One year, yet Malala is still in the news headlines – Why ?


Post updated: October 17, 2013

I read the transcript of her speech at the UN General Assembly and listened to her interviews and news stories and talks about her upcoming book and looking at all the limelight she’s getting, I am of the view that she is a smart and a courageous girl, with a drive to do something big for the country, like many of the girls and women in Pakistan. Here I will be presenting the reason, why she’s on the spotlight in the global media, and what’s the link between Malala and Drone business. Due to the advent of social media, it is rather easy to hear both side of the news, and not just the state version.

What does Investigative Journalists say about it:

Some people think that Pakistani in general think negatively and doubt every news coming out of media. To tell you the truth, we’re living in Dark Ages, we stand less chance of understanding the conspiracies happening around the world and committed to us, let alone making one. We only get to understand, when western society, specially expert people with conscience, opens up and investigates about the events and share with the rest of the world. Pakistanis don’t particularly hate Malala as a person or her noble intention, but the western powers (US in particular and their drone sellers)  and the connivance of Pakistani Government and Armed Forces.  Let’s read what others says about this:

Newsweek: “One of the world’s biggest public relations firms, Edelman (whose clients include Microsoft, Starbucks), has a team working on her behalf while politicians, journalists and book publishers are making her into something of a global brand.” So, one of the reasons for her perfectly scripted speeches and interviews, as if coming from a 60 years-old political veteran.

Carol Anne Grayson is an independent writer/researcher on global health/human rights and is Executive Producer of the Oscar nominated, Incident in New Baghdad.  She is a Registered Mental Nurse with a Masters in Gender Culture and Development. Carol was awarded the ESRC, Michael Young Prize for Research 2009, and the COTT ‘Action = Life’ Human Rights Award’ for “upholding truth and justice”.  In her article “Brand Malala”: Western exploitation of a schoolgirl, she says: “Former Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, Malala’s avid supporter, fits that description. He is known as a misogynist by his former work colleagues and to human rights campaigners for his refusal to address the plight of widows whose husbands were unlawfully killed by the state see my earlier story” http://activist1.wordpress.com/2013/07/25/malala-becomes-poster-girl-of-western-government-double-standards-on-gender-justice/

She further points out, with regard to the question of another agenda, artist Jonathan Rao who painted the portrait of Malala that hangs in the National Gallery admits to his concerns in the Independent newspaper and states:-

 “I guess I was worried that she was probably a pawn in a bigger game and was being unduly influenced by the people around her.”

Veterans Today: Project Malala’: The CIA’s Socio-Psychological Intelligence Operation - by  Zaki Khalid, is a geopolitics and security analyst. I shared the above article when this Malala incident took place last year. According to this defense journalist, the poor girl was exploited. That’s the beauty of conspiracies. They never leave it black & white. They used her good intentions as a front, while camouflaging it with highlighting taliban and terrorism seamlessly. Read her speech, taliban or terrorism is all over it. Every news, headline, article, interview, or title has either of the two word. The writer back then, pointed out about the foreign funded mercenaries committing such attacks (and next day claiming responsibility as Taliban), which is in fact a very common practice here in Pakistan. So, she just became a pawn, at the hands of this wider agenda of terming taliban as evil and justifying the false war (business of drones) on terror. And now read this: The Staged Malala Yousafzai Story: Neoliberal near-Martyr of the Global Free Market Wars - by Scott Creighton. Reading above and various other similar research, provides lots of proof point about why they think it’s in fact a staged encounter and how the incident cannot be scientifically true, from surviving Kalashnikov multiple gun shots on the face, to multiple news stories about where the bullet hit, to the preparedness of protesters s with play-cards in English, right after the attack and so on. From local media, Syed Mohammad Ali wrote on Express Tribune: “If there was anything unsettling about this entire event, it was seeing the UN’s blatant attempt to showcase and parade Malala in the effort to raise its own credibility. Seeing the UN endorsement of Malala’s heroism does seem a bit cringe-worthy given the impotency of the UN in challenging the US invasion of Iraq without a Security Council resolution, or doing much about the ensuing havoc unleashed in Muslim countries around the world since 9/11. Seeing Gordon Brown, the former prime minister of a country with a shameful colonial past, as the Special Envoy for Youth, benevolently praising Malala for her bravery, did not make one feel any better.”

Drones is a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry:

Do you know that Drone is a big business. UK, USA and Israel are the three countries who are leading the development of armed drones and engaged in drone operations in Afghanistan.

  • US plans to spend $2.5 billion in 2014. Living Under Drones report says top commanders account for estimated only 2% of victims.
  • Over the next 10 years, the Pentagon plans to purchase more than 700 medium- and large-size drones at a cost of nearly $40 billion, according to a Congressional Budget Office study.
  • UK has spent £2 billion since 2007 on drones, with further plans to allocate additional £2 billion this year.
  • Israel is said to double US’s drones sale by 2014, currently US is leading in the world.
  • Meanwhile, according to a September US government accountability office report, the number of countries possessing drones rose from 41 in 2005 to 76 in December 2011.
  • Canada and Australia are planning to spend $1bn and $3bn respectively on drones.

Check this statement, where capitalism has brought us, where the organization who makes weapons, is only concerned about creating war (killing people). Lockheed Martin’s (one of the producers of drones) CEO Marillyn A. Hewson says:

“We were ready to produce and sell tomahawk missiles, advanced combat systems, and more unmanned predator drones, but instead our Secretary of State (John Kerry) had to run his big fat mouth about options for averting war (in Syria), and now we’re out hundreds of billions of dollars,” a visibly upset CEO.

Imran Khan’s Protest against Drones along with Code Pink and other human rights activists:

About three dozen members of the U.S. activist group Code Pink plan to march into Pakistan's restricted tribal region to protest U.S. drone strikes in the rugged territory. Photo: B.K. Bangash, Associated Press

On October 6th, 2012, a party of 30 men and women between the ages of 22 and 80 years old were organized by the American antiwar coalition Code Pink, along with Imran Khan’s political party (PTI) and several other volunteers, launched a rally towards northern Pakistan, that was also attended by other westerners, like Lauren Booth, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s sister-in-law, and Clive Stafford Smith, an American-British lawyer and founder of Reprieve – an international legal aid agency supporting drone victims. Have you read the report that the lawyer (from Reprieve), who’s filing cases for the victims of drone attacks in Pakistan, has blamed american government willfully delaying his visa process. Read from The Guardian: Pakistani drone victims’ lawyer accuses US of blocking his visit to Congress

Code Pink reaching in Islamabad, jointly delivered a petition from more than 3,000 Americans to the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Hoagland, calling for an end to the CIA drone strike policy in Pakistan.  It’s signatories includes: Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Wolf, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, Jody Williams, Tom Hayden, Patch Adams, Glenn Greenwald, Juan Cole and other prominent Americans, including former U.S. government officials, calling for an end to the drone strikes. Before the march, Mr Khan told the BBC that he would authorise the shooting down of US drones over his country if he became its head of government.

Result: The rally (‘peace march’) hit the world headlines, albeit reluctantly, but got the world attention through mainstream media:

Salon, NYT, The Washington Post, The Guardian, San Francisco Chronicle, CNN, Al Jazeera, Daily Mail, NBC News, US News, The Independent, The Huffington Post, The Sydney Morning Herald, virtually every news channel jumped to cover the news. 

News stories:

“How is our government any better than the militants we battle?” asks Joan Nicholson, a 78-year-old member of Code Pink.
“One victim asked, ‘I have nothing to do with terrorism; can America explain why they chose me?’”

NYT:
“We kill a lot of innocent people,” said Medea Benjamin, a cofounder of Codepink and part of the delegation in Pakistan. She called the attacks “barbaric assassinations.”

Speaking of the tribal areas, she said, “This is a culture that very much believes in revenge, and then they seek revenge by trying to kill Americans. So we are just perpetuating a cycle of violence and it’s got to stop somewhere, and that’s why we are putting our bodies on the line by trying to go to Waziristan to say no.”

Washington Post: “You hit people with these drones and you create instant enemies,” said JoAnne Lingle, a silver-haired Mennonite from Indianapolis. “It’s supposed to be increasing our national security and it’s doing the opposite.”

The Huffington Post:
“I also delivered a letter from Alice Walker, Noam Chomsky, Naomi Wolf, Oliver Stone, Danny Glover, Jody Williams, Tom Hayden, Patch Adams, Glenn Greenwald, Juan Cole and other prominent Americans, including former U.S. government officials, calling for an end to the drone strikes.”

With such stories from people on-site talking to the victims, suddenly generated worldwide resentment, specially in the US public opinion, against the wisdom in drone attacks and the barbaric extermination of civilians (unlike what is said to be an extremely precise technology) and ended-up with worldwide outrage against US Government, almost sabotaging the multi-billion dollar drones business. The Malala incident was said to be staged, to deflect that resentment against drone attacks and changing world opinion, to highlight the threat of Taliban (more so through TTP) to women/children. In fact, changing the game 360 degrees, from world viewing drones as inhuman killing children in Pakistan, to world believing that terrorists threaten children in Pakistan (Malala eg). TTP is widely considered to be a group of outlaws, many a times funded through foreign secret service agencies, used every now and then for various such covert operations (eg shooting/bombing) and then randomly claiming responsibility (such claims obviously has never be proved and can never be).

Oct 6th, 2012:                      Imran Khan launched rally against drone attacks

Oct 6th, 7th and 8th:       Protest rally against Drones, all over mainstream media (all news report links provided above)

Oct 9th, 2012:                    Malala incident took place (deflecting world view instantly), as that was given even bigger coverage in the media.

Malala incident news spread like a wildfire, since special coverage was given to her, eg Prime Minister, President condoling, COAS (Armed forces General of Pakistan)   visiting her at the hospital, US President Obama, UN’s Kofi Anna sending condolences, later Madonna dedicated her concert to her and then thanks to the professional PR agency services, she’s a worldwide icon now for girls’ right to education. Everyone is jumping the bandwagon, to exploit her fame and many people with good heart, also rallied her cause, out of naivety of the vested interest, rest is history.

Shahnawaz Farooqui (pakistani journalist and commentator) recently compiled this on Malala (in urdu language):

Drone Attack’s Impact on Pakistan:

Drone is considered as a cutting-edge technology, precisely accurate with virtually no collateral damage, while Imran Khan had almost sabotaged it, showing the largest drone operation in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a failure, where majority of women, children and civilians were killed and a success ratio of only 2% high-level targets.

Here’s some stats on drone victims, humans killed from Drones in Pakistan since 2004*:

Total reported killed:              2,548 – 3,549
Civilians:                                   1255 – 2496
Injured:                                     336 – 1226
Women:                                     321 – 447
Children:                                   168 – 197
High-level targets killed:        2%

* figures in humans

Viewer discretion: Reduced the size, so that you don’t start crying right away

Why do the Governments Promote Malala ? 

Like I said before, with Malala goes the story of Taliban, along with the message that Pakistan Government not doing enough to curb terrorism. While the cover is to exploit the sympathetic public opinion, who wants to support such terrorized women and children in northern Pakistan, as people with good intention are far more than bad, so, you see mainstream support for Malala from around the world. I would agree, if she has got the chance to voice for women’s rights and girls education, it’s better than nothing for pakistani women’s rights. But at what cost ? As much as she is promoted, it carries with her the story of Taliban being a major terrorist threat (if someone didn’t know about Taliban before, they’d know it by now through her popularity). Had it not been this case, either she would have been dead long ago, without even a news line in the last page in Pakistani paper, let alone a headline on every international news media and a speaking slot in the UN assembly Or she would have remained nobody like many other unrecognized girls and activists in Pakistan. Read here about those activists and heros, never heard of, because they doesnt’ serve any vested interests. So, in other words, her story and promotion, alteast gave a breather of 1 year to the drone attacks in Pakistan, and around the world. Had America been sincere to the women’s right in Pakistan, then it would not have silenced (read abducted, tortured, raped and imprisoned extra-judicially in Guantanamo and destroyed the family of) Dr. Aafia Siddiqui, a Harvard PhD graduate Neurologist from Pakistan, actually an American Citizen. Her crime, in addition to being extremely intelligent, she developed great command over english and Islam, and started preaching it vociferously. Check out her one such rare video from 1991, where she’s raising voice for women’s right in Islam, in Houston:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mnr0AIeKZso

Does anyone in the world know about Edhi, who set up worlds largest ambulance system in Pakistan, all through charity. THEY are our heroes, which the world media (progeny of world powers like US/UK), had been completely silent about, so that nobody on earth would know about the goodness of Pakistanis and their philanthropism. If you want to know about Taliban, read from , a british journalist who was captured by Taliban for sneaking into Afghanistan secretly. After being arrested by Taliban, with the treatment she received during her 6 days of captivity and upon release, read Quran later in UK and then she converted to Islam. Feel free to enlighten yourself, let’s not fall prey to media propaganda. There are many videos you can google about her or read her book: “In the Hands of the Taliban: Her Extraordinary Story”

http://yvonneridley.org/analysis-and-opinion/afghanistan-the-reality-on-the-ground

Supporting/Promoting Malala and her cause: 

Terrorism experts have concluded that: Terrorism is a struggle of freedom fighters against tyrant governments suppressing them, anywhere in the world. When you see how US/UK manipulated elections in pakistan (failing people’s popular choice), to bring corrupt as puppets into power, so that they can continue to suppress uninformed slaves, then how could you possibly believe they are sincere about education or women’s education for that matter. Unfortunately, knowing all this, makes it very difficult to support Malala’s cause, because that’ll remain a lip-service by the world powers.

Minus terrorists and Taliban from the incident that is associated with Malala, and she will become nobody in no time, just like Edhi is to the world. 

What Should We Do:

I know, people in Pakistan and around the world are kind-hearted and want to support her on that tragic incident, and her new cause for the women and children, but I concerned about the western powers and our government, who’re exploiting this incident out of proportions, for their vested interests, viz. Drones business. FIne, I don’t have a clear proof that Malala incident is staged (only have scientific guesses), but so is the information that Malala was shot by Taliban, without any proof. So, how come the world is convinced that Malala was attacked by Taliban in 2012 in PAKISTAN, to teach a lesson that girls should not study, and the US is sincerely supporting the poor girls from northern pakistan and Malala’s cause of women education and actually not interested in this multi-billion dollars drone industry, after know all the facts, that I mentioned above ? If I support/promote Malala story and her cause, wouldn’t that mean, I am indirectly helping the drone industry and the blood of those innocents pakistanis (men, women and children) will be on my hands, perished by drones every now and then ?

What should we do ? Choose wisely, after understanding all these facts, because you’ve the power to THINK and not just believe state conspiracies.

Sources & Further readings:

http://hmkyz.wordpress.com/2013/10/10/shame-on-your-dad/

http://activist1.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/brand-malala-western-exploitation-of-a-schoolgirl/

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/national-security/rise-of-the-drone-from-calif-garage-to-multibillion-dollar-defense-industry/2011/12/22/gIQACG8UEP_story.html

https://dronewarsuk.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/shelling-out-uk-spending-on-drones.pdf

http://www.theonion.com/articles/john-kerry-costs-us-defense-industry-400-billion,33815/?ref=auto

http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/10/07/u-s-peace-activists-in-pakistan-decry-drone-strikes/

http://newsweekpakistan.com/the-pr-firm-behind-malala-inc/

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