As you may know, Warren Weinstein, the American kidnapped in Pakistan in August, is a family friend. I posted about him shortly after the kidnapping, but took the post down at the request of the Weinstein family. Now, with the chilling news that he is in the hands of Al-Qaeda, I am being encouraged to spread the word to put pressure on the U.S. government and others who might be able to save him.
1. Forward this message to your friends who can influence others.
2. Send letters to the editor of influential publications.
3. Write to your government and legislators.
The following is a note from my uncle, to whom Warren is a close friend and mentor:
A very dear friend of ours, Dr. Warren Weinstein, was brutally kidnapped from his house in Lahore, Pakistan on August 13, 2011, just a few weeks after celebrating his 70th birthday with his family back in Maryland, and just two weeks before he left Pakistan for good. Warren is an exceptionally talented and devoted man and during the five or so years that he was in Pakistan, he did a phenomenal amount of good for the people with whom he worked. Among other things, he used his extensive networking skills to open up new markets for Pakistan’s jewelers and to help increase value-added for Pakistani dairy producers. He spoke Urdu, the language of the people and he fit in to the society, exactly the way an excellent development worker should do. He was all about delivering good things to the people of Pakistan – to the best of his considerable ability.
That he was grabbed from his home – at 3 am during Ramadan, the holy month of fasting (which Warren, an observant Jew who respected others’ religious beliefs, probably was keeping in solidarity with his co-workers) was certainly a callous, cold-blooded and cowardly, if not infidel, act. Given that violence was (apparently) used upon him and his guards also underscores the brutal nature of his abductors. The Pakistani police were and have continued to be impotent in following through on Warren’s kidnapping. The Pakistani government has been absent.
And now, after four long difficult months of waiting, not hearing anything, the cowardly caliph of Al Qaeda comes forward with a valiant declaration, victoriously claiming that he and his henchmen are holding a good and righteous 70 year old man who has dared to try to help others less fortunate than he during his entire career, in fact his entire lifetime. As an American, and as a Jew, Warren believed strongly that by helping others he was doing what was right, and he always did it very well. Accusing Warren of the venal crime of working for USAID, Al-Zawahiri wants the West to give back all the Al Qaeda loyalists in return for Warren.
For those Al Qaeda loyalists, whose work is to destroy, to explode, to obliterate, to assassinate innocent men, women and children, of whatever creed or belief, simply to terrorize, they – so we are told – believe that they do this all in the name of Allah… How can that same Allah condone the work of Warren and the work of the Al Qaida contingent? I suppose that’s why Allah is indeed so wondrous…
In the few days following Al-Zawahiri’s announcement, I have seen NO official US government reaction. That is shameful, given that Warren was doing everything in his power to do good works so that America and USAID would be better-viewed by Pakistanis. Warren and his team were successful at expanding opportunities for Pakistanis’ businesses, using US taxpayers’ money. Perhaps there is some secret mission underway to bring Warren home, but the lack of even basic appreciation for what Warren has done is shocking. The Department of State released some benign diplomatic drivel to suggest that they had communicated with the Government of Pakistan….with whom we have very complex and rapidly deteriorating “relations”…and that they were working to get the hostage freed, or something to that effect. Is that it? Is that all one gets when one has devoted years of service and has the misfortune to be placed in grievous circumstances?
In an earlier incident, a redneck CIA hack who shot Pakistanis to death in some sort of traffic accident which ended in an altercation, claimed self-defense or some such thing, got wonderful treatment and laser-focus from the US government. He was subsequently released and repatriated to the US where he could get into trouble in his own country, and if I recall correctly, did indeed. US funds were used to pay blood money to the victims’ families. But for Warren, a contractor – not a US government direct-hire employee, since the US does not negotiate with terrorists (or so the tale goes), what will the US do for him????
I do not usually agree with the forum that I have cited below this appeal letter. In this case, the author is at least venturing something other than inaction, an alternative to doing nothing or benign business-as-usual phrases.
I ask you to think about Warren and his family and share this with others so that he may brought home as quickly as possible. He has beautiful grandchildren and daughters and a wife who all miss him like he most definitely misses them. And he has friends…lots of friends all over the world, from dozens of countries and with whom he communicates in their languages. If you would be so kind as to ask your Congressional representatives and Senators to get involved, maybe we can break through some of the bureaucratic malaise and get Warren home with his family.
This is a season of hope. Perhaps we can dare to hope that Warren can be set free as quickly as possible.
Thank you for reading this. Help free Warren Weinstein.
from: Family Security Matters
December 6, 2011
How Should the U.S. React to the Kidnapping of Warren Weinstein?
On August 13, a 70-year old Jewish-American named Warren Weinstein was kidnapped from his home in Pakistan. Ayman al-Zawahiri has released a tape claiming he is in Al-Qaeda’s custody and his fate will be decided by whether the U.S. gives into his demands. He’s believed to be under the control of Pakistani Taliban commander Tariq Afridi, who operates out of the tribal town of Darra Adam Khel near Peshawar, but there are reportedly no credible leads on Weinstein’s exact location. What is the United States to do?
The first thing the U.S. must do is inform Pakistan that it will be held responsible for Weinstein’s fate. This would not have happened if Pakistan lived up to the same responsibilities that all of the world’s countries are expected to. If there is any intelligence service that can find Weinstein, it’s Pakistan’s ISI intelligence service. Should it fail to do so, Pakistan should receive just as much blame as Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. There are specific, long overdue punishments that Pakistan must face if Weinstein’s life is lost.
The second action that must be taken is to ideologically pressure Al-Qaeda, the Taliban and Pakistan. This is an opportunity to bring attention to the goodness of America and the evil of the Islamist terrorists. Weinstein is not an enemy combatant. He is not even near the age to become a combatant if he wished. He is an aid worker who has devoted his life to helping others, especially Pakistanis. He set up scholarships for students in the tribal areas to study the gem trade. He’s helped improve the dairy market. His job was to develop Pakistan. His story should become known to all Pakistanis as an example of how America is helping them and the terrorists are hurting them.
The U.S. must also use the kidnapping to embarrass Al-Qaeda and the Taliban and to stop them from using it to try to appear strong. The U.S. and its allies must emphasize how cowardly of an act this is and depict it as an act of weakness. The fact that Al-Qaeda and the Taliban has to resort to kidnapping 70-year old aid workers should be used against them.
Muslim governments that covet their ties to the U.S. should be asked to pressure their imams to condemn the act. Again, Weinstein is not an enemy combatant and even some anti-American Islamists will view his kidnapping as uncalled for. Although I do not agree with all of his suggestions, former Egyptian terrorist Tawfik Hamid makes a wise recommendation. He says that Islamic scripture should be used to condemn Weinstein’s captors. It is important that the U.S. do everything it can to stir debate within the Islamic world about such events.
Unfortunately, the odds are not high that Weinstein’s life will be saved and so a response must be prepared should the terrorists kill him.
The U.S. must steal the headline from Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. The world’s headlines should not read, “Al-Qaeda Kills American Hostage.” They must read, “Al-Qaeda Kills American Hostage; U.S. Launches Massive Strikes on Terror Havens.”
When President Obama came into office, he was given a list of 150 terrorist camps inside Pakistan. Some have since been destroyed but plenty remain, along with safehouses, front businesses and other terrorist entities. The U.S. must immediately respond to the announcement of Weinstein’s death with military action that demonstrates our strength, makes terrorists (and those who do business with them, such as the kidnappers who may have sold Weinstein) second-guess the wisdom of their actions and raises the cost to Pakistan for taking the enemy’s side. By doing this, Al-Qaeda will be prevented from having any boost in morale or prestige. His death must be remembered as something that brought misery to Al-Qaeda and its allies, not joy.
The U.S. should also have a strategy that becomes incrementally more aggressive towards Pakistan. If there is any information indicating that Pakistan is protecting Zawahiri or Commander Afridi, it should be released. If a specific ISI operative is tied to them, his assets should be frozen. Further cuts in aid to Pakistan must happen. The target list for the drone campaign should be expanded and U.S. troops in Afghanistan should be permitted to return fire across the border. Our troops deserve to have the threat to their lives minimized and sites used to kill them should not have immunity.
If Pakistan’s behavior does not immediately change, the State Department should reverse its decision to not include the country on its list of “Countries of Particular Concern” for violations of religious freedom. The case of Asia Bibi, a mother who has been sentenced to death for criticizing Islam after converting to Christianity, should be taken up. There should be open discussion in Congress about designating the ISI as a terrorist group, as was done with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, or at least its S-Wing that is most involved.
Richard Miniter offers some additional ideas. He suggests eliminating our dependency on Pakistan by building a supply route to Afghanistan through India, preferably in secret. Allies in central Asia should be used to airlift supplies. The U.S. can also insist that AT&T and other companies change their business arrangements with Pakistan in order to financially punish the country.
The hard truth is that the U.S. isn’t doing everything in its power to save Warren Weinstein or our soldiers in Afghanistan. Pakistan must be forced to do everything it can to find him and if his life is taken, he deserves to be honored with more than condolences.
Ryan Mauro is the National Security Analyst for Family Security Matters. He is the Founde rof WorldThreats.com, a national security analyst at Christian Action Network, a Strategic Analyst for Wikistrat and a national security commentator for FOX News.
Thank you for your attention. And now, back to health IT.