The Obama administration has managed to support a film about the Osama bin Laden raid, giving the producers unprecedented access to top secret information, but has made no progress in releasing Dr. Shakil Afridi from a Pakistani dungeon. Dr. Afridi helped us as we sought confirmation of Osama bin Laden’s compound.
The film Zero Dark Thirty should have been a film about the remarkable achievement of the men and women who helped capture Osama bin Laden, particularly the courageous SEAL Team Six who went on the suicide mission. It became so much more than that. It became a propaganda piece.
It was political theater before the election with President Obama’s role glorified beyond reality, and a candidate Mitt Romney demanding the mission not go on, even though it never happened and would never have happened.
The film was held off until after the election and was de-politicized. It is a very violent film and the water-boarding segments are described as inaccurate.
The one thing the film does not do is present the facts about our role in confirming that Dr. Afridi did help us, leading to his 33 year prison term, and that we have done nothing to help him.
This is one person that no one seems to care about. The man who attempted to help the CIA track down Osama bin Laden, Dr. Shakil Afridi, ran a fake vaccination programme that was meant to collect the DNA of Bin Laden’s children from the family compound in Abbottabad.
We paid Dr. Afridi back by doing essentially nothing for him. He tried to escape after the raid and within three weeks of the May 2nd raid, without having received any help from us for himself or his family, he was arrested.
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer told Fox News: ‘From what I’m hearing, we did pretty much nothing…We did nothing diplomatically at all, didn’t raise a finger. … From what my sources tell me, we did nothing to try and help this guy.’
His role in the capture was later confirmed by, of all people, Leon Panetta who acknowledged publicly on January 27th that a Pakistani doctor provided key information to the U.S. in advance of the successful Navy SEAL assault on Osama bin Laden’s compound.
Panetta told CBS’s “60 Minutes in January that Shakil Afridi helped provide intelligence for the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Panetta said he is “very concerned” for the doctor. I believe that is true but he should have kept that to himself. This is what happens when the wrong people are put in important positions.
Prior to that, Joe Biden revealed that it was SEAL Team Six that conducted the raid. [telegraph.co.uk] The team became an enemy target after that.
Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal, the films producers, were given unprecedented access to classified information as they made the film. An author of a book detailing events surrounding the raid was able to repeat top secret information in a New Yorker article in 2011.
Dr. Afridi was sentenced to 33 years in prison in May and has been routinely tortured. All the money he earned, and which was used to support his family and his brother’s, was stolen from his account by the Pakistani government. His wife was fired. He was not allowed to present a defense at his trial.
The US response was the weak-kneed gesture of withdrawing $33 million dollars in funds from the billions in the Pakistani aid package to represent the 33 years of his sentence. Since then, there were a few weak statements from State and now nothing.
Left-wing media outlets like Newseek even get their jabs in about Afridi partying, telling embarrassing jokes during surgery, operating too readily and charging too much. Even if that is true, what does that have to do with anything that concerns us?
Rep Peter King, the New York congressman who led the House Homeland Security Committee, pointed to the White House for ‘outing’ Dr Afridi to Pakistani authorities. ‘They put him out there,’ Mr King said in light of the doctor’s prison sentence for treason by the Pakistani government. ‘This has been handled very poorly right from the time of the raid,’ Mr King told Fox News. ‘They disclosed his identity.’
Dr. Afridi was convicted of embarrassing the Pakistani government and our keeping silence prior to sentencing would have mattered.
The US did not get him and his family out of Pakistan in the three weeks following the raid. He wasn’t worth it to them.
Who would ever want to come to our aid again as we let this man rot in prison?
Most of the media will not cover this story and for the most part, the outing of Dr. Afridi and SEAL Team Six is whitewashed, the access given the film producers is minimized or denied, and all we are told is of the Obama accomplishment, which, of course, was not the result of ten years of investigation.
Dr. Afridi’s life now:
I wonder if the film covers the helicopter that was lost to China. I love the Navy SEALs but I wouldn’t see this politically motivated movie under any circumstances.