I am sure that we
will be reading illuminating detective work on the Heathrow liquid-bombs plot
very soon, exposing the holes in the official version -- detective work by journalistic
investigators with better resources and more expertise than I can muster.
However, in preparation for the revelations to come, I am going to focus on a
crash review of the relations between the paladins of the so-called "war
on terror," Britain and the US, with Pakistan and the Pakistani
Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI).
As we now know, the
whole re-make of the 9/11 plot ("a second 9/11" the media calls it),
released this August as a summer disaster movie to cover the disasters in the
polls and on the ground of the lunatics in charge, is a movie script claiming
to have unmasked a plot through the singular testimony of Rauf Rashid, apprehended by
ISI somewhere on the fluid and porous border area between Afghanistan and
I repeat: the
foiling of the plot is based on ISI's claim that Rauf Rashid's interrogation
(don't try to imagine what they did to him or how reliable this information
might be as a result of robust interrogations) led to the disclosure of the new
What is ISI and
what is its role in Bush's "war on terror"?
Well, there are
some, including members of the British Parliament, who argue that there was a connection
between 9/11 (the original movie) and the head of Pakistan's ISI. Former
ISI head, Lt-General Mahmoud Ahmad, is said to have wired
$100,000 to alleged 9/11 "ring leader" Mohammed Atta's two banks in
Florida -- a detail revealed by Times of India and ignored by both western
media and the 9/11 Independent Commission: (See more on the ISI-Atta connection.)
(Global Research) points out that the link between ISI and Al Qaeda was a
well-known fact to US intelligence (as was the fact that both ISI and Al Qaeda
were the creations of the CIA). Yet the US decided to bring Pakistan's ISI on
board to fight "the war on terror." Chossudovski points out that a
State Department publication at the time confirmed that the government of
Pervez Musharraf had links to international terrorism. Nevertheless, on 13
September 2001, Deputy Under Secretary Richard Armitage, a buddy of Oliver
North in the Iran-Contra scandal, met ISI's chief spy behind closed doors in DC
and gave him a list of "specific steps" for Pakistan to follow in the
"war on terror."
Musharraf's coup in 1999 had not succeeded in securing his power, the
cooperation with the US was nothing short of a necessity for existential
In fact, Lt-General
Mahmoud Ahmad was immediately dispatched to Kandahar to ask the Taliban to hand
over Osama bin Laden, which they said they would do if the US would provide
proof of his involvement in 9/11. The US declared Mahmoud Ahmad's mission a
failure and went ahead with the invasion of Afghanistan -- showing that bombing
innocent civilians was a priority over negotiating the capture of the alleged
criminal "hiding" among them. Osama, like Elvis, still makes
appearances at inexplicably fortuitous times in support of Bush's sagging
popularity or fortunes, but he hasn't been captured "dead or alive."
It looks from all
this that the US decided to use ISI, a known supporter, trainer, and funder of
Al Qaeda, NOT to apprehend bin Laden but to set up a pretext to start the
Afghanistan attack. Just before the 12 October date that started the
bombardment of a country without an air force, Mahmoud Ahmad was removed from
his ISI command, probably because of the Times of India revelations of the link
between Pakistan's chief spook and Atta.
An article in Asia Times
further links Lt-General Mahmoud Ahmad to Porter Goss, former CIA director, and
Bob Graham, former US senator (D-Fla.), all of whom were breakfasting together
in DC on the morning of 9/11 and didn't stop confabulating until the second
plane hit the Trade Center towers. The Asia Times' link expands on the whole
In case you wonder
where Lt-General Mahmoud Ahmad is right now, he's in seclusion in his house in
Rawalpindi. Was he questioned by the 9/11 commission? I don't think so!
The 9/11 Family Steering
Committee had actually asked that the question of the ISI-Atta connection
be addressed by the 9/11 Independent Commission (see question #22):
This, of course, is
ancient history. It tells us that ISI and Musharraf's government were dragged
into the war against "terror" while known to be involved in a
government that was behind "terror."
Musharraf, ISI, and Pakistan now?
survived several attempts on his life and has been called "dead man
walking." For a while, he was Bush's favorite Muslim, but things have
changed. They started changing in 2004 when the Bush administration demanded
that Pakistan do something about cleansing the North-West tribal areas and
Waziristan of "terrorists" -- actually Taliban and various Islamic
resistance groups -- from neighboring stans.
autonomous tribal regions are ideal places for guerrillas but treacherous for
the mobility of conventional armies -- as the British well know from their
19th-century disastrous Afghan Wars. Nevertheless, charged with "Mission
Impossible" by a master to whom you can't say "no" or rationally
explain that such a mission might start the first fires that eventually ignite
a national Islamic revolution in Pakistan, Musharraf sent 30,000 troops in two
or three expeditions in the spring of 2004.
miserably, caused army casualties, and enraged the Pakistani public, who
charged that the Pakistani army was made to serve western imperialism. Meanwhile,
US Special Forces operations targeted villages in Waziristan with aerial
bombardments, causing civilian deaths and refugees, but they left the credit to
Musharraf -- to get around the sovereignty violation issue.
However, news of
the massacres and depopulation of the region leaked out and the public demanded
to know why the Musharraf government was allowing the US to violate Pakistani
sovereignty. One such incident of a village massacre in January really strained
Musharraf's hold on power.
He began to be
poodle" and was prompted to deny it:
As though things
for Musharraf were not bad enough, Hamid Karzai, the mayor of Kabul and
besieged head of Afghanistan for Unocal and other energy interests, very
recently charged that Pakistan is to blame for the resurgence of the Taliban in
Bush's new Camelot for the Lords of the Opium Table in Afghanistan.
voyaged to Islamabad and Kabul this spring to make peace between the two
regimes, but she was unsuccessful in getting the results that the US and Karzai
were looking for: a renewed dedication to fighting "terror" on the
part of Pakistan. In a speech in DC in early July, the new Afghan foreign minister
accused Pakistan of not doing an adequate job of countering terrorism (code
word for "supporting the US in its conquest of West Asia"). He
claimed that "terrorists were infiltrating from Pakistan [and] we do not
have the strength to go after the sources."
Another blow to
Musharraf's standing in the "Axis of Goodness" is a recent assessment
by British Colonel Chris Vernon, chief of staff for southern Afghanistan. He
stated publicly that the Taliban
operated campaigns in Afghanistan from Quetta in Pakistan.
British military brass resents Blair's unpopular request to send 3,300 more
troops to failing Afghanistan to pick up the slack from the US's dumping
Enduring Freedom via NATO on Britain's lap -- the fall guy after the US secured
its oil-energy objectives and moved on to more enduring failures.
All in all, poor
Britain is stuck with an Afghanistan on the verge of a Taliban takeover, aided
by Pakistan's pro-Islamic governmental agencies, including the military and the
ISI. Army supplies for British forces in Afghanistan -- those that cannot be
airlifted -- have to travel through Pakistan -- shrouded in secrecy to prevent
Yes, you can say
that Pakistan's contribution to the war on the "Axis of Evil" leaves
something to be desired from the point of view of its daft planners.
To boot, the US
makes a nuclear deal with India, Pakistan's mortal enemy, showing just how far
from favor and influence the satrap from Islambad has fallen!
What would you do
if you were Musharraf and saw the writing on the wall? What would you do if
they accused you of being soft on terror and gave you one last opportunity to
regain their favor? Would you cook up some evidence under pressure to support
their half-baked scheme to scare the world?
teaches film and literature at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She can be
reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.