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THE CIA, ISI, PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN - A LITTLE HISTORY

October 5, 2001

MID-EAST REALITIES - MER - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 10/05: Now we know that a few years ago, when President Bill Clinton was meeting privately one-on-one with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, the U.S. "hired" the agents of the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) to assassinate Osama bin Laden. That was after the infamous American CIA has failed in its many attempts to do the job, and after the Pentagon sent a volley of some 66 cruise missiles which also landed with a thump, and before Massoud (last month assassinated probably by bin Laden) was subsequently hired to give it a try. The payoff for Pakistan was going to be many billions in economic assistance, "action" regarding Kashmir (remember how Clinton made coy statements about this "other occupation"), and a closer overall U.S.-Pakistani relationship. This was all super top secret then and may help explain the extraordinary meeting on American independence day, July 4th 1999, when Sharif rushed to Washington quite unscheduled for an emergency meeting with Clinton.

September 11th didn't happen in a vacuum. Osama bin Laden and much of his cabal are goners now as there's no way they are going to be able to defy the full might of the American empire enraged, moblized, and on the war path. But they have already done the dasterdly deeds of their choosing, changed history, further militarized America, and unleashed forces and passions whose results are no longer predictable when they themselves are gone from the scene. Whatever happens now, this sordid history needs to be better known, and better understood. Thus this insightful article primarily about the ISI, from The Sunday Times two Sunday's ago, in addition to those published in the past few days:

THE SPIES WHO COULD SAVE PAKISTAN

THE LOYALTY OF THE PAKISTANY ARMY IS UNDER EXTREME STRAIN

A formidable intelligence machine is fighting to douse the fires of revolt, says Mark Adkin*

[The Sunday Times (U.K.) - September 23, 2001] : Suddenly, it's back to the old days. For any operations inside Afghanistan, the Americans need their old allies: Pakistan's feared intelligence agency, the Inter- Services Intelligence, or ISI.

Once they were so close that their agents trekked across the Hindu Kush together on reconnaissance missions (or to mingle with mujaheddin, as the Americans put it). It was the time of the Soviet war on Afghanistan, and the CIA was utterly dependent on the ISI to pass on arms and training to the guerrillas in their struggle against the Russians.

The ISI has the reputation of being the most effective intelligence organisation in the Third World. It is headed by a director-general, now Lieutenant-General Mahmood Ahmed, who has direct, daily access to the president. He is almost certainly the most powerful man in the military, responsible for all political, military, internal, external and counter-intelligence operations in Pakistan.

Until very recently the Afghan bureau of the ISI has been something of a command post in supporting the Taliban. As part of a policy of "Islamic debts", a campaign to buttress its defences against India, Pakistan has used the Taliban's support to project power north.

The Afghan opposition claims that Pakistani pilots often carry out air raids on behalf of Taliban forces; independent sources also say that Pakistani special forces take part in military operations inside Afghanistan. It is said that around 30% of Pakistani military remain sympathetic to the Taliban cause: something General Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, and President Bush will be painfully aware of.

A vast organisation, divided into several bureaux, the ISI is based in a heavily guarded headquarters in Islamabad. The main operational department is the Afghan bureau, but of almost equal importance will be the bureau for Kashmir, the region over which Pakistan and India remain in bitter dispute.

The CIA's collaboration with the ISI began in 1984. Brigadier Mohammed Yousaf was the head of the Afghan bureau during that time. "From 1984 to 1987 over 80,000 mujaheddin went through our training camps," he says. "Hundreds of thousands of tons of weapons and ammunition were distributed, and active operations were planned and carried out in all of Afghanistan's 29 provinces."

These weapons were supplied covertly by the CIA, and the training sanctioned by them too. Why? In 1985 the American congressman Charles Wilson said: "There were 58,000 [American] dead in Vietnam and we owe the Russians one . . . I thought the Soviets ought to get a dose of it."

This stance is essential to understanding why America supported the mujaheddin against the Soviet Union. But it could not do it alone - just like today, without the full backing of the ISI the US would blunder into Afghanistan blind. Then, as now, the CIA had no agents on the ground, had no Pushtu-speaking personnel and would rely on what their satellite cameras told them. Cameras may not lie, but they seldom give answers to the critical questions of who, when, why and how.

With its superior knowledge, the ISI told the CIA what weapons and ammunition were required, then distributed these along with food and clothing to the various guerrilla groups. Yousaf and his staff were in daily contact with the mujaheddin and developed good relationships. They trained them in tactics, in the use of weapons, explosives and radio communications.

Mujaheddin commanders would be selected, brought into Pakistan, briefed on the target they should attack and then trained for the mission. They then went back into Afghanistan, sometimes accompanied by Pakistan army advisers, to carry it out.

The ISI also planned operations, briefing commanders on specific tasks, such as destroying an oil pipeline or ambushing a convoy. But it was a cardinal rule that no American ever became involved with the distribution of funds or weapons once they were in Pakistan. No Americans ever trained, or had direct contact with, the mujaheddin. It was galling to the Americans that they paid the piper but could not call the tune.

To assist the mujaheddin, Pakistan operated inside Afghanistan in up to 11 groups. They provided vital intelligence, not only on enemy activities but also on the competence or otherwise of mujaheddin commanders.

The ISI has been doing exactly the same with the Taliban forces ever since, and the information it has will now be essential to any troops in Afghanistan.

The CIA, meanwhile, was based discreetly at the embassy in Islamabad. The ISI's relations with the CIA were sometimes polite, but more often strained. This was because CIA officials continually wanted to become involved in details of arms purchases and what targets should be attacked. According to Yousaf, the relationship was often problematic: "Invariably the CIA failed to meet our needs. I am sure these bureaucratic snarl-ups would not have been accepted had it been American troops in the firing line."

After the Soviet Union pulled out, America rapidly lost interest in Afghanistan and funds dried up. The ISI, as a result, became intensely disillusioned with America - it felt badly let down.

Just as the guerrillas were on the verge of victory in the field, the Americans abandoned them. They cut off the money supply and thus the flow of weapons just at the time that the Soviet Union, although no longer present in Afghanistan, poured in a huge supply of tanks, guns and other equipment to keep its Afghan army fighting. A stalemate developed. The mujaheddin's feuding became more important than their fighting.

"The more I look back, the more convinced I am that it was the deliberate policy of the American government that we should never achieve a military victory in Afghanistan," says Yousaf now. "Once the Soviet Union was out, the Americans had avenged Vietnam; she then only concerned herself with bringing about a stalemate . . . I feel the only winners in the war in Afghanistan are the Americans . . . the losers are most certainly the people of Afghanistan."

Into the vacuum came the Taliban, came Bin Laden. In 1990 America strained relations with Pakistan even further. Fearful that Pakistan was too close to making an atomic bomb, it cut off all military contact.

Now, if America is to find Bin Laden, track his movements and use Pakistani facilities, it will once again have to cultivate the ISI, and in particular its Afghan bureau.

* Mark Adkin is the author of Brigadier Yousaf's biography



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October 2001


Magazine






Bio and Nuclear Threats Escalate As Purposeful Leaks Proliferate to Mass Media
(October 26, 2001)
The timing of newsstories like this in the major Western media should be suspect now more than ever. For more than ever in fact governments and intelligence agencies are using the mass media by leaking things at times of convenience and more importantly with their own twists and turns.

"Stop Israel!" Pleads Israeli Professor
(October 26, 2001)
One Israeli, not invited by the naive and misguided American Jewish "liberals" to the USA, speaks up from Israel with tremendous courage and conviction. Her name is Tanya Reinhart and she deserves to be taken very seriously -- though far too many don't even know about her.

"Palestinian Statehood" - Another Grotesque Deception Unfolds
(October 25, 2001)
The political smokescreens are lifting a bit as the pressures build to go beyond mere words, yet at the same time a purposeful distorting haze is taking over. Bottom line: the kind of "Palestinian State" Yasser Arafat has maneuvered his people toward and is being cornered into implementing is a grotesque distortion of their aspirations and of what use to be meant by the term "Palestinian State."

"A Pen Bought And Sold" - A Saudi Poem Revisited - MER FlashBack
(October 21, 2001)
Change comes in the Middle East, as elsewhere, in complex ways. There is the regular daily news of course; and in the region especially it is inextricably intertwined with an ever-more-sophisticated and propagandistic journalistic establishment.

WHY AMERICA MUST STOP THE WAR NOW
(October 24, 2001)
Both of the Georges are oh so full of themselves cocky -- just the personality type so many American's truly love. One is (to the amazement of many who wonder how in the world the U.S. chooses such persons to lead it) the President of the United States.

Massacres and Devastation Escalate Further In Palestine
(October 24, 2001)
The Palestinians are essentially defenseless with their backs up against the wall, the firing wall. Their "leadership" has been so corrupted and infiltrated that the Arafat regime has hardly any credibility with its own, not to mention anyone else.

Torture Now Coming to USA?
(October 22, 2001)
Adopting the tactics (as well as the goals) of the Israelis, and the methods long taught by the CIA in Latin America as well as the Middle East, the brave new world post 11 September is changing the face of the American homeland in ways nearly all Americans would have seriously resisted just a few long weeks ago.

Millions Likely To Die in Afghanistan U.N. Warns
(October 21, 2001)
As for Afghanistan, the American CIA worked behind the scenes to bring on the Soviet invasion of 1979, then engaged the Soviet Empire in a way that brought about the near-total devastation of Afghanistan and a huge uncounted death toll.

It's "New Imperialism" says leading British MP
(October 21, 2001)
Much pressure is building at the United Nations to not open itself to still more charges of being complicitous in "genocide", not to mention to do something to stop being seen as "an extension of the American State Department" (the actual private words of a senior U.N. official).

"Comply! Resistance Is Futile!"
(October 20, 2001)
British MP (Member of Parliament) George Galloway calls it the "new imperialism" (his article coming later today). On the whole the Anglo-British press is working up quite a frenzy (with notable exceptions like The Guardian and The Independent in the UK, sometimes The Nation in the U.S.).

The "Arafat Era" Collapsing or About To Be Reborn?
(October 20, 2001)
Yasser Arafat is losing both his grip on power (extended to him by the Israelis and the Americans for the past decade since the Gulf War) and his credibility (with his own people) at the same time.

The Coming Arab Crash
(October 19, 2001)
The west's most important friends in the Arab Middle East - Fahd of Saudi Arabia, Abdullah of Jordan, Mubarak of Egypt and the PLO's Yasser Arafat - are probably the world's most vulnerable political quartet.

Saudi Amb Bandar Badly Fails, Saudi Royals in Paralysis, US Relations in Doubt
(October 19, 2001)
Prince Bandar bin Sultan's 20+ year strategy has now substantially failed. Years ago, very much behind-the-scenes of course, the very controversial and in some circles much despised Saudi Ambassador in Washington began a relationship with the some of the most conservative and militant circles in Washington, very much including those associated with the powerful Israeli/Jewish lobby.

Worse Than Worthless Wartime "Promises"
(October 18, 2001)
The list of broken and disingenuous "promises" made to the Arabs by Western political leaders is something befitting a "Saturday Night Live" parody skit -- if only they would dare!

"New Era" Says Sharon Reacting In Character to "Gandhi" Assassination
(October 17, 2001)
He had called the Palestinians "lice" and "vermin" and "cancer", and he had urged their "transfer" or "extermination". Just Monday he has tendered his resignation as Minister of Tourism, insisting that Ariel Sharon was being too moderate and too compromising.

"PALESTINIAN STATE" a la WASHINGTON and LONDON
(October 17, 2001)
As for the British, what's going on in both Palestine and Kashmir, the two most likely potential nuclear flashpoints in our world today, can be traced back directly to what the British did in these areas when they were the "Empire"

FAR RIGHT-WING ISRAELI MINISTER ASSASSINATED THIS MORNING
(October 17, 2001)
For some time now Palestinians have been warning that because of Israel's assassination of Palestinian leaders, "crossing the red line" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, they would respond.

Red Cross Bombed in Kabul Before Presidential Red Cross Visit in Washington
(October 16, 2001)
You gotta love the chutzpa of the Americans. Today the President went a few blocks from the White House to the Headquarters of the American Red Cross -- a little photo op designed to further enlist "the children of America" in his recently announced effort to help the children of Afghanistan. But just as President Bush was getting ready to do his Red Cross pictures reports came in from Afghanistan that the major Red Cross center in Kabul, complete with large Red Cross emblem on its roof, was destroyed by American bombs.

Saudi/U.S. "Meltdown"? And Neutralizing Al Jazeera With A Firm Embrace
(October 16, 2001)
While American and British officials rush to make one TV appearance after another with continual reassurances everything is going "as planned", that's not quite the reality of the situation as this article in today's Guardian makes quite evident.

What Can We Do About Terrorism? by Lt. Col Robert M. Bowman (ret)
(October 15, 2001)
"Mr. President, you did not tell the American people the truth about why we are the targets of terrorism. You said that we are the target because we stand for democracy, freedom, and human rights in the world. Baloney! We are the target of terrorists because we stand for dictatorship, bondage, and human exploitation in the world."

Pentagon Far More Confused and Uncertain Than Americans Realize
(October 15, 2001)
The Bush administration is growing increasingly alarmed by the direction of the military campaign in Afghanistan after a week of almost continuous bombing has failed to dislodge either Osama bin Laden or the Taliban leadership.

Al-Qaeda Weekend Statement
(October 15, 2001)
This isn't really about "secret messages". Anyone with a $300 satellite dish can watch the statements in full, in Arabic, on al Jazeera; and the text is widely available on the Internet, in this case from London and the BBC!

Hundreds Dead in Nigeria
(October 14, 2001)
Hundreds of people have been killed in religious clashes after anti-U.S. protests turned violent, sources have told CNN. The demonstrations against the U.S.-led missile strikes on Afghanistan began peacefully on Friday but spiralled into a killing spree during Saturday, CNN's Lagos bureau chief Jeff Koinange said.

akistan's Benazir Opens Campaign in Washington as Pakistan Trembles Anarchy
(October 14, 2001)
Benazir Bhutto came to Washington this week to open her campaign for a third term as Prime Minister of the world's second largest, and only nuclear armed, Muslim State -- her first two terms she was overthrown, political and financial corruption was rampant, and her arranged husband remains in a Karachi prison.

Iraq Likely To Be Next "Phase"
(October 14, 2001)
A powerful coalition of "hawkish" government officials, lobbyists (especially those connected with the Israelis and the arms corporations), conservative press publications and columnists, many of the national Jewish organizations, as well as millions of Christian fundamentalists associated with Pat Robertson and his daily TV "700 Club" program, is mobilized to make sure that "America's new war" does not end with Afghanistan and al-Qaeda.

Saudi Royals Bugged, Embarrassed, Unstable
(October 13, 2001)
The following information is about to come out in THE NEW YORKER MAGAZINE on Monday and is being leaked in Washington this weekend to stir up interest and try to get publicity for the magazine and author on the Sunday talk shows tomorrow.

Attacks and Demonstrations Escalating in Arab and Muslim Countries
(October 13, 2001)
Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets in various cities in the Middle East to protest the U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan. Many more thronged to mosques for Friday prayers throughout the region and heard anti-American sermons.

Western Commando Forces Getting Ready
(October 13, 2001)
This article in The Telegraph today is a good outline of what now seems likely to be immediately ahead in Afghanistan, pushed forward by weather considerations as well as by current expectations that American-sponsored key governments in Pakistan, Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan, as well as the Arafat Regime, will all be able to weather the political storms with much expanded and mostly covert continual help from the western governments and intelligence services.

"War of the Worlds" by Mark Bruzonsky
(October 11, 2001)
In the case of America's new war, the full might of the USA is being mobilized not against the armies of other nation states, but against the fanatical descendants of a puritanical militant Islam whose calling has become relentless opposition to American hegemony and passionate assertion of their own quaintly medieval religious constructs.

Arafat Begs Israelis To Save Him
(October 10, 2001)
It's a most complicated political dance than ever at this historical crossroads. But bottom line Yasser Arafat and his regime have now, even more than before, thrown their future to the Israelis and the now omnipresent CIA...

Uri Avneri - Fronting for Arafat and for a Castrated "Palestinian State"
(October 10, 2001)
The Israeli writer and activist Uri Avneri is "on tour" in the USA on his way to Washington. It shouldn't come as a surprise that a few naive or on- the-take "peace groups" -- Jewish and otherwise -- have invited him to speak.

After Afghanistan, U.S. has Iraq, Lebanon, and Palestine in its Sights
(October 10, 2001)
In this case there should be no one saying down the road that they didn't know what was being planned. The Americans have said publicly and in many different ways right from the start of this "new war" that it wasn't going to end with Osama bin Laden, with the Taliban government, or with Afghanistan.

The "Palestinian State" Charade
(October 9, 2001)
Most of the Arab regimes, including that of Yasser Arafat, have proved themselves so co-opted and so gullible over the years that you can't blame the Americans for continuing to try their little tricks and deceptions -- just look how well, at least from their point-of-view, such things have worked in the past..

Anthrax Terrorism Now Likely
(October 9, 2001)
Federal officials suspect foul play rather than an environmental source is at the root of two Florida anthrax cases that have left one man dead and hundreds of co-workers lining up for medical tests.

Biological Attack? Inept or Demonstration?
(October 9, 2001)
Is someone sending a message that they can do it, a kind of primative, and deadly, deterrence attempt to try to protect themselves? Might this be an "inept attack" as today's TIMES in London suggests in its headline? As the third case of Anthrax in Florida is reported this morning, something seems to be up as the following reports indicate.

Bush versus bin Laden - Syria Elected to Security Council
(October 8, 2001)
It's all quite amazing really, President George W. Bush versus Osama bin Laden. On the one hand you have the most powerful man in the world commanding the full might of not only the world's only superpower but a whole entourage of Western European allies, the new Russia, and to a considerable extent at least behind-the-scenes many Arab and Muslim "client regimes".

Arafat's Army Opens Fire On Its Own - More Anthrax in Florida?
(October 8, 2001)
The Palestinian leadership rushed to distance itself Monday from Osama bin Laden while its police forces opened fire on university students protesting the U.S.-led military strikes on Afghanistan.

FBI Knocked...He's Not Home But You Can Find Him at the White House
(October 8, 2001)
Now the world will become much more confusing and dangerous, and the opponents of the American Empire will obviously be forced even deeper underground -- both literally and figuratively -- becoming even more insular and isolated among themselves leading to who knows what kind of future blowback.

US Journalist Warns: "Do not try to change the government in Afghanistan!"
(October 7, 2001)
Late friday evening one of the leading American journalists who is an expert on the Middle East and Islamic affairs was asked a question on CNN to which she immediately briefly answered...and that was that...no more was asked or answered.

"Our Friends are Killers, Crooks and Torturers"
(October 7, 2001)
Surely the British Prime Minister should know better than to try to simplify such a complex world we live in to that understandable by a third-grader. If not we have a little weekend reading Mr. Blair should be doing, starting in one of his own newspapers which we surely hope, especially now, he can find a few moments to read on a regular basis, The Independent.

History Corrected - U.S. Wanted Soviet Invasion of Afghanistan
(October 6, 2001)
The world believes that there was an invasion of Afghanistan by the Soviet Union on 24 December 1979 and then, in response, the U.S. and Muslim countries rallied to help Afghanistan repel the invaders. Wrong...just as so much of the widely accepted history of the Arab-Israeli conflict and the actual realities of U.S. involvements in the Middle East are wrong because of the manipulation of history by various governments and intelligence agencies -- most especially the U.S. and Israel, the CIA and the Mossad.

UNCOMFORTABLE TRUTHS FOR AMERICANS TO PONDER
(October 6, 2001)
"Could it be that the stygian anger that led to the attacks has its taproot not in American freedom and democracy, but in the US government's record of commitment and support to exactly the opposite things - to military and economic terrorism, insurgency, military dictatorship, religious bigotry and unimaginable genocide (outside America)?"

MER EDITORIAL: POSSIBLE WAY OUT!
(October 5, 2001)
The government in Afghanistan, popularly known as The Taliban, has finally taken what could be a significant step. Just hours ago through its official representative in Pakistan the Afghan government has publicly offered to turn Osama bin Laden over...not to the United States, but to another Islamic country.

CANADIAN PROFESSOR TAKES ON THE U.S.A
(October 5, 2001)
"The women in the audience -- academics, union members, mental health workers and advocates for female inmates, embraced her anti-American rhetoric, repeatedly interrupting her with cheers and standing ovations."

THE CIA, ISI, PAKISTAN, AFGHANISTAN - A LITTLE HISTORY
(October 5, 2001)
Now we know that a few years ago, when President Bill Clinton was meeting privately one-on-one with the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawaz Sharif, the U.S. "hired" the agents of the infamous Inter-Services Intelligence Agency (ISI) to assassinate Osama bin Laden.

NEWSFLASH: LAST MOMENT ARAB COLD FEET - RUMSFELD RUSHES TO THE REGION
(October 3, 2001)
The United States and Britain yesterday called off military strikes against terrorist targets in Afghanistan at the last minute. Washington officials say today that a severe attack of last-minute cold feet by some key Arab members of the coalition caused President Bush to postpone the operation.

WHERE DID THE TALIBAN COME FROM?
(October 3, 2001)
Osama bin Laden, arch nemesis of America today, is blowback from recent history -- the Gulf war, the permanent stationing of American forces in Arabia, and other American policies in the region, including the deceptive "peace process" fronting for Israel's brutal subjugation of the Palestinians.

BOTH SAUDIS AND PAKISTANIS CONTINUE TO ACTUALLY SAY NO
(October 3, 2001)
The American Secretary of Defense is rushing to the Middle East, goal #1 to try one more time to "convince" the Saudis that Prince Sultan Airbase and its super-modern regional control center -- just completed in fact during the summer at a cost of many billions -- is needed for the new war.

U.S. PREPARES FOR CRUSADER WAR - "OPEN-ENDED WAR WITHOUT CONSTRAINT"
(October 2, 2001)
"Drafted with a small coterie of loyal aides, mainly civilian political appointees at the Pentagon, the plans argue for open-ended war without constraint either of time or geography and potentially engulfing the entire Middle East and central Asia... The plans put before the President during the past few days involve expanding the war beyond Afghanistan to include similar incursions by special ops forces - followed by air strikes by the bombers they would guide - into Iraq, Syria and the Beqaa Valley area of Lebanon, where the Syrian-backed Hizbollah (Party of God) fighters that harass Israel are based."

READYING THE CRUSADE - ARMIES, PRESS, PUBLIC
(October 2, 2001)
Anyone with an ear tuned to Washington's politicians, lobbyists, and opinion molders can hear it quite loudly and clearly at this point. After taking down Osama bin Laden's al Queda network (said to be in some 50+ countries), after changing the government in Afghanistan, the American-led crusade (now more politely known by Colin Powell's term "campaign") will attempt to march on through the Middle East, next stop Baghdad.

BELIEVE IT OR NOT SAYS POWELL - "PALESTINIAN STATE"
(October 2, 2001)
It took them who intially talked of "crusade" nearly three weeks to figure out that all the "coalition building" wasn't going nearly as well as they keep saying in public and that doing something about all the Israeli oppression and "terrorism" against the essentially imprisoned Palestinian population would be a good idea in the post 11 September world and before the bombs start falling on Muslims here and there.

ARMY WANTS TO KILL ARAFAT SAYS PERES!
(October 1, 2001)
The situation is now so tense in Israel in dealing with the "Palestinian Authority" -- which it should be remembered the Israelis themselves created just a few years ago -- that Shimon Peres is getting more and more desperate.

DAMASCAS GATHERING OF PALESTINIANS
(October 1, 2001)
The Palestinian opposition is usually very weak and confused. Had that not been the case for some time now Yasser Arafat would never have been able to do the things he has done for so long now, especially since the Gulf War; nor would Arafat have have been able to retain power these past few traumatic years, however weakened himself at this point.

CHOMSKY ANSWERS
(October 1, 2001)
Yes, it will be very interesting to see if and how Noam Chomsky answers the at first blush surprising attacks from Christopher Hitchens, who has now not only endorsed the new war but also at least parts of the "New World Order" that underpins it.




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