisation
campaigns are ‘used to spy for America against the Mujahideen’. More than
3.5 million
<http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(13)60002-1/fulltext?rss=yes>
children
went unvaccinated as a result of the boycott and associated disruption, in
which several health workers were killed. Polio increased in Pakistan and
further afield, as the virus spread to Afghanistan and the Middle East
<https://academic.oup.com/heapol/article-lookup/doi/10.1093/heapol/czw148>.



https://www.lrb.co.uk/blog/2017/09/08/jonathan-kennedy/pakistan-polio-and-the-cia/?utm_source=LRB+blog+email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=20170919+blog&utm_content=usca_nonsubs



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