Andrew Gavin Marshall

Home » Posts tagged 'Colin Powell'

Tag Archives: Colin Powell

The Predatory Global Empire in Panama: Punishing the Poor

The Predatory Global Empire in Panama: Punishing the Poor

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

Please support more research and writing like the following article by contributing donations. This would not be possible without your support, so thank you to all who contribute!

Establishing a New War Doctrine

The war on Panama presents an interesting case to study. Taking place in 1989, it was the first war and intervention (whether covert or overt) which was not justified on the basis of a ‘Communist threat’. As such, it has been deemed as the first post-Cold War war. However, the justifications for the intervention, which was incredibly violent and destructive, especially upon the poor majority of Panama, were confused and inconsistent. Like all wars, conflicts, and interventions, it was made necessary through imperial logic: a once-client regime and puppet leader became too autonomous from the United States, its leader (and his nefarious connections with the American elite) became a liability and an embarrassment, and the tiny country of Panama threatened American strategic interests in the region, notably with the Panama Canal and the American military bases present to protect it. More importantly, perhaps, Panama was experiencing the development and growth of a populist-nationalist movement, particularly among its poor black and brown population, who had been previously ruled by a tiny white elite of European descent. In the imperial paradigm, the greatest threat to empire is the political, social, and economic mobilization of the people over whom the empire dominates.

Of course, it is a challenge to publicly justify a foreign intervention and war on the premises of a small nation and its people threatening the strategic imperial interests of America; after all, in the eyes and minds of most Americans, America is not an empire, but a bright shining beacon of freedom and bastion of democracy to lead the ‘free world.’ Thus, to sell a war requires the maintenance of more lies to fit in with the prevailing mythology. Yet, in the strategic vacuum created by the ending of the Cold War, and thus the disappearance of ‘Communism’ as the prevailing global boogeyman to serve as an excuse for any and all atrocities committed by America and the West, Panama was subjected to a far less eloquently articulated and designed justification. The threat of Communism was briefly attempted, and then the strategy quickly switched into the realm of the U.S. ‘War on Drugs,’ with many other failed attempts at justification thrown in for fair measure.

While the war was ultimately successful at removing the imperial ‘threat’, the politics surrounding the event were so disjointed that the war fails to stand up to any half-decent examination of the conflict as legitimate, and is, in fact, slightly embarrassing. There is a reason why it is a largely ‘forgotten’ war in terms of the collective memory of the American people having overlooked that ‘incident’ in recent history. People tend to remember only the wars they are reminded about and told to remember. This one, however, is worth remembering, not least because of the great loss of life it incurred on an incredibly poor and innocent people.

The Jimmy Carter administration, in 1978, signed an agreement with Panama allowing the country to regain control of the Panama Canal by 2000. The canal no longer had the same strategic importance it once held for the United States, as it did in the early 20th century. Long considered by American strategists to be “America’s back yard,” Latin America has been subjected to overt and covert U.S. interventions, coups, and wars more frequently than any other region of the world. In 1823, the Monroe Doctrine was written, which “asserted the pre-eminent and unilateral claim of the United States to hegemony in the Western hemisphere.” This document projected “near-absolute strategic control” over Latin America, thus justifying literally dozens of interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean. With the Cold War, the ‘doctrine’ was that of anti-Communism. With the end of the Cold War, “foreign policy managers [were] bereft of a national security doctrine and severely constrained by the greater volatility and suspicion of North American public opinion in foreign policy matters, and congressional and public fear of future Vietnam-style interventions.”[1]

In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt “forcibly separated Panama from Colombia by sending in the U.S. Navy and Marines.” In 1904, he announced an updated version of the Monroe Doctrine with “a U.S. right to intervene unilaterally in the affairs of neighboring republics” in order to “prevent chronic wrongdoing.” Thus, in 1912, U.S. Marines entered Nicaragua’s civil war on the side of wealthy land owners; in 1914 the Navy bombarded and briefly occupied Veracruz, Mexico; in 1915, U.S. Marines occupied Haiti, establishing a military government and remaining there for over a decade; that same year U.S. Marines also occupied the Dominican Republic, also remaining there for over a decade. In 1926, the U.S. invaded Nicaragua again, destroying the agrarian rebel movement threatening domestic and international elite interests. Throughout the 1920s, the U.S. intervened in Panama, Honduras, and Cuba.[2]

The Reagan and Bush administrations (1981-1993) dramatically increased U.S. militarism and interventions around the world, such as in Lebanon, Afghanistan, El Salvador, Honduras, the covert war against the Sandanistas in Nicaragua, the Iran-Contra conspiracy, the invasion of Grenada, invasion of Panama, the Gulf War, and the 1992 intervention in Somalia. As Waltraud Queiser Morales wrote, “the Panamanian case can be seen as an important transition from ‘Monroe militarism’ and Reagan’s ‘containment militarism’ to Bush’s ‘New World Order militarism’.” This was characterized less by anti-Communist rhetoric, which was only partially (at least initially) used in the justification for the Panama invasion, but largely “projected ahead to an era of future global lawlessness in the ‘strategic slums’ of the Third World, where the US faced the chronic danger of ‘prolonged security operations’.”[3]

National Security Doctrines (NSDs) are important for American administrations to establish and articulate, as they deflect dissent and justify state actions with an aura of credibility and most notably by employing the notion that the end justifies the means. The Reagan doctrine for Latin America employed such a technique: “The national security of all the Americas is at stake in Central America. If we cannot defend ourselves there, we cannot expect to prevail elsewhere. Our credibility would collapse, our alliances would crumble, and the safety of our homeland would be put at jeopardy.”[4]

The Reagan doctrine was largely realized through its support of anti-Soviet and virulent anti-Communist “freedom fighters” in the Third World, as well as “friendly anti-Communist authoritarians.” This strategy defined the U.S. intervention in Afghanistan, the largest covert operation in history, but had the Reagan administration particularly preoccupied with Central America; most notably, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The new strategic doctrine defined low intensity conflict (LIC) as a principle means for implementing this vision. LIC was defined by the Pentagon in 1985 as, “a limited politico-military struggle to achieve political, social, economic, or psychological objectives,” often using methods of insurgency and terrorism. The war, however, is waged in three key areas: the field, within the administration in Washington, and in the media. During the Reagan years, the “War on Drugs” emerged as a potentially powerful new National Security Doctrine (NSD).[5]

Between 1986 and 1988, U.S. policy-makers employed a conscious rhetorical effort to associate the flourishing global drug trade with leftist guerillas in the Third World. The acceleration of employing the “war on drugs” in defining National Security interests increased as U.S. (largely covert) efforts experienced setbacks in Central America. Thus, Presidential directives were signed which increased efforts on the part of intelligence and military personnel against drug operations. Thus, still employing the method of a Low Intensity Conflict (LIC), “militarized drug operations provided a laboratory to project US power, train local militaries in the new strategic doctrine, transfer military hardware and gather intelligence.” The drug war could thus be used “to generate public support behind a resurgent, interventionist US foreign policy in Latin America.”[6]

Of course, missing from this discourse is the very-well documented facts revolving around how the United States has covertly – directly following World War II – supported the drug trade around the world, largely through efforts of the CIA. This was especially the case in Southeast Asia during the Indochina War, where heroin was the principle prize for these covert efforts; Afghanistan and Pakistan during the Soviet-Afghan war (and in the present occupation of Afghanistan), which then came to replace Southeast Asia as the main producer of heroin in the world, and of course, South and Central America (particularly during the Reagan years onward) in terms of the cocaine trade. The role of the CIA and other covert elements has been extensively documented by professors Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott in various books and publications, most notably, The Politics of Heroin (McCoy) and American War Machine: Deep Politics, the CIA Global Drug Connection, and the Road to Afghanistan (Scott).

The Destabilization of Panama

General Omar Torrijos, Panama’s military strongman, “was a populist reformist” who had negotiated the Panama Canal Treaties with the United States in the late 1970s. While the Canal held less strategic significance for the United States than in previous times, the 14 military bases present in Panama remained incredibly significant in strategic circles, particularly with the Pentagon’s Southern Command headquarters based in Panama, “which was the site for U.S. military and covert operations in Latin America and the Caribbean.” In 1981, Torrijos died mysteriously when his plane blew up in midair, and he was subsequently replaced by the head of Panama’s military intelligence, General Manuel Noriega. Noriega had long been supported by the United States, going back to when George H.W. Bush was Director of the CIA in the Ford administration, at which time the CIA paid Noriega $200,000 a year.[7]

Following the death of Torrijos, “US relations became cosy with his successor and head of the Panamanian Defence Forces, General Manuel Antonio Noreiga, who had associations with the CIA, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), and the Southern Command (Southcom), housing over 14,000 US troops in Panama at 14 US military bases worth some $5 billion.” Noriega was a longtime participant in the drug trade, particularly with the Colombian drug cartel, which was all well-known to the U.S. Embassy, Southcom, and the CIA. Yet, in 1987, letters from the DEA and the US Justice Department referred to Noriega’s cooperation with those agencies in the drug war as “superb.” It was ‘superb’ in the true sense of intent and methods, whereby the U.S. was an active organizational participant in the drug trade. Noreiga and many others in the Panamanian military “facilitated drug smuggling and laundered millions in drug money with the complicity of the DEA, Southcom and the CIA.” When cash reserves were high in Panama in 1986, “deposits of $1.3 billion in laundered drug monies were easily transferred from Panama’s central bank to the Federal Reserve Bank in Miami.” Further, large sums of drug money were diverted to the Nicaraguan Contras (death squad terrorists) fighting a war against the Sandanistas on behalf of the CIA. The operation of support for the Contras in their brutal war in Nicaragua were exposed in Congressional hearings and investigations known as the ‘Iran-Contra Affair,’ which was made public in the late 1980s. The scandal, by no means exclusive to the case of Nicaragua, involved the CIA and Pentagon covertly funding, training, and arming the Contras with money earned from illegal arms sales to Iran as well as money from the drug trade. The investigations revealed a complex network of relationships and actors, centered in the National Security Council (NSC), and directly involving CIA Director William Casey, Lt. Col. Oliver North, and then Vice President George H.W. Bush.[8]

Yet, despite Noriega’s “cosy” relationship with these agencies and individuals in the United States, “there were limits to [his] willingness to serve Washington.” As political scientist Michael Parenti explained:

He reasserted Panama’s independence over the control of the Canal Zone and the leases for U.S. military bases. He reportedly refused to join an invasion against Nicaragua and maintained friendly relations with both Managua and Havana. Before long, hostile reports about him began appearing in the U.S. media. In 1987, the Justice Department indicted Noriega for drug smuggling. A crippling economic embargo was imposed on Panama, a country of two million people, causing a doubling of unemployment and a drastic cutback in social benefits.[9]

The initial aim, then, of US intervention in Panama, “was to destabilize Noriega and install in his place a more pliant right-wing commander, but US military leaders feared an even greater threat in the nationalistic Panamanian Defence Forces [PDF].” Further, with the exposure of the Iran-Contra Scandal, “Noriega became a potential domestic political embarrassment and threat to higher-ups in the government, including Bush himself.”[10] Subsequently, “a media blitz demonized the Panamanian leader as a drug dealer, thus preparing the U.S. public for the ensuing invasion.”[11] Thus, “in the end, the drug war served as the public excuse for invasion. But it was not the real reason.”[12]

As Waltraud Queiser Morales wrote, just as was done elsewhere (such as Chile, Grenada, and Nicaragua), the United States promoted the destabilization of Panama, as “economic sanctions, pro-democracy and electoral manipulation, and confrontational military exercises worked to intimidate and provoke incidents that could provide pretexts for intervention.” The pro-democracy and electoral strategy employed by the United States (part of America’s “democratization” project), involved the “Bush administration, the CIA, and the National Endowment for Democracy [which] funneled more than $10 million to opposition candidates – Guillermo Endara, Guillermo Ford and Ricardo Arias Calderon – in the 1989 Panamanian national elections.” With Endara having won, amidst claims of vote fraud by the Panamanian Defence Forces (PDF), and with Noriega subsequently annulling the elections and staying in power, riots and protests erupted. Images of US-supported politicians being beaten and attacked by the PDF and Noriega’s supporters erupted in the American media, which ultimately “damaged Noriega’s regime and enhanced the opposition’s image in Panama and the United States.” Noriega, however, annulled the elections on the basis of “foreign interference,” which, as a direct result of millions of US dollars funding opposition candidates, is an accurate claim of “interference.”[13] Imagine the notion of a foreign power throwing tens of millions of dollars at domestic American politicians in a national election. The idea alone is reprehensible, not to mention illegal. But this is how America “promotes democracy” around the world: through buying the politicians.

The Reagan and Bush administrations had hoped to encourage a coup by the Panamanian Defence Forces (PDF). The Reagan administration began to encourage this option in 1988, as Ronald Reagan continuously refused to employ the option of a direct military intervention. However, additional US forces were sent to their bases in Panama as an indication to Noriega of the increasingly threatening posture of the United States. On March 16, 1988, the Panamanian Chief of Police, Colonel Leonidas Macias, attempted to orchestrate a coup against Noriega, which ultimately failed.[14] The Reagan administration was split internally on the potential to use the military option. The State Department supported the option, while the Defense Department and the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) had opposed military intervention. Elliot Abrams, the Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs, in March of 1988, suggested using limited force, “a commando raid to capture Noriega and to bring him to trial in the United States, accompanied by 6,000 American soldiers to defend… against any PDF retaliations,” yet the Pentagon remained opposed to the option.[15]

In anticipation that Reagan would eventually adopt Abrams’ suggestion, the Pentagon launched a public counter-attack to discredit Abrams and his suggestions, which included leaking many of his ‘suggestions’ to the press. The Reagan administration attempted to negotiate a deal with Noriega, offering to drop the drug-related charges against him which were brought forward in US courts in 1988. Vice President Bush, however, firmly opposed negotiations with Noriega, as he was campaigning for the presidency, Bush did not want to appear soft on Noriega, as he had suffered the public image of a ‘wimp.’[16] Bush’s victory in the Presidential elections in 1988 allowed for the development of a new strategy for Panama, and with a change in administration personnel, the administration could become more unified in their position.[17]

On October 1, 1989, the United States was informed about a future coup attempt by a member of Noriega’s inner circle, Moises Giroldi, and asked for U.S. assistance in blocking roads to protect the family of the coup plotter. The United States Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney, agreed to help, and when the coup took place two days later, on October 3, the U.S. blocked the requested roads. However, Noriega outmaneuvered the coup plotters, getting help from a special military unit, and the U.S. refused to intervene to ensure the success of the coup. Thus, the plotter was killed, and Noriega began to purge the PDF of dissenting elements. The failure of the U.S. to ensure the success of the coup led to many domestic political leaders criticizing Bush and his strategy.[18] However, this was actually part of a larger strategy. The coup was not supported because there were internal complications within the Bush administration as well as a larger overall strategy. Two top military commanders were replaced days before the coup took place. The chief of Southcom was replaced three days prior to the coup, and the next day, Colin Powell (Reagan’s National Security Adviser), became Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The men that these two replaced – General Woerner and Admiral Crowe, respectively – had opposed direct military intervention in Panama, and thus preferred a coup option. Thurman and Powell, however, wanted the change of government to take place “on a U.S. timetable,” and Powell stated that he didn’t like the idea of “a half-baked coup with a half-baked coup leader.” Powell advocated, instead, not simply for replacing Noriega, but that the United States would have to employ a strategy of “destroying and replacing his entire regime.”[19]

What was needed, then, was a pretext for a full-scale invasion in order to crush the regime and destroy the PDF. As the Independent Commission of Inquiry on the U.S. Invasion of Panama revealed, “over 100 instances of U.S. military provocations in 1989 were documented by the Panamanian government. These included U.S. troops setting up roadblocks, searching Panamanian citizens, confronting PDF forces, occupying small towns for a number of hours, buzzing Panamanian air space with military aircraft, and surrounding public buildings with troops.”[20] Again, simply imagine if a foreign military in the United States, which had over a dozen major bases around the country, was engaging in such provocative actions within America. This would be construed as a direct military threat and interpreted as a foreign occupation.

In December of 1989, a Panamanian soldier was injured by U.S. troops.[21] Subsequently, on 15 December, the Panamanian National Assembly declared Panama to be in a state of war with the United States.[22] This, however, was “interpreted” in the U.S. media as a declaration of war against the United States by the tiny Central American nation of Panama. Ted Koppel of ABC “reported that Noriega had declared war in the United States.” Yet, as Noriega himself stated, America “through constant psychological and military harassment, has created a state of war in Panama.”[23] In mid-December, the United States achieved its goal of provoking Panamanian Defence Forces to act, as PDF soldiers stopped a U.S. military patrol car, holding the police officer at gunpoint, and on 16 December, “they fired at an American vehicle in a checkpoint and killed” a U.S. Marine. On 17 December, “a U.S. officer shot a PDF policeman.”[24]

On that same day, the Bush administration discussed their options in Panama. Colin Powell “advocated a large scale intervention whose goal would be to destroy the PDF and the entire Noriega regime and not just [aim to achieve] the capture of Noriega.” Powell reasoned, “that it could be difficult to find Noriega and arrest him at the beginning of the operation, but destroying the PDF would ensure Noriega’s capture.” Thus, Powell concluded, “the PDF’s destruction would be required to establish democracy in Panama.” Subsequently, “Bush agreed and approved the plan for large-scale military intervention in Panama.”[25]

On December 20, 1989, George Bush launched a midnight attack on Panama with an invasion of 26,000 US troops. The invasion took place amidst “a complete media blackout,” allowing for great atrocities to take place with no independent voices or visuals emerging from the nation. The “three-day intervention” known cynically as “Operation Just Cause” was heaped with praise in the United States, as Bush’s reputation as a ‘wimp’ was erased and his popularity shot up. As Bush declared war, the publicly pronounced reasons were “to protect American lives and bring the drug-indicted dictator to justice.”[26]

The True ‘Threat’ in Panama: The Poor

In reality, there were far greater reasons for the war, dictated not by humanitarian, legal, or moral claims; instead, the true reasons were ardently imperial in nature. There were of course the strategic considerations: more reliable client states and puppet leaders, more indirect control over the Canal and maintenance of the fourteen military bases as a launching point for counter-revolutionary operations around Central America, and to install a “democratic” regime based upon party politics as opposed to potentially problematic military leaders who may stand up to the United States. However, there was also a far greater threat, which wove through all the other reasons: Panama was in the midst of a nationalist popular movement, consisting largely of the poor black majority who had for centuries been repressed by a tiny white elite of European descent, as has been the case across all Latin America.

Before Noriega, the military dictatorship of General Omar Torrijos established itself during a period where the issues of race and class were becoming more public and vocal. Torrijos, who ruled Panama from 1968 until 1981 (when he died in a mysterious plane explosion), “sought to legitimize his military regime by seeking support from all social groups for his populist-nationalist project.” The Panamanian Black movement, which had begun in earnest some decades before, truly began to flourish during the Torrijos regime, and played a large part in creating the heated nationalistic sentiments and public demands for the Carter-Torrijos Panama Canal Treaties in the 1970s. As George Priestley and Alberto Barrow wrote:

It was within this new political environment of military led populism and nationalism that racial discrimination and racism was weakened in Panama as progressive and Black groups emerged to gain greater visibility, challenged racial stereotypes, and forged transnational bonds.[27]

The movement was helped along in no small part due to Afro-Panamanian organizations based in the United States, which were directly engaged with the Torrijos government to build support for the “nationalist struggle for the recuperation of the Panama Canal and Panamanian sovereignty.” When Torrijos was killed in the plane explosion, the CIA’s man in Panama, Noriega, back-tracked on many of Torrijos’ programs, including “interventionist” state measures in the economy which “had brokered the populist-nationalist alliance and eased social and racial tensions.” Noriega, instead, embraced the Western neoliberal policies of ‘structural adjustment,’ which antagonized the growing popular movement in Panama. As Noriega failed to become a “responsible” leader in the eyes of the United States, he faced two increasing problems: antagonizing the United States and the Panamanian Black movement simultaneously. However, there were still several remnants of the Torrijos reforms, and the populist-nationalist sentiments which had been fostered by the Torrijos military regime remained strong in the military ranks of the PDF itself. With the U.S. invasion and occupation (and the subsequent media blackout), the true intent of the war became clear to those who suffered in it:

A disproportionate number of those who were affected economically by Noriega’s structural adjustment policies, and who lost their lives because of the U.S.’s Low Intensity Conflict and invasion were from El Chorillo, Colon, and San Miguelito, [poor] communities whose residents are predominantly Black and brown.[28]

These communities, along with the PDF itself, had to be targeted in the war. While Noriega’s economic structural adjustment policies had weakened the populist movement for social justice and equality, the movement continued to struggle and the PDF remained an ideological ally in the promotion of nationalism. This is ultimately the real reason why the United States could not simply support another military coup, as it would still take place from within the ranks of an intensely nationalistic and somewhat left-leaning military, just as was the case with Noriega. This explains why the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Colin Powell, claimed that it was not enough to remove Noriega from power, but that the U.S. had to have a strategy of “destroying and replacing his entire regime.”[29] Destroying the regime is just what the U.S. did. As Morales wrote in Third World Quarterly:

The invasion victimized thousands of innocent Panamanians and left densely populated areas devastated. Local and international eye witnesses said civilians and residential areas were deliberately targeted. Perhaps 18,000 Panamanians were displaced and thousands remain[ed] in refugee camps in 1993. Local reports had 7000 Panamanians, primarily progressives and labour activists, arrested. Charges of summary executions and secret mass graves also emerged. The Panamanian National Human Rights Committee claimed that 4000 persons were killed in the invasion; regional human rights agencies and the United Nations Human Rights Commission reported over 2500 deaths. The US military admitted only 250; later the Pentagon released the figure of 516 Panamanians killed, over 75% civilian.[30]

The United States media, for its part, “covered Operation Just Cause like a U.S. Army recruitment film,” explained Michael Parenti. American audiences were shown “helicopters landing, planes dive-bombing, troops trotting along foreign streets, the enemy’s headquarters engulfed in flames, friendly Panamanians welcoming the invaders as liberators.” Of course, Parenti elaborated, there was no mention in the media that “the Panamanians interviewed were almost always well dressed, light skinned, and English speaking, in a country where most were poor, dark skinned, and Spanish speaking. Also left out of the picture were the many incidents of armed resistance by Panamanians.” As for the actual bombings and indeed, the virtual ‘scorched-earth’ policies of burning down El Chorillo along with several other working-class poor black neighbourhoods, the media treated “these aerial attacks on civilian populations as surgical strikes designed to break resistance in ‘Noriega strongholds’.”[31]

Following the invasion, the United States installed their favoured candidates from the previously held elections (whom the US – through the CIA and NED financed with $10 million) as Panama’s new “democratic” leaders: President Guillermo Endara, Vice President Guillermo Ford, and Attorney General Rogelio Cruz. As it turned out, unsurprisingly, “all three of these rich, white oligarchs were closely linked to companies, banks, and people heavily involved in drug operations or money-laundering.”[32] After invading, the U.S. “abolished the Panamanian Defense Forces and crushed the popular movement, creating conditions for the consolidation of a right of center party system and the growth of an economy based on neoliberal policies that have exacerbated socio-economic inequalities and increased racial/ethnic exclusion of Afro-Panamanians.”[33] As Priestly and Barrow wrote:

The U.S. invasion and the so-called transition to democracy had negative effects on popular organizing. During and immediately after the invasion, Black and brown communities were devastated; their organizations negatively affected, and their leaders killed or jailed, or otherwise persecuted. Political parties regained center stage in the electoral process and many Black and popular militants were co-opted into these organizations, reducing the organizational capabilities of some organizations and eliminating others.[34]

Only months after the invasion “did a few brief reports appear regarding mass graves of Panamanians dead buried hastily by U.S. Army bulldozers,” while the American media focused on the sideshow of the pursuit of Noriega, who ultimately turned himself in early January. No footage was shown of the poor neighbourhoods destroyed by U.S. bombing, such as El Chorillo’s “total devastation,” and no mention “of the many lives lost in what amounted to a saturation terror-bombing of a civilian neighborhood.”[35] As Michael Parenti wrote:

With the U.S. military firmly controlling Panama, conditions in that country deteriorated. Unemployment, already high because of the U.S. embargo, climbed to 35 percent as drastic layoffs were imposed on the public sector. Pension rights and other work benefits were lost. Newspapers and radio and television stations were closed by U.S. occupation authorities. Newspaper editors and reporters critical of the invasion were jailed or detained, as were all the leftist political party leaders. Union heads were arrested by the U.S. military, and some 150 local labor leaders were removed from their elected union positions. Public employees not supporting the invasion were purged. Crime rates rose dramatically, along with poverty and destitution. Thousands remained homeless. Corruption was more widespread than ever. More money-laundering and drug-trafficking occurred under the U.S.-sponsored Endara administration than under Noriega.[36]

Noriega was taken to the United States and convicted of drug smuggling in 1992. The United States conveniently ignored the drug-trafficking by Panama’s new “democratic” Endara administration, not to mention “its infringement of civil liberties and democracy.” The U.S. Congress received George Bush with a standing ovation when he declared, “One year ago the people of Panama lived in fear under the thumb of a dictator. Today democracy is restored. Panama is free.” Endara, however, “was extremely unpopular in Panama,” seen as “just another pliant US puppet.”[37] In June of 1990, the Washington Post had declared that the Endara regime, against all evidence, improved human rights and “press freedoms have been restored.”[38]

Conclusion

The struggles of the once-popular resistance and Black movement continued well into the 21st century, and up to the present day. The war on Panama represented the true nature of what was to come in the post-Cold War world, as it was the first war the United States undertook without Cold War rhetoric. Its principle aim was to destroy a popular people’s movement, remove a non-compliant dictator, and establish more control over the country and the region. Of course, among our political leaders and media in the West, this is referred to as “restoring democracy.” Thus, the threat of the Communist boogeyman faded, and the benevolent aim of ‘democracy’ resurfaced, as it initially did following World War I when Woodrow Wilson declared that the world must be made safe for democracy. For all the rhetoric of Western leaders and media, the greatest crime a leader or people can commit is to support themselves, or simply seek to do so; to provide for the poor and needy, to attempt to industrialize and develop their own country as they see fit, and to create an educated, free, healthy and stable population and society. This, above all else, is the ultimate sin in the world of “international politics.”

Logic thus dictates, then, that the greatest potential for true change and hope in this world is solidarity among all people’s movements the world over, and for a resurgence of populist movement, ideally not nationalistic in character, but simultaneously local and global: seeking local autonomy (moving around the nation-state, an easily corrupted and contemptuous institution), and seeking solidarity globally, to align itself with all such movements around the world, achieving strength in numbers, interaction of ideas, articulation of strategies, and advancement of all peoples in all places.

If a popular movement in a tiny little nation like Panama was such a threat to the massive American Empire, the largest, most militarily advanced, and most globally expansive empire in all of human history, this is actually a source of hope for all humanity. If Panama was such a threat that the United States saw fit to invade and occupy the small country, then imagine the threat which would be posed if all people, everywhere in the world, simultaneously sought a populist liberation struggle; not divided by nations and regions, but acting locally – for local autonomy from domestic elites and liberation from the empire – and interacting globally, with other such movements around the world. This is truly the greatest threat ever known to a global empire. This threat has been articulated by one of the empire’s most prominent strategists, Zbigniew Brzezinski, as the “Global Political Awakening.” Thus, it is in the interest of all peoples, everywhere, always and eternally, to seek and support all liberation struggles, to advance the “Awakening” and bring in a new concept of democracy, one which lives up to the rhetoric of our current system: “of, by, and for the people”; a democracy void of predatory elites. This is true freedom, true liberation, and no other philosophy or ideology is so capable of uniting the people of the world under one banner than that of the ‘ultimate liberation’: of, by, and for the people.

Andrew Gavin Marshall is an independent researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada, writing on a number of social, political, economic, and historical issues. He is co-editor of the book, “The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.” His website is http://www.andrewgavinmarshall.com

Notes

[1]            Waltraud Queiser Morales, “U.S. Intervention and the New World Order: Lessons from Cold War and post-Cold War cases,” Third World Quarterly (Vol. 15, No. 1, 1994), page 77.

[2]            Charles Maechling, Jr., “Washington’s Illegal Invasion,” Foreign Policy (No. 79, Summer 1990), pages 113-114.

[3]            Waltraud Queiser Morales, “U.S. Intervention and the New World Order: Lessons from Cold War and post-Cold War cases,” Third World Quarterly (Vol. 15, No. 1, 1994), page 78.

[4]            Waltraud Quesler Morales, “The War on Drugs: A New US National Security Doctrine?” Third World Quarterly (Vol. 11, No. 3, July 1989), page 151.

[5]            Ibid, page 152.

[6]            Ibid, pages 154-155.

[7]            Michael Parenti, “A Devil in Panama,” Peace Review (Vol. 5, No. 1, 1993), page 45.

[8]            Waltraud Queiser Morales, “U.S. Intervention and the New World Order: Lessons from Cold War and post-Cold War cases,” Third World Quarterly (Vol. 15, No. 1, 1994), page 82.

[9]            Michael Parenti, “A Devil in Panama,” Peace Review (Vol. 5, No. 1, 1993), pages 45-46.

[10]            Waltraud Queiser Morales, “U.S. Intervention and the New World Order: Lessons from Cold War and post-Cold War cases,” Third World Quarterly (Vol. 15, No. 1, 1994), page 83.

[11]            Michael Parenti, “A Devil in Panama,” Peace Review (Vol. 5, No. 1, 1993), page 46.

[12]            Waltraud Queiser Morales, “U.S. Intervention and the New World Order: Lessons from Cold War and post-Cold War cases,” Third World Quarterly (Vol. 15, No. 1, 1994), page 83.

[13]            Ibid.

[14]            Eytan Gilboa, “The Panama Invasion Revisited: Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era,” Political Science Quarterly (Vol. 110, No. 4, Winter 1995-1996), page 547.

[15]            Ibid, page 548.

[16]            Ibid, page 549.

[17]            Ibid, page 551.

[18]            Ibid, pages 554-555.

[19]            Ibid, page 556.

[20]            The Independent Commission of Inquiry on the U.S. Invasion of Panama, The U.S. invasion of Panama: the truth behind operation ‘ Just Cause’ (South End Press, 1991), page 24.

[21]            Ibid.

[22]            Eytan Gilboa, “The Panama Invasion Revisited: Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era,” Political Science Quarterly (Vol. 110, No. 4, Winter 1995-1996), page 558.

[23]            Michael Parenti, “A Devil in Panama,” Peace Review (Vol. 5, No. 1, 1993), page 46.

[24]            Eytan Gilboa, “The Panama Invasion Revisited: Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era,” Political Science Quarterly (Vol. 110, No. 4, Winter 1995-1996), page 558.

[25]            Ibid, pages 558-559.

[26]            Waltraud Queiser Morales, “U.S. Intervention and the New World Order: Lessons from Cold War and post-Cold War cases,” Third World Quarterly (Vol. 15, No. 1, 1994), pages 83-84.

[27]            George Priestley and Alberto Barrow, “The Black Movement in Panama: A Historical and Political Interpretation, 1994-2004,” Souls (Vol. 10, No. 3, 2008), page 231.

[28]            Ibid, pages 231-232.

[29]            Eytan Gilboa, “The Panama Invasion Revisited: Lessons for the Use of Force in the Post Cold War Era,” Political Science Quarterly (Vol. 110, No. 4, Winter 1995-1996), page 556.

[30]            Waltraud Queiser Morales, “U.S. Intervention and the New World Order: Lessons from Cold War and post-Cold War cases,” Third World Quarterly (Vol. 15, No. 1, 1994), page 84.

[31]            Michael Parenti, “A Devil in Panama,” Peace Review (Vol. 5, No. 1, 1993), page 46.

[32]            Ibid, page 48.

[33]            George Priestley and Alberto Barrow, “The Black Movement in Panama: A Historical and Political Interpretation, 1994-2004,” Souls (Vol. 10, No. 3, 2008), page 232.

[34]            Ibid, page 234.

[35]            Michael Parenti, “A Devil in Panama,” Peace Review (Vol. 5, No. 1, 1993), pages 46-47.

[36]            Ibid, page 49.

[37]            Waltraud Queiser Morales, “U.S. Intervention and the New World Order: Lessons from Cold War and post-Cold War cases,” Third World Quarterly (Vol. 15, No. 1, 1994), page 84.

[38]            Michael Parenti, “A Devil in Panama,” Peace Review (Vol. 5, No. 1, 1993), page 49.

Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network

Political Destabilization in South and Central Asia: The Role of the CIA-ISI Terror Network
Global Research, September 17, 2008

Introduction

Recent terror attacks in New Delhi on September 13, 2008, raise the questions of who was responsible and for what reason these attacks occurred. Terror attacks in India are not a new phenomenon, however, in their recent past, they can be largely attributed to the actions, finances, training and resources of one organization: The Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI). These new bombings bare the same relationship with the ISI as has occurred in the past, and so it must be asked: what is the purpose of the ISI both in Central Asia as well as South Asia?

The ISI appears to play the role of a force for the destabilization of Central Asia, India and the Middle East. It acts as a Central Asian base of operations for the CIA and British Intelligence to carry out Anglo-American imperial aims.

India will be the main focus of this report, due to the escalation of organized terror and violence against it in the past few years. As India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, after China, its northern neighbor which also borders Central Asian countries, its place in the New World Order is yet to be set in stone. Do western, and particularly Anglo-American elites allow India to grow as China, all the while attempting to co-opt their banking system to the western banking elite, thus, making them controllable? Or, will India be destabilized and dismantled, as is the plan with the Middle East and Central Asia, in order to redraw borders to suit geopolitical imperial ambitions, creating a network of manageable territories feeding the Metropoles of the New World Order, specifically New York (Wall Street) and London (The City of London)?

The September 13, 2008 New Delhi Bombings: 9/13/08

The Bombings

On September 13, 2008, five blasts ripped through New Delhi within 45 minutes of each other, killing 21 people and injuring roughly 100 more. The Indian Mujahedin claimed responsibility for the bombings, sending emails to major Indian news organizations. In July, bombings took place in the western state of Gujarat, which killed 45 people, and in May in the city of Jaipur, which killed 61 people. The Indian Mujahedin also claimed responsibility for those attacks. This new wave of attacks across Indian cities was intended to “sow panic, inflict civilian casualties and, according to Indian officials, inflame tensions between Hindus and Muslims.”

National elections are also approaching in India, giving the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party the opportunity to criticize “the coalition government led by the Congress Party for its inability to prevent bombings like those of Saturday,” making it a “major point of vulnerability for the incumbent administration.”[1]

What is the Indian Mujahedin?

According to Indian police, the Indian Mujahedin (IM) is “an offshoot of the banned Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).”[2] In fact, it is “the hardline faction of Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) that broke away in 2005 to protest against the diffidence of the moderate faction about declaring a full-scale war on India.”[3] Reports also link the IM with the banned organizations, Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami and Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen.[4]

The Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) has reported ties with the Pakistani ISI, in having had cadres of its members being trained by the ISI to launch terror attacks in India. The ISI is also reported to have maintained contacts with SIMI in relation to their operatives traveling around the Middle East, specifically Saudi Arabia, to engage in fund raising. SIMI’s reorganization was also aided by the ISI, which led to the branching out of the hardline element, the Indian Mujahedin.[5]

Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami also has extensive ties with the ISI, as the group carried out terror attacks in Hyderabad in 2007, “at the instance of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence.”[6] Many members of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-e-Islami were trained at ISI camps in Pakistan, and it “receives patronage and support from Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence.” Significantly, “the group’s anti-India operations are planned by the ISI, mostly from the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka.”[7]

Harkat-ul-Mujahedeen, the third terror network with extensive ties to the Indian Mujahedin, used to be known as the Harkat ul-Ansar. Harkat ul-Ansar was created by then-Pakistani General and future President Musharraf in the early 1990s, and was active in recruiting 200 Pakistanis to be trained by the ISI and sent to fight a jihad in Bosnia, “with the full knowledge and complicity of the British and American intelligence agencies.” This group also has links to those individuals associated with financing 9/11, as well as being involved with the London 7/7/ bombings.[8]

So all three terrorist groups associated with creating and having links with the Indian Mujahedin (IM) have extensive ties with the Pakistani ISI. Since these three organizations created the IM, it is essentially a creation of the ISI itself.

Who Benefits?

Two days before the bombings took place, the Times of India ran a story discussing US defense corporations seeking major contracts in India, including “the single largest one-time military contract in history,” India’s buying 126 multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA). The deal is said to be worth $10 billion, “which would not be concluded in the term of this government but by the next government.” Two major US companies vying for this contract are defense giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin. India’s Defense Minister A.K. Antony said that his recent meetings with US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and other Washington figures were primarily focused on “Pakistan’s rapid descent into chaos and the stepped up terrorist activity by renegade elements in the country, including provocations on the border and in Kashmir.”[9]

Two days later, the attacks within India would confirm the need for a built up defense and military establishment within India. Contracts are sure to be signed.

The bombings also occurred at a time that “India is resisting renewed pressure from the West to send its troops into Afghanistan to boost the coalition troops there.” More troops are needed in Afghanistan as the Taliban experience a resurgence, armed and financed by Pakistan’s ISI. However, as the Times of India notes, “India is not about to enter this particular cauldron because its troops would fan the flames in a way that no others would do. They would draw fire from Pakistanis and India would be sucked into a battle, which would have huge implications for its internal security.”[10] Perhaps this is the idea?

The attacks also occurred just as “the US Congress is considering the approval of the US-India civil nuclear deal and days before [Indian] Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Washington.”[11]

The ISI-CIA Islamic Terror Networks

The Mujahideen

The ISI has long established ties with terrorist networks in the region. The ISI was used as a conduit by the CIA in 1979 to finance and arm the Afghan Mujahideen in Afghanistan in the Afghan-Soviet War of 1979 to 1989. The Mujahideen then branched off, with the active financing and support of the ISI, into both Al-Qaeda and the Taliban.[12]

During the 1980s, many “officers from the ISI’s Covert Action Division received training in the US and many covert action experts of the CIA were attached to the ISI to guide it in its operations against the Soviet troops by using the Afghan Mujahideen, Islamic fundamentalists of Pakistan and Arab volunteers.” Further, the “CIA, through the ISI, promoted the smuggling of heroin into Afghanistan in order to make the Soviet troops heroin addicts. Once the Soviet troops were withdrawn in 1988, these heroin smugglers started smuggling the drugs to the West, with the complicity of the ISI.”[13]

Al-Qaeda and Yugoslavia

The ISI not only has had close ties to Al-Qaeda, but also to guerillas fighting in the disputed territory of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.[14] The ISI’s connections with Al-Qaeda were so extensive, that even on the night before 9/11, Osama bin Laden was in a hospital in Pakistan protected by Pakistani military and intelligence.[15] The ISI also supported the wars in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia throughout the 1990s, by training and sending militant Islamists into the regions to sow chaos and exacerbate ethnic tensions, leading to the break-up of Yugoslavia. All this was done with the tacit approval, support and complicity of British and American intelligence.[16] The ISI financed its covert terrorist support through the global drug trade, especially important in Afghanistan. The ISI also supported terrorist groups in Chechnya.[17]

The LeT

The Lashkar e Toiba (LeT) terrorist organization also works very closely with the ISI, and they work together in a “coordinated effort” in orchestrating terror attacks in Kashmir.[18] The LeT is “funded, armed and trained by the Inter-Services Intelligence,” and is linked up with Al-Qaeda, and is “the most visible manifestation” of Al-Qaeda in India. The LeT “receives considerable financial, material and other forms of assistance from the Pakistan government, routed primarily through the ISI. The ISI is the main source of LeT’s funding. Saudi Arabia also provides funds.” The LeT also played a part in the ISI organized “Bosnian campaign against the Serbs,” which was directed above the ISI by the CIA and British intelligence.[19]

The ISI and 9/11

The ISI may also have played a roll in 9/11 itself, as its General was in Washington in the lead up to and during the 9/11 attacks, meeting with top intelligence, State Department and Congressional officials, including CIA Director George Tenet, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, Secretary of State Colin Powell, Senator Bob Graham, Representative Porter Goss, who would go on to become CIA director, and Joseph Biden, who is now Barack Obama’s running mate. The ISI’s General, while meeting with all these top US officials in foreign affairs and intelligence, also happened to be the money man behind 9/11, having wired $100,000 to the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohammed Atta.[20]

The Liquid Bomb Plot

In August 2006 in the UK, there was a massive roundup of terrorism suspects as the British and Pakistani authorities revealed that they uncovered and prevented a massive terrorist plot to blow up several transatlantic airliners with liquid explosives. This plot is the reason for which people can no longer carry a bottle of water or any liquids through security at airports. However, following the roundups, Pakistan arrested the “lead suspect” who was said to have masterminded the whole operation, Rashid Rauf. Over a year later, Rashid Rauf escaped from Pakistani police custody, however, as it turned out, he was kidnapped by the ISI to prevent him being extradited to the UK.[21]

As Craig Murray, former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan, wrote shortly after the plot was ‘foiled’, “According to John Loftus, a former Justice Department prosecutor, [bomb plot suspects] Omar Bakri and Abu Hamza, as well as the suspected mastermind of the London bombings Haroon Aswat, were all recruited by MI6 in the mid-1990s to draft up British Muslims to fight in Kosovo. American and French security sources corroborate the revelation.”[22]

Covert War Against Iran

It was revealed by the London Telegraph in 2007 that the US, through the CIA, was funding and arming terrorist organizations to “sow chaos” inside Iran.[23] ABC News reported just over a month later that the terrorist group was a Pakistani militant group named Jundullah, which is based in the Baluchistan region of Pakistan, just across the border from Iran.[24] Jundullah also has very close ties with Al-Qaeda.[25] Although the US funds this Al-Qaeda-linked group, the funding is indirect, as it travels through Pakistan’s ISI.[26]

So clearly, the ISI has some troubling connections to Al-Qaeda, various other Islamic extremist groups, and British and American intelligence. Where the ISI is operational, so too, are Anglo-American ambitions.

The 1993 Bombay Bombings: 3/12/93

On March 12, 1993, Bombay (now called Mumbai) experienced 13 explosions in a coordinated attack, of which the most significant target was the Bombay Stock Exchange, which killed roughly 50 people. The total number of dead was 257, with roughly 1,400 other injured. Dawood Ibrahim was believed to have coordinated the attacks. Ibrahim is known for extensive ties to Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda,[27] has financed operations of the Lashkar e Toiba (LeT),[28] and was believed to be hiding out in Pakistan.[29] The 1993 Bombay bombings were “organised by Dawood Ibrahim under pressure from the Inter-Services Intelligence of Pakistan.”[30] In 2007, the ISI was reported to have taken Ibrahim and his top lieutenant into custody from the Pakistan-Afghan border.[31]

The 2006 Mumbai Bombings: 7/11/06

On July 11, 2006, Mumbai experienced another major terrorist attack, as seven bombs went off within 11 minutes of one another on trains. The total deaths reached 209 with roughly 700 others injured.

The blame for the bombings was placed on the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) and local Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI),[32] which are closely interlinked with each other and have direct links with the ISI.[33] A few months later, following an investigation, Mumbai police “blamed Pakistan’s intelligence agency ISI for masterminding the explosions which were executed by activists of the banned Lashkar-e-Toiba and SIMI.” The Mumbai Police Commissioner said that, “the attacks were planned by ISI in Pakistan and carried out by Pakistan-based militant group LeT with the help of banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).”[34] India even shared evidence of Pakistani ISI involvement in the attacks with the United States.[35]

The bombings led to a postponement of India-Pakistan peace talks, which were set to take place the following week.[36] The Indian Prime Minister had said that, “a peace process with Pakistan was threatened if Islamabad did not curb ‘terrorist’ violence directed at India.”[37] Again, perhaps a peace in the region is not in the interests of the Anglo-Americans.

The 2008 Indian Embassy Bombing in Kabul: 7/7/08

On July 7, 2008, the Indian Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan was bombed, killing 58 people and wounding 141. Two days after, it was reported that, “The Afghanistan government and Indian Intelligence Agencies have confirmed that some elements within the ISI in collaboration with the Taliban/Al Qaeda planned and executed the attack on the Indian embassy.” Further, “the ISI Station Head in Kabul, is collaborating with the Taliban to destabilise India’s strategic presence in Afghanistan.”[38]

The day after the attack, the Afghan Interior Ministry said that, “[it] was carried out in co-ordination and consultation with an active intelligence service in the region,” and as the Financial Times reported, “Western diplomats in Islamabad warned that the Kabul bombing was likely to increase the distrust between Pakistan and Afghanistan and undermine Pakistan’s relations with India, despite recent signs that a peace process between Islamabad and New Delhi was making some headway.”[39]

It was also reported that the Afghan Interior Ministry stated that, “Militants who carried out this week’s suicide bomb attack on the Indian embassy in the Afghan capital received their training at camps in Pakistan.”[40]

Just weeks earlier, on June 25, 2008, “An Afghan official accused Pakistan’s premier spy agency on Wednesday of organizing a recent assassination attempt on Afghan President Hamid Karzai,” and that they were “sure and confident” of an ISI connection.[41]

On July 13, “Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) [had] been blamed by India for the bomb attack on Kabul’s Indian embassy.”[42] On July 10, “The United States has said there was no evidence suggesting involvement of foreign agents in the suicide bombing on the Indian Embassy in Afghanistan.”[43]

However, on August 1, the New York Times reported that, “American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul,” and that, “The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack.” Interestingly, “American officials said that the communications were intercepted before the July 7 bombing, and that the C.I.A. emissary, Stephen R. Kappes, the agency’s deputy director, had been ordered to Islamabad, Pakistan’s capital, even before the attack.” Further, “a top Central Intelligence Agency official traveled to Pakistan this month to confront senior Pakistani officials with information about support provided by members of the ISI to militant groups.”[44]

However, given that this is not new information, and that CIA collaboration with these efforts has been widely documented, what was the real purpose of this top CIA emissary going to Islamabad?

Two days after the New York Times report surfaced, it was reported that, “The United States has accused Pakistan’s main spy agency of deliberately undermining Nato efforts in Afghanistan by helping the Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants they are supposed to be fighting.” In January, the Bush administration “sent two senior intelligence officials to Pakistan” over “concerns” that the ISI was supporting militants, and further, “Mike Mc-Connell, the director of national intelligence, and [CIA director] Hayden asked Musharraf to allow the CIA greater freedom to operate in the tribal areas.” President Bush also “warned of retaliation if it continues.”[45]

Who Benefits?

In 2006, it was reported that as Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, was trying to balance a relationship with Pakistan and India, “Islamabad might be feeling squeezed and do its best to undermine the renewed Afghan-Indian partnership — at great cost to Afghanistan.”[46]

As Time Magazine reported on the day of the Embassy bombing, “The bombing is likely to have regional ramifications, both for India’s relations with the neighborhood and those of every other country supporting Afghan President Hamid Karzai.” Further, “India and Pakistan have been vying for influence in Kabul for decades, and India — which for years backed the opposition Northern Alliance against the Pakistan-backed Taliban regime — came out on top after the U.S.-led invasion scattered the Taliban and installed President Karzai in power.” India has also pledged $850 million in reconstruction aid for Afghanistan.[47]

As the UK Times explained, India is “the only regional power committed to a new democratic Afghanistan. It was no accident that India shouldered part of the cost of the parliamentary and presidential elections. Nor should one ignore the symbolic value of the fact that India is building the new Palace of Democracy to house the Afghan parliament.” Further, “The only power likely to offer Afghanistan long-term support is India. Helping Afghanistan would weaken radical Islamism and prevent Pakistan acquiring a hinterland through Afghanistan in Muslim Central Asia.”[48]

Historically, the Taliban were financed and armed by the Pakistani ISI, while India had backed the Northern Alliance during the 1990s. After the 2001 invasion and occupation of Afghanistan, the Northern Alliance was put back into power as the Taliban were deposed.[49] This would explain why the ISI and Pakistan has again become the main supporter of the Taliban.[50] However, in most discussion on Pakistan funding the revival of the Taliban, what is left ignored is the ISI’s continued connections to British and American intelligence. For example, with the London 7/7 bombings, the mastermind was an MI6 asset and he had, along with several of the suspected bombers, connections to the Pakistani ISI.[51]

Interestingly, keeping in mind the ISI’s help in the resurgence of the Taliban, in February of 2008, it was reported that, “Britain planned to build a Taliban training camp for 2,000 fighters in southern Afghanistan, as part of a top-secret deal to make them swap sides.” Further, “Afghan government officials insist it was bankrolled by the British. UK diplomats, the UN, Western officials and senior Afghan officials have all confirmed the outline of the plan, which they agree is entirely British-led, but all refused to talk about it on the record.”[52]

Conclusion

Ultimately, the benefactors of the Indian Embassy bombing in Kabul and other bombings, such as the recent New Delhi bombing in India, is not Pakistan, but is the Anglo-Americans. Pakistan ultimately will collapse as a result of these actions being taken. The ISI has long been referred to as Pakistan’s “secret government” or “shadow state.” It’s long-standing ties and reliance upon American and British intelligence have not let up, therefore actions taken by the ISI should be viewed in the context of being a Central Asian outpost of Anglo-American covert intelligence operations. This connection between American and British intelligence and the ISI is also corroborated by their continued cooperation in the covert opium trade in Afghanistan, whose profits are funneled into the banks of Wall Street and the City of London.[53]

The goal in Pakistan is not to maintain stability, just as this is not the goal throughout the region of the Middle East and Central Asia. Recent events in Pakistan, such as the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, which has been linked to the ISI, should be viewed in the context as an active Anglo-American strategy of breaking up Pakistan, which will spread chaos through the region.[54]

Pakistan’s position as a strategic focal point cannot be underestimated. It borders India, Afghanistan, China and Iran. Destabilizing and ultimately breaking Pakistan up into several countries or regions will naturally spread chaos and destabilization into neighboring countries. This is also true of Iraq on the other side of Iran, as the Anglo-American have undertaken, primarily through Iraq, a strategy of balkanizing the entire Middle East in a new imperial project.[55]

One of the main targets in this project is Iran, for which the US and Britain have engaged in massive acts of terror and orchestrating large battles and conflicts from within the already-failed state of Iraq.[56] The Anglo-American role as terrorist supporters and as covertly orchestrating terror attacks within Iraq is amply documented.[57] To imagine that these same Anglo-American intelligence and covert networks are not using their long-time conduit, the ISI, for the same purposes in Central Asia, is a stretch of the imagination and logic. It is not merely the Middle East that is the target, but Central Asia, specifically for its geographical relationship to the rising giants such as India and China. This also follows in line with Anglo-American strategies in destabilizing the Central European region, specifically the former Yugoslavia,[58] and more recently, Georgia, largely in an effort to target Russia.[59]

What we are seeing with Pakistan and India is an effort to drive the region into chaos. The US allowing blame to be placed on the Pakistani ISI for the Embassy bombings in Kabul has provided an excuse and basis for US military intervention in Pakistan, which has already begun,[60] and which threatens to plunge the region into total war and crisis. But then again, that’s the idea.

Endnotes

[1] AP, Police detain suspects after 5 blasts in New Delhi. International Herald Tribune: September 14, 2008:
http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/09/14/asia/india.php

[2] Reuters, FACTBOX-Indian Mujahideen Islamic militant group. Reuters News Service: September 13, 2008:
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/LD514149.htm

[3] Pradeep Thakur & Vishwa Mohan, Indian Mujahideen is just hardline version of SIMI. The Times of India: August 17, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Indian_Mujahideen_is_just_hardline_version_of_SIMI/articleshow/3371985.cms

[4] Vicky Nanjappa, The truth about Indian Mujahideen. Rediff India Abroad: November 23, 2007:
http://www.rediff.com/news/2007/nov/23court15.htm

[5] Animesh Roul, Students Islamic Movement of India: A Profile. Global Terrorism Analysis: April 6, 2006:
http://www.jamestown.org/terrorism/news/article.php?articleid=2369953

[6] PTI, Suspect said ISI behind Hyderabad blasts: cops. Rediff India Abroad: October 6, 2007: http://ia.rediff.com/news/2007/oct/06hydblast.htm

[7] SATP, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI). South Asia Terrorism Portal: 2001:
http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/HuJI.htm

[8] History Commons, Profile: Harkat ul-Mujahedeen (HUM).
http://www.historycommons.org/entity.jsp?entity=harkat_ul-mujahedeen

[9] Chidanand Rajghatta, US defence companies will get level playing field: Antony. The Times of India: September 11, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/US_defence_companies_will_get_level_playing_field_Antony/articleshow/3472916.cms

[10] ToA, Pressure mounts on India to send troops to Afghanistan. Times of India: September 14, 2008: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/India/Pressure_mounts_on_India_to_send_troops_to_Afghanistan/articleshow/3480892.cms

[11] James Lamont and Joe Leahy, Five bombs hit New Delhi. The Financial Times: September 13, 2008:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/b3aadd2e-8199-11dd-ae8b-000077b07658.html?nclick_check=1

[12] Rahul Bedi, Vital intelligence on the Taliban may rest with its prime sponsor – Pakistan’s ISI. Jane’s Information Group: October 1, 2001: http://www.janes.com/security/international_security/news/misc/janes011001_1_n.shtml

[13] B. Raman, PAKISTAN’S INTER-SERVICES INTELLIGENCE (ISI). South Asia Analysis Group: January 8, 2001:
http://www.acsa.net/isi/index.html

[14] James Risen and Judith Miller, Pakistani Intelligence Had Links to Al Qaeda, U.S. Officials Say. October 29, 2001:
http://civet.berkeley.edu/sohrab/politics/isi_problems.html

[15] Michel Chossudovsky, Where was Osama on September 11, 2001? Global Research: September 11, 2008:
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3194

[16] Michel Chossudovsky, Osamagate. Global Research: October 9, 2001:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=369

[17] Michel Chossudovsky, The Truth behind 9/11: Who Is Osama Bin Laden? Global Research: September 11, 2008:
http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=3198

[18] Preetam Sohani, Pakistan’s shadow ISI and Lashkar-e-Toiba worked together to create terror in Ayodhya. India Daily: July 16, 2005:
http://www.indiadaily.com/editorial/3622.asp

[19] SATP, Lashkar-e-Toiba: ‘Army of the Pure’. South Asia Terrorism Portal: 2001:
ttp://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/states/jandk/terrorist_outfits/lashkar_e_toiba.htm

[20] Michel Chossudovsky, Political Deception: The Missing Link behind 9-11. Global Research: June 20, 2002:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=371

[21] Dean Nelson and Ghulam Hasnain, Pakistan agents ‘staged escape’ of terror suspect. The Times Online: December 23, 2007:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article3087090.ece

[22] Craig Murray, British Army expert casts doubt on ‘liquid explosives’ threat, Al Qaeda network in UK Identified. The Raw Story: September 21, 2006:
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2006/09/british_army_ex.html

[23] William Lowther and Colin Freeman, US funds terror groups to sow chaos in Iran. The London Telegraph: February 25, 2007:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/1543798/US-funds-terror-groups-to-sow-chaos-in-Iran.html

[24] Brian Ross and Christopher Isham, ABC News Exclusive: The Secret War Against Iran. ABC News: April 3, 2007:
http://blogs.abcnews.com/theblotter/2007/04/abc_news_exclus.html

[25] Zahid Hussain, Al-Qaeda’s New Face. Newsline: August 2004:
http://www.newsline.com.pk/NewsAug2004/cover1Aug2004.htm

[26] Michel Chossudovsky, “Islamic Terrorists” supported by Uncle Sam: Bush Administration “Black Ops” directed against Iran, Lebanon and Syria. Global Research: May 31, 2007:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=5837&context=va

[27] Vishwa Mohan, Interpol sends special notice against Dawood Ibrahim. The Times of India: April 8, 2006:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1483035.cms

[28] Robert Windrem, Possible al-Qaida link to India train attacks. MSNBC: July 11, 2006:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13815413/

[29] PTI, Dawood Ibrahim is a global terrorist: US. Rediff: October 17, 2003:
http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/oct/17daw.htm

[30] Rediff, ‘ISI pressured Dawood to carry out Mumbai blasts’. Rediff.com: December 22, 2002:
http://www.rediff.com/news/2002/dec/22isi.htm

[31] S Balakrishnan, Dawood, Tiger Memon in ISI custody. The Times of India: August 7, 2007:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2260818.cms

[32] ToA, LeT, SIMI hand in Mumbai blasts. Time of India: July 12, 2006:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1733318.cms

[33] SATP, Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI). South Asia Terrorism Portal: 2001:
http://www.satp.org/satporgtp/countries/india/terroristoutfits/simi.htm

[34] ToA, Mumbai Police blames ISI, LeT for 7/11 blasts. The Times of India: September 30, 2006:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/2052996.cms

[35] AP, India shares evidence of Pakistan’s alleged involvement in Mumbai bombings with US. The International herald Tribune: October 7, 2006: http://www.iht.com/articles/ap/2006/10/07/asia/AS_GEN_India_US_Train_Bombings.php

[36] Sudha Ramachandran, India’s soft response to the Mumbai bombings. Asia Times Online: July 19, 2006: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/HG19Df03.html

[37] Reuters, Manmohan warns Pak: Stop terror. Express India: July 14, 2006:
http://www.expressindia.com/news/fullstory.php?newsid=71060

[38] V K Shashikumar, ISI, al Qaeda planned Kabul blast: Sources. IBNLive: July 9, 2008:
http://www.ibnlive.com/news/isi-al-qaeda-planned-kabul-blast-sources/68541-2.html?xml

[39] Aunohita Mojumdar and Farhan Bokhari, Kabul blames spy agency for suicide blast at India embassy. The Financial Times: July 8, 2008:
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/c122796c-4c88-11dd-96bb-000077b07658.html

[40] Roman Kozhevnikov, Afghanistan says embassy bombers trained in Pakistan. Reuters: July 9, 2008:
http://www.stv.tv/articles/reuters/world/Afghanistan_says_embassy_bombers_trained_in_Pakistan_125456

[41] AP, Afghanistan blames Pakistan for attempt to kill Karzai. CTV: June 25, 2008:
http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20080625/NATO_helmand_08025

[42] Agencies, India blames Pakistan for Kabul embassy attack. Gulf News: July 13, 2008:
http://www.gulfnews.com/world/India/10228506.html

[43] PTI, No foreign hand in Kabul blast: Robert Gates. Rediff: July 10, 2008:
http://www.rediff.com/news/2008/jul/10kabul2.htm

[44] MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT, Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials Say. The New York Times: August 1, 2008:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/01/world/asia/01pstan.html?ref=worldspecial

[45] Christina Lamb, Rogue Pakistan spies aid Taliban in Afghanistan. The Times Online: August 3, 2008:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article4449330.ece

[46] Amin Tarzi, Afghanistan: Kabul’s India Ties Worry Pakistan. Radio Free Europe: April 16, 2006:
http://www.rferl.org/content/article/1067690.html

[47] Jyoti Thottam, Afghan Bombing Fuels Regional Furor. Time Magazine: July 7, 2008:
http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1820716,00.html

[48] Amir Taheri, A vicious attack on India’s crucial role in Afghanistan. The Times Online: July 9, 2008:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article4295636.ece

[49] Scott Baldauf, India-Pakistan rivalry reaches into Afghanistan. Christian Science Monitor: September 13, 2003:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0912/p07s01-wosc.html

[50] Ron Moreau and Mark Hosenball, Pakistan’s Dangerous Double Game. Newsweek: September 13, 2008:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/158861

[51] Michel Chossudovsky, London 7/7 Terror Suspect Linked to British Intelligence?. Global research: August 1, 2005:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=CHO20050801&articleId=782

[52] Jerome Starkey, Revealed: British plan to build training camp for Taliban fighters in Afghanistan. The Independent: February 4, 2008:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/revealed-british-plan-to-build-training-camp-for-taliban-fighters-in-afghanistan-777671.html

[53] Andrew G. Marshall, Afghan heroin & the CIA. Geopolitical Monitor: April 1, 2008:
http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/content/backgrounders/2008-04-01/afghan-heroin-the-cia/

[54] Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Pakistan. Global Research: December 30, 2007:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7705

[55] Andrew G. Marshall, Divide and Conquer: The Anglo-American Imperial Project. Global Research: July 10, 2008:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9451

[56] Andrew G. Marshall, Breaking Iraq and Blaming Iran. Global Research: July 3, 2008:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9450

[57] Andrew G. Marshall, State-Sponsored Terror: British and American Black Ops in Iraq. Global Research: June 25, 2008:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=9447

[58] Andrew G. Marshall, Breaking Yugoslavia. Geopolitical Monitor: July 21, 2008:
http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/content/backgrounders/2008-07-21/breaking-yugoslavia/

[59] Andrew G. Marshall, The Georgian War. Geopolitical Monitor: August 30, 2008:
http://www.geopoliticalmonitor.com/content/backgrounders/2008-08-30/pipelines-the-georgian-war/

[60] BBC, Pakistan soldiers ‘confront US’. BBC News: September 15, 2008:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/7396366.stm