Posts Tagged ‘karzai’
by stuartbramhall in Mind Control and Disinformation
A bizarre random thought occurred to me last night. What if the alleged February 21st Koran burning at Bagram prison in Afghanistan never actually happened? Or if it happened, but without the involvement of any US troops? What if the whole thing was an ingenious Taliban psy-ops (psychological operation)? It’s not as implausible as it might seem. The US military doesn’t have a monopoly on psychological warfare.
A Major Threat to Continued NATO Occupation
Korangate 3 has seriously jeopardized the US/NATO occupation of Afghanistan. Nearly two weeks after Afghan workers allegedly discovered that US troops were burning Korans in a Bagram rubbish pit, riots drawing tens of thousands of angry protestors continue across Afghanistan. Their demand: that Christian “infidels” immediately leave their country and that all good Muslims sacrifice themselves to ensure the immediate withdrawal of NATO’s occupying force.
More than thirty people have been killed, including four US troops and two US military advisers in the Afghan Interior Ministry. A uniformed Afghan soldier was implicated in one of the deaths. The Taliban has claimed responsibility for the assassination of the military advisers. As a result, the US, Britain, Canada, Germany and France have withdrawn hundreds of advisers – working to transfer power to the Karzai government – from all Afghan ministries.
There have been profuse apologies from Obama, Afghan president Hamid Karzai and Major General John Allen, the commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan. All have promised to discipline the troops responsible once investigations (three of them – one by the Pentagon, one by a joint NATO-Karzai task force and one by a task force representing the Muslim council and Afghan parliament) are complete.
Korangate 1 and 2
This is the third international incident triggered by Americans (allegedly) desecrating the Koran. The first concerned a 2005 incident which Newsweek reported and later retracted about troops trying to flush a Koran down the toilet at Guantanamo. On investigation, it turned out one soldier had kicked a Koran and a second had written defamatory language on the cover of another. In two other instances, soldiers had inadvertently desecrated Korans. In the first a guard had urinated near an air duct, which accidentally contaminated a Koran in an adjacent cell. In the second, guards had thrown water balloons into a cell, which accidentally wet a Koran when they broke.
Korangate 2 occurred in March 2011, when an evangelical Florida pastor widely publicized a Koran burning at his church. This, too, triggered riots throughout the Muslim world that resulted in at least twenty-four deaths.
In all the above cases, the US military command showed great sensitivity in apologizing and ensuring all responsible troops (in Korangate 1) were appropriately disciplined. What’s more, the US military now undertakes that all troops serving in Afghanistan and Iraq receive extensive training in Islam and Muslim culture.
Thus despite universal condemnation by American and international commentators for what they regard as “typical” US military insensitivity, stupidity and arrogance, the whole scenario strikes me as highly implausible. Who exactly were these unidentified Afghan staff – the ones who presumably set the rubbish pits on fire without realizing they contained discarded Korans? It turns out that burning them is the correct way to dispose of Korans that have been desecrated (in this case by writing secret messages in them). Under Islamic law, the only stipulation is that they be burned separately from other garbage.
Past Taliban Psy-ops
Perhaps this is payback for Obama’s brazen psy-ops last year, when he staged a commando raid on Pakistan to execute a man whose 2001 death by kidney failure had been confirmed by both Pakistani intelligence and the CIA (see David Ray Griffin’s extensively researched 2009 book Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?).
The essential ingredient of a good psy-ops is seizing control of the narrative in a way that makes outright denial impossible – no matter how outrageous the lie. In the case of Osama bin Laden’s alleged assassination, Obama took control of the narrative from the outset, leaving Pakistan no choice but to accede to the lie. The best they could come back with were charges that the US had violated their sovereignty.
Likewise, even though the 2005 Koran flushing allegations proved to be a fabrication, Bush and Pentagon leaders lost control of the narrative. This left them no alternative but to apologize, despite the implausible and trivial nature of the charges.
How the Taliban Wins Hearts and Minds
Not much is written about Taliban psy-ops. However there is an excellent analysis by Mubin Shaikh of Macquerie University (Sidney) of the sophisticated Internet savvy information war the Taliban (who previously regarded the Internet as un-Islamic) launched in 2009. The first sally in this public relations war was Mullah Mohammad Omar’s new code of conduct banning suicide bombings of civilians, burning schools or cutting off ears, lips or tongues. According to Shaikh, the other technique the Taliban refined that year was putting out briefings regarding their attacks before NATO could put out statements of their own. The success of Taliban victories were always wildly exaggerated but consistently provided more detail than those issued by NATO. More importantly, they seized control of the narrative by getting there first.
Shaikh’s article quotes Bruce Riedel, who led Obama’s 2009 review of Pakistan and Afghanistan strategy. “You have to respond to the propaganda war in a very quick time cycle; you can’t put out a statement saying, ‘We’re looking for all the facts before we comment.’”
All this suggests to me that the Taliban played some behind-the-scenes role in Korangate 3. That once again, they have put the President and the Pentagon on the back foot by issuing and seizing control of an outrageous, fairly implausible narrative. I believe, as in Korangate 1, it will turn out to be a fabrication. Yet, as in 2005, the US will have no choice but to single out a few troops for some minor or inadvertent infraction and discipline them.
by stuartbramhall in China Watch, End of Capitalism
My last blog suggested that the current US wars in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia are really proxy wars with China over oil and gas resources. I continue the discussion by outlining the crucial Chinese and US alliances in the region.
China‘s Strategic Alliance with Pakistan
Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s recent threats against Pakistan for allegedly promoting Taliban terrorism are pure rhetoric. Their purpose is to conceal the strategic importance of Pakistan (and Afghanistan) in US competition with China over oil and national gas resources. It also conceals the reality that the undeclared US war against Pakistan (approximately 2,000 civilians have been killed since the drone attacks started in 2004 – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drone_attacks_in_Pakistan) is really a proxy war against China.
Pakistan is China’s strongest ally in protecting the oil supply critical to its booming economy is Pakistan. At present China imports 46% of its oil. In contrast the US imports 60%. (See http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90778/90860/6891500.html). Twenty percent of Chinese oil imports come from Saudi Arabia and somewhat less from Angola (see http://www.presstv.ir/detail/183746.html.) Ten percent of China’s oil imports come from Iran.
Growing Military Tension in Pakistan
Until recently, all oil originating from Saudi Arabia and Iran had to be transported via the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, which is under the control of the US Navy (see http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/62604/dennis-blair-and-kenneth-lieberthal/smooth-sailingthe-worlds-shipping-lanes-are-safe). To counterbalance this de facto US control over their oil transhipments, China built a port in Gwadar (in Balochistan province) Pakistan to facilitate overland oil transport – via an extensive Chinese-built super highway and eventually the IPIC (the Iran- Pakistan- India-China) pipeline.
Since 2002, covert CIA support for the Baloch separatist movement and daily “terrorist” bombings and assassinations have seriously disrupted operations at the Gwadar Port (see “Our CIA Freedom Fighters in Pakistan” at http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2011/03/07/our-cia-freedom-fighters-in-pakistan/). As this obviously has more effect on the Pakistan economy than on China, the Pakistani government has recently given China permission to build a naval base in Gwadar http://corredorbioceanico.wordpress.com/2011/06/14/great-game-in-the-indian-ocean/.This move is also partly motivated by continued US violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty with CIA drone strikes in Waziristan.
China’s Other Strategic Alliances
As US influence in Saudi Arabia declines (in 2003 they demanded the US withdraw their troops from Saudi military bases – see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_withdrawal_from_Saudi_Arabia), the Chinese also strengthen political and economic ties with the Saudis.
Meanwhile as the US prepares to withdraw from Afghanistan, the US State Department is extremely concerned about growing Chinese investment and influence in Afghanistan, especially in view of China’s strong alliance with Pakistan and the latter’s historic links with the Taliban (which seems positioned to take power following US withdrawal). Important context often omitted by the US media is that the CIA collaborated with Pakistan to create the Taliban in CIA-funded Madrassas (fundamentalist Islamic schools) to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan (1979-1988). The subsequent Taliban takeover was fully supported by both Bush senior and Clinton, in the belief that they had the ability to bring peace and stability to a country devastated by decades of civil war. Both were essential to enable US oil companies to employ Afghanistan as a transit route for newly discovered Caspian Sea oil and gas. It was only when the Taliban balked at the Bush administration’s proposed oil-gas pipeline in 2001 that they became the enemy.
It’s no surprise that China is also one of the strongest political and economic supporters of Hamas and the Palestinian peace process (see http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2011-03/26/content_12231765.htm). At present Israeli terrorist victims are suing a Chinese bank that provided major financial support to Hamas (http://www.jpost.com/International/Article.aspx?id=228728).
US Allegiances in the Middle East
India, Pakistan’s long time enemy, is a strong ally of the US (second only to Israel) in this strategic war over resources. Indian intelligence (RAW) is a longstanding supporter of Afghanistan’s Northern Alliance. With US military support, the Northern Alliance install Hamid Karzai as president of Afghanistan following the US invasion, although Karzai only controls a small area around Kabul. RAW provided the Northern Alliance with weapons, training and financial support while the US and Pakistan were still supporting the Taliban. In addition, RAW provides major support for the Baloch separatist movement in Pakistan (see “Our CIA Freedom Fighters in Pakistan” at http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2011/03/07/our-cia-freedom-fighters-in-pakistan/). According to many Pakistani analysts, it’s also responsible for cross border terrorism on the Kashmir-Pakistan border (see http://www.newscenterpk.com/indian-double-game-with-bangladesh.html).
by stuartbramhall in Challenging the Corporate Media, China Watch, The Wars in the Middle East
I spent yesterday trying to get my head around what’s really happening in Afghanistan. I would strongly discourage other people from trying this. Mainstream coverage of the NATO occupation is full of the type of paradoxical and contradictory messages that are known to cause insanity. In fact the whole thing reminds me of a Road Runner cartoon. I strongly recommend readers watch the following before proceeding (click on Making Progress link to watch).
The most recent scandal relates to President Hamid Karzai paying tens of thousands of dollars to negotiate with an imposter who claimed to represent the Taliban – who turned out to be a Pakistani shopkeeper. (see http://www.pakistankakhudahafiz.com/2010/11/27/karzai-aide-blames-british-for-taliban-impostor/)
The Taliban Seem to Be Winning
It’s no longer a secret that Karzai is very keen on negotiating a peace settlement with the Taliban – and that they refuse to meet with him. They have no reason to. They’re winning. The Taliban control most of Afghanistan outside the central area immediately surrounding Kabul. The US media no longer publishes maps of the areas under Taliban. The most recent one I could find is from 2008:
None of this is surprising, given that the Taliban enjoys strong support of the civilian population in the areas they control (who regard Karzai as a US puppet and a crook and only in the Afghan presidency thanks to massive electoral fraud). See http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/1117/Taliban-placed-IEDs-threaten-lives-and-stability-in-Kandahar-Afghanistan).
Is the US Funding the Taliban?
The Taliban are also extremely well funded. As was pointed out in a 2009 Reuter’s report, less of this funding comes from narcotics trafficking than previously believed. Most of it actually comes (indirectly) from outside development assistance. The Taliban go around to various tribal leaders and demand payment not to blow up bridges and other reconstruction projects. (see http://blogs.reuters.com/global/2009/08/13/who-is-funding-the-afghan-taliban-you-dont-want-to-know/)
In Farah province, for example local officials report that the Taliban are winding up with 40 percent of the money coming in for the National Solidarity Program, one of the country’s most successful community reconstruction projects.
What’s Really Happening in Kandahar
Reporting over the last few months has focused on the US/NATO surge to retake Afghanistan’s second largest city, Kandahar. The Taliban “control” Kandahar (exerting some political control, as well as having a strong military presence). The headlines a few months ago proclaimed that thanks to the 2010 “surge” in US troops, the Taliban had been “defeated militarily”” and driven out of Kandahar.
The US press was vague as to where they were “driven” to. The conventional wisdom is that the Taliban cease to engage US troops because 1) they go underground and fade into the very sympathetic local population (http://opinionasia.com/article/print/837 and http://www.cbsnews.com/2994-501704_162-0.html or 2) they retreat to the tribal areas of Pakistan, where they enjoy strong support from Baloch separatists.
The Pakistani tribal areas are very mountainous and remote and don’t lend well to a conventional military campaign. Our forces there are mainly CIA personnel, and the best we can do is drop bombs on a few Taliban leaders (and hundreds of civilians) from unmanned drones and train Baloch separatists in bomb making and other terrorist activities. It’s an open secret that the Pentagon would like to see energy and resource-rich Balochistan secede from Pakistan as a US-friendly state (which would also include parts of southern Iran. (see http://metaexistence.org/usagenda.htm)
More recent reports on Kandahar are less optimistic. According to Reuter, NATO commander Nick Carter reports they won’t know till June whether the Kandahar campaign has been successful (see http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20101028/wl_nm/us_afghanistan_kandahar – the San Francisco Examiner also carried this report but seem to have taken this page down)
Are Americans Being Lied To?
Besides US designs on Balochistan, there are three other crucial elements left out of mainstream coverage.
- First, the CIA created the Taliban in the first place (presumably to defeat the Soviet occupation – but more importantly because the US wants strategic control of the region).
- Second, both Afghanistan and Pakistan have immense importance as energy transit routes for our economic rivals India and China. With dwindling global oil and natural gas resources, competition over Middle East oil and gas has become extremely intense. The Chinese have invested massively in Balochistan, particularly in the water port in Gwadar and its supporting infrastructure. Which Pakistani commentators agree will give China a virtual monopoly on Iranian gas and oil. In fact many Pakistani commentators believe that Pakistan is the true target – that the US would prefer to fight the Taliban in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Especially if this could facilitate the establishment of Balochistan (which would include the Baloch regions of Iran – fracturing a major US enemy) as a separate state.
- Third, 60% of Americans oppose the war in Afghanistan. This is starting to be reflected in mainstream commentary. Moreover an increasing number of mainstream commentators believe we could compete with China much more effectively by putting Americans back to work – by rebuilding America’s severely compromised manufacturing base instead of wasting trillions of dollars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Iraq (that war ain’t over – Obama’s 2011 budget includes $549 billion for Iraq).
by stuartbramhall in China Watch, The Wars in the Middle East
The Gwadar Port in Balochistan (one of Pakistan’s tribal regions) has been headline news in Pakistan, India and China this month. Interesting that I can’t find one mention of it in the western media – not even in on-line publications. Since many Pakistani commentators trace the US shift in military focus from Iraq to Afghanistan to the completion of the Chinese-built deep water port in 2005. I myself never heard of the Gwadar Port until I came across an obscure Pakistani blog by Khalid Baig. I was so concerned about its content that I assisted his translator in polishing the English and republished it on OpEdNews. See http://www.opednews.com/populum/print_friendly.php?p=Talibanization-The-Whole-by-Khalid-Baig-100901-169.html
In fact the only US article I can find about the Gwadar Port is a May, 10 2010 Forbes article (see http://www.forbes.com/global/2010/0510/companies-pakistan-oil-gas-balochistan-china-pak-corridor.html). It explains how the province of Balochistan is well endowed with oil, gas, copper, zinc, gold, coal and a deepwater port at Gwadar the Chinese built for Pakistan in 2005. And how Balochistan also happens to be China’s link to its sizeable investments in Iranian gas and oil.
China’s stated goal in building the deep water port was to capture the transit trade (via the old ‘silk road’) of fossil fuels and minerals of landlocked countries like Afghanistan, as well as encouraging the transhipment of resources bound for other countries reliant on central Asian resources. China has invested well over $15 billion in Balochistan projects, including an oil refinery and zinc and copper mines, in addition to the Gwadar Port and its connecting highways.
Iran and China: Our Two Favorite Countries
The Forbes article doesn’t mention that Balochistan will also be a connecting hub for the Iran-Pakistan-India oil pipeline, which is looked to take the place of the planned Turmanistan-Afghanisan-Pakistan-India pipeline (the one the US supported). India recently pulled out of that one because the Afghan Taliblan kept blowing up the bridges and other critical infrastructure of the Afghan section. See http://www.defenceforum.in/forum/pakistan-defence-affairs/14468.htm
Forbes also doesn’t mention that Iran definitely favors shipping oil and gas via Gwadar rather than the current route through the Strait of Malacaa, where oil tankers are subject to Somali pirates and US naval exercises. Nor that many Asian commentators expect Gwadar to outstrip Dubai as a trade and commercial center, given the immense demand for resources generated by China’s burgeoning middle class.
The US War on Pakistan: the Real Reasons
Nor, of course, the increasing belief by many Pakistani commentators that Gwardar is the real reason for American’s current “proxy war” in Balochistan and the other Pakistani tribal areas. Quetta, north of Gwadar, happens to be a major target of the CIA and Pentagon military operations because of the Taliban leaders who are allegedly hiding out there. Of course it isn’t really clear whether these are “good” Taliban (the ones Hamid Karzai has invited to participate in government – see Sept 12 blog http://stuartbramhall.aegauthorblogs.com/2010/09/12/afghanistan-is-it-all-smoke-and-mirrors/) or the other kind.
Interesting, though, the sightings of US marines and Blackwater (Xe) mercenaries (read paid assassins) in Gwadar, which is more than 500 miles south of Quetta. See http://www.asiantribune.com/news/2010/02/07/grave-concerns-over-presence-blackwater-pakistan. Khalid Baig and others express concern that Blackwater and RAW (Indian intelligence) agents are stirring up the Balochistan separatist movement by recruiting jobless Balochistan youth and paying them to commit random terrorist acts – such as the rocket that landed in the Gwadar Port a week ago.
Déjà Vu All Over Again
It is still unclear whether the US military seeks to take over and occupy Pakistan’s tribal areas; whether they want to support Balochistan in separating from Pakistan to form an independent US friendly independent oil, gas and mineral rich independent state (like Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in Eastern Europe); or if they will be content with their continuing campaign of terrorist activity and economic sabotage. There is no question that the military activity is disrupting the development and operation of the port.
It seems incredibly cynical and hypocritical for the US to carry on this ruthless economic sabotage against Pakistan – especially with the recent floods that have virtually destroyed the country’s economy – and then to demand, via the World Bank, that Pakistan repay $50 billion in foreign debt.
by stuartbramhall in Feminism, The Wars in the Middle East
After the July Time magazine cover of the noseless Afghan woman was exposed as a fake (it turns out that the woman’s nose wasn’t removed by the Taliban, as Time reported, but by her husband three years earlier – see http://www.huffingtonpost.com/abdulhadi-hairan/times-aisha-story-is-fake_b_692123.html), I decided it was impossible to get an accurate view of the war in Afghanistan from any US source. Which led me to consult the website of the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (http://www.rawa.org/self_immolation/nafisa.htm) for the first time in several years.
Fighting for Women’s Rights and Social Justice since 1977
RAWA was established in Kabul in 1977 as an independent political/social organization of Afghan women fighting for human rights and social justice in Afghanistan. The founders were a number of Afghan women intellectuals under the leadership of a woman named Meena, who in 1987 was assassinated by Afghan agents of the KGB. Before the Moscow-directed coup d’état of April 1978 in Afghanistan, RAWA’s activities were confined to agitation for women’s rights and democracy. After the coup and the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in December
1979, RAWA became directly involved in the war of resistance against the Soviets. RAWA activists also involved themselves in addressing the immediate needs of Afghan refugee women in Pakistan, by establishing schools, mobile health teams and nursing, literacy and vocational training courses for women.
Since the overthrow of the Soviet-installed puppet regime in 1992, the focus of RAWA’s political struggle has been against the fundamentalists in the Northern Alliance and against the ultra-fundamentalist Taliban and their atrocities against women and the people of Afghanistan in general.
The US “War on terrorism” removed the Taliban regime in October 2001. However in RAWA’s view, it only strengthened the fundamentalist grip over Afghanistan by reinstalling in power the brutal and misogynist warlords linked with the Northern Alliance.
An Invitation for the Taliban to Participate in Government – What???!!!
The RAWA website has a number of revealing articles in addition to the expose regarding the fraudulent Time magazine cover (originally published in the Huffington Post and on the website of its author, Afghan writer, research analyst, journalist, and translator Abdulhadi Hairan http://www.abdulhadihairan.com/). For people with short memories, the cover and accompanying article regarding an alleged Taliban atrocity against women were used to justify the ongoing US occupation. However the most interesting post on the RAWA site concerns the June 2010 “Consultative Peace Jirga.” (The “jirga” is the traditional Afghan representative governing structure). Mainly because it identifies by name all the Taliban leaders Afghan president Hamid Karzai invited to the June 2010 “jirga.”
I admit to finding this a little confusing. I thought the entire reason for the US war in Afghanistan was to defeat the Taliban. Yet the Afghan president has taken to calling some of their leaders “Afghan sons” and is inviting them to participate in government.
Exactly Who Are We Fighting in Afghanistan?
All this raises the obvious question of exactly who we are we fighting in Afghanistan. The Pentagon, media and anti-war activists all seem to agree there is no significant Al Quaeda presence there (I think the latest estimate was six Al Quaeda operatives). RAWA’s analysis of the real reasons for the war seems to coincide with that of most anti-war activists: namely to extend the US grip on the oil and gas reserves of the Central Asian Republics, in competition with China and other regional powers.
The same article identifies by name the Islamic Party warlords who were invited to the June 2010 “jirga,” despite being on the US terrorist list. It also contains interesting tidbits about the Afghan drug trade, the link between Pakistani intelligence and the Taliban and the alarming growth of support among Afghan intellectuals who look to the Taliban as the only way to end US occupation.
The Most Revolutionary Act on radio:
(click on link)
Chris and I discuss how I was first targeted, following my decision to support the occupation (of an abandoned school) that led to the formation of Seattle’s first African American Heritage Museum – as an alternative to the crack cocaine epidemic among the city’s African American teenagers. We also talk about my research into HIV AIDS, my hospitalization and the Veterans Administration psychologist I worked with who also helped GIs illegally stationed in Cambodia in the sixties and seventies (and terrorized into keeping quiet about it).
(click on link – show is syndicated – fast forward the music to hear interview)
Rob and I discuss the phone harassment, break-ins, attempts to run me down – and my psychiatric hospitalization. We also talk about the political activities that seemed to lead the government to target me – including my research into HIV AIDS – and my inability to get help from the Seattle police. Then we cover the whole area of conspiracies in general, which are more accurately called State Crimes Against Democracy (SCADS)