Something has not been passing the proverbial sniff test with the incredible media coverage of the Osama Bin Laden killing. A couple of different “spidey senses” began tingling around about the time all the talk of “the largest cache’ of intelligence ever” started being thrown around. I believe my first hearing of this claim was within 36 hours of the Presidents announcement. Initially, like most, I thought ‘great’, perhaps we can find the rest of the bad guys, then something began to irk me after a couple of days with continuous specific talk of “gathered intelligence”. I mean, wouldn’t this normally be kept secret until fully vetted, analyzed, critiqued, and actionable items extracted? Something did not sit right with watching CNN run 24/7 discovery type programming with all these “secret” releases of intel.
Simultaneously to this those who dislike Obama, for whatever reason, began using his own “spike the ball” analogy to paint him as taking political opportunistic advantage of a terrific outcome in the war against terror. Indeed a decent case can reasonably be made that Obama relished his Osama Victory just a little too much. Speaking to 60 minutes on Wednesday, heading to Ground Zero on Thursday, and then Fort Campbell on Friday did begin to look a lot like ball spiking to me.
However, something connected those two relatively disconnected events when I began to analyze Obama and his administrations specific actions against the back drop of his historical Pakistani connections. An odd question came to mind. Was Obama “spiking the ball”, or maybe Obama and the White House, including Biden, were “ringing the bell”. Ringing an alarm bell. A ‘heads up’ alarm bell. An open warning to Pakistan, but not the kind of warning one would think. More of a “heads up” warning, as in “watch out, we’re found out a bunch of intel on you that won’t be good news”.
If cockroaches were terrorists, and you wanted to kill the cockroaches, you wouldn’t turn on every light in the house to kill them. If you did that they would scatter to the hidden places you do not know about and protect themselves from visibility. Right? Instead you would have far more luck with a flashlight approach, lighting up only specific controlled areas as you went along. Find one, squish em’, move along, find another, squish em’ too, approach. Turning on every light in the house might bag you a couple easy squishes, but you’ve given the others notice to scatter.
Maybe Obama wanted to turn on every light in the house because he wanted to give Pakistani cockroaches, and those who support their nests, the opportunity to scatter.
Having previously talked campaigned ad infinim, about Administrative Transparency, even while tongue in cheek, this provides the perfect cover behind which you can successfully provide a massive intel dump. Turning actionable intel into “non-actionable” intel, pretty quickly. But why? Why would an administration want to protect a government that obviously had dropped the same ball Obama picked up and spiked.
It actually might be more obvious that most would think. Indeed, if the final intel that provided the specific path to Osama Bin Laden came from inside the Pakistani government, military, or ISI (Pakistani CIA), it would make sense to have a quid pro quo in place. However, to understand the depth and scope of these tentacles you have to understand the nature of the Taliban, al-Qaeda, or Bin Laden supporters inside Pakistan as transposed against the central government. The Taliban, and indeed Bin Laden himself, possess widespread support amid the Pakistani people, in the tone of Robin Hood folk hero standing up to Big Oppression (US). The Pakistani Government had a difficult challenge of balancing a minority position to help us, against a majority of citizenry that do not like us. Hence, it is not difficult to see how OBL was able to hide in plain sight, for so long. But something happened recently. Actually on April 29th to be exact.
April 29th – There is increasing concern in the international community that terrorists such as those in Bin Laden’s Al-Qa’ida organization and the hard-line Taliban will get their hands on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.
Last week, the Taliban managed to reach an area located approximately 100 kilometers from the capital Islamabad before being repelled. Zardari ruled out the possibility of nuclear weapons falling into the hands of the Taliban. “The nuclear capability of Pakistan is in safe hands,” he said. The Pakistani government said the Taliban had completely withdrawn from the district, but reports quoting local eyewitnesses said Taliban fighters were still present on the ground.
The Pakistan army killed 46 Taliban fighters over the past two days in northwest Pakistan’s Lower Dir district. The Taliban is warning it will attack government forces in the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) if the government does not stop its offensive.
The Taliban has suspended talks with the provincial government in the wake of the clashes. The government in NWFP struck a deal with the Taliban under which Islamic Law, or Shari’a would be introduced to the area in return for a suspension in Taliban hostilities. http://www.themedialine.org/news/news_detail.asp?NewsID=24972
Perhaps this offensive by the Taliban spooked “someone” inside Pakistan enough to make them reconsider their previous “turn the other cheek” acceptance of Bin Laden’s’ hideout/launch post/HQ. I mean seriously he has been living their for around 6 years? Seriously? 6 years? Undetected? That would be since around 2005. But yet we still have to ask how is Obama influenced with Pakistan? Is there something else behind the door of consideration that we are not looking at? For that we need only do a little research into what we already know about his Pakistani connections.
So lets recap what we know about Obama and Pakistan:
A few (five we are aware of) of Obama’s closest friends live there Imad Husain (former college roomate 1979-80), Ali Hassan Chandio (Occidental College), Wahid Hamid (Occidental College), Sohale Siddiqi (New York – Columbia College). Obama visited there numerous times. Obama maintains close personal 30+ year connections with Pakistani friends (they attended his wedding 1992, and campaign for him 2007-08). Obama’s mom worked and lived there from 1987 to 1992. Joe Biden has a connection there. Obama personally knows the former President of Pakistan Muhammad Mian Soomro, and indeed stayed at his house during a summer visit there in 1981 and still maintains a 30+ year friendship with him. So lets look at this angle a little deeper.
Most Pakistanis seem to like President Barack Obama. However, for most, President Obama’s “Pakistan Connections” were limited to (a) his rather strong words about Pakistan, including about sending troops into Pakistan, and (b) his choice of Vice President Joseph Biden, who has a long and deep interest in foreign affairs, including Pakistan. Most Pakistanis were/are not very fond of the first of these connections. The second connection they like, especially because Senator Biden was the key architect of a very generous and quite sensible support package for Pakistan.
It turns out, however, that Barack Obama may have slightly deeper and more personal connections to Pakistan. First, there is Barak Obama’s mother living on and off in Pakistan for five years. It is quite clear that Ann Dunham, Obama’s mother, did indeed work and live in Pakistan as a consultant to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), working on a project in Gujranwalla (here, here, here). A headline in the Daily Waqt that proclaims that “Obama’s Mother Stayed in Pakistan for 5 Years.” Here is the Daily Waqt report:
The mother of American Presidential hopeful, Barack Obama, Mrs. Ann Dunham lived in Pakistan for five years. During this time, Barack Obama also visited his mother and stayed for a few month. Mrs. Ann Dunham was hired as a consultant by the Asian Development Bank for Pakistan Agricultural Development Bankâ’s Gujranwalla Agricultural Development Program. This program began in 1987 and ended in 1992.
Mrs. Ann Dunham monitored the funds received for this program from the Asian Development Bank and trained the Mobile Credit Officers of the Agricultural Bank. This program was controlled from the Gujranwalla Regional Office. She stayed for five years in the Hilton International Hotel (now Avari Hotel), Lahore. She travelled daily from Lahore to Gujranwalla. When Barack Obama visited Pakistan, he stayed in the same hotel. After returning from Pakistan, she died from cancer within three years.
Barack Obama has himself visited Pakistan. Indeed, Barack Obama may have visited Pakistan for longer than any U.S. President ever has. As so many college students do, he seemed eager to see the world. He was in Karachi in 1981 as a young student, returning from a visit to his mother in Indonesia. According to a New York Times report:
…Mr. Obama also spoke about having traveled to Pakistan in the early 1980s. Because of that trip, which he did not mention in either of his autobiographical books, “I knew what Sunni and Shia was before I joined the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,” he said… According to his campaign staff, Mr. Obama visited Pakistan in 1981, on the way back from Indonesia, where his mother and half-sister, Maya Soetoro-Ng, were living. He spent “about three weeks” there, Mr. Obama’s press secretary, Bill Burton, said, staying in Karachi with the family of a college friend, Mohammed Hasan Chandoo, but also traveling to Hyderabad, in India.
As mentioned above, Obama has a number of Pakistani friends dating back to his college days, and it was those friendships that brought him to Pakistan. Some details, again, from the same New York Times report:
…In Dreams from My Father, he talks of having a Pakistani roommate when he moved to New York, a man he calls Sadik who “had overstayed his tourist visa and now made a living in New York’s high-turnover, illegal immigrant work force, waiting on tables”… During his years at Occidental College, Mr. Obama also befriended Wahid Hamid, a fellow student who was an immigrant from Pakistan and traveled with Mr. Obama there, the Obama campaign said.
Mr. Hamid is now a vice president at Pepsico in New York, and according to public records, donated the maximum $2,300 to the Obama campaign and is listed as a fund-raiser for it. Mr. Chandoo is now a self-employed financial consultant, living in Armonk, N.Y. He has donated the maximum, $2,300, to Mr. Obama’s primary campaign and an additional $309 for the general election, campaign finance records show.
Wahid Hamid and Chandio each contributed the maximum $2,300 to Obama’s campaign, and records indicate each has joined an Asian-American council that supported his run for president. In addition both also were listed on Obama’s campaign Web site as being among his top fundraisers, each bringing in between $100,000 and $200,000 in contributions from their networks of friends. Both Hamid and Chandoo also attended Obama’s wedding in 1992, according to published reports and other friends.
An Associated Press story on Obama’s college friends has more interesting snippets. Especially his relationship with Sohale Siddiqi, from Karachi, is fascinating – all the more to the Pakistani reader:
The way Sohale Siddiqi remembers it, he and his old roommate were walking his pug Charlie on Broadway when a large, scary bum approached them, stomping on the ground near the dog’s head. This was in the 1980s, a time when New York was a fearful place beset by drugs and crime, when the street smart knew that the best way to handle the city’s derelicts was to avoid them entirely. But Siddiqi was angry and he confronted the man, who approached him menacingly. Until his skinny, elite univerity-educated friend – Barack Obama – intervened. He “stepped right in between. … He planted his face firmly in the face of the guy. ‘Hey, hey, hey.’ And the guy back pedaled and we kept walking,” Siddiqi recalls.
Obama spent the six years between 1979 and 1985 at Occidental College in Los Angeles and then in New York at Columbia University and in the workplace. His memoir, Dreams from My Father, talks about this time, but not in great detail; Siddiqi, for example, is identified only as “Sadik” _ “a short, well-built Pakistani” who smoked marijuana, snorted cocaine and liked to party. Obama’s campaign wouldn’t identify “Sadik,” but The Associated Press located him in Seattle, where he raises money for a community theater.
Not everyone who knew Obama in those years is eager to talk. Some explain that they fear inadvertently hurting Obama. Among his friends were Siddiqi and two other Pakistanis, all of them from Karachi; several of those said the Pakistanis were reluctant to talk for fear of stoking rumors that Obama is a Muslim. “Obama in the eyes of some right wingers is basically Muslim until proved innocent,” says Margot Mifflin, a friend from Occidental who is now a journalism professor at New York’s Lehman College. “It’s partly the Muslim factor by association and partly the fear of something being twisted.”
Of course, he was only 18 when he arrived at the small liberal arts college nicknamed “Oxy.” His freshman roommates were Imad Husain, a Pakistani, who’s now a Boston banker, and Paul Carpenter, now a Los Angeles lawyer… Obama had an international circle of friends _ “a real eclectic sort of group,” says Vinai Thummalapally, who himself came from Hyderabad, India. As a freshman, he quickly became friends with Mohammed Hasan Chandoo and Wahid Hamid, two wealthy Pakistanis.
In 1981 Obama transferred from Occidental, arriving at Columbia Sept. 1982. In between, he traveled to Pakistan – a trip that enhanced his foreign policy qualifications, he maintained in a private speech at a San Francisco fundraiser. Obama spent “about three weeks” in Pakistan, traveling with Hamid and staying in Karachi with Chandio’s family, said Bill Burton, Obama’s press secretary. “He was clearly shocked by the economic disparity he saw in Pakistan. He couldn’t get over the sight of rural peasants bowing to the wealthy landowners they worked for as they passed,” says Margot Mifflin, who makes a brief appearance in Obama’s memoir. When Obama arrived in New York, he already knew Siddiqi – a friend of Chandio’s and Hamid’s from Karachi who had visited Los Angeles.
Siddiqi offered the most expansive account of Obama as a young man. “We were both very lost. We were both alienated, although he might not put it that way. He arrived disheveled and without a place to stay,” said Siddiqi, who at the time worked as a waiter and as a salesman at a boutique… In about 1982, Siddiqi and Obama got an apartment at a sixth-floor walk-up on East 94th Street. Siddiqi managed to get the apartment thanks to subterfuge. “We didn’t have a chance in hell of getting this apartment unless we fabricated the lease application,” Siddiqi said.
Neither Hamid nor Chandoo have accepted media interviews; Hamid is now a top executive at Pepsico in New York, and Chandoo is a self-employed financial consultant in the New York area. Both have each contributed the maximum $2,300 to Obama’s campaign, and records indicate each has joined an Asian-American council that supports his run for president. Both also are listed on Obama’s campaign Web site as being among his top fundraisers, each bringing in between $100,000 and $200,000 in contributions from their networks of friends. Both also attended Obama’s wedding in 1992, according to published reports and other friends.
Thummalapally has stayed in contact with Obama, too, visiting him in New York, attending his wedding in 1992 and joining him in Springfield, Illinois., for the Feb. 10, 2007, announcement of Obama’s run for the White House. President of a CD and DVD manufacturing company in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Thummalapally also is listed as a top fundraiser on the campaign Web site.
Research Links Below:
- Muhammad Mian Soomro