Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Panetta: Taliban Won't Turn Petraeus Story Into Propaganda


Panetta Expects Taliban Won't Turn Petraeus's Adultery Into Propaganda

By Richard S. Ehrlich

BANGKOK, Thailand -- Afghanistan's Taliban "obviously" could "explore" the possibility of turning Gen. David Patraeus's adultery into anti-American propaganda, but "there are probably other issues that they could focus on, besides the Petraeus matter," U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday (November 15).

Asked if he was concerned about the Taliban creating propaganda from the extramarital affair by former CIA director Gen. Petraeus, who previously led U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan, Mr. Panetta replied:

"Obviously, you are never quite sure what the Taliban may or may not use for propaganda purposes, to try to advance their cause.

"Obviously, this is a possible area for them to explore but I think frankly that, you know, that if they want to have an impact, there are probably other issues that they could focus on, besides the Petraeus matter," Mr. Panetta said.

The Taliban consider adultery as a violation of Islam's sharia law, punishable by death.

Afghanistan's Taliban publicly executed suspect men and women, including death by stoning, during their 1996-2001 regime which was toppled by a U.S. invasion.

During the past decade, the Taliban executed several adulterous people after staging brief tribunals in rebel-held territory.

Under U.S. military law, adultery is punishable by a possible court martial.

Gen. Petraeus publicly admitted having an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, and resigned on Nov. 9 as CIA director.

In Bangkok, Mr. Panetta was speaking at a news conference while flanked by his Thai counterpart, Defense Minister Air Chief Marshal Sukumpol Suwanatat.

They signed a "2012 Joint Vision Statement for the Thai-U.S. Defense Alliance," to update a 1962 U.S.-Thailand statement describing their security relationship.

Mr. Panetta had arrived earlier in the day from Australia on a regional week-long tour.

After Bangkok, he planned to go to neighboring Cambodia.

Mr. Panetta was asked by another reporter if he was concerned that other people who worked for him might have been targeted by Mrs. Broadwell, who reportedly sent e-mails about her female rival, Jill Kelley, to other unidentified people.

"I am not aware of any others that could be involved in this issue at the present time," said the bespectacled Mr. Panetta who wore a dark suit.

Mr. Panetta also remarked about potentially scandalous e-mail sent to and from Gen. John Allen to the Florida-based socialite Mrs. Kelley.

Gen. Allen became the top commander of U.S. and coalition forces in Afghanistan after Gen. Petraeus left that position to direct the CIA in the summer of 2011.

After Mr. Panetta was told about the e-mails between Gen. Allen and Mrs. Kelley, "I thought it was important to refer it to the Defense Department's inspector general, in order to determine what the facts are here," Mr. Panetta said, concerning the Marine four-star general's case.

"What I don't want to do is to try to characterize those [e-mail] communications, because I think I don't want to do anything that will impact on their [the inspector general's] ability to conduct an objective review of what was contained in those e-mails," he said.

"I don't think anybody ought to jump to any conclusions as to where any of this will lead. But I do think it is important for the inspector general to conduct this review, so that we can get to the facts and determine what exactly happened here," Mr. Panetta said.

In their "Joint Vision Statement," the U.S. and Thailand said they would cooperate in "the Asia-Pacific region" to provide security and also "open access by all to shared maritime, space, and cyber domains".

"The United States supports Thai defense modernization and training requirements, including through the sale of U.S. defense equipment, Excess Defense Article transfers, Foreign Military Financing," and other assistance, their statement said.

It highlighted Thailand's 2004 designation as "a major non-NATO ally of the United States".

Their statement cited Bangkok for allowing the Pentagon to annually stage, on Thai territory, "Cobra Gold, the world's largest unilateral military exercise and premier training event in Asia."

*****

Richard S. Ehrlich is a Bangkok-based journalist from San Francisco, California, reporting news from Asia since 1978, and recipient of Columbia University's Foreign Correspondent's Award. He is a co-author of three non-fiction books about Thailand, including "Hello My Big Big Honey!" Love Letters to Bangkok Bar Girls and Their Revealing Interviews; 60 Stories of Royal Lineage; and Chronicle of Thailand: Headline News Since 1946. Mr. Ehrlich also contributed to the final chapter, Ceremonies and Regalia, in a new book titled King Bhumibol Adulyadej, A Life's Work: Thailand's Monarchy in Perspective.

His websites are

http://asia-correspondent.tumblr.com

http://www.flickr.com/photos/animists/sets

http://www.amazon.com/Hello-My-Big-Honey-ebook/dp/B009ESEGY0


(Copyright 2012 Richard S Ehrlich)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Case For Using Air Power Against The Islamic State

There is an Alice Through the Looking Glass quality to the current response to the Islamic State. Everything about it seems inside out. Many people who would normally oppose US air strikes in other countries have reluctantly endorsed the bombing of IS positions in Iraq and Syria – not because they think air power alone will defeat IS (clearly it won’t) but because it will slow it down, and impede its ability to function. More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Troubled Aftermath Of Scotland’s Independence Vote

A week can be a very long time in Scotland’s 300 year struggle for independence. The “No” vote last week that seemed to end the cause of Scottish independence for a generation, has turned out to have had an enormous fish hook attached, especially for the British Labour Party… More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The West’s Existential Crisis About What To Do With Putin, And The Islamic State

Say one thing for Russian President Vladimir Putin. At least he’s given NATO a purpose in life. Right now, that consists of being something that Barack Obama and David Cameron can hide behind, point at Putin, and say : “Go get him, tiger.” Just what NATO is supposed to do about Putin’s armed advance into eastern Ukraine is less than clear. But there is a lot of “steely determination” around in high places. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The US Foreign Policy Somersaults Over Syria And Iran

Amidst the day-to-day reports about the military advances of the Islamic State fighters in Iraq and Syria, one remarkable aspect of this war has barely been mentioned. More>>

ALSO:

Daphne Lawless: The Whale Oil Leaks: Anti-Politics From Above

As we go to press, the election campaign has been turned upside down by a new book by investigative journalist Nicky Hager. Dirty Politics is based mainly on a leak of 2 gigabytes of emails and Facebook messages from “Whale Oil”, the vicious ... More>>

ALSO:

Branko Marcetic: When John Key Was Concerned About Dirty Politics

If Nicky Hager needs some support in the midst of a whirlwind of government criticism for his allegations of “dirty tricks” by the National Party, he may find one unlikely ally – John Key, six years ago. More>>

Jim Miles: Israeli War Crimes In Gaza

Israel reveals its true colours and true aspirations every time it attacks Gaza (or any other self-perceived enemy) as being the ethnic cleansing of Palestine, even to the degree - as the references above indicate - to the act of genocide. More>>

David Swanson: Top 9 Reasons To Stop Bombing Iraq

1. It's not a rescue mission. The U.S. personnel could be evacuated without the 500-pound bombs. The persecuted minorities could be supplied, moved, or their enemy dissuaded, or all three, without the 500-pound bombs or the hundreds of 'advisors' (trained ... More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news