Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 14, 2011

Who And What is Matthew Craig Barrett?

(Updated below - Sep 2, 2011)

One would expect some reaction in U.S. media when Pakistan arrests and plans to deport a U.S. citizen for spying on its nuclear installations.

But I have found no news item yet in the U.S. or "western" media about the recent arrest of Matthew C. Barrett.

Matthew Craig Barrett during his arrest in Pakistan on June 11 2011

Something similar happened when, back in January, Pakistan arrested the CIA contractor Raymond A. Davis for killing two people in Karachi. Then US media, asked by the U.S. administration, suppressed news about him and his status while those were, at the same time, openly discussed in Pakistani media.

The silence now in "western" media could therefore be interpreted as a confirmation of Barrett's illegitimate, in the Pakistani view, status.

The story, as far as we know it, is documented below.

Reported in the Pakistani Onlinenews and on other Pakistani sites on May 15:

FATEHJANG: A US national was arrested on espionage charges after he was found roaming near sensitive nuclear installations in Fatehjang, a private TV channel reported on Saturday. The arrested US national identified as Mathieu Craig was staying in Sector G-8 of Islamabad, sources said. He was travelling in a car bearing number plate (EO-318) registered in Jacobabad, said the sources. The accused told the police that he had lost his way and had reached that area. According to investigations, Mathieu Craig arrived in Pakistan on a business visa and had been staying in Islamabad for a long time after marrying a Pakistani woman.

The Urdu TV report about the May 14 arrest is available as video.

Fateh Yang (Fateh Jang) is a city in Punjab province some 25 miles west of Islamabad. It is the location of the Pakistani National Development Complex for weapon research. Earlier the site was under control of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and its Special Development Works which, in Fateh Yang and elsewhere, developed Pakistan's nuclear weapons.

Jacobabad, where Barrett's car was licensed, is some 550 miles southwest of Islamabad where Barrett claims to live. This is certainly unusual and makes the suspicions seem reasonable.

Matthew Craig Barrett, who somehow was let go or escaped that day, denied all charges and together with his father in law, a lawyer, pushed back. A press release "clarification" was issued by them on May 16 in which Barrett claimed:

“The news aired by a TV channel and carried by a newspaper (on Sunday) is false, baseless and fabricated. The staff at the barrier at Fatehjang Road stopped me and tried to play a drama with me. However when the higher authorities intervened, I came back to Islamabad. In accordance with the law of torts, I have served a notice claiming damages of Rs600 million on those who tried to malign me and bring me into disrepute.

“My wife belongs to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwah and we have been living in Islamabad for a long time. My two children were also born here. I myself have a right to be a Pakistani citizen, and for that only documents are to be completed. I have visited some 60 countries of the world as a tourist but never did I face such a humiliating treatment anywhere. I like this country and its people very much. However there are some departments which are extremely corrupt. They tell lies and commit frauds. What type of security is it to disclose my residence and number plate of my car? What do you call divulging the sensitive places of your country?

“I have decided to take legal action against them and also take to a court of law the media persons who became their tools. I may state here that high security agencies of the country have already cleared me in the past. The treatment meted out to me is a negative act to conceal their incompetence. I have requested my in-laws that they should not be provoked and should wait for law to take its own course. I am confident that law and the courts will certainly do justice to me and bring the accused to the book.”

Barrett was re-arrested on June 11:

ISLAMABAD: A US national was arrested on Friday from a residential area on the outskirts of the federal capital on charges of overstaying his visa. Mathew Craig, 27, had come to Pakistan on a business visa about three months ago, police said. The man, said to have been arrested from a house in E-11 Sector, is locked up in the Shalimar police station. The man is married to a Pakistani girl. A spokesperson for the US embassy in Islamabad said American diplomats were trying to ascertain the facts.

There is video of Barrett talking to a TV reporter during his arrest. He gives his version of the event in clear American English and denies any wrongdoing. (The picture above is taken from this video). Another video shows him being led away in chains. He seems to spit at the camera. In this report it is also claimed that he had been arrested previously for "statements against the state and security personal."

On June 12 Pakistani media reported:

ISLAMABAD: A US national, arrested on Friday for allegedly scouting nuclear facilities near the federal capital, was sent on a 14-day judicial remand by a trial court.

The 27-year-old, named Mathew Craig Barret, is likely to be deported in a few days. The interior ministry cancelled his visa last month, sources told The Express Tribune on the suspicion of his spying on the country’s nuclear facilities. Until he is deported, Barrett will remain in Adiyala Jail in Rawalpindi.

Police sources claimed that the interior ministry had sent a letter to the additional inspector-general (Special Branch), Islamabad, to trace Barrett’s whereabouts after he escaped from Fateh Jang last month following a scuffle with security agencies officials.

“He scuffled with security officials (manning the) outer-most cordon of the nuclear facilities after he was captured from near the area. Later, a case was registered against him with the Fateh Jang police. However, he had dodged arrest,” claimed an official of the police. After the AIG reported that he was living with a family in Sector E-11, the ministry directed the police to arrest Barrett, whose multiple business entry visa was otherwise valid till November 2 this year. The man’s visa was cancelled on May 20 after he was blacklisted.

The ministry directed the Islamabad police to deport Barrett before June 4. However, he could not be arrested before Friday, June 11.

Sources maintain that security agencies had been trailing Barrett for a long time for ‘suspicious activities’ and his visits to areas with sensitive installations, including nuclear facilities at Jhang Bahtar near Fateh Jang.

He has been married to a Pakistani girl for almost three-and-a-half years. Earlier, the couple had been living with the girl’s parents in Sector G-8/1. Later, the Barrett family moved to Sector E-11.

Security officials said Barrett told them he was “enjoying married life peacefully in Pakistan without indulging in any unlawful activity”.

Police said that, although his family did not resist the arrest, his father-in-law, who is a lawyer, later went to the ministry of interior and protested against Barrett’s arrest. He maintained that his son-in-law’s arrest was unlawful.

Once deported after being black-listed, Barrett will never be able to return to Pakistan.

There was no news since then and I failed so far to find any further background information on one Matthew Craig Barrett that would fit to this person. Please help.

From his age, agility and "having visited 60 countries" Barrett could well be a military or CIA spook. Marriage to a Pakistani woman would be a nice background for a long-term agent. But Barrett could of course also be just a normal innocent man. But why then would the U.S. media be quiet about him?

What is your take?

UPDATE (Sep 2, 2011): The story continues: Some News On Matthew Craig Barrett.

Posted by b on June 14, 2011 at 11:34 AM | Permalink


Wow MoA is back! Great!

Having been checking here for a while.

Posted by: a | Jun 14, 2011 4:42:31 PM | 1

Shame & embarassment is why b
Since the seppos are ignoring him rather than using his arrest and 'harassment' to beat up another storm of anti-Pakistani emotion in their nation of ignorance and blind prejudice, it's more likely he's an amateur.

A devoted follower of greed-headed amerikan propaganda. The world is full of em - from the straight seppo male who got caught pretending to be an oppressed lesbian from Syria -he/she blogged about the mean old Assad and his Ba-ath Party for four years until getting caught out claiming falsely to have been abducted by govt hit squads or honour killers or some other such puerile nonsense- to the hundreds of third generation Persian amerikans who claim to be texting from Iranian dungeons or have witnessed Iranian police brutality. Pity they've never been outta that cloying dead surburbia that they appear determined to inflict on Iranians too busy defending their society from amerikan imperialism to read the pathetic crap these derps hammer out each day.

This twerp is prolly motivated by dreams of being 'pearled' that is having his head sawn off with a rusty breadknife. Maybe he thinks they'll be a movie in it. Sorry drongo - its been done before.
See some junior executive at Karl Rove/Jerry Bruckheimer productions being sent out to reception to say "lies are delicate constructions tell the same one too many times and you destroy the entire artifice well beyound your own tawdry plagiarism".

This is the natural result of amerikan exceptionalism of course. Back in the late 19th early 20th century farmers fishermen and arab sheiks going about their business as their ancestors had, were forced to listen to chinless englanders in crumpled linen suits and panamas telling them they knew what was best for em; now a similar diverse selection of innocents are being bailed up by morbidly obese seppos sweating in their synthetic shirts and drip dry pants telling em that only they know what is best.

Of course there is one essential difference - the amerikan is frequently operating from the safety of his own dreary living room, hammering away at a plastic keyboard as he orders the foreigners about. That has it's disadvantages -

The Gay Girl in Damascus Blog has been subjected to further derision now it has been discovered that McMasters(aforesaid septic tank) main contributor and flirt mate was another flabby middle aged amerikan male, Bill Graber, a 58-year-old retired construction worker from Ohio. Bwahahaha you couldn't make this shit up.

So this Barrett wanna be spook, fucked up zionist, or whatever brand of drongo he is, was prolly living a culturally isolated existence in Islamabad. His wife's family would have found their daughter's marriage to a 'citizen' of the empire hell bent on destroying Pakistan, socially challenging to say the least. On the other hand to other amerikans - to the dead set imperialists who fly in and out of Pakistan on short tours, Barrett would be seen to have gone native.

He woulda realised his chances of being accepted by Pakistanis was diminished by every egregious act the empire committed against Pakistan. That woulda been further compounded by his pap fed from infancy belief in the rightness of all things amerikan so he prolly decided that the best thing he could do to show he wasn't a traitor to corporate capitalist consumerism would be to 'get rid of the nukes'.

That could also be rationalised as 'doing something good for Pakistan'. These exceptionalist ninnies refuse to accept that any nation that wants to keep amerika at arms length can only do so by having a nuclear capability. They can't unnerstand why anyone would want to keep mom n apple pie, racism and gratuitous violence, at arm's length.
So societies whose citizens loath the notion of nuclear weapons are increasingly being forced to develop nuclear programs.

That won't last for ever of course - give another decade of racist diatribes against islamic societies and the people who inhabit them, then 'glassing over a few towel head burgs' will be accepted by most seppos.

Posted by: Did | Jun 14, 2011 6:56:54 PM | 2

open question: what is someone trying to impart by writing "ameriKan", with the K?

Posted by: nobodee | Jun 14, 2011 8:49:32 PM | 3

In Barrett, the inner meathead could have merged with the outer one; but it has likely happened before when a spook goes a little mad out there on the range. He will probably be reeled in for a good debriefing and heavily medicated.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 14, 2011 10:03:58 PM | 4

Interesting news. Trying to find it on google there are very few references, including MoA. As someone who grew up in Pakistan but has little current knowledge a few questions came to my mind. I don't think Pakistan has changed enough to accept a Muslim girl marrying a non-Muslim. So is Matthew Craig Muslim, at least in name? Or was this a sham marriage to allow him to come into Pakistan (which raises its own series of questions). I could not find the name of the 'lawyer father-in-law' but one other possibility is that Matthew's 'wife' is from a minority (christian or hindu, both are small minorities in Pakistan)? The west seems to be ignoring this but would be interesting how it plays out in Pakistan.

Posted by: Khalid | Jun 14, 2011 10:53:28 PM | 5

maybe because argentinians, haitians and canadians are ALL ameriCans
the unitedStaters, those who live in the country without a PROPER name, well, these are ameriKans

Posted by: sKol | Jun 14, 2011 11:11:03 PM | 6

According to comments on this link MCB was/is a Muslim and father of two children. He was also living a life of fair luxury.

Pakistanis, as you may see on the link above transliterate from their language into english and will write amiriki (for american) and amrika for america. Amerikan seems like and amalgamtion of amriki and american.... just guessing :)

Posted by: Khalid | Jun 14, 2011 11:24:29 PM | 7

Not sure if/how this relates. Could Barrett be one of them?

Pakistan Arrests C.I.A. Informants in Bin Laden Raid

WASHINGTON — Pakistan’s top military spy agency has arrested some of the Pakistani informants who fed information to the Central Intelligence Agency in the months leading up to the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden, according to American officials.

Pakistan’s detention of five C.I.A. informants, including a Pakistani Army major who officials said copied the license plates of cars visiting Bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, in the weeks before the raid, is the latest evidence of the fractured relationship between the United States and Pakistan.
The fate of the C.I.A. informants arrested in Pakistan is unclear, but American officials said that the C.I.A. director, Leon E. Panetta, raised the issue when he travelled to Islamabad last week to meet with Pakistani military and intelligence officers.

Posted by: b | Jun 14, 2011 11:42:45 PM | 8

Not that there's any great mystery to the "amerika" spelling of Amerika (or America if you insist); but it's to indicate that a country of the mind, "the shining city on a hill" (once a democracy or a republic) no longer exists. I don't know why it has to be explained anymore. One of our country's greatest essayists, Lewis H. Lapham, writing in Harper's Magazine, pronounced the US republic dead, on at least two occasions, during G. W. Bush's presidency. But I am dead certain that the spelling with the "K" goes way back to the 60s, the vintage war protests of that time. I'm pretty sure gonzo journalist, Paul Krassner, used that spelling in his articles in "The Realist". This spelling was seen on protest banners. The k also signals the embedded racism and superiority complex of an empire as it slashes and burns, searches and destroys, smashes and grabs, and lords its technology over its victims.

The depredations of US imperialism in the Philippines drove Mark Twain to despair of his country and the Human Race. In our contemporary scene, one of our great modern essayists, Chris Hedges, writes today that our electoral process is now useless for changing anything of any real importance; and only direct acts of protest and refusal and civil disobedience have meaning in a moral life.

Yes Amerika. The writer spells differently to make a point. This replica of a country remains as it is, a pimped-out shell, where mesmerized people no longer know the difference between television and reality. Like Hedges says, they confuse the images, the spectacle ( and the emotions arising from those things), with what is indeed real. Many in this country can't tell the difference.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2011 12:30:08 AM | 9

" Like Hedges says, they confuse the images, the spectacle ( and the emotions arising from those things), with what is indeed real. Many in this country can't tell the difference."

The "Amerika" of today in a nutshell.

Posted by: ben | Jun 15, 2011 12:47:25 AM | 10

As the country becomes more Kafkaesque, Amerika is more apt.

Posted by: Biklett | Jun 15, 2011 3:45:24 AM | 11

"Not that there's any great mystery to the "amerika" spelling of Amerika (or America if you insist)..."

I don't insist at all. I merely asked a question. I'm not a citizen of the U.S. (as B labels the country in the above post) , nor is "American English" (as B writes it in the above post) my first language.

"I don't know why it has to be explained anymore."

Seems you're displaying some of that American exceptionalism that is being discussed here.

I found the explanations quite interesting.

Posted by: nobodee | Jun 15, 2011 10:00:22 AM | 12


Sorry I didn't mean to give offense. The writer, Did, is an old timer in this bar, and has been writing in that style for years.
By the way, your written English is flawless, as I read it.

Posted by: Copeland | Jun 15, 2011 10:38:14 AM | 13

As the country becomes more Kafkaesque, Amerika is more apt. - biklett.

quote from wiki:

Amerika, also known as Der Verschollene or The Man Who Disappeared, is the incomplete first novel of author Franz Kafka, published posthumously in 1927.

(...) The story describes the bizarre wanderings of a seventeen-year-old European emigrant named Karl Rossmann in the United States, who was forced to go to New York to escape the scandal of his seduction by a housemaid. (...)

From the trivia department.

Drinks all round. Hi Dids!

Posted by: Noirette | Jun 15, 2011 12:15:03 PM | 14

"Amerika, also known as Der Verschollene..."

Well of course, "Amerika" is just how one spells it in German.

Yet our host, who is German, spells it "America". I think I understand why.

Posted by: nobodee | Jun 16, 2011 1:25:57 PM | 15

Hi Noirette cheers. Thanks for digging out that Kafka reference, I knew I had seen amerika spelled that way in a Kafka story I read as a kid; that the k usage went well before 1960's protest but I was buggered if I could remember which story, and since I have no intention of rereading Kafka I decided to let the 60's references pass unchallenged, especially when they are as erudite as Copeland's - shoulda remembered wiki I spose.
From what I can remember of " The Man Who Disappeared" the trip to amerika was outta the frying pan and into the fire.
But at least it got a bit of debate up in a thread that appeared to be languishing.
I do think that we pay too little attention the the sense of superiority and entitlement amerikan media imparts along with its highly co-ordinated brainwashing bulldust.
These rogue do-it-yerself missionaries of empire have always been around but the net plus the post wtc action siege mentality the media have nurtured means the self starting spruikers have proliferated.

When I was a kid at Uni here there was a bloke who travelled under the name of Clark Titman who would elbow his way onto the podium at every anti-war meeting to tell us that amerika was in Vietnam for the sole purpose of saving us and Australia from the pinko commie menace - the domino theory with all the trimmings burnished into an weird south pacific gloss.

The Titman human was in his late 30's just a bit too young to be here cause he grabbed a dusky maiden when passing thru during ww2 and too old to be a student.

He had an Abe Lincoln beard,as clumsy as the spooks and state were those days I always doubted they could have missed the minute about beards without moustaches being seen as untrustworthy.
Cause everyone told him he was 'cia' or usis and his line of histrionics could crank an audience (I saw him get physically assaulted on a number of occasions beautiful knee in the groin from some bloke shouting "This is what yer doing to Vietnam" dropped him like the sack of shit he was).

He kept coming back and a fella I know in the diplomat game reckoned the amerikan agencies here were trying everything to stop him because his methodology increased antipathy towards amerika and especially towards the strategy for the subjugation of Indochina.

Posted by: Did | Jun 16, 2011 10:50:03 PM | 16

mr mathew lost his wauy he was going to bring car homes with mechanic. he has already been cleared by the top agencies. the barrier staff was resisted when they tried to misconduct.avery thing aghainst him flase and father in law of mathew we belongs to most famous swati/yousafzai tribe of mansehra battagram and torghur. we most freedom loving brave and proud pukhtoon tribe of pukhtoonkhwa. we know how to protect us and our dignity. if some one has doubt u can see the our thousands years history. we never recognised the british vlavery system and their evil devil adevts in the subcontinent.we will never foeget what happened with our innocent son in law. even we will never forget the creators of terrorism and using them to gain some thing. we will never for get and forgive the bloodsheding of our innocent pukhtoons in the name of terrorism and in the name of counter terrorism. its secret plan of modern fascist aghainst the pukhtoons. its indirect war crimes and genocide of the facists aghainst most freedom living nation the great pukhtoons. now we have started the legal war aghainst criminal. we are waiting for result.A.RAHMAN KHAN SWATI ADVOCATE ISLAM ABAD PAKISTAN

Posted by: abdur.rahman khan | Jun 22, 2011 11:39:20 AM | 17

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