Anyone who has watched the emerging vocabulary of the U.S. government knows that “enhanced” is a dangerous adjective. We now know that torture is merely enhanced interrogation; by the same token, under the Kerry-Lugar Bill, servitude is now to be called enhanced partnership.
It is true, as the Zardari government claims, that there is ample precedence for servitude (“there is nothing new” in this Bill); but it is also true, as the opposition claims, that servitude under an Act of the U.S. Congress, negotiated by an Ambassador who is known to have close relations with former Israeli intelligence officials, takes it to a whole new level.
To counter the brouhaha in Pakistan over the Bill, on 8 October 2009 Senator John Kerry issued a Press Release, Separating Myth from Fact on The Enhanced Partnership with Pakistan Act of 2009 (reproduced, without comments, on Page 2 of this post). In the spirit of Senator Kerry’s statement this post first lists additional myths and facts that are embodied in the language of the Bill itself that escaped Senator Kerry’s attention, and those that Senator Kerry unfortunately has created.
Myths Embodied in the Language of the Bill
MYTH: “With the free and fair election of February 18, 2008, Pakistan returned to civilian rule, reversing years of political tension and mounting popular concern over military rule and Pakistan’s own democratic reform and political development.” [SEC. 3(3)]
FACT: The elections of February 18, 2008 were neither free nor fair, and the civilian government engineered by the United States, by undermining the rule of law to allow criminals to contest and win elections, continues to rely on the same structure of law and governance that was employed by the military, with the result that popular concerns over democratic reform and political development have not been reversed.
MYTH: “…the FATA, parts of the NWFP, Quetta in Balochistan, and Muridke in Punjab remain a sanctuary for al Qaeda, the Afghan Taliban, the Terikh-e [sic.] Taliban and affiliated groups from which these groups organize terrorist actions against Pakistan and other countries.” [SEC. 3(6)]
FACT: These allegations have never been supported by actionable intelligence on which Pakistan could operate. A previous post (The “safe haven” myth) pointed out that 9/11 was launched out of Hamburg, not Afghanistan or Pakistan; this remains true today. Paul Pillar, the former deputy chief of the CIA’s counterterrorist center has argued that al-Qaeda’s terrorist threat is “less one of commander than of ideological lodestar, and for that role a haven is almost meaningless.” The Afghan Taleban, as Gen. McChrystal is at pains to point out, are in Afghanistan, where they enjoy a level of security that they simply won’t have in Pakistan; in any event, they seek to drive the American occupation forces out of their country and have never been accused of plotting terrorist attacks against the United States of America. The same is true of the Tehrik-e [U.S. Congress: please note spelling] Taleban Pakistan, whose crimes are local (even if foreign sponsored) and are being dealt with effectively by the Pakistan Army.
MYTH: “The security forces of Pakistan have struggled to contain a Taliban-backed insurgency, recently taking direct action against those who threaten Pakistan’s security and stability, including military operations in the FATA and the NWFP.” [SEC. 3(7)]
FACT: There is an insurgency in Afghanistan, but there is no “insurgency” in Pakistan, as defined implicitly in SEC. 2(2), i.e. an organized movement that seeks to overthrow the duly constituted Government of Pakistan through violent means. This is because: (1) unlike Afghanistan, in Pakistan all alleged criminals — wrongly labeled “insurgents” — seek local change or control (for which they should be tried, convicted, and if guilty punished), but they do not seek the overthrow of the government; and, incidentally, (2) with the Supreme Court having recently declared unconstitutional the US-engineered National Reconciliation Ordinance, under which criminals granted amnesty were allowed to contest and win elections, the present government’s being “duly constituted” is questionable.
MYTH: “United States assistance to Pakistan is intended to supplement, not supplant, Pakistan’s own efforts in building a stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan.” [SEC. 4(2)]
FACT: This is pious nonsense. A stable, secure, and prosperous Pakistan requires it to be free of all foreigners (among others, Arabs and Americans alike) who bear arms, engage in politics, and otherwise meddle in the domestic affairs of Pakistan. Under US pressure, with the collusion of American-installed and protected leaders (many of whom are foreign citizens and residents), Pakistan has had to grant five airbases to US military forces, emergency landing rights to US fighter aircrafts anywhere in the country, two-thirds of its airspace as air corridors to the US-led coalition forces, landing facility to the coalition warships at Pasni, and permission to US troops to carry out joint operations in Waziristan, Miran Shah and WANA. When the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan writes to a newspaper editor to suppress the right to freedom of expression of a leading critic of US policies, she undermines values enshrined in the constitutions of both Pakistan and America, and belies the claim that the U.S. seeks to supplement, not supplant Pakistan’s own efforts. There is overwhelming evidence that the U.S. seeks to supplant all Pakistani efforts that seek a sovereign Pakistan, not unlike the United States of America, that is not effectively an American colony.
MYTH: “The United States intends to work with the Government of Pakistan— …
(B) to support the people of Pakistan and their democratic government in their efforts to consolidate democracy, including strengthening Pakistan’s parliament, helping Pakistan reestablish an independent and transparent judicial system, and working to extend the rule of law in all areas in Pakistan;” [SEC. 4(5)(B)]
FACT: Over the last decade, American actions — support for General Musharraf, protecting him in exile, undermining the constitution and law to engineer a transition to a government of elected criminals, etc. — have made it abundantly clear to the people of Pakistan that the government of the United States has no respect for the laws of Pakistan, and believes that unlike America, in Pakistan there can be democracy without law. As the American people know, this is nonsense. Is the American government — and in their wake Zardari — following Goebbels: “If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it.” The fact is that there is an elected government in Pakistan, but by no stretch of the imagination is there anything that can be called a democracy.
MYTH: “The United States intends to work with the Government of Pakistan— …
(I) to assist Pakistan’s efforts to improve counterterrorism financing and anti-money laundering regulatory structure…” [SEC. 4(5)(I)]
FACT: The United States has actively supported, facilitated, and protected money-laundering by Pakistani leaders as long as these leaders have served U.S. interests. The prime example is the American-sponsored president of Pakistan, Asif Zardari, whose money laundering (by Citibank) is ably documented in U.S. Congressional committee reports (Minority Staff Report, an annex to S.Hrg 106-428, text | pdf); Citibank staff mentioned in this report include the former prime minister and the present finance minister and central bank governor of Pakistan.
Myths Created by Senator Kerry
MYTH: “The … bill gives the people of Pakistan $7.5 billion (Rs. 62,500 crore) over five years (2010-2014) in nonmilitary aid.” (Senator John Kerry)
FACT: The Bill does no such thing. Senator Kerry knows full well that the Kerry-Lugar Bill is an “authorization” bill: i.e. it “gives” the U.S. President, subject to oversight by congressional authorization committees, the “authority” to enter, subject to provision of funds by congressional “appropriation” committees, into “obligations” (sign contracts, issue purchase orders, employ personnel, etc.); the government (not the people) of Pakistan see this money when “outlays” occur (i.e. when these obligations are liquidated, mainly by issue of cheques, electronic fund transfers, and cash payments).
MYTH: “There are no conditions on Pakistan attached to these funds.” (Senator John Kerry)
FACT: The following conditions are attached to the release of these funds (which are broken down into two tranches of $750 million each)–
- To receive the first tranche, the U.S. Secretary of State, within 45 days of enactment, must provide the U.S. Congress with a detailed Assistance Strategy Report (ASR) (SEC. 102(b)(1)(A)). The ASR will include, inter alia, a description based on consultations of the role to be played by co-opted Pakistanis (SEC. 301(a)(4)). The ASR will grade Pakistan on the state of: civil liberties, political rights, voice and accountability, government effectiveness, rule of law, control of corruption, immunization rates, public expenditure on health, girls’ primary education completion rate, public expenditure on primary education, natural resource management, business start-up, land rights and access, trade policy, regulatory quality, inflation control, and fiscal policy (SEC. 301(a)(6))!
- To receive the second tranche, the U.S. President’s Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan (currently, Richard Holbrooke), must provide (i) a certification that assistance provided to Pakistan under this title or the Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to date has made or is making reasonable progress toward achieving the principal objectives of United States assistance to Pakistan contained in the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report; and (ii) a memorandum explaining the reasons justifying the certification described in clause (i). (SEC. 102(b)(1)(B)).
- The President to notify the appropriate congressional committees at least 15 days before providing any budget support to Pakistan, together with a description of the purpose and conditions attached to such support (SEC. 101(c)(6)(C)(d)).
- The Secretary of State [substituted for the President, by the Senate] to provide, within 90 days of the submission of the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report, and every 6 months thereafter, a semi-annual monitoring report to the appropriate congressional committees describing the assistance provided under this section, according to detailed requirements specified in the Act (concerned not only with preventing misuse of funds, but also with a host of matters that are an inappropriate intrusion into the sovereign governance of Pakistan).
- The Comptroller General of the United States, Government Accountability Office (GAO), to submit within one year of the submission of the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report, and annually thereafter, a report [the GAO report] to the appropriate congressional committees, containing (1) a review of, and comments addressing, the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report; and (2) recommendations on improving the efficiency and effectiveness of U.S. efforts to meet the objectives of this Act.
- The Senate has also added an advance consultation requirement, namely, that at least 15 days before “obligating any assistance” the President shall consult the appropriate congressional committees on the strategy in the Pakistan Assistance Strategy Report, including criteria and benchmarks to be used to measure the effectiveness of projects funded.
- Not later than 180 days after enactment, the U.S. President shall submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report on the comprehensive regional security strategy, designed in coordination and cooperation with India and Afghanistan, “to eliminate terrorist threats and close safe havens in Pakistan, including by working with the Government of Pakistan and other relevant governments and organizations in the region and elsewhere, as appropriate, to best implement effective counterinsurgency and counterterrorism efforts in and near the border areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan, including the FATA, the NWFP, parts of Balochistan, and parts of Punjab.” (SEC. 301(b))
These are “conditions on Pakistan”. While the Senator may argue that these conditions have been imposed on the U.S. government, their ability to satisfy these conditions depends entirely on performance by Pakistan. As anyone familiar with the receipt of conditional assistance knows the certification of performance requires performance by the recipient. Thus the IMF, for example, requires that its staff certify to its Board that the recipient has fulfilled the conditions imposed; naturally, the staff can only do so if the recipient meets the conditionality.
MYTH: “There are strict measures of financial accountability on these funds that Congress is imposing on the U.S. executive branch—not the Pakistani government, to make sure the money is being spent properly and for the purposes intended.” (Senator John Kerry)
FACT: While some degree of financial accountability is being imposed, the Bill provides specific exemptions to enable bribery and corruption–albeit in the “national security” interest of the United States–that is worrisome for Pakistan, if not unprecedented in U.S. legislation:
- Perhaps for the first time in U.S. legislative history, under an act of congress it will be legal for the U.S. government to offer bribes of up to $100,000 (Rs 8.3 million) to officials and other influential persons, without any independent oversight or financial accountability; and “persons or entities from the United States or other countries” to whom more is given, may be reported on in “a classified annex” (SEC. 302(a)(2)).
- To facilitate these bribes, from the funds “given” to “the people of Pakistan” $25 million will be placed in a Chief of Mission Fund, at the disposal of the U.S. Embassy (SEC. 101(c)(5)). (Also, $50 million will be spent by the people of Pakistan on “administrative expenses of civilian departments and agencies of the United States Government” (SEC. 101(c)(2)); and $150 million, on audit activities by U.S. government officials (SEC. 103(c)(1)).
- More significantly, if past experience is any guide, the $400,000 Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (available to the U.S. Secretary of Defense until 30 September 2010), will be a major source of facilitating corruption on the military side in Pakistan.
Note: As a point of detail, it had been envisaged earlier that $700 million would be budgeted for the Pakistan Counterinsurgency Capability Fund (PCCF), under defence assistance, charged to the Overseas Contingency Operations budget. Significantly, this amount was cut from the “defence” budget (Function 150 Account), and instead is now being funded, inter alia, from the “foreign assistance” budget (Function 050 Account). Thus, unless the foreign assistance allocation for Pakistan is increased by this amount, the total (defence plus foreign assistance) aid to Pakistan would be cut by $700 million in US-FY 2010. In fact, with US-FY 2009 having ended on 30 September 2009, the bulk of the $700 million allocation remained unutilised, and will fund the reduced $400 million US-FY 2010 allocation.
MYTH: “Nothing in the bill threatens Pakistani sovereignty. Period.” (Senator John Kerry)
FACT: Surely the Senator jests!
MYTH: There is absolutely no requirement or desire for U.S. oversight of promotions and other internal operations of the Pakistani military. (Senator John Kerry)
FACT: Under SEC. 302, the Bill requires the Secretary of State to submit a Semi-Annual Monitoring Report,
“that describes the assistance provided under this Act during the preceding 180-day period. The report shall include— …
(15) an assessment of the extent to which the Government of Pakistan exercises effective civilian control of the military, including a description of the extent to which civilian executive leaders and parliament exercise oversight and approval of military budgets, the chain of command, the process of promotion for senior military leaders, civilian involvement in strategic guidance and planning, and military involvement in civil administration.”
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