SATURDAY, MAY 26, 2012 05:53 PM BDT
Americans of all types ? are just livid that a Pakistani tribal court (reportedly in consultation with Pakistani officials) has?imposed?a 33-year prison sentence on Shakil Afridi, the Pakistani physician who secretly worked with the CIA to find Osama bin Laden on Pakistani soil. Their fury tracks the standard American media narrative: by punishing Dr. Afridi for the ?crime? of helping the U.S. find bin Laden, Pakistan has revealed that it sympathizes with Al Qaeda and is hostile to the U.S. (NPR headline: ?33 Years In Prison For Pakistani Doctor Who Aided Hunt For Bin Laden?;?NYT?headline: ?Prison Term for Helping C.I.A. Find Bin Laden?). Except that?s a woefully incomplete narrative: incomplete to the point of being quite misleading.
What Dr. Afridi actually did was concoct a pretextual vaccination program, whereby Pakistani children would be injected with a single Hepatitis B vaccine, with the hope of gaining access to the Abbottabad house where the?CIA believed bin Laden was located. The plan was that, under the ruse of vaccinating the children in that province, he would obtain DNA samples that could confirm the presence in the suspected house of the bin Laden family. But the vaccine program he was administering was fake: as?Wired
?s public health reporter Maryn McKenna?detailed
, ?since only one of three doses was delivered,?the vaccination was effectively useless
.? An on-the-ground?Guardian
?that??while the vaccine doses themselves were genuine, the medical professionals involved were not following procedures. In an area called Nawa Sher,?they did not return a month after the first dose to provide the required second batch
. Instead, according to local officials and residents, the team moved on.? Continue reading “The Imperial Mind”