Ambassador Anne W. Patterson File Part 2
This Ambassador Is A Sore For US-Pakistani Relationship
February 8, 2010
By AHMED QURAISHI | WWW.PAKNATIONALISTS.COM
“I have a challenge for Ms Patterson today. I challenge her to repeat every single word she said back then and swear it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth … America’s reputation is lying in the lowest gutters in Pakistan at the moment and it can’t sink any lower.”
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan—US Ambassador to Pakistan Ms. Anne W. Patterson is becoming quite controversial. She has overseen the worst spell in the relationship between Washington and Islamabad in sixty years and many say she is responsible for at least some of it. Ties weren’t this bad even when the United States unfairly sanctioned Pakistan in 1990 over its nuclear program.
Mr. Thomas Houlahan, a Washington DC-based expert on Pakistani military issues, accused her in 2008 of conducting ‘bunker diplomacy’—that is, conducting United States diplomacy with Pakistan from the barricaded and isolated confines of her office inside a heavily fortified embassy building which in turn is located inside the isolated Diplomatic Enclave in an outer tip of Pakistan’s federal capital.
Her reports back to Washington are misleading, explained Mr. Houlahan, because she doesn’t really know what Pakistanis are thinking.
For information, Washington’s diplomats in Pakistan have been relying on two things: a pro-US government whose principals owe their power to a deal brokered and guaranteed by the US, and a list of proverbial ‘good guys’ that Ms. Patterson’s Embassy recruited from the media, including retired diplomats, military officers and academia, who could take America’s case to the Pakistani public opinion.
This strategy backfired. Big time.
Failing to see that Pakistanis were asking for respect and not confrontation, she shot alarming reports back to Washington warning of an organized campaign in Pakistani media to assail US reputation.
Getting their cue from Ms. Patterson’s reporting, US government’s spin masters countered by launching an organized campaign within the US media and worldwide, accusing Pakistan of ‘anti-Americanism’. The accusation was expanded to include harassment of US diplomats and non-issuance of visas to them. Obviously, Ms. Patterson failed to tell people back in Washington that CIA and other intelligence-related personnel where using diplomatic cover under her guidance to spy
She also might have overlooked another small detail: the US ambassador in Pakistan is a potential suspect in a case of bribing a senior Interior Ministry official in order to get a cache of banned weapons into Pakistan without the knowledge of the country’s intelligence.
The alarm generated by Ms. Patterson and her team led US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to rush to Pakistan in order to counter the Pakistani media, with carefully-orchestrated interviews and public appearances where Ms. Patterson did her best to keep Mrs. Clinton away from the ‘bad guys’. She ensured that her boss never met those commentators and media people who could provide the harsh, but legitimate, viewpoint.
This misrepresentation on the part of Ms. Patterson led someone no less than US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to land in Pakistan making a highly inappropriate statement, where he accused legitimate critics of US policy toward Pakistan of orchestrating an ‘an organized propaganda campaign’. He probably had no idea that legitimate criticism of policy by Pakistanis claiming they want US not to ignore Pakistani interests did not qualify to be described as ‘an organized propaganda campaign’.
[There are indications that some Pakistanis in Mr. Zardari’s government, and not just Ms. Patterson, helped create this misperception in Washington. Topping the list of Pakistani suspects is Mr. Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s envoy in Washington, a key aide to Mr. Zardari and recently the wizard behind Mr. Zardari’s media outreach campaign. Mr. Haqqani has been quite active behind the scenes in mounting a counterattack on the critics of Mr. Zardari and the critics of US in Pakistan. Recently, large numbers of Pakistani legislators have publicly accused Mr. Haqqani of misusing his official position to poison American perceptions of Pakistan’s military and intelligence.]
So, in essence, Ms. Patterson squandered two great opportunities – the visits of Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Gates – to address the concerns of the harshest critics in the Pakistani media. Due to Ms. Patterson’s failure, it fell to the Pakistani military to discuss those concerns with counterparts in the US military and use that channel to convey Pakistan’s legitimate concerns about how the US was ignoring Pakistani strategic interests in the region.
What Ms. Patterson should have helped resolve in the civilian arena was actually tackled, and somewhat resolved, in the military arena. But the damage is done. United States’ combative ambassador in Islamabad has left a permanent scar in the media record of the two countries, with silly accusations of anti-Americanism and harassment of diplomats.
Last year she fired a secret letter to a newspaper to silence Dr. Shireen Mazari, a defense expert and Columbia graduate, leading to a public spat that gave the impression the US ambassador was out to force newspapers to fire critics of US.
AND NOW: YVONNE RIDLEY
In 2008, Ms. Patterson accused ‘irresponsible elements’ in the Pakistani media of spreading lies about Dr. Aafia Siddiqui being in US custody in Afghanistan.
Yesterday, the British journalist who uncovered Dr. Siddiqui’s presence inside US-controlled Bagram base wrote a damning piece showing that Ambassador Patterson basically lied to the Pakistani public in her 2008 letter, which she sent to Pakistani newspapers.
This is what Ms. Ridley has to say about Ms. Patterson:
“Everyone had something to say, everyone that is except the usually verbose US Ambassador Anne Patterson who has spent the last two years briefing against Dr Aafia and her supporters.
This is the same woman who claimed I was a fantasist when I gave a press conference with Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan back in July 2008 revealing the plight of a female prisoner in Bagram called the Grey Lady.
She said I was talking nonsense and stated categorically that the prisoner I referred to as “650” did not exist.
By the end of the month she changed her story and said there had been a female prisoner but that she was most definitely not Dr Aafia Siddiqui.
By that time Aafia had been gunned down at virtually point blank range in an Afghan prison cell jammed full of more than a dozen US soldiers, FBI agents and Afghan police.
Her Excellency briefed the media that the prisoner had wrested an M4 gun from one soldier and fired off two rounds and had to be subdued. The fact these bullets failed to hit a single person in the cell and simply disappeared did not resonate with the diplomat.
In a letter dripping in untruths on August 16 2008 she decried the “erroneous and irresponsible media reports regarding the arrest of MsAafia Siddiqui”. She went on to say: “Unfortunately, there are some who have an interest in simply distorting the facts in an effort to manipulate and inflame public opinion. The truth is never served by sensationalism…”
When Jamaat Islami invited me on a national tour of Pakistan to address people about the continued abuse of Dr Aafia and the truth about her incarceration in Bagram, the US Ambassador continued to issue rebuttals.
She assured us all that Dr Aafia was being treated humanely had been given consular access as set out in international law … hmm. Well I have a challenge for Ms Patterson today. I challenge her to repeat every single word she said back then and swear it is the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
As Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s trial got underway, the US Ambassador and some of her stooges from the intelligence world laid on a lavish party at the US Embassy in Islamabad for some hand-picked journalists where I’ve no doubt in between the dancing, drinks and music they were carefully briefed about the so-called facts of the case.
Interesting that some of the potentially incriminating pictures taken at the private party managed to find the Ambassador was probably hoping to minimize the impact the trial would have on the streets of Pakistan proving that, for the years she has been holed up and barricaded behind concrete bunkers and barbed wire, she has learned nothing about this great country of Pakistan or its people.
One astute Pakistani columnist wrote about her: “The respected lady seems to have forgotten the words of her own country’s 16th president Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865): “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time”.
Well I, and many others across the world like me, can’t handle any more lies. America’s reputation is lying in the lowest gutters in Pakistan at the moment and it can’t sink any lower.
The trust has gone, there is only a burning hatred and resentment towards a superpower which sends unmanned drones into villages to slaughter innocents.
It is fair to say that America’s goodwill and credibility is all but washed up with most honest, decent citizens of Pakistan.
And I think even Her Excellency Anne Patterson recognizes that fact which is why she is now keeping her mouth shut.
If she has any integrity and any self respect left she should stand before the Pakistan people and ask for their forgiveness for the drone murders, the extra judicial killings, the black operations, the kidnapping, torture and rendition of its citizens, the water-boarding, the bribery, the corruption and, not least of all, the injustice handed out to Dr Aafia Siddiqui and her family.
She should then pick up the phone to the US President and tell him to release Aafia and return Pakistan’s most loved, respected and famous daughter and reunite her with the two children who are still missing.”
Patterson to "Aid" Egypt’s Democratic Transition
March 1, 2011, 7:14 PM ET
U.S. diplomat Anne Patterson is going from one geostrategic hotspot to the next.
Formally Washington’s ambassador to Pakistan, Patterson has been named the State Department’s special coordinator for Egypt, focusing specifically on aiding the country’s democratic transition following the overthrow of President Hosni Mubarak last month. Patterson received high-marks during her tenure in Islamabad in which she negotiated between a surge in anti-Americanism and the Obama administration’s increasing use of drone strikes against al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.
“Anne will be coordinating our response to Egypt at an incredibly important time,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on her appointment.
The State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development are expected to play important roles in helping Cairo prepare for legislative and presidential elections in the coming months. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the U.S. was earmarking $150 million to assist Egypt in its democratic transition, money Patterson will help oversee.
Patterson, a career diplomat, served in Pakistan from 2007 through October 2010. She was also a sometimes critic of U.S. strategy in South Asia, according to diplomatic cables obtained by the Website WikiLeaks. In one instance, Ms. Patterson said the U.S. should reassess its growing military sales to India, “as all of this feeds Pakistani establishment paranoia and pushes them closer to both Afghan and Kashmir-focus terrorist groups,” according to a cable from September 2009.
A native of Arkansas and graduate of Wellesley College, she joined the Foreign Service in 1973 as an economic officer
2008: Ambassador sought to prevent soldier-militant swap
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E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/15/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PINR, PK, PREL, PTER, SNAR, ASEC
SUBJECT: AMBASSADOR’S CALL ON INTERIOR ADVISOR REHMAN MALIK
Classified By: Anne W. Patterson, Reasons 1.4 (b), (d)
1. (C) Summary: In an April 14 meeting with Ambassador, the new senior Advisor for Interior Rehman Malik repeatedly emphasized the new coalition government’s commitment to fighting terrorism, his long-standing ties to American law enforcement, his closeness to Benazir Bhutto during the negotiations leading to her return in 2007, and his assurance that terrorist leaders would be apprehended. He described his familiarity with the tribal areas, where he had been stationed previously in his law enforcement career. The day before, he said he had already been involved in actions against extremists in Parachinar.
2. (C) Ambassador told him the USG strongly objected to the plans of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to exchange some of the al Qaeda and Taliban-associated operatives for captured soldiers and for Pakistan’s ambassador to Afghanistan. Malik replied that there was something “fishy” about the abduction of the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan. Separately, Malik committed to working with the Embassy, the Regional Affairs Office (RAO) and ISI to find a legal solution for the ISI detainees of interest to the United States who are being held without charges in ISI custody. (See below). Embassy will brief him next week about our ongoing and planned assistance to Pakistan law enforcement and Frontier Corps, about which he knew very little. Malik also expressed concern about the Saudi influence in Pakistan and the Saudi Ambassador’s alleged role in funding religious schools and mosques. Embassy recommends a Washington visit for Malik soon. End summary.
3. (C) Ambassador, accompanied by RSO, called on new “senior Advisor” for Interior Rehman Malik April 14. Malik is a cabinet-level advisor, instead of a minister, since he is not in the parliament, but he said he would be elected to the Senate in March 2009. Washington agencies should have information on his background, but Malik worked his way up from a policeman, to head of the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA), to advisor (and business partner) to Benazir Bhutto. He said he had been in partnership with a “son of the king” of Saudi Arabia but provided no additional details. Malik has a controversial reputation from his business dealings, but the Musharraf government has worked satisfactorily with him during the transition period. He has the advantage of a law enforcement background, a grudging respect from the Musharraf camp, street smarts, and closeness to Asif Zardari, co-chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).
4. (C) Malik repeatedly emphasized the new government was committed to fighting the war against terror. At the same time, PPP was committed to making the relationship between Musharraf and the new government a smooth one. This meant, Malik said, that Musharraf would not be impeached and the former chief justice would not be reinstated. Malik recounted his good relations with American law enforcement personnel when he was head of FIA. Malik also noted he was retaining Interior Secretary Kamal Shah, who has worked well with the Embassy.
5. (S) Ambassador raised with him the notification that ISI was planning to release a number of Taliban and al Qaeda related detainees in exchange for the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan and sixty soldiers. Ambassador noted that the USG is vigorously opposed to the release of these detainees and has been engaging with ISI to prevent it. Ambassador also noted that during the last government, the Embassy would not have raised this issue with the civilians but were raising it now because the new government was in charge. Malik looked uncomfortable, but it was not clear whether he did not know about the exchange or did not want to discuss it.
6. (S) Malik suggested that “something fishy” was going on with the kidnapping of the Pakistani ambassador to Afghanistan, but he was trying to work closely with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Kayani and with Director General-ISI General Nadeem Taj on this issue. He added there had also been an effort to negotiate the release of suspects who had been indicted for the murder of Benazir Bhutto.
7. (C) Malik asked that the Embassy reach out to the new head of the Intelligence Bureau, who was “more professional” than his predecessor. He also noted that the replacement of Director of Military Intelligence, General Nadeem Ijaz (and nephew of Musharraf’s wife) had been a positive development. He said the new government planned to exercise gradual control over ISI and did not want a confrontation with them.
Malik said he had excellent personal relations with COAS Kayani and DG/ISI Nadeem Taj.
8. (S) Ambassador raised the broader issue of detainees of interest to American intelligence agencies in ISI custody. She pointed out that there were only a few dozen of these detainees of interest to American intelligence, not the hundreds reported in the press. She noted that Pakistan has many people awaiting trial and sentencing and many others simply lost in the cracks of the legal system. She said our governments needed to find a way to get the dangerous detainees charged in the legal system. Some were foreigners who could not be repatriated to their home countries, i.e. Somalis, and others were dangerous individuals who cannot be released. But we needed to get this issue resolved. Ambassador said that the ISI idea of setting up a military commission had been poorly conceptualized and poorly timed (days after the announcement of the November 3 proclamation of emergency), and to date, no one had been charged under the new process anyway.
9. (C) Malik instantly understood the central issue of converting intelligence information to evidence that could be used in a court, and he offered to set up a committee with ISI, IB, FIA and his ministry to see how this could be done. He said this implementation would be difficult because many of these individuals had been held past the legal arrest time, but he added that the Supreme Court could no longer take a “suo moto” motion (taking up a case without a referral from a lower court), so there was little danger of judicial release. (Note. While there may be a tacit agreement by the current Supreme Court Chief Justice not to pursue suo moto actions, legally the Supreme Court still has this authority.) Ambassador noted that the Embassy was requesting legal assistance on this issue from Washington.
10. (C) When Ambassador raised the U.S. mission’s ongoing lack of success on counternarcotics issues, particularly with the Anti-Narcotics Force (ANF), Malik said more focus should be put on working with the Frontier Corps Balochistan.
Ambassador readily agreed. She told him the U.S. mission planned to cut off most assistance to the ANF’s Sensitive Investigative Unit (SIU) due to lack of performance.
11. (SBU) Malik was unaware of our strategy in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) to build up the Frontier Corps, the tribal levies, and other local militia. Embassy officers will brief him in detail next week.
12. (C) Malik said he was particularly concerned about the role of the Saudi Ambassador in funding religious schools and mosques and (implicitly) Nawaz Sharif, but he was going to try to work with him. Malik said that Musharraf had come close to “throwing him (the Saudi Ambassador) out of the country” but Malik said he knew the Saudi royal family well and would work with them.
13. (SBU) Ambassador also raised with him the case of AmCit detainee Dr. Sarki, which will be reported septel.
14. (SBU) Embassy recommends that Malik be invited soon to Washington. PATTERSON
When US tried to force its terms for investment treaty
KARACHI: When former Attorney General Makhdoom Ali Khan resigned from Gen Musharraf’s cabinet in the wake of the Supreme Court’s reinstatement in July 2007 of ‘suspended’ Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry, the Americans were not exactly regretful at Mr Khan’s departure, according to a ‘confidential’ US diplomatic cable accessed by Dawn through WikiLeaks. However, their reasons for being happy to see the back of him had nothing to do with the disastrous handling of the CJ issue by the Musharraf government’s legal team.
In a cable dated August 6, 2007, then US Ambassador Anne W. Patterson wrote that despite her reservations over Mr Khan’s “controversial” replacement, “We will not be sorry to see Khan go, as he blocked further negotiations on the bilateral investment treaty over concerns about investor-state arbitration and other issues.”
Ms Patterson had been expressing her views on the resignation of Mr Khan and the appointment of Malik Qayyum as the new attorney general by Gen Musharraf. “Both the incoming and outgoing attorneys general can be accused of bungling the case of what admittedly was an ill-conceived idea to suspend the Chief Justice,” wrote the former envoy. But she was very specific about the reasons for American displeasure with Makhdoom Ali Khan.
Dawn contacted Makhdoom Ali Khan to get the context to Ms Patterson’s remarks. Mr Khan told this scribe that prior to the visit of US President George Bush in 2006, the US officials had been pressing Pakistan to sign the bilateral investment treaty (BIT). “They were insisting that the signing of this treaty was a must,” says Mr Khan. The initial pressure, according to Mr. Khan, came from the presidency itself. “Pakistani officials, including myself, had been in negotiations with the US officials to discuss the treaty,” he said, adding that it was a “sensitive matter” and the relevant documents had to be “vetted in the light of international laws and conventions.”
He explained that Pakistan is a signatory to the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID), a subsidiary of the World Bank, and has ratified its conventions. According to ICSID, if Pakistan signs an investment treaty and any of the treaty’s clauses is violated, the matter has to be referred for arbitration under the terms of the treaty. “We wanted to protect our side and I had told the Americans that we are ready to negotiate, but I refused to sign on the dotted line,” he said. According to him, there had been many clauses in the treaty which were against the interests of Pakistan.
Mr Khan said that during the meetings he had made it clear that US officials should negotiate with Pakistan keeping in mind the distinction between the protection to foreign investors and the authority of the state to regulate the investor. “They wanted me to go abroad and discuss the issue with them,” he revealed and added that he refused as he thought it was a way of bribing him. “I had told the prime minister and the commerce minister about it,” Mr. Khan said. He said that there had been many video-conferencing negotiations, but all failed.
US officials, according to Mr. Khan, wanted to include a number of problematic clauses in the proposed BIT. They included, among others, the option of arbitration even after a decision of the Supreme Court, as happened in the SGS Cotecna case. In the notorious SGS Cotecna case, even after winning the case in court, Pakistan was forced to accept adjudication of a tribunal in Switzerland under the agreement signed with the Swiss firm. Further, the Americans wanted Pakistan to give a 90 days advance notice in case any law relating to foreign investors were introduced in the country. “This was against the constitution, which empowers the president to issue any ordinance at his discretion,” he said.
The Americans also wanted to ensure against what they termed “denial of justice.” In their view, a delay in any judgement could have amounted to denial of justice. “Now, we have our own system of judicial process,” says Mr Khan, “so I asked them to define denial of justice, which they were unwilling to do. I had also told the Americans that Pakistan was ready to provide as much protection to investors as the Americans provide, but told them please don’t ask from us more than that.”
In particular, Mr Khan said, he wanted to guard Pakistan’s interests with regards to foreign companies. “We were ready to provide protection, keeping our interests in view, to genuine investors but not to shell companies, which have only an office registered in the US and claim to be American.” Mr Khan also claims that he had told the US that, if it wanted such blanket protection for its investors, it should sign a free trade agreement with Pakistan. “To this they did not agree,” Mr Khan says.
In the cable Ms Patterson does note that “by offering to resign, Pakistan’s Attorney General became the only cabinet member to take the blame for the chief justice debacle.” She also wrote that “After the Supreme Court reinstated Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in July, there have been repeated calls for resignations, including those of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, Law Minister Wasi Zafar and Attorney General Khan. He is the only one to have done so.”
About Mr Khan replacement’s who was appointed on August 1, 2007, Ms Patterson pointed out that Malik Qayyum “had a checkered history and is already proving controversial. He was the presiding judge in the 1999 conviction of Benazir Bhutto, represented Shahbaz Sharif in his 2003 petition to return without facing deportation and most recently was the most vocal member of Musharraf’s defence team on the Chief Justice case.” She added in a comment that “Qayyum seems a weak choice to become attorney general at a particularly critical time for executive-judicial relations in Pakistan.”
Cable referenced: WikiLeaks #117904