Posts Tagged ‘CIA’

Lip Service to Goodwill

April 25, 2013


Over the past few months an ongoing debate about opening the borders to our next door neighbor has engulfed drawing room discussions, economics and politics lectures, the industrialist, the Mazdoor (wage laborer), and of course the talk shows. Those in favor of this upgrade in India’s status have brought to notice a need for better ties. It is now more obvious than ever that on all fronts, economic, social, political and security; India has left Pakistan far behind. While India has been labeled the World’s largest and most multicultural democracy, proud liberals quote Mother India as the torch bearer, pride of the democratic legacy, a success story; Pakistan is equally known for the opposite reasons: Terrorism, conflict, unstable governance, and sectarian and religious strife.

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October 30, 2012

By Air Commodore (R) Khalid Iqbal
Spearhead Research

While the people of Pakistan prayed for early recovery of Malala, they were awe-struck by the frenzy created about the incident. Where people die in dozens each day as a result of terrorist attacks, singling out Malala for over glorification was rather intriguing. Our media, especially its electronic component gave a helping hand to their pay masters; or may be it sleep walked into the trap. Sense of proportion was lost, caution was thrown to wind. It appeared as if a high profile head of state had been critically attacked. The only other example of such hype was Raymond Davis case. National leadership fumbled in case of Raymond Davis and had to face the humiliation of Abbottabad attack.

This time the Malala incident was being exploited for pressuring Pakistan to undertake military operation in North Waziristan. Once again, national leadership was posturing to cede space and fall into the trap of initiating a military operation. Hopefully, the strategic fiasco has been averted, at least for the time being. Our political government which carries an unfortunate stigma of coming into power as an outcome of a deal underwritten by America appeared more than keen to improve its credentials with its mentor before the next elections.

Alas! Marc Grossman must have expected unanimous parliamentary resolution in support of military operation prior to his arrival. Apparently, there is no Military action in the offing in North Waziristan Agency. National consensus does not exist. Opinion is divided on political lines; hence a harmonious public view is unlikely to emerge.

Problem is not with the public opinion in Pakistan alone. As the American public’s disillusionment with fighting the war deepens, the precarious consensus in Congress and mainstream policy circles is also melting down. As a consequence, a peaceful Afghanistan may be a lost cause- at least in short to medium timeframe. In a recent editorial note, the ‘New York Times’ has suggested: “it is time for United States forces to leave Afghanistan… the United States will not achieve even President Obama’s narrowing goals, and prolonging the war will only do more harm…it is time for United States forces to leave Afghanistan”-now, not in 2014.

Vice President Biden is quite clear on his view of Afghanistan policy: America’s combat commitment to President Karzai’s government ends in 2014. “We are leaving in 2014.” For him, “It is the responsibility of the Afghans to take care of their own security…”It’s their responsibility, not America’s.” Biden is of the opinion that withdrawal is not conditional. He argues that America’s core objective to oust the Taliban is “almost completed. . . . We’ve decimated al- Qaeda central. We have eliminated Osama bin Laden. That was our purpose.” Republican challengers face an even more daunting task, since they are determined not “to lose the gains we’ve gotten” in the fighting: “We want to make sure that the Taliban does not come back in and give al Qaeda a safe haven,…that we give our commanders what they say they need to make it successful.” vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan affirmed. Top brass no longer talks of winning but of leaving an Afghan force capable of withstanding the insurgency.

Mitt Romney does not have the option of directly confronting Obama’s popular approach of disengagement. If Romney wins, he would inherit the conflict at the force level maintained by President Bush. Obama has already undone his sin of surge. Romney envisages continuation of existing political dispensation in Kabul, free of Taliban influence, as a vital national interest, one that could justify continued military engagement. However, it is not clear as to how prolonging the military presence in Afghanistan could succeed when Afghan public hostility to the foreign occupation is growing.

Obama-Biden position indicates that their administration has no plans to leave a stay-behind force in Afghanistan after 2014 and is only paying lip service to this effect to keep things calm while they hasten to withdraw. At the same time Obama has dubiously kept open the door for a negotiated peace settlement with the Taliban. Romney’s view about continued prosecution of the Afghan war is reinforced by his obstinate opposition to negotiations with the Taliban insurgency leadership. This means a Romney administration has only a single option: a continued Afghan war between the Kabul coalition and its Taliban opponents.

Some analysts believe a US withdrawal without stabilising Afghanistan will plunge the country into a civil war. However, other viewpoint holds that: the US presence itself is contributing to instability; and the US is in no position to stabilise Afghanistan; whenever occupation forces leave, Afghanistan will invariably go through another round of civil war; and, the longer the foreign forces stay the greater would be the intensity such civil war. Hardly a month passes by when someone important in Western capitals does not lower the bar on attainment of war aims in Afghanistan. A few days ago, NATO secretary general hinted that a retreat from Afghanistan could come sooner than expected in 2014. This is a ‘generous’ climb down from NATO’s earlier stance of “conditions on the ground dictating the pace of withdrawal from Afghanistan.”

Being a son of the soil, President Karzai is convinced that the Taliban cannot be defeated. He wants a quick reconciliation with them. In his desperation, Karzai continues jockeying between the two extremes of calling Pakistan a special friend and declaring it an adversary.

Afghan Army is so plagued with desertions that it has to replace a third of its entire force every year. That implies that a third of the Afghan Army perpetually consists of first year recruits fresh from a three months’ nominal military training formality. And tens of thousands of men with military training are put at loose ends each year. They are inducted into an environment endemic with militants who have ample of military equipment to rearm these deserters as their comrades at arms. Afghan deserters complain of corruption among their officers, poor food and equipment, indifferent medical care, Taliban intimidation of their families and, probably most troublingly, a lack of faith in the army’s ability to fight the insurgents after the American military withdraws.

Afghan army commanders complain of lack of adequate capability and capacity; they fear that Taliban will eventually gain ground. Attacks on Afghan military have dwindled because the army has refused to patrol far out of their bases, even though the Taliban presence in such areas has increased. Devastating spate of recent “green on blue” incidents (or “insider killings”), has been the last straw, to sap the ISAF’s morale as well.

Pakistan has faced a set of overlapping crises in the past several decades due to its location at a geopolitical crossroads. In addition to unrelenting hegemonic aspirations of India, Pakistan has had to deal with the spill-over of major conflicts in Afghanistan. Moreover, Pakistan has been the chief victim of terrorism. Pakistan has suffered more than 10,000 military casualties while fighting terror. Even the ISI has suffered 350 deaths, a higher toll than the CIA has suffered in its entire history.

Under these murky circumstances when there is lack of clarity about the ‘Way Forward’ for resolving the Afghan conflict, Pakistan needs to follow a cautious approach rather becoming over enthusiast to jump into the North Waziristan fire.

Writer is Consultant, Policy & Strategic Response, IPRI.

Afridi: whistleblower or traitor?

September 11, 2012


Shakil Afridi once again makes headlines with even more controversial statements. The doctor who headed a fake polio vaccination program was responsible for disclosing the hiding location of OBL to the US forces. The entire incident was a great source of embarrassment for the Pakistani government and especially the army. Rumors about ISI’s involvement with militants grew a spine.

Is Afridi a whistleblower or a traitor? Depends on which side of the fence we choose to stand on. For Pakistan Shakil Afridi is guilty of backstabbing his people. By working as a spy with the CIA, instead of helping Pakistan Army (equally involved, if not more, in the war on terror) Dr. Afridi has betrayed his people and nation on more than one level.

Let’s have a look at the background of this controversial interview conducted by FOX News, a news channel notorious for being biased, uninformed and presumptuous in its broadcasts. The interview, CNN claims, was taken inside Peshawar jail. For a detainee like Shakil Afridi who is ‘heavily guarded’ to have a chance to make such bold statements in the presence of guards is highly unlikely. The entire interview seems like a hoax. There is no audio or video footage available to the public yet. Furthermore, when contacted, prison official were unaware of any such interview.

Or perhaps Afridi, and Western media, are exaggerating the level of isolation imposed on Afridi, for even the most liberal democracies (like USA) have known better than to allow ‘traitors’ such liberties. We have the example of Bradley Manning, who was disallowed any contact with media, family or friends. Manning’s example opens us to a broader debate: where do we draw the line between ‘blowing the whistle’ and ‘backstabbing’ your country’?

The timing of this release is also very interesting. The news was introduced on the 11th anniversary of 9/11 which also happened to be the day when AQIP senior leader’s death in a drone attack was confirmed. A perfect way to exploit public emotions for more viewership, and support.

In his so-called interview, Afridi labored on and on about the brutal torture he had to bear at the hands of the ISI. I am pretty sure a traitor is not given the red carpet treatment anywhere in the world especially in the nation which Afridi loves and respects so much. Guantanamo Bay prison is well known for their techniques too like waterboarding. Just because the US chooses to torture prisoners does not make the methods acceptable. Human right activists have protested against interrogation techniques used by security agencies across the world. But let’s face it traitors are never welcome.

Shakil Afridi also stated that the ISI has links with militants including the Haqqani Network, and instead of taking punitive actions chose to release them. Haqqani Network was only recently placed on the list of foreign terrorist organizations by the US. By linking the Haqqanis to the ISI, Afridi has made a strong statement regarding the motives of our government. This is something that is bound to leave an impact on both Americans and Pakistani. Already a US Senator is propagating to shut down US aid to Pakistan.

Afridi also accused Pakistani government for eliciting US funds under the excuse of fighting in the War of Terror. Pakistan has lost too many lives, displaced millions of its people and suffered financially from this war. Having lost more than 35,000 civilians, 4,000 soldiers in the war, it is true that no other country has suffered more in this war against terror than Pakistan. If the war on terror is in itself disputed, then America’s own motives in this campaign are without doubt questionable.

Afridi’s part in the OBL operation is still fuzzy. He refrained from disclosing his recruitment in the CIA or the vaccination program, claims he was unaware that he was collecting DNA samples of OBL. But at the same time feels proud for helping the CIA “out of love for the US”. So which was it Afridi: Did you know or did you not?

The nation he expresses his love for so ardently could have smuggled him out of Pakistan or even arranged some diplomatic status just like the US did in Raymond Davis’s case. However, they left the “hero” doctor in Pakistan and only protested against his imprisonment. He claims to have helped the CIA against OBL. The bigger question is: was his loyalty to America or the cause of anti-terrorism ? Or just the money that we can assume he was getting for the job. Poor Afridi. Hit by a triple whammy. First used and discarded. Then identified and betrayed to add credibility to the US operation and now ‘ interviewed’ and confirmed as a traitor. Finally in tandem with this as if on cue we have the article by C.Fair in Foreign Policy magazine exhorting the US to declare Pakistan a terrorist supporting state.

Why is it that when US war crimes are leaked the man is reduced to impregnable confinement, for his words threaten ‘national security’ and the lives of millions. Is Pakistan less sovereign than the United States? Perhaps poor nations are only on the wrong side of the fence.

New terms on drone attacks negotiated

July 16, 2012


ISLAMABAD: With fissures in their bilateral ties quickly being healed, Pakistan has offered the US a new mechanism encompassing ‘surveillance’ of targeted operations against wanted militants as an alternative to drone strikes in the country’s tribal regions.

The plan, as crafted by Islamabad, involves both the identification of targets by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the tribal areas and swapping of information with the Pakistani security agencies. The latter will then deal with the situation accordingly, said officials familiar with the development.

“To ensure that Pakistan acts on the information provided by the CIA, the US can use any mechanism to monitor our operation on the ground,” revealed a senior figure of the country’s security establishment.

“They (US) can even use drones for this purpose,” the official explained. However, he clarified that no foreign boots on the ground would be allowed for surveillance.

The mechanism is currently figuring in behind-the-scene discussions between Pakistan and the US, he said.

The idea also seeks to dispel the growing perception in Washington that Islamabad is playing a ‘double game’ in the ‘war on terror’.

He disclosed that both sides had coordinated initial drone attacks when the CIA first launched its campaign back in 2004. Another official remarked that “the CIA later took a solo flight under the assumption that Pakistan is playing a double game”.

The official said Pakistan expects a breakthrough in its ongoing negotiations with the US on finding a ‘mutually acceptable’ alternative to the CIA-piloted drone campaign.

The optimism stems from the fact that until now, Pakistan had never offered the US any serious alternative to predator strikes.

The reason, the official cited, was a tacit understanding between Pakistan and the US to use pilotless drones in the rugged terrain along the Pak-Afghan border where key al Qaeda figures are believed to have found refuge.

Perhaps for the first time, officials also acknowledged that drone attacks eliminated several key militants who posed an equal threat to both Pakistan and the US.

In a candid admission, one official went to the extent of saying that collateral damage figures compiled by independent human rights organisations in the drone attacks were somewhat exaggerated.

However, the official said the government ‘had’ to oppose the drones campaign due to the widely-held public opinion that drones violate Pakistan’s territorial sovereignty and integrity.

“That is why we have offered this alternative to the US – because we (Pakistan) want to become part of the system rather than being isolated,” he maintained.

However, officials did not give any timeframe for a breakthrough on the stalemate over drones, which the US believes are critical to eliminating high-value targets associated with al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Given that it’s election year in the US, many experts are sceptical that the administration of US President Barack Obama would agree on any drastic changes in their drones’ campaign.

Syrian Revolution: Everyone’s Ball Game

February 13, 2012

By Sarah Eleazar

The world is wary of the likes of John McCain and his trigger happy reactions to anything and everything that flits its wings. We watched and waited apprehensively for a year till Syria, one of the last chess pieces on the board, to become the new Libya; for the west to sanctimoniously step in with/without UN mandate as champions of democracy and its ideals. The great elephant in the room being of course UN’s inability to enforce anything without the blessing of the Big Five in the Security Council, donning imperialism with a whole new garb. So while any hopes of a UN sponsored intervention were dashed at the Security Council on 4th February following the double veto by China and Russia on invoking Article 6 for ‘pacific settlements of disputes’ several questions now surface in the face of protracted civil war and escalating violence, covert operations and furtive intervention coming to the fore; and a not-so subtle attempt to shift geopolitical dynamics from one tutelary to the other.

The Obama Administration has vehemently denied any involvement or intentions of pushing for an offensive NATO strike or supplying arms to the Syrian National Council or the small factions that exist within the opposition. The death toll in Syria has crossed the seven thousand mark since last year, the past week marking one of the bloodiest so far. The civil war however is contained within three of Syrias largest cities: Derra, Homs and Damascus, with Damascus still being a government strong hold and posts a sizeable support for Bashar Al Assad. America is in a flurry trying to come up with a viable policy regards to Syria, an overt armed intervention seems off the table and economic sanctions haven’t had much of an impact as yet either.

Sibel Edmonds and Philip Giraldi in separate whistle blowing incidents revealed the operative NATO base at Iskenderun on the Turkey-Syrian border, being used to train volunteers from the Libyan Transitional National Council, the militant subset of the Syrian National Council: Free Syrian Army, and supply weapons handed down from the Libyan incursion. According to Giraldi:

‘French and British special forces trainers are on the ground, assisting the Syrian rebels while the CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] and US Spec Ops are providing communications equipment and intelligence to assist the rebel cause, enabling the fighters to avoid concentrations of Syrian soldiers.’ Edmonds writes about US forces that vacated Iraq only to be deployed in Jordan and Turkish borders where they are training troops for a possible onslaught from the North of Syria as early as May last year.

Covert support and intervention however is always limited in scope and size; sufficient to keep the flames from dying out but incapable of doing much damage. The fact that the Monitoring Group sent by the Arab League to engender a peaceful conciliation between Bashar Al Assad and the Syrian National Council, ended up negotiating between factions within the dissenting groups says a lot about the unity of the opposition movement in itself. This is nothing but detrimental bloodletting for Syria and secretly equipping the opposition with arms at this point will only ensure instability and violence in the country for a long time.

Declaring Syria a no-fly zone like Libya would do more damage than good. Military options in this case would only serve to spike the mounting death toll and aggravate UN’s image in the region. With two global encampments pitched on the Syrian issue, both with essentially different narratives regarding the what, whys and hows of the Syrian Revolution, the onus is on the dissenting groups within Syria to make their narratives heard. Where Tehrir Square was a cause for pride for the Egyptian Revolt because of the opposition’s pacific stratagem; the converse is true for Libya and Syria would best not go down the Libyan road.

Defending Russia’s veto at the UN Putin criticized the west’s ham fisted foreign policy.

“We of course condemn all violence regardless of its source, but one cannot act like a bull in a china shop,” Mr Putin said. “Help them, advise them – limit, for instance, their ability to use weapons – but do not interfere under any circumstances.”

And that is exactly what Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov did last week on his visit to Syria to try and persuade Bashar Al Assad to move for constitutional reform all the while Homs was being battered for the fifth day in a row. These proposed constitutional reforms were subsequently rejected by the Syrian National Council straight away.

Libya did not try to beat around the bush and ordered Syrian diplomats to vacate the embassy in Tripoli and handed the charge over to the Syrian National Council last week. Libyan head of Foreign Affairs Ashour Bin Khayal went further to state that Libya cannot stop rebel fighters from crossing into Syria to fight against Assad, who sent troops to bolster Gaddafi’s army till the very end. However no official troops will be sent as “Libya now is not going to be a source of trouble,” he said. “It’s going to be a peaceful country.”

All the Gulf Nations recalled their ambassadors from Syria while France, Italy and Spain recalled theirs so as to coincide with Lavrov’s meeting with Assad. United States and UK have recalled their diplomats as well. EU sanctions on Syrian oil and frozen assets and travel bans on regime officials have deprived the government of an important source of hard currency and contributed to widespread fuel shortages.

It seems likely that post UN efforts to sanction diplomatic level talks will give way to more global economic sanctions on Syria and diplomatic pressure and alienation. While this should serve to bend Assad’s back, he still won’t be as hard hit as the 24 million people of Syria will. Diktats of realpolitik suggest that Syria needs to shape up and stop being the stage where Russia and the US battle it out for influence and clout. Syria is a zero sum game for the two blocs at the moment and preservation of status quo in an attempt to stymie the revolution seems to be the key intent. This conflation of regime change with wavering objectives wrapped in humanitarian concerns has stopped fooling even the most gullible anymore. Diplomacy at the highest levels may thus be the only way out of this quagmire- a brainchild of imperialist powers.

The End of History

October 25, 2011

by Paul Craig Roberts

(Dr. Paul Craig Roberts served as President Reagan’s Asst. Secretary of the U.S. Treasury)

From the Foreign Policy Journal

Now that the CIA’s proxy army has murdered Gadhafi, what next for Libya?

If Washington’s plans succeed, Libya will become another American puppet state. Most of the cities, towns, and infrastructure have been destroyed by air strikes by the air forces of the US and Washington’s NATO puppets. US and European firms will now get juicy contracts, financed by US taxpayers, to rebuild Libya. The new real estate will be carefully allocated to lubricate a new ruling class picked by Washington. This will put Libya firmly under Washington’s thumb.

With Libya conquered, AFRICOM will start on the other African countries where China has energy and mineral investments. Obama has already sent US troops to Central Africa under the guise of defeating the Lord’s Resistance Army, a small insurgency against the ruling dictator-for-life. The Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, welcomed the prospect of yet another war by declaring that sending US troops into Central Africa “furthers US national security interests and foreign policy.” Republican Senator James Inhofe added a gallon of moral verbiage about saving “Ugandan children,” a concern the senator did not have for Libya’s children or Palestine’s, Iraq’s, Afghanistan’s and Pakistan’s.

Washington has revived the Great Power Game and is vying with China. Whereas China brings Africa investment and gifts of infrastructure, Washington sends troops, bombs and military bases. Sooner or later Washington’s aggressiveness toward China and Russia is going to explode in our faces.

Where is the money going to come from to finance Washington’s African Empire? Not from Libya’s oil. Big chunks of that have been promised to the French and British for providing cover for Washington’s latest war of naked aggression. Not from tax revenues from a collapsing US economy where unemployment, if measured correctly, is 23 percent.

With Washington’s annual budget deficit as huge as it is, the money can only come from the printing press.

Washington has already run the printing press enough to raise the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U) to 3.9% for the year (as of the end of September), the consumer price index for urban wage earners and clerical workers (CPI-W) to 4.4% for the year, and the producer price index (PPI) to 6.9% for the year.

As statistician John Williams ( has shown, the official inflation measures are rigged in order to hold down cost of living adjustments to Social Security recipients, thus saving money for Washington’s wars. When measured correctly, the current rate of inflation in the US is 11.5%.

What interest rate can savers get without taking massive risks on Greek bonds? US banks pay less than one-half of one percent on FDIC insured savings deposits. Short-term US government bond funds pay essentially zero.

Thus, according to official US government statistics, American savers are losing between 3.9% and 4.4% of their capital yearly. According to John Williams’ estimate of the real rate of inflation, US savers are losing 11.5% of their accumulated savings.

As retired Americans receive no interest on their savings, they are having to spend down their capital. The ability of even the most prudent retirees to survive the negative rate of interest they are receiving and the erosion by inflation of any pensions that they receive will come to an end once their accumulated assets are exhausted.

Except for Washington’s favored mega-rich, the one percent that has captured all of the income gains of recent years, the rest of America has been assigned to the trash can. Nothing whatsoever has been done for them since the financial crisis hit in December 2007. Bush and Obama, Republican and Democrat, have focused on saving the 1 percent while giving the finger to the 99 percent.

Finally, some Americans, though not enough, have caught on to the flag-waving rah-rah “patriotism” that has consigned them to the trash bin of history. They are not going down without a fight and are in the streets. Occupy Wall Street has spread. What will be the fate of this movement?

Will the snow and ice of cold weather end the protests, or send them into public buildings? How long will the local authorities, subservient to Washington as they are, tolerate the obvious signal that the population lacks any confidence whatsoever in the government?

If the protests last, especially if they grow and don’t decline, the authorities will infiltrate the protestors with police provocateurs who will fire on the police. This will be the excuse to shoot down the protestors and to arrest the survivors as “terrorists” or “domestic extremists” and to send them to the $385 million dollar camps built under US government contract by Cheney’s Halliburton.

The Amerikan Police State will have taken its next step into the Amerikan Concentration Camp State.

Meanwhile, lost in their oblivion, conservatives will continue to bemoan the ruination of the country by homosexual marriage, abortion, and “the liberal media.” Liberal organizations committed to civil liberty, such as the ACLU, will continue to rank a woman’s right to an abortion with defense of the US Constitution. Amnesty International will assist Washington in demonizing its next target for military attack while turning a blind eye to the war crimes of President Obama.

When we consider what Israel has got away with, being as it is under Washington’s bought protection-the war crimes, the murders of children, the eviction in total disregard of international law of Palestinians from their ancestral homes, the bulldozing of their houses and uprooting of their olive groves in order to move in fanatical “settlers,” the murderous invasions of Lebanon and Gaza, the wholesale slaughter of civilians-we can only conclude that Washington, Israel’s enabler, can get away with far more.

In the few opening years of the 21st century, Washington has destroyed the US Constitution, the separation of powers, international law, the accountability of government, and has sacrificed every moral principle to achieving hegemony over the world. This ambitious agenda is being attempted while simultaneously Washington removed all regulation over Wall Street, the home of massive greed, permitting Wall Street’s short-term horizon to wreck the US economy, thus destroying the economic basis for Washington’s assault on the world.


October 10, 2011

by Ghalib Sultan

From ‘The Daily Beast” (Denver Channel)—“-CIA operative Raymond Davis was arrested in Highlands Ranch Colorado-Davis and two other men had been arguing over a parking space when the argument turned violent and Davis was reportedly the aggressor. He was charged with third-degree assault and disorderly conduct but was released after posting a $ 1750 bond. Davis made world headlines when he was arrested in Pakistan after he shot and killed two men who he said were trying to mug him. His imprisonment turned into a stand-off between the US and Pakistan about the CIA’s covert activities in the country and he was freed only after the US paid US $ 2.3 million to the victims’ families.”

The report quoted above fails to mention that the US had claimed that Davis was a ‘diplomat’-something that is not being said now that there is tacit acknowledgement that he was a CIA ‘operative’ or contractor carrying out unauthorized covert activity in Pakistan—a country that the US calls its ally, or at least did till Mullen had his pre-retiremental syndrome. There is also no mention that in a ham handed and botched attempt to rescue Davis a US Consulate car crushed a third Pakistani to death. All this happened in broad daylight in a crowded part of the city of Lahore where the likes of Davis could have had no legitimate business. There is more. After Davis was released the CIA carried out a’revenge’ Drone attack on a tribal gathering in broad daylight that was dubbed a Taleban ‘meeting provoking much anger in Pakistan. No doubt this situation created by the US led to the decision to carry out a unilateral raid deep into Pakistan to kill Osama-bin Laden thereby further humiliating Pakistan especially its military and ISI. What is Pakistan supposed to do under the circumstances? Mullen’s desperation and his late concern for US lives was farcical and added insult to injury. The ball is in the US court if it wants to retrieve the relationship with Pakistan—not in Pakistan’s court as is being made out. If you want cooperation you have to build trust and not just demand access and action.

In a hard hitting article The New Yorker has placed the Davis incident in context and indicated the high handedness that the US displays—“William Frankfurt, Davis’s lawyer, also said, “It’s important to recognize where the incident took place. It was a war zone.” Is the middle of a Pakistani city a war zone? Pakistan, at least nominally, is still our ally. Or is the war zone now wherever we think we see our enemies, if only out of the corner of our eye? Is the battlefield now not just Kandahar but Lahore, or Yemen, where we carried out the targeted killing of Anwar al-Awlaki last week?’ Awlaki was a US citizen! What about the villages that are being razed and the Afghans and Pakistanis being killed. For the Afghans the Soviet Union has been replaced by the US and they have to continue doing exactly what they did then– till the US leaves.

Pakistan is standing up to the US. Those who collaborated with the CIA in covert operations will be tried for treason setting an example for others. Pakistan will not be pushed into doing what is not in its interest. The US is ratcheting up the pressure—the latest being the India-Afghan Strategic Agreement. There is already a US-India Strategic Agreement. A US-Afghan Strategic Agreement is in the works. Pakistan just has to read the writing on the wall but this writing is by the US and it ignores the reality of geography.

The CIA’s Islamist Cover Up

September 19, 2011

Ian Johnson

Members of the Muslim Brotherhood outside a Cairo court, February 2007. Internal CIA documents describe the movement as a potential ally against Islamist terrorism.

The tenth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington will be accompanied by the usual solemn political pronouncements and predictable media retrospectives. Pundits will point out that the West’s own economic mismanagement of the past decade has done more to weaken Europe and North America than the Islamists’ attacks. Some others will note how radical Islamists are still strong in Afghanistan and point to the recent downing of a military helicopter with dozens of US troops dead. Still others will use the anniversary to pontificate on how our concerns about Islamism have given racists an excuse to tarnish an entire religion. We will also hear about how the democratic uprisings in the Arab world-Libya being the latest-have undermined Islamists (by providing the region’s disgruntled masses with examples of positive, instead of destructive change).

All of these points are well and good and worth hearing again. But they shouldn’t distract us from a very precise and practical problem that hasn’t been addressed: the refusal of the CIA to disclose the details of its involvement with Islamist groups. In recent weeks, the agency has tried to block sections of a new book that deals with its handling of al-Qaeda before and after September 11. But this is only one part of a large-scale cover-up that Western governments have been perpetrating about decades of ties to Islamist organizations. Until we clarify our murky history with radical Islam, we won’t be able to understand the background of the September 11 attacks and whether our strategies today to engage the Muslim world are likely to succeed.

Of course some of this history is well known. The blowback story-how the US armed the mujahedeen, some of whom morphed into al-Qaeda-has been told in book and film. We are also getting a sense now of how parts of the US-backed Pakistani military-intelligence complex have actively supported radical Islamists. Collusion between Britain and Islamist movements over the past century has also been explored. And of course, Israel’s support for Hamas as a counterweight to the Palestinian Liberation Organization has gone down as one of the great diplomatic miscalculations of recent history.

But compared to the full scope of the issue, these insights are meager. To date, the Central Intelligence Agency continues to block access to its archives relating to radical Islam or cooperation with Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood. In the course of researching my book on the Brotherhood’s expansion into the West, I applied numerous times under the Freedom of Information Act to see documents concerning events in the 1950s, some of which had been confirmed by already declassified State Department cables. Inevitably the CIA responded with the blanket exception of “national security” to justify denying access to any files.

Despite the CIA’s information blockade, it is clear from interviews with CIA operatives and other countries’ intelligence archives that the CIA was courting groups like the Brotherhood as allies in the US’s global battle against communism. In Egypt, the charge was often made by the government of Gamel Abdel Nasser that the Muslim Brotherhood was in the CIA’s pay. This was also a view of some Western intelligence agencies, which flatly declared that Said Ramadan, the Swiss-based son-in-law of the group’s founder, was a US agent. The agency may have-but for this we need access to its archives-colluded with Ramadan in attempting a coup against Nasser.

The CIA certainly did help the Brotherhood establish itself in Europe, helping to create the milieu that led to the September 11 attacks. The mosque in Munich that Ramadan helped found, for example, became a hotbed of anti-US activity. The man convicted as a key perpetrator of the 1993 attack against the World Trade Center had sought spiritual counseling at the mosque before leaving to carry out his attacks. And in 1998, the man believed to be al-Qaeda’s chief financial officer was arrested near the mosque and also sought spiritual counseling from the mosque’s imam. An investigation based on this arrest traced radical Islamists right to a second mosque-the al-Quds mosque in Hamburg-where three of the four 9/11 pilots worshipped, it but failed to make the final link. This isn’t to say that the CIA was behind the September 11 attacks but that US collusion with Islamists in the Cold War bore bitter fruit in later years-making it imperative that we understand exactly what happened in those seemingly distant years of the 50s, 60s and 70s of the last century.

More recently, despite Washington’s sometimes hostile public rhetoric toward to the Brotherhood, it is clear that the administrations of George W. Bush and Barack Obama have tried to court the movement. Internal CIA analyses from 2006 and 2008, which I obtained, show that the Brotherhood was viewed as a positive force and potential ally-this time not against communism but Islamist terrorism: the Brotherhood was considered a moderate Islamist group and thus able to channel grievances away from violence toward the United States (even if Brotherhood theoreticians did not renounce violence against Israel or US soldiers). The State Department also used US Muslims close to the Brotherhood to reach out to Islamists in Europe. Such support has given these groups legitimacy in the United States and Europe.

The CIA is blocking the release of information because the subject remains sensitive-both for the West and the Muslim world. In Washington, the CIA could come under fire if its own archives would confirm and fill out the current sketch view of history. For the Brotherhood, amid its current re-emergence as a major political force in Egypt and other countries, it would be extremely damaging to know that illustrious figures in its history were working for the country that most exemplifies the decadent, imperialist forces it has struggled against for decades.

Revealing this history could be painful but necessary to strip away the doublespeak that both sides have used to describe their dealings with each other. This isn’t to say that releasing information should be used to bash cooperation with Islamists. Clearly the United States and other Western countries need to deal with groups like the Brotherhood, and perhaps in some situations even to support them: for example if the Brotherhood really were to come to power democratically in Egypt, the United States would be obliged to deal with such a government. For the Brotherhood a case could be made that in past decades, when its members were so badly repressed by authorities in the Middle East, that some sort of help from the West was necessary to avoid destruction by the authoritarian governments that persecute it.

These are legitimate arguments. But they can only be made if the full history of these relationships is made known rather than kept hidden. To do this will require action from Congress. The CIA did not release documents concerning US intelligence dealings with Nazi officials, for example, until it was forced to by the passage of the Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act of 1998. This piece of legislation compelled US government agencies to release all files on their dealings with the Nazis during and after the war. It lead to an incredible flood of information on the topic, helping us understand, for example, US collaboration with ex-Nazis after the war.

We need a similar law today. This is not to draw a parallel between Islamism and Nazism-an argument that is tendentious and counter-productive. The only parallel is that the US government has dealt with these questionable organizations and is so unwilling to admit this that it will take specific instructions from Congress to make these dealings public. Whatever the merits of these policies they are based on a long-standing, but still mostly secret, strategy. As Western governments seek to distinguish between “good” and “bad” Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan, or between the Muslim Brotherhood and more radical groups in the Middle East, understanding this strategy-and its efficacy-has never been more urgent.

Al Jazeera’s False Reporting on Libya

August 29, 2011

by Metro Gael

Surpassing previous mass media fabrications, both in scale and boldness, yesterday morning’s Al Jazeera mise-en-scène will surely go down in history as one of the most cynical hoaxes committed by corporate media since the manipulated pictures of Iraqis topplying Saddam Hussein’s statue after the US invasion in 2003.

On the morning of August 22nd 2011, Al Jazeera aired a ‘live’ report from Green Square in Tripoli,which claimed to show the capture of the Libyan capital by rebel forces. Scenes of jubilation and euphoria enveloped Al Jazeera’s reporter Zeina Khodr as she declared: ” Liya is in the hands of the opposition”

The images were immediately reproduced throughout the global media complex, with headlines trumpeting the ‘end of the Gaddafi regime’ and editorials throughout the corporate media world speculating about the post-Gaddafi future of Libya.

Gaddafi’s sons were said to have been arrested, and more defections were announced. The Libyan capital was, we were told, now in the hands of the rebel forces. For many, it seemed a fait accompli.

In fact, the Al Jazeera pictures from Green Square were an elaborate and criminal hoax. The report had been prefabricated in a studio in Doha Qatar . This information had been passed onto Libyan intelligence and the Libyan people had already been warned about the qatari psyops a couple of days previously on Rayysse state television.

The Al Jazeera hoax was intended to create the impression that Tripoli had fallen so as:

(1) to break the Libyan resistance by creating panic and chaos in the Libyan captial.

(2) to provide cover for the massacres of civilians that would occur in the days following the declaration of rebel victory.

In other words, the media would provide cover for the war crimes and crimes against humanity that are necessary in order to subjugate the Libyan Jamhahirya to Western corporate interests.

Shortly after the Al Jazeera pictures were released, this author contacted independent reporter Lizzie Phelan in Tripoli. Miss Phelan was able to confirm from what she described as realiable sources that the Al Jazeera pictures were false.

By the end of the day, it emerged that all the twitter lies emanating from the criminals in the National Transitional Council were also, unsurprisingly, false. Gaddafi’s sons had not been arrested, and the rebels were not in control of the city.

In the meantime, Lizzie Phelan, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya and Thierry Meyssan have received veiled death threats from Western media staying in the Rixos Hotel in Tripoli. After the arrival of thousands of NATO/Al Qaeda terrorists, a brief period of chaos ensued in the city.

When many of the mainstream reporters abandoned the Rixos Hotel, Libyan authorities discovered that most of them were CIA and MI6 agents working undercover as journalists.

At present, Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Thierry Meysan and other real journalists remain trapped in the Rixos Hotel. Nazemroaya was fired upon by a NATO/rebel sniper when he attempted to place a press sign on top of the Rixos hotel to protect the building from NATO bombardement.

Reporter Lizzie Phelan contacted a friend yesterday to say that she had been threatened by CNN personnel and had been blocked from using facebook and email.

Below, you can see the warning given to the Libyan people by state media of Al Jazeera’s coming psyops. The presenter tells the viewers that Al Jazeera have produced a simulation of Tripoli’s Green Square, and that they are going to use this to produce a gigantic fiction of ‘liberated’ Libya.

The picture above proves that the producers of the Al Jazeera hoax are no Dutch masters, as the glaring discrepancies between the real Green Square in Tripoli and the Al Jazeera version are patently obvious. The differences between the architecture in Green Square in Tripoli and the pictures shown in Al Jazeera are well documented in the video below.

While the Al Jazeera mise-en-scène is entertaining, the leading actress Zeina Khodr is unlikey to receive awards for her rather slugish performance. She said her lines rather mechanically, as one who was not particularly enamoured of the script, or perhaps it was the far-fetched aspect of the entire screen play that bothered her.

This media hoax is another poignant example of the desperation of NATO, who have ruthlessly bombed a sovereign nation for 6 months and have so far failed to effect regime change. It also proves yet again the role of the corporate media in disinformation and war

Welcome to Libya’s ‘democracy’

August 24, 2011

By Pepe Escobar

The Big Gaddafi has barely left the building – the Bab-al-Aziziyah compound – and the Western vultures are already circling overhead; the scramble is on to seize the “big prize” – Libya’s oil and gas wealth. [1]

Libya is as much a pawn in a serious ideological, geopolitical, geo-economic and geostrategic chessboard as a pedestrian morality play sold as a TV reality show; idealistic “rebels” win against Public Enemy Number One. Once the public enemy was Saddam Hussein, then it was Osama bin Laden, today is Muammar Gaddafi, tomorrow is President Bashar al-Assad in Syria, one day it will be Iran’s President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. The enemy is never the ultra reactionary House of Saud.

How NATO won the war

The spectacular reappearing act of Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Gaddafi notwithstanding, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) has virtually won the Libyan civil war (or “kinetic military activity”, according to the White House). The masses of “Libyan people” were spectators at best, or bit part actors in the form of a few thousand “rebels” carrying kalashnikovs.

The top billing was R2P (“responsibility to protect”). From the beginning R2P, manned by France and Britain and backed by the US, magically turned into regime change. That led to the unsung stars in this production being Western and monarchical Arab “advisers”, as in “contractors” or “mercenaries”.

NATO started winning the war by launching Operation Siren at Iftar – the break of the Ramadan fast – last Saturday evening, Libya time. “Siren” was the codename for an invasion of Tripoli. That was NATO’s final – and desperate – power play, after the chaotic “rebels” had gone nowhere after five months of fighting Gaddafi’s forces.

Until then, NATO’s plan A was to try to kill Gaddafi. What R2P cheerleaders – left and right – had dubbed “steady NATO attrition” boiled down to praying for three outcomes; Gaddafi killed, Gaddafi surrenders, Gaddafi flees.

Not that any of this prevented NATO bombs from falling in private homes, universities, hospitals or even close to the Foreign Ministry. Everything – and everyone – was a target.

“Siren” featured a colorful casting of “NATO rebels”, Islamist fanatics, gullible embedded journalists, TV-friendly mobs, and Cyrenaica youth manipulated by opportunist Gaddafi regime defectors eyeing fat checks by oil giants Total and BP.

With “Siren”, NATO came out all guns (literally) blazing; Apache gunships firing nonstop and jets bombing everything in sight. NATO supervised the landing of hundreds of troops from Misrata on the coast east of Tripoli while a NATO warship distributed heavy weapons.

On Sunday alone there may have been 1,300 civilian deaths in Tripoli, and at least 5,000 wounded. The Ministry of Health announced that hospitals were overflowing. Anyone who by that time believed relentless NATO bombing had anything to do with R2P and United Nations Resolution 1973 was living in an intensive care unit.

NATO preceded “Siren” with massive bombing of Zawiya – the key oil-refining city 50 kilometers west of Tripoli. That cut off Tripoli’s fuel supply lines. According to NATO itself, at least half of Libya’s armed forces were “degraded” – Pentagon/NATO speak for killed or seriously wounded. That means tens of thousands of dead people. That also explains the mysterious disappearance of the 65,000 soldiers in charge of defending Tripoli. And it largely explains why the Gaddafi regime, in power for 42 years, then crumbled in roughly 24 hours.

NATO’s Siren call – after 20,000 sorties, and more than 7,500 strikes against ground targets – was only made possible by a crucial decision by the Barack Obama administration in early July, enabling, as reported by The Washington Post, “the sharing of more sensitive materials with NATO, including imagery and signals intercepts that could be provided to British and French special operations troops on the ground in addition to pilots in the air”.

That is, without the Pentagon’s unmatched firepower know-how, satellites and drones, NATO would still be engaged in Operation Quagmire Forever – and the Obama administration would not be able to milk a major victory in this “kinetic” drama.

Who are these people?

Who are these people who suddenly erupted in joy on US and European television screens? After the smiles to the cameras and the Kalashnikovs shooting the skies, get ready for some major fratricidal fireworks.

Ethnic and tribal trouble is bound to explode. Many of the Berbers from the Western mountains, who entered Tripoli from the south this past weekend, are hardcore Salafis. Same with the Muslim Brotherhood/Salafi nebula from Cyrenaica, which has been instructed by US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) boots on the ground. As much as these fundamentalists “used” the Europeans and the Americans to get close to power, they may become a nasty guerrilla force if they are marginalized by the new NATO masters.

A large Benghazi-based “revolution” sold to the West as a popular movement was always a myth. Only two months ago the armed “revolutionaries” barely numbered 1,000. NATO’s solution was to build a mercenary army – including all sorts of unsavory types, from former Colombian death squad members to recruiters from Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), who pinched scores of unemployed Tunisians and tribals disgruntled with Tripoli. All these on top of the CIA mercenary squad – Salafis in Benghazi and Derna – and the House of Saud squad – the Muslim Brotherhood gang.

It’s hard not to be reminded of the UCK drug gang in Kosovo – the war NATO “won” in the Balkans. Or of the Pakistanis and Saudis, with US backing, arming the “freedom fighters” of Afghanistan in the 1980s.

Then there’s the dodgy, Benghazi-based, Transitional National Council (TNC)’s cast of characters.

The leader, Mustafa Abdel-Jalil, Gaddafi’s justice minister from 2007 until his resignation on February 26, studied sharia and civil law at the University of Libya. That might entitle him to cross rhetorical swords with the Islamic fundamentalists in Benghazi, al-Baida and Delna – but he could use his knowledge to press their interests in a new power-sharing arrangement.

As for Mahmoud Jibril, the chairman of the council’s executive board, he studied at Cairo University and then the University of Pittsburgh. He’s the key Qatari connection – having been involved in asset management for Sheikha Mozah, the ultra high-profile wife of the emir of Qatar.

There’s also the son of the last monarch of Libya, King Idris, deposed by Gaddafi 42 years ago (with no bloodshed); the House of Saud would love a new monarchy in northern Africa. And the son of Omar Mukhtar, the hero of the resistance against Italian colonialism – a more secular figure.

The new Iraq?

Yet to believe that NATO would win the war and let the “rebels” control power is a joke. Reuters has already reported that a “bridging force” of around 1,000 soldiers from Qatar, the Emirates and Jordan will arrive in Tripoli to act as police. And the Pentagon is already spinning that the US military will be on the ground to “help to secure the weapons”. A nice touch that already implies who’s going to be really in charge; the “humanitarian” neo-colonialists plus their Arab minions.

Abdel Fatah Younis, the “rebel” commander killed by the rebels themselves, was a French intelligence asset. He was killed by the Muslim Brotherhood faction – just when the Great Arab Liberator Sarkozy was trying to negotiate an endgame with Saif al-Islam, Gaddafi’s London School of Economics son now back from the dead.

So the big winners in the end are London, Washington, the House of Saud and the Qataris (they sent jets and “advisers”, they are already handling the oil sales). With a special mention for the compound Pentagon/NATO – considering that Africom will finally set up its first African base in the Mediterranean, and NATO is one step closer to declaring the Mediterranean “a NATO lake”.

Islamism? Tribalism? These may be Libya’s lesser ills compared to a new fantasyland open to neo-liberalism. There are few doubts the new Western masters won’t try to revive a friendlier version of Iraq’s nefarious, rapacious Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA), turning Libya into a hardcore neo-liberal dream of 100% ownership of Libyan assets, total repatriation of profits, Western corporations with the same legal standing of local firms, foreign banks buying local banks and very low income and corporate taxes.

Meanwhile, the deep fracture between the center (Tripoli) and the periphery for the control of energy resources will fester. BP, Total, Exxon, all Western oil giants will be gratefully rewarded by the transitional council – to the detriment of Chinese, Russian and Indian companies. NATO troops on the ground will certainly help to keep the council on message.

Oil executives estimate it will take at least a year to get oil production back to pre-civil war levels of 1.6 million barrels per day, but say annual earnings from oil could reap Tripoli’s new rulers some US$50 billion annually. Most estimates place oil reserves at 46.4 billion barrels, 3% of the world’s reserves and worth some $3.9 trillion at today’s oil price. Known gas reserves stand at some 5 trillion cubic feet.

Thus in the end R2P wins. Humanitarian imperialism wins. The Arab monarchies win. NATO as global Robocop wins. The Pentagon wins. But even that is not enough for the usual imperial suspects – already calling for the deployment of a “stabilization force”. And all this while lost-the-plot progressives in assorted latitudes continue to hail the Holy Alliance of Western neocolonialism, ultra-reactionary Arab monarchies and hardcore Salafis.

It ain’t over till the fat Arab lady sings. Anyway, on to the next stop; Damascus.

He may be reached at