Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Back to Kindergarten for the Lot of You

Whatever else the merits of the Wikileaks expose may be, one thing is for sure: it is a DISASTER for some of Pakistan's media. The huge information dump has resulted, annoyingly for our journos, in having to actually read things properly and double check facts, and far, far too much temptation to make laughing stocks of themselves.

Thanks to @sohaibgulbadan who pointed this out, here is The News' version of one on the released cables. Breathlessly, The News' reporter Umar Cheema tells us on the paper's front page:

Pakistan, a private nightmare for Obama
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
By Umar Cheema

"ISLAMABAD: US President Barack Obama considers Pakistan as his “private nightmare”, a front-line ally in the war against terrorism that could surprise the whole world waking up one morning to hear that the country had been taken over by the extremists.

A diplomatic cable leaked by Wikileaks reveals that Pakistan is one of the major causes behind the US decision of not attacking Iran, amid fears that any strike against this neighbouring Muslim country could further fuel the militancy in Pakistan. Nevertheless, the US president understands that avoiding confrontation with Iran has portrayed his country as a weak superpower.
Obama, however, believes attacking North Korea would earn less criticism and also teach a good lesson to the countries harbouring nuclear-ambition. “He described Pakistan as his ‘private nightmare,’ suggesting the world might wake up one morning ‘with everything changed’ following a potential Islamic extremist takeover,” disclosed a cable. Obama expressed concerns about Pakistan in two consecutive meetings with ranking US Senator Codel Casey and Congressman Ackerman of the House’s Foreign Relations Committee before their visit to Israel for a meeting with defence minister Ehud Barak last year.

When asked if the use of force on Iran might backfire with moderate Muslims in Pakistan, thereby exacerbating the situation, “Barak acknowledged Iran and Pakistan are interconnected, but disagreed with a causal chain.” To the contrary, Obama argued that if the United States had directly confronted North Korea in recent years, others would be less inclined to pursue nuclear weapons programmes. “By avoiding confrontation with Iran, Barak argued, the US faces a perception of weakness in the region.”

Contrary to King Abdullah’s opinion of Zardari, the UAE rulers had very positive views of former President Musharraf, disclosed a cable narrating meeting of the US diplomats with the UAE Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander Mohammad bin Zayed, after the latter returned from a visit of Pakistan where he met Musharraf in 2005. First, he congratulated Washington for its decision to allow the US firm to bid for contracts to provide F-16s and other defence technology to Pakistan. “He said it was important to support Musharraf as he battled the terrorists. There was no alternative leader in sight,” said the cable. He also questioned the US suspicions that Pakistani authorities had deliberately delayed the news of the arrest of Abu Faraj al Libbi, negating the wrong perception towards Pakistan."

Here is the actual cable. The operative part reads:

"11. (C) Barak reinforced his message regarding Pakistan in both meetings. He described Pakistan as his "private nightmare," suggesting the world might wake up one morning "with everything changed" following a potential Islamic extremist takeover. When asked if the use of force on Iran might backfire with moderate Muslims in Pakistan, thereby exacerbating the situation, Barak acknowledged Iran and Pakistan are interconnected, but disagreed with a causal chain. To the contrary, he argued that if the United States had directly confronted North Korea in recent years, others would be less inclined to pursue nuclear weapons programs. By avoiding confrontation with Iran, Barak argued, the U.S. faces a perception of weakness in the region."

If you haven't figured it out yet, the person being quoted is former Israeli Prime Minister and then Defence Minister Ehud Barak, not Barrack Obama. The cable is from the US embassy in Tel Aviv.

Had Mr. Cheema and his editors at The News given it just a little bit of thought, by the way, why the hell would an American foreign mission be quoting their own president's views to the State Department? A little bit of thought though seems far from some of the reporting going on.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Kayani dictates talking points to “free media”

...why Dawn is acting like a stenographer for General Kayani and faithfully transcribing his comments in this one...


TLW said...

@ XYZ, I sort of agree that our reporters in the English right wig press aren't too fond of reading. And that is a pretty big mistake UMar Cheema made, that would require an apology or retraction from the newspaper that made it. But I don't think it's enough to say back to Kindergarten. Maybe Middle School English comprehension class.

@ Anon 6:08

That Critical PPP essay is a piece of speculative fiction.

I did like the part though where you said the policies of GHQ are the interests of an intellectually paralyzed security state that simply cannot change its disastrous 30 year policy of slow-motion suicide at the hands of extremists.

Not very strong on facts, but nice piece of writing.

Cafe Pyalee said...

LOL!! Ubbelievable! I mean is The News, The Nation and the whole goddamn Jang Group for real!

They get away by having a ball with the bullshit they HEAR, but fall flat on their faces whenever a story is to be made from something that is to be READ!

Yup, I've been going through the right-wing press and media looking what it has to say about the wiki documents, and man, they are making a total ass out of themselves.

I can hear their reporters: "What? You mean to say we have to READ all these??"

And where is Zaid Hamid? He would be classic entertainment on all this. :D

karachikhatmal said...


barak, barack, potayto, pohtahtoe

Ghausia said...

You know, at uni, my journalism teachers emphasize on accuracy related to spellings and the like. Apparently, these real journalists need to go back to school and learn basic journalism. Morons.

kalakawa said...


You're actually giving them more credit than they actually deserve when you call it a 'huge information dump'.

Thus far only 300 odd cables out of a total of 250,000-something cables have been released. Of these 300 not more than a dozen pertain to Pakistan.

Clearly these guys aren't reading the actual cables but just going off Guardian and NYT stories related to the cables. I'd say shameful, but, eh. To be expected.

Anonymous said...

same Omar Cheema who was beaten up had his head shaved?

Raza said...

is this the same umar cheema who got beaten up by the ISI?

ISI_Angle said...

May be Umar Cheema was beaten up by his teacher at General Knowledge coaching class..but he felt it convenient to blame agencies for visa to Europe.

Abbasi said...


The Terrorland blogs claim Umar Cheema was sexually abused on camera...

know it all said...

@ kalakawa---spot on---going off of the guardian, nyt, wsj or what have you is standard practice for pakistani papers. Heaven forbid they should do any of their own research. Also reminds me of Kashif Abbasi in his show on cricket a few weeks ago when he zealously chimed "how can the bowler ensure a maiden over?"---really proud of himself that he had caught the set-up until Aamir Sohail told him he had not read the report properly and it was Salman Butt, the batsman who was responsible in ensuring a maiden over. Kashif looked like an ass but this has become so common that no apology is generally tendered---sab chalta hai---why let facts get in the way of enthusiasm?

Vanguard said...

Before you come too harshly on our journos, this is exactly what I heard on BBC radio this morning. BBC also said that Barrack Obama considers Pakistan his "private nightmare" and then even got Akbar S. Ahmed on line from American University in Washington to give his two cents on this.

faisal yaqoob said...

Very laughable, but rather sad as well!

Ali said...

Who is more Dangerous: Wikileaks or Daniel Ellsberg [Pentagon Whistleblower]‏

Those who are familiar with International Politics and Recent History, know very well that these things have been reported time and again in the National and International Media. 2 years ago I had read a story in The News International [Jang] filed by Rauf Klasra on Iran Pakistan Pipeline and Saudi anger on it. More Lethal and Damaging Declassified Documents [officially released by USA] are on this website The National Security Archive http://www.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/ . A Civil Rights Lawyer in Washington DC USA i.e. Mr Paul Wolf also publish declassified document [US Govt] on Officially released US Documents, read his archive on Pakistan - Pakistan: Partition and Military Succession - Documents from the U.S.... National Archives http://www.icdc.com/~paulwolf/pakistan/pakistan.htm
Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Upcoming Iraq War Wikileaks Docs (Part 1 of 2)

Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg on Upcoming Iraq War Wikileaks Docs (Part 2 of 2)

The Most Dangerous Man in America

Anonymous said...

Clearly The News did confise the story about the Israeli defence minister Barak with the US President Barack Obama. There was however an article in New York Times in Jan 2009 saying that Pakistan was Obama's biggest nightmare. Perhaps Cheema got the NYT article confused twith the WIkileaks ome?

Here is the NYT article http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/11/magazine/11pakistan-t.html