Melissa Dewberry enjoys doing crossword puzzles, walking her cat and pondering ways to patch up the hole in the ozone layer.
Social Issues – A coalition of 200 US aid groups are protesting the CIA’a use of a doctor to help hunt down Osama bin Laden and links the agency’s cunning tactics to the polio crisis in Pakistan, an approach some consider ethically questionable.
The Islamic Republic recorded the highest number of polio cases in the world last year, signaling the start of a health crisis that could further decimate the impoverished nation.
In July, the Guardian reported: “The CIA used a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, in the hunt for Bin Laden. In the weeks before the 3 May [sic] operation to kill Bin Laden, Afridi was instructed to set up a fake vaccination scheme in the town of Abbottabad, in order to gain entry to the house where it was suspected the al-Qaida chief was living, and extract DNA samples from family members.”
The complex scheme has fueled the beliefs held by many Pakistanis, in particular religious extremists, that polio drops are a “western conspiracy to sterilize the population.”
“The CIA’s use of the cover of humanitarian activity for this purpose casts doubt on the intentions and integrity of all humanitarian actors in Pakistan, thereby undermining the international humanitarian community’s efforts to eradicate polio, provide critical health services, and extend life-saving assistance during times of crisis like the floods seen in Pakistan over the last two years,” the InterAction coalition wrote to the CIA director, David Petraeus.
The group, which includes the International Rescue Committee, Mercy Corps and Care, also stated that the CIA’s maneuvers have led to the kidnapping of five international non-governmental organization workers, including a British doctor, in recent months.
Note From The Editor: The vaccinations reportedly conducted by Dr. Shakil Afridi in the CIA led operation were not polio vaccinations but hepatitis vaccinations.
Read more at the Guardian.