Our CIA “Freedom Fighters” in Pakistan
The CIA’s use of mercenaries to fight covert wars is an essential component of US foreign policy as old as the CIA itself. It effectively evades the Constitutional requirement that only allows Congress to declare war, as well as effectively concealing the vast majority of these “interventions” from public view. In fact the American pubic was largely unaware of these secret CIA wars prior to the Irangate scandal in1987. In this case, Reagan and the CIA defied Congress by continuing an illegal war against Nicaragua, which they funded by the secret illegal sale of weapons to Iran, an enemy nation. And, as was later learned, cocaine trafficking by the CIA-backed Contras.
During the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-89), the CIA funding and training of Mujahideen freedom fighters led by Saudi businessman Tim Osman (his CIA name – most Americans know him as Osama bin Laden) was also well-publicized.
The CIA Covert War in Balochistan
In 2006, a series of exposes were published in the Pakistani and Asian press regarding covert CIA support for the separatist movement in Balochistan, a western Pakistan province bordering Afghanistan. Obviously it’s a subject that receives virtually no attention in the US media. However the recent arrest and trial of CIA/Xe (Blackwater) operative Raymond Davis in Lahore threatens to blow the lid off the extensive role CIA covert operations play in the climate of violence and instability throughout Pakistan.
Davis is charged with shooting two Pakistani intelligence agents and for offering to supply Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders with nuclear fissile and biologic agents (aka weapons of mass destruction). These are the facts, as reported by the international media, and, surprisingly, CNN (see http://www.zerohedge.com/article/cia-agent-caught-red-handed-aiding-pakistani-terrorism). I think the New York Times has finally admitted Davis is a CIA operative (despite their initial insistence that he was a US diplomat and entitled to diplomatic immunity). Amy Davidson has written an interesting article for the online New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/closeread/2011/02/keeping-quiet-about-davis.html) exploring why the New York Times chose not to report that Davis was a CIA agent, even after the Obama administration confirmed he was.
The Texts on Davis’ Cellphones
According to Pakistani prosecutors, Davis’ motives in offering to provide Pakistani terrorists with weapons of mass destruction was to create a “false flag” operation – in other words to commit a horrific terrorist act as a pretext to increase US military presence in Pakistan. I suspect Davis’ exact motivation will be difficult to prove, though the text messages on his two cell phones to known Al Qaeda and Taliban leaders are pretty damning. Nevertheless, the case will have a major impact on the US war in Pakistan and Afghanistan. Rumors about CIA operatives and contractors sponsoring both Al Qaeda and the Taliban to commit terrorist acts (as a justification for the continuing war on terror) have been circulating for years. To my knowledge, this is the first time one of them has been caught red-handed.
Pakistan’s Crackdown on Blackwater and the CIA
As a result of large militant protests over Davis’ arrest – and the large numbers of Pakistani civilians killed by CIA drones – the Pakistan government is demanding the expulsion of all Xe (Blackwater) contractors and CIA operatives from their country. In addition, Pakistan has also launched an investigation into the 414 Americans with diplomatic passports who serve no diplomatic function. (See http://realisticbird.wordpress.com/2011/03/03/blowback-from-the-arrest-of-the-cias-raymond-davis/)
I assume, based on a March 1 speech to the Assembly by Pakistan prime minister Gilani, that this includes CIA operatives involved in training, financing and overseeing “freedom fighters” in the Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border. In the speech, Gilani accuses “hostile external elements” of supporting the insurgency in the province of Balochistan is probably even more significant. (See http://tribune.com.pk/story/125602/baloch-insurgency-funded-from-abroad-pm/)
Owing to their heavy dependence on the US for political and economic aid, the Pakistan government has always tiptoed around CIA support for the BLA. In the past they have publicly accused Britain’s MI6 and RAW of supporting Baloch separatists. However discussions of CIA involvement always take place in closed door hearings:
Funding Both Sides of the War on Terror
The bizarre reality that the US is financing both sides in Pakistan’s war on terror (the US provides the F-16 jets the Pakistani military uses to bomb Baloch villages in Balochistan) also puts Islamabad in an extremely embarrassing position. (See http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7705)
Moreover there’s absolutely no way to ascertain whether random acts of terror in the tribal areas on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan are caused by the Taliban, Al Qaeda or the BLA. However the Pakistan government has good reason to be concerned about the CIA’s role in training and financing Baloch separatists (according to locals, they get paid $200 a month, $300 for section chiefs) in the region’s epidemic of violence. (See http://www.lisauk.com/baluchistan.asp)
To be continued, with a discussion of the real (strategic) reasons for the war on Pakistan.