One of the main objectives of war propaganda is to “fabricate an enemy”. Al Qaeda is an outside, fabricated enemy personified by Osama bin Laden to have “threatened and attacked America”. Ironically, Al Qaeda –the “outside enemy of America” as well as the alleged architect of the 9/11 attacks– is a creation of the US Central Intelligence Agency and Israel. Pre-emptive war directed against “Islamic terrorists” is required to defend the Homeland. In the wake of 9/11, the creation of this “outside enemy” served to obfuscate the real economic and strategic objectives behind the war in the Middle East and Central Asia. Waged on the grounds of self-defense, the pre-emptive war is upheld as a “just war” with a humanitarian mandate.
Omar Khyam, an accused leader among seven men charged in 2004 with stockpiling half a ton of explosives in an Al Qaeda-linked bombing plot, took the stand on 9/19/06 long enough to refuse to continue his testimony. The judge temporarily adjourned the trial, which began in March,” reports the Los Angeles Times. “On Monday, Khyam stunned his own lawyer when he declared that his relatives in Pakistan had been intimidated in recent days by agents of the powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency, which has a shadowy history of contacts with Islamic extremist networks.”
No mention here of the “shadowy” fact the ISI is a branch office of the CIA. “A number of officers from the ISI’s Covert Action Division received training in the US and many covert action experts of the CIA were attached to the ISI to guide it in its operations against the Soviet troops by using the Afghan Mujahideen, Islamic fundamentalists of Pakistan and Arab volunteers,” writes B. Raman for the South Asia Analysis Group. These “Arab volunteers” and “Islamic fundamentalists,” of the most virulent strain (Saudi Wahhabism), are now known as “al-Qaeda,” a wily and phantasmal enemy specifically designed to serve as a forever enemy, an elusive Goldsteinesque enemy explicitly engineered to pose a threat in perpetuum.
“Despite longtime allegations that Pakistani agents have trained Islamic militants and protected fugitive Al Qaeda leaders, Khyam’s testimony provided a rare account in a Western courtroom about the ISI’s role in militant training camps,” the Times continues. “His accusation also raised concerns that Pakistani intelligence officials might be seeking to disrupt a significant prosecution of alleged Islamic extremism in Europe.”
According to Jane’s Information Group, the ISI “was modelled on Savak, the Iranian security agency, and like Savak was trained by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the SDECE, France’s external intelligence service.” SAVAK, according to Sam Ghandchi, who experienced the secret police’s brutality firsthand, specialized in shoving broken bottles in the rectums of political dissidents, murdering “pregnant activists, and all other forms of killing and rape.” SAVAK was a law unto itself, possessing the legal authority to arrest, detain, interrogate, and torture dissidents indefinitely. SAVAK operated its own prisons in Tehran, such as the Qezel-Qalaeh and Evin facilities. Because it operated autonomously, without checks and balances, it serves as a standard-bearer for secret police around the world.
“Kashmir, along with Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Russian republic of Chechnya, is one of the battlegrounds that has provided a multinational flow of aspiring Islamic militants to Al Qaeda and its allies,” the Times reports, once again neglecting to connect the dots.
For instance, as Michel Chossudovsky notes, the “Bosnian pattern,” as described in a Republican Party Committee congressional report published in 1997, “was replicated in Kosovo” with “the complicity of NATO and the US State Department. Mujahideen mercenaries [recruited, trained, and financed by the CIA and ISI] from the Middle East and Central Asia were recruited to fight in the ranks of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in 1998-99, largely supporting NATO’s war effort. Confirmed by British military sources, the task of arming and training of the KLA had been entrusted in 1998 to the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and Britain’s Secret Intelligence Services MI6, together with ‘former and serving members of 22 SAS [Britain’s 22nd Special Air Services Regiment], as well as three British and American private security companies.” This pattern was also put to work in Macedonia and Chechnya.
Omar Khyam has revealed but another glimmer of the precise nature of the “al-Qaeda” terror network, information useful for connecting dots but that will of course be studiously ignored by our corporate media stenographers. “Khyam has revealed more information than was expected,” remarked Sajjan Gohel of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, billed as a counter-terrorism think tank. “He has given a lot of insight into how very many British Muslims have been recruited. I think everyone was shocked. The question now is whether the whole truth will come out.”
Counter-terrorism and war propaganda are intertwined. The propaganda apparatus feeds disinformation into the news chain. The terror warnings must appear to be “genuine”. The objective is to present the terror groups as “enemies of America.” From the outset of the Soviet-Afghan war in the early 1980s, the US intelligence apparatus has supported the formation of the “Islamic brigades”. Propaganda purports to erase the history of Al Qaeda, drown the truth and “kill the evidence” on how this “outside enemy” was fabricated and transformed into “Enemy Number One”.
The US intelligence apparatus has created it own terrorist organizations. And at the same time, it creates its own terrorist warnings concerning the terrorist organizations which it has itself created. Meanwhile, a cohesive multibillion dollar counterterrorism program “to go after” these terrorist organizations has been put in place.
Portrayed in stylized fashion by the Western media, Osama bin Laden, supported by his various henchmen, constitutes America’s post-Cold war bogeyman, who “threatens Western democracy”. The alleged threat of “Islamic terrorists”, permeates the entire US national security doctrine. Its purpose is to justify wars of aggression in the Middle East, while establishing within America, the contours of the Homeland Security State.
What are the historical origins of Al Qaeda? Who is Osama bin Laden?
The alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorists attacks, Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, was recruited during the Soviet-Afghan war, “ironically under the auspices of the CIA, to fight Soviet invaders”.(Hugh Davies, “`Informers’ point the finger at bin Laden; Washington on alert for suicide bombers.” The Daily Telegraph, London, 24 August 1998).
In 1979 the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA was launched in Afghanistan:
“With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan’s ISI, who wanted to turn the Afghan Jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan’s fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually, more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad.” (Ahmed Rashid, “The Taliban: Exporting Extremism”, Foreign Affairs, November-December 1999).
This project of the US intelligence apparatus was conducted with the active support of Pakistan’s Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), which was entrusted in channelling covert military aid to the Islamic brigades and financing, in liason with the CIA, the madrassahs and Mujahideen training camps.
U.S. government support to the Mujahideen was presented to world public opinion as a “necessary response” to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in support of the pro-Communist government of Babrak Kamal.
The CIA’s military-intelligence operation in Afghanistan, which consisted in creating the “Islamic brigades”, was launched prior rather than in response to the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan. In fact, Washington’s intent was to deliberately trigger a civil war, which has lasted for more than 25 years. (photo: CIA and ISI agents)
Brzezinski: According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, [on] 24 December 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.
Question: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?
Brzezinski: It isn’t quite that. We didn’t push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.
Question:When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?
Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. 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.
Question: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?
Brzezinski: 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? ( “The CIA’s Intervention in Afghanistan, Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser”, Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998, published in English, Centre for Research on Globalisation, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html, 5 October 2001, italics added.)
Consistent with Brzezinski’s account, a “Militant Islamic Network” was created by the CIA.
The “Islamic Jihad” (or holy war against the Soviets) became an integral part of the CIA’s intelligence ploy. It was supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia, with a significant part of the funding generated from the Golden Crescent drug trade:
“In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 166 … [which] authorize[d] stepped-up covert military aid to the Mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a Soviet withdrawal. The new covert U.S. assistance began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies — a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987 … as well as a “ceaseless stream” of CIA and Pentagon specialists who travelled to the secret headquarters of Pakistan’s ISI on the main road near Rawalpindi, Pakistan. There, the CIA specialists met with Pakistani intelligence officers to help plan operations for the Afghan rebels.”(Steve Coll, The Washington Post, July 19, 1992.
The Central Intelligence Agency using Pakistan’s ISI as a go-between played a key role in training the Mujahideen. In turn, the CIA-sponsored guerrilla training was integrated with the teachings of Islam. The madrasahs were set up by Wahabi fundamentalists financed out of Saudi Arabia:
“[I]t was the government of the United States who supported Pakistani dictator General Zia-ul Haq in creating thousands of religious schools, from which the germs of the Taliban emerged.”(Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), “RAWA Statement on the Terrorist Attacks in the U.S.”, Centre for Research on Globalisation (CRG), http://globalresearch.ca/articles/RAW109A.html, 16 September 2001)
Predominant themes were that Islam was a complete socio-political ideology, that holy Islam was being violated by the atheistic Soviet troops, and that the Islamic people of Afghanistan should reassert their independence by overthrowing the leftist Afghan regime propped up by Moscow. (Dilip Hiro, Fallout from the Afghan Jihad, Inter Press Services, 21 November 1995.)
Pakistan’s ISI Used as a “Go-Between”
CIA covert support to the “Islamic Jihad” operated indirectly through the Pakistani ISI — i.e. the CIA did not channel its support directly to the Mujahideen. For these covert operations to be “successful”, Washington was careful not to reveal the ultimate objective of the “Jihad”, which consisted not only in destabilising the secular (pro-Soviet) government in Afghanistan, but also destroying the Soviet Union.
In the words of the CIA’s Milton Beardman, “We didn’t train Arabs.” Yet, according to Abdel Monam Saidali, of the Al-aram Centre for Strategic Studies in Cairo, bin Laden and the “Afghan Arabs” had been imparted “with very sophisticated types of training that was allowed to them by the CIA”. (National Public Radio, Weekend Sunday (NPR) with Eric Weiner and Ted Clark, 16 August 1998).
The CIA’s Beardman confirmed, in this regard, that Osama bin Laden was not aware of the role he was playing on behalf of Washington. According to bin Laden (as quoted by Beardman): “Neither I, nor my brothers, saw evidence of American help.” (National Public Radio, Weekend Sunday (NPR) with Eric Weiner and Ted Clark, transcript, 16 August 1998).
Motivated by nationalism and religious fervour, the Islamic warriors were unaware that they were fighting the Soviet Army on behalf of Uncle Sam. While there were contacts at the upper levels of the intelligence hierarchy, Islamic rebel leaders in the war theatre had no contacts with Washington or the CIA.
With CIA backing and the funnelling of massive amounts of U.S. military aid, the Pakistani ISI had developed into a “parallel structure wielding enormous power over all aspects of government”. (Dipankar Banerjee, “Possible Connection of ISI With Drug Industry”, India Abroad, 2 December 1994). The ISI had a staff composed of military and intelligence officers, bureaucrats, undercover agents and informers, estimated at 150,000. (Ibid).
Meanwhile, CIA operations had also reinforced the Pakistani military regime led by General Zia Ul Haq:
“Relations between the CIA and the ISI had grown increasingly warm following [General] Zia’s ouster of Bhutto and the advent of the military regime. … During most of the Afghan war, Pakistan was more aggressively anti-Soviet than even the United States. Soon after the Soviet military invaded Afghanistan in 1980, Zia [ul Haq] sent his ISI chief to destabilize the Soviet Central Asian states. The CIA only agreed to this plan in October 1984.
The CIA was more cautious than the Pakistanis. Both Pakistan and the United States took the line of deception on Afghanistan with a public posture of negotiating a settlement, while privately agreeing that military escalation was the best course.” (Diego Cordovez and Selig Harrison, Out of Afghanistan: The Inside Story of the Soviet Withdrawal, Oxford University Press, New York, 1995. See also the review of Cordovez and Harrison in International Press Services, 22 August 1995).
The CIA sponsored Narcotics Trade
The history of the drug trade in Central Asia is intimately related to the CIA’s covert operations. Prior to the Soviet-Afghan war, opium production in Afghanistan and Pakistan was directed to small regional markets. There was no local production of heroin. (Alfred McCoy, Drug Fallout: the CIA’s Forty Year Complicity in the Narcotics Trade. The Progressive, 1 August 1997).
Researcher Alfred McCoy’s study confirms that within two years of the onslaught of the CIA operation in Afghanistan, “the Pakistan-Afghanistan borderlands became the world’s top heroin producer, supplying 60 per cent of U.S. demand.” (Ibid)
“CIA assets again controlled this heroin trade. As the Mujahideen guerrillas seized territory inside Afghanistan, they ordered peasants to plant opium as a revolutionary tax. Across the border in Pakistan, Afghan leaders and local syndicates under the protection of Pakistan Intelligence operated hundreds of heroin laboratories. During this decade of wide-open drug-dealing, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency in Islamabad failed to instigate major seizures or arrests. … (Ibid)
Afghanistan is a strategic hub in Central Asia, bordering on China’s Western frontier and on the former Soviet Union. While it constitutes a land bridge for the oil and gas pipeline corridors linking the Caspian sea basin to the Arabian sea, it is also strategic for its opium production, which today, according to UN sources, supplies more than 90 % of the World’s heroin market, representing multi-billion dollar revenues for business syndicates, financial institutions, intelligence agencies and organized crime. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism, Global Research, 2005, Chapter XVI)
Protected by the CIA, a new surge in opium production unfolded in the post cold War era. Since the October 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, opium production has increased 33 fold since the US led invasion. The annual proceeds of the Golden Crescent drug trade are estimated between 120 and 194 billion dollars (2006), representing more than one third of the worldwide annual turnover of the narcotics trade. (Michel Chossudovsky, Heroin is good for Your Health, Occupation Forces Support Afghan Drug Trade, Global Research, April 2007. see also Douglas Keh, Drug Money in a Changing World, Technical document No. 4, 1998),
Despite the demise of the Soviet Union, Pakistan’s extensive military-intelligence apparatus (the ISI) was not dismantled. In the wake of the Cold War, the CIA continued to support the Islamic brigades out of Pakistan. New undercover initiatives were set in motion in the Middle East, Central Asia, the Balkans and south East Asia. In the immediate wke of the Cold War, Pakistan’s ISI “served as a catalyst for the disintegration of the Soviet Union and the emergence of six new Muslim republics in Central Asia”. (International Press Services, 22 August 1995).
Meanwhile, Islamic missionaries of the Wahabi sect from Saudi Arabia had established themselves in the Muslim republics, as well as within the Russian federation, encroaching upon the institutions of the secular State. Despite its anti-American ideology, Islamic fundamentalism was largely serving Washington’s strategic interests in the former Soviet Union, the Balkans and the Middle East.
Following the withdrawal of Soviet troops in 1989, the civil war in Afghanistan continued unabated. The Taliban were being supported by the Pakistani Deobandis and their political party, the Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI). In 1993, the JUI entered Pakistan’s government coalition of Prime Minister Benazzir Bhutto. Ties between the JUI, the Army and the ISI were established. In 1996, with the downfall of the Hezb-I-Islami Hektmatyar government in Kabul, the Taliban not only instated a hardline Islamic government, they also “handed control of training camps in Afghanistan over to JUI factions …”. (Ahmed Rashid, “The Taliban: Exporting Extremism”, Foreign Affairs, November – December, 1999, p. 22.)
The JUI, with the support of the Saudi Wahabi movement, played a key role in recruiting volunteers to fight in the Balkans and the former Soviet Union. (Ibid)
Jane Defence Weekly confirms, that “half of Taliban manpower and equipment originate[d] in Pakistan under the ISI”. In fact, it would appear that following the Soviet withdrawal, both sides in the Afghan civil war continued to receive US covert support through Pakistan’s ISI. (Tim McGirk, “Kabul Learns to Live with its Bearded Conquerors”, The Independent, London, 6 November 1996.)
Backed by Pakistan’s military intelligence, which in turn was controlled by the CIA, the Taliban Islamic State largely served US geopolitical interests. No doubt this explains why Washington had closed its eyes on the reign of terror imposed by the Taliban in 1996, including the blatant derogation of women’s rights, the closing down of schools for girls, the dismissal of women employees from government offices and the enforcement of “the Sharia laws of punishment”. (K. Subrahmanyam, “Pakistan is Pursuing Asian Goals”, India Abroad, 3 November 1995.)
The Golden Crescent drug trade was also being used to finance and equip the Bosnian Muslim Army (starting in the early 1990s) and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). In fact, at the time of the September 11 attacks, CIA-sponsored Mujahideen mercenaries were fighting within the ranks of KLA-NLA terrorists in their assaults into Macedonia.
The War in Chechnya
In Chechnya, the renegade autonomous region of the Russian Federation, the main rebel leaders, Shamil Basayev and Al Khattab, were trained and indoctrinated in CIA-sponsored camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. According to Yossef Bodansky, director of the U.S. Congress’ Task Force on Terrorism and Unconventional Warfare, the war in Chechnya had been planned during a secret summit of HizbAllah International held in 1996 in Mogadishu, Somalia. (Levon Sevunts, “Who’s Calling The Shots? Chechen conflict finds Islamic roots in Afghanistan and Pakistan”, The Gazette, Montreal, 26 October 1999.)
The summit was attended by none other than Osama bin Laden, as well as high-ranking Iranian and Pakistani intelligence officers. It’s obvious that the involvement of Pakistan’s ISI in Chechnya “goes far beyond supplying the Chechens with weapons and expertise: The ISI and its radical Islamic proxies are actually calling the shots in this war.”(Ibid)
Russia’s main pipeline route transits through Chechnya and Dagestan. Despite Washington’s condemnation of “Islamic terrorism”, the indirect beneficiaries of the wars in Chechnya are the Anglo-American oil conglomerates which are vying for complete control over oil resources and pipeline corridors out of the Caspian Sea basin.
The two main Chechen rebel armies (which at the time were led by the (late) Commander Shamil Basayev and Emir Khattab), estimated at 35,000 strong, were supported by Pakistan’s ISI, which also played a key role in organizing and training the rebel army:
“[In 1994] the Pakistani Inter Services Intelligence arranged for Basayev and his trusted lieutenants to undergo intensive Islamic indoctrination and training in guerrilla warfare in the Khost province of Afghanistan at Amir Muawia camp, set up in the early 1980s by the CIA and ISI and run by famous Afghani warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. In July 1994, upon graduating from Amir Muawia, Basayev was transferred to Markaz-i-Dawar camp in Pakistan to undergo training in advanced guerrilla tactics. In Pakistan, Basayev met the highest ranking Pakistani military and intelligence officers: Minister of Defence General Aftab Shahban Mirani, Minister of Interior General Naserullah Babar, and the head of the ISI branch in charge of supporting Islamic causes, General Javed Ashraf (all now retired). High-level connections soon proved very useful to Basayev.” (Ibid)
Following his training and indoctrination stint, Basayev was assigned to lead the assault against Russian federal troops in the first Chechen war in 1995. His organization had also developed extensive links to criminal syndicates in Moscow as well as ties to Albanian organized crime and the KLA. In 1997-1998, according to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) “Chechen warlords started buying up real estate in Kosovo … through several real estate firms registered as a cover in Yugoslavia.” (Vitaly Romanov and Viktor Yadukha, “Chechen Front Moves To Kosovo”, Segodnia, Moscow, 23 Feb 2000)
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