American priorities in Pakistan are keeping drones dry

This is pretty extraordinary (and therefore has received no mainstream media coverage).

Feryal Ali Gauhar, Pakistani actress, filmmaker, writer and human rights activist, appears on Democracy Now! and reveals the real role of the US in Pakistan after the devastating floods:

…But it is well known, if not acknowledged by—particularly by the state, that the base for the drones, where they’re housed before they are automated, is in Pakistan. The current government has literally gone blue in the face denying that.
But I just happened to stumble across a contractor—and that’s not the Blackwater contractor—the contractor who built the base, who inadvertently, actually, spoke about it. But he was speaking about it in a different context, and that context was the fact that he was there at the time of the flooding—and, you know, this is the worst catastrophe to have hit any state since apparently biblical times. So, he actually mentioned to me that the River Indus, which is one of the largest rivers in the world, carrying now a volume of water which has not been known in contemporary history, was breached on the left bank deliberately in order to protect the base, which is on the right bank. And the breaching caused, consequentially, the inundation of an entire district, which resulted in the displacement of millions, not thousands, but millions, because we have 170 million people in the country, and this particular district is one of the most densely populated. So, yes, there is a connect between, you know, what is considered to be a natural disaster, but then the management of that disaster is not natural at all.

AMY GOODMAN: We had reports that both the water was diverted, which flooded further Pakistanis, and also that the US military had to refuse to allow it to be used as a staging base for aid.

FERYAL ALI GAUHAR: Also, also true. Yes, that is also true, and which makes it even more ironic that, you know, in this so-called battle for hearts and minds—I mean, we all know that, you know, the agenda behind this very poetic sort of, you know, expression of hearts and minds, the agenda is really of violence and imperialism. And it is even more ironic that we have had many state—many visits by important personages from the United States government, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And, you know, there is this desperate sort of a need to reach out to the Pakistani people. And the flood almost seems to have presented itself as an opportunity for American foreign policy to be accepted more readily by Pakistani people in exchange for relief. And, you know, relief consists of food aid, as well as shelter. But the irony is that, you know, while there is a physical military presence in the country, that is cordoned off and cannot be used for humanitarian purposes.

So American forces and helicopters have actually been flying in from the Seventh Fleet into Pakistan and from other locations, possibly even from Afghanistan, because in 2005 during the colossal earthquake, which cost us 75,000 lives, we did have a diversion of the particular kinds of helicopters, which are the large—I think they’re called the Chinook, which was diverted from Afghanistan, from the duties there, which, again, is ironic—I mean, I just find things all connected—which is again ironic because at the time of Hurricane Katrina, the National Guard, who was supposed to have been protecting the American people, the National Guard was engaged in Afghanistan at that time, or in Iraq, one of the two countries. So, you know, you have this ongoing irony, series of ironies, where the state is meant to protect the people; it’s actually protecting only its own interests at the expense of the people.

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