Proud to be an Extortionist!

By: Yasmeen Ali

US Senators John McCain and Carl Levin, the chair and ranking members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies to troops in Afghanistan, which McCain called extortion.

Extortion, dear McCain, is defined as, the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value by the abuse of one’s office or authority’. He also stated, while talking to ‘The Cable’ “We can’t look at aid in that light. It’s now becoming a matter of principle”.

I love it!

Is it the first time US will be paying for transit of NATO supplies? They are paying an average of about $250 a truck, as per a senior US official as reported in a report by David S. Cloud, from the Los Angeles Times published May 19th 2012.LINK: http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/19/world/la-fg-panetta-interview-20120519

So the question dear McCain is not of principle. The question could have been of principle had US not been paying anything at all, and one fine day, Pakistan had woken up to…what did you say? Ah yes…extortion. The question here Mr McCain, is the amount. So let’s help you off the high horse you seem to have got yourself up to and discuss the amount.

Let us take the example of a shopkeeper selling goods. Goods that someone needs desperately to buy. The shopkeeper has fixed a price. But the consumer, a sly, manipulating piece of work, tries everything within his power, to make the shopkeeper lower the price. The shopkeeper , a normally docile man-is obstinate this once. He refuses to succumb to the consumer’s pressure tactics.

Does that make the shopkeeper an Extortionist?

Or, does it make the consumer one-besides some other adjectives I would like to avoid right now?

Maybe McCain, in his youthful exuberance, forgot to mention, that the NATO supply route to Afghanistan via Pakistan has damaged the road infrastructure worth Rs 100 billion in the country during the last 10 years. (News report by Staff Reporter The Nation published 23rd May 2012) LINK

Talking of principles is not very pretty when one has been on a killing spree, killing children, civilians and older people-the more the merrier. Talking of principles is not pretty when you invade one country after the other. Talking of principles is not very pretty when an American citizen goes trigger happy causing deaths and when his hide is saved on basis of the very Shariah Laws US curses. Talking of principles is not very pretty when US decides to unilaterally attack Abottabad for Osama Bin Laden. And in case you missed my dear McCain, we are not the only ones pointing out your ’lack of  principles here’. Amnesty International has, in it’s recent report criticized the USA for it’s use of lethal force, particularly for the ‘unlawful’ killing of Osama Bin Laden in a clandestine US commando raid in Pakistan last May. “The US administration made clear that the operation had been conducted under the USA’s theory of a global armed conflict between the USA and Al-Qaeda in which the USA does not recognize the applicability of international human rights law,” it said in its annual report. “In the absence of further clarification from the US authorities, the killing of Osama bin Laden would appear to have been unlawful,” it said. Amnesty said a request for clarification over an apparent US drone strike in Yemen last September that killed US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi, his Al-Qaeda co-conspirator Samir Khan and at least two others had also gone unanswered(The News publishing an AFP report. LINK:

I thoroughly enjoyed your bout of diatribe McCain, obviously, you have a lot of growing up to do!

The free(almost) ride lasted all these years McCain, but there’s nothing in this world as a free lunch, is there? You had a great party while it lasted, but I guess, you get off the bus right here(or horse, if you are not off already).

And if you still feel we are extortionists, guess what. We are proud to be one!

As to the Pakistan Government, I have this to say:

Well done for developing a spine!

Virginia Slims , had basically target marketed the women, many,many years ago,in it’s advertising campaign. I particularly liked the theme line, that I would like to say to my government, ”You’ve come a long way, baby.”

Yasmeen Ali is a University Professor & a Lawyer based in Lahore. She can be reached at: yasmeen.a.9@gmail.com

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Comments

  • Ali Kazim  On May 24, 2012 at 11:24 am

    EXCELLENT!

  • Shamsa  On May 24, 2012 at 11:33 am

    But will they stick to it ??????

  • Shaukat  On May 24, 2012 at 11:37 am

    Enjoyed it. Thanks.
    SQ

  • Omar Ahmad  On May 24, 2012 at 11:46 am

    Overall you made some good points, but I have to disagree with you on the well done to our so called government. They have not developed a spine !!!!!!!! Did you miss Gilanis’ interview on CNN , where he told his citizens to leave !!!!!!!! They are just not happy with charging the US 250, THEY WANT MORE MONEY !!!!!!!!!! Is that commendable ? No, how about they block the NATO supplies, period, or is that too much to ask of this traitorous leadership of Pakistan. Please spare us the praise of them, its making me want to vomit .

  • Imran  On May 24, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    Zabardast!!
    The most principal of all likely retorts ! But wait awhile. They will get down to using these principal Paki routes again. And if they stay here till 2024 (I have very serious doubts though) then they will find another set of “principals”, plus “principles” to do their dirty jobs for them, carry their burdens and their loads !
    For once, for the time being, Pakistan well done, albiet by default.
    Cheers,
    IM
    NO OPTION BUT PAKISTAN

  • Parvez Amin  On May 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    FAAAAAAAAAAAAAAABULOUS!

    • Yasmeen Ali  On May 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm

      :-)Thank you!

  • Qaisar Nawaz Gandapur  On May 24, 2012 at 12:53 pm

    I like it.
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  • Carol Mason  On May 24, 2012 at 1:51 pm

    Carol Anne Grayson My latest for your latest :-) … Human rights are not selective, the minute we make a value judgement on who is “worthy” of human rights, we violate the very rights we claim to support… http://activist1.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/where-is-naveed-butt/

  • zam raza  On May 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm

    hahahaha.

    Well written.

    Enjoyed the tone in which you wrote this piece. That’s what i call sexy criticism ma’am, my favoured brand of reading.

    Yes kudos to the government for finally growing wee bit of a spine, although i think they have been forced and as such not much credit is due them.
    The relationship between the US and pakistan has often been referred to as a ‘bad marriage’ , i guess the battered , bruised , and abused wife finally decided to stand up to her bully. She makes a sight no ? black eye disheveled hair, cut lip , asserting some of her rights. Good for her ! Thanks to him to for ‘accidentally’ managing to beat some resistance into her. Dutiful or reluctant partners aside, even when the most loyal of dogs is kicked in the balls, he bares his teeth. What pakistan couldn’t do for hundreds of droned civilians, women and children, it did for two dozen men in green. Jeez and i thought only aliens bled green.

    Coming to the american side of things , yes it’s the amount of money which is the issue here , not money itself. A 20 times hike, from 250 bucks to 5 grand, is pretty hard to take mentally even if it’s still affordable. Goes onto show just how short pakistan was selling itself, Damn . Adds insult to injury doesn’t it.

    Anyway it’s not “extortion” because we are offering them a choice, they don’t HAVE to use our roads, no pressure. Take your business elsewhere , if you want to do it with me darling , do it on my terms. Even sex-workers have this right of business ma’am and pakistan is, the last time i checked, a country.

    I wouldn’t like criticising mccain for the diatribe though, adorable old red-neck , vietnam veteran and all, became the only guy to lose the american presidential election to a black man. what the heck would he know about politics or principles, domestic or foreign. You’re all right gramps, we adore ya, muaah.

    • Yasmeen Ali  On May 24, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      Enjoyed your comment. I do not think the 24 men in green are the reason Pakistan eventually stood up.US IF on its way out with NATO combat troops from Afghanistan means one thing:return of the Taliban.Karzai is hated & will not last 24 hours with his nanny. .So what does Pakistan do?Take a stand of course.
      Cheers
      YAA

      • zam raza  On May 24, 2012 at 4:11 pm

        umm if that’s the case then it’s a sorry state of affairs ma’am. Yes it’s ugly and pathetic for pakistan to value its 24 soldiers so much more than it’s many vulnerable civilians. But if you what say is true, it is exceedingly worse to know that we base our actions on strategic policies. Policies in which, leave aside the higher principles, even the most basic of values , i.e sanctity of human life is of no consequence. Civilian or uniformed , pakistani lives just don’t matter do they if they are given in vain ? If what you say is right , then what the heck would provoke the establishment of this country , to take a shot in anger ? If the bloody g.h.q is bombed ?. Nah then they would make sure there is hell to pay, no ? Bring out the nukes baby, and cold calculated decisions be damned.

  • Yasser  On May 24, 2012 at 2:35 pm

    Dear Yasmeen
    I loved your piece.
    I am a journalist and Editor of LAFZ Magazine. The magazine has been developed for the Pakistani diaspora. Please take a look at: http://lafzonline.com/magazine/issue7/
    It would be wonderful if could contribute a similar article to our up and coming issue.
    I look forward to hearing from you.

    Khuda Hafiz

    Yasser Ali

    • Yasmeen Ali  On May 24, 2012 at 2:36 pm

      Dear Yasir
      Thank you for appreciating the piece.It has just been picked up by a notable US Site. From there it usually races across US in the next 12 hours. You are welcome to use this piece as a cross post as it was carried on my blog.
      Is your magazine a monthly,weekly?
      My pieces are usually time sensitive but if you google Yasmeen Ali Lawyer Pakistan, you will come across tons of my stuff.
      Cheers
      YAA

  • Gen Javed Ashraf  On May 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    Well done. Very well written and fully agreed with your views. Pl keep it up. We need such articles to convey what the nation really feels.
    Regards
    Gen Javed Ashraf

    Sent from my iPad

  • Portugheis Alberto  On May 24, 2012 at 2:50 pm

    What a tragedy. Where were you, Yasmeen, all these years, when I’ve been calling for Pakistan and the whole world, to stop asking for USA “HELP” ???? !!!!!!!! not only have Pakistan and many other countries asked USA for financial help – money USA DOES “NOT” HAVE, but borrow from Banks – but have for decades been asking for “advice”.

    Don’t the Pakistani authorities know that politicians owe themselves to their country, first and foremost? Don’t Pakistani politicians know that any advice given to them by USA, “MUST” benefit USA and no one else?

    OK, Pakistan managed to get CIA to remove their drones from Pakistan, but….., what about the continuous American military activities in Pakistan?

    Had Pakistani politicians over the years not been SO interested in U$As, you wouldn’t be writing now about USA’s “killing spree, killing children, civilians and older people”. You say “the more the merrier”, but this applies mainly to weapon manufacturers. The more people die, the more new weapons are sold.

    You say: “Talking of principles is not pretty when you invade one country after the other” apparently oblivious to the fact that these invasions are planned and organised in advance and agreed by BOTH sides.

    Of course it was wrong to the American to go “trigger happy”, but this applies to many people, including Pakistanis. People trained to kill, are sometimes impatient and cannot wait for instructions.

    I don’t know why you mention the very discredited and political Amnesty International. They simply don’t like the Obama Administration, Had Bin Laden been killed by the Bush Administration, AI would have applauded it.

    You wouldn’t be writing now about USA/NATO lorries circulating Pakistani roads, whether for a fee (small or large) or for free, if Pakistan had stood its ground 60 years ago and longer.

    As for you feeling ” Proud to be an Extortionist! “, I am shocked.

    Alberto

    • Yasmeen Ali  On May 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm

      Dear Alberto
      Where were you all these years when understanding of sarcasm was being distributed?
      I completely agree with you that US looks after its own interest-and why should they not?
      I have previously too asked you to google my articles.You will find I have always written that Pakistan must learn to be less dependent on foreign aid & must develop a broad based foreign policy, not put all eggs in one basket. Since you have failed to google me,I share one link only as it is physically impossible to share all:
      http://thiscantbehappening.net/node/657

      Cheers
      YAA

    • MUHAMMAD CHAUDHRY  On May 24, 2012 at 4:23 pm

      Leaving aside your endorsement of Yasmeen,though a bit satirical,as expected from,it seems you’ve taken title of her brief,” Proud to be an Extortionist” literally while it meant a satirical response to McCain’s diatribe.You shouldn’t presume all others to be so simpleton on such a serious issue.
      MSC
      MSC

      • Portugheis Alberto  On May 24, 2012 at 4:24 pm

        Sadly, you all talk of millions here millions there as if these were of any importance to the names in your articles. Politicians and their No.1partners, the Arms Trade, couldn’t care less of the costs to the country, even if it all leads to the country’s Bankrupcy. What interests politicians in this business, is “how much is there in it for me?”

  • GB  On May 24, 2012 at 4:15 pm

    Verrry good:)..enjoyed it!!

  • MUHAMMAD CHAUDHRY  On May 24, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Yasmeen,A very befitting response to McCain’s diatribe or illogical outburst,though he doesn’t deserve one in the light of his own proffessional background and conduct as a humanbeing.Your elaboration,is all well-founded and well-docuemented on all counts.
    However,you’ve missed on a couple of accounts.As per American press,the other route through Russia and Northren states,it costs NATO $38 million /day more than Pakistani route on $1500/container,which works out to$ one million/day ,thus even $5000/container would cost around $3million/day that still saves hefty $35million/day. It also gives some consolation to hapless Pakistanis for suffering a huge loss of $ 100 billions for American war on terror. All this would be Greek to McCain with slanted perspective and myopic vision like his patron,goofy Bush.
    MSC

  • Salman Abbasy  On May 24, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    Few could imagine President Asif Ali Zardari in a heroic mode but President BO worked that magic in Chicago.
    SA

    Salman Abbasy

  • Yasmeen Ali  On May 24, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    ZAM RAZA
    We are in a bind & an increasingly tough spot.It’s easy to react. It’s difficult to keep a cool head and take calculated steps. I am not saying it was not at all for the 24 dead at Salala, of course it played a part,but the Govt had been protesting all along against the drone killings of the civilians.
    It gets uglier from this point on-worse yet to follow.

  • Sultan M Hali  On May 25, 2012 at 1:57 am

    Excellent arguments, very eloquently put. Well done Yasmeen. We are proud of the fact that someone has taken up the cudgels for defending Pakistan in such an effective manner.

    Sultan M Hali

  • mabbaskhan  On May 25, 2012 at 8:10 am

    Very beautifully written with anger, So called Called Civilized nation commit fraud in Civilized way. There own economic conditions are lot less then this concept that they have committed a fraud with there own nation so how could you and I aspect some thing good from there side. They have throughn them selves in there own rigged well of Capitalization, Inflation , fossil fuel dept of 11$ trillion, Inflation rate is near to be doubled figure before dec, unemployment for which they begged from India, Passion crises, so climate change hv most of the negative affects on west, There economy is near a huge disaster. Look for the future towards Asia and south Asia Don’t waste you thoughts, words and time on these kind of a civilized Criminals. Work to make your region green why you have forgotten those 3900 containers of imported weapons which were illegally unloaded on the roots of NATO supplies of which affects you are looking in Lyari. God bless you written nice to see your anger so if this person was in front of he must deserves a slap on his face.

    • Yasmeen Ali  On May 25, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      Thank you for the appreciation.

  • Shahbaz  On May 25, 2012 at 10:07 am

    Well said good article

    Muhammad Shahbaz Thuthaal
    EME CHS
    Multan road,lahore.
    0301-3667777

  • Michael Doll  On May 25, 2012 at 11:53 am

    As an american, I am very interested in this discussion. We rarely see the “other side” of the story as our main stream media is so totally controlled by the moneyed interests.It is only possible because of the extraordinary freedom afforded us by the internet. I for one, do not march lockstep to the desires and programs of my country. I see this thread as another example of people waking up. Some have been awake longer than others, but it is a place we all must come to if the policies of fear are ever to be thwarted. Money uses fear to keep the underlings (99%) from finding their voice, from finding that there is no real power in their hands. It is in ours.

    • Yasmeen Ali  On May 26, 2012 at 4:11 am

      Dear Michael,
      Americans like you restore my faith in America.What the people may desire & what US Govt policies may be can be two different things.
      Thank you for sharing the views.
      Keep it coming.
      Yasmeen Ali

  • Amin ur Rahman  On May 25, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Interesting analogies… Except the fact that a shopkeeper usually has a choice – over here we Have to keep our shop open no matter what and make sure that we don’t sell what we have, rather we sell, what is demanded by the extortionist, bullying customer. And this relationship has monopolistic traits, but can’t say which way its compass points…

    • Yasmeen Ali  On May 26, 2012 at 4:13 am

      True.However, many shops lack what the extortionist demands.The extortionist then looks to other outlets.

  • Anthony  On May 25, 2012 at 5:35 pm

    Hello Yasmeen,

    Well done.

    Just looking at any image of John McCain makes my flesh crawl. Listening to him speak is even worse.

    Take care,

    Anthony

  • Yasmeen Ali  On May 26, 2012 at 4:15 am

    The article with a change has been carried across US.I republish it here & then the links:
    LINK: http://www.thiscantbehappening.net/node/1181

    Turnabout is Fair Play: Proud to Be an Extortionist!
    Fri, 05/25/2012 – 07:58 — Anonymous
    by:
    Yasmeen Ali

    Lahore — US Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the chair and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Armed Services Committee, say the US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies being shipped through this country to American troops in Afghanistan. McCain went further, calling the Pakistani demand “extortion.”

    He also stated, on the TV show “The Cable,” that “We can’t look at aid in that light. It’s now becoming a matter of principle”.

    I love it!

    Extortion, dear Sen. McCain, is defined as the crime of obtaining money or some other thing of value through the abuse of one’s office or authority.

    Is it the first time US would be paying for transit of NATO supplies? They have long been paying an average of about $250 a truck for transit, as a senior US official has stated in a report by David S. Cloud in the Los Angeles Times published May 19th.

    So the question dear Sen. McCain, is not about principle but rather about principal. The question could have been one of principle had the US not been paying anything at all, and then one fine day, Pakistan had woken up to the idea of…what did you say…ah yes…extortion. The question here though, is simply about the amount.

    More US extortion? A US Senate committee voted to withhold $1 million in aid for each year of a 33-year sentence handed down by a Pakistani court to doctor Shakil Afridi, whose fake polio ‘vaccination’ program helped the US locate and assassinate Osama Bin Ladin, unless Pakistan overturns that conviction.

    Let us step back a moment and consider the example of a shopkeeper selling goods–goods that someone needs desperately to buy. The shopkeeper sets a price. But the consumer, a sly, manipulating piece of work, tries everything within his power — public protest, a smear campaign in the neighborhood, anonymous phone threats to burn down the shop — to make the shopkeeper lower the price. The shopkeeper , a normally docile man–is obstinate this once though. He refuses to succumb to the consumer’s pressure tactics.

    Who is the extortionist here: the shopkeeper or the shopper?

    Maybe McCain, in his youthful exuberance, forgot that the NATO supply route to Afghanistan via Pakistan has damaged the country’s road infrastructure to the tune of 100 billion rupees over the last 10 years, as reported in the Pakistani newspaper The Nation.

    Talking of principles is inappropriate when one has been on a killing spree, you know, and the US has been on one, killing Pakistani civilians, including children and older people — the more the merrier. Talking of principles doesn’t work when you are invading one country after another, including psumptive allies. Talking of principles is a joke when a CIA agent or contract employee working illegally under cover as a consular employee can murder two people and then escape punishment and leave the country thanks to the very Shariah Laws? routinely condemned in the US. Talking of principles is meaningless when US can decide to have its military unilaterally attack and murder Osama Bin Laden inside Pakistan without permission of the Pakistani government. And in case you missed it my dear Sen. McCain, we are not the only ones pointing out your country’s lack of principles here. Amnesty International, in a recent report, criticized the USA for its use of lethal force, and particularly for the “unlawful” killing of Bin Laden in a clandestine US commando raid inside Pakistan last May. “The US administration made clear that the operation had been conducted under the US theory of a global armed conflict between the USA and Al-Qaeda under which the USA does not recognize the applicability of international human rights law,” it said in its annual report. “In the absence of further clarification from the US authorities, the killing of Osama bin Laden would appear to have been unlawful,” it said. Amnesty said a request for clarification over an apparent US drone strike in Yemen last September that killed US-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaqi, his Al-Qaeda co-conspirator Samir Khan and at least two others had also gone unanswered.

    Of all people, Sen. McCain, you would seem to be the last one who should be complaining about a country resorting to extortion. As I recall, you were a pilot of a US Navy fighter/bomber, and were shot down while bombing dikes, hospitals, schools and other illegal targets in North Vietnam, which makes you a war criminal in a criminal war of aggression by the US in Southeast Asia. Furthermore, the bombing campaign during which you were shot down and made a prisoner of war in Hanoi was actually part of a giant extortion game called Operation Rolling Thunder, a campaign of relentless terror bombing of North Vietnam which operated from 1966-68, and which was deliberateluy designed to pressure — extort if you will — the North Vietnamese government to stop backing the Viet Cong resistance in the south of the country.

    I thoroughly enjoyed your diatribe, Sen. McCain, but obviously, you have a lot of growing up yet to do!
    The free (almost) ride for US war materiel through Pakistan has gone on for years, Sen. McCain, but there’s no such thing in this world as a free lunch, is there? You had a great party while it lasted, but I guess it’s over.

    And if you still feel we are extortionists, guess what? We are proud of it!
    As for the Pakistan Government, I have this to say:

    Well done for developing a spine!

    As the old Virginia Slims ad targeting women smokers used to put it, ”You’ve come a long way, baby.”

    Yasmeen Ali is a lawyer and law professor based in Lahore, Pakistan. She contributed this article to ThisCantBeHappening!, where this article first appears. She has her own blog in Pakistan at and can be contacted at yasmeen.a.9@gmail.com

  • Fahim Siddiqi  On May 26, 2012 at 8:27 am

    The worlds best friends never have the same nature.
    They just have the best “understanding” of their “differences”
    Regards
    *** This Message Has Been Sent Using BlackBerry Internet Service from Mobilink ***

  • Mushtaq Siddique  On May 26, 2012 at 8:28 am

    GREAT! I like it.

  • Najma  On May 26, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Jolly good, Yasmeen. – Najma

  • Rauf Bhai  On May 28, 2012 at 4:16 pm

    You sure did your share of punching on the right spots. Cheers.
    Keep on going lady.
    Rauf

  • Assad Siddiqui  On May 29, 2012 at 1:56 am

    “But Brutus says he was ambitious, and Brutus is an honorable man”
    I wish Shakespeare was alive to appreciate this piece of expression.

    thanks for the good read.

    aks

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