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Counterinsurgency, Death Squads, and the Population as the Target: Empire Under Obama, Part 4

Counterinsurgency, Death Squads, and the Population as the Target: Empire Under Obama, Part 4

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

Originally posted at The Hampton Institute

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Part 1: Political Language and the ‘Mafia Principles’ of International Relations

Part 2: Barack Obama’s Global Terror Campaign

Part 3: America’s “Secret Wars” in Over 100 Countries Around the World

While the American Empire – and much of the policies being pursued – did not begin under President Obama, the focus of “Empire Under Obama” is to bring awareness about the nature of empire to those who may have – or continue – to support Barack Obama and who may believe in the empty promises of “hope” and “change.” Empire is institutional, not individual. My focus on the imperial structure during the Obama administration is not to suggest that it does not predate Obama, but rather, that Obama represents ‘continuity’ in imperialism, not “change.” This part examines the concept of ‘counterinsurgency’ as a war against the populations of Iraq, Afghanistan and spreading into Pakistan.

Continuity in the imperialistic policies of the United States is especially evident when it comes to the strategy of ‘counterinsurgency,’ notably in Afghanistan. As examined in Part 1 of this series, language plays a powerful role in the extension and justification of empire. George Orwell noted that political language was “largely the defense of the indefensible,” where horrific acts and policies – such as maintaining colonial domination, dropping atomic bombs on cities – can only be defended “by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face.” Thus, political language is employed, consisting “largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.” One specific example was provided by Orwell in his essay – Politics and the English Language – which holds particular relevance for the present essay: “Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification.” Virtually the same process or strategy is today employed using words like counterinsurgency or counterterrorism. These military strategies are frequently employed, and the words are carelessly thrown around by military officials, politicians, intellectuals and media talking heads, yet little – if any – discussion is given to what they actually mean.

Near the end of the Bush administration in 2008, General David Petraeus was appointed as the Commander of CENTCOM (Central Command), the Pentagon’s military command structure over the Middle East and Central Asia, overseeing the two major ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. In 2010, Obama had appointed Petraeus as commander of the NATO forces in Afghanistan, and in 2011, he was appointed as CIA Director. Petraeus is a good starting point for the discussion on counterinsurgency.

Petraeus was previously commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, having quickly risen through the ranks to lead Bush’s “surge” in 2007. Prior to the surge, Petraeus was initially sent to Iraq in 2004 given the responsibility of training “a new Iraqi police force with an emphasis on counterinsurgency.” While in Iraq, Petraeus worked with a retired Colonel named Jim Steele, who was sent to Iraq as a personal envoy of Defense Secretary Rumsfeld. Steele acquired a name for himself in ‘counterinsurgency’ circles having led the U.S. Special Forces training of paramilitary units in El Salvador in the 1980s, where he turned them into efficient and highly effective death squads waging a massive terror war against the leftist insurgency and the population which supported them, resulting in the deaths of roughly 70,000 people.[1]

Jim Steele had to leave a promising military career after his involvement with the Iran-Contra scandal – trading arms to the Iranians for their war against Iraq to finance the death squads in Central America – and so he naturally turned to the private sector. But he had so impressed a Congressman named Dick Cheney, that when Cheney was Vice President, he and Rumsfeld maintained a cozy relationship with Steele who was then sent to Iraq in 2003 to help train the Iraqi paramilitary forces. Steele, working with David Petraeus and others, helped establish “a fearsome paramilitary force” which was designed to counter the Sunni insurgency which had developed in reaction to the U.S. invasion and occupation, running ruthless death squads which helped plunge the country into a deep civil war. Petraeus’ role in helping to create some of Iraq’s most feared death squads was revealed in a 2013 Guardian investigation.[2]

However, in 2005, the Pentagon had openly acknowledged that it was considering employing “the Salvador option” in Iraq in order “to take the offensive against the insurgents.” John Negroponte, who had been the U.S. Ambassador to Honduras when the U.S. was running death squads out of Honduras in Central America was, in 2005, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq. The Pentagon and the CIA were considering what roles they could play, possibly using U.S. Special Forces, to help train Iraqi “death squads” to hunt down and kill “insurgents.”[3]

Within the first three years of the Iraq war and occupation, the British medical journal, The Lancet, published research indicating that between 2003 and 2006, an estimated 650,000 – 940,000 Iraqis had died as a result of the war.[4] A survey from 2008 indicated that there had been more than one million deaths in Iraq caused by the war.[5]

This is referred to as a “counterinsurgency” strategy. In 2006, General Petraeus wrote the foreward to the Department of the Army’s Field Manual on Counterinsurgency, in which he noted that, “all insurgencies, even today’s highly adaptable strains, remain wars amongst the people.”[6] A 1962 U.S. counterinsurgency guide for the U.S. war in Vietnam said it even more bluntly when it noted that, “The ultimate and decisive target is the people… Society itself is at war and the resources, motives, and targets of the struggle are found almost wholly within the local population.”[7]

At the risk of being redundant, let me put it even more simply: counterinsurgency implies a war against the population. An insurgency is an armed rebellion by a significant portion – or sector – of a population against an institutional authority or power structure (usually a state or imperial power). Thus, for the American Empire – adhering to its rigid ‘Mafia Principles’ of international relations – an ‘insurgency’ is always a threat to imperial domination: if people are able to resist domestic power structures (say, a specific U.S. ally/client state), then other people around the world may try the same. The United States will seek to counter insurgencies for several reasons: to maintain the stability of their ally, to maintain the confidence of other allies, to maintain its reputation as the global hegemon, and to counter more direct threats to U.S./Western interests, such as the loss of access to resources or key strategic points, or in the case of U.S. military occupations, to crush any and all resistance.

In Part 1 of this series, I briefly summarized some major strategic reports written by key U.S. imperial planners, such as Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski, and Brent Scowcroft. A 1988 National Security Council-Defense Department Commission on Integrated Long-Term Strategy was co-chaired by Kissinger and Brzezinski, and directly acknowledged that most conflicts across the world were “insurgencies, organized terrorism, [and] paramilitary crime,” including “guerilla forces” and “armed subversives.” The report stated that the U.S. would have to intervene in these “low intensity conflicts” in which the “enemy” was “omnipresent” (or, in other words, in which the target was the population), because if the U.S. did not wage war against armed rebellions or uprisings around the world, “we will surely lose the support of many Third World countries that want to believe the United States can protect its friends, not to mention its own interests.”

This is a key example of ‘Mafia Principles.’ The Mafia is able to expand its influence not simply through coercion, but through offering ‘protection.’ Thus, businessmen, politicians or other individuals who pay dues to the Mafia are in turn given protection by the Mafia. If they are confronted with a problem – competition, threats to their position, etc. – the Mafia will use threats or force in order to protect their patrons.

Take, for example, a corrupt politician (I know, how redundant!) who is in the pocket of the Mafia. A mob boss may ask for a favour – to pass (or block) a particular law – and in turn, the politician gets protection from the mob. Suddenly, an up-and-coming young politician gains in popularity in opposition to the corrupted political figure. The politician asks the mob for some help (after all, the mob doesn’t want to lose the person in their pocket for the one who appears to be a wild card), and so the mob attempts to bribe or makes some threats to the aspiring political figure. If the bribes and/or threats don’t work, then force may be used. Suddenly, the aspiring political figure was found washed ashore along the city’s riverbanks.

This has served several purposes: the politician is kept in the pocket of the Mafia (always easier than trying to find a new point man), the mob maintains its reputation as an organization not to be challenged or disobeyed (fear plays a essential part in maintaining power), and the politician is more indebted than ever to the mob. Interests are secured, reputations are maintained, and power is strengthened.

An ‘insurgency’ in a client state or against a Western occupation poses such a threat to the local and international power structures of imperialism. Thus, the Empire must counter the insurgency in order to undermine the immediate threat to its forces (or those of its allies/clients), to maintain its reputation as what Obama recently referred to as “the anchor of global security,”[8] and thus, to maintain the confidence of other allies around the world, and to pose a powerful threatening force to other populations which may attempt resistance. Interests are secured, reputations are maintained, and power is strengthened.

The notion that a counterinsurgency campaign is targeting a population resisting some form of authority – whether justified or not – and that such a strategy leads to enormous human tragedy, civilian casualties, suffering, chaos, destruction and human social devastation simply is of little significance to those who advocate for such doctrines. If the interest is in maintaining ‘power,’ the suffering of people is irrelevant. For the Empire, power and profit are what matters, people are incidental, and most often, in the way.

In the midst of the massive civil war in Iraq that Petraeus helped to bring about (with his ‘counterinsurgency’ operations of building death squads), Bush appointed Petraeus to head the planned “surge” of 20,000 U.S. troops into the country in 2007, which was hailed in the media and by the political class and their intellectual sycophants as a profound success.

By 2008, violence in Iraq was down, and this was of course interpreted as a success of the counterinsurgency/surge strategy. The reality was, as several commentators and analysts have pointed out, that the violence decreased because most of the ethnic cleansing in Iraq had taken place by then, and the Shia had won.[9] One academic study noted that just prior to the surge, there was a massive ethnic cleansing that took place within Iraq, and so by the time the surge began, noted one researcher, “many of the targets of conflict had either been killed or fled the country,” and that, “violence has declined in Baghdad because of inter-communal violence that reached a climax as the surge was beginning.” The effect of the surge was not to reduce violence, but rather, noted the report: “it has helped to provide a seal of approval for a process of ethno-sectarian neighborhood homogenization that is now largely achieved.”[10]

Even General Wesley Clark, former Supreme Commander of NATO who led the NATO war against Yugoslavia in the 1990s, wrote in 2007 that as the surge was taking place, “vicious ethnic cleansing is under way right under the noses of our troops.”[11] Upon the disgraced resignation of Petraeus from the position of CIA Director (due to some insignificant political sex scandal) in 2012, the Washington Post reflected on the “surge” strategy back in 2007 which propelled Petraeus “to the top,” writing that the surge strategy was “about helping Iraqis.”[12] Naturally, such a notion – in the Western media – is a given ‘fact’ without the need for qualification: we did it, therefore it is ‘good’; we did it in Iraq, therefore it was for the benefit of Iraq; we did it to Iraqis, therefore it was for Iraqis.

Counterinsurgency strategy – or ‘COIN’ as it is referred to in military parlance – shares a great deal with terrorist strategy, namely that, “the target is the people.” The difference, however, is that one is employed by a massive state-military power structure while the other is used by small networks of individuals (often) operating outside of state structures. Both, however, are typically driven by relatively small groups of violent extremists.

Obama briefly appointed General Stanley McChrystal – former commander of the JSOC forces running secret wars around the world – as the head of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan in 2009, who was a strong advocate of “counterinsurgency tactics.”[13] In March of 2009, Obama announced his strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan as a dual ‘AfPak’ strategy, expanding the Afghan war theatre directly into Pakistan, a nation of some 180 million people and armed with nuclear weapons.[14]

The strategy in Afghanistan was expected to drive militants into neighboring Pakistan, likely destabilizing the country.[15] As the Obama administration began its “surge” into Afghanistan in March of 2009, under the leadership of General McChrystal, who formerly ran Cheney’s “executive assassination ring,” an additional 21,000 troops were sent to the country. The Pakistani military warned the Americans that they were worried that U.S. actions in Afghanistan would not only send an increased level of militants, including the Taliban, into Pakistan’s lawless areas, but that it could also “prompt an exodus of refugees from southern Afghanistan.” In May of 2009, under U.S. pressure, the Pakistani military launched an offensive against the stateless North West Frontier Province (NWFP), displacing over 2 million people.[16]

This offensive was urged by State Department official Richard Holbrooke, as well as Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen and General David Petraeus.[17] The Independent referred to the displacement which resulted as “an exodus that is beyond biblical,” creating roughly 2.4 million internal refugees within the span of a month. Across the world, only Sudan, Iraq and Colombia had larger internal refugee populations. The speed of the “displacement” reached up to 85,000 per day, matched only by the Rwandan genocide in 1994.[18] The refugee crisis had subsequently “inflamed murderous ethnic rivalries” across Pakistan, noted the Wall Street Journal.[19] However, by late August, Pakistan had returned roughly 1.3 million of the refugees to the areas from which they were displaced.[20]

In October, Obama sent an addition 13,000 troops to Afghanistan.[21] The Pakistani Prime Minister warned that this would “destabilize his country.”[22] In December, Obama announced an intention to send an additional 30,000 U.S. forces to Afghanistan, bringing the total number of U.S. troops in the country to roughly 100,000.[23]

In a 2009 State Department cable from Pakistan, Anne Patterson reported that U.S. policy and actions in Pakistan “risks destabilizing the Pakistani state, alienating both the civilian government and military leadership, and provoking a broader governance crisis in Pakistan without finally achieving the goal.” However, Patterson, seemingly without paradox, wrote that the U.S. strategy was “an important component of dealing with the overall threat” of terrorism.[24]

Further, noted Patterson, the U.S. strategy in relation to Afghanistan, which included supporting an increased role for India, Pakistan’s long-standing state-enemy, was pushing the Pakistanis “to embrace Taliban groups all the more closely,” and that U.S. arms deals with India “feeds Pakistani establishment paranoia and pushes them close to both Afghan and Kashmir-focused terrorist groups while reinforcing doubts about U.S. intentions.”[25]

Another 2009 diplomatic cable from Patterson in Pakistan noted that nuclear proliferations was “a bigger threat than terrorism,” while Pakistan had been building nuclear weapons “at a faster rate than any other country in the world,” according to a U.S. national intelligence official in 2008. U.S. support for India’s nuclear program (which is not a signatory to the NPT), has continued to cause Pakistan to refuse to sign the NPT, and had encouraged Pakistan to instead develop more nuclear weapons. Patterson described the relationship between Pakistan and the U.S. as one of “mutual distrust,” explaining that, “the relationship is one of co-dependency we grudgingly admit – Pakistan knows the US cannot afford to walk away; the US knows Pakistan cannot survive without our support.”[26]

Patterson noted in a 2009 cable that most Pakistanis view America with “suspicion,” and that the Pakistani government was worried about the influx of militants and refugees from the U.S.-NATO war in Afghanistan, and that they would prefer to implement a strategy of “dialogue, deterrence and development” (instead of military operations) in regards to the country’s own troubled regions which were becoming hot-beds for the growth of extremist groups. Patterson recommended that the U.S. government instruct the Pakistanis that, “it will be difficult for international donors to support a government that is not prepared to go all-out to defend its own territory.” In other words: if Pakistan wants military and economic aid and IMF ‘assistance,’ it will have to continue military operations.[27]

Fred Branfman, who examined in detail Wikileaks cables related to Pakistan, summarized their findings as thus: “A disastrously bungled U.S. policy toward Pakistan has led a majority of the Pakistani people to see the U.S. as their ‘enemy’ and strengthened jihadi forces in both the northwest territories and Punjab heartland and thus made it more likely that anti-American forces could obtain Pakistani nuclear materials.” As America continues its war in Afghanistan, it will “continue to destabilize the Pakistani state,” not to mention, so too will undertaking a ‘secret war’ inside Pakistan itself.[28]

Since General Petraeus had so much “success” with creating death squads in Iraq, plunging the country into a deeper civil war, supporting the massive ethnic cleansing and undertaking a war against the population (“counterinsurgency” campaign), he was naturally the right choice for Obama to appoint in 2010 when it came to leading the “counterinsurgency” and “surge” into Afghanistan, replacing General McChrystal.

As revealed by Bob Woodward in 2010, under the Obama administration, the CIA was “running and paying for a secret 3,000-strong army of Afghan paramilitaries whose main aim is assassinating Taliban and al-Qaeda operatives not just in Afghanistan but across the border in neighboring Pakistan’s tribal areas,” likely working “in close tandem” with U.S. Special Forces undertaking “kill-or-capture” missions, all of which is approved by the U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus.[29]

The Afghan “surge” of the Obama administration was a profound failure. Following the first year of the surge, 2010 was recorded as the “deadliest year” for Afghan civilians since the war and occupation began in 2001, with over 2,700 civilians killed, up 15% from the previous year, according to the UN.[30] In 2011, the death toll reached another record high, with more than 3,000 civilians killed, according to the UN, an 8% increase from the previous year, and the number of deaths caused by suicide bombings increased by 80% from the previous year.[31]

The U.S. troops presence was to be reduced significantly following the formal “withdrawal” in 2014, after which time Obama pledged to keep a “small troops presence” in the country.[32] The remaining force would largely be geared toward “counterterrorism” operations in the country.[33] In June of 2013, the “formal” handing over of security operations from U.S.-NATO forces to Afghan forces was initiated, with a 350,000-strong military and police force trained by NATO and the US to manage internal ‘security’ against the continued ‘insurgency’ in the country.[34]

In other words, nearly thirteen years after a U.S.-NATO war and occupation began in Afghanistan, the war will continue indefinitely, and the “target” will remain as the population. In our media, we hear about deaths of “militants” or “Taliban” as if these are easily confirmed card-carrying or uniform-wearing groups and individuals (just as we report in regards to Obama’s global drone bombing terror campaign). Yet, these reports often go unquestioned, much like during the massive counterinsurgency war the U.S. waged in Vietnam, where the majority of the population was largely opposed to the imperial presence of the United States, and where those whom the U.S. killed were given the all-encompassing label of ‘Viet Cong’ – the “enemy.” So long as those who we murder in our foreign occupations are given the correct ‘label’ (whether Viet Cong, Taliban, al-Qaeda, or the ever-bland ‘militants’ and ‘terrorists’), our continued slaughtering is continuously justified.

Few comments are made about the notion of the right of populations to resist foreign military occupations. Regardless as to whether or not we – as individuals – approve of particular militant groups in places like Afghanistan or Pakistan, we do not have the ‘right’ to dictate who rules those nations. And, in fact, our presence strengthens the more extremist, militant, violent and deplorable groups precisely because they are those which are best equipped to resist another – far more – violent, extremist, militant and deplorable group: namely, Western military occupation forces.

Here is a hypothetical: imagine you live in the United States, and the government collapses amid disarray and disagreement (I know, I’m being redundant again!), but then, China suddenly decides to send in its army of 2.2 million forces to occupy the United States in order to act as an “anchor of security” for the world. Imagine Chinese forces installed a puppet government, maintained an occupation for over a decade, and ultimately ruled the country by force. Surely, in the United States, armed resistance would emerge. Yet, who – in the U.S. – are those most likely to resort to armed resistance?

Chances are, such groups would emerge among the militant right-wing Christian groups spread out across much of the country, holding extremist ideologies which much of the population finds deplorable, but also being among the best armed members of the domestic American population. Other gangs and criminal groups would likely flourish, war lords and drug lords would rise to high places (as they have in Afghanistan, Mexico, and Colombia), and then the Chinese would resort to a ‘counterinsurgency’ strategy, in which the whole population is punished. This would ultimately increase support for the domestic militants, despite their deplorable ideologies, and a subsequent cycle of violence and destruction would likely ensue.

Surely, such a scenario is not desired – at least not by the many Americans I know and consider friends and family – but such is the scenario we impose upon countries and people all across the planet. This insanity must stop. There must be – in the West and most especially within the United States itself – the development of an anti-imperial/anti-empire social movement. It is not only a requirement out of some uncomfortable argument about the ‘economic costs’ of extending an empire around the world, but it is a moral necessity. As Obama himself stated in September of 2013, “for nearly seven decades the United States has been the anchor of global security.”[35] That is seven decades of American imperialism on a truly global scale, for which the populations of the West must now make amends, and that can only be done by ending the empire. Nothing less than the absolute abolishment of imperialism – in all its modern forms – is of the utmost human necessity.

We can have destruction, or we can have dignity. We can have hypocrisy, or we can have honesty. We can have fascism, or we can have a future. We can have hatred, or we can have humility. We can have repression, or we can have possibility. We can have war, or we can have no more. We can have Empire, or we can have Humanity. We cannot have both. Clearly, those in power are not equipped with the principles or possible threat of having a ‘moral moment’ in order to make such decisions: Barack Obama is no exception. Obama is merely the latest political personification of imperial phlegm spewed forth from the charred chest of the American oligarchy as their chief representative, diligently applying Mafia principles to international relations.

The future of humanity – and the ending of empire – can only exist in hands of humanity itself, not a single human being with concentrated power, but rather, with the actualization – the decentralization – of power among the population.

When Hitler’s second in command – Hermann Goering – was asked at the Nuremberg trials about Nazi Germany plunging the world into war, he replied: “Why, of course, the people don’t want war… Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship… voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country.”[36]

It would seem, then, that the only ones qualified to determine foreign policy are those it affects the most – those who are sent off to kill, and those who are targeted to be killed – in short: the population. Peace is possible, if people are empowered. Otherwise, imperialism is inevitable, and extinction is nearly ensured. There is a choice: we can passively accept imperialism and internalize a sense of insignificance and apathy; or, we can acknowledge that the whole global imperial system and structures of domination were established and are maintained precisely because those few in power – the tiny minority of global oligarchs – who rule the world are very well aware that when people work together, locally and globally, change is inevitable. If people were so easily controllable, so automatically apathetic, or inherently insignificant, why are there so many institutions, ideologies, techniques, structures and systems designed to keep people that way?

We can have Empire, or we can have Humanity. The choice is yours.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is a 26-year old researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, chair of the Geopolitics Division of The Hampton Institute, research director for Occupy.com’s Global Power Project, and hosts a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.

Notes

[1] Mona Mahmood, et. al., “From El Salvador to Iraq: Washington’s man behind brutal police squads,” The Guardian, 6 March 2013:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/06/el-salvador-iraq-police-squads-washington

[2] Ibid.

[3] John Barry, “‘The Salvador Option’,” Newsweek – The Daily Beast, 7 January 2005:

http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2005/01/07/the-salvador-option.html

[4] “The Iraq deaths study was valid and correct,” The Age, 21 October 2006:

http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/the-iraq-deaths-study-was-valid-and-correct/2006/10/20/1160851135985.html?page=fullpage#contentSwap1

[5] Luke Baker, “Iraq conflict has killed a million Iraqis: survey,” Reuters, 30 January 2008:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/01/30/us-iraq-deaths-survey-idUSL3048857920080130

[6] Thomas A. Bass, “Counterinsurgency and Torture,” American Quarterly (Vol. 60, No. 2, June 2008), page 233.

[7] Nick Cullather, “‘The Target is the People’: Representations of the Village in Modernization and U.S. National Security Doctrine,” Cultural Politics (Vol. 2, No. 1, 2006), page 41.

[8] Barack Obama, “Transcript: President Obama’s Address To The Nation On Syria,” NPR, 10 September 2013:

http://www.npr.org/2013/09/10/221186456/transcript-president-obamas-address-to-the-nation-on-syria

[9] Patrick Cockburn, “Iraq: Violence is down – but not because of America’s ‘surge’,” The Independent, 14 September 2008:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/iraq-violence-is-down-ndash-but-not-because-of-americas-surge-929896.html

[10] Maggie Fox, “Satellite images show ethnic cleanout in Iraq,” Reuters, 19 September 2008:

http://www.reuters.com/article/2008/09/19/us-iraq-lights-idUSN1953066020080919

[11] Wesley Clark, “Bush’s ‘surge’ will backfire,” The Independent, 7 January 2007:

http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/wesley-clark-bushs-surge-will-backfire-431053.html

[12] Max Fisher, “The Iraq success story that propelled David Petraeus to the top,” The Washington Post, 9 November 2012:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2012/11/09/the-iraq-success-story-that-propelled-david-petraeus-to-the-top/

[13] Ann Scott Tyson, Top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Is Fired. The Washington Post: May 12, 2009: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/11/AR2009051101864.html

[14] George Packer, The Last Mission. The New Yorker: September 28, 2009: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_packer

[15] Andrew Gray, US Afghan surge could push militants into Pakistan. Reuters: May 21, 2009: http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N21412211.htm

[16] AP, Afghanistan surge tied to Pakistan stability. MSNBC: May 21, 2009: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30871807/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

[17] George Packer, The Last Mission. The New Yorker: September 28, 2009: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_packer

[18] Andrew Buncombe, In Pakistan, an exodus that is beyond biblical. The Independent: May 31, 2009: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/in-pakistan-an-exodus-that-is-beyond-biblical-1693513.html

[19] YAROSLAV TROFIMOV, Refugee Crisis Inflames Ethnic Strife in Pakistan. The Wall Street Journal: May 30, 2009: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124363974401367773.html

[20] Nita Bhalla, Some Pakistan war displaced must winter in camps: U.N. Reuters: August 20, 2009: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE57J2N020090820

[21] Ann Scott Tyson, Support Troops Swelling U.S. Force in Afghanistan. The Washington Post: October 13, 2009: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/12/AR2009101203142.html?hpid=topnews

[22] US surge in Afghanistan ‘may destablize Pakistan’. Press TV: November 30, 2009: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=112484&sectionid=351020401

[23] Scott Wilson, Obama: U.S. security is still at stake. The Washington Post: December 2, 2009: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/01/AR2009120101231.html

[24] US Embassy Cables, “US embassy cables: ‘Reviewing our Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy’,” The Guardian, 30 November 2010:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/226531

[25] Ibid.

[26] Fred Branfman, “WikiLeaks Revelation: How US Policy in Pakistan Heightens the Risk of Nuclear Attack,” AlterNet, 16 January 2011:

http://www.alternet.org/story/149547/wikileaks_revelation%3A_how_us_policy_in_pakistan_heightens_the_risk_of_nuclear_attack?paging=off

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Julius Cavendish, “How the CIA ran a secret army of 3,000 assassins,” The Independent, 23 September 2010:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/how-the-cia-ran-a-secret-army-of-3000-assassins-2087039.html

[30] Laura King, “U.N.: 2010 deadliest year for Afghan civilians,” Los Angeles Times, 10 March 2011:

http://articles.latimes.com/2011/mar/10/world/la-fg-afghan-civilian-deaths-20110310

[31] Damien Pearse, “Afghan civilian death toll reaches record high,” The Guardian, 4 February 2012:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/feb/04/afghan-civilian-death-toll-record

[32] Scott Wilson and David Nakamura, “Obama announces reduced U.S. role in Afghanistan starting this spring,” The Washington Post, 11 January 2013:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/karzai-meets-obama-to-discuss-us-drawdown-in-afghanistan/2013/01/11/b50c72ec-5c03-11e2-9fa9-5fbdc9530eb9_story.html?hpid=z1

[33] Michael R. Gordon, “Time Slipping, U.S. Ponders Afghan Role After 2014,” The New York Times, 25 November 2012:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/26/world/asia/us-planning-a-force-to-stay-in-afghanistan.html?pagewanted=all

[34] Nathan Hodge, “Blast Mars Day of Security Handover in Kabul,” The Wall Street Journal, 18 June 2013:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323566804578552593026745674.html

[35] Barack Obama, “Transcript: President Obama’s Address To The Nation On Syria,” NPR, 10 September 2013:

http://www.npr.org/2013/09/10/221186456/transcript-president-obamas-address-to-the-nation-on-syria

[36] G.M. Gilbert, Nuremberg Diary (New York: Signet, 1961), pages 255-256.

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America’s “Secret Wars” in Over 100 Countries Around the World: Empire Under Obama, Part 3

America’s “Secret Wars” in Over 100 Countries Around the World: Empire Under Obama, Part 3

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

Originally posted at The Hampton Institute

20120105-potus-pentagon_0

Part 1: Political Language and the ‘Mafia Principles’ of International Relations

Part 2: Barack Obama’s Global Terror Campaign

Obama’s global terror campaign is not only dependent upon his drone assassination program, but increasingly it has come to rely upon the deployment of Special Operations forces in countries all over the world, reportedly between 70 and 120 countries at any one time. As Obama has sought to draw down the large-scale ground invasions of countries (as Bush pursued in Afghanistan and Iraq), he has escalated the world of ‘covert warfare,’ largely outside the oversight of Congress and the public. One of the most important agencies in this global “secret war” is the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC for short.

JSOC was established in 1980 following the failed rescue of American hostages at the U.S. Embassy in Iran as “an obscure and secretive corner of the military’s hierarchy,” noted the Atlantic. It experienced a “rapid expansion” under the Bush administration, and since Obama came to power, “appears to be playing an increasingly prominent role in national security” and “counterterrorism,” in areas which were “traditionally covered by the CIA.”[1] One of the most important differences between these covert warfare operations being conducted by JSOC instead of the CIA is that the CIA has to report to Congress, whereas JSOC only reports its most important activities to the President’s National Security Council.[2]

During the Bush administration, JSOC “reported directly” to Vice President Dick Cheney, according to award-winning investigative journalist Seymour Hersh (of the New Yorker), who explained that, “It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on.” He added: “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.”[3]

In 2005, Dick Cheney referred to U.S. Special Forces as “the silent professionals” representing “the kind of force we want to build for the future… a force that is lighter, more adaptable, more agile, and more lethal in action.” And without a hint of irony, Cheney stated: “None of us wants to turn over the future of mankind to tiny groups of fanatics committing indiscriminate murder and plotting large-scale terror.”[4] Not unless those “fanatics” happen to be wearing U.S. military uniforms, of course, in which case “committing indiscriminate murder and plotting large-scale terror” is not an issue.

The commander of JSOC during the Bush administration – when it served as Cheney’s “executive assassination ring” – was General Stanley McChrystal, whom Obama appointed as the top military commander in Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, JSOC began to play a much larger role in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.[5] In early 2009, the new head of JSOC, Vice Admiral William H. McRaven ordered a two-week ‘halt’ to Special Operations missions inside Afghanistan, after several JSOC raids in previous months killed several women and children, adding to the growing “outrage” within Afghanistan about civilian deaths caused by US raids and airstrikes, which contributed to a surge in civilian deaths over 2008.[6]

JSOC has also been involved in running a “secret war” inside of Pakistan, beginning in 2006 but accelerating rapidly under the Obama administration. The “secret war” was waged in cooperation with the CIA and the infamous private military contractor, Blackwater, made infamous for its massacre of Iraqi civilians, after which it was banned from operating in the country.[7]

Blackwater’s founder, Erik Prince, was recruited as a CIA asset in 2004, and in subsequent years acquired over $1.5 billion in contracts from the Pentagon and CIA, and included among its leadership several former top-level CIA officials. Blackwater, which primarily hires former Special Forces soldiers, has largely functioned “as an overseas Praetorian guard for the CIA and State Department officials,” who were also “helping to craft, fund, and execute operations,” including “assembling hit teams,” all outside of any Congressional or public oversight (since it was technically a private corporation).[8]

The CIA hired Blackwater to aid in a secret assassination program which was hidden from Congress for seven years.[9] These operations would be overseen by the CIA or Special Forces personnel.[10] Blackwater has also been contracted to arm drones at secret bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan for Obama’s assassination program, overseen by the CIA.[11] The lines dividing the military, the CIA and Blackwater had become “blurred,” as one former CIA official commented, “It became a very brotherly relationship… There was a feeling that Blackwater eventually become an extension of the agency.”[12]

The “secret war” in Pakistan may have begun under Bush, but it had rapidly expanded in the following years of the Obama administration. Wikileaks cables confirmed the operation of JSOC forces inside of Pakistan, with Pakistani Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani telling the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson (who would later be appointed as ambassador to Egypt), that, “I don’t care if they do it as long as they get the right people. We’ll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it.”[13]

Within the first five months of Obama’s presidency in 2009, he authorized “a massive expansion of clandestine military and intelligence operations worldwide,” granting the Pentagon’s regional combatant commanders “significant new authority” over such covert operations.[14] The directive came from General Petraeus, commander of CENTCOM, authorizing Special Forces soldiers to be sent into “both friendly and hostile nations in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Horn of Africa.” The deployment of highly trained killers into dozens of countries was to become “systemic and long term,” designed to “penetrate, disrupt, defeat or destroy” enemies of the State, beyond the rule of law, no trial or pretenses of accountability. They also “prepare the environment” for larger attacks that the U.S. or NATO countries may have planned. Unlike with the CIA, these operations do not report to Congress, or even need “the President’s approval.” But for the big operations, they get the approval of the National Security Council (NSC), which includes the president, as well as most other major cabinet heads, of the Pentagon, CIA, State Department, etc.[15]

The new orders gave regional commanders – such as Petraeus who headed CENTCOM, or General Ward of the newly-created Africa Command (AFRICOM) – authority over special operations forces in the area of their command, institutionalizing the authority to send trained killers into dozens of countries around the world to conduct secret operations with no oversight whatsoever; and this new ‘authority’ is given to multiple top military officials, who have risen to the top of an institution with absolutely no ‘democratic’ pretenses. Regardless of who is president, this “authority” remains institutionalized in the “combatant commands.”[16]

The combatant commands include: AFRICOM over Africa (est. 2007), CENTCOM over the Middle East and Central Asia (est. 1983), EUCOM over Europe (est. 1947), NORTHCOM over North America (est. 2002), PACOM over the Pacific rim and Asia (est. 1947), SOUTHCOM over Central and South America and the Caribbean (est. 1963), SOCOM as Special Operations Command (est. 1987), STRATCOM as Strategic Command over military operations to do with outer space, intelligence, and weapons (est. 1992), and TRANSCOM handling all transportation for the Department of Defense. The State Department was given “oversight” to clear the operations from each embassy,[17] just to make sure everyone was ‘in the loop,’ unlike during the Bush years when it was run out of Cheney’s office without telling anyone else.

In 2010, it was reported by the Washington Post that the U.S. has expanded the operations of its Special Forces around the world, from being deployed in roughly 60 countries under Bush to about 75 countries in 2010 under Obama, operating in notable spots such as the Philippines and Colombia, as well as Yemen, across the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia. The global deployment of Special Forces – alongside the CIA’s global drone warfare program – were two facets of Obama’s “national security doctrine of global engagement and domestic values,” in the words of the Washington Post, though the article was unclear on which aspect of waging “secret wars” in 75 countries constituted Obama’s “values.” Commanders for Special Operations forces have become “a far more regular presence at the White House” under Obama than George Bush, with one such commander commenting, “We have a lot more access… They are talking publicly much less but they are acting more. They are willing to get aggressive much more quickly.” Such Special Operations forces deployments “go beyond unilateral strikes and include the training of local counterterrorism forces and joint operations with them.”[18]

So not only are U.S. forces conducting secret wars within dozens of countries around the world, but they are training the domestic military forces of many of these countries to undertake secret wars internally, and in the interests of the United States Mafia empire.

One military official even “set up a network” of private military corporations that hired former Special Forces and CIA operations to gather intelligence and conduct secret operations in foreign countries to support “lethal action”: publicly subsidized, privatized ‘accountability.’ Such a network was “generally considered illegal” and was “improperly financed.”[19] When the news of these networks emerged, the Pentagon said it shut them down and opened a “criminal investigation.” Turns out, they found nothing “criminal,” because two months later, the operations were continuing and had “become an important source of intelligence.” The networks of covert-ops corporations were being “managed” by Lockheed Martin, one of the largest military contractors in the world, while being “supervised” by the Pentagon’s Special Operations Command.[20]

Admiral Eric T. Olson had been the head of Special Operations Command from 2007 to 2011, and in that year, Olson led a successful initiative – endorsed by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mike Mullen and Defense Secretary Robert Gates – to encourage the promotion of top special operations officials to higher positions in the whole military command structure. The “trend” was to continue under the following Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who previously headed the CIA from 2009 to 2011.[21] When Olson left his position as head of Special Operations Command, he was replaced with Admiral William McRaven, who served as the head of JSOC from 2008 to 2011, having followed Stanley McChrystal.

By January of 2012, Obama was continuing with seeking to move further away from large-scale ground wars such as in Iraq and Afghanistan, and refocus on “a smaller, more agile force across Asia, the Pacific and the Middle East.” Surrounded by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in full uniforms adorned with medals, along with other top Pentagon officials, President Obama delivered a rare press briefing at the Pentagon where he said that, “our military will be leaner, but the world must know the United States is going to maintain our military superiority.” The priorities in this strategy would be “financing for defense and offense in cyberspace, for Special Operations forces and for the broad area of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.”[22]

In February of 2012, Admiral William H. McRaven, the head of the Special Operations Command, was “pushing for a larger role for his elite units who have traditionally operated in the dark corners of American foreign policy,” advocating a plan that “would give him more autonomy to position his forces and their war-fighting equipment where intelligence and global events indicate they are most needed,” notably with expansions in mind for Asia, Africa and Latin America. McRaven stated that, “It’s not really about Socom [Special Operations Command] running the global war on terrorism… I don’t think we’re ready to do that. What it’s about is how do I better support” the major regional military command structures.[23]

In the previous decade, roughly 80% of US Special Operations forces were deployed in the Middle East, but McRaven wanted them to spread to other regions, as well as to be able to “quickly move his units to potential hot spots without going through the standard Pentagon process governing overseas deployments.” The Special Operations Command numbered around 66,000 people, double the number since 2001, and its budget had reached $10.5 billion, from $4.2 billion in 2001.[24]

In March of 2012, a Special Forces commander, Admiral William H. McRaven, developed plans to expand special operations units, making them “the force of choice” against “emerging threats” over the following decade. McRaven’s Special Operations Command oversees more than 60,000 military personnel and civilians, saying in a draft paper circulated at the Pentagon that: “We are in a generational struggle… For the foreseeable future, the United States will have to deal with various manifestations of inflamed violent extremism. In order to conduct sustained operations around the globe, our special operations must adapt.” McRaven stated that Special Forces were operating in over 71 countries around the world.[25]

The expansion of global special forces operations was largely in reaction to the increasingly difficult challenge of positioning large military forces around the world, and carrying out large scale wars and occupations, for which there is very little public support at home or abroad. In 2013, the Special Operations Command had forces operating in 92 different countries around the world, with one Congressional critic accusing McRaven of engaging in “empire building.”[26] The expanded presence of these operations is a major factor contributing to “destabilization” around the world, especially in major war zones like Pakistan.[27]

In 2013, McRaven’s Special Operations Command gained new authorities and an expanded budget, with McRaven testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee that, “On any day of the year you will find special operations forces [in] somewhere between 70 and 90 countries around the world.”[28] In 2012, it was reported that such forces would be operating in 120 different countries by the end of the year.[29]

In December of 2012, it was announced that the U.S. was sending 4,000 soldiers to 35 different African countries as “part of an intensifying Pentagon effort to train countries to battle extremists and give the U.S. a ready and trained force to dispatch to Africa if crises requiring the U.S. military emerge,” operating under the Pentagon’s newest regional command, AFRICOM, established in 2007.[30]

By September of 2013, the U.S. military had been involved in various activities in Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde Islands, Senegal, Seychelles, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda and Zambia, among others, constructing bases, undertaking “security cooperation engagements, training exercises, advisory deployments, special operations missions, and a growing logistics network.”[31]

In short, Obama’s global ‘war of terror’ has expanded to roughly 100 countries around the world, winding down the large-scale military invasions and occupations such as those in Afghanistan and Iraq, and increasing the “small-scale” warfare operations of Special Forces, beyond the rule of law, outside Congressional and public oversight, conducting “snatch and grab” operations, training domestic repressive military forces in nations largely run by dictatorships to undertake their own operations on behalf of the ‘Global Godfather.’

Make no mistake: this is global warfare. Imagine for a moment the international outcry that would result from news of China or Russia conducting secret warfare operations in roughly 100 countries around the world. But when America does it, there’s barely a mention, save for the passing comments in the New York Times or the Washington Post portraying an unprecedented global campaign of terror as representative of Obama’s “values.” Well, indeed it is representative of Obama’s values, by virtue of the fact that he doesn’t have any.

Indeed, America has long been the Global Godfather applying the ‘Mafia Principles’ of international relations, lock-in-step with its Western lackey organized crime ‘Capo’ states such as Great Britain and France. Yet, under Obama, the president who had won public relations industry awards for his well-managed presidential advertising campaign promising “hope” and “change,” the empire has found itself waging war in roughly one hundred nations, conducting an unprecedented global terror campaign, increasing its abuses of human rights, war crimes and crimes against humanity, all under the aegis of the Nobel Peace Prize-winner Barack Obama.

Whether the president is Clinton, Bush, or Obama, the Empire of Terror wages on its global campaign of domination and subjugation, to the detriment of all humanity, save those interests that sit atop the constructed global hierarchy. It is in the interests of the ruling elite that America protects and projects its global imperial designs. It is in the interests of all humanity, then, that the Empire be opposed – and ultimately, deconstructed – no matter who sits in office, no matter who holds the title of the ‘high priest of hypocrisy’ (aka: President of the United States). It is the Empire that rules, and the Empire that destroys, and the Empire that must, in turn, be demolished.

The world at large – across the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Latin America – suffers the greatest hardships of the Western Mafia imperial system: entrenched poverty, exploitation, environmental degradation, war and destruction. The struggle against the Empire cannot we waged and won from the outside alone. The rest of the world has been struggling to survive against the Western Empire for decades, and, in truth, hundreds of years. For the struggle to succeed (and it can succeed), a strong anti-Empire movement must develop within the imperial powers themselves, and most especially within the United States. The future of humanity depends upon it.

Or… we could all just keep shopping and watching TV, blissfully blind to the global campaign of terror and war being waged in our names around the world. Certainly, such an option may be appealing, but ultimately, wars abroad come home to roost. As George Orwell once wrote: “The war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous. Hierarchical society is only possible on the basis of poverty and ignorance. This new version is the past and no different past can ever have existed. In principle the war effort is always planned to keep society on the brink of starvation. The war is waged by the ruling group against its own subjects and its object is not the victory over either Eurasia or East Asia, but to keep the very structure of society intact.”

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a 26-year old researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, chair of the Geopolitics Division of The Hampton Institute, research director for Occupy.com’s Global Power Project, and hosts a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.

References

[1] Max Fisher, “The Special Ops Command That’s Displacing The CIA,” The Atlantic, 1 December 2009:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/12/the-special-ops-command-thats-displacing-the-cia/31038/

[2] Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Actions in Mideast,” The New York Times, 24 May 2010:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/world/25military.html?hp

[3] Eric Black, “Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh describes ‘executive assassination ring’,” Minnesota Post, 11 March 2009:

http://www.minnpost.com/eric-black-ink/2009/03/investigative-reporter-seymour-hersh-describes-executive-assassination-ring

[4] John D. Danusiewicz, “Cheney Praises ‘Silent Professionals’ of Special Operations,” American Forces Press Service, 11 June 2005:

http://www.defense.gov/News/NewsArticle.aspx?ID=16430

[5] Max Fisher, “The Special Ops Command That’s Displacing The CIA,” The Atlantic, 1 December 2009:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2009/12/the-special-ops-command-thats-displacing-the-cia/31038/

[6] Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, “U.S. Halted Some Raids in Afghanistan,” The New York Times, 9 March 2009:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/world/asia/10terror.html?hp

[7] Jeremy Scahill, The Secret US War in Pakistan. The Nation: November 23, 2009: http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091207/scahill

[8] Adam Ciralsky, “Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy,” Vanity Fair, January 2010:

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2010/01/blackwater-201001

[9] Mark Mazzetti, “C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help to Kill Jihadists,” The New York Times, 19 August 2009:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/us/20intel.html?_r=0

[10] R. Jeffrey Smith and Joby Warrick, “Blackwater tied to clandestine CIA raids,” The Washington Post, 11 December 2009:

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2009-12-11/news/36873053_1_clandestine-cia-raids-cia-assassination-program-blackwater-personnel

[11] James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, “C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones,” The New York Times, 20 August 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/us/21intel.html

[12] James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, “Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret C.I.A. Raids,” The New York Times, 10 December 2009:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/11/us/politics/11blackwater.html

[13] Jeremy Scahill, “The (Not So) Secret (Anymore) US War in Pakistan,” The Nation, 1 December 2010:

http://www.thenation.com/blog/156765/not-so-secret-anymore-us-war-pakistan#

[14] March Ambinder, “Obama Gives Commanders Wide Berth for Secret Warfare,” The Atlantic, 25 May 2010:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/05/obama-gives-commanders-wide-berth-for-secret-warfare/57202/

[15] Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. Is Said to Expand Secret Actions in Mideast,” The New York Times, 24 May 2010:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/25/world/25military.html?hp

[16] Marc Ambinder, “Obama Gives Commanders Wide Berth for Secret Warfare,” 25 May 2010:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/05/obama-gives-commanders-wide-berth-for-secret-warfare/57202/

[17] Max Fisher, “The End of Dick Cheney’s Kill Squads,” The Atlantic, 4 June 2010:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2010/06/the-end-of-dick-cheneys-kill-squads/57707/

[18] Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe, “U.S. ‘secret war’ expands globally as Special Operations forces take larger role,” The Washington Post, 4 June 2010:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/03/AR2010060304965.html

[19] Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti, “Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants,” The New York Times, 14 March 2010:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/15/world/asia/15contractors.html?pagewanted=1

[20] Mark Mazzetti, “U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts,” The New York Times, 15 May 2010:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/16/world/16contractors.html?pagewanted=all

[21] Thom Shanker and Eric Schmitt, “Special Operations Veterans Rise in Hierarchy,” The New York Times, 8 August 2011:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/09/us/09commanders.html?pagewanted=all

[22] Elisabeth Bumiller and Thom Shanker, “Obama Puts His Stamp on Strategy for a Leaner Military,” The New York Times, 5 January 2012:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/06/us/obama-at-pentagon-to-outline-cuts-and-strategic-shifts.html

[23] Eric Schmitt, Mark Mazzetti and Thom Shanker, “Admiral Seeks Freer Hand in Deployment of Elite Forces,” The New York Times, 12 February 2012:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/13/us/admiral-pushes-for-freer-hand-in-special-forces.html?pagewanted=all

[24] Ibid.

[25] David S. Cloud, “U.S. special forces commander seeks to expand operations,” Los Angeles Times, 4 May 2012:

http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/04/world/la-fg-special-forces-20120505

[26] Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker, “A Commander Seeks to Chart a New Path for Special Operations,” The New York Times, 1 May 2013:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/02/us/politics/admiral-mcraven-charts-a-new-path-for-special-operations-command.html?pagewanted=all

[27] Nick Turse, “How Obama’s destabilizing the world,” Salon, 19 September 2011:

http://www.salon.com/2011/09/19/obama_global_destablization/

[28] Walter Pincus, “Special Operations wins in 2014 budget,” The Washington Post, 11 April 2013:

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-04-11/world/38448541_1_mcraven-socom-special-forces

[29] David Isenberg, “The Globalisation of U.S. Special Operations Forces,” IPS News, 24 May 2012:

http://www.ipsnews.net/2012/05/the-globalisation-of-u-s-special-operations-forces/

[30] Tom Bowman, “U.S. Military Builds Up Its Presence In Africa,” NPR, 25 December 2012:

http://www.npr.org/2012/12/25/168008525/u-s-military-builds-up-its-presence-in-africa ;

Lolita C. Baldor, “Army teams going to Africa as terror threat grows,” Yahoo! News, 24 December 2012:

http://news.yahoo.com/army-teams-going-africa-terror-threat-grows-082214765.html

[31] Nick Turse, “The Startling Size of US Military Operations in Africa,” Mother Jones, 6 September 2013:

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/09/us-military-bases-africa

Empire Under Obama, Part 2: Barack Obama’s Global Terror Campaign

Empire Under Obama, Part 2: Barack Obama’s Global Terror Campaign

By: Andrew Gavin Marshall

Originally posted at The Hampton Institute

Part 1: Political Language and the ‘Mafia Principles’ of International Relations

Pakistan

Under the administration of Barack Obama, America is waging a global terror campaign through the use of drones, killing thousands of people, committing endless war crimes, creating fear and terror in a program expected to last several more decades. Welcome to Obama’s War OF Terror.

When Obama became President in 2009, he faced a monumental challenge for the extension of American and Western imperial interests. The effects of eight years under the overt ruthless and reckless behaviour of the Bush administration had taken a toll on the world. With two massive ground wars and occupations under way in Iraq and Afghanistan, Western military forces were stretched thin, while the world’s populations had grown increasingly wary and critical of the use of military force, both at home and abroad. Just as Brzezinski had articulated: “while the lethality of their military might is greater than ever, their capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low.”[1]

When it came to the ‘War on Terror,’ Obama implemented his electoral visions of “hope” and “change” in the only way he knows: change the rhetoric, not the substance, and hope to hell that the Empire can continue extending its influence around the world. As such, Obama quickly implemented a policy change, dropping the term “war on terror” and replacing it with the equally – if not more – meaningless term, “overseas contingency operations.”[2]

A major facet of Obama’s foreign policy strategy has been the implementation of an unprecedented global terror war with flying killer robots (“drones”) operated by remote control. By 2011, the Washington Post reported that no president in U.S. history “has ever relied so extensively on the secret killing of individuals to advance the nation’s security goals.”[3]

Every Tuesday, a counterterrorism meeting takes place in the White House Situation Room among two dozen security officials where they decide who – around the world – they are going to illegally bomb and kill that week, drawing up the weekly “kill list” (as it is called).[4]

By October of 2012, Obama’s “kill list” had evolved into a “next-generation targeting list” now officially referred to as the “disposition matrix,” in yet another effort to demean the English language.[5] The “disposition matrix”/kill list establishes the names of “terror suspects” who the Obama administration wants to ‘dispose’ of, without trial, beyond the rule of law, in contravention of all established international law, and in blatant war crimes that kill innocent civilians.

Obama administration officials believe that the use of global drone terror warfare and “kill lists” are likely to last at least another decade, with one top official commenting, “We can’t possibly kill everyone who wants to harm us… It’s a necessary part of what we do… We’re not going to wind up in 10 years in a world of everybody holding hands and saying, ‘We love America’.”[6] Indeed, quite true. That’s one of the actual repercussions – believe it or not – of waging a massive global assassination program against people around the world: they tend to not “love” the country bombing them.

But the Obama administration warned the world that as of 2012, the U.S. had only reached the “mid-point” in the global war on [read: of] terror, with Obama’s assassination program having already killed more than 3,000 people around the world, more than the number of people killed on 9/11.[7] As Glenn Greenwald noted, this represented “concerted efforts by the Obama administration to fully institutionalize – to make officially permanent – the most extremist powers it has exercised in the name of the war on terror.”[8]

But in case you had any moral ‘qualms’ about bombing and murdering hundreds of innocent children in multiple countries around the world with flying robots, don’t worry: as Joe Klein of Time Magazine noted, “the bottom line in the end is – whose 4-year-old gets killed? What we’re doing is limiting the possibility that 4-year-olds here will get killed by indiscriminate acts of terror.”[9]

Quite right. After all, “indiscriminate acts of terror” are only okay when the United States – or the “international community” – does it. But when the U.S. spreads terror, death and destruction around the world, this is referred to as a “war on terror,” instead of the more accurate “war of terror.” It could be argued that as a rule of thumb, whenever the United States declares a “war” ON something, simply remove the word ‘on’ and replace it with ‘of’, and suddenly, everything starts to make more sense. After all, whenever the U.S. declares a war “on” something (drugs, poverty, terror), the result is that there is a great deal more of whatever it is being ‘targeted’, and that U.S. policies themselves facilitate the exponential growth of these so-called ‘targets.’ Hence, the “war on terror” is truly more accurately described as a “war of terror,” since that is the result of the actual policies undertaken in the name of such a war.

A major NYU School of Law and Stanford University Law School research report was published in September of 2012 documenting the civilian terror inflicted by Obama’s global assassination-terror campaign. While the Obama administration has claimed that drones are “surgically precise” and “makes the US safer,” the report countered that this was completely “false.” The report noted that Obama’s drone war often uses the strategy of hitting the same target multiple times, thus killing rescuers and humanitarian workers who go to help the injured.[10]

This is referred to as a “double-tap” strategy, and according to the FBI and Homeland Security, this is a tactic which is regularly used in “terrorist attacks” to target “first responders as well as the general population.” Obama’s drones not only target rescuers, but also frequently bomb the funerals of previous drone victims. According to the United Nations, such tactics “are a war crime.”[11] Even the NYU/Stanford Law School report identified the drone program as a terror campaign when it noted that the effects of the drone program are that it “terrorizes men, women, and children.”[12]

John O. Brennan, who served as Obama’s chief counterterrorism adviser (and is now the director of the CIA), was the main advocate of the drone program inside the Obama administration. In 2011, he reassured the American people that, “in the last year, there hasn’t been a single collateral death because of the exceptional proficiency, [and] precision of the capabilities that we’ve been able to develop,” and added that, “if there are terrorists who are within an area where there are women and children or others, you know, we do not take such action that might put those innocent men, women and children in danger.”[13] That sounds pretty impressive, though unfortunately, it’s an absurd lie.

The New York Times noted that Obama’s method for counting civilian deaths caused by drone strikes was “disputed” (to say the least), because it “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants,” thus radically underreporting the level of civilian deaths. The “logic” of this view that that “people in an area of known terrorist activity, or found with a top Qaeda operative, are probably up to no good.” This “counting method,” noted the NYT, “may partly explain the official claims of extraordinarily low collateral deaths.” Some administration officials outside the CIA have complained about this method, referring to it as “guilty by association” which results in “deceptive” estimates. One official commented, “It bothers me when they say there were seven guys, so they must all be militants… They count the corpses and they’re not really sure who they are.”[14]

In 2011, it was reported that drone strikes in Pakistan had killed 168 children, according to the Bureau of Investigative Journalism.[15] In Afghanistan, officials note that civilians are killed not only by Taliban attacks but also increasingly by drone attacks, with Afghan president Hamid Karzai condemning the attacks which kill women and children as being “against all international norms.”[16] Afghanistan was in fact the epicenter of the U.S. drone war, even more so than Pakistan, with the CIA having launched upwards of 333 drone strikes in the country over the course of 2012, the highest total ever.[17] The U.S. strategy in Afghanistan has evolved into “a new and as yet only partially understood doctrine of secret, unaccountable and illegal warfare,” which is “destroying the West’s reputation,” noted the Telegraph in 2012.[18] And considering the already-existing “reputation” of the West in the rest of the world, that’s quite an impressive feat.

From 2004 to 2012, between 2,400 and 3,100 people were reported to have been killed by U.S. drone strikes, including at least 800 innocent civilians (as a low estimate). As Seumas Milne reported in the Guardian, the drone strikes “are, in reality, summary executions and widely regarded as potential war crimes by international lawyers.”[19]

The UN warned in June of 2012 that drone strikes may constitute “war crimes,” and that the use of drone strikes and “targeted killings” has been found to be “immensely attractive” to other states in the world, and thus, such practices “weaken the rule of law,” as they “fall outside the scope of accountability.” A Pakistani Ambassador declared that, “We find the use of drones to be totally counterproductive in terms of succeeding in the war against terror. It leads to greater levels of terror rather than reducing them.” Ian Seiderman, the director of the International Commission of Jurists noted that as a result of the global drone war, “immense damage was being done to the fabric of international law.”[20]

Robert Grenier, former head of the CIA’s counter-terrorism center from 2004 to 2006, commented that the United States was “creating a situation where we are creating more enemies than we are removing from the battlefield,” adding that, “If you strike them indiscriminately you are running the risk of creating a terrific amount of popular anger,” and that the strikes could even create “terrorist safe havens.”[21]

In testimony before the U.S. Congress in April of 2013, a Yemeni man who had studied in the United States explained that his community in Yemen – a small village – knew about the United States primarily through stories of his own experiences living there (which were positive), but their positive association with America changed following U.S. drone strikes, commenting: “Now… when they think of America, they think of the fear they feel at the drones over their heads. What the violent militants had failed to achieve, one drone strike accomplished in an instant.”[22]

U.S. drone bases operate out of multiple countries, including Afghanistan, Djibouti, Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Seychelles, and Saudi Arabia. Drones have conducted “surveillance missions” in Libya, Iran, Turkey, Mexico, Colombia, Haiti, and North Korea. Drone strikes have taken place in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Somalia,[23] and there have even been reports of drone strikes taking place in the Philippines.[24] The U.S. has also considered undertaking drone strikes in the African country of Mali.[25]

In February of 2013, the United States sent 100 U.S. troops to Mali to set up a drone base for operations in Western Africa.[26] The U.S. began operating drones out of Mali right away, as “north and west Africa [were] rapidly emerging as yet another front in the long-running US war against terrorist networks,” giving the Pentagon “a strategic foothold in West Africa,” with Niger bordering Mali, Nigeria and Libya, which was already the target of a French-British-American war in 2011.[27]

In September of 2011, Anwar al-Awlaki, an American “suspected terrorist” in Yemen had his name added to Obama’s “kill list” and was murdered in a drone bombing, with Obama reportedly saying that making the decision to kill him was “an easy one.”[28] Two weeks later, Abdulrahman al-Awlaki, the 16-year-old son of Anwar, also born in America but at the time living in Yemen, was then killed with a drone strike. Obama’s former White House Press Secretary and then-reelection campaign adviser Robert Gibbs was asked how the U.S. justified killing the 16-year-old boy, with the journalist commenting, “It’s an American citizen that is being targeted without due process, without trial. And, he’s underage. He’s a minor.” Gibbs replied that the boy “should have [had] a far more responsible father.” Gibbs also noted, “When there are people who are trying to harm us, and have pledged to bring terror to these shores, we’ve taken that fight to them.”[29] Pretty simple: America has decided to take the “terror” to “them.”

At his first inaugural address as President in 2009, Barack Obama said: “To the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect.” Less than two-and-a-half years later, favourable views of the United States in the Middle East had “plummeted… to levels lower than they were during the last year of the Bush administration.” A 2013 Gallup poll found that 92% of Pakistanis disapproved of U.S. leadership, with only 4% approving, “the lowest approval rating Pakistanis have ever given.” While there was “substantial affection” for American culture and people in the Muslim world, according to the poll, the problem was U.S. policies. Even a Pentagon study undertaken during the Bush administration noted: “Muslims do not ‘hate our freedom,’ but rather, they hate our policies,” specifically, “American direct intervention in the Muslim world,” which, the Pentagon noted, “paradoxically elevate[s] stature of and support for Islamic radicals.”[30]

A June 2012 poll of public opinion sought to gauge the level of support for U.S. drone strikes among 20 countries: the U.S., Britain, Germany, Poland, France, India, Italy, Czech Republic, China, Lebanon, Mexico, Spain, Japan, Brazil, Russia, Tunisia, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan and Greece. The poll found that 17 of the countries had a “clear majority” opposed to drone strikes, while only the U.S. had a “clear majority” (62%) in support.[31]

In May of 2013, Michael Sheehan, the assistant secretary of defense for special operations and low-intensity conflict testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee where he was asked how long the ‘war on terrorism’ will last, to which he replied: “At least 10 to 20 years,” with a Pentagon spokesperson later clarifying that he meant that, “the conflict is likely to last 10 to 20 more years from today – atop the 12 years that the conflict has already lasted.”[32] In other words, according to the Pentagon, the world has at least one-to-two more decades of America’s global terror war to look forward to.

So, if America was actually waging a war on terror which sought to reduce the threat of terror, then why would it be undertaking policies that actively – and knowingly – increase the threat and levels of terrorism? Well the answer is perhaps shockingly simple: America is not attempting to reduce terror. Quite the contrary, America is not only increasing the threat of terror, but is doing so by waging terror against much of the world. So this begs the question: what is the actual purpose of Obama’s drone terror campaign?

Akbar Ahmed, the Islamic Studies chair at American University and former Pakistani high commissioner to Britain, explained in a May 2013 op-ed in the New York Times that the drone war in Pakistan was producing “chaos and rage” as it was “destroying already weak tribal structures and throwing communities into disarray,” threatening the Pakistani government and fueling hatred of America, and that this was also occurring in Afghanistan, Somalia, and Yemen, other major target nations of Obama’s terror campaign.[33]

Many of these tribal societies had struggled for autonomy under colonial governments (usually run by the British), and then struggled against the central governments left by the British and other colonial powers. These tribal societies have subsequently come under attack by the Taliban and al-Qaeda (whose growth was developed by the US in cooperation with Saudi Arabia and the Pakistani state), and then they continued to suffer under foreign occupations led by the United States, Britain and other NATO powers in Afghanistan and Iraq, destabilizing the entire Middle East and Central Asia.[34]

Now, these tribal societies are being subjected to Obama’s drone campaign of terror, “causing ferocious backlashes against central governments while destroying any positive image of the United States that may have once existed,” noted Ahmed. In his op-ed, he concluded: “Those at the receiving end of the strikes see them as unjust, immoral and dishonorable – killing innocent people who have never themselves harmed Americans while the drone operators sit safely halfway across the world, terrorizing and killing by remote control.”[35]

So why would the United States knowingly do this, and why target these specific groups? The answer may be that the U.S. is simply targeting so-called “lawless” and “stateless” regions and peoples. In a world where states, corporations, and international organizations rule the day, with the United States perched atop the global hierarchy, the imperial concept of “order” reigns supreme, where the word ‘order’ is defined as control. In a world experiencing increased unrest, protests, rebellions, revolutions and uprisings, “order” is under threat across the globe.

For the American ‘Mafia Godfather’ Empire, control must be established, through whatever means necessary. For, as the ‘Mafia Principles’ of international relations dictate: if one state, region, or people are able to “successfully defy” the Godfather/Empire, then other states and people might try to do the same. This could potentially set off a “domino effect” in which the U.S. and its Mafia capo Western allies rapidly lose control of the world. Thus, we have witnessed the United States and the West intimately involved in attempting to manage the ‘transitions’ taking place as a result of the Arab Spring, desperately seeking to not lose control of the incredibly important strategic region of the Arab world.

Meanwhile, the technological capacity of American military force has reached new heights, with the global drone warfare as a major example. It allows the U.S. to reduce its use of large military forces being sent into combat, and thus reduces the domestic political pressure against foreign aggression and warfare. The drone program fits perfectly into Zbigniew Brzezinski’s description in 2009 of how the major state powers of the world are at a stage where “the lethality of their military might is greater than ever.” Yet, as Brzezinski elaborated, and as is evident in the case of the Arab Spring, the monumental political changes in Latin America over the past decade and a half, and the increased unrest of people around the world, the “capacity to impose control over the politically awakened masses of the world is at a historic low. To put it bluntly: in earlier times, it was easier to control one million people than to physically kill one million people; today, it is infinitely easier to kill one million people than to control one million people”[36]

Thus, we attempt a logical reasoning as to why the U.S. is targeting stateless tribal societies with its global terror campaign: if you can’t control them, kill them. Such a strategy obviously could not be publicly articulated to the population of a self-declared “democratic” society which congratulates itself on being a beacon for “freedom and liberty.” Thus, political language is applied. As George Orwell wrote, political language “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”

When it comes to Obama’s drone terror campaign against stateless tribal societies, the political language is firmly rooted in the “war on terror.” These people are deemed to be “terror suspects,” and so they are bombed and killed, their families and communities terrorized, and as a result, they become increasingly resentful and hateful toward the United States, thus leading to increased recruitment into terrorist organizations and an increased terror threat to the United States itself. Thus, the policy becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy: in terrorizing and bombing impoverished, stateless, tribal societies in the name of “fighting terror,” the U.S. creates the terror threat that it uses to justify continued bombing. And thus, the war of terror wages on.

Some may find my use of the term “terror campaign” to refer to Obama’s drone program as hyperbolic or emotive. But what else are we supposed to call a program that produces “chaos and rage” around the world, creating “more enemies than we are removing” as it “terrorizes men, women and children,” so that when people think of America, “they think of the fear they feel at the drones over their heads”? What do you call this when it has been launched against at least seven different countries in the past four years, killing thousands of people – including hundreds of innocent children – and targeting first responders, humanitarian workers, and funerals?

By definition, this is terrorism. Obama’s global flying-killer-robot-campaign is the implementation of the most technologically advanced terror campaign in history. The fact that Obama’s terror war can continue holding any public support – let alone a majority of public support – is simply evidence of a public with little knowledge of the reality of the campaign, or the terror being inflicted upon people all over the world in their name.

If the objective of U.S. policies were to counter or reduce the threat of terror, one would think that the U.S. would then stop participating in terror. Obviously, that is not the case. Therefore, the objective is different from that which is articulated. As Orwell noted, “political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible,” and that committing such horrific atrocities – such as dropping atomic bombs on cities, supporting genocide, civil wars or, in this case, waging a global campaign of terror – “can indeed be defended,” added Orwell, “but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face.” Thus, “political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness.”

As Obama sought to justify his global terror campaign, he claimed that it has “saved lives” (except, presumably, for the thousands of lives it has claimed), that “America’s actions are legal,” and that, “this is a just war – a war wage proportionally, in last resort, and in self-defense.” Perhaps the most poignant statement Obama made during his May 2013 speech was thus: “the decisions that we are making now will define the type of nation – and world – that we leave to our children.”[37]

So the question for Americans then, should be this: do you want to live in a nation – and world – which is defined by the decision to wage a global campaign of terror upon multiple nations and regions, and tens of thousands of people around the world? Obama clearly has no problem with it, nor does the American foreign policy establishment, nor the media talking heads. But… do you?

Andrew Gavin Marshall is a 26-year old researcher and writer based in Montreal, Canada. He is Project Manager of The People’s Book Project, chair of the Geopolitics Division of The Hampton Institute, research director for Occupy.com’s Global Power Project, and hosts a weekly podcast show with BoilingFrogsPost.

Notes

[1] Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Major Foreign Policy Challenges for the Next US President,” International Affairs, 85: 1, (2009), page 54.

[2] Scott Wilson and Al Kamen, “‘Global War On Terror’ Is Given New Name,” The Washington Post, 25 March 2009:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/03/24/AR2009032402818.html

[3] Greg Miller, “Under Obama, an emerging global apparatus for drone killing,” The Washington Post, 27 December 2011:

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2011-12-27/national/35285416_1_drone-program-drone-campaign-lethal-operations

[4] Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” The New York Times, 29 May 2012:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=all

[5] Greg Miller, “Plan for hunting terrorists signals U.S. intends to keep adding names to kill lists,” The Washington Post, 23 October 2012:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/plan-for-hunting-terrorists-signals-us-intends-to-keep-adding-names-to-kill-lists/2012/10/23/4789b2ae-18b3-11e2-a55c-39408fbe6a4b_story.html

[6] Ibid.

[7] Ibid.

[8] Glenn Greenwald, “Obama moves to make the War on Terror permanent,” The Guardian, 24 October 2012:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/24/obama-terrorism-kill-list

[9] Glenn Greenwald, “Joe Klein’s sociopathic defense of drone killings of children,” The Guardian, 23 October 2012:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/oct/23/klein-drones-morning-joe?guni=Article:in%20body%20link

[10] Glenn Greenwald, “New Stanford/NYU study documents the civilian terror from Obama’s drones,” The Guardian, 25 September 2012:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/sep/25/study-obama-drone-deaths

[11] Glenn Greenwald, “US drone strikes target rescuers in Pakistan – and the west stays silent,” The Guardian, 20 August 2012:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/aug/20/us-drones-strikes-target-rescuers-pakistan?guni=Article:in%20body%20link

[12] Glenn Greenwald, “New Stanford/NYU study documents the civilian terror from Obama’s drones,” The Guardian, 25 September 2012:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/sep/25/study-obama-drone-deaths

[13] Glenn Greenwald, “New study proves falsity of John Brennan’s drone claims,” Salon, 19 July 2011:

http://www.salon.com/2011/07/19/drones/

[14] Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” The New York Times, 29 May 2012:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=all

[15] Rob Crilly, “168 children killed in drone strikes in Pakistan since start of campaign,” The Telegraph, 11 August 2011:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/8695679/168-children-killed-in-drone-strikes-in-Pakistan-since-start-of-campaign.html

[16] Azam Ahmed, “Drone and Taliban Attacks Hit Civilians, Afghans Say,” 8 September 2013:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/09/world/asia/two-deadly-attacks-in-afghanistan.html

[17] Noah Shachtman, “Military Stats Reveal Epicenter of U.S. Drone War,” Wired, 9 November 2012:

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/11/drones-afghan-air-war/

[18] Peter Osborne, “It may seem painless, but drone war in Afghanistan is destroying the West’s reputation,” The Telegraph, 30 May 2012:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/9300187/It-may-seem-painless-but-drone-war-in-Afghanistan-is-destroying-the-Wests-reputation.html

[19] Seumas Milne, “America’s murderous drone campaign is fuelling terror,” The Guardian, 29 May 2012:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/may/29/americas-drone-campaign-terror

[20] Owen Bowcott, “Drone strikes threaten 50 years of international law, says UN rapporteur,” The Guardian, 21 June 2012:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jun/21/drone-strikes-international-law-un

[21] Paul Harris, “Drone attacks create terrorist safe havens, warns former CIA official,” The Guardian, 5 June 2012:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/jun/05/al-qaida-drone-attacks-too-broad

[22] Charlie Savage, “Drone Strikes Turn Allies Into Enemies, Yemeni Says,” The New York Times, 23 April 2013:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/world/middleeast/judiciary-panel-hears-testimony-on-use-of-drones.html

[23] Elspeth Reeve, “The Scope of America’s World War Drone,” The Atlantic Wire, 6 February 2013:

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/02/world-war-drone-map/61873/

[24] Akbar Ahmed and Frankie Martin, “Deadly Drone Strike on Muslims in the Southern Philippines,” 5 March 2012:

http://www.brookings.edu/research/opinions/2012/03/05-drones-philippines-ahmed

[25] Raf Sanchez, “US ‘to deploy drones to launch air strikes against al-Qaeda in Mali’,” The Telegraph, 2 October 2012:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/mali/9582612/US-to-deploy-drones-to-launch-air-strikes-against-al-Qaeda-in-Mali.html

[26] Craig Whitlock, “U.S. troops arrive in Niger to set up drone base,” The Washington Post, 22 February 2013:

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-02-22/world/37233792_1_drone-base-drone-flights-qaeda

[27] Craig Whitlock, “Drone warfare: Niger becomes latest frontline in US war on terror,” The Guardian, 26 March 2013:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/26/niger-africa-drones-us-terror

[28] Jo Becker and Scott Shane, “Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will,” The New York Times, 29 May 2012:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/29/world/obamas-leadership-in-war-on-al-qaeda.html?pagewanted=all

[29] Conor Friedersdorf, “How Team Obama Justifies the Killing of a 16-Year-Old American,” The Atlantic, 24 October 2012:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/10/how-team-obama-justifies-the-killing-of-a-16-year-old-american/264028/

[30] Glenn Greenwald, “Obama, the US and the Muslim world: the animosity deepens,” The Guardian, 15 February 2013:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/15/us-obama-muslims-animosity-deepens

[31] Glenn Greenwald, “Obama, the US and the Muslim world: the animosity deepens,” The Guardian, 15 February 2013:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/feb/15/us-obama-muslims-animosity-deepens

[32] Glenn Greenwald, “Washington gets explicit: its ‘war on terror’ is permanent,” The Guardian, 17 May 2013:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/17/endless-war-on-terror-obama

[33] Akbar Ahmed, “The Drone War Is Far From Over,” The New York Times, 30 may 2013:

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/31/opinion/the-drone-war-is-far-from-over.html

[34] Ibid.

[35] Ibid.

[36] Zbigniew Brzezinski, “Major Foreign Policy Challenges for the Next US President,” International Affairs, 85: 1, (2009), page 54.

[37] Barack Obama, “As Delivered: Obama’s Speech on Terrorism,” The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire, 23 May 2013:

http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2013/05/23/prepared-text-obamas-speech-on-terrorism/

Punishing Pakistan and Challenging China

Punishing Pakistan and Challenging China
Pakistan in Pieces, Part 2

Global Research, June 30, 2011

This is Part 2 of “Pakistan in Pieces.”

Part 1: Imperial Eye on Pakistan


The AfPak War Theatre: Establishing the New Strategy

As Senator Obama became the President-elect Obama, his foreign policy strategy on Afghanistan was already being formed. In 2007, Obama took on veteran geostrategist and Jimmy Carter’s former National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski as one of his top foreign policy advisers,[1] and he remained his foreign policy adviser throughout 2008.[2] On Obama’s campaign, he announced that as President, he would scale down the war in Iraq, and focus the “War on Terror” on Afghanistan, promising “to send in about 10,000 more troops and to strike next-door Pakistan, if top terrorists are spotted there.”[3]

In October of 2008, before the Presidential elections, “senior Bush administration officials gathered in secret with Afghanistan experts from NATO and the United Nations,” to deliver a message to advisers of McCain and Obama to tell them that, “the situation in Afghanistan is getting worse,” and “that the next president needed to have a plan for Afghanistan before he took office,” or else, “it could be too late.”[4] Both McCain and Obama had agreed to a troop increase for Afghanistan, essentially ensuring the “continuity of empire” from one administration to the next.

A week after winning the election, Obama invited one of Hillary Clinton’s top supporters and advisers to meet with him. Richard Holbrooke, who had worked in every Democratic administration since John F. Kennedy, “which extended from the Vietnam War, in the sixties, to the Balkan conflicts of the nineties,” was Clinton’s Ambassador to the United Nations for the last year and a half of the Clinton administration. Obama had decided “that Holbrooke should take on the hardest foreign-policy problem that the Administration faced: Afghanistan and Pakistan.” Holbrooke wrote in March of 2008, before Obama won the Presidency, that, “The conflict in Afghanistan will be far more costly and much, much longer than Americans realize,” and it “will eventually become the longest in American history.”[5]

The position Holbrooke was to receive in the Obama administration was one created specifically for him. He was to become a “special representative” to the region of Afghanistan and Pakistan:

[I]n addition to being an emissary to the region, Holbrooke would run operations on the civilian side of American policy. He would create a rump regional bureau within the State Department, carved out of the Bureau of South and Central Asia, whose Afghanistan and Pakistan desks would report directly to him. He would assemble outside experts and officials from various government agencies to work for him, and he would report to the President through Hillary Clinton. Clinton told Holbrooke that he would be the civilian counterpart to General David Petraeus, the military head of Central Command.[6]

Holbrooke was thus placed in charge of “Af-Pak”, a term of his own creation, “to make the point that the two countries could not be dealt with separately,” which was then adopted into official parlance.[7]

In November of 2008, the Washington Post reported that while Obama was considering giving the position of Secretary of State (which he then did), he was also discussing giving General James L. Jones the position of National Security Adviser, which he subsequently did. The article stated that, “Obama is considering expanding the scope of the job to give the adviser the kind of authority once wielded by powerful figures such as Henry A. Kissinger.” James Jones was a former NATO commander and Marine Corps commandant.[8]

Jones as NATO commander was pivotal in assembling troops for the war in Afghanistan, and at the time of his nomination as NSA (National Security Adviser), he headed “the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy.”[9] The official statement of purpose for the Institute for 21st Century Energy is:

to unify energy policymakers, regulators, business leaders, and the American public behind a common sense strategy that ensures affordable, reliable, and diverse energy supplies, improves environmental stewardship, promotes economic growth, and strengthens national security.[10]

Jones earned $900,000 in salary from the Chamber of Commerce, and got $330,000 from serving on the board of Boeing and $290,000 for serving on the board of Chevron upon his resignations of those positions to become National Security Adviser.[11] In October of 2010, Jones was replaced as National Security Advisor by Tom Donilon.

On February 8, 2009, within weeks of being installed as NSA, Jones gave a speech at the 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy, in which he stated:

As the most recent National Security Advisor of the United States, I take my daily orders from Dr. [Henry] Kissinger, filtered down through Generaal Brent Scowcroft and Sandy Berger, who is also here. We have a chain of command in the National Security Council that exists today.[12]

He then elaborated on the purpose and restructuring of the National Security Council under the Obama administration. He stated that the NSC “must be strategic” in that, “we won’t effectively advance the priorities if we spend our time reacting to events, instead of shaping them. And that requires strategic thinking.” He further stated that:

the NSC today works very closely with President Obama’s National Economic Council, which is led by Mr. Larry Summers, so that our response to the economic crisis is coordinated with our global partners and our national security needs.[13]

Shortly after taking office, Obama set up a two-month White House strategic review of Afghanistan and Pakistan, to be headed by Bruce Riedel, a former CIA official and scholar at the Brookings Institution, and “Riedel will report to Obama and to retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones Jr., the national security advisor,” and was to work very closely with Richard Holbrooke in drafting the policy review.[14]

In February of 2009, Henry Kissinger wrote an article for the Washington Post describing the strategy America should undertake in Afghanistan and Pakistan, emphasizing the role of “security” over the aim of “reform” of the Afghan government, stating that, “Reform will require decades; it should occur as a result of, and even side by side with, the attainment of security — but it cannot be the precondition for it.” Militarily, Kissinger recommended the “control of Kabul and the Pashtun area,” which stretches from Afghanistan to the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan province in Pakistan. When it came to the issue of Pakistan, Kissinger wrote:

The conduct of Pakistan will be crucial. Pakistan’s leaders must face the fact that continued toleration of the sanctuaries — or continued impotence with respect to them — will draw their country ever deeper into an international maelstrom.[15]

Following the policy review, on March 27, Obama announced the administration’s new strategy for Afghanistan and Pakistan, decidedly to make it a dual strategy: the AfPak strategy. Obama promised “to send lawyers and agricultural experts to Afghanistan to reform its government and economy, and to offer seven and a half billion dollars in new aid for schools, roads, and democracy in Pakistan.”[16]

Holbrooke had a staff of 30 in the State Department, and “nine government agencies, including the C.I.A., the F.B.I., the Defense and Treasury Departments, and two foreign countries, Britain and Canada, [were] represented in the office.” General David Patraeus, then Commander of U.S. CENTCOM (the Pentagon’s Central Command with authority over the Middle East, Egypt and Central Asia), along with then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mike Mullen, and Richard Holbrooke worked together and “pressured General Ashfaq Kayani, the head of the Pakistani Army, to push back against the Taliban in Swat,” which had the effect of precipitating the internal displacement of more than 2 million people.[17]

Changing Strategy, Changing Command

In January of 2009, shortly after Obama took office, he announced that his administration “picked Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry, a former top military commander in Afghanistan, to be the next United States ambassador to Kabul,” of which the New York Times said:

Tapping a career Army officer who will soon retire from the service to fill one of the country’s most sensitive diplomatic jobs is a highly unusual choice.[18]

Further, the General had “repeatedly warned that the United States could not prevail in Afghanistan and defeat global terrorism without addressing the havens that fighters with Al Qaeda had established in neighboring Pakistan,” which is parallel to the new strategy in Afghanistan. His appointment “has the backing of Richard C. Holbrooke, President Obama’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan.”[19]

On May 11, Defense Secretary Robert Gates fired General David D. McKiernan, Commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), which commands all NATO forces in Afghanistan. Gates stated that, “It’s time for new leadership and fresh eyes,” and that it was the Pentagon command which recommended the White House fire McKiernan, including Gates, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Mullen and McKiernan’s military boss, General Patraeus, Commander of CENTCOM.[20]

There has been much speculation as to the reasons for his firing, and it is a significant question to ask, as the firing of a General in the field is a rarity in the American experience. The general view pushed by the Pentagon was that it was due to a matter of “consistency,” as in changing strategies and changing ambassadors, it was also necessary to change Generals. While McKiernan was focused on military means and tactics, the strategy required counter-insurgency tactics. It was reported that, “McKiernan was overly cautious in creating U.S.-backed local militias, a tactic that Petraeus had employed when he was the top commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.”[21]

One Washington Post article made the claim that the push to fire McKiernan came initially and most forcefully from the Chairman of the JCS Mullen, and that Gates agreed and lobbied Obama to fire him. The reasoning was that McKiernan was “too deferential to NATO” in that he wasn’t able to properly manage the NATO forces in Afghanistan, and lacked the political fortitude to manage both military and political affairs.[22]

The official reason for the firing was mostly to facilitate alignment with the new strategy requiring a new military commander, which is likely true. However, it requires an understanding of the new strategy as well as a look at who was sent in to replace McKiernan where you realize the true nature of his being fired. [Note: McChrystal himself was later fired in 2010 after publicly speaking out against top administration officials].

McKiernan was replaced with Lt. Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, former Commander of the Pentagon’s Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), the highly secretive command of U.S. Special Forces operations. As the Washington Post pointed out, his appointment “marks the continued ascendancy of officers who have pressed for the use of counterinsurgency tactics, in Iraq and Afghanistan, that are markedly different from the Army’s traditional doctrine.”[23]

The new AfPak strategy, which McChrystal would oversee, “relies on the kind of special forces and counterinsurgency tactics McChrystal knows well, as well as nonmilitary approaches to confronting the Taliban. It would hinge success in the seven-year-old war to political and other conditions across the border in Pakistan.”[24]

In March of 2009, investigative journalist Seymour Hersh revealed that the U.S. military was running an “executive assassination ring” during the Bush years, and that the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) was running it, and that, “It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently,” and that, “They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office… Congress has no oversight of it.” He elaborated:

Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on, in the name of all of us.[25]

Hersh appeared on Amy Goodman’s program, Democracy Now, to further discuss the program, of which he stated:

There’s more—at least a dozen countries and perhaps more. The President has authorized these kinds of actions in the Middle East and also in Latin America, I will tell you, Central America, some countries. They’ve been—our boys have been told they can go and take the kind of executive action they need, and that’s simply—there’s no legal basis for it.[26]

At the time this news story broke, it was reported that the JSOC commander at the time, “ordered a halt to most commando missions in Afghanistan, reflecting a growing concern that civilian deaths caused by American firepower are jeopardizing broader goals there.” The halt lasted a total of two weeks, and “came after a series of nighttime raids by Special Operations troops in recent months killed women and children.”[27]

All of this is very concerning, considering that the new Commander of NATO operations in Afghanistan, was the former head of the “executive assassination ring.” Having run JSOC between 2003 and 2008, McChrystal “built a sophisticated network of soldiers and intelligence operatives,” which conducted operations and assassinations in Iraq, Afghanistan, as well as Pakistan.”[28]

In June it was reported that McChrystal was “given carte blanche to handpick a dream team of subordinates, including many Special Operations veterans, as he moves to carry out an ambitious new strategy.” He was reported to be assembling a corps of 400 officers and soldiers “who will rotate between the United States and Afghanistan for a minimum of three years.” The New York Times referred to this strategy as “unknown in the military today outside Special Operations.” The Times further reported that McChrystal:

picked the senior intelligence adviser to the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Maj. Gen. Michael T. Flynn, to join him in Kabul as director of intelligence there. In Washington, Brig. Gen. Scott Miller, a longtime Special Operations officer now assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff but who had served previously under General McChrystal, is now organizing a new Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordination Cell.[29]

In June of 2006, Newsweek referred to McChrystal’s JSOC as being a “part of what Vice President Dick Cheney was referring to when he said America would have to ‘work the dark side’ after 9/11.” McChrystal also happened to be a Fellow at Harvard and the Council on Foreign Relations.[30]

As it was later revealed, the CIA had been running – from 2002 onwards – a force of roughly 3,000 elite paramilitary Afghans, purportedly to hunt al-Qaeda and the Taliban for the CIA. Used for reconnaissance, surveillance, and actual operations, many in the force have been trained by the CIA in the United States, and their operations and numbers have expanded since the new strategy involving Pakistan was put in place. The paramilitary force – or terrorists, depending upon one’s perspective – are undertaking covert operations inside Pakistan, often working directly with U.S. Special Forces.[31] It must be remembered that during the Afghan-Soviet war in the 1980s when the CIA was funding, arming and training the Afghan Mujahideen to fight the Soviets – late to become known as ‘al-Qaeda’ – they were, at the time, referred to as “freedom fighters,” just as the terrorist death squads were referred to in Nicaragua. Thus, the nomenclature of “paramilitary force” must be viewed with suspicion as to what the group is actually doing: covert operations, surveillance, assassinations, etc., which by many definitions would make them a terrorist outfit.

In May of 2009, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff was reported as saying that a US military offensive in southern Afghanistan could have the effect of pushing militants and Taliban into Pakistan, “whose troops are already struggling to combat militants.” Chairman Mike Mullen stated that this means that Pakistan “could face even greater turmoil in the months ahead.” This was based off of a US surge of troops in Afghanistan. Senator Russ Feingold said that, “We may end up further destabilizing Pakistan without providing substantial lasting improvements in Afghanistan,” and that, “Weak civilian governments, an increased number of militants and an expanded U.S. troop presence could be a recipe for disaster for those nations in the region as well as our own nation’s security.” Mullen responded to the Senator’s concerns by stating, “Can I… (be) 100 percent certain that won’t destabilize Pakistan? I don’t know the answer to that.”[32]

But of course, the answer is in fact, certain; and it’s an unequivocal “yes”. These remarks were made following the surge of an additional 21,000 US troops to Afghanistan in March. In the beginning of May, Pakistan launched a military offensive against the Taliban in Swat and other areas of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP), after a peace deal broke down between them, “forcing more than two million people from their homes.”[33] It was further reported that:

Pakistani military chief Gen. Ashfaq Kayani has told U.S. officials he’s worried not only about Taliban moving across the border, but also the possibility that U.S. forces could prompt an exodus of refugees from southern Afghanistan.[34]

In May, Holbrooke and the American military establishment had pressured the Pakistani government to undertake the offensive against the Taliban in the Swat Valley, which led to the displacement of more than 2 million people. As the New Yorker put it, Holbrooke “was mapping out a new vision for American interests in a volatile region, as his old friend Henry Kissinger had done in Southeast Asia. And he was positioning himself to be a mediator in an international conflict, as he had done in the Balkans.”[35]

In September of 2009 a classified report written by General McChrystal was leaked, in which he had concluded, “that a successful counterinsurgency strategy will require 500,000 troops over five years.”[36] It was further reported in September that, “the CIA is deploying teams of spies, analysts and paramilitary operatives to Afghanistan, part of a broad intelligence ‘surge’ that will make its station there among the largest in the agency’s history,” rivaling its stations in Iraq and Vietnam at the height of those wars. The initiative began “under pressure from Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal,” and the extra personnel are being employed in a number of ways, including teaming up with Special Forces troops in “pursuing high-value targets.” Further:

The intelligence expansion goes beyond the CIA to involve every major spy service, officials said, including the National Security Agency, which intercepts calls and e-mails, as well as the Defense Intelligence Agency, which tracks military threats.[37]

In October of 2009, it was reported by the Washington Post that although Obama announced a troop surge in Afghanistan of 21,000 additional troops, “in an unannounced move, the White House has also authorized — and the Pentagon is deploying — at least 13,000 troops beyond that number.” It was reported that these additional forces were primarily made up of “support forces, including engineers, medical personnel, intelligence experts and military police.” Thus, it brings the total 2009 surge in Afghanistan to 34,000 US troops. Thus as of October 2009, there were 68,000 US troops in Afghanistan (more than double the amount of when Bush left office), and 124,000 US troops in Iraq.[38]

In early October, Henry Kissinger wrote an article for Newsweek in which he proposed a strategy for the US in Afghanistan, in which he initially made it clear that he supported General McChrystal’s proposal of sending an additional 40,000 troops to Afghanistan. Kissinger proclaimed that calls for an “exit strategy” were a “metaphor for withdrawal,” which is tantamount to “abandonment.” Clearly, Kissinger favours a long-term presence. He stated that even a victory “may not permit troop withdrawals,” citing the case of South Korea. Kissinger further wrote on the options for Afghan strategy, stating:

A negotiation with the [Taliban] might isolate Al Qaeda and lead to its defeat, in return for not challenging the Taliban in the governance of Afghanistan. After all, it was the Taliban which provided bases for Al Qaeda in the first place.

This theory seems to me to be too clever by half. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are unlikely to be able to be separated so neatly geographically. It would also imply the partition of Afghanistan along functional lines, for it is highly improbable that the civic actions on which our policies are based could be carried out in areas controlled by the Taliban. Even so-called realists—like me—would gag at a tacit U.S. cooperation with the Taliban in the governance of Afghanistan.[39]

Kissinger further claimed that a reduction of forces in Afghanistan would “fundamentally affect domestic stability in Pakistan by freeing the Qaeda forces along the Afghan border for even deeper incursions into Pakistan, threatening domestic chaos,” and that, “the prospects of world order will be greatly affected by whether our strategy comes to be perceived as a retreat from the region, or a more effective way to sustain it.”[40]

He further explained that any attempts to “endow the central government with overriding authority” could produce resistance, which would “be ironic if, by following the received counterinsurgency playbook too literally, we produced another motive for civil war.” Kissinger thus proposed a strategy not aimed at “control from Kabul,” but rather, “emphasis needs to be given to regional efforts and regional militia.” Kissinger explained the regional importance of Afghanistan, and thus, the “challenge” of American strategy:

The special aspect of Afghanistan is that it has powerful neighbors or near neighbors—Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Iran. Each is threatened in one way or another and, in many respects, more than we are by the emergence of a base for international terrorism: Pakistan by Al Qaeda; India by general jihadism and specific terror groups; China by fundamentalist Shiite jihadists in Xinjiang; Russia by unrest in the Muslim south; even Iran by the fundamentalist Sunni Taliban. Each has substantial capacities for defending its interests. Each has chosen, so far, to stand more or less aloof.[41]

In November of 2009, Malalai Joya, a former Afghan MP and one of the few female political leaders in Afghanistan, said that:

Eight years ago, the U.S. and NATO—under the banner of women’s rights, human rights, and democracy—occupied my country and pushed us from the frying pan into the fire . . . Eight years is enough to know better about the corrupt, mafia system of [President] Hamid Karzai . . . My people are crushed between two powerful enemies . . . From the sky, occupation forces bomb and kill civilians…and on the ground, the Taliban and warlords continue their crimes . . . It is better that they leave my country; my people are that fed up . . . Occupation will never bring liberation, and it is impossible to bring democracy by war.[42]

In late November, Pakistani Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani warned “that the US’s decision to send thousands of extra troops to Afghanistan may destabilize his country,” as it would likely lead to “a spill over of militants inside Pakistan.” In particular, it could force militants and Taliban to migrate into Pakistan’s southern province of Balochistan.[43]

On December 1, President Obama announced that the U.S. would send an additional 30,000 US troops to Afghanistan by summer 2010, and with a “plan” to purportedly withdraw by July 2011. As the Washington Post reported, “adding 30,000 U.S. troops to the roughly 70,000 that are in Afghanistan now amounts to most of what Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the commander of U.S. and NATO forces there, requested at the end of August.” Obama stated that the chief objective was to “destroy al-Qaeda,” and a senior administration official said that, “the goal for the Afghan army, for example, is to increase its ranks from 90,000 to 134,000 by the end of 2010.”[44]

President Karzai said in early December that, “Afghanistan’s security forces will need U.S. support for another 15 to 20 years,” and that, “it would take five years for his forces to assume responsibility for security throughout the country.”[45] This statement supports the conclusions set out in McChrystal’s classified report, which stated that the US would need to remain for at least 5 years.

Seth Jones, a civilian adviser to the U.S. military and senior political scientist at RAND Corporation, one of America’s top defense think tanks, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times in December titled, “Take the War to Pakistan.” He stated that the U.S. is repeating the same mistakes of the Soviets when they occupied Afghanistan in the 1980s by not attacking the Taliban “sanctuary” in Pakistan’s Baluchistan province. He stated that, “This sanctuary is critical because the Afghan war is organized and run out of Baluchistan.” He then proclaimed that, “the United States and Pakistan must target Taliban leaders in Baluchistan,” which could include conducting raids into Pakistani territory or hit Taliban leaders with drone strikes.[46]

As Jeremy Scahill reported in June 2009, “more than 240,000 contractor employees, about 80 percent of them foreign nationals, are working in Iraq and Afghanistan to support operations and projects of the U.S. military, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.” Scahill reported on the findings of a Defense Department report on contracting work in the war zones, stating that, “there has been a 23% increase in the number of ‘Private Security Contractors’ working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan, which ‘correlates to the build up of forces’ in the country.” While contractors outnumbered forces in Afghanistan, in Iraq they were roughly equal to the US forces occupying the country, at 130,000.[47]

It was reported that as Obama ordered more troops to Afghanistan in December of 2009, a new surge of contractors would follow suit. As of June 2009, the number of contractors in Afghanistan outweighed the US military presence itself, with 73,968 contractors and 55,107 troops. According to different estimates, “Between 7% and 16% of the total are Blackwater-style private security contractors.” As of December 2009, the number of contractors in Afghanistan was reported to be 104,100.[48]

In January of 2010, as Obama’s announced 30,000 extra troops began to be deployed to Afghanistan, Pakistani officials became increasingly fearful that “a stepped-up war just over the border could worsen the increasingly bloody struggle with militancy” within Pakistan itself, ultimately further destabilizing Pakistan’s southwestern border and the “already volatile tribal areas in the northwest.” On top of sending militants into Pakistan, there were fears that it would exacerbate the flow of Afghan refugees into Pakistani territory.[49]

Blackwater and the “Secret War” in Pakistan

In November of 2009, investigative journalist and best-selling author Jeremy Scahill wrote an exclusive report on the secret war of the United States in Pakistan. The story sheds light on the American strategy in the region aimed at the destabilization and ultimately the implosion of Pakistan. The chief architects and administrators of this policy in Pakistan are none other than the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), previously run as an “executive assassination ring” by General McChrystal, and the infamous mercenary organization, Blackwater, now known as Xe Services. JSOC and Blackwater work together covertly in undertaking a covert war in yet another nation in the region, adding to the list of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Scahill described the covert operations as “targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives,” as well as “other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan.” Further, “the Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help direct a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes.” The sources for the report are drawn heavily from individuals within the US military intelligence apparatus. One source revealed that the program is so “compartmentalized” that “senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence.” This program is also separate from the CIA’s own programs, including both drone attacks and assassinations, of which the CIA assassination program was said to be cancelled in June of 2009.

It was in 2006 that JSOC reached an agreement with the Pakistani government to run operations within the country, back when Stanley McChrystal was running it in close cooperation with Vice President Dick Cheney as an “executive assassination ring.” A former Blackwater executive confirmed that Blackwater was operating in Pakistan in cooperation with both the CIA and JSOC, as well as being on a subcontract for the Pakistani government itself, as well as “working for the Pakistani government on a subcontract with an Islamabad-based security firm that puts US Blackwater operatives on the ground with Pakistani forces in counter-terrorism operations, including house raids and border interdictions, in the North-West Frontier Province and elsewhere in Pakistan.”

JSOC’s covert program in liaison with Blackwater in Pakistan dates back to 2007, and the operations are coordinated out of the US Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, and that Blackwater operates at “an ultra-exclusive level above top secret.” The contracts are all kept secret, and therefore “shielded from public oversight.” On top of carrying out operations for JSOC and the CIA inside Pakistan, Blackwater further conducts operations in Uzbekistan.

In regards to the drone strikes within Pakistan, while largely reported as being a part of the CIA drone program, many are, in fact, undertaken under a covert parallel JSOC program. One intelligence source told Jeremy Scahill that, “when you see some of these hits, especially the ones with high civilian casualties, those are almost always JSOC strikes.” Further, Blackwater is involved in the drone strike program with JSOC, “Contractors and especially JSOC personnel working under a classified mandate are not [overseen by Congress], so they just don’t care. If there’s one person they’re going after and there’s thirty-four people in the building, thirty-five people are going to die. That’s the mentality.” Blackwater further provides security for many secret US drone bases, as well as JSOC camps and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) camps within Pakistan.

With General McChrystal’s rise from JSOC Commander to Commander of the Afghan war theatre (which in military-strategic terms now includes Pakistan under the umbrella of “AfPak”), “there is a concomitant rise in JSOC’s power and influence within the military structure.” McChrystal had overseen JSOC during the majority of the Bush years, where he worked very closely and directly with Vice President Cheney and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. As Seymour Hersh had exposed, JSOC operated as an “executive assassination ring” and had caused many problematic diplomatic situations for the United States, as even the State Department wasn’t informed about their operations. One high-level State Department official was quoted as saying:

The only way we found out about it is our ambassadors started to call us and say, ‘Who the hell are these six-foot-four white males with eighteen-inch biceps walking around our capital cities?’ So we discovered this, we discovered one in South America, for example, because he actually murdered a taxi driver, and we had to get him out of there real quick. We rendered him–we rendered him home.[50]

Blackwater is also involved in providing “security for a US-backed aid project” in a region of Pakistan, which implies that even some aid projects are connected with military and intelligence operations, often using them as a cover for covert operations. Blackwater still operates in Afghanistan working for the US military, the State Department and the CIA. As one military-intelligence official stated:

Having learned its lessons after the private security contracting fiasco in Iraq, Blackwater has shifted its operational focus to two venues: protecting things that are in danger and anticipating other places we’re going to go as a nation that are dangerous.[51]

Much of Scahill’s information has been supported by other mainstream news sources. In August of 2009, the New York Times reported that in 2004, the CIA “hired outside contractors from the private security contractor Blackwater USA as part of a secret program to locate and assassinate top operatives of Al Qaeda.” The CIA had held high-level meetings with Blackwater founder and former Navy SEAL Erik Prince. The article also revealed that in 2002, Blackwater had been awarded the contract to handle security for the CIA station in Afghanistan, “and the company maintains other classified contracts with the C.I.A.” Blackwater has hired several former CIA officials, “including Cofer Black, who ran the C.I.A. counterterrorism center immediately after the Sept. 11 attacks.”[52]

On December 10, 2009, the New York Times reported that in both Afghanistan and Iraq, Blackwater “participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities — clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents.” These raids, referred to as “snatch and grab” operations, occurred almost nightly between 2004 and 2006, and that, “involvement in the operations became so routine that the lines supposedly dividing the Central Intelligence Agency, the military and Blackwater became blurred.” One former CIA official was quoted as saying, “There was a feeling that Blackwater eventually became an extension of the agency.” Further, Blackwater was reported to have provided security not only for the CIA station in Afghanistan, but also in Iraq; and in both countries, Blackwater “personnel accompanied the [CIA] officers even on offensive operations sometimes begun in conjunction with Delta Force or Navy Seals teams.”[53]

In late August it was reported that Blackwater had a CIA contract to operate the remotely piloted drones, carried out at “hidden bases” in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as well as provide security at the bases.[54] In December, the New York Times ran a story reporting that the CIA had terminated its contract with Blackwater “that allowed the company to load bombs on C.I.A. drones in Pakistan and Afghanistan.” However, while the CIA claimed that all Blackwater contracts were under review, a CIA spokesperson said that, “At this time, Blackwater is not involved in any C.I.A. operations other than in a security or support role,”[55] which is still a very wide role, considering how the roles have been blurred between providing “security” and actively taking part in missions.

As the Guardian reported in December of 2009, Blackwater had a contract in Pakistan “to manage the construction of a training facility for the paramilitary Frontier Corps, just outside Peshawar,” which is the Pakistani Army’s paramilitary force.[56] Despite a continual official denial of Blackwater involvement in Pakistan, in December, the CIA admitted Blackwater operates in Pakistan under CIA contracts,[57] and in January of 2010, US Defense Secretary Robert Gates confirmed that both Blackwater (now known as Xe Services) and DynCorp have been operating in Pakistan.[58]

However, some reports indicate that Blackwater may be involved in even more nefarious activities inside Pakistan. A former head of Pakistani’s intelligence services, the ISI, stated in an interview that apart from simply taking part in drone attacks, Blackwater “may be involved in actions that destabilize the country.” Elaborating, he said, “My assessment is that they [Blackwater agents] — either themselves or most probably through others, through the locals — do carry out some of the explosions,” and that, “the idea is to carry out such actions, like carrying attacks in the civilian areas to make the others look bad in the eyes of the public.” In other words, according to the former head of the ISI, Blackwater may be involved in committing false flag terrorist attacks inside Pakistan.[59]

In November of 2009, Al-Jazeera reported that while many attacks occurring across Pakistan are blamed on the Tehreek e-Taliban, Pakistan’s Taliban, “the group has issued its first video statement denying involvement in targeting civilians and has blamed external forces for at least two recent blasts.” The denial stated that the attacks are being used as an excuse to prepare for military operations in various tribal regions of Pakistan, including South Waziristan. The denial also stated that the Pakistani Taliban “had no role in the bomb blast in a Peshawar market that killed at least 100 people as well as an attack in Charsada, a town located in Pakistan’s North West Frontier Province.” The spokesperson claimed that the Pakistani Taliban does not target civilians, and that the bombings were “linked to Blackwater activities in the country.” Even when the bombings initially occurred the Taliban denied involvement, and the local media was blaming “Blackwater and other American agencies.”[60]

The head of the Pakistani Taliban had previously stated that, “if Taliban can carry out attacks in Islamabad and target Pakistan army’s headquarters, then why should they target general public,” and proceeded to blame the bomb blast in Peshawar that killed 108 people on “Blackwater and Pakistani agencies [that] are involved in attacks in public places to blame the militants.” He was further quoted as saying, “Our war is against the government and the security forces and not against the people. We are not involved in blasts.”[61]

In January of 2010, it was reported that Blackwater “is in the running for a Pentagon contract potentially worth $1 billion to train Afghanistan’s troubled national police force,” as Blackwater already “trains the Afghan border police — an arm of the national police — and drug interdiction units in volatile southern Afghanistan.”[62]

As Jeremy Scahill reported in August of 2009 on a legal case against Blackwater, where a former Blackwater mercenary and an ex-US Marine “have made a series of explosive allegations in sworn statements filed on August 3 in federal court in Virginia.” Among the claims:

The two men claim that the company’s owner, Erik Prince, may have murdered or facilitated the murder of individuals who were cooperating with federal authorities investigating the company. The former employee also alleges that Prince “views himself as a Christian crusader tasked with eliminating Muslims and the Islamic faith from the globe,” and that Prince’s companies “encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life.”[63]

Further, both men stated that Blackwater was smuggling weapons into Iraq, often on Erik Prince’s private planes. These allegations surfaced in a trial against Blackwater for committing human rights violations and war crimes in Iraq against civilians. One of those who testified further stated that, “On several occasions after my departure from Mr. Prince’s employ, Mr. Prince’s management has personally threatened me with death and violence.” The testimony continued in explaining that:

Mr. Prince intentionally deployed to Iraq certain men who shared his vision of Christian supremacy, knowing and wanting these men to take every available opportunity to murder Iraqis. Many of these men used call signs based on the Knights of the Templar, the warriors who fought the Crusades.

Mr. Prince operated his companies in a manner that encouraged and rewarded the destruction of Iraqi life. For example, Mr. Prince’s executives would openly speak about going over to Iraq to “lay Hajiis out on cardboard.” Going to Iraq to shoot and kill Iraqis was viewed as a sport or game. Mr. Prince’s employees openly and consistently used racist and derogatory terms for Iraqis and other Arabs, such as “ragheads” or “hajiis.”[64]

In January of 2010, Erik Prince, the controversial founder and CEO of Blackwater gave an interview with Vanity Fair magazine which was intended to not simply discuss the company, but also the man behind the company. It begins by quoting Prince as saying, “I put myself and my company at the C.I.A.’s disposal for some very risky missions,” and continued, “But when it became politically expedient to do so, someone threw me under the bus.” It is worth quoting the article at some length:

Publicly, [Erik Prince] has served as Blackwater’s C.E.O. and chairman. Privately, and secretly, he has been doing the C.I.A.’s bidding, helping to craft, fund, and execute operations ranging from inserting personnel into “denied areas”—places U.S. intelligence has trouble penetrating—to assembling hit teams targeting al-Qaeda members and their allies. Prince, according to sources with knowledge of his activities, has been working as a C.I.A. asset: in a word, as a spy. While his company was busy gleaning more than $1.5 billion in government contracts between 2001 and 2009—by acting, among other things, as an overseas Praetorian guard for C.I.A. and State Department officials—Prince became a Mr. Fix-It in the war on terror. His access to paramilitary forces, weapons, and aircraft, and his indefatigable ambition—the very attributes that have galvanized his critics—also made him extremely valuable, some say, to U.S. intelligence.[65]

Prince’s Afghan security team is the “special-projects” team of Blackwater, and “except for their language its men appear indistinguishable from Afghans. They have full beards, headscarves, and traditional knee-length shirts over baggy trousers.” In regards to Prince’s worth with the CIA, he:

wasn’t merely a contractor; he was, insiders say, a full-blown asset. Three sources with direct knowledge of the relationship say that the C.I.A.’s National Resources Division recruited Prince in 2004 to join a secret network of American citizens with special skills or unusual access to targets of interest.[66]

In Afghanistan, Blackwater “provides security for the US Ambassador Karl Eikenberry and his staff, and trains narcotics and Afghan special police units.” There was also a revolving door of sorts between Blackwater and the CIA. Not only was Prince a CIA asset, but many higher-ups in the CIA would also move into Blackwater. A Blackwater-CIA team even hunted down an alleged Al-Qaeda financier in Hamburg, Germany, without even the German government’s awareness of it. Publicly, the Blackwater program with the CIA was canned. Although there was no mention of its covert program with JSOC in Pakistan, so one must assume its relationship is maintained in some capacity. Prince ultimately left his position at Blackwater in the face of bad press, but still controls the majority of the stock.[67]

In September of 2009, General Mirza Aslam Beg, Pakistan’s former Army Chief, said that, “Blackwater was directly involved in the assassinations of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto and former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri.” He told a Saudi Arabian daily that, “former Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf had given Blackwater the green light to carry out terrorist operations in the cities of Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Peshawar, and Quetta.” It was in an interview with a Pakistani TV network when he stated that Blackwater and “the United States killed Benazir Bhutto.” Beg was chief of Army staff during Benazir Bhutto’s first administration. He claimed that she was killed “in an international conspiracy because she had decided to back out of the deal through which she had returned to the country after nine years in exile.”[68]

Is the West Punishing Pakistan to Challenge China?

China and Pakistan established diplomatic ties in 1951, and have enjoyed a close relationship since then, with Pakistan being one of the first countries to recognize the People’s Republic of China in 1950. One of the primary reasons behind the close and ever-closer relationship between China and Pakistan is the role of India, as both an adversary and competitor to Pakistan and China. A Pakistani ambassador to the United States said that for Pakistan, “China is a high-value guarantor of security against India.” Further, within India, increased Chinese military support to Pakistan is perceived as “a key aspect of Beijing’s perceived policy of ‘encirclement’ or constraint of India as a means of preventing or delaying New Delhi’s ability to challenge Beijing’s region-wide influence.” These ties have increased since the 1990s, and especially as the United States became increasingly close to India. As a Council on Foreign Relations background report on China-Pakistan relations explained:

The two countries have cooperated on a variety of large-scale infrastructure projects in Pakistan, including highways, gold and copper mines, major electricity complexes and power plants, and numerous nuclear power projects. With roughly ten thousand Chinese workers engaged in 120 projects in Pakistan, total Chinese investment–which includes heavy engineering, power generation, mining, and telecommunications–was valued at $4 billion in 2007 and is expected to rise to $15 billion by 2010.[69]

As the Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. further explained, “Pakistan thinks that both China and the United States are crucial for it,” however, he went on, “If push comes to shove, it would probably choose China–but for this moment, it doesn’t look like there has to be a choice.” The recent U.S.-India civilian nuclear agreement has further entrenched a distrust of America within Pakistan and pushed the country closer to China. In 2010, China announced it would be building two nuclear power reactors in Pakistan.[70]

In 2007, China and Pakistan inaugurated Gwadar Port in Pakistan’s Balochistan Province along the Arabian Sea, creating the first major point in an “energy corridor” which would eventually bring oil from the Gulf overland through Pakistan into China. China financed the building of the port city for $200 million, with plans to fund billions more worth of railroads, roads, and pipelines which would link Gwadar Port to China. Pakistan is strategically placed in the centre of the new ‘Great Game’, a nomenclature for the great imperial battles over Central Asia in the 19th century. Pakistan is neighbour to Iran, India, China, and Afghanistan, with a coastline on the Arabian Sea. Thus, Pakistan is situated between the oil-rich Middle East and the natural gas-rich Central Asian countries, with two of the fastest growing economies in the world – India and China – as energy-hungry neighbours; with the imperial presence of America in neighbouring Afghanistan, with its eye focused intensely on neighbouring Iran. A ‘Great Game’ ensues, drawing in Russia, China, India and America, and the main focus of the game is pipelines.[71]

China has a major pipeline project in the works to bring in natural gas from Central Asia, transporting the gas from Turkmenistan through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and into China, which is set to be completed by 2013.[72] Iran, OPEC’s second largest oil exporter (after Saudi Arabia), is among the top ten oil exporters to China, and in 2010 it was reported that the Chinese have invested roughly $40 billion in Iran’s oil and gas sectors, including financing for the construction of seven new oil refineries, as well as various oil and gas pipeline projects.[73] In June of 2011, it was reported that China’s oil imports from Iran have increased by 32%, signaling a growing importance in the relationship between the two countries. The largest three oil exporters to China are Saudi Arabia, Angola, and Iran, respectively.[74]

The Gwadar Port city built by Chinese investments is destined to be a central hub in the pipeline politics of the ‘Great Game,’ in particular between the competing pipeline projects of the Trans-Afghan Pipeline (TAP or TAPI), involving a pipeline bringing natural gas from Turkmenistan through Afghanistan, Pakistan, and into India; and the Iran-Pakistan-India pipeline (IPI). The major issue here is that the TAPI pipeline cannot be built so long as Afghanistan is plunged into war, thus the project has been incessantly stalled. On the other hand, India has been wavering and moving out of the picture in the IPI pipeline, in no small measure due to its increasingly close relations with the United States, which has sought to dissuade Pakistan from building a pipeline with Iran. However, in 2010, Pakistan and Iran signed the agreement, and are willing to either allow India or China to be the beneficiary of the pipeline. Whether going to India or China, Gwadar Port will be a central hub in this project.[75] Pakistan has now been seeking direct help from China on the Iran-Pakistan pipeline project.[76] The U.S., for its part, warned Pakistan against signing onto a pipeline project with Iran, yet Pakistan proceeded with the project regardless.[77]

The southern Pakistani province of Balochistan is home to oil, gas, copper, gold, and coal reserves, not to mention, it is the strategic corridor through which the pipeline projects would run, and is home to the strategically significant port city of Gwadar. For the past fifty years, however, Balochistan has been a major hub of Chinese investment and opportunity, with Chinese companies having poured $15 billion into projects in the province, including the construction of an oil refinery, copper and zinc mines, and of course, Gwadar Port.[78] India is increasingly concerned about China’s presence in the Gulf and Indian Ocean. China is building ports not only in Pakistan, but in Bangladesh and Burma, as well as railroad lines in Nepal.[79]

Following the supposed assassination of Osama bin Laden by the U.S. in Pakistani territory, tensions between Pakistan and America increased, and ties between China and Pakistan deepened. The Chinese were subsequently approached by the Pakistanis to take control of the port of Gwadar, and perhaps to even build a Pakistani naval base there, though the Chinese have denied Pakistani claims that any such deal had been reached. China, further, in response to the apparent U.S. assassination of Bin Laden, said that the ‘international community’ (referring to the United States) “must respect” Pakistani sovereignty. Indian news quoted diplomatic sources as saying that China “warned in unequivocal terms that any attack on Pakistan would be construed as an attack on China.”[80]

Pakistani Prime Minister Gilani visited China on a state visit shortly after the American raid into Pakistan. Following the meetings, China agreed to immediately provide 50 fighter jets to Pakistan, a clear signal that Pakistan is looking for alternatives to its American dependence, and China is all too happy to provide such an alternative.[81] As the Financial Times reported, “Pakistan has asked China to build a naval base at its south-western port of Gwadar and expects the Chinese navy to maintain a regular presence there.”[82] China has also signaled that it would be interested in setting up foreign military bases, just as the United States has, and specifically is interested in such a base inside Pakistan. The aim “would be to exert pressure on India as well as counter US influence in Pakistan and Afghanistan.”[83]

Conclusion

It would seem, then, that the true cause of chaos, destabilization, and war in Pakistan is not the Orientalist perspective of Pakistanis being the ‘Other’: barbaric, backwards, violent and self-destructive, in need to ‘intervention’ to right their own wrongs. Following along the same lines as the dismantling of Yugoslavia in the 1990s, the destabilization of Pakistan is aimed at wider strategic objectives for the Western imperial powers: namely, the isolation of China. While Pakistan has long been a staunch U.S. puppet regime, in the wider geopolitical context of a global rivalry between the United States and China for control of the world’s resources and strategic positions, Pakistan may be sacrificed upon the altar of empire. The potential result of this strategy, in a country exceeding 180 million people, armed with nuclear weapons, and in the centre of one of the most tumultuous regions in the world, may be cataclysmic, perhaps even resulting in a war between the ‘great powers.’ The only way to help prevent such a potential scenario would be to analyze the strategy further, and expose it to a much wider audience, thus initiating a wider public discussion on the issue. As long as the public discourse on Pakistan is framed as an issue of “terrorism” and the “War on Terror” alone, this strategic nightmare will continue forward.

As the saying goes, “In war, truth is the first casualty.”

But so too then, can war be the casualty of Truth.

Notes

[1]        Russell Berman, Despite Criticism, Obama Stands By Adviser Brzezinski. The New York Sun: September 13, 2007:
http://www.nysun.com/national/despite-criticism-obama-stands-by-adviser/62534/

[2]        Eli Lake, Obama Adviser Leads Delegation to Damascus. The New York Sun: February 12, 2008:
http://www.nysun.com/foreign/obama-adviser-leads-delegation-to-damascus/71123/

[3]        Jonathan Tepperman, How Obama’s Star Could Fall. Newsweek: October 13, 2008:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/162316

[4]        Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt, McCain and Obama advisers briefed on deteriorating Afghan war. The New York Times: October 31, 2008:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/world/americas/31iht-31policy.17405861.html

[5]        George Packer, The Last Mission. The New Yorker: September 28, 1009:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_packer

[6]        Ibid.

[7]        Ibid.

[8]        Michael Abramowitz, Shailagh Murray and Anne E. Kornblut, Obama Close to Choosing Clinton, Jones for Key Posts. The Washington Post: November 22, 2008:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/21/AR2008112103981.html

[9]        Ibid.

[10]      About Us, Our Mission. Chamber of Commerce: Institute for 21st Century Energy:
http://www.energyxxi.org/pages/about_us.aspx

[11]      JOHN D. MCKINNON and T.W. FARNAM, Hedge Fund Paid Summers $5.2 Million in Past Year. The Wall Street Journal: April 5, 2009:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123879462053487927.html

[12]      James L. Jones, Remarks by National Security Adviser Jones at 45th Munich Conference on Security Policy. The Council on Foreign Relations: February 8, 2009:
http://www.cfr.org/publication/18515/remarks_by_national_security_adviser_jones_at_45th_munich_conference_on_security_policy.html

[13]      Ibid.

[14]      Julian E. Barnes, Obama team works on overhaul of Afghanistan, Pakistan policy. Los Angeles Times: February 11, 2009:
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/feb/11/world/fg-us-afghan11

[15]      Henry A. Kissinger, A Strategy for Afghanistan. The Washington Post: February 26, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/02/25/AR2009022503124.html

[16]      George Packer, The Last Mission. The New Yorker: September 28, 1009:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_packer

[17]      Ibid.

[18]      Eric Schmitt, Obama Taps a General as the Envoy to Kabul. The New York Times: January 29, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/30/washington/30diplo.html

[19]      Ibid.

[20]      Agencies, US fires top general in Afghanistan as war worsens. China Daily: May 12, 2009:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2009-05/12/content_7766306.htm

[21]      Ann Scott Tyson, Top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Is Fired. The Washington Post: May 12, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/11/AR2009051101864.html

[22]      Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Pentagon Worries Led to Command Change. The Washington Post: August 17, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/08/16/AR2009081602304_pf.html

[23]      Ann Scott Tyson, Top U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Is Fired. The Washington Post: May 12, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/11/AR2009051101864.html

[24]      Agencies, US fires top general in Afghanistan as war worsens. China Daily: May 12, 2009:
http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/2009-05/12/content_7766306.htm

[25]      Muriel Kane, Hersh: ‘Executive assassination ring’ reported directly to Cheney. The Raw Story: March 11, 2009:
http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Hersh_US_has_been_running_executive_0311.html

[26]      Transcript, Seymour Hersh: Secret US Forces Carried Out Assassinations in a Dozen Countries, Including in Latin America. Democracy Now!: March 31, 2009:
http://www.democracynow.org/2009/3/31/seymour_hersh_secret_us_forces_carried

[27]      MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT, U.S. Halted Some Raids in Afghanistan. The New York Times: March 9, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/10/world/asia/10terror.html

[28]      Ann Scott Tyson, Manhunter To Take On a Wider Mission. The Washington Post: May 13, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/05/12/AR2009051203679_pf.html

[29]      THOM SHANKER and ERIC SCHMITT, U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Is Given More Leeway. The New York Times: June 10, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/11/world/asia/11command.html

[30]      Michael Hirsh and John Barry, The Hidden General. Newsweek: June 26, 2006:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/52445

[31]      KIMBERLY DOZIER and ADAM GOLDMAN, Counterterrorist Pursuit Team: 3,000 Man CIA Paramilitary Force Hunts Militants In Afghanistan, Pakistan, Huffington Post, 22 September 2010:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/09/22/counterterrorist-pursuit-_n_734961.html

[32]      Andrew Gray, US Afghan surge could push militants into Pakistan. Reuters: May 21, 2009:
http://www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk/N21412211.htm

[33]      Isambard Wilkinson, Top US official warns that war in Afghanistan strengthens Taliban in Pakistan. The Telegraph: May 22, 2009:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/pakistan/5369740/Top-US-official-warns-that-war-in-Afghanistan-strengthens-Taliban-in-Pakistan.html

[34]      AP, Afghanistan surge tied to Pakistan stability. MSNBC: May 21, 2009:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/30871807/ns/world_news-south_and_central_asia/

[35]      George Packer, The Last Mission. The New Yorker: September 28, 2009:
http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2009/09/28/090928fa_fact_packer

[36]      Tom Andrews, Classified McChrystal Report: 500,000 Troops Will Be Required Over Five Years in Afghanistan. Huffington Post: September 24, 2009:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tom-andrews/classified-mcchrystal-rep_b_298528.html

[37]      Greg Miller, CIA expanding presence in Afghanistan. The Los Angeles Times: September 20, 2009:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-afghan-intel20-2009sep20,0,1183243.story?page=1

[38]      Ann Scott Tyson, Support Troops Swelling U.S. Force in Afghanistan. The Washington Post: October 13, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/12/AR2009101203142.html?hpid=topnews

[39]      Henry A. Kissinger, Deployments and Diplomacy. Newsweek: October 12, 2009:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/216704

[40]      Ibid.

[41]      Ibid.

[42]      Travis Lupick, Suspended Afghan MP Malalai Joya wants NATO’s mission to end. The Georgia Straight: November 12, 2009:
http://www.straight.com/article-270310/vancouver/afghan-activist-wants-natos-mission-end

[43]      US surge in Afghanistan ‘may destablize Pakistan’. Press TV: November 30, 2009:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=112484&sectionid=351020401

[44]      Scott Wilson, Obama: U.S. security is still at stake. The Washington Post: December 2, 2009:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/01/AR2009120101231.html

[45]      Julian E. Barnes and Tony Perry, Afghanistan will need U.S. help for 15 to 20 years, Karzai says. The Los Angeles Times: December 9, 2009:
http://www.latimes.com/news/nation-and-world/la-fg-afghan-mcchrystal9-2009dec09,0,224382.story

[46]      Seth G. Jones, Take the War to Pakistan. The New York Times: December 3, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/04/opinion/04jones.html

[47]      Jeremy Scahill, U.S. War Privatization Results in Billions Lost in Fraud, Waste and Abuse—Report. Rebel Reports: June 10, 2009:
http://rebelreports.com/post/121172812/u-s-war-privatization-results-in-billions-lost-in

[48]      Justin Elliott, As Obama Sends More Troops, Giant Shadow Army Of Contractors Set To Grow In Afghanistan. TPMMuckraker: December 1, 2009:
http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2009/12/as_obama_sends_more_troops_giant_shadow_army_of_co.php?ref=fpb

[49]      Karin Brulliard, Pakistan worried U.S. buildup in Afghanistan will send militants across border. The Washington Post: January 5, 2010:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/04/AR2010010403335.html

[50]      Jeremy Scahill, The Secret US War in Pakistan. The Nation: November 23, 2009:
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20091207/scahill

[51]      Ibid.

[52]      Mark Mazzetti, C.I.A. Sought Blackwater’s Help to Kill Jihadists. The New York Times: August 19, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/20/us/20intel.html

[53]      James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret C.I.A. Raids. The New York Times: December 10, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/11/us/politics/11blackwater.html

[54]      James Risen and Mark Mazzetti, C.I.A. Said to Use Outsiders to Put Bombs on Drones. The New York Times: August 20, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/21/us/21intel.html

[55]      Mark Mazzetti, Blackwater Loses a Job for the C.I.A. The New York Times: December 11, 2009:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/12/us/politics/12blackwater.html

[56]      Declan Walsh and Ewen MacAskill, Blackwater operating at CIA Pakistan base, ex-official says. The Guardian: December 11, 2009:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/11/blackwater-in-cia-pakistan-base

[57]      CIA admits Blackwater presence in Pakistan. Press TV: December 12, 2009:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=113512&sectionid=351020401

[58]      Gates confirms Blackwater presence in Pakistan. Press TV: January 22, 2010:
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=116754&sectionid=351020401

[59]      Blackwater behind Pakistan bombings: Ex-intel chief. Press TV: December 12, 2009:
http://www.presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=113540&sectionid=351020401

[60]      Pakistan Taliban airs video denial. Al-Jazeera: November 16, 2009:
http://english.aljazeera.net/news/asia/2009/11/20091116145058336650.html

[61]      Xihua, Taliban in Pakistan blame U.S. Blackwater for deadly blast. China View: October 29, 2009:
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2009-10/29/content_12358907.htm

[62]      Richard Lardner, Xe Services aiming for Afghan police training deal. The Guardian: January 9, 2010:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/8891058

[63]      Jeremy Scahill, Blackwater Founder Implicated in Murder. The Nation: August 4, 2009:
http://www.thenation.com/doc/20090817/scahill

[64]      Ibid.

[65]      Adam Ciralsky, Tycoon, Contractor, Soldier, Spy. Vanity Fair: January 2010:
http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2010/01/blackwater-201001

[66]      Ibid.

[67]      Ibid.

[68]      Blackwater involved in Bhutto and Hariri hits: former Pakistani army chief. Tehran Times: September 14, 2009:
http://www.tehrantimes.com/index_View.asp?code=203224

[69]      Jamal Afridi and Jayshree Bajoria, China-Pakistan Relations, Backgrounder: Council on Foreign Relations, 6 July 2010:
http://www.cfr.org/china/china-pakistan-relations/p10070

[70]      Jamal Afridi and Jayshree Bajoria, China-Pakistan Relations, Backgrounder: Council on Foreign Relations, 6 July 2010:
http://www.cfr.org/china/china-pakistan-relations/p10070

[71]      David Montero, China, Pakistan team up on energy, Christian Science Monitor, 13 April 2007:
http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0413/p06s01-wosc.html

[72]      Li Woke, China to enhance natural gas imports via Central Asian pipeline, Global Times, 19 September 2010:
http://business.globaltimes.cn/industries/2010-09/574887.html

[73]      JPost Staff, China invests $40b. in Iran oil and gas, The Jerusalem Post, 31 July 2010:
http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=183200

[74]      China oil imports from Iran up 32 percent, Trend Energy News, 8 June 2011:
http://en.trend.az/capital/energy/1888392.html

[75]      Pepe Escobar, China wages “war” over Asian pipelines, Salon, 12 October 2010:
http://www.salon.com/news/feature/2010/10/12/china_oil_gas_pipeline

[76]      Pakistan Seeks China’s Help for IP Gas Pipeline, Gulf Oil and Gas, 13 March 2011:
http://www.gulfoilandgas.com/webpro1/MAIN/Mainnews.asp?id=14611

[77]      AP, US opposes Pakistan-Iran pipeline deal, The Jerusalem Post, 21 June 2010:
http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?ID=179002

[78]      Maha Atal, China’s Pakistan Corridor, Forbes, 10 May 2010:
http://www.forbes.com/global/2010/0510/companies-pakistan-oil-gas-balochistan-china-pak-corridor.html

[79]      VIKAS BAJAJ, India Worries as China Builds Ports in South Asia, The New York Times, 15 February 2010:
h
ttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/16/business/global/16port.html

[80]      China asks US to respect Pak’s sovereignty, independence, Economic Times, 20 May 2011:
http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2011-05-20/news/29565072_1_pakistan-s-ambassador-pakistan-china-pakistan-media

[81]      JANE PERLEZ, China Gives Pakistan 50 Fighter Jets, The New York Times, 19 May 2011:
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/20/world/asia/20pakistan.html?_r=3

[82]      Farhan Bokhari and Kathrin Hille, Pakistan turns to China for naval base, The Financial Times, 22 May 2011:
http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/3914bd36-8467-11e0-afcb-00144feabdc0.html#axzz1Ol8EY8QF

[83]      Saibal Dasgupta, China mulls setting up military base in Pakistan, The Times of India, 28 January 2010:
http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2010-01-28/china/28120878_1_karokoram-highway-military-bases-north-west-frontier-province

Imperial Eye on Pakistan

Imperial Eye on Pakistan
Pakistan in Pieces, Part 1
Global Research, May 28, 2011

Introduction

As the purported assassination of Osama bin Laden has placed the focus on Pakistan, it is vital to assess the changing role of Pakistan in broad geostrategic terms, and in particular, of the changing American strategy toward Pakistan. The recently reported assassination was a propaganda ploy aimed at targeting Pakistan. To understand this, it is necessary to examine how America has, in recent years, altered its strategy in Pakistan in the direction of destabilization. In short, Pakistan is an American target. The reason: Pakistan’s growing military and strategic ties to China, America’s primary global strategic rival. In the ‘Great Game’ for global hegemony, any country that impedes America’s world primacy – even one as historically significant to America as Pakistan – may be sacrificed upon the altar of war.

Part 1 of ‘Pakistan in Pieces’ examines the changing views of the American strategic community – particularly the military and intelligence circles – towards Pakistan. In particular, there is a general acknowledgement that Pakistan will very likely continue to be destabilized and ultimately collapse. What is not mentioned in these assessments, however, is the role of the military and intelligence communities in making this a reality; a veritable self-fulfilling prophecy. This part also examines the active on the ground changes in American strategy in Pakistan, with increasing military incursions into the country.

Imperial Eye on Pakistan

In December of 2000, the CIA released a report of global trends to the year 2015, which stated that by 2015, “Pakistan will be more fractious, isolated, and dependent on international financial assistance.”[1] Further, it was predicted, Pakistan:

Will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive politics, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction. Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. Further domestic decline would benefit Islamic political activists, who may significantly increase their role in national politics and alter the makeup and cohesion of the military – once Pakistan’s most capable institution. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the central government’s control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi.[2]

The report further analyzed the trends developing in relation to the Pakistan-India standoff in the region:

The threat of major conflict between India and Pakistan will overshadow all other regional issues during the next 15 years. Continued turmoil in Afghanistan and Pakistan will spill over into Kashmir and other areas of the subcontinent, prompting Indian leaders to take more aggressive preemptive and retaliatory actions. India’s conventional military advantage over Pakistan will widen as a result of New Delhi’s superior economic position.[3]

In 2005, the Times of India reported on a US National Intelligence Council report, written in conjunction with the CIA, which predicted a “Yugoslavia-like fate” for Pakistan, saying that, “by year 2015 Pakistan would be a failed state, ripe with civil war, bloodshed, inter-provincial rivalries and a struggle for control of its nuclear weapons and complete Talibanisation.”[4]

In November of 2008, the US National Intelligence Council released a report, “Global Trends 2025,” in which they outlined major trends in the world by the year 2025. When it came to Pakistan, the report stated that, “Ongoing low-intensity clashes between India and Pakistan continue to raise the specter that such events could escalate to a broader conflict between those nuclear powers.”[5] It stated that Pakistan “will be at risk of state failure.”[6] In examining potential failed states, the report stated that:

[Y]outh bulges, deeply rooted conflicts, and limited economic prospects are likely to keep Palestine, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and others in the high-risk category.  Spillover from turmoil in these states and potentially others increases the chance that moves elsewhere in the region toward greater prosperity and political stability will be rocky.[7]

The report referred to Pakistan as a “wildcard” and stated that if it is “unable to hold together until 2025, a broader coalescence of Pashtun tribes is likely to emerge and act together to erase the Durand Line [separating Pakistan from Afghanistan], maximizing Pashtun space at the expense of Punjabis in Pakistan and Tajiks and others in Afghanistan.”[8]

In January of 2009, a Pentagon report analyzing geopolitical trends of significance to the US military over the next 25 years, reported that Pakistan could face a “rapid and sudden” collapse. It stated that, “Some forms of collapse in Pakistan would carry with it the likelihood of a sustained violent and bloody civil and sectarian war, an even bigger haven for violent extremists, and the question of what would happen to its nuclear weapons,” and as such, “that ‘perfect storm’ of uncertainty alone might require the engagement of U.S. and coalition forces into a situation of immense complexity and danger.”[9]

A top adviser to former President George Bush and current President Obama warned in April of 2009, that Pakistan could collapse within months, and that, “We have to face the fact that if Pakistan collapses it will dwarf anything we have seen so far in whatever we’re calling the war on terror now.” The adviser and consultant, David Kilcullen, explained that this would be unlike the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, which each had a population of over 30 million, whereas “Pakistan has [187] million people and 100 nuclear weapons, an army which is bigger than the American army, and the headquarters of al-Qaeda sitting in two-thirds of the country which the Government does not control.”[10]

Target: Pakistan

Going back to the later years of the Bush administration, it is apparent that the US strategy in Pakistan was already changing in seeing it increasingly as a target for military operations as opposed to simply a conduit. In August of 2007, newly uncovered documents revealed that the US military “gave elite units broad authority” in 2004, “to pursue suspected terrorists into Pakistan, with no mention of telling the Pakistanis in advance.”[11]

In November of 2007, an op-ed in the New York Times stated categorically that, “the United States simply could not stand by as a nuclear-armed Pakistan descended into the abyss,” and that, “we need to think — now — about our feasible military options in Pakistan, should it really come to that.” The authors, Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon are both well-known strategists and scholars at the American Enterprise Institute and Brookings Institution, two of the most prominent and influential think tanks in the United States. While stating that Pakistan’s leaders are still primarily moderate and friendly to the US, “Americans felt similarly about the shah’s regime in Iran until it was too late,” referring to the outbreak of the Iranian Revolution in 1979. They warn:

The most likely possible dangers are these: a complete collapse of Pakistani government rule that allows an extreme Islamist movement to fill the vacuum; a total loss of federal control over outlying provinces, which splinter along ethnic and tribal lines; or a struggle within the Pakistani military in which the minority sympathetic to the Taliban and Al Qaeda try to establish Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism.[12]

They state that the military solutions are “daunting” as Pakistan is a nation of 187 million people, roughly five times the size of Iraq. They wrote that, “estimates suggest that a force of more than a million troops would be required for a country of this size,” which led them to conclude, “Thus, if we have any hope of success, we would have to act before a complete government collapse, and we would need the cooperation of moderate Pakistani forces.” They suggested one plan would be to deploy Special Forces “with the limited goal of preventing Pakistan’s nuclear materials and warheads from getting into the wrong hand.” However, they admit that, “even pro-American Pakistanis would be unlikely to cooperate.” Another option, they contend:

would involve supporting the core of the Pakistani armed forces as they sought to hold the country together in the face of an ineffective government, seceding border regions and Al Qaeda and Taliban assassination attempts against the leadership. This would require a sizable combat force — not only from the United States, but ideally also other Western powers and moderate Muslim nations.[13]

The authors concluded, saying that any state decline in Pakistan would likely be gradual, therefore allowing the US to have time to respond, and placed an emphasis on securing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and combating militants. They finished the article with the warning: “Pakistan may be the next big test.”[14]

In December of 2007, the Asia Times Online ran a story about the US plan to rid Pakistan of President Musharraf, and that the US and the West, more broadly, had begun a strategy aimed at toppling Pakistan’s military. As part of this, the US launched a media campaign aimed at demonizing Pakistan’s military establishment. At this time, Benazir Bhutto was criticizing the ISI, suggesting they needed a dramatic restructuring, and at the same time, reports were appearing in the US media blaming the ISI for funding and providing assistance to Al-Qaeda and the Taliban. While much of this is documented, the fact that it suddenly emerged as talking points with several western officials and in the media does suggest a turn-around against a long-time ally.[15]

Both Democratic and Republican politicians were making statements that Pakistan represented a greater threat than Iran, and then-Senator (now Vice President) Joseph Biden suggested that the United States needed to put soldiers on the ground in Pakistan in cooperation with the “international community.” Biden said that, “We should be in there,” and “we should be supplying tens of millions of dollars to build new schools to compete with the madrassas. We should be in there building democratic institutions. We should be in there, and get the rest of the world in there, giving some structure to the emergence of, hopefully, the reemergence of a democratic process.”[16]

In American policy-strategy circles, officials openly began discussing the possibility of Pakistan breaking up into smaller states, and increasing discussion that Musharraf was going to be “removed,” which obviously happened. As the Asia Times stated:

Another worrying thing is how US officials are publicly signaling to the Pakistanis that Bhutto has their backing as the next leader of the country. Such signals from Washington are not only a kiss of death for any public leader in Pakistan, but the Americans also know that their actions are inviting potential assassins to target Bhutto.

If she is killed in this way, there won’t be enough time to find the real culprit, but what’s certain is that unprecedented international pressure will be placed on Islamabad while everyone will use their local assets to create maximum internal chaos in the country.[17]

Of course, this subsequently happened in Pakistan. As the author of the article pointed out with startlingly accurate foresight, “Getting Bhutto killed can generate the kind of pressure that could result in permanently putting the Pakistani military on a back foot, giving Washington enough room to push for installing a new pliant leadership in Islamabad.” He observed that, “the US is very serious this time. They cannot let Pakistan get out of their hands.”[18]

Thus, it would appear that the new US strategic aim in Pakistan was focused on removing the Pakistani military from power, implying the need to replace Musharraf, and replace him with a new, compliant civilian leadership. This would have the effect of fracturing the Pakistani elite, threatening the Army’s influence within Pakistani politics, and undertaking more direct control of Pakistan’s government.

As if on cue, in late December it was reported that, “US special forces snatch squads are on standby to seize or disable Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the event of a collapse of government authority or the outbreak of civil war following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.”[19]

The New York Times ran an article in early January 2008, which reported that, “President Bush’s senior national security advisers are debating whether to expand the authority of the Central Intelligence Agency and the military to conduct far more aggressive covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan.” The article stated that the new strategy was purportedly in response to increased reports of Al-Qaeda and Taliban activity within Pakistan, which “are intensifying efforts there to destabilize the Pakistani government.” Bush’s National Security team supposedly organized this effort in response to Bhutto’s assassination 10 days previously.[20]

Officials involved in the strategy discussions said that some “options would probably involve the C.I.A. working with the military’s Special Operations forces,” and one official said, “After years of focusing on Afghanistan, we think the extremists now see a chance for the big prize — creating chaos in Pakistan itself.” Of pivotal importance to the strategy, as the Times reported: “Critics said more direct American military action would be ineffective, anger the Pakistani Army and increase support for the militants.”[21] Perhaps this is not simply a “side-effect” of the proposed strategy, but in fact, part of the strategy.

As one prominent Pakistani political and military analyst pointed out, raids into Pakistan would expand anger and “prompt a powerful popular backlash” against the Pakistani government, losing popular support.[22] However, as I previously stated, this might be the intention, as this would ultimately make the government more dependent upon the United States, and thus, more subservient.

On September 3, 2008, it was reported that a commando raid by US Special Forces was launched in Pakistan, which killed between 15 and 20 people, including women and children. The Special Forces were accompanied by five U.S. helicopters for the duration of the operation.[23]

In February of 2009, it was reported that, “More than 70 United States military advisers and technical specialists are secretly working in Pakistan to help its armed forces battle Al Qaeda and the Taliban in the country’s lawless tribal areas.” So not only are U.S. Special Forces invading Pakistani territory; but now US military advisers are secretly advising the Pakistani Army on its own operations, and the advisers are themselves primary made up of Special Forces soldiers. They provide the Pakistani Army “with intelligence and advising on combat tactics,” and make up a secret command run by US Central Command and Special Operations Command (presumably JSOC – Joint Special Operations Command).[24]

In May of 2009, it was reported that, “the U.S. is sending Special Forces teams into one of Pakistan’s most violent regions as part of a push to accelerate the training of the Pakistani military and make it a more effective ally in the fight against insurgents there.” The Special Forces were deploying to two training camps in the province of Baluchistan, and “will focus on training Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force responsible for battling the Taliban and al Qaeda fighters.” Further, the project “is a joint effort with the U.K.,” which helps “fund the training, although it is unclear if British military personnel would take part in the initiative. British officials have been pushing for such an effort for several years.”[25]

In December of 2009 it was revealed that, “American special forces have conducted multiple clandestine raids into Pakistan’s tribal areas as part of a secret war in the border region where Washington is pressing to expand its drone assassination programme,” which was revealed by a former NATO officer. He said these incursions had occurred between 2003 and 2008, indicating they go even further back than US military documents stipulate. The source further revealed that, “the Pakistanis were kept entirely in the dark about it. It was one of those things we wouldn’t confirm officially with them.” Further, as the source noted, British “SAS soldiers have been active in the province” of Bolochistan in 2002 and 2003 and “possibly beyond.”[26]

The “Balkanization” of Pakistan: Blaming the Pakistanis

Selig S. Harrison is a director of the Asia Program at the Center for International Policy, senior scholar of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, former senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and former journalist and correspondent. “His reputation for giving ‘early warning’ of foreign policy crises was well established during his career as a foreign correspondent.  In his study of foreign reporting, Between Two Worlds, John Hohenberg, former secretary of the Pulitzer Prize Board, cited Harrison’s prediction of the 1965 Indo-Pakistan war eighteen months before it happened.” Further, “More than a year before the Russians invaded Afghanistan, Harrison warned of this possibility in one of his frequent contributions to the influential journal Foreign Policy.”[27]

On February 1, 2008, Selig Harrison threw his renowned “predictive” abilities on Pakistan in an op-ed for the New York Times in the run-up to the Pakistani elections. He started by stating that, “Whatever the outcome of the Pakistani elections, now scheduled for Feb. 18, the existing multiethnic Pakistani state is not likely to survive for long unless it is radically restructured.” Harrison then went on to explain that Pakistan would likely break up along ethnic lines; with the Pashtuns, concentrated in the northwestern tribal areas, the Sindhis in the southeast uniting with the Baluch tribesmen in the southwest, with the Punjab “rump state” of Pakistan.[28]

The Pashtuns in the north, “would join with their ethnic brethren across the Afghan border (some 40 million of them combined) to form an independent ‘Pashtunistan’,” and the Sindhis “numbering 23 million, would unite with the six million Baluch tribesmen in the southwest to establish a federation along the Arabian Sea from India to Iran,” presumably named Baluchistan; while the rump state of Pakistan would remain Punjabi dominated and in control of the nuclear weapons. Selig Harrison explained that prior to partition from India, which led to the creation of the Pakistani state in 1947, Pashtun, Sindhi and Baluch ethnicities had “resist[ed] Punjabi domination for centuries,” and suddenly:

they found themselves subjected to Punjabi-dominated military regimes that have appropriated many of the natural resources in the minority provinces — particularly the natural gas deposits in the Baluch areas — and siphoned off much of the Indus River’s waters as they flow through the Punjab.

The resulting Punjabi-Pashtun animosity helps explain why the United States is failing to get effective Pakistani cooperation in fighting terrorists. The Pashtuns living along the Afghan border are happy to give sanctuary from Punjabi forces to the Taliban, which is composed primarily of fellow Pashtuns, and to its Qaeda friends.

Pashtun civilian casualties resulting from Pakistani and American air strikes on both sides of the border are breeding a potent underground Pashtun nationalist movement. Its initial objective is to unite all Pashtuns in Pakistan, now divided among political jurisdictions, into a unified province. In time, however, its leaders envisage full nationhood.

… The Baluch people, for their part, have been waging intermittent insurgencies since their forced incorporation into Pakistan in 1947. In the current warfare Pakistani forces are widely reported to be deploying American-supplied aircraft and intelligence equipment that was intended for use in Afghan border areas. Their victims are forging military links with Sindhi nationalist groups that have been galvanized into action by the death of Benazir Bhutto, a Sindhi hero as was her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.[29]

This passage is very revealing of the processes and perceptions surrounding “Balkanization” and “destabilization.” What I mean by this, is that historically and presently, imperial powers would often use ethnic groups against each other in a strategy of divide and conquer, in order “to keep the barbarians from coming together” and dominate the region.

Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in his 1997 book, “The Grand Chessboard,” that, “Geopolitics has moved from the regional to the global dimension, with preponderance over the entire Eurasian continent serving as the central basis for global primacy.”[30] Brzezinski then gave a masterful explanation of the American global strategy, which placed it into a firm imperialistic context:

To put it in a terminology that hearkens back to the more brutal age of ancient empires, the three grand imperatives of imperial geostrategy are to prevent collusion and maintain security dependence among the vassals, to keep tributaries pliant and protected, and to keep the barbarians from coming together.[31]

While imperial powers manipulate, and historically, even create the ethnic groups within regions and nations, the West portrays conflict in such regions as being the product of these “ethnic” or “tribal” rivalries. This perception of the East (Asia and the Middle East) as well as Africa is referred to as Orientalism or Eurocentrism: meaning it generally portrays the East (and/or Africa) as “the Other”: inherently different and often barbaric. This prejudiced perspective is prevalent in Western academic, media, and policy circles. This perspective serves a major purpose: dehumanizing a people in a region that an imperial power seeks to dominate, which allows the hegemon to manipulate the people and divide them against each other, while framing them as “backwards” and “barbaric,” which in turn, justifies the Western imperial power exerting hegemony and control over the region; to “protect” the people from themselves.

Historically and presently, Western empires have divided people against each other, blamed the resulting conflict on the people themselves, and thus justified their control over both the people, and the region they occupy. This was the strategy employed in major recent geopolitical conflicts such as the breakup of Yugoslavia and the Rwandan genocide. In both cases, Western imperial ambitions were met through exacerbating ethnic rivalries, providing financial, technical, and military aid and training to various factions; thus, spreading violent conflict, war, and genocide. In both cases, Western, and primarily American strategic interests were met through an increased presence militarily, pushing out other major imperial and powerful rivals, as well as increasing Western access to key economics resources.

This is the lens through which we must view the unfolding situation in Pakistan. However, the situation in Pakistan presents a far greater potential for conflict and devastation than either Yugoslavia or Rwanda. In short, the potential strategy of “Balkanization” and destabilization of Pakistan could dwarf any major global conflict in the past few decades. It’s sheer population of 187 million people, proximity to two major regional wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, its strategic location as neighbor to India, China, and Iran with access to the Indian Ocean, and its nuclear arsenal, combine to make Pakistan the potential trigger for a much wider regional and possibly global war. The destabilization of Pakistan has the potential to be the greatest geopolitical catastrophe since World War II.

Thus, Selig Harrison’s op-ed in the New York Times in which he describes the “likely” breakup of Pakistan along ethnic lines as a result of “ethnic differences” must be viewed in the wider context of geopolitical ambitions. His article lays the foundation both for the explanation of a potential breakup, and thus the “justification” for Western intervention in the conflict. His “predictive” capacities as a seasoned journalist can be alternatively viewed as pre-emptive imperial propaganda.

Fracturing Pakistan

The war in Afghanistan is inherently related to the situation in Pakistan. From the days of the Afghan-Soviet war in the 1980s, arms and money were flowing through Pakistan to the Mujahideen in Afghanistan. During the civil war that followed, Pakistan armed and financed the Taliban, which eventually took power. When the U.S. and NATO initially attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, this was primarily achieved through cooperation with Pakistan. When the war theatre was re-named “AfPak,” the role of Pakistan, however, was formally altered. While the previous few years had seen the implementation of a strategy of destabilizing Pakistan, once the “AfPak” war theatre was established, Pakistan ceased to be as much of a conduit or proxy state and became a target.

In September of 2008, the editor of Indian Defence Review wrote an article explaining that a stable Pakistan is not in India’s interests: “With Pakistan on the brink of collapse due to massive internal as well as international contradictions, it is matter of time before it ceases to exist.” He explained that Pakistan’s collapse would bring “multiple benefits” to India, including preventing China from gaining a major port in the Indian Ocean, which is in the mutual interest of the United States. The author explained that this would be a “severe jolt” to China’s expansionist aims, and further, “India’s access to Central Asian energy routes will open up.”[32]

In August of 2009, Foreign Policy Journal published a report of an exclusive interview they held with former Pakistani ISI chief Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, who was Director General of the powerful intelligence services (ISI) between 1987 and 1989, at a time in which it was working closely with the CIA to fund and arm the Mujahideen. Once a close ally of the US, he is now considered extremely controversial and the US even recommended the UN to put him on the international terrorist list. Gul explained that he felt that the American people have not been told the truth about 9/11, and that the 9/11 Commission was a “cover up,” pointing out that, “They [the American government] haven’t even proved the case that 9/11 was done by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda.” He said that the real reasons for the war on Afghanistan were that:

the U.S. wanted to “reach out to the Central Asian oilfields” and “open the door there”, which “was a requirement of corporate America, because the Taliban had not complied with their desire to allow an oil and gas pipeline to pass through Afghanistan. UNOCAL is a case in point. They wanted to keep the Chinese out. They wanted to give a wider security shield to the state of Israel, and they wanted to include this region into that shield. And that’s why they were talking at that time very hotly about ‘greater Middle East’. They were redrawing the map.”[33]

He also stated that part of the reason for going into Afghanistan was “to go for Pakistan’s nuclear capability,” as the U.S. “signed this strategic deal with India, and this was brokered by Israel. So there is a nexus now between Washington, Tel Aviv, and New Delhi.” When he was asked about the Pakistani Taliban, which the Pakistani government was being pressured to fight, and where the financing for that group came from; Gul stated:

Yeah, of course they are getting it from across the Durand line, from Afghanistan. And the Mossad is sitting there, RAW is sitting there — the Indian intelligence agency — they have the umbrella of the U.S. And now they have created another organization which is called RAMA. It may be news to you that very soon this intelligence agency — of course, they have decided to keep it covert — but it is Research and Analysis Milli Afghanistan. That’s the name. The Indians have helped create this organization, and its job is mainly to destabilize Pakistan.[34]

He explained that the Chief of Staff of the Afghan Army had told him that he had gone to India to offer the Indians five bases in Afghanistan, three of which are along the Pakistani border. Gul was asked a question as to why, if the West was supporting the TTP (Pakistani Taliban), would a CIA drone have killed the leader of the TTP. Gul explained that while Pakistan was fighting directly against the TTP leader, Baitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani government would provide the Americans where Mehsud was, “three times the Pakistan intelligence tipped off America, but they did not attack him.” So why all of a sudden did they attack?

Because there were some secret talks going on between Baitullah Mehsud and the Pakistani military establishment. They wanted to reach a peace agreement, and if you recall there is a long history of our tribal areas, whenever a tribal militant has reached a peace agreement with the government of Pakistan, Americans have without any hesitation struck that target.

… there was some kind of a deal which was about to be arrived at — they may have already cut a deal. I don’t know. I don’t have enough information on that. But this is my hunch, that Baitullah was killed because now he was trying to reach an agreement with the Pakistan army. And that’s why there were no suicide attacks inside Pakistan for the past six or seven months.[35]

An article in one of Canada’s national magazines, Macleans, reported on an interview with a Pakistani ISI spy, who claimed that India’s intelligence services, Research and Analysis Wing (RAW), have “tens of thousands of RAW agents in Pakistan.” Many officials inside Pakistan were convinced that, “India’s endgame is nothing less than the breakup of Pakistan. And the RAW is no novice in that area. In the 1960s, it was actively involved in supporting separatists in Bangladesh, at the time East Pakistan. The eventual victory of Bangladeshi nationalism in 1971 was in large part credited to the support the RAW gave the secessionists.”[36]

Further, there were Indian consulates set up in Kandahar, the area of Afghanistan where Canadian troops are located, and which is strategically located next to the Pakistani province of Baluchistan, which is home to a virulent separatist movement, of which Pakistan claims is being supported by India. Macleans reported on the conclusions by Michel Chossudovsky, economics professor at University of Ottawa, that, “the region’s massive gas and oil reserves are of strategic interest to the U.S. and India. A gas pipeline slated to be built from Iran to India, two countries that already enjoy close ties, would run through Baluchistan. The Baluch separatist movement, which is also active in Iran, offers an ideal proxy for both the U.S. and India to ensure their interests are met.”[37]

Even an Afghan government adviser told the media that India was using Afghan territory to destabilize Pakistan.[38] In September of 2009, the Pakistan Daily reported that captured members and leaders of the Pakistani Taliban have admitted to being trained and armed by India through RAW or RAMA in Afghanistan in order to fight the Pakistani Army.[39]

Foreign Policy magazine in February of 2009 quoted a former intelligence official as saying, “The Indians are up to their necks in supporting the Taliban against the Pakistani government in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” and that, “the same anti-Pakistani forces in Afghanistan also shooting at American soldiers are getting support from India. India should close its diplomatic establishments in Afghanistan and get the Christ out of there.”[40]

The Council on Foreign Relations published a backgrounder report on RAW, India’s intelligence agency, founded in 1968 “primarily to counter China’s influence, [however] over time it has shifted its focus to India’s other traditional rival, Pakistan.” For over three decades both Indian and Pakistani intelligence agencies have been involved in covert operations against one another. One of RAW’s main successes was its covert operations in East Pakistan, now known as Bangladesh, which “aimed at fomenting independence sentiment” and ultimately led to the separation of Bangladesh by directly funding, arming and training the Pakistani separatists. Further, as the Council on Foreign Relations noted, “From the early days, RAW had a secret liaison relationship with the Mossad, Israel’s external intelligence agency.”[41]

Since RAW was founded in 1968, it had developed close ties with the Afghan intelligence agency, KHAD, primarily to do with intelligence sharing on Pakistan. In the 1980s, while Pakistan was funding, arming and training the Afghan Mujahideen with the support of Saudi Arabia and the CIA, India was funding two covert groups which orchestrated terrorist attacks inside Pakistan, which included a “low-grade but steady campaign of bombings in major Pakistani cities, notably Karachi and Lahore.” RAW has also had a close relationship with the CIA, as even six years before RAW was created, in 1962, the CIA created a covert organization made up of Tibetan refugees, which aimed to “execute deep-penetration terror operations in China.” The CIA subsequently played a part in the creation of RAW. In the 1980s, while the CIA was working closely with the ISI in Pakistan, RAW, while wary of their relationship, continued to get counterterrorism training from the CIA.[42]

In October of 2009, the New York Times reported that the US strategy “to vastly expand its aid to Pakistan, as well as the footprint of its embassy and private security contractors here, are aggravating an already volatile anti-American mood as Washington pushes for greater action by the government against the Taliban.” The U.S. gave Pakistan an aid deal of $1.5 billion per year for the next five years, under the stipulation of “Pakistan to cease supporting terrorist groups on its soil and to ensure that the military does not interfere with civilian politics.” President Zaradari accepted the proposal, making him even more unpopular in Pakistan, and further angering Pakistan’s powerful military, which sees the deal as interfering in the internal affairs of the country.[43]

America is thus expanding its embassy and security presence within the country, as the Embassy “has publicized plans for a vast new building in Islamabad for about 1,000 people, with security for some diplomats provided through a Washington-based private contracting company, DynCorp.” The NYT article referred to how relations were becoming increasingly strained between Pakistan and the US, and tensions were growing within the country exponentially, as “the American presence was fueling a sense of occupation among Pakistani politicians and security officials,” and several Pakistani officials stated that, “the United States was now seen as behaving in Pakistan much as it did in Iraq and Afghanistan.” Futher:

In particular, the Pakistani military and the intelligence agencies are concerned that DynCorp is being used by Washington to develop a parallel network of security and intelligence personnel within Pakistan, officials and politicians close to the army said.

The concerns are serious enough that last month a local company hired by DynCorp to provide Pakistani men to be trained as security guards for American diplomats was raided by the Islamabad police. The owner of the company, the Inter-Risk Security Company, Capt. Syed Ali Ja Zaidi, was later arrested.

The action against Inter-Risk, apparently intended to cripple the DynCorp program, was taken on orders from the senior levels of the Pakistani government, said an official familiar with the raid, who was not authorized to speak on the record.

The entire workings of DynCorp within Pakistan are now under review by the Pakistani government.[44]

As revealed in the Wikileaks diplomatic cables, U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson wrote in September of 2009 that the U.S. strategy of unilateral strikes inside Pakistan “risk destabilizing the Pakistani state, alienating both the civilian government and military leadership, and provoking a broader governance crisis in Pakistan without finally achieving the goal.”[45]

In an interview with Press TV, Hamid Gul, former Inter-Services Intelligence chief revealed more of what he sees as the US strategy in Pakistan. He explained that with the massive expansion of the U.S. Embassy in Pakistan, and alongside that, the increased security staff, the Chinese are becoming increasingly concerned with the sovereignty and security of Pakistan. He claimed that the money that the US government offered (with heavy conditions) to Pakistan, $1.5 billion every year for five years, will be spent under the direction of the Americans, and that “they are going to set up a large intelligence network inside Pakistan,” and ultimately “they really want to go for Pakistan’s nuclear assets.” He further claimed that the Indians are trying to destabilize Pakistan; however, he explained, this does not necessarily mean disintegrate, but rather:

they are trying to destabilize Pakistan at the moment so that it feels weak and economically has to go begging on its knees to Americans and ask for succor and help. And in that process they will want to expect certain concessions with regards to nuclear power and also with regards to setting up their facilities here in Pakistan.[46]

When he was asked what America’s long-term goal was in regards to Pakistan, Gul responded that the goal:

for America is that they want to keep Pakistan destabilized; perhaps create a way for Baluchistan as a separate state and then create problems for Iran so that this new state will talk about greater Baluchistan… So it appears that the long-term objectives are really to fragment all these countries to an extent that they can establish a strip that would be pro-America, pro-India, pro-Israel. So this seems to be their long-term objective apart from denuclearizing Pakistan and blocking Iran’s progress in the nuclear field.[47]

In Part 2 of ‘Pakistan in Pieces’, I will examine the specific ways in which the American strategy of destabilization is being undertaken in Pakistan, including the waging of a secret war and the expansion of the Afghan war into Pakistani territory. In short, the military and intelligence projections for Pakistan over the next several years (discussed in the beginning of Part 1 above) are a self-fulfilling prophecy, as those very same military and intelligence agencies that predict a destabilized Pakistan and potential collapse are now undertaking strategies aimed at achieving those outcomes.

Notes

[1]        NIC, Global Trends 2015: A Dialogue About the Future With Nongovernment Experts. The Central Intelligence Agency: December 2000: page 64

http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_globaltrend2015.html

[2]        Ibid, page 66.

[3]        Ibid.

[4]        PTI, Pak will be failed state by 2015: CIA. The Times of India: February 13, 2005: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Pak-will-be-failed-state-by-2015-CIA/articleshow/1019516.cms

[5]        NIC, Global Trends 2025: A Transformed World. The National Intelligence Council: November 2008: page x

http://www.dni.gov/nic/NIC_2025_project.html

[6]        Ibid, page 45.

[7]        Ibid, page 65.

[8]        Ibid, page 72.

[9]        Peter Goodspeed, Mexico, Pakistan face ‘rapid and sudden’ collapse: Pentagon. The National Post: January 15, 2009: http://www.nationalpost.com/news/world/story.html?id=1181621

[10]      PAUL MCGEOUGH, Warning that Pakistan is in danger of collapse within months. The Sydney Morning Herald: April 13, 2009: http://www.smh.com.au/world/warning-that-pakistan-is-in-danger-of-collapse-within-months-20090412-a40u.html

[11]      Scott Lindlaw, AP: U.S. gave troops OK to enter Pakistan. USA Today: August 23, 2007: http://www.usatoday.com/news/world/2007-08-23-pakistan-engagement_N.htm

[12]      Frederick Kagan and Michael O’Hanlon, Pakistan’s Collapse, Our Problem. November 18, 2007: http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/18/opinion/18kagan.html

[13]      Ibid.

[14]      Ibid.

[15]      Ahmed Quraishi, The plan to topple Pakistan’s military. Asia Times Online: December 6, 2007: http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/IL06Df03.html

[16]      Ibid.

[17]      Ibid.

[18]      Ibid.

[19]      Ian Bruce, Special forces on standby over nuclear threat. The Sunday Herald: December 31, 2007: http://www.heraldscotland.com/special-forces-on-standby-over-nuclear-threat-1.871766

[20]      Steven Lee Myers, David E. Sanger and Eric Schmitt, U.S. Considers New Covert Push Within Pakistan. The New York Times: January 6, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/06/washington/06terror.html

[21]      Ibid.

[22]      Ibid.

[23]      Farhan Bokhari, Sami Yousafzai, and Tucker Reals, U.S. Special Forces Strike In Pakistan. CBS News: September 3, 2008: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/09/03/terror/main4409288.shtml

[24]      Eric Schmitt and Jane Perlez, U.S. Unit Secretly in Pakistan Lends Ally Support. The New York Times: February 22, 2009: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/23/world/asia/23terror.html

[25]      YOCHI J. DREAZEN and SIOBHAN GORMAN, U.S. Special Forces Sent to Train Pakistanis. The Wall Street Journal: May 16, 2009: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124241541672724767.html

[26]      Declan Walsh, US forces mounted secret Pakistan raids in hunt for al-Qaida. The Guardian: December 21, 2009: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/dec/21/us-forces-secret-pakistan-raids

[27]      CIP, SELIG S. HARRISON. Center for International Policy: http://www.ciponline.org/asia/Seligbio.html

[28]      Selig S. Harriosn, Drawn and Quartered. The New York Times: February 1, 2008: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/01/opinion/01harrison.html

[29]      Ibid.

[30]      Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. (New York: Perseus, 1997), page 39

[31]      Ibid, page 40.

[32]      Bharat Verma, Stable Pakistan not in India’s interest. Indian Defence Review: September 11, 2008: http://www.indiandefencereview.com/2008/09/stable-pakistan-not-in-indias-interest.html

[33]      Jeremy R. Hammond, Ex-ISI Chief Says Purpose of New Afghan Intelligence Agency RAMA Is ‘to destabilize Pakistan’. Foreign Policy Journal: August 12, 2009: http://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2009/08/12/ex-isi-chief-says-purpose-of-new-afghan-intelligence-agency-rama-is-%E2%80%98to-destabilize-pakistan%E2%80%99/

[34]      Ibid.

[35]      Ibid.

[36]      Adnan R. Khan, New Delhi’s endgame? Macleans: August 23, 2009: http://www2.macleans.ca/2009/04/23/new-delhi%E2%80%99s-endgame/

[37]      Ibid. See also Michel Chossudovsky, The Destabilization of Pakistan, Global Research, December 30, 2007

[38]      Imtiaz Indher, Afgan MPs call for early withdrawal of foreign troop. Associated Press of Pakistan: April 1, 2009: http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=72423&Itemid=2

[39]      Moin Ansari, Proof: Captured TTP terrorists admit to being Indian RAW agents. Pakistan Daily: September 20, 2009: http://www.daily.pk/proof-captured-ttp-terrorists-admit-to-being-indian-raw-agents-11015/

[40]      Laura Rozen, Can the intel community defuse India-Pakistan tensions? Foreign Policy: February 16, 2009:
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/02/16/can_the_intel_community_defuse_india_pakistan_tensions

[41]      Jayshree Bajoria, RAW: India’s External Intelligence Agency. The Council on Foreign Relations: November 7, 2008: http://www.cfr.org/publication/17707/

[42]      Ibid.

[43]      Jane Perlez, U.S. Push to Expand in Pakistan Meets Resistance. The New York Times: October 5, 2009: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/06/world/asia/06islamabad.html

[44]      Ibid.

[45]      US embassy cables, Reviewing our Afghanistan-Pakistan strategy, The Guardian, 30 November 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/226531

[46]      US military bases ‘will destabilize Pakistan’. Press TV: September 13, 2009: http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=106106&sectionid=3510302

[47]      Ibid.

9/11 and America’s Secret Terror Campaign

9/11 and America’s Secret Terror Campaign
The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda, Part III

Global Research, September 10, 2010

This is Part III of the three-part series, “The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda“

Part 1: The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda. The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the “Arc of Crisis”

Part 2: Empire, Energy and Al-Qaeda: The Anglo-American Terror Network



Anticipating An Attack

For several years prior to the events of 9/11, top American strategists had been acknowledging the necessity of what they oft-termed a “new Pearl Harbor”, a momentous attack upon America itself, in order to mobilize the American populace for a new global war of domination.

As Zbigniew Brzezinski wrote in his 1997 book The Grand Chessboard, “America’s primary interest is to help ensure that no single power comes to control this geopolitical space [of Central Asia] and that the global community has unhindered financial and economic access to it.”[1] Brzezinski acknowledged in his book that, “the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public’s sense of domestic well-being.”[2] He also wrote that, “The public supported America’s engagement in World War II largely because of the shock effect of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.”[3]

In 1999, Andrew Krepinevich, Executive Director of the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments testified before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities. He stated that the US faces an “unprecedented challenge”:

[T]he need to transform our armed forces into a very different kind of military from that which exists today, while sustaining the military’s ability to play a very active role in supporting U.S. near-term efforts to preserve global stability within a national security strategy of engagement and enlargement.[4]

After advocating a massive re-imagining of the role and nature of US military might, pushing the notion of a “revolution in military affairs” and an acceleration of imperial ambitions, he told the Senate Committee:

There appears to be general agreement concerning the need to transform the U.S. military into a significantly different kind of force from that which emerged victorious from the Cold and Gulf Wars. Yet this verbal support has not been translated into a defense program supporting transformation. [. . . ] While there is growing support in Congress for transformation, the “critical mass” [i.e., public support] needed to effect it has not yet been achieved. One may conclude that, in the absence of a strong external shock to the United States—a latter-day “Pearl Harbor” of sorts—surmounting the barriers to transformation will likely prove a long, arduous process.[5]

In 1999, Graham Fuller, former Deputy Director of the CIA’s National Council on Intelligence, advocated using Muslim forces to further US interests in Central Asia. He stated that, “The policy of guiding the evolution of Islam and of helping them against our adversaries worked marvelously well in Afghanistan against [the Russians]. The same doctrines can still be used to destabilize what remains of Russian power, and especially to counter the Chinese influence in Central Asia.”[6]

In June of 2000, the Joint Chiefs of Staff of the Pentagon released Joint Vision 2020, outlining the American military strategy that the Department of Defense “will follow in the future.” The emphasis in the report was put on the notion of “Full Spectrum Dominance,” which means “the ability of U.S. forces, operating alone or with allies, to defeat any adversary and control any situation across the range of military operations”:

Joint Vision 2020 addresses full-spectrum dominance across the range of conflicts from nuclear war to major theater wars to smaller-scale contingencies. It also addresses amorphous situations like peacekeeping and noncombat humanitarian relief.[7]

The neoconservative think tank the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) released a report in September of 2000 called Rebuilding America’s Defenses in which they advocated for a massive expansion of America’s empire and “full spectrum dominance” as well as the necessity to undertake a “Revolution in military affairs,” and undertake multiple simultaneous wars in different regions of the world. Several members of the think tank and authors of the report would go on to enter key policy positions within the Bush administration several months later (including, but not limited to Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, and Zalmay Khalilzad). While acknowledging the massive undertaking this “project” would be, the report stated:

Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event – like a new Pearl Harbor.”[8]

In January of 2001, the Rumsfeld Commission, which was set up to analyze the US National Security Space Management and Organization, chaired by incoming US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (who had also been a signatory to and member of the Project for the New American Century at the same time). It advocated an expansion of military capabilities in Space and a total reorganization of the armed forces and intelligence agencies of the United States. The report stated that:

History is replete with instances in which warning signs were ignored and change resisted until an external, “improbable” event forced resistant bureaucracies to take action. The question is whether the US will be wise enough to act responsibly and soon enough to reduce US space vulnerability. Or whether, as in the past, a disabling attack against the country and its people – a “Space Pearl Harbor” – will be the only event able to galvanize the nation and cause the US Government to act.[9]

As early as 1998, the President was warned in his CIA daily briefing that, “bin Laden and his allies are preparing for an attack in the US, including an aircraft hijacking.” NORAD, the “North American Aerospace Defense command also conducted an exercise to counter a terrorist attack involving smashing an airplane into a building.” In August 1999, “the Federal Aviation Administration’s intelligence branch warned of a possible “suicide hijacking operation” by Osama Bin Laden.”[10]

In October of 2000, the Pentagon undertook an emergency response exercise in which “there was a mock terrorist incident at the Pentagon Metro stop and a construction accident,” and it further envisioned a “downed passenger aircraft” in the Pentagon courtyard.[11]

For years, NORAD had been conducting military exercises and drills in which it envisioned planes being hijacked and flown into buildings in the United States.[12] One of the intended targets in the NORAD drills was the World Trade Center:

In another exercise, jets performed a mock shootdown over the Atlantic Ocean of a jet supposedly laden with chemical poisons headed toward a target in the United States. In a third scenario, the target was the Pentagon — but that drill was not run after Defense officials said it was unrealistic.[13]

As the Guardian revealed in April of 2004:

Five months before the September 11 attacks, US military planners suggested a war game to practise a response to a terrorist attack using a commercial airliner flown into the Pentagon, but senior officers rejected the scenario as “too unrealistic”.[14]

In May of 2001, an exercise involving U.S. Central Command, U.S. Special Operations Command and U.S. Joint Forces Command took place in which the military establishment “forecasted” the first war of the 21st century so closely that, “Nostradamus couldn’t have nailed the first battle of the next war any closer than we did,” as articulated by a former top official with the exercise, Dave Ozolek. The exercise, Unified Vision 2001:

[G]rew out of the realization that the threat was changing. Ozolek said the scenario was a major regional threat emanating from the Middle East. The scenario called for global deployment into a landlocked country with hostile terrain and a lack of basing and agreements with neighboring countries for U.S. access.

[. . . ] The threat we portrayed was an unstable and hostile state, but the primary enemy was not the state itself but a transnational actor based out of that area, globally connected, capable and willing to conduct terrorist attacks in the U.S. as part of that campaign.

[. . . ] “Many of the participants in Unified Vision, 100 days later, were war planners,” Ozolek said. They took their experiences in Unified Vision back to their commands and put them to use as the commands created plans for operations Enduring Freedom and Noble Eagle, he said. They had an idea of the tactics, techniques and procedures needed to operate against such an enemy, he noted.

Ozolek said Unified Vision refutes the pundits who make a living out of critiquing the Department of Defense. “The first thing they like to talk about is that we always dwell on the last battle of the last war,” he said. “What we’re showing them is that this time we got it right: We really were looking at the first battle of the next war, and we nailed it pretty darned close.”[15]

After 9/11, in May of 2002, Condoleezza Rice stated that, “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that … they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.”[16] So Condi is a fool or a liar, because that statement is nothing if not entirely and utterly false. The national security apparatus had fully anticipated, and even war gamed and drilled this very scenario. It was expected, planned for, and no less with war plans waiting in the wings.

The 9/11 Commission

Of critical importance in understanding the events of 9/11 is taking note of the funding for the operation. The 9/11 Commission itself stated:

To date the U.S. government has not been able to determine the origin of the money used for the 9/11 attacks. Ultimately the question is of little practical significance.[17]

However, one should take issue with this claim. The fact is that any comprehensive investigation, criminal or otherwise, should pay special attention to the role of financing; follow the money. This is not the only failure of the 9/11 Commission, as has been amply documented.

From its inception, the 9/11 Commission was plagued with problems. The Bush administration had resisted attempts to form a commission to investigate the attacks of 9/11 for over a year, even pressuring Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle not to launch an inquiry.[18] In May of 2002, President Bush voiced his opposition to the formation of a 9/11 commission.[19]

In September of 2002, Bush reversed his previous decision and backed the proposal to form an “independent” commission to investigate the attacks.[20] Within a month of this statement, the White House began undermining the process, as “an almost completed Congressional deal was suddenly undone in October after a Republican lawmaker involved in the final negotiations received a call from Vice President Dick Cheney,” which led to a stalling of the process.[21]

In mid-November, Congress approved the creation of a bi-partisan 9/11 Commission to investigate the attacks, with 10 Congressmen, 5 Democrats and 5 Republicans, with the Chairman appointed by the Bush administration and the Vice Chair appointed by the Democrats.[22]

The Bush administration chose as the Chairman none other than Henry Kissinger, former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State for Nixon and Ford, “a consummate Washington insider,” not to mention war criminal. Even the New York Times had to admit:

Unfortunately, his affinity for power and the commercial interests he has cultivated since leaving government may make him less than the staunchly independent figure that is needed for this critical post. Indeed, it is tempting to wonder if the choice of Mr. Kissinger is not a clever maneuver by the White House to contain an investigation it long opposed.[23]

Two week later, “Facing questions about potential conflicts of interest, Henry Kissinger resigned” as Chairman of the 9/11 Commission.[24] He was replaced with former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean. As of November 2003, one Commissioner, Max Cleland, claimed that the “investigation is now compromised” by the White House.[25]

Shortly after the release of the final 9/11 Commission Report in 2004, Harper’s Magazine called it “a cheat and a fraud,” declaring the report a “whitewash.”[26]

In 2006, the two co-Chairs of the Commission published a book in which they claimed that the Commission was lied to by both the FAA and the Department of Defense, specifically NORAD.[27] Several commissioners are on the record as saying they felt that the Pentagon purposely lied to them in order to mislead them.[28] Further, much of the information the commission received and used in its report “was the product of harsh interrogations of al-Qaida operatives – interrogations that many critics have labeled torture.”[29]

As it turned out, the Executive Director of the 9/11 Commission, Philip Zelikow, was a man of dubious priorities and connections. He was the ultimate author of the final report and controlled the research staff of the commission. Zelikow, “a former colleague of then-National Security Adviser Condoleeza Rice, was appointed executive director of the 9/11 Commission despite his close ties to the Bush White House, and he remained in regular contact with [Karl] Rove while overseeing the commission.” Zelikow “secretly spoke with President Bush’s close adviser Karl Rove and others within the White House while the ostensibly autonomous commission was completing its report.” Zelikow had even previously co-authored a book with Condoleezza Rice. Following the publication of the report, Zelikow then went to work as an adviser to Condoleezza Rice in the White House.[30]

The Bin Ladens

There are many fascinating and important revelations regarding the intricate relationship between the CIA, the ISI, and al-Qaeda in the lead-up to the events of 9/11 that deserve to be subjected to more scrutiny.

First, let’s take a look at Osama bin Laden. Bin Laden, whose relationship with the CIA in the past had been well documented, reportedly acted as a rogue following the 1991 US Gulf War against Iraq and American stationing of troops and military bases in Saudi Arabia. However, there are reports that would indicate that the relationship between bin Laden and the US intelligence apparatus remained, at least to some degree, for many years.

We must remember the nature of al-Qaeda, as an organization, or network, of intelligence assets funded, armed, trained and dispersed around the world by a complex network of intelligence agencies from the United States, France, Great Britain, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan.

A French court undertook a probe into the financial network of Osama bin Laden, who was widely assumed to simply be independently wealthy, and financed al-Qaeda operations through his own funds. However, it was revealed that Osama maintained a joint bank account with his half-brother Yeslam bin Laden in Switzerland between 1990 and 1997. Of particular interest to investigators was “a 241 million euro transfer made to Pakistan in 2000 from an account belonging to a company called Cambridge, a SBG [Saudi Bin Laden Group] subsidiary, that was opened at Deutsche Bank in Geneva,” with the funds “transferred into an account belonging jointly to Osama bin Laden and someone of Pakistani nationality.”[31]

Der Spiegel, a major German newspaper, was granted access to thousands of pages of intelligence documents relating to bin Laden and al-Qaeda. In the report on the documents, the authors revealed that when bin Laden needed financing, “The Saudi elite — and his own family — came to his assistance.” The list of financiers:

is a veritable who’s who of the Middle Eastern monarchy, including the signatures of two former cabinet ministers, six bankers and twelve prominent businessmen. The list also mentions “the bin Laden brothers.” … Did “the bin Laden brothers,” who first pledged money to Al-Qaida and then, in 1994, issued a joint press statement declaring that they were ejecting Osama from the family as a “black sheep,” truly break ties with their blood relatives — or were they simply pulling the wool over the eyes of the world?[32]

Osama bin Laden’s sister-in-law even stated:

I absolutely do not believe that the bin Ladens disowned Osama. In this family, a brother is always a brother, no matter what he has done. I am convinced that the complex and tightly woven network between the bin Laden clan and the Saudi royal family is still in operation.[33]

Following the death of Osama’s father, Salem bin Laden, Osama’s brother, became head of the company, Saudi Binladen Group (SBG). As Der Spiegel reported:

Salem bin Laden established the company’s ties to the American political elite when, according to French intelligence sources, he helped the Reagan administration circumvent the US Senate and funnel $34 million to the right-wing Contra rebels operating in Nicaragua. He also developed close ties with the Bush family in Texas.[34]

While Osama was fighting in Afghanistan against the Soviets, he would often be personally visited by Saudi Prince Turki, the head of Saudi intelligence, and was funded by both the Saudi Binladen Group (SBG) and the Saudi royal family. In 1990, when King Fahd of Saudi Arabia allowed the Americans to establish military bases in Saudi Arabia, the SBG got the contract to build the bases.[35]

Though the Bin Laden family claimed Osama was a “black sheep” and that they cut off ties with him in the early 1990s, the evidence remains strong that not only did Osama maintain ties with his family, but he maintained his ties with Saudi intelligence. While Osama was in Sudan in the early 1990s, Saudi intelligence would so frequently send his family over to meet with him, and kept in such close contact with him, that the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad, believed Osama was a Saudi spy. In 1994, under intense public pressure, both Saudi Arabia and the bin Laden family publicly revoked their ties with Osama.[36]

Yet, even after this, when Osama returned to Afghanistan in the mid-1990s to work with the Taliban, Prince Turki of Saudi intelligence would still maintain contact and even visit Osama, even bringing “gifts” such as dozens of trucks:

According to a former member of the Taliban intelligence service, Prince Turki and OBL [Osama bin Laden] made a deal: The Saudis would support al-Qaida financially, but only under the condition that there would be no attacks on Saudi soil.[37]

On January 9, 2001, Osama attended his sons wedding in Afghanistan, accompanied by his mother and two brothers, hardly the actions of a “black sheep”. Further, two of Osama’s sisters traveled to Abu Dhabi in February of 2001 to “deliver large sums of cash” to an al-Qaeda agent. In the United States, the Bin Laden family had diplomatic passports, so following the 9/11 attacks, they could not be questioned, but instead were flown out of the country. The Bin Ladens were also in business with the Bush family through the investment company, the Carlyle Group.[38] No one ever seemed to question why the bin Laden family had diplomatic passports, a strange occurrence, it would seem, for a Saudi ‘business’ family who weren’t engaged in any official or formal ‘diplomacy’.

In March of 2000, it was reported that Osama bin Laden was sick and suffering from kidney and liver disease.[39] A western intelligence source told the Hong-Kong based magazine, Asiaweek, that bin Laden was dying of kidney failure.[40]

In July of 2001, Osama bin Laden spent 10 days at the American hospital in Dubai for treatment. He traveled from Pakistan to Dubai on July 4, 2001, to be treated in the urology department. While he was in the hospital, Osama was visited by several members of his family, Saudi officials, and the CIA. One visitor was Saudi Prince Turki al Faisal, the head of Saudi intelligence, and the CIA station chief in Dubai, who was soon after recalled back to Washington.[41]

On September 10, 2001, the night before the attacks of 9/11, Osama bin Laden was in Pakistan “getting medical treatment with the support of the very military that days later pledged its backing for the U.S. war on terror in Afghanistan.” Pakistani intelligence reported that bin Laden was quickly taken to a military hospital in Rawalpindi for kidney dialysis treatment. As one medical worker said, “they moved out all the regular staff in the urology department and sent in a secret team to replace them.” Pakistani President Musharraf openly stated in public that Osama suffers from kidney disease and is near death.[42]

The Pakistani ISI and 9/11

Throughout the entire time of overt and covert assistance by Pakistan’s ISI to both the Taliban and al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, the CIA had maintained its close ties with the ISI that they had developed during the Soviet-Afghan war in the 1980s, in which they used the ISI as a conduit; as was set up through the Safari Club in the 1970s, which was the organization of western intelligence agencies which used Middle Eastern and Asian intelligence agencies as conduits for their covert activities. Thus, the CIA maintained its extensive contact with the ISI, and so would be well aware of its activities.[43]

A top Indian intelligence official even stated that, “America’s Defence Intelligence Agency was aware that Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was sponsoring the Taliban and Al Qaeda, but the Bush Administration chose to ignore its findings.”[44] Is it inconceivable that since the CIA maintained its extensive contacts with the ISI, and the ISI maintained and expanded its contacts with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, that the CIA was not in fact sponsoring both the Taliban and Al-Qaeda through the ISI as well? We know that the CIA was supporting the Taliban through the same network of the ISI that was supporting al-Qaeda operatives,[45] thus it would take a stretch of the imagination to think that the CIA would be unaware of its subsequent support for al-Qaeda. Whether direct or indirect, the CIA was supporting al-Qaeda.

Shortly after 9/11, Indian intelligence became aware of the fact that General Mahmoud Ahmad, head of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) had wired $100,000 from Saeed Sheikh, a convicted terrorist who had associations with the ISI, to Mohamed Atta, the purported ringleader and one of the 9/11 hijackers. Thus, the ISI in effect, financed the 9/11 attacks. However, there are several more ambiguous facets to this story. It just so happens that General Mahmoud Ahmad went to Washington, D.C. on September 4th, 2001 for a weeklong visit. On September 10, the day before 9/11, a Pakistani newspaper ran a story on Ahmad’s visit:

ISI Chief Lt-Gen Mahmood’s week-long presence in Washington has triggered speculation about the agenda of his mysterious meetings at the Pentagon and National Security Council. Officially, State Department sources say he is on a routine visit in return to CIA Director George Tenet’s earlier visit to Islamabad. Official sources confirm that he met Tenet this week. He also held long parleys with unspecified officials at the White House and the Pentagon. But the most important meeting was with Mark Grossman, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

… What added interest to his visit is the history of such visits. Last time Ziauddin Butt, Mahmood’s predecessor, was here during Nawaz Sharif’s government the domestic politics turned topsy-turvy within days. That this is not the first visit by Mahmood in the last three months shows the urgency of the ongoing parleys.[46]

General Ahmad, while in Washington, met with CIA Director George Tenet and Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage. On the morning of 9/11, General Ahmad was in a meeting with the Chairmen of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, Senator Bob Graham and Representative Porter Goss, a former 10-year veteran of CIA clandestine operations. Porter Goss was later put in charge of a joint House-Senate investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks, and later became the CIA director.[47]

General Mahmoud, having wired $100,000 to Mohamad Atta, the purported lead 9/11 hijacker, implicates the ISI in the attacks of 9/11, at least from a financial standing. The FBI even confirmed the transaction took place.[48] The ISI’s extensive ties to American intelligence and the fact that Ahmad was in D.C. talking to high level legislators, State Department, Pentagon and intelligence officials begs the question of what the precise nature of these secret meetings were.

Michael Meacher, a former British MP and member of Tony Blair’s cabinet, wrote in the Guardian that:

Ahmed, the paymaster for the hijackers, was actually in Washington on 9/11, and had a series of pre-9/11 top-level meetings in the White House, the Pentagon, the national security council, and with George Tenet, then head of the CIA, and Marc Grossman, the under-secretary of state for political affairs. When Ahmed was exposed by the Wall Street Journal as having sent the money to the hijackers, he was forced to “retire” by President Pervez Musharraf.[49]

Meacher further discussed the case of Sibel Edmonds, a former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower who tried to expose evidence of what she saw as collusion between intelligence agencies and the terrorists behind 9/11. She was subsequently gagged by the U.S. Department of Justice:

She is a 33-year-old Turkish-American former FBI translator of intelligence, fluent in Farsi, the language spoken mainly in Iran and Afghanistan, who had top-secret security clearance. She tried to blow the whistle on the cover-up of intelligence that names some of the culprits who orchestrated the 9/11 attacks, but is now under two gagging orders that forbid her from testifying in court or mentioning the names of the people or the countries involved. She has been quoted as saying: “My translations of the 9/11 intercepts included [terrorist] money laundering, detailed and date-specific information … if they were to do real investigations, we would see several significant high-level criminal prosecutions in this country [the US] … and believe me, they will do everything to cover this up”.[50]

In August of 2009, Sibel Edmonds revealed that, “the US was on ‘intimate’ terms with the Taliban and al-Qaeda using the militants to further certain goals in central Asia,” and stated, “With those groups, we had operations in Central Asia.” She explained that Washington used those groups “as we did during the Afghan and Soviet conflict.”[51] In other words, the US was arming, funding and using al-Qaeda for its own objectives, just as it always had.

On September 11, 2009, 8 years to the day of the events of 9/11, a major British newspaper, the Daily Mail, ran a story critical of the official story regarding Osama bin Laden. In it, the author posed the question:

What if he has been dead for years, and the British and U.S. intelligence services are actually playing a game of double bluff? What if everything we have seen or heard of him on video and audio tapes since the early days after 9/11 is a fake – and that he is being kept ‘alive’ by the Western allies to stir up support for the war on terror?[52]

The article quoted former U.S. foreign intelligence officer and senior editor Angelo M. Codevilla, a professor of international relations at Boston University as saying, “All the evidence suggests Elvis Presley is more alive today than Osama Bin Laden”:

Prof Codevilla asserted: ‘The video and audio tapes alleged to be Osama’s never convince the impartial observer,’ he asserted. ‘The guy just does not look like Osama. Some videos show him with a Semitic, aquiline nose, while others show him with a shorter, broader one. Next to that, differences between the colours and styles of his beard are small stuff.'[53]

Interesting to note is that following the 9/11 attacks, Osama bin Laden, in at least four separate statements to Middle Eastern press and media, stated that he did not take part in the 9/11 attacks, while the video in which he supposedly claimed responsibility for the attacks has him wearing gold rings, which is forbidden by his Wahhabist religion, as well as writing with his right hand, whereas the FBI website says that he is left handed, and his face is blurred and difficult to make out. On September 28, 2001, Osama bin Laden said, “’I have already said I am not involved. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge… nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children and other humans as an appreciable act.”[54]

Osama bin Laden was even reported to have died of kidney failure on December 13, 2001, in the mountains of Tora Bora on the Afghan-Pakistan border. On that same day, the U.S. government released the fateful videotape in which Osama claimed responsibility for the attacks. However, the bin Laden in the video was very different from the known images of the real bin Laden, and even had a different shaped nose, his beard was darker, his skin paler, and his fingers were no longer long and thin, as well as the fact that he looked to be in good health.[55]

As the Los Angeles Times reported in November of 2009, the extensive and close relationship between the CIA and the ISI has not diminished since 9/11, but had in fact, accelerated: “the CIA has funneled hundreds of millions of dollars to Pakistan’s intelligence service since the Sept. 11 attacks, accounting for as much as one-third of the foreign spy agency’s annual budget.” Further, “the payments to Pakistan are authorized under a covert program initially approved by then-President Bush and continued under President Obama.” Further, “the CIA has routinely brought ISI operatives to a secret training facility in North Carolina,” and as the article pointed out, “the CIA also directs millions of dollars to other foreign spy services. But the magnitude of the payments to the ISI reflect Pakistan’s central role.” As the report in the Los Angeles Times explained, the CIA financial support to the ISI began during the Afghan-Soviet conflict, and has not stopped since then, and since 9/11, it has actually accelerated.[56]

The Nexus Personified: The Case of Ali Mohamed

Perhaps the perfect example of the complex relationship and nexus between intelligence agencies and al-Qaeda is the case of a man named Ali Mohamed. As the San Francisco Chronicle reported in 2001, “A former U.S. Army sergeant who trained Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards and helped plan the 1998 bombing of the U.S. Embassy in Kenya was a U.S. government informant during much of his terrorist career.” Ali Mohamed, an Egyptian-born US citizen had approached the CIA in the mid-1980s to inform for them. He also spent years as an FBI informant, all the while being a top-level al-Qaeda operative, even training Osama bin Laden’s bodyguards, as well as training terrorists in camps in Afghanistan and Sudan, and planned the 1998 US Embassy bombing in Kenya.[57]

State Department officials proclaimed this was merely a sign of the problems associated with recruiting informants, that Mohamed was a double agent working for al-Qaeda, and they should have “known better.” However, the ignorance plea can only go so far, and considering Mohamed’s extensive ties to not one, but several US agencies, there is no doubt he was a double agent, but perhaps it is more likely he was working as an al-Qaeda operative for the US government. After all, it is one thing to say the Ali Mohamed was lucky in his evading being caught, but he was continuously lucky, over and over again. One wonders when ‘luck’ is organized.

In 1971, Ali Mohamed joined the Egyptian Army, rising to the rank of major. Well educated in Egypt, he was fluent in English. In 1981, he joined the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, “a group of radical Muslim fundamentalists opposed to the Egyptian government’s ties to the United States and Israel that included members of the Egyptian military.” The very same year, in 1981, Mohamed traveled to the United States for the first time, “graduating from a special program for foreign officers at the U.S. Army Special Forces school at Fort Bragg, N.C.” In 1984, Mohamed left the Egyptian military.[58]

In 1984, Ali Mohamed approached the CIA office in Egypt offering to be a spy. Officially, the CIA then cut off contact with him shortly thereafter, as he made contact with terrorist organizations and informed them he was working with the CIA, supposedly proposing to spy on US intelligence agencies. So the CIA had the State Department add him to a “watch list” so that he could not enter the United States. However, the next year, Ali Mohamed obtained a visa from the American Embassy and went to the United States. He then joined the American Army and “served with one of its most elite units.”[59]

From 1986 until 1989, Ali Mohamed served at the Army’s Special Forces base in Fort Bragg, N.C., until he was honourably discharged in 1989. While on active duty, he went to New York where he trained local Muslims in military tactics to go fight in the Afghan-Soviet war. One of his students was “El Sayyid A. Nosair, the Egyptian immigrant convicted of killing Rabbi Meir Kahane, the founder of the Jewish Defense League, in 1990,” which was the first recorded al-Qaeda operation on U.S. soil.[60]

In the early 1990s, Ali Mohamed began working for the FBI. Mohamed then forged ties with Osama bin Laden as early as 1991, and assisted in a variety of ways, such as helping bin Laden and ‘al-Qaeda’ obtain fake documents, assisted with logistical tasks, and even helped Osama relocate from Afghanistan to the Sudan in 1991. Many terrorists that Mohamed trained were subsequently involved in the 1993 plot to blow up the World Trade Center. In 1992, Mohamed returned to Afghanistan to continue training militants. That same year, he was detained by officials in Rome, yet was released shortly thereafter.[61]

In 1992, Ali Mohamed created an al-Qaeda terrorist cell in Kenya, and in 1993, bin Laden asked Mohamed to scout for potential terrorist targets in Nairobi, Kenya. He took photos of and scouted the French Embassy, the US AID office and the American Embassy. Bin Laden subsequently chose the American Embassy as the target.[62]

In 1993, he was detained by the RCMP in Vancouver, Canada, “while traveling in the company of a suspected associate of Mr. bin Laden’s who was trying to enter the United States using false documents.”[63] However, after the RCMP were told to contact his FBI handlers, Mohamed was released.[64] He subsequently masterminded the American Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998.[65]

However, there are implications that may suggest that Ali Mohamed’s ties to the CIA did not end or evaporate in the 1980s. Following 9/11, several revelations were reported in the media about a covert program of allowing high-level terrorists to enter the United States under a secret CIA program which had the State Department issue visas to terrorists in order to enter the United States.

The CIA Brings Terrorists to America

Michael Springman, former State Department official and head of the US Visa Bureau in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from 1987 to 1989, went public with his experiences. He stated that, “In Saudi Arabia I was repeatedly ordered by high level State Dept officials to issue visas to unqualified applicants,” and that he would complain to an assortment of different departments and agencies, however, his complaints were met with silence. He elaborated, “What I was protesting was, in reality, an effort to bring recruits, rounded up by Osama Bin Laden, to the US for terrorist training by the CIA. They would then be returned to Afghanistan to fight against the then-Soviets.” Further:

The attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 did not shake the State Department’s faith in the Saudis, nor did the attack on American barracks at Khobar Towers in Saudi Arabia three years later, in which 19 Americans died. FBI agents began to feel their investigation was being obstructed. Would you be surprised to find out that FBI agents are a bit frustrated that they can’t be looking into some Saudi connections?[66]

As Springman further revealed in an interview with the CBC, Sheikh Abdel Rahman, the terrorist widely considered to have played a key role in the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, was issued a visa from a CIA case officer in Sudan, “And that 15 or so of the people who came from Saudi Arabia to participate in the attacks on the WTC and the Pentagon [on 9/11] had gotten their visas through the American consular general at Jeddah.” The interviewer asked if this suggests that this “pipeline” of visa applications issued by the CIA to terrorists was never wrapped up, and Springman replied:

Exactly. I had thought it had been, because I had raised sufficient hell that I thought they had done it. I had complained to the embassy in Riyadh, I had complained to the diplomatic security in Washington, I had complained to the General Accounting Office, I had complained to the State Department Inspector General’s office, and I had complained to the Bureau of Consular Affairs at the State Department. Apparently the reverberations from this where heard all over the State Department.[67]

Eventually, the State Department fired Springman without a sufficient reason. As he explained, the same program in which he was ordered to allow terrorists to enter the United States in the late 1980s had continued and 15 of the 19 suspected 9/11 hijackers were issued visas through this network. It further turned out that Ali Mohamed was “admitted to the United States under a special visa program controlled by the C.I.A.’s clandestine service,” and he had claimed to be working for the CIA.[68]

In the mid-1990s, Ali Mohamed helped al-Qaeda’s current number two, presumably after Osama bin Laden, Ayman al-Zawahiri, to come to California and raise money for al-Qaeda operations. In 2000, Ali Mohamed was called in for questioning and was subsequently arrested in relation to involvement with the 1998 embassy bombings and is being kept in an undisclosed location.[69]

Thus, we have a perfect example of the “terror nexus” in Ali Mohamed: simultaneously having connections with the CIA, the FBI, the Army, and al-Qaeda. His high-level status within al-Qaeda could not have taken place without the knowledge and support of his handlers. Mohamed was a double agent, that much is for sure, but for whom was he really working? Considering he has disappeared into the abyss of “National Security”, the answers might never be fully known. However, this does provide more evidence as to the covert relationship that the United States maintained with al-Qaeda.

Able Danger: Tracking the 9/11 Terrorists

Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, a military intelligence officer, revealed his in-depth knowledge of having worked with the Pentagon’s ultra-secret “Able Danger” program. Able Danger “was begun in 1999 at the request of General Hugh Shelton, then the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and under the direct supervision of General Pete Schoomaker, then the commander of the Special Operations Command (SOCOM).” The CIA, however, had refused to cooperate with the Able Danger program, which was designed to track down terrorists, and developed a specific focus on al-Qaeda. Raytheon, a private military contracting corporation, was involved in this data-mining military intelligence program. Once Schaffer went public with information about the program, the “then deputy director of operations at the Defense Intelligence Agency essentially pulled the plug on his involvement with Able Danger.”[70]

In September of 2000, more than a year before 9/11, Able Danger, “a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States,” and in the summer of 2000, Able Danger recommended that the information be shared with the FBI to go in and remove the terrorist cell. However, the information was not shared and the recommendation was rejected, apparently because “Mr. Atta, and the others were in the United States on valid entry visas.” Further:

A former spokesman for the Sept. 11 commission, Al Felzenberg, confirmed that members of its staff, including Philip Zelikow [a friend of Condi Rice who later joined the Bush administration], the executive director, were told about the program on an overseas trip in October 2003 that included stops in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[71]

A Pentagon spokesman said that the 9/11 Commission looked into the issue during the Commission hearings; however, they “chose not to include it in the final report.”[72] Other intelligence officers and sources came forward to reveal and validate the claims made about “Able Danger,” including J.D. Smith, a defense contractor who confirmed that Able Danger had identified Atta. Further, Navy Captain Scott Philpott has also gone on record along with Schaffer, claiming that they were “discouraged from looking further into Atta” and their attempts to share information with the FBI were thwarted.[73] Congress then began an investigation into the “Able Danger” program. According to Congressional testimony:

Pentagon lawyers during the Clinton administration ordered the destruction of intelligence reports that identified September 11 leader Mohamed Atta months before the attacks on the Pentagon and World Trade Center.[74]

Further, in 2004, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), “destroyed files on the Army’s computer data-mining program known as Able Danger to avoid disclosing the information”:

Retired Army Maj. Erik Kleinsmith, former director of the Army Land Information Warfare Center, told the panel he was directed by Pentagon lawyers to delete 2 terabytes of computer data — the equivalent of one-quarter of the information in the Library of Congress — on Able Danger in May or June 2000 because of legal concerns about information on U.S. citizens.[75]

In September of 2005, as the Senate investigation into Able Danger was underway, several Senators from both parties accused the Defense Department “of obstructing an investigation into whether a highly classified intelligence program known as Able Danger did indeed identify Mohamed Atta and other future hijackers as potential threats well before the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.” This occurred after the Pentagon “blocked several witnesses from testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee at a public hearing.”[76]

The Pentagon even acknowledged that, “it had blocked several military officers and intelligence analysts from testifying at an open Congressional hearing about a highly classified intelligence program.” A Pentagon spokesman said open testimony “would not be appropriate.”[77]

The 9/11 Commission, despite testimony from Col. Schaffer and other individuals about the Able Danger program, had dismissed Able Danger as “not historically significant,” and justified leaving it out of the final report, which stated that, “American intelligence agencies were unaware of Mr. Atta until the day of the attacks.” Louis Freeh, a former FBI Director, wrote in an article in the Wall Street Journal, that this assertion by the 9/11 Commission is “embarrassingly wrong,” especially since Commission members had acknowledged in 2005 (a year after the release of the 9/11 Commission Report), that they had met with Able Danger officials who did mention they were tracking Atta prior to 9/11.[78]

Further, more information was revealed regarding the relationship many supposed hijackers had with the US intelligence community, as it was revealed by Newsweek in 2002 that two hijackers were identified by the CIA in January of 2000 when they attended an al-Qaeda meeting in Malaysia. However, the two men then went to San Diego where they attended flight school, where they “moved into the home of a Muslim man who had befriended them at the local Islamic Center. The landlord regularly prayed with them and even helped one open a bank account.” However, their landlord also happened to be an “undercover asset” for the FBI, yet nothing was done.[79]

Immediately following the 9/11 attacks, it was reported by Newsweek that the military gave information to the FBI which alleged that 5 of the 9/11 hijackers had “received training at secure U.S. military installations in the 1990s.” Further, “three of the alleged hijackers listed their address on drivers licenses and car registrations as the Naval Air Station in Pensacola.” Newsweek continued:

But there are slight discrepancies between the military training records and the official FBI list of suspected hijackers-either in the spellings of their names or with their birthdates. One military source said it is possible that the hijackers may have stolen the identities of the foreign nationals who studied at the U.S. installations.[80]

Could the use of false identities or dual identities be the reason why, in late September of 2001, it was reported that four of the alleged 9/11 hijackers had turned out to be alive and well, and living in the Middle East? The FBI released the list of the 19 purported 9/11 hijackers, and some of the names and photographs on the list show people who were still alive, a remarkable feat for someone accused of crashing a plane in a suicide mission. Even the FBI director in late September of 2001 agreed that the identity of many of the hijackers was still in doubt.[81] Yet, these were not questions addressed by the 9/11 Commission.

It must be looked at and addressed much more closely and critically; the role between the U.S. and other Western intelligence agencies to what is known as “al-Qaeda.” Given our historical understanding of al-Qaeda as a “database” of intelligence assets, which were recruited to fight the Afghan-Soviet war, and our more recent understanding of the relationships between various intelligence agencies historically and presently to these groups and individuals, does it not seem plausible that the operation of al-Qaeda as a covert branch of U.S. policy has continued? Certainly, more research needs to be undertaken, but what is clear is that any and all official investigations thus far have been nothing but concocted lies: that is, willful and intended deception, designed to hide the truth, not reveal it.

It is also within this context, of understanding the deep nexus of intelligence and terrorism in international relations and imperial stratagems (that is, strategic deception), that we must view the rise, role, evolution and purpose of the “Global War on Terror,” now in its 9th year, spending trillions to send poor Americans to kill poor Muslims in nations across the Middle East, Africa, and Central and South Asia.


Notes

[1]        Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives. (Basic Books: 1997), page 148

[2]        Ibid, page 36.

[3]        Ibid, page 25.

[4]        Andrew Krepinevich, Emerging Threats, Revolutionary Capabilities And Military Transformation. Testimony of Andrew Krepinevich, Executive Director, before the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Emerging Threats and Capabilities: March 5, 1999:
http://www.csbaonline.org/4Publications/Archive/T.19990305.Emerging_Threats,_/T.19990305.Emerging_Threats,_.htm

[5]        Ibid.

[6]        Richard Labeviere, Dollars for Terror: The US and Islam. (New York: Algora Publishing, 1999), pages 5-6

[7]        Jim Garamone, Joint Vision 2020 Emphasizes Full-spectrum Dominance. American Forces Press Service: June 2, 2000:
http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=45289

[8]        PNAC, Rebuilding America’s Defenses. Project for the New American Century: September 2000, page 51:
http://www.newamericancentury.org/publicationsreports.htm

[9]        David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor, 2nd ed. (Interlink Books, 2004), page 99

[10]      Fred Kaplan, Show Me the Money. Slate: July 22, 2004:
http://slate.msn.com/id/2104208/

[11]      Dennis Ryan, Contingency planning Pentagon MASCAL exercise simulates

scenarios in preparing for emergencies. US Army Military District of Washington: November 3, 2000:
http://www.prisonplanet.com/pentagon_preparing.htm

[12]      Barbara Starr, NORAD exercise had jet crashing into building. CNN: April 19, 2004:
http://www.cnn.com/2004/US/04/19/norad.exercise/

[13]      Steven Komarow and Tom Squitieri, NORAD had drills of jets as weapons. USA Today: April 19, 2004:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-04-18-norad_x.htm

[4]        Julian Borger, Hijackers fly into Pentagon? No chance, said top brass. The Guardian: April 15, 2004:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/apr/15/usa.september11

[15]      Jim Garamone, Pre-9-11 Exercise Forecasted First War of 21st Century. American Forces Press Service: July 30, 2002:
http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=43608

[16]      Pete Brush, Report Warned Of Suicide Hijackings. CBS News: May 17, 2002:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/18/attack/main509488.shtml

[17]      Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States. (National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States: 2004), page 172

[18]      Howard Fineman, The Battle Back Home. Newsweek: February 4, 2002

[19]      Pete Brush, Bush Opposes 9/11 Query Panel. CBS News: May 23, 2002:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/15/attack/main509096.shtml

[20]      Bootie Cosgrove-Mather, Bush Backs Independent 9-11 Probe. CBS News: September 20, 2002:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/09/24/attack/main523156.shtml

[21]      Carl Hulse, How a Deal Creating an Independent Commission on Sept. 11 Came Undone. The New York Times: November 2, 2002:
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/02/politics/02COMM.html

[22]      Dana Bash, Congress OKs 9/11 special commission. CNN: November 15, 2002:
http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/11/15/congress.commission/index.html

[23]      The Kissinger Commission. The New York Times: November 29, 2002:
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/11/29/opinion/29FRI1.html

[24]      Kissinger resigns as head of 9/11 commission. CNN: December 13, 2002:
http://archives.cnn.com/2002/ALLPOLITICS/12/13/kissinger.resigns/

[25]      Laurence Arnold, 9/11 panel to get access to withheld data. The Boston Globe: November 13, 2003:
http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2003/11/13/911_panel_to_get_access_to_withheld_data/

[26]      Benjamin DeMott, Whitewash as public service: How The 9/11 Commission Report defrauds the nation. Harper’s Magazine: October 2004:
http://www.harpers.org/archive/2004/10/0080234

[27]      James M Klatell, 9/11 Commissioners Expose Obstructions. CBS News: August 5, 2006:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/08/05/terror/main1868087.shtml

[28]      Dan Eggen, 9/11 Panel Suspected Deception by Pentagon. The Washington Post: August 2, 2006:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08/01/AR2006080101300.html?sub=AR

[29]      Robert Windrem and Victor Limjoco, 9/11 Commission controversy. MSNBC: January 30, 2008

[30]      Nick Juliano, Book: Director of 9/11 commission secretly spoke with Rove, White House. The Raw Story: January 31, 2008:
http://www.rawstory.com/news/2007/Book_Director_of_911_commission_secretly_0131.html

[31]      French Magistrate Widens Bin Laden Finance Probe. Reuters: December 25, 2004:
http://www.michaelmoore.com/words/latest-news/french-magistrate-widens-bin-laden-finance-probe

[32]      Georg Mascolo and Erich Follath, Osama’s Road to Riches and Terror. Der Spiegel: June 6, 2005:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,359690,00.html

[33]      Ibid.

[34]      Ibid.

[35]      Ibid.

[36]      Erich Follath and Georg Mascolo, Tracking Osama’s Kin Around the World. Der Spiegel: June 6, 2005:
http://www.spiegel.de/international/spiegel/0,1518,359831,00.html

[37]      Ibid.

[38]      Ibid.

[39]      Kathy Gannon, Bin Laden Reportedly Ailing. AP: March 25, 2000:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/911timeline/2000/ap032500.html

[40]      Suspected Saudi Terrorist Osama bin Laden Dying, Magazine Says. Deutsche Presse-Agentur: March 16, 2000:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/911timeline/2000/deutschepresseagentur031600.html

[41]      Anthony Sampson, CIA agent alleged to have met Bin Laden in July. The Guardian: November 1, 2001:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2001/nov/01/afghanistan.terrorism

[42]      Hospital Worker: I Saw Osama. CBS News: January 28, 2002:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/28/eveningnews/main325887.shtml

[43]      ToI, “CIA worked in tandem with Pak to create Taliban”. Times of India: March 7, 2001:
http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/taliban.htm

[44]      PTI, ‘US ignored its own agency’s reports on ISI backing Al Qaeda’. Rediff: September 25, 2003:
http://www.rediff.com/news/2003/sep/25us.htm

[45]      ToI, “CIA worked in tandem with Pak to create Taliban”. Times of India: March 7, 2001:
http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/taliban.htm

[46]      Amir Mateen, ISI Chief’s Parleys Continue in Washington. The News: September 10, 2001:
http://s3.amazonaws.com/911timeline/2001/news091001.html

[47]      Richard Leiby, A Cloak But No Dagger. The Washington Post: May 18, 2002:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A36091-2002May17&notFound=true

[48]      Pepe Escobar, 9-11 AND THE SMOKING GUN. Asia Times: April 8, 2004:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Front_Page/FD08Aa01.html

[49]      Michael Meacher, The Pakistan connection. The Guardian: July 22, 2004:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/jul/22/usa.september11

[50]      Ibid.

[51]      US on ‘intimate’ terms with extremists in Central Asia. Press TV: August 1, 2009:
http://www.presstv.com/detail.aspx?id=102232&sectionid=3510203

[52]      Sue Reid, Has Osama Bin Laden been dead for seven years – and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror? The Daily Mail: September 11, 2009:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1212851/Has-Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-seven-years–U-S-Britain-covering-continue-war-terror.html

[53]      Ibid.

[54]      Ibid.

[55]      Ibid.

[56]      Greg Miller, CIA pays for support in Pakistan. Los Angeles Times: November 15, 2009:
http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/15/world/fg-cia-pakistan15

[57]      Lance Williams and Erin McCormick, Al Qaeda terrorist worked with FBI. San Francisco Chronicle: November 4, 2001:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2001/11/04/MN117081.DTL

[58]      Lance Williams and Erin McCormick, Bin Laden’s man in Silicon Valley. The San Francisco Chronicle: September 21, 2001:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/09/21/MN224103.DTL&hw=ali+mohamed&sn=003&sc=282

[59]      Benjamin Weiser and James Risen, THE MASKING OF A MILITANT: A special report.; A Soldier’s Shadowy Trail In U.S. and in the Mideast. The New York Times: December 1, 1998:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/01/world/masking-militant-special-report-soldier-s-shadowy-trail-us-mideast.html?pagewanted=1

[60]      Benjamin Weiser, U.S. Ex-Sergeant Linked To bin Laden Conspiracy. The New York Times: October 30, 1998:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/30/world/us-ex-sergeant-linked-to-bin-laden-conspiracy.html?pagewanted=1

[61]      Benjamin Weiser and James Risen, THE MASKING OF A MILITANT: A special report.; A Soldier’s Shadowy Trail In U.S. and in the Mideast. The New York Times: December 1, 1998:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/01/world/masking-militant-special-report-soldier-s-shadowy-trail-us-mideast.html?pagewanted=1

[62]      Lance Williams and Erin McCormick, Bin Laden’s man in Silicon Valley. The San Francisco Chronicle: September 21, 2001:
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2001/09/21/MN224103.DTL&hw=ali+mohamed&sn=003&sc=282

[63]      Benjamin Weiser and James Risen, THE MASKING OF A MILITANT: A special report.; A Soldier’s Shadowy Trail In U.S. and in the Mideast. The New York Times: December 1, 1998:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/01/world/masking-militant-special-report-soldier-s-shadowy-trail-us-mideast.html?pagewanted=1

[64]      ESTANISLAO OZIEWICZ AND TU THANH HA, Canada freed top al-Qaeda operative. The Globe and Mail: November 22, 2001:
http://www.mail-archive.com/hydro@topica.com/msg00224.html

[65]      Benjamin Weiser and James Risen, THE MASKING OF A MILITANT: A special report.; A Soldier’s Shadowy Trail In U.S. and in the Mideast. The New York Times: December 1, 1998:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/12/01/world/masking-militant-special-report-soldier-s-shadowy-trail-us-mideast.html?pagewanted=1

[66]      BBC, Has someone been sitting on the FBI? BBC News: November 6, 2001:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/events/newsnight/1645527.stm

[67]      CBC, Transcript of CBC (Canada) Interview with Michael Springman. CBC: July 3, 2002:
http://www.btinternet.com/~nlpWESSEX/Documents/springmaninterview.htm

[68]      Benjamin Weiser, U.S. Ex-Sergeant Linked To bin Laden Conspiracy. The New York Times: October 30, 1998:
http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/30/world/us-ex-sergeant-linked-to-bin-laden-conspiracy.html?pagewanted=1

[69]      Ton Hays and Sharon Theimer, Egyptian agent worked with Green Berets, bin Laden. The Associated Press: December 31, 2001:
http://www.angelfire.com/ny5/libertystrikesback/AliMohammed.html

[70]      Jacob Goodwin, Inside Able Danger – The Secret Birth, Extraordinary Life and Untimely Death of a U.S. Military Intelligence Program. Global Security News: September 25, 2005:
http://911citizenswatch.org/?p=673

[71]      Douglas Jehl, Four in 9/11 Plot Are Called Tied to Qaeda in ’00. The New York Times: August 9, 2005:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/08/09/politics/09intel.html?ex=1281240000&en=bc4d02afa0a46012&ei=5090

[72]      Stephen W Smith, New Pre-9/11 Intel Questions. CBS news: August 9, 2005:
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/08/09/terror/main769440.shtml?tag=contentMain;contentBody

[73]      Catherine Herridge, Molly Hooper and Liza Porteus, Third Source Backs ‘Able Danger’ Claims About Atta. Fox News: August 28, 2005:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,167130,00.html

[74]      Atta files destroyed by Pentagon. The Washington Times: September 21, 2005:
http://washingtontimes.com/news/2005/sep/21/20050921-102450-4688r/

[75]      Ibid.

[76]      Douglas Jehl, Senators Accuse Pentagon of Obstructing Inquiry on Sept. 11 Plot. The New York Times: September 22, 2005:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/22/politics/22intel.html

[77]      Philip Shenon, Pentagon Bars Military Officers and Analysts From Testifying. The New York Times: September 21, 2005:
http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/21/politics/21intel.html?ex=1284955200&en=ca91fe8ed7997532&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

[78]      Louis Freeh, An Incomplete Investigation. The Wall Street Journal: November 17, 2005:
http://www.opinionjournal.com/extra/?id=110007559

[79]      Michael Isikoff, Exclusive: The Informant Who Lived With The Hijackers. Newsweek: September 16, 2002:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/65649

[80]      George Wehrfritz, Catharine Skipp and John Barry, Alleged Hijackers May Have Trained At U.S. Bases. Newsweek: September 15, 2001:
http://www.newsweek.com/id/75797

[81]      Hijack ‘suspects’ alive and well. BBC: September 23, 2001:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/1559151.stm

The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda: The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the “Arc of Crisis”

The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda: The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the “Arc of Crisis”
Part I
Global Research, September 5, 2010

Introduction

As the 9th anniversary of 9/11 nears, and the war on terror continues to be waged and grows in ferocity and geography, it seems all the more imperative to return to the events of that fateful September morning and re-examine the reasons for war and the nature of the stated culprit, Al-Qaeda.

The events of 9/11 pervade the American and indeed the world imagination as an historical myth. The events of that day and those leading up to it remain largely unknown and little understood by the general public, apart from the disturbing images repeated ad nauseam in the media. The facts and troubled truths of that day are lost in the folklore of the 9/11 myth: that the largest attack carried out on American ground was orchestrated by 19 Muslims armed with box cutters and urged on by religious fundamentalism, all under the direction of Osama bin Laden, the leader of a global terrorist network called al-Qaeda, based out of a cave in Afghanistan.

The myth sweeps aside the facts and complex nature of terror, al-Qaeda, the American empire and literally defies the laws of physics. As John F. Kennedy once said, “The greatest enemy of the truth is not the lie – deliberate, contrived, and dishonest – but the myth – persistent, pervasive, and unrealistic.”

This three-part series on “The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda” examines the geopolitical historical origins and nature of what we today know as al-Qaeda, which is in fact an Anglo-American intelligence network of terrorist assets used to advance American and NATO imperial objectives in various regions around the world.

Part 1 examines the origins of the intelligence network known as the Safari Club, which financed and organized an international conglomerate of terrorists, the CIA’s role in the global drug trade, the emergence of the Taliban and the origins of al-Qaeda.

The Safari Club

Following Nixon’s resignation as President, Gerald Ford became the new US President in 1974. Henry Kissinger remained as Secretary of State and Ford brought into his administration two names that would come to play important roles in the future of the American Empire: Donald Rumsfeld as Ford’s Chief of Staff, and Dick Cheney, as Deputy Assistant to the President. The Vice President was Nelson Rockefeller, David Rockefeller’s brother. When Donald Rumsfeld was promoted to Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney was promoted to Chief of Staff. Ford had also appointed a man named George H.W. Bush as CIA Director.

In 1976, a coalition of intelligence agencies was formed, which was called the Safari Club. This marked the discreet and highly covert coordination among various intelligence agencies, which would last for decades. It formed at a time when the CIA was embroiled in domestic scrutiny over the Watergate scandal and a Congressional investigation into covert CIA activities, forcing the CIA to become more covert in its activities.

In 2002, the Saudi intelligence chief, Prince Turki bin Faisal gave a speech in which he stated that in response to the CIA’s need for more discretion, “a group of countries got together in the hope of fighting Communism and established what was called the Safari Club. The Safari Club included France, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran [under the Shah].”[1] However, “The Safari Club needed a network of banks to finance its intelligence operations. With the official blessing of George H.W. Bush as the head of the CIA,” Saudi intelligence chief, Kamal Adham, “transformed a small Pakistani merchant bank, the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), into a world-wide money-laundering machine, buying banks around the world to create the biggest clandestine money network in history.”[2]

As CIA director, George H.W. Bush “cemented strong relations with the intelligence services of both Saudi Arabia and the shah of Iran. He worked closely with Kamal Adham, the head of Saudi intelligence, brother-in-law of King Faisal and an early BCCI insider.” Adham had previously acted as a “channel between [Henry] Kissinger and [Egyptian President] Anwar Sadat” in 1972. In 1976, Iran, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia formed the Safari Club “to conduct through their own intelligence agencies operations that were now difficult for the CIA,” which was largely organized by the head of French intelligence, Alexandre de Marenches.[3]

The “Arc of Crisis” and the Iranian Revolution

When Jimmy Carter became President in 1977, he appointed over two-dozen members of the Trilateral Commission to his administration, which was an international think tank formed by Zbigniew Brzezinski and David Rockefeller in 1973. Brzezinski had invited Carter to join the Trilateral Commission, and when Carter became President, Brzezinski became National Security Adviser; Cyrus Vance, also a member of the Commission, became Secretary of State; and Samuel Huntington, another Commission member, became Coordinator of National Security and Deputy to Brzezinski. Author and researcher Peter Dale Scott deserves much credit for his comprehensive analysis of the events leading up to and during the Iranian Revolution in his book, “The Road to 9/11”,* which provides much of the information below.

Samuel Huntington and Zbigniew Brzezinski were to determine the US policy position in the Cold War, and the US-Soviet policy they created was termed, “Cooperation and Competition,” in which Brzezinski would press for “Cooperation” when talking to the press, yet, privately push for “competition.” So, while Secretary of State Cyrus Vance was pursuing détente with the Soviet Union, Brzezinski was pushing for American supremacy over the Soviet Union. Brzezinski and Vance would come to disagree on almost every issue.[4]

In 1978, Zbigniew Brzezinski gave a speech in which he stated, “An arc of crisis stretches along the shores of the Indian Ocean, with fragile social and political structures in a region of vital importance to us threatened with fragmentation. The resulting political chaos could well be filled by elements hostile to our values and sympathetic to our adversaries.” The Arc of Crisis stretched from Indochina to southern Africa, although, more specifically, the particular area of focus was “the nations that stretch across the southern flank of the Soviet Union from the Indian subcontinent to Turkey, and southward through the Arabian Peninsula to the Horn of Africa.” Further, the “center of gravity of this arc is Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer and for more than two decades a citadel of U.S. military and economic strength in the Middle East. Now it appears that the 37-year reign of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi is almost over, ended by months of rising civil unrest and revolution.”[5]

With rising discontent in the region, “There was this idea that the Islamic forces could be used against the Soviet Union. The theory was, there was an arc of crisis, and so an arc of Islam could be mobilized to contain the Soviets. It was a Brzezinski concept.”[6] A month prior to Brzezinski’s speech, in November of 1978, “President Carter named the Bilderberg group’s George Ball, another member of the Trilateral Commission, to head a special White House Iran task force under the National Security Council’s Brzezinski.” Further, “Ball recommended that Washington drop support for the Shah of Iran and support the fundamentalist Islamic opposition of Ayatollah Khomeini.”[7] George Ball’s visit to Iran was a secret mission.[8]

Throughout 1978, the Shah was under the impression that “the Carter administration was plotting to topple his regime.” In 1978, the Queen and Shah’s wife, told Manouchehr Ganji, a minister in the Shah’s government, that, “I wanted to tell you that the Americans are maneuvering to bring down the Shah,” and she continued saying that she believed “they even want to topple the regime.”[9] The US Ambassador to Iran, William Sullivan, thought that the revolution would succeed, and told this to Ramsey Clark, former US Attorney General under the Johnson administration, as well as professor Richard Falk, when they were visiting Sullivan in Iran in 1978. Clark and Falk then went from Iran to Paris, to visit Khomeini, who was there in exile. James Bill, a Carter adviser, felt that, “a religious movement brought about with the United States’ assistance would be a natural friend of the United States.”[10]

Also interesting is the fact that the British BBC broadcast pro-Khomeini Persian-language programs daily in Iran, as a subtle form of propaganda, which “gave credibility to the perception of United States and British support of Khomeini.”[11] The BBC refused to give the Shah a platform to respond, and “[r]epeated personal appeals from the Shah to the BBC yielded no result.”[12]

In the May 1979 meeting of the Bilderberg Group, Bernard Lewis, a British historian of great influence (hence, the Bilderberg membership), presented a British-American strategy which, “endorsed the radical Muslim Brotherhood movement behind Khomeini, in order to promote balkanization of the entire Muslim Near East along tribal and religious lines. Lewis argued that the West should encourage autonomous groups such as the Kurds, Armenians, Lebanese Maronites, Ethiopian Copts, Azerbaijani Turks, and so forth. The chaos would spread in what he termed an ‘Arc of Crisis,’ which would spill over into the Muslim regions of the Soviet Union.”[13] Further, it would prevent Soviet influence from entering the Middle East, as the Soviet Union was viewed as an empire of atheism and godlessness: essentially a secular and immoral empire, which would seek to impose secularism across Muslim countries. So supporting radical Islamic groups would mean that the Soviet Union would be less likely to have any influence or relations with Middle Eastern countries, making the US a more acceptable candidate for developing relations.

A 1979 article in Foreign Affairs, the journal of the Council on Foreign Relations, described the Arc of Crisis, saying that, “The Middle East constitutes its central core. Its strategic position is unequalled: it is the last major region of the Free World directly adjacent to the Soviet Union, it holds in its subsoil about three-fourths of the proven and estimated world oil reserves, and it is the locus of one of the most intractable conflicts of the twentieth century: that of Zionism versus Arab nationalism.” It went on to explain that post-war US policy in the region was focused on “containment” of the Soviet Union, as well as access to the regions oil.[14] The article continued, explaining that the most “obvious division” within the Middle East is, “that which separates the Northern Tier (Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan) from the Arab core,” and that, “After World War II, Turkey and Iran were the two countries most immediately threatened by Soviet territorial expansionism and political subversion.”[15] Ultimately, “the Northern Tier was assured of a serious and sustained American commitment to save it from sharing the fate of Eastern Europe.”[16]

While Khomeini was in Paris prior to the Revolution, a representative of the French President organized a meeting between Khomeini and “current world powers,” in which Khomeini made certain demands, such as, “the shah’s removal from Iran and help in avoiding a coup d’état by the Iranian Army.” The Western powers, however, “were worried about the Soviet Union’s empowerment and penetration and a disruption in Iran’s oil supply to the west. Khomeini gave the necessary guarantees. These meetings and contacts were taking place in January of 1979, just a few days before the Islamic Revolution in February 1979.”[17] In February of 1979, Khomeini was flown out of Paris on an Air France flight, to return to Iran, “with the blessing of Jimmy Carter.”[18] Ayatollah Khomeini named Mehdi Bazargan as prime minister of the Provisional Revolutionary Government on February 4, 1979. As Khomeini had demanded during his Paris meeting in January 1979, that western powers must help in avoiding a coup by the Iranian Army; in that same month, the Carter administration, under the direction of Brzezinski, had begun planning a military coup.[19]

Could this have been planned in the event that Khomeini was overthrown, the US would quickly reinstate order, perhaps even place Khomeini back in power? Interestingly, in January of 1979, “as the Shah was about to leave the country, the American Deputy Commander in NATO, General Huyser, arrived and over a period of a month conferred constantly with Iranian military leaders. His influence may have been substantial on the military’s decision not to attempt a coup and eventually to yield to the Khomeini forces, especially if press reports are accurate that he or others threatened to withhold military supplies if a coup were attempted.”[20] No coup was subsequently undertaken, and Khomeini came to power as the Ayatollah of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

As tensions increased among the population within Iran, the US sent “security advisers” to Iran to pressure the Shah’s SAVAK (secret police) to implement “a policy of ever more brutal repression, in a manner calculated to maximize popular antipathy to the Shah.” The Carter administration also began publicly criticizing the Shah’s human rights abuses.[21] On September 6, 1978, the Shah banned demonstrations, and the following day, between 700 and 2000 demonstrators were gunned down, following “advice from Brzezinski to be firm.”[22]

The US Ambassador to the UN, Andrew Young, a Trilateral Commission member, said that, “Khomeini will eventually be hailed as a saint,” and the US Ambassador to Iran, William Sullivan, said, “Khomeini is a Gandhi-like figure,” while Carter’s adviser, James Bill, said that Khomeini was a man of “impeccable integrity and honesty.”[23]

The Shah was also very sick in late 1978 and early 1979. So the Shah fled Iran in January of 1979 to the Bahamas, allowing for the revolution to take place. It is especially interesting to understand the relationship between David Rockefeller and the Shah of Iran. David Rockefeller’s personal assistant, Joseph V. Reed, had been “assigned to handle the shah’s finances and his personal needs;” Robert Armao, who worked for Vice President Nelson Rockefeller, was sent to “act as the shah’s public relations agent and lobbyist;” and Benjamin H. Kean, “a longtime associate of Chase Manhattan Bank chairman David Rockefeller,” and David Rockefeller’s “personal physician,” who was sent to Mexico when the shah was there, and advised that he “be treated at an American hospital.”[24]

It is important to note that Rockefeller interests “had directed U.S. policy in Iran since the CIA coup of 1953.”[25] Following the Shah’s flight from Iran, there were increased pressures within the United States by a handful of powerful people to have the Shah admitted to the United States. These individuals were Zbigniew Brzezinski, former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, John J. McCloy, former statesman and senior member of the Bilderberg Group, Trilateral Commission and the Council on Foreign Relations, who was also a lawyer for Chase Manhattan, and of course, David Rockefeller.[26]

Chase Manhattan Bank had more interests in Iran than any other US bank. In fact, the Shah had “ordered that all his government’s major operating accounts be held at Chase and that letters of credit for the purchase of oil be handled exclusively through Chase. The bank also became the agent and lead manager for many of the loans to Iran. In short, Iran became the crown jewel of Chase’s international banking portfolio.”[27]

The Iranian interim government, headed by Prime Minister Bazargan, collapsed in November of 1979, when Iranian hostages seized the US Embassy in Teheran. However, there is much more to this event than meets the eye. During the time of the interim government (February, 1979 to November, 1979), several actions were undertaken which threatened some very powerful interests who had helped the Ayatollah into power.

Chase Manhattan Bank faced a liquidity crisis as there had been billions in questionable loans to Iran funneled through Chase.[28] Several of Chase’s loans were “possibly illegal under the Iranian constitution.”[29] Further, in February of 1979, once the interim government was put in power, it began to take “steps to market its oil independently of the Western oil majors.” Also, the interim government “wanted Chase Manhattan to return Iranian assets, which Rockefeller put at more than $1 billion in 1978, although some estimates ran much higher,” which could have “created a liquidity crisis for the bank which already was coping with financial troubles.”[30]

With the seizure of the American Embassy in Iran, President Carter took moves to freeze Iranian financial assets. As David Rockefeller wrote in his book, “Carter’s ‘freeze’ of official Iranian assets protected our [Chase Manhattan’s] position, but no one at Chase played a role in convincing the administration to institute it.”[31]

In February of 1979, Iran had been taking “steps to market its oil independently of the Western oil majors. In 1979, as in 1953, a freeze of Iranian assets made this action more difficult.”[32] This was significant for Chase Manhattan not simply because of the close interlocking of the board with those of oil companies, not to mention Rockefeller himself, who is patriarch of the family whose name is synonymous with oil, but also because Chase exclusively handled all the letters of credit for the purchase of Iranian oil.[33]

The Shah being accepted into the United States, under public pressure from Henry Kissinger, Zbigniew Brzezinski and David Rockefeller, precipitated the hostage crisis, which occurred on November 4. Ten days later, Carter froze all Iranian assets in US banks, on the advice of his Treasury Secretary, William Miller. Miller just happened to have ties to Chase Manhattan Bank.[34]

Although Chase Manhattan directly benefited from the seizure of Iranian assets, the reasoning behind the seizure as well as the events leading up to it, such as a hidden role for the Anglo-Americans behind the Iranian Revolution, bringing the Shah to America, which precipitated the hostage crisis, cannot simply be relegated to personal benefit for Chase. There were larger designs behind this crisis. So the 1979 crises in Iran cannot simply be pawned off as a spur of the moment undertaking, but rather should be seen as quick actions taken upon a perceived opportunity. The opportunity was the rising discontent within Iran at the Shah; the quick actions were in covertly pushing the country into Revolution.

In 1979, “effectively restricting the access of Iran to the global oil market, the Iranian assets freeze became a major factor in the huge oil price increases of 1979 and 1981.”[35] Added to this, in 1979, British Petroleum cancelled major oil contracts for oil supply, which along with cancellations taken by Royal Dutch Shell, drove the price of oil up higher.[36] With the first major oil price rises in 1973 (urged on by US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger), the Third World was forced to borrow heavily from US and European banks to finance development. With the second oil price shocks of 1979, the US Federal Reserve, with Paul Volcker as its new Chairman, (himself having served a career under David Rockefeller at Chase Manhattan), dramatically raised interest rates from 2% in the late 70s to 18% in the early 80s. Developing nations could not afford to pay such interest on their loans, and thus the 1980s debt crisis spread throughout the Third World, with the IMF and World Bank coming to the “rescue” with their Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), which ensured western control over the developing world’s economies.[37]

Covertly, the United States helped a radical Islamist government come to power in Iran, “the center of the Arc of Crisis,” and then immediately stirred up conflict and war in the region. Five months before Iraq invaded Iran, in April of 1980, Zbigniew Brzezinski openly declared the willingness of the US to work closely with Iraq. Two months before the war, Brzezinski met with Saddam Hussein in Jordan, where he gave support for the destabilization of Iran.[38] While Saddam was in Jordan, he also met with three senior CIA agents, which was arranged by King Hussein of Jordan. He then went to meet with King Fahd in Saudi Arabia, informing him of his plans to invade Iran, and then met with the King of Kuwait to inform him of the same thing. He gained support from America, and financial and arms support from the Arab oil producing countries. Arms to Iraq were funneled through Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.[39] The war lasted until 1988 and resulted in over a million deaths.

This was the emergence of the “strategy of tension” in the “Arc of Crisis,” in particular, the covert support (whether in arming, training, or financing) of radical Islamic elements to foment violence and conflict in a region. It was the old imperial tactic of ‘divide and conquer’: pit the people against each other so that they cannot join forces against the imperial power. This violence and radical Islamism would further provide the pretext for which the US and its imperial allies could then engage in war and occupation within the region, all the while securing its vast economic and strategic interests.

The “Arc of Crisis” in Afghanistan: The Safari Club in Action

In 1978, the progressive Taraki government in Afghanistan managed to incur the anger of the United States due to “its egalitarian and collectivist economic policies.”[40] The Afghan government was widely portrayed in the West as “Communist” and thus, a threat to US national security. The government, did, however, undertake friendly policies and engagement with the Soviet Union, but was not a Communist government.

In 1978, as the new government came to power, almost immediately the US began covertly funding rebel groups through the CIA.[41] In 1979, Zbigniew Brzezinski worked closely with his aid from the CIA, Robert Gates (who is currently Secretary of Defense), in shifting President Carter’s Islamic policy. As Brzezinski said in a 1998 interview with a French publication:

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.[42]

Brzezinski elaborated, saying he “Knowingly increased the probability that [the Soviets] would invade,” and he recalled writing to Carter on the day of the Soviet invasion that, “We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.” When asked about the repercussions for such support in fostering the rise of Islamic fundamentalism, Brzezinski responded, “What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”[43]

As author Peter Dale Scott pointed out in, The Road to 9/11:*

For generations in both Afghanistan and the Soviet Muslim Republics the dominant form of Islam had been local and largely Sufi. The decision to work with the Saudi and Pakistani secret services meant that billions of CIA and Saudi dollars would ultimately be spent in programs that would help enhance the globalistic and Wahhabistic jihadism that are associated today with al Qaeda.[44]

Hafizullah Amin, a top official in Taraki’s government, who many believed to be a CIA asset, orchestrated a coup in September of 1979, and “executed Taraki, halted the reforms, and murdered, jailed, or exiled thousands of Taraki supporters as he moved toward establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. But within two months, he was overthrown by PDP remnants including elements within the military.”[45] The Soviets also intervened in order to replace Amin, who was seen as “unpredictable and extremist” with “the more moderate Barbak Karmal.”[46]

The Soviet invasion thus prompted the US national security establishment to undertake the largest covert operation in history. When Ronald Reagan replaced Jimmy Carter in 1981, the covert assistance to the Afghan Mujahideen not only continued on the path set by Brzezinski but it rapidly accelerated, as did the overall strategy in the “Arc of Crisis.” When Reagan became President, his Vice President became George H.W. Bush, who, as CIA director during the Ford administration, had helped establish the Safari Club intelligence network and the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) in Pakistan. In the “campaign to aid the Afghan rebels … BCCI clearly emerged as a U.S. intelligence asset,” and CIA Director “Casey began to use the outside – the Saudis, the Pakistanis, BCCI – to run what they couldn’t get through Congress. [BCCI president] Abedi had the money to help,” and the CIA director had “met repeatedly” with the president of BCCI.[47]

Thus, in 1981, Director Casey of the CIA worked with Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal who ran the Saudi intelligence agency GID, and the Pakistani ISI “to create a foreign legion of jihadi Muslims or so-called Arab Afghans.” This idea had “originated in the elite Safari Club that had been created by French intelligence chief Alexandre de Marenches.”[48]

In 1986, the CIA backed a plan by the Pakistani ISI “to recruit people from around the world to join the Afghan jihad.” Subsequently:

More than 100,000 Islamic militants were trained in Pakistan between 1986 and 1992, in camps overseen by CIA and MI6, with the SAS [British Special Forces] training future al-Qaida and Taliban fighters in bomb-making and other black arts. Their leaders were trained at a CIA camp in Virginia. This was called Operation Cyclone and continued long after the Soviets had withdrawn in 1989.[49]

CIA funding for the operations “was funneled through General Zia and the ISI in Pakistan.”[50] Interestingly, Robert Gates, who previously served as assistant to Brzezinski in the National Security Council, stayed on in the Reagan-Bush administration as executive assistant to CIA director Casey, and who is currently Secretary of Defense.

The Global Drug Trade and the CIA

As a central facet of the covert financing and training of the Afghan Mujahideen, the role of the drug trade became invaluable. The global drug trade has long been used by empires for fuelling and financing conflict with the aim of facilitating imperial domination.

In 1773, the British colonial governor in Bengal “established a colonial monopoly on the sale of opium.” As Alfred W. McCoy explained in his masterful book, The Politics of Heroin:

As the East India Company expanded production, opium became India’s main export. [. . . ] Over the next 130 years, Britain actively promoted the export of Indian opium to China, defying Chinese drug laws and fighting two wars to open China’s opium market for its merchants. Using its military and mercantile power, Britain played a central role in making China a vast drug market and in accelerating opium cultivation throughout China. By 1900 China had 13.5 million addicts consuming 39,000 tons of opium.[51]

In Indochina in the 1940s and 50s, the French intelligence services “enabled the opium trade to survive government suppression efforts,” and subsequently, “CIA activities in Burma helped transform the Shan states from a relatively minor poppy-cultivating area into the largest opium-growing region in the world.”[52] The CIA did this by supporting the Kuomintang (KMT) army in Burma for an invasion of China, and facilitated its monopolization and expansion of the opium trade, allowing the KMT to remain in Burma until a coup in 1961, when they were driven into Laos and Thailand.[53] The CIA subsequently played a very large role in the facilitation of the drugs trade in Laos and Vietnam throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s.[54]

It was during the 1980s that “the CIA’s covert war in Afghanistan transformed Central Asia from a self-contained opium zone into a major supplier of heroin for the world market,” as:

Until the late 1970s, tribal farmers in the highlands of Afghanistan and Pakistan grew limited quantities of opium and sold it to merchant caravans bound west for Iran and east to India. In its decade of covert warfare against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, the CIA’s operations provided the political protection and logistics linkages that joined Afghanistan’s poppy fields to heroin markets in Europe and America.[55]

In 1977, General Zia Ul Haq in Pakistan launched a military coup, “imposed a harsh martial-law regime,” and executed former President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (father to Benazir Bhutto). When Zia came to power, the Pakistani ISI was a “minor military intelligence unit,” but, under the “advice and assistance of the CIA,” General Zia transformed the ISI “into a powerful covert unit and made it the strong arm of his martial-law regime.”[56]

The CIA and Saudi money flowed not only to weapons and training for the Mujahideen, but also into the drug trade. Pakistani President Zia-ul-Haq appointed General Fazle Haq as the military governor of Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province (NWFP), who would “consult with Brzezinski on developing an Afghan resistance program,” and who became a CIA asset. When CIA Director Casey or Vice President George H.W. Bush reviewed the CIA Afghan operation, they went to see Haq; who by 1982, was considered by Interpol to be an international narcotics trafficker. Haq moved much of the narcotics money through the BCCI.[57]

In May of 1979, prior to the December invasion of the Soviet Union into Afghanistan, a CIA envoy met with Afghan resistance leaders in a meeting organized by the ISI. The ISI “offered the CIA envoy an alliance with its own Afghan client, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar,” who led a small guerilla group. The CIA accepted, and over the following decade, half of the CIA’s aid went to Hekmatyar’s guerillas.[58] Hekmatyar became Afghanistan’s leading mujahideen drug lord, and developed a “complex of six heroin labs in an ISI-controlled area of Baluchistan (Pakistan).”[59]

The US subsequently, through the 1980s, in conjunction with Saudi Arabia, gave Hekmatyar more than $1 billion in armaments. Immediately, heroin began flowing from Afghanistan to America. By 1980, drug-related deaths in New York City rose 77% since 1979.[60] By 1981, the drug lords in Pakistan and Afghanistan supplied 60% of America’s heroin. Trucks going into Afghanistan with CIA arms from Pakistan would return with heroin “protected by ISI papers from police search.”[61]

Haq, the CIA asset in Pakistan, “was also running the drug trade,” of which the bank BCCI “was completely involved.” In the 1980s, the CIA insisted that the ISI create “a special cell for the use of heroin for covert actions.” Elaborating:

This cell promoted the cultivation of opium and the extraction of heroin in Pakistani territory as well as in the Afghan territory under Mujahideen control for being smuggled into Soviet controlled areas in order to make the Soviet troops heroin addicts.[62]

This plan apparently originated at the suggestion of French intelligence chief and founder of the Safari Club, Alexandre de Marenches, who recommended it to CIA Director Casey.[63]

In the 1980s, one program undertaken by the United States was to finance Mujahideen propaganda in textbooks for Afghan schools. The US gave the Mujahideen $43 million in “non-lethal” aid for the textbook project alone, which was given by USAID: “The U.S. Agency for International Development, [USAID] coordinated its work with the CIA, which ran the weapons program,” and “The U.S. government told the AID to let the Afghan war chiefs decide the school curriculum and the content of the textbooks.”[64]

The textbooks were “filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings,” and “were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines.” Even since the covert war of the 1980s, the textbooks “have served since then as the Afghan school system’s core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books.” The books were developed through a USAID grant to the “University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies,” and when the books were smuggled into Afghanistan through regional military leaders, “Children were taught to count with illustrations showing tanks, missiles and land mines.” USAID stopped this funding in 1994.[65]

The Rise of the Taliban

When the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan in 1989, the fighting continued between the Afghan government backed by the USSR and the Mujahideen backed by the US, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan. When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, so too did its aid to the Afghan government, which itself was overthrown in 1992. However, fighting almost immediately broke out between rival factions vying for power, including Hekmatyar.

In the early 1990s, an obscure group of “Pashtun country folk” had become a powerful military and political force in Afghanistan, known as the Taliban.[66] The Taliban “surfaced as a small militia force operating near Kandahar city during the spring and summer of 1994, carrying out vigilante attacks against minor warlords.” As growing discontent with the warlords grew, so too did the reputation of the Taliban.[67]

The Taliban acquired an alliance with the ISI in 1994, and throughout 1995, the relationship between the Taliban and the ISI accelerated and “became more and more of a direct military alliance.” The Taliban ultimately became “an asset of the ISI” and “a client of the Pakistan army.”[68] Further, “Between 1994 and 1996, the USA supported the Taliban politically through its allies Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, essentially because Washington viewed the Taliban as anti-Iranian, anti-Shia, and pro-Western.”[69]

Selig Harrison, a scholar with the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars and “a leading US expert on South Asia,” said at a conference in India that the CIA worked with Pakistan to create the Taliban. Harrison has “extensive contact” with the CIA, as “he had meetings with CIA leaders at the time when Islamic forces were being strengthened in Afghanistan,” while he was a senior associate of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. As he further revealed in 2001, “The CIA still has close links with the ISI.”[70] By 1996, the Taliban had control of Kandahar, but still fighting and instability continued in the country.

Osama and Al-Qaeda

Between 1980 and 1989, roughly $600 million was passed through Osama bin Laden’s charity front organizations, specifically the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK), also known as Al-Kifah. The money mostly originated with wealthy donors in Saudi Arabia and other areas in the Persian Gulf, and was funneled through his charity fronts to arm and fund the mujahideen in Afghanistan.[71]

In the 1980s, the British Special Forces (SAS) were training mujahideen in Afghanistan, as well as in secret camps in Scotland, and the SAS is largely taking orders from the CIA. The CIA also indirectly begins to arm Osama bin Laden.[72] Osama bin Laden’s front charity, the MAK, “was nurtured” by the Pakistani ISI.[73]

Osama bin Laden was reported to have been personally recruited by the CIA in 1979 in Istanbul. He had the close support of Prince Turki bin Faisal, his friend and head of Saudi intelligence, and also developed ties with Hekmatyar in Afghanistan,[74] both of whom were pivotal figures in the CIA-Safari Club network. General Akhtar Abdul Rahman, the head of the Pakistani ISI from 1980 to 1987, would meet regularly with Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, and they formed a partnership in demanding a tax on the opium trade from warlords so that by 1985, bin Laden and the ISI were splitting the profits of over $100 million per year.[75] In 1985, Osama bin Laden’s brother, Salem, stated that Osama was “the liaison between the US, the Saudi government, and the Afghan rebels.”[76]

In 1988, Bin Laden discussed “the establishment of a new military group,” which would come to be known as Al-Qaeda.[77] Osama bin Laden’s charity front, the MAK, (eventually to form Al-Qaeda) founded the al-Kifah Center in Brooklyn, New York, to recruit Muslims for the jihad against the Soviets. The al-Kifah Center was founded in the late 1980s with the support of the U.S. government, which provided visas for known terrorists associated with the organization, including Ali Mohamed, the “blind sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman and possibly the lead 9/11 hijacker, Mohamed Atta.[78]

This coincided with the creation of Al-Qaeda, of which the al-Kifah Center was a recruiting front. Foot soldiers for Al-Qaeda were “admitted to the United States for training under a special visa program.” The FBI had been surveilling the training of terrorists, however, “it terminated this surveillance in the fall of 1989.” In 1990, the CIA granted Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman a visa to come run the al-Kifah Center, who was considered an “untouchable” as he was “being protected by no fewer than three agencies,” including the State Department, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the CIA.[79]

Robin Cook, a former British MP and Minister of Foreign Affairs wrote that Al-Qaeda, “literally ‘the database’, was originally the computer file of the thousands of mujahideen who were recruited and trained with help from the CIA to defeat the Russians.”[80] Thus, “Al-Qaeda” was born as an instrument of western intelligence agencies. This account of al-Qaeda was further corroborated by a former French military intelligence agent, who stated that, “In the mid-1980s, Al Qaida was a database,” and that it remained as such into the 1990s. He contended that, “Al Qaida was neither a terrorist group nor Osama bin Laden’s personal property,” and further:

The truth is, there is no Islamic army or terrorist group called Al Qaida. And any informed intelligence officer knows this. But there is a propaganda campaign to make the public believe in the presence of an identified entity representing the ‘devil’ only in order to drive the ‘TV watcher’ to accept a unified international leadership for a war against terrorism. The country behind this propaganda is the US and the lobbyists for the US war on terrorism are only interested in making money.[81]

The creation of Al-Qaeda was thus facilitated by the CIA and allied intelligence networks, the purpose of which was to maintain this “database” of Mujahideen to be used as intelligence assets to achieve US foreign policy objectives, throughout both the Cold War, and into the post-Cold War era of the ‘new world order’.

Part 2 of “The Imperial Anatomy of al-Qaeda” takes the reader through an examination of the new imperial strategy laid out by American geopolitical strategists at the end of the Cold War, designed for America to maintain control over the world’s resources and prevent the rise of competitive powers. Covertly, the “database” (al-Qaeda) became central to this process, being used to advance imperial aims in various regions, such as in the dismantling of Yugoslavia. Part 2 further examines the exact nature of ‘al-Qaeda’, its origins, terms, training, arming, financing, and expansion. In particular, the roles of western intelligence agencies in the evolution and expansion of al-Qaeda is a central focus. Finally, an analysis of the preparations for the war in Afghanistan is undertaken to shed light on the geopolitical ambitions behind the conflict that has now been waging for nearly nine years.

* [Note on the research: For a comprehensive analysis of the history, origins and nature of al-Qaeda, see: Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire and the Future of America, which provided much of the research in the above article.]

Notes

[1]        Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 62

[2]        Ibid, page 63.

[3]        Ibid, page 62.

[4]        Ibid, pages 66-67.

[5]        HP-Time, The Crescent of Crisis. Time Magazine: January 15, 1979:
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,919995-1,00.html

[6]        Peter Dale Scott, op. cit., page 67.

[7]        F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New  World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 171

[8]        Manouchehr Ganji, Defying the Iranian Revolution: From a Minister to the Shah to a Leader of Resistance. Greenwood Publishing Group, 2002: page 41

[9]        Ibid, page 39.

[10]      Ibid, page 41.

[11]      Ibid.

[12]      F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New  World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 172

[13]      Ibid, page 171.

[14]      George Lenczowski, The Arc of Crisis: It’s Central Sector. Foreign Affairs: Summer, 1979: page 796

[15]      Ibid, page 797.

[16]      Ibid, page 798.

[17]      IPS, Q&A:  Iran’s Islamic Revolution Had Western Blessing. Inter-Press Service: July 26, 2008:
http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43328

[18]      Michael D. Evans, Father of the Iranian revolution. The Jerusalem Post: June 20, 2007:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1181813077590&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

[19]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 89.

[20]      George Lenczowski, The Arc of Crisis: It’s Central Sector. Foreign Affairs: Summer, 1979: page 810

[21]      F. William Engdahl, op cit., page 172.

[22]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 81.

[23]      Michael D. Evans, Father of the Iranian revolution. The Jerusalem Post: June 20, 2007:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1181813077590&pagename=JPost/JPArticle/ShowFull

[24]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 83.

[25]      Ibid, page 84.

[26]      Ibid, page 81.

[27]      Ibid, pages 85-86.

[28]      Ibid.

[29]      Ibid, page 87.

[30]      Ibid, pages 88-89.

[31]      Ibid.

[32]      Ibid, pages 87-88.

[33]      Ibid, page 85.

[34]      Ibid, page 86.

[35]      Ibid, page 88.

[36]      F. William Engdahl, A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New  World Order. London: Pluto Press, 2004: page 173

[37]      Andrew Gavin Marshall, Controlling the Global Economy: Bilderberg, the Trilateral Commission and the Federal Reserve. Global Research: August 3, 2009:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=14614

[38]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 89

[39]      PBS, Secrets of His Life and Leadership: An Interview with Said K. Aburish. PBS Frontline:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/saddam/interviews/aburish.html

[40]      Michael Parenti, Afghanistan, Another Untold Story. Global Research: December 4, 2008:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11279

[41]      Oleg Kalugin, How We Invaded Afghanistan. Foreign Policy: December 11, 2009:
http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2009/12/11/how_we_invaded_afghanistan

[42]      ‘’Le Nouvel Observateur’ (France), Jan 15-21, 1998, p. 76:
http://www.ucc.ie/acad/appsoc/tmp_store/mia/Library/history/afghanistan/archive/brzezinski/1998/interview.htm

[43]      Ibid.

[44]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 73

[45]      Michael Parenti, Afghanistan, Another Untold Story. Global Research: December 4, 2008:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=11279

[46]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 78.

[47]      Ibid, page 116.

[48]      Ibid, page 122.

[49]      Ibid, page 123.

[50]      Ibid,.

[51]      Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade. (Lawrence Hill Books: Chicago, 2003), page 80

[52]      Ibid, page 162.

[53]      Ibid.

[54]      Ibid, pages 283-386.

[55]      Ibid, page 466.

[56]      Ibid, page 474.

[57]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: page 73

[58]      Alfred W. McCoy, op cit., page 475.

[59]      Peter Dale Scott, op cit., page 74.

[60]      Ibid, pages 75-76.

[61]      Ibid, page 124.

[62]      Ibid, pages 75-76.

[63]      Ibid, page 124.

[64]      Carol Off, Back to school in Afghanistan. CBC: May 6, 2002:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/background/afghanistan/schools.html

[65]      Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway, From U.S., the ABC’s of Jihad. The Washington Post: March 23, 2002:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn/A5339-2002Mar22?language=printer

[66]      Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001. Penguin Books, New York, 2004: Page 328

[67]      Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 11, 2001. (London: Penguin, 2005), page 285

[68]      Steve Coll, “Steve Coll” Interview with PBS Frontline. PBS Frontline: October 3, 2006:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/taliban/interviews/coll.html

[69]      Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005), page 326

[70]      ToI, “CIA worked in tandem with Pak to create Taliban”. The Times of India: March 7, 2001:
http://www.multiline.com.au/~johnm/taliban.htm

[71]      Robert Dreyfuss, Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam. (New York: Metropolitan Books, 2005), pages 279-280

[72]      Simon Reeve, The New Jackals: Ramzi Yousef, Osama bin Laden, and the Future of Terrorism. (London: André Deutsch Ltd, 1999), page 168

[73]      Michael Moran, Bin Laden comes home to roost. MSNBC: August 24, 1998:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/3340101/

[74]      Veronique Maurus and Marc Rock, The Most Dreaded Man of the United States, Controlled a Long Time by the CIA. Le Monde Diplomatique: September 14, 2001: http://www.wanttoknow.info/010914lemonde

[75]      Gerald Posner, Why America Slept: The Failure to Prevent 9/11. (New York: Random House, 2003), page 29

[76]      Steve Coll, The Bin Ladens. (New York: Penguin, 2008), pages 7-9

[77]      AP, Al Qaeda Financing Documents Turn Up in Bosnia Raid. Fox News: February 19, 2003:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,78937,00.html

[78]      Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11: Wealth, Empire, and the Future of America. University of California Press: 2007: pages 140-141

[79]      Ibid, page 141.

[80]      Robin Cook, The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means. The Guardian: July 8, 2005:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2005/jul/08/july7.development

[81]      Pierre-Henri Bunel, Al Qaeda — the Database. Global Research: November 20, 2005:
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&code=BUN20051120&articleId=1291