Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! We only ask one time of year, but when we do, we mean it. Without your support we can’t continue to bring you the very best material, day-in and day-out. CounterPunch is one of the last common spaces on the Internet. Help make sure it stays that way.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

CIA Thwarts Polio Vaccination Campaign

by KEN KLIPPENSTEIN

A polio vaccination campaign worker was shot to death in Pakistan on Tuesday, which The New York Times wasted no time in reporting. What the Times article neglected to mention was that the killing followed a CIA operation in which agents orchestrated a fake vaccination program in order to gain entry to Osama Bin Laden’s home. (The plot was based on knowledge that health workers had previously managed to enter Bin Laden’s home to administer polio drops to the children.)

The importance of such background information apparently eluded the Times, whose motto is ‘All the News That’s Fit to Print’. It’s easy to see why the details of the CIA operation were unfit for print: first, it’s embarrassing to the U.S., which the paper is greatly biased toward; and second, Pakistan is an official enemy of the U.S., so it’s an exercise in patriotism to imply that Pakistan is home to Muslim extremists who don’t believe in vaccines or science, and therefore murder polio vaccine volunteers for sport. The nearest the Times article gets to mentioning the CIA’s bogus vaccine program is a vague reference to “the Pakistani Taliban, who have criticized vaccination efforts as a cover for Western espionage.” Not only does the NYT lack the integrity to recognize that “vaccination efforts” were in fact cover for Western espionage; they also imply that such notions are the result of some kind of sinister Taliban disinformation campaign.

Like some kind of Billy Mays infomercial—‘But wait, there’s more!’—the Times’ shameful coverage doesn’t end there. They go on to say that, “Also [in addition to the Taliban], religious extremists claim that the real aim of vaccination campaigns is to sterilize Pakistan’s Muslim population.” The implication is again that Pakistan is populated with menacing religious zealots whose fundamentalism stands in the way of scientific progress. Characterizations such as these conform very nicely to the view that clashes between the West (i.e. NATO) and the Middle East are not rooted in any sort of real economic or political grievances (e.g., the U.S.’ installation of dictators like the Shah in Iran; or the U.S.’ theft of oil resources), but rather “a clash of civilizations”, as Foreign Affairs once put it. The view that there are irrevocable religious differences between the West and the Middle East is very useful to Western leaders seeking to justify acts of aggression, like the invasion of Iraq.

The Times can’t plead ignorance of the CIA’s false vaccination program. Just last year they published an article titled, “C.I.A. Vaccine Ruse May Have Harmed the War on Polio.” How NYT’s own coverage didn’t figure into another article on essentially the same topic is a fine illustration of the establishment media’s studied obliviousness. And it’s not as though they were oblivious to some marginal issue with the vaccine story. As a recent article in Scientific American states, “the CIA’s fake vaccination campaign endangers us all” by impeding the distribution of polio vaccines. Incidentally, Pakistan is one of the last few countries on the planet in which Polio persists.

I’ll be generous with the Times and not fault them for overlooking the West’s—particularly the U.S. and Germany’s—past experimentation with eugenics, which would help explain the apparent superstition that vaccination campaigns might be sterilization campaigns in disguise. In fact, the U.S. was such a leading pioneer in eugenics practices, including forced sterilization, that Nazi Germany derived many of its eugenics projects from the U.S. So it shouldn’t be surprising that, following CIA involvement in vaccination campaigns, Pakistanis would be suspicious.

The cowardice of The New York Times is at times difficult to fathom. Another recent example of the paper’s servility to power would be its coverage of Obama’s speech about his terrorism policies. As Glenn Greenwald’s helpful article about the speech points out, the NYT’s response to it was posted online literally minutes after the speech ended. This means, of course, that they received a copy of it in advance. Small surprise that they gave the oration such an embarrassingly glowing review: wouldn’t want to bite the hand that’s feeding you advanced copies. What does surprise me is that the speech the Times chose to gush over was one that was designed to justify Obama’s unprecedented prosecution of journalists. Obama is selling the NYT the noose they’ll be hanged from, and the Times is only too thrilled to be buying it from such a swell guy.

Ken Klippenstein lives in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, where he edits the left issues journal, whiterosereader.org He can be reached at Reader246@gmail.com

Ken Klippenstein is an American journalist who can be reached on Twitter @kenklippenstein or by email: kenneth.klippenstein@gmail.com

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
James McEnteer
Eugene, Oregon and the Rising Cost of Cool
Norman Pollack
The Great Debate: Proto-Fascism vs. the Real Thing
Michael Winship
The Tracks of John Boehner’s Tears
John Steppling
Fear Level Trump
Lawrence Wittner
Where Is That Wasteful Government Spending?
James Russell
Beyond Debate: Interview Styles of the Rich and Famous
September 26, 2016
Diana Johnstone
The Hillary Clinton Presidency has Already Begun as Lame Ducks Promote Her War
Gary Leupp
Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Against Russia
Dave Lindorff
Parking While Black: When Police Shoot as First Resort
Robert Crawford
The Political Rhetoric of Perpetual War
Howard Lisnoff
The Case of One Homeless Person
Michael Howard
The New York Times Endorses Hillary, Scorns the World
Russell Mokhiber
Wells Fargo and the Library of Congress’ National Book Festival
Chad Nelson
The Crime of Going Vegan: the Latest Attack on Angela Davis
Colin Todhunter
A System of Food Production for Human Need, Not Corporate Greed
Brian Cloughley
The United States Wants to Put Russia in a Corner
Guillermo R. Gil
The Clevenger Effect: Exposing Racism in Pro Sports
David Swanson
Turn the Pentagon into a Hospital
Ralph Nader
Are You Ready for Democracy?
Chris Martenson
Hell to Pay
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Debate Night: Undecided is Everything, Advantage Trump
Frank X Murphy
Power & Struggle: the Detroit Literacy Case
Chris Knight
The Tom and Noam Show: a Review of Tom Wolfe’s “The Kingdom of Speech”
Weekend Edition
September 23, 2016
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
The Meaning of the Trump Surge
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: More Pricks Than Kicks
Mike Whitney
Oh, Say Can You See the Carnage? Why Stand for a Country That Can Gun You Down in Cold Blood?
Chris Welzenbach
The Diminution of Chris Hayes
Vincent Emanuele
The Riots Will Continue
Rob Urie
A Scam Too Far
Pepe Escobar
Les Deplorables
Patrick Cockburn
Airstrikes, Obfuscation and Propaganda in Syria
Timothy Braatz
The Quarterback and the Propaganda
Sheldon Richman
Obama Rewards Israel’s Bad Behavior
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail