Our Friends The Pakistanis

Is this the thanks we get for our billions of dollars in annual aid?

Report: Pakistan gave China access to ‘stealth’ chopper in bin Laden raid

Pakistan gave China access to the previously unknown “stealth” helicopter that crashed during the commando raid that killed Osama bin Laden in May despite explicit requests from the CIA not to, the Financial Times reported on Sunday.

. . .

“The US now has information that Pakistan, particularly the ISI, gave access to the Chinese military to the downed helicopter in Abbottabad,” the paper quoted a person “in intelligence circles” as saying.

Pakistan, which enjoys a close relationship with China, allowed Chinese intelligence officials to take pictures of the crashed chopper as well as take samples of its special “skin” that allowed the American raid to evade Pakistani radar, the newspaper reported.

See also:
Pakistan lets China see US helicopter
Pakistan let China see ‘stealth’ chopper from bin Laden raid: FT
Report: Pakistan Gave China Access To US Chopper
Pakistan let China see crashed US “stealth” copter – report
UPDATE 1-Pakistan let China see crashed US “stealth” copter-FT
Pakistan let China see “stealth” chopper from bin Laden raid
Can We Please Have Our Wreckage Back?

Well, kiss that technology goodbye, and China didn’t even have to steal it, Pakistan handed it to them.

/tell me again why we give Pakistan billions of dollars and pretend they’re our ally?

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All In The Karzai Family

What are we fighting for again?

Corruption fighting, Afghanistan style

Just how corrupt is the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan? It should be clear by now that President Hamid Karzai doesn’t want us to know. He’d prefer that we just keep sending our troops and our dollars, and not ask too many questions.

Karzai’s government announced this week that American and allied advisers, dispatched to Kabul to help investigate massive and endemic graft, will no longer be allowed to do any actual investigating. Karzai’s chief of staff told The Post that the government is still determined to eliminate corruption, but intends to do so “within an Afghan framework.”

And what a framework it is. Karzai is evidently upset that foreign advisers helped build a case against one of his high-ranking aides, Mohammad Zia Salehi, who is charged with soliciting a bribe — $10,000 plus a new car — from a money-exchange firm. In return, according to the charges, Salehi was supposed to derail an investigation into allegations that the company, called New Ansari, had illegally shipped $3 billion in cash out of the country. Most of the funds ended up in Dubai, where many of the wealthy Afghan elite have settled.

Salehi was arrested, but Karzai intervened to have him released from jail just seven hours later. Karzai has said that the use of wiretaps to build the case against Salehi was a violation of “human rights principles.” I wonder what other standard investigative techniques don’t fit within the “Afghan framework.”

A serious, sustained probe of high-level Afghan corruption might hit even closer to home for Karzai and his family. His brother, Mahmoud Karzai, is one of the major shareholders in Kabul Bank, the nation’s largest financial institution, which almost collapsed this week amid allegations that it was essentially being looted by politically connected insiders. Mahmoud Karzai lives in what the Financial Times describes as a “beachside villa” in Dubai.

President Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, is the most powerful political figure in the Kandahar region — and also, according to persistent allegations, a major player in Afghanistan’s illegal drug trade. He denies any involvement in the opium business, and Hamid Karzai vouches for him, so that’s that. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

See also:
U.S. effort to help Afghanistan fight corruption has complicated ties
Kabul Bank’s Dubai connection
The Karzai empire, villas in Dubai and fears over Afghan aid
Corruption Allegations Test Afghan Banking System
Karzai Family Ties Shielded Afghan Bank
Karzai’s brother made $1m from Dubai deal financed by Kabul Bank

Gee, we’re doing Karzai’s fighting for him while his whole family is picking our pockets.

/of course, a Taliban government would be worse but, apparently, not by much

Recovery Summer My Ass!

For weeks now, all the economic data have painted a grim picture of an economy that’s rapidly grinding to a halt. And yet Obama, Biden, and the rest of the Clown Car Club Democrats swear up and down, with supposedly straight faces, that the economy is turning around and is headed in the right direction. Either they’re deliberately lying or they’re incompetently insane, take your pick.

/Michael Ramirez

‘Recovery Summer’ goes bust

Declaring a “Recovery Summer” victory tour at the start of June must have looked like a pretty safe wager for the Obama administration. The economy seemed to have shifted firmly into gear during spring. Lawrence Summers, director of the National Economic Council, told the Financial Times in early April that the economy was “moving toward escape velocity. You hear a lot less talk of ‘W’-shaped recoveries and double-dips than you did six months ago.”

A big reason for White House optimism was a stronger job market. The economy added an average of 320,000 net new jobs a month during March, April and May, about half of them in the private sector. Granted, the unemployment rate still hovered close to 10 percent. But if the economy kept growing at a 3 percent annual clip or greater — creating lots and lots of new jobs in the process — unemployment would eventually fall, perhaps dramatically.

Since then, however, the economy has fallen back to Earth, and “Recovery Summer” looks more like a bad bet. Private sector job growth has fallen by two-thirds, and the unemployment rate is still at a sky-high 9.5 percent. And if the size of the U.S. work force, as measured by the Labor Department, had stayed constant since April — instead of shrinking by a million — the unemployment rate would be 10.4 percent. Jobless claims are at their highest level since February. Worse yet, the expansion is decelerating. After growing by 5.7 percent in the final quarter of 2009 and 3.7 percent in the first quarter of 2010, gross domestic product advanced by just 2.4 percent from April through June, according to the Commerce Department.

See also:
White House’s ‘recovery summer’ could be slipping away
Grim jobs report undercuts talk of a recovery
GOP Targets Obama’s ‘Recovery Summer’ Amid Economic Gloom
The recovery is losing steam, fast
Doubt keeps people from investing
Recovery a job killer on Highway 66
Obama’s Economic Recovery Hits a Snag

So, what’s Obama’s plan to restore positive economic momentum, where’s the leadership? Aside from blaming Bush, who left office a year and a half ago, and the Republicans at every opportunity, it appears Obama doesn’t have a plan, he’s AWOL on the economy, he has no idea what to do or what needs to be done. In fact, all the policy he has so far foisted upon the country has been economically counterproductive and has created nothing but market confusion and uncertainty.

/I think Obama needs another vacation, don’t you think he’s earned it?