Thursday, June 9, 2011

"LIE" with Syed Munawar Hasan (JI) on GEO TV & Asia Times.

JI condemns journalists murder LAHORE, May 31: The Jamaat e Islami chief, Syed Munawar Hasan and Secretary General, Liaquat Baoch, have strongly condemned the murder of senior journalist and Asia Times Bureau Chief, Saleem Shahzad. They have demanded that the elements involved in the abduction and murder of Saleem Shahzad be unearthed and dealt with in accordance with the law. In a joint condolence message, the JI leaders deplored that journalist community in the country suffered from insecurity and several journalists had been abducted and subsequently murdered in the past. But the killers had not been brought to the book. They expressed deep condolences with the bereaved family. REFERENCE: JI condemns journalists murder Posted on : 2011-05-31

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Question: Haider Sahab, Maulana Mawdudi was a giant personality and a great religious scholar. We should talk about present scenario. Jamaat-e-Islami is still spending a lot on ‘Jehad-e-Kashmir’ also rendering sacrifices?

Answer: Yes, presently the situation is such that Jamaat receives Rs. 60,000/- for every militant killed in Kashmir out this, only 15,000-20,000/- are being given to the families of the martyrs, while as the remaining amount is eaten up by the JEI leaders themselves who have opened a factory of martyrs. JEI leaders have made money by getting others children killed. As far as they themselves are concerned, no son of Qazi Hussain Ahmad was killed either in Afghanistan or Kashmiri, ‘Jihad’ and his children are leading a luxurious life while studying in the United States. REFERENCE: Haider Farooq Mawdudi on Mawdudi and Jamat-e-Islami after Mawdudi.

ISLAMABAD - Several hundred students in the southern port city of Karachi have left the Islami Jamiat-e-Talaba (IJT), Pakistan's largest student union, to join al-Qaeda training camps in the North Waziristan tribal area on the border with Afghanistan, Asia Times Online has learned. The IJT is an offshoot of the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI), the country's premier Islamic party. "This is true. They now have their own camp in North Waziristan and it is purely the work of the late Dr Arshad Waheed that such a huge number of people are joining here," Usman Punjabi, a militant leader, told Asia Times Online on the telephone. Waheed was a renowned kidney specialist who was president of the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, an offshoot of the JI. He and his brother Dr Akmal Waheed, a cardiovascular physician, were arrested in 2004 after an attack on a military motorcade in Karachi in 2004. They were charged with facilitating members of the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jundallah.

The brothers were later released and relocated to South Waziristan, where Arshad Waheed was killed in a drone attack in 2008. He was the first Pakistani al-Qaeda sympathizer to be featured by al-Qaeda's media wing al-Sahab in a long documentary, in which he was called a role model. The exodus of students to the tribal areas was also confirmed by a former leader of the JI's youth wing who spoke to Asia Times Online on the condition of anonymity, "To me there is no need to hide this thing, it is true, a big number has already left and I am afraid that the remaining ones will also be leaving Karachi soon." According to a Pakistani counter-terrorism official, case studies show that initially all jihadis are recruited to fight against foreign forces in Afghanistan, but ultimately they end up fighting against the Pakistani security forces. This is an important development in al-Qaeda’s struggle and a major blow for Pakistan that a large number of people affiliated with the country's most influential Islamic party - always considered a major strategic asset for the military establishment - have joined forces with al-Qaeda. This development can be compared to 2005, when, after a crackdown on militants, hundreds of highly trained and battle-hardened fighters from Kashmir went to North Waziristan to join forces with al-Qaeda. These included Ilyas Kashmiri, whose 313 Brigade is now an important operational arm of al-Qaeda, and veteran jihadi Abdul Jabbar.

Beginning of a new phase

Shortly after last Tuesday's attack on a Punjabi regimental center in Mardan in Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa (formerly North-West Frontier Province) in which three suicide bombers were killed and four soldiers wounded, the Taliban sent out a press release in English. The first section read:

Recently, news has circulated in the media of a report of Amnesty International regarding the brutal rule of the Pakistan army in Swat, northeastern Pakistan, under a so-called "operation". The report says that the Pakistan army in the name of the operation, Rahe-Rast, did brutal assaults in poor areas of Swat Valley and allegedly killed hundreds of men without charges and without any proof or legal procedure before they were executed. These extra-judicial killings not only unveil the nature of the Pakistani army, they also bring the truth in front of the whole nation. A few months ago, a video tape was circulated on the Internet in which many Pakistan army men were seen brutally beating villagers, nearly killing them.

Earlier, a movie was shown on local and international television channels containing scenes of a women being executed by some men [Taliban], saying this is the so-called Islamic judiciary system the Taliban wants to impose on the people of Pakistan. [As a result] the army took action and started operation Rahe-Rast. If the serious think-tanks of Pakistan compare these two video clips, they must speak out. What is interesting about this release is that is was relatively well articulated; in the past, militant spokesmen had difficulty even expressing themselves in Urdu.

Contacts in North Waziristan confirm that the large-scale movement of IJT members took place earlier this year. The organization responded by expelled all of them. However, these students maintain a very active presence on the Internet, and blogging is their main tool for recruitment. The JI apparently did its best to bring these students back, without success. It even sent Hafiz Waheedullah Khan to Wana, the largest town in South Waziristan, to speak to Akmal Waheed. Kahn is the father of the Waheed brothers and a well-respected educationist who runs a network of private schools. He was a founder of the JI-backed Teachers' Association of Pakistan, the largest in the country. Akmal refused to speak with his father. The JI was banned in the 1960s by then-dictator Field Marshal Ayub Khan's regime but it fought its case in the courts and won back its legitimacy. In the 1970s, the JI formed two notorious militias, al-Shams and al-Badr, which fought with the Pakistan army against Indian forces and rebel Bengalis. That support brought the JI close to the military and that continued until the era of former president General Pervez Musharraf, who came to power in 1999. The IJT was formed in 1948 as an offshoot of the JI to counter left-wing student unions. By the late 1960s and early 1970s, the IJT won elections at the country's three main campuses - Punjab University, Karachi University and Peshawar University.

Student leaders of that period became national leaders, including incumbent ambassador to the United States Husain Haqqani (he was elected president of the IJT-backed student union of Karachi University); the leader of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Javed Hashmi (Punjab University); incumbent Law Minister Dr Babar Awan (president of the IJT Rawalpindi), beside a long list of politicians in different political parties and a very strong representation in Urdu-language media outlets. During the Afghan jihad in the 1980s against the Soviets, IJT members enthusiastically fought and in the process they developed ties with Arab militants. For this reason, after the September 11, 2001, attacks on the US, top al-Qaeda members, including 9-11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, were arrested from the residences of JI leaders. As a result, at one time the Americans put immense pressure on Pakistan to ban the JI, so much so that then-Pakistani interior minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat announced that the government was thinking of doing so. However, the military establishment put its foot down, despite a personality clash between Musharraf and then-JI president Qazi Hussain Ahmad. Instead of the JI being banned, Hayat was removed from his post.

This new development of IJT students joining al-Qaeda is more dangerous for Pakistan than any other previous al-Qaeda alliances. Most colleges and universities are the stronghold of the IJT, while the IJT's parent body, the JI, is the richest political party in the country and runs schools, madrassas (seminaries) and a vast network of social services and charities. Karachi contributes about 65% of the JI’s revenues. When the Kashmiri fighters joined forces with al-Qaeda, it improved the group's guerrilla techniques in the battlefield, while the IJT cadre will greatly boast al-Qaeda's recruitment drive and enhance its political influence. REFERENCE: Pakistani students prefer guns to books By Syed Saleem Shahzad South Asia Jul 27, 2010

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MULTAN (February 16 2005): Farooq Maudoodi son of founder of Jamaat-i-Islami, late Abul Aala Maudoodi, has said that Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal (MMA) had been created by ISI and it is a part and parcel of the military government and cannot part ways with President Pervez Musharraf. Talking to a group of journalists here on Tuesday he said: "Qazi Hussain Ahmed met the then ISI chief, General Ehsan-ul-Haq, then called on General Pervez Musharraf and later met US ambassador, then flew to United States. As soon as he returned, MMA was formed like IJI (Islami jamhoori Ittehad)." He said that IJI was organised by ISI and funds were also provided by it on the assurance of Qazi Hussain Ahmed, who had also played a key role in IJI. "Now he is playing major role in MMA." Bitterly criticising the MMA, Farooq said that the role of MMA is evidence of its loyalties with military regime. It had approved the 17th constitutional amendment which is in favour of the present regime. He said: "Where has the MMA movement gone while its leadership is claiming that it would continue till the achievement of objective of 'Uniform'?" Farooq said that Benazir knew very well about MMA and she had some reservations about it. He said that ISI has complete record of MMA leaders and they cannot escape. He said that politics ended in 1958 when Ayub imposed martial law. He said that plundering of evacuee trust property (Auqaf) and politics of clerics destroyed the politics of the country. Regarding deletion of column of 'religion' from Passport, he said that it was a good step and Ulema should have welcomed it but they made it part of their agitation to hoodwink the innocent Muslims.Farooq said that some bad things were added in the constitution by Zia-ul-Haq, which must be excluded, which had bred many ills. ends REFERENCE: 'MMA was created by ISI' RECORDER REPORT [Courtesy Business Recorder 2005]

Jamat-e-Islami Links with Al-Qaeda

Terror mastermind captured – Terror mastermind captured – Khalid Sheikh Mohammed is thought to be the man who masterminded the attacks on 11 September. His capture in Pakistan was seen as a key success in the US fight to counter al-Qaeda. BBC News Online presents key video reports following the arrest. Tuesday, 4 March, 2003, 22:56 GMT  - KARACHI – Under immense pressure from the United States, a slow and gradual operation has begun in Pakistan against the strongest political voice of Islamists and the real mother of international Islamic movements, of which Osama bin Laden’s International Islamic Front is the spoiled child. In a surprise move this week, Pakistan’s federal minister of the interior, Faisal Saleh Hayat, listed a number of incidences in which members of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), the premier fundamentalist party in the country, had been tied to al-Qaeda, and called on it to “explain these links”. “It is a matter of concern that Jamaat-e-Islami, which is a main faction of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal [MMA], has neither dissociated itself from its activists having links with the al-Qaeda network nor condemned their activities,” Faisal said, adding that “one could derive a meaning out of its silence”. The MMA is an alliance of six religious parties that gained unprecedented electoral victories in national elections in 2002. One of its members is the leader of the opposition in the Lower House, while the MMA controls the provincial government in North West Frontier Province. It also forms part of a coalition government in Balochistan province. The MMA has 67 seats in the 342-seat National Assembly, with just under a third of them held by the JI. Asia Times Online predicted that the JI would be targeted (Jihadi’s arrest a small step for Pakistan , Aug 10) and now contacts confirm that moves have already started against associates of the JI in its strongest political constituency, Karachi. The next phase will most likely be in Rawalpindi and southern Punjab. Several close affiliates are believed to have been arrested by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) without charges being laid against them. Pakistan turns on itself By Syed Saleem Shahzad Aug 19, 2004  Khalid: A test for US credibility By Syed Saleem Shahzad Mar 6, 2003  Profile: Al-Qaeda ‘kingpin’ Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Friday, 13 November 2009  ‘THE MASTERMIND’ For smug KSM, federal court could be perfect arena By Peter Finn Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, November 14, 2009

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At the end of July, Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the United States, Prince Bandar bin Sultan, handed in his resignation. During the 22 years in which he held this position, he managed to exert undisputable influence over successive US administrations. However, his replacement appears equally capable: the next Saudi ambassador to Washington will be Prince Turki al-Faisal. 

Born on February 15, 1945 (the very day on which King Abdul Aziz al-Saud and US President Franklin Roosevelt met on board the USS Quincy and agreed on the "enduring relationship" that has linked the United States and Saudi Arabia up to the present day), at age 14 Turki was sent to boarding school in Lawrenceville, New Jersey. He subsequently enrolled at Georgetown University in the same year as future president Bill Clinton, but left before graduating and then completed his studies by obtaining a degree from Oxford, England. His father, King Faisal, had reigned over Saudi Arabia from 1964 until his murder in 1975. Prince Turki's career has been pursued mostly within the General Intelligence Directorate (GID), Riyadh's main intelligence service, which he headed from 1977 to 2001.

Background of Prince Turki

His stint at the GID, which came almost by chance due to the need to maintain a precarious balance of power among the various clans in the Saudi royal family, made him one of the longest lasting and authoritative intelligence chiefs in the world. Under Turki's leadership, the GID transformed into a modern intelligence service; as a member of the Safari Club (which brought together the intelligence chiefs of France, Morocco, Egypt, Arabia and Iran in an anti-Soviet effort during Washington's difficult Watergate phase), he exerted a determinant influence on Afghani events following the Soviet invasion of 1979.

From 1980 onward, Turki committed the GID to the task of providing financial support for the mujahideen war effort against the Soviets, channeling vast amounts of funding to Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), subsidizing jihadis from all over the Middle East who wanted to participate in the anti-communist crusade, and assisting the efforts that the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) was starting to make in the same direction.

The impact of Turki's influence determined who was to prevail among the Afghan leaders; his funding laid the foundations for the Islamic volunteer groups who fought in Afghanistan (giving rise to the formation of groups such as al-Qaeda) and enabled the ISI to attain such importance that it became a parallel government in Pakistan. It was Turki who made a deal with the CIA that Riyadh would supply the ISI with an amount equal to the funding provided by US intelligence, thus pouring huge sums of money onto the Afghan chessboard.

Turki had known Osama bin Laden since 1978; bin Laden became one of the linchpins of the GID's funding policy toward the ISI and anti-Soviet warfare in Afghanistan, and he met with Turki several times in Islamabad. Many years afterward, in 1998, when bin Laden had already become engaged in an anti-American crusade, Turki was responsible for requesting his extradition by Taliban leader Mullah Omar, but did not succeed in this task.

Turki's exit from the GID stirred the rumor mills since it occurred on August 31, 2001, less than two weeks before the September 11 attacks and just after his appointment had been confirmed for another four years. In 2002, he was appointed Saudi ambassador to London. In 2005, Turki was cleared of accusation of having financed the terrorist groups responsible for the September 11 attacks. REFERENCE: Riyadh's new envoy just the US ticket By Giuseppe Anzera Middle East Aug 19, 2005  

KARACHI - The recent arrest of two top Pakistani jihadis, Maulana Fazalur Rehman Khalil and Qari Saifullah Akhtar, marks the beginning of the end of an era that started in the mid-1980s when the dream of an International Muslim Brigade was first conceived by a group of top Pakistan leaders. The dream subsequently materialized in the shape of the International Islamic Front, an umbrella organization for militant groups formed by Osama bin Laden in 1998 and loosely coordinated by the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) of Pakistan. The arrests in Pakistan, made under relentless pressure from the United States, are aimed at tracing all jihadi links to their roots, which are mostly grounded in Pakistan's strategic core. As a former Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) operator and air force official, Khalid Khawaja, commented in the Pakistani press on the arrests of the two jihadis, "Every link of the arrested jihadi leaders goes straight to top army officials of different times." At one level the arrests are linked to conspiracies against the government - including assassination attempts on President General Pervez Musharraf - and the recruitment of jihadis to fight against US troops in Afghanistan, but the real motives are much more far-reaching. The present problems in the "war on terror" are linked to the labyrinth of groups developed during the decade-long Afghan resistance to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 1980s. The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) sponsored much of the jihadi movement, using the ISI as a front and a conduit.

For example, US planes used to fly supplies, arms and ammunition for the Afghan fighters to Islamabad, from where they were transferred to the ISI Afghan cell's facility at Rawalpindi, from where the ISI had its own network to distribute the merchandise to the mujahideen groups of its choice. This modus operandi exposed a serious flaw in US strategic thinking. By not dealing directly with the Afghan groups, the US had no control over which ones benefited, and invariably only those factions that were both anti-Western capitalism and anti-Soviet socialism were cultivated by the ISI. In this environment, late Pakistani dictator General Zia ul-Haq and his closest associate, the then director general of the ISI, Lieutenant-General Akhtar Abdur Rehman, both of whom died in a plane crash in 1988, saw their opportunity to lay the foundations for a global Muslim liberation movement. Blissfully unaware of this perspective, the CIA supported Pakistani efforts to recruit Muslim youths from the Pacific to Africa, and a whole generation of youngsters was trained in jihadi, and, importantly, with strong anti-US overtones. Youngsters were drawn from groups such as Abu Sayyaf from the Philippines and Muslims from Arakan province in Myanmar. To keep the movements under the strict control of the ISI, the ISI established proxies such as al-Badr, the Harkat-i-Jihad-i-Islami and Harkatul Ansar (or Harkatul Mujahideen as it was once known). Akhtar, incidentally, was leader of Harkat, while Khalil was head of the Harkatul Ansar.

Crucially, all this was done without the CIA and, for that matter, the leaders of the Islamic movements knowing just how much control the ISI actually had. To keep the Arab movements under control, an al-Badr facility was organized in Khost province in Afghanistan. A dynamic law and master of arts graduate from Karachi University, Bakhat Zameen Khan, a member of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), a powerful religious party (who originally hailed from Dir in North West Frontier Province), was chosen as commander. He brought together all Arab jihadis at the facility, and linked senior ones to the ISI. Out of this camp, the Palestinian Hamas emerged, as well as the Arab-sponsored Moro liberation movement led by Abu Sayyaf. Khan was gradually weaned from the JI, and he exclusively allied al-Badr with the Hezb-i-Islami (HIA) led by Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who today plays a key role in the Afghan resistance. As a result, the JI announced its separation with al-Badr when it launched the Hizbul Mujahideen militant movement in Kashmir in 1989. Al-Badr was kicked out of Afghanistan after the emergence of the Taliban in the mid-1990s because of its affiliation with the HIA. The ISI then set up new camps for al-Badr in Pakistani Azad Kashmir - that portion of Kashmir administered by Pakistan. In the Kargil operation of 1999, which almost brought Pakistan and India to all-out war, al-Badr fighters were initially sent by the Pakistan army to occupy Indian bunkers. Later, another ISI connection, the recently arrested Khalil, and his fighters battled side-by-side with Khan and the Pakistan army against Indian forces.

ISI makes up ground

Former Afghan prime minister and legendary mujahideen Hekmatyar went into exile in Tehran once the Taliban came to power in 1996. But as the Taliban regime disintegrated in late 2001, the US put pressure on Tehran to expel Hekmatyar, planning to arrest him as soon as he returned to Afghanistan, where he believed he could reinvent himself as an anti-US resistance guerrilla leader. By this time, though, Islamabad, having been persuaded to abandon the Taliban and join the United States' "war on terror", was in the process of finding a substitute connection in Afghanistan. Hekmatyar was the obvious choice. Khan was sent to Tehran to assure Hekmatyar of Pakistan's support should he return to Afghanistan. Al-Badr members were tasked to escort Hekmatyar from Iran to Afghanistan and to keep him away from the Americans. He was kept in a safe house in Chitral, where al-Badr members, along with Pakistan commandos, guarded the premises. As soon as al-Badr members located other diehard HIA commanders, such as Kashmir Khan and Ustad Fareed, Hekmatyar was launched in Afghanistan's Kunar province to reorganize the HIA as a proxy of the ISI in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, al-Badr, with its long experience in the region, helped many Arabs and their families, desperately wanted by the US, by providing them shelter and arranging fake passports for them to return to their countries of origin. From the mid-1980s, then, to the present the ISI and al-Badr have virtually been one and the same thing. The US State Department declared al-Badr a terrorist organization a few years ago, and has steadily put pressure on Islamabad to arrest its operators. However, Pakistan, for obvious reasons, has been reluctant to comply with US demands.

The Harkat

The Harkat-i-Jihadi-i-Islami was the first-ever Pakistani militant organization to be formed by clerics of the Deobandi school of Islamic thought. The organization was soon cultivated by the ISI, which provided its jihadis with special training facilities in the Pakistani tribal area of South Waziristan, as well as in Khost in Afghanistan. The organization's conservative and traditional outlook was well suited to militants from other countries, such as from Bangladesh and Muslims from Myanmar. They were grouped under the Harkat-i-Jihad-i-Islami al-Alami (international) led by Akhtar (now under arrest). Later, when Harkat was outlawed by the US State Department, Harkatul Ansar was formed. However, in secret, Harkat's structure was kept intact. Akhtar was a main character in the infamous "Operation Caliphate" in which several Pakistani army officers attempted to topple Benazir Bhutto's government in 1995. Other leading players were Major-General Zaheer ul-Islam Abbasi and Brigadier Mustansir Billah. The officers planned a coup with the help of civilian guerrillas (in fake army uniforms) led by Akhtar. The plotters aimed to occupy General Army Headquarters during a corps commanders' meeting and arrest key leaders and then take over the government and proclaim the formation of an Islamic caliphate. The plot failed miserably, many officers were arrested, and huge piles of ammunition and army uniforms were recovered from Akhtar's car.

The rebel officers were released when Musharraf came to the power in a bloodless coup in October 1999, as was Akhtar. He immediately made his way to Kabul, where he became close to Taliban leader Mullah Omar, who only elevated Pakistanis once the ISI had approved. Akhtar was subsequently put in charge of several important assignments, such as training police and armed forces, and some administrative matters. Khalil, meanwhile, was a veteran of the Afghan war against the Soviets and acclaimed by his Afghan colleagues for his heroic role in the conquest of Khost city by defeating the communist forces there in 1991. Khost was the first Afghan city to fall to the mujahideen after the withdrawal of the Soviets from Afghanistan in 1989, after which the central communist government fell like a house of cards. The conquest of Khost was conceived in the safe houses of the ISI in Peshawar in Pakistan's tribal area by the then director general, Lieutenant-General Asad Durrani. In 1989, after the withdrawal of Soviet forces from Afghanistan, the ISI, then headed by retired Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul, had devised "Operation Jalalabad" in which the HIA, led by Hekmatyar, was given a key role. The plan was to capture the strategic city of Jalalabad, and then march on Kabul to topple the communist regime. However, the operation came to nothing. When Durrani took over the ISI he revamped its strategy. Instead of Jalalabad, the center of operations was focussed on Khost, from where the army would mobilize the mujahideen movement for Kabul. At first Hekmatyar's HIA called the shots for the Khost operation. Under the new strategy, the HIA was removed from the front line and Maulana Jalaluddin Haqqani was given the leading role, along with Pakistani fighters commanded by Khalil. This combination worked much better, and Khost fell to the mujahideen in the holy month of Ramadan (1991). All mujahideen circles still admit that "Khost was captured by Punjabis". Khalil's Harkatul Ansar was a signatory of a ruling issued by Osama bin Laden in 1998 in which he announced war against the United States after the Americans fired cruise missiles on Afghanistan in retaliation for al-Qaeda attacks on US embassies in Africa. The missiles targeted positions in Kandahar and in Khost, where several members of the Harkatul Ansar were killed. Khalil publicly denounced the US and vowed to take revenge, and soon after made his way on to the United States' list of "most dangerous" people.

At this time Khalil was chosen by one of the architects of the Kargil operation, then lieutenant-general (now General) Aziz Khan to take part in the daring raid into Indian territory. After Bakht Zameen Khan captured some Kargil peaks, Khalil fought side-by-side with the Pakistan army and al-Badr fighters, and remained part and parcel of all military strategies. After September 11, 2001, Khalil sent several thousand fighters to Afghanistan well in advance of the US-led attack on the country, and personally commanded the forces.  However, after the then director general of the ISI, Lieutenant-General Mehmood Ahmed, retired the day the US attacked Afghanistan, Khalil returned to Pakistan and was placed under house arrest as Islamabad had done an about-turn, under US insistence, on support for the Taliban. The ISI, jihadi leaders and the Pakistani army have over the years been inextricably linked, especially in Afghanistan. Now that two key jihadi figures, Khalil and Akhtar, have been arrested, it can easily be deduced that the story of their involvement, and the quest to stamp out the jihadi movement at its heart, will not end with them being incarcerated: there has always been someone in the Pakistani establishment, whether active or retired, to pull the strings, as was the case with Khalil and Akhtar, and with Bakhat Zameen Khan. Now, with the arrest of the the jihadi leaders, the "cover" has been broken and there is little place left for the "operators behind the scenes" to hide. "The cat is cornered against the wall and the much-awaited game within the army is about to start," commented an observer based in Washington. REFERENCE: Cracking open Pakistan's jihadi core By Syed Saleem Shahzad South Asia Aug 12, 2004

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Steve Coll ends his important book on Afghanistan -- Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan and bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to 10 September 2001--by quoting Afghan President Hamid Karzai: "What an unlucky country." Americans might find this a convenient way to ignore what their government did in Afghanistan between 1979 and the present, but luck had nothing to do with it. Brutal, incompetent, secret operations of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, frequently manipulated by the military intelligence agencies of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, caused the catastrophic devastation of this poor country. On the evidence contained in Coll's book Ghost Wars, neither the Americans nor their victims in numerous Muslim and Third World countries will ever know peace until the Central Intelligence Agency has been abolished. It should by now be generally accepted that the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan on Christmas Eve 1979 was deliberately provoked by the United States. In his memoir published in 1996, the former CIA director Robert Gates made it clear that the American intelligence services began to aid the mujahidin guerrillas not after the Soviet invasion, but six months before it. In an interview two years later with Le Nouvel Observateur, President Carter's national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski proudly confirmed Gates's assertion. "According to the official version of history," Brzezinski said, "CIA aid to the mujahidin began during 1980, that's to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan. But the reality, kept secret until now, is completely different: on 3 July 1979 President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And on the same day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained that in my opinion this aid would lead to a Soviet military intervention."

Asked whether he in any way regretted these actions, Brzezinski replied:

Regret what? The secret operation was an excellent idea. It drew the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? On the day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter, saying, in essence: 'We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War.'

Nouvel Observateur: "And neither do you regret having supported Islamic fundamentalism, which has given arms and advice to future terrorists?"

Brzezinski: "What is more important in world history? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some agitated Muslims or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?"

Even though the demise of the Soviet Union owes more to Mikhail Gorbachev than to Afghanistan's partisans, Brzezinski certainly helped produce "agitated Muslims," and the consequences have been obvious ever since. Carter, Brzezinski and their successors in the Reagan and first Bush administrations, including Gates, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, and Colin Powell, all bear some responsibility for the 1.8 million Afghan casualties, 2.6 million refugees, and 10 million unexploded land-mines that followed from their decisions. They must also share the blame for the blowback that struck New York and Washington on September 11, 2001. After all, al-Qaida was an organization they helped create and arm.

A Wind Blows in from Afghanistan

The term "blowback" first appeared in a classified CIA post-action report on the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953, carried out in the interests of British Petroleum. In 2000, James Risen of the New York Times explained: "When the Central Intelligence Agency helped overthrow Muhammad Mossadegh as Iran's prime minister in 1953, ensuring another 25 years of rule for Shah Muhammad Reza Pahlavi, the CIA was already figuring that its first effort to topple a foreign government would not be its last. The CIA, then just six years old and deeply committed to winning the Cold War, viewed its covert action in Iran as a blueprint for coup plots elsewhere around the world, and so commissioned a secret history to detail for future generations of CIA operatives how it had been done . . . Amid the sometimes curious argot of the spy world -- 'safebases' and 'assets' and the like -- the CIA warns of the possibilities of 'blowback.' The word . . . has since come into use as shorthand for the unintended consequences of covert operations."

"Blowback" does not refer simply to reactions to historical events but more specifically to reactions to operations carried out by the U.S. government that are kept secret from the American public and from most of their representatives in Congress. This means that when civilians become victims of a retaliatory strike, they are at first unable to put it in context or to understand the sequence of events that led up to it. Even though the American people may not know what has been done in their name, those on the receiving end certainly do: they include the people of Iran (1953), Guatemala (1954), Cuba (1959 to the present), Congo (1960), Brazil (1964), Indonesia (1965), Vietnam (1961-73), Laos (1961-73), Cambodia (1969-73), Greece (1967-73), Chile (1973), Afghanistan (1979 to the present), El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua (1980s), and Iraq (1991 to the present). Not surprisingly, sometimes these victims try to get even.

There is a direct line between the attacks on September 11, 2001 -- the most significant instance of blowback in the history of the CIA -- and the events of 1979. In that year, revolutionaries threw both the Shah and the Americans out of Iran, and the CIA, with full presidential authority, began its largest ever clandestine operation: the secret arming of Afghan freedom fighters to wage a proxy war against the Soviet Union, which involved the recruitment and training of militants from all over the Islamic world. Steve Coll's book is a classic study of blowback and is a better, fuller reconstruction of this history than the Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States (the "9/11 Commission Report" published by Norton in July).

From 1989 to 1992, Coll was the Washington Post's South Asia bureau chief, based in New Delhi. Given the CIA's paranoid and often self-defeating secrecy, what makes his book especially interesting is how he came to know what he claims to know. He has read everything on the Afghan insurgency and the civil wars that followed, and has been given access to the original manuscript of Robert Gates's memoir (Gates was CIA director from 1991 to 1993), but his main source is some two hundred interviews conducted between the autumn of 2001 and the summer of 2003 with numerous CIA officials as well as politicians, military officers, and spies from all the countries involved except Russia. He identifies CIA officials only if their names have already been made public. Many of his most important interviews were on the record and he quotes from them extensively.

Among the notable figures who agreed to be interviewed are Benazir Bhutto, who is candid about having lied to American officials for two years about Pakistan's aid to the Taliban, and Anthony Lake, the U.S. national security adviser from 1993 to 1997, who lets it be known that he thought CIA director James Woolsey was "arrogant, tin-eared and brittle." Woolsey was so disliked by Clinton that when an apparent suicide pilot crashed a single-engine Cessna airplane on the south lawn of the White House in 1994, jokers suggested it might be the CIA director trying to get an appointment with the President.

Among the CIA people who talked to Coll are Gates; Woolsey; Howard Hart, Islamabad station chief in 1981; Clair George, former head of clandestine operations; William Piekney, Islamabad station chief from 1984 to 1986; Cofer Black, Khartoum station chief in the mid-1990s and director of the Counterterrorist Center from 1999-2002; Fred Hitz, a former CIA Inspector General; Thomas Twetten, Deputy Director of Operations, 1991-1993; Milton Bearden, chief of station at Islamabad, 1986 -1989; Duane R. "Dewey" Clarridge, head of the Counterterrorist Center from 1986 to 1988; Vincent Cannistraro, an officer in the Counterterrorist Center shortly after it was opened in 1986; and an official Coll identifies only as "Mike," the head of the "bin Laden Unit" within the Counterterrorist Center from 1997 to 1999, who was subsequently revealed to be Michael F. Scheuer, the anonymous author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror. (See Eric Lichtblau, "CIA Officer Denounces Agency and Sept. 11 Report")

In 1973, General Sardar Mohammed Daoud, the cousin and brother-in-law of King Zahir Shah, overthrew the king, declared Afghanistan a republic, and instituted a program of modernization. Zahir Shah went into exile in Rome. These developments made possible the rise of the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan, a pro-Soviet communist party, which, in early 1978, with extensive help from the USSR, overthrew President Daoud. The communists' policies of secularization in turn provoked a violent response from devout Islamists. The anti-Communist revolt that began at Herat in western Afghanistan in March 1979 originated in a government initiative to teach girls to read. The fundamentalist Afghans opposed to this were supported by a triumvirate of nations -- the U.S., Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia -- with quite diverse motives, but the U.S. didn't take these differences seriously until it was too late. By the time the Americans woke up, at the end of the 1990s, the radical Islamist Taliban had established its government in Kabul. Recognized only by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, it granted Osama bin Laden freedom of action and offered him protection from American efforts to capture or kill him.

Coll concludes:

The Afghan government that the United States eventually chose to support beginning in the late autumn of 2001 -- a federation of Massoud's organization [the Northern warlords], exiled intellectuals and royalist Pashtuns -- was available for sponsorship a decade before, but the United States could not see a reason then to challenge the alternative, radical Islamist vision promoted by Pakistani and Saudi intelligence . . . Indifference, lassitude, blindness, paralysis and commercial greed too often shaped American foreign policy in Afghanistan and South Asia during the 1990s.

Funding the Fundamentalists

The motives of the White House and the CIA were shaped by the Cold War: a determination to kill as many Soviet soldiers as possible and the desire to restore some aura of rugged machismo as well as credibility that U.S. leaders feared they had lost when the Shah of Iran was overthrown. The CIA had no intricate strategy for the war it was unleashing in Afghanistan. Howard Hart, the agency's representative in the Pakistani capital, told Coll that he understood his orders as: "You're a young man; here's your bag of money, go raise hell. Don't fuck it up, just go out there and kill Soviets." These orders came from a most peculiar American. William Casey, the CIA's director from January 1981 to January 1987, was a Catholic Knight of Malta educated by Jesuits. Statues of the Virgin Mary filled his mansion, called "Maryknoll," on Long Island. He attended mass daily and urged Christianity on anyone who asked his advice. Once settled as CIA director under Reagan, he began to funnel covert action funds through the Catholic Church to anti-Communists in Poland and Central America, sometimes in violation of American law. He believed fervently that by increasing the Catholic Church's reach and power he could contain Communism's advance, or reverse it. From Casey's convictions grew the most important U.S. foreign policies of the 1980s -- support for an international anti-Soviet crusade in Afghanistan and sponsorship of state terrorism in Nicaragua, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

Casey knew next to nothing about Islamic fundamentalism or the grievances of Middle Eastern nations against Western imperialism. He saw political Islam and the Catholic Church as natural allies in the counter-strategy of covert action to thwart Soviet imperialism. He believed that the USSR was trying to strike at the U.S. in Central America and in the oil-producing states of the Middle East. He supported Islam as a counter to the Soviet Union's atheism, and Coll suggests that he sometimes conflated lay Catholic organizations such as Opus Dei with the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian extremist organization, of which Ayman al-Zawahiri, Osama bin Laden's chief lieutenant, was a passionate member. The Muslim Brotherhood's branch in Pakistan, the Jamaat-e-Islami, was strongly backed by the Pakistani army, and Coll writes that Casey, more than any other American, was responsible for welding the alliance of the CIA, Saudi intelligence, and the army of General Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, Pakistan's military dictator from 1977 to 1988. On the suggestion of the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) organization, Casey went so far as to print thousands of copies of the Koran, which he shipped to the Afghan frontier for distribution in Afghanistan and Soviet Uzbekistan. He also fomented, without presidential authority, Muslim attacks inside the USSR and always held that the CIA's clandestine officers were too timid. He preferred the type represented by his friend Oliver North.

Over time, Casey's position hardened into CIA dogma, which its agents, protected by secrecy from ever having their ignorance exposed, enforced in every way they could. The agency resolutely refused to help choose winners and losers among the Afghan jihad's guerrilla leaders. The result, according to Coll, was that "Zia-ul-Haq's political and religious agenda in Afghanistan gradually became the CIA's own." In the era after Casey, some scholars, journalists, and members of Congress questioned the agency's lavish support of the Pakistan-backed Islamist general Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, especially after he refused to shake hands with Ronald Reagan because he was an infidel. But Milton Bearden, the Islamabad station chief from 1986 to 1989, and Frank Anderson, chief of the Afghan task force at Langley, vehemently defended Hekmatyar on the grounds that "he fielded the most effective anti-Soviet fighters."

Even after the Soviet Union withdrew from Afghanistan in 1988, the CIA continued to follow Pakistani initiatives, such as aiding Hekmatyar's successor, Mullah Omar, leader of the Taliban. When Edmund McWilliams, the State Department's special envoy to the Afghan resistance in 1988-89, wrote that "American authority and billions of dollars in taxpayer funding had been hijacked at the war's end by a ruthless anti-American cabal of Islamists and Pakistani intelligence officers determined to impose their will on Afghanistan," CIA officials denounced him and planted stories in the embassy that he might be homosexual or an alcoholic. Meanwhile, Afghanistan descended into one of the most horrific civil wars of the 20th century. The CIA never fully corrected its naive and ill-informed reading of Afghan politics until after bin Laden bombed the U.S. embassies in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam on August 7, 1998.

Fair-weather Friends

A co-operative agreement between the U.S. and Pakistan was anything but natural or based on mutual interests. Only two weeks after radical students seized the American Embassy in Tehran on November 5, 1979, a similar group of Islamic radicals burned to the ground the American Embassy in Islamabad as Zia's troops stood idly by. But the U.S. was willing to overlook almost anything the Pakistani dictator did in order to keep him committed to the anti-Soviet jihad. After the Soviet invasion, Brzezinski wrote to Carter: "This will require a review of our policy toward Pakistan, more guarantees to it, more arms aid, and, alas, a decision that our security policy toward Pakistan cannot be dictated by our non-proliferation policy." History will record whether Brzezinski made an intelligent decision in giving a green light to Pakistan's development of nuclear weapons in return for assisting the anti-Soviet insurgency.

Pakistan's motives in Afghanistan were very different from those of the U.S. Zia was a devout Muslim and a passionate supporter of Islamist groups in his own country, in Afghanistan, and throughout the world. But he was not a fanatic and had some quite practical reasons for supporting Islamic radicals in Afghanistan. He probably would not have been included in the U.S. Embassy's annual "beard census" of Pakistani military officers, which recorded the number of officer graduates and serving generals who kept their beards in accordance with Islamic traditions as an unobtrusive measure of increasing or declining religious radicalism -- Zia had only a moustache.

From the beginning, Zia demanded that all weapons and aid for the Afghans from whatever source pass through ISI hands. The CIA was delighted to agree. Zia feared above all that Pakistan would be squeezed between a Soviet-dominated Afghanistan and a hostile India. He also had to guard against a Pashtun independence movement that, if successful, would break up Pakistan. In other words, he backed the Islamic militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan on religious grounds but was quite prepared to use them strategically. In doing so, he laid the foundations for Pakistan's anti-Indian insurgency in Kashmir in the 1990s.

Zia died in a mysterious plane crash on August 17, 1988, four months after the signing of the Geneva Accords on April 14, 1988, which ratified the formal terms of the Soviet withdrawal. As the Soviet troops departed, Hekmatyar embarked on a clandestine plan to eliminate his rivals and establish his Islamic party, dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, as the most powerful national force in Afghanistan. The U.S. scarcely paid attention, but continued to support Pakistan. With the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the implosion of the USSR in 1991, the U.S. lost virtually all interest in Afghanistan. Hekmatyar was never as good as the CIA thought he was, and with the creation in 1994 of the Taliban, both Pakistan and Saudi Arabia transferred their secret support. This new group of jihadis proved to be the most militarily effective of the warring groups. On September 26, 1996, the Taliban conquered Kabul. The next day they killed the formerly Soviet-backed President Najibullah, expelled 8,000 female undergraduate students from Kabul University, and fired a similar number of women schoolteachers. As the mujahidin closed in on his palace, Najibullah told reporters: "If fundamentalism comes to Afghanistan, war will continue for many years. Afghanistan will turn into a center of world smuggling for narcotic drugs. Afghanistan will be turned into a center for terrorism." His comments would prove all too accurate.

Pakistan's military intelligence officers hated Benazir Bhutto, Zia's elected successor, but she, like all post-Zia heads of state, including General Pervez Musharraf, supported the Taliban in pursuit of Zia's "dream" -- a loyal, Pashtun-led Islamist government in Kabul. Coll explains:

Every Pakistani general, liberal or religious, believed in the jihadists by 1999, not from personal Islamic conviction, in most cases, but because the jihadists had proved themselves over many years as the one force able to frighten, flummox and bog down the Hindu-dominated Indian army. About a dozen Indian divisions had been tied up in Kashmir during the late 1990s to suppress a few thousand well-trained, paradise-seeking Islamist guerrillas. What more could Pakistan ask? The jihadist guerrillas were a more practical day-to-day strategic defense against Indian hegemony than even a nuclear bomb. To the west, in Afghanistan, the Taliban provided geopolitical "strategic depth" against India and protection from rebellion by Pakistan's own restive Pashtun population. For Musharraf, as for many other liberal Pakistani generals, jihad was not a calling, it was a professional imperative. It was something he did at the office. At quitting time he packed up his briefcase, straightened the braid on his uniform, and went home to his normal life.

If the CIA understood any of this, it never let on to its superiors in Washington, and Charlie Wilson, a highly paid Pakistani lobbyist and former congressman for East Texas, was anything but forthcoming with Congress about what was really going on. During the 1980s, Wilson had used his power on the House Appropriations Committee to supply all the advanced weapons the CIA might want in Afghanistan. Coll remarks that Wilson "saw the mujahidin through the prism of his own whisky-soaked romanticism, as noble savages fighting for freedom, as almost biblical figures." Hollywood is now making a movie, based on the book Charlie Wilson's War by George Crile, glorifying the congressman who "used his trips to the Afghan frontier in part to impress upon a succession of girlfriends how powerful he was." Tom Hanks has reportedly signed on to play him.

Enter bin Laden and the Saudis

Saudi Arabian motives were different from those of both the U.S. and Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is, after all, the only modern nation-state created by jihad. The Saudi royal family, which came to power at the head of a movement of Wahhabi religious fundamentalists, espoused Islamic radicalism in order to keep it under their control, at least domestically. "Middle-class, pious Saudis flush with oil wealth," Coll writes, "embraced the Afghan cause as American churchgoers might respond to an African famine or a Turkish earthquake": "The money flowing from the kingdom arrived at the Afghan frontier in all shapes and sizes: gold jewelry dropped on offering plates by merchants' wives in Jedda mosques; bags of cash delivered by businessmen to Riyadh charities as zakat, an annual Islamic tithe; fat checks written from semi-official government accounts by minor Saudi princes; bountiful proceeds raised in annual telethons led by Prince Salman, the governor of Riyadh." Richest of all were the annual transfers from the Saudi General Intelligence Department, or Istakhbarat, to the CIA's Swiss bank accounts.

From the moment agency money and weapons started to flow to the mujahidin in late 1979, Saudi Arabia matched the U.S. payments dollar for dollar. They also bypassed the ISI and supplied funds directly to the groups in Afghanistan they favored, including the one led by their own pious young millionaire, Osama bin Laden. According to Milton Bearden, private Saudi and Arab funding of up to $25 million a month flowed to Afghan Islamist armies. Equally important, Pakistan trained between 16,000 and 18,000 fresh Muslim recruits on the Afghan frontier every year, and another 6,500 or so were instructed by Afghans inside the country beyond ISI control. Most of these eventually joined bin Laden's private army of 35,000 "Arab Afghans."

Much to the confusion of the Americans, moderate Saudi leaders, such as Prince Turki, the intelligence chief, supported the Saudi backing of fundamentalists so long as they were in Afghanistan and not in Saudi Arabia. A graduate of a New Jersey prep school and a member of Bill Clinton's class of 1964 at Georgetown University, Turki belongs to the pro-Western, modernizing wing of the Saudi royal family. (He is the current Saudi ambassador to Great Britain and Ireland.) But that did not make him pro-American. Turki saw Saudi Arabia in continual competition with its powerful Shia neighbor, Iran. He needed credible Sunni, pro-Saudi Islamist clients to compete with Iran's clients, especially in countries like Pakistan and Afghanistan, which have sizeable Shia populations.

Prince Turki was also irritated by the U.S. loss of interest in Afghanistan after its Cold War skirmish with the Soviet Union. He understood that the U.S. would ignore Saudi aid to Islamists so long as his country kept oil prices under control and cooperated with the Pentagon on the building of military bases. Like many Saudi leaders, Turki probably underestimated the longer term threat of Islamic militancy to the Saudi royal house, but, as Coll observes, "Prince Turki and other liberal princes found it easier to appease their domestic Islamist rivals by allowing them to proselytize and make mischief abroad than to confront and resolve these tensions at home." In Riyadh, the CIA made almost no effort to recruit paid agents or collect intelligence. The result was that Saudi Arabia worked continuously to enlarge the ISI's proxy jihad forces in both Afghanistan and Kashmir, and the Saudi Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, the kingdom's religious police, tutored and supported the Taliban's own Islamic police force.

By the late 1990s, after the embassy bombings in East Africa, the CIA and the White House awoke to the Islamist threat, but they defined it almost exclusively in terms of Osama bin Laden's leadership of al-Qaida and failed to see the larger context. They did not target the Taliban, Pakistani military intelligence, or the funds flowing to the Taliban and al-Qaida from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Instead, they devoted themselves to trying to capture or kill bin Laden. Coll's chapters on the hunt for the al-Qaida leader are entitled, "You Are to Capture Him Alive," "We Are at War," and "Is There Any Policy?" but he might more accurately have called them "Keystone Kops" or "The Gang that Couldn't Shoot Straight."

On February 23 1998, bin Laden summoned newspaper and TV reporters to the camp at Khost that the CIA had built for him at the height of the anti-Soviet jihad. He announced the creation of a new organization -- the International Islamic Front for Jihad against Jews and Crusaders -- and issued a manifesto saying that "to kill and fight Americans and their allies, whether civilian or military, is an obligation for every Muslim who is able to do so in any country." On August 7, he and his associates put this manifesto into effect with devastating truck bombings of the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The CIA had already identified bin Laden's family compound in the open desert near Kandahar Airport, a collection of buildings called Tarnak Farm. It's possible that more satellite footage has been taken of this site than of any other place on earth; one famous picture seems to show bin Laden standing outside one of his wives' homes. The agency conceived an elaborate plot to kidnap bin Laden from Tarnak Farm with the help of Afghan operatives and spirit him out of the country but CIA director George Tenet cancelled the project because of the high risk of civilian casualties; he was resented within the agency for his timidity. Meanwhile, the White House stationed submarines in the northern Arabian Sea with the map co-ordinates of Tarnak Farm preloaded into their missile guidance systems. They were waiting for hard evidence from the CIA that bin Laden was in residence.

Within days of the East Africa bombings, Clinton signed a top secret Memorandum of Notification authorizing the CIA to use lethal force against bin Laden. On 20 August 1998, he ordered 75 cruise missiles, costing $750,000 each, to be fired at the Zawhar Kili camp (about seven miles south of Khost), the site of a major al-Qaida meeting. The attack killed 21 Pakistanis but bin Laden was forewarned, perhaps by Saudi intelligence. Two of the missiles fell short into Pakistan, causing Islamabad to denounce the U.S. action. At the same time, the U.S. fired 13 cruise missiles into a chemical plant in Khartoum: the CIA claimed that the plant was partly owned by bin Laden and that it was manufacturing nerve gas. They knew none of this was true.

Clinton had publicly confessed to his sexual liaison with Monica Lewinsky on August 17, and many critics around the world conjectured that both attacks were diversionary measures. (The film Wag the Dog had just come out, in which a president in the middle of an election campaign is charged with molesting a Girl Scout stand-in "Firefly Girl" and makes it seem as if he's gone to war against Albania to distract people's attention.) As a result Clinton became more cautious, and he and his aides began seriously to question the quality of CIA information. The U.S. bombing in May 1999 of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, allegedly because of faulty intelligence, further discredited the agency. A year later, Tenet fired one intelligence officer and reprimanded six managers, including a senior official, for their bungling of that incident.

The Clinton administration made two more attempts to get bin Laden. During the winter of 1998-99, the CIA confirmed that a large party of Persian Gulf dignitaries had flown into the Afghan desert for a falcon-hunting party, and that bin Laden had joined them. The CIA called for an attack on their encampment until Richard Clarke, Clinton's counter-terrorism aide, discovered that among the hosts of the gathering was royalty from the United Arab Emirates. Clarke had been instrumental in a 1998 deal to sell 80 F-16 military jets to the UAE, which was also a crucial supplier of oil and gas to America and its allies. The strike was called off.

The CIA as a Secret Presidential Army

Throughout the 1990s, the Clinton administration devoted major resources to the development of a long-distance drone aircraft called Predator, invented by the former chief designer for the Israeli air force, who had emigrated to the United States. In its nose was mounted a Sony digital TV camera, similar to the ones used by news helicopters reporting on freeway traffic or on O.J. Simpson's fevered ride through Los Angeles. By the turn of the century, Agency experts had also added a Hellfire anti-tank missile to the Predator and tested it on a mock-up of Tarnak Farm in the Nevada desert. This new weapons system made it possible instantly to kill bin Laden if the camera spotted him. Unfortunately for the CIA, on one of its flights from Uzbekistan over Tarnak Farm the Predator photographed as a target a child's wooden swing. To his credit, Clinton held back on using the Hellfire because of the virtual certainty of killing bystanders, and Tenet, scared of being blamed for another failure, suggested that responsibility for the armed Predator's use be transferred to the Air Force.

When the new Republican administration came into office, it was deeply uninterested in bin Laden and terrorism even though the outgoing national security adviser, Sandy Berger, warned Condoleezza Rice that it would be George W. Bush's most serious foreign policy problem. On August 6, 2001, the CIA delivered its daily briefing to Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, with the headline "Bin Laden determined to strike in U.S.," but the president seemed not to notice. Slightly more than a month later, Osama bin Laden successfully brought off perhaps the most significant example of asymmetric warfare in the history of international relations.

Coll has written a powerful indictment of the CIA's myopia and incompetence, but he seems to be of two minds. He occasionally indulges in flights of pro-CIA rhetoric, describing it, for example, as a "vast, pulsing, self-perpetuating, highly sensitive network on continuous alert" whose "listening posts were attuned to even the most isolated and dubious evidence of pending attacks" and whose "analysts were continually encouraged to share information as widely as possible among those with appropriate security clearances." This is nonsense: the early-warning functions of the CIA were upstaged decades ago by covert operations.

Coll acknowledges that every president since Truman, once he discovered that he had a totally secret, financially unaccountable private army at his personal disposal, found its deployment irresistible. But covert operations usually became entangled in hopeless webs of secrecy, and invariably led to more blowback. Richard Clarke argues that "the CIA used its classification rules not only to protect its agents but also to deflect outside scrutiny of its covert operations," and Peter Tomsen, the former U.S. ambassador to the Afghan resistance during the late 1980s, concludes that "America's failed policies in Afghanistan flowed in part from the compartmented, top secret isolation in which the CIA always sought to work." Excessive, bureaucratic secrecy lies at the heart of the Agency's failures.

Given the Agency's clear role in causing the disaster of September 11, 2001, what we need today is not a new intelligence czar but an end to the secrecy behind which the CIA hides and avoids accountability for its actions. To this day, in the wake of 9/11 and the false warnings about a threat from Iraq, the CIA continues grossly to distort any and all attempts at a Constitutional foreign policy. Although Coll doesn't go on to draw the conclusion, I believe the CIA has outlived any Cold War justification it once might have had and should simply be abolished. REFERENCE: Are We to Blame for Afghanistan? By Chalmers Johnson 11-22-04  Mr. Johnson's latest books are Blowback (Metropolitan, 2000) and The Sorrows of Empire (Metropolitan, 2004), the first two volumes in a trilogy on American imperial policies. The final volume is now being written. From 1967 to 1973, Johnson served as a consultant to the CIA's Office of National Estimates.

Haider Abbas Rizvi (MQM) Exposes the Real Face of Syed Munawar Hassan (Jamat-e-Islami)


KARACHI - Under immense pressure from the United States, a slow and gradual operation has begun in Pakistan against the strongest political voice of Islamists and the real mother of international Islamic movements, of which Osama bin Laden's International Islamic Front is the spoiled child. In a surprise move this week, Pakistan's federal minister of the interior, Faisal Saleh Hayat, listed a number of incidences in which members of the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), the premier fundamentalist party in the country, had been tied to al-Qaeda, and called on it to "explain these links". "It is a matter of concern that Jamaat-e-Islami, which is a main faction of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal [MMA], has neither dissociated itself from its activists having links with the al-Qaeda network nor condemned their activities," Faisal said, adding that "one could derive a meaning out of its silence". The MMA is an alliance of six religious parties that gained unprecedented electoral victories in national elections in 2002. One of its members is the leader of the opposition in the Lower House, while the MMA controls the provincial government in North West Frontier Province. It also forms part of a coalition government in Balochistan province. The MMA has 67 seats in the 342-seat National Assembly, with just under a third of them held by the JI. Asia Times Online predicted that the JI would be targeted (Jihadi's arrest a small step for Pakistan , Aug 10) and now contacts confirm that moves have already started against associates of the JI in its strongest political constituency, Karachi. The next phase will most likely be in Rawalpindi and southern Punjab. Several close affiliates are believed to have been arrested by the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) without charges being laid against them. The JI's leader, Qazi Hussain Ahmed, subsequently denied that his party had any links with al-Qaeda or other militant organizations. "We do not believe in violence," Qazi said. He criticized the government for making such accusations, saying it was taking directions from the US.

Typical of those being arrested is Tariq Baig, a former president of the Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba (a student organization ideologically born of the JI) who was picked up from his residence in central Karachi. According to witnesses, a few cars with black-tinted windows laid siege to his residence, and then heavily armed men in plain clothes took him away. Neighbors claim that Tariq had dissociated himself from the Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba. He participated in the Afghan resistance when the ISI was motivating students to wage jihad against the Soviet occupation in the 1980s. However, other sources say that he was arrested for making calls on his cell phone to people connected with militant organizations. During his press conference, Faisal cited some JI connections with al-Qaeda. He said that a woman named Malooka Khatoon, an activist of the JI, was arrested in Clifton, Karachi, on October 4, 2002. She revealed links with al-Qaeda leader and September 11 mastermind Khaled Shaikh Muhammad. Also, the house of former field-hockey Olympian Shahid Ali Khan had been used as a hideout by an al-Qaeda member. "And the wife of Shahid Ali Khan is a leading activist of Jamaat-e-Islami," Faisal said. Attaur Rehman, an alleged leader of the Jundullah group which is believed to be behind the recent attack on the motorcade of the corps commander Karachi in which several army personnel were killed, was once the nazim (administrator) of the Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba in the international relations department of Karachi University. The deciding factor in initiating action against the JI was video footage and the interrogation report of the confessions of two doctor brothers, cardiac surgeon Dr Akmal Waheed and orthopedic surgeon Arshad Waheed, sons of renowned educationalist Hafiz Waheeduddin Khan, who laid the foundation for the country's largest teachers' association, which takes its ideological inspiration from the JI.

The doctors themselves were members of the Pakistan Islamic Medical Association, an affiliate of the JI. The video film and report have them admitting to raising funds for militants and treating fighters in South Waziristan tribal agency, besides helping the families of Arab jihadis return to their countries of origin after leaving Afghanistan. This evidence was handed to the US consulate in Karachi by the Sindh governor, Dr Ishratul Ibad, which in turn passed it on to Washington. Washington then applied maximum pressure on Islamabad to take action against the JI.

Intelligence insiders tell Asia Times Online that initial operations are not targeted against the main JI structure, but at lower-rank workers suspected of involvement in underground militant activities. At the same time, once this operation starts, it will be inevitable that it extends to the highest level. Further, every JI leader is involved with senior army officers, both serving and retired, and they will not be spared in the process. The JI is not only the largest, most organized and most resourceful organization in the country, it has deeper roots in the establishment than any other outfit. Tackling it will surely open a Pandora's box, and at the same time create a vicious backlash.

The Jamaat-i-Islami's deep roots

The party was founded in 1941 in British India in Lahore by Syed Abul Ala Maududi (1903-79). Maududi was not a traditional cleric, he was editor of a daily newspaper and all his knowledge of religion was acquired from reading books, rather than studying at a seminary. He hailed from an elite spiritual family in Delhi, and his real contribution was his discovery of several philosophical concepts and terms in the Koran that gave birth to the present Islamic movements and their radical thought, which rejects traditional Islam and challenges Western capitalism, as well as socialism. To begin with, Maududi did not accept Islam as a religion - a term used by traditionalists in all societies, whether Christian, Jew or Muslim, when referring to divine guidance. Instead, Maududi introduced the Koranic term addin (the way of life). The Koran, he argued, never used din (way of life) alone. Whenever the Koran speaks about Islam it calls it addin . This conceptualization helped Maududi separate Islam from its traditional concepts, which only dealt with matters like rituals, appearances - wearing beards and caps - etc. He presented Islam on a much broader canvas in which socio-economic and political systems are all interlinked with Islam itself.

He debunked the system of education in Islamic seminaries as well as in modern schools, advocating instead a system of education where all faculties, including the sciences and engineering, co-related with "the way of life". He started debate in his magazine Tarjumanul Koran with contemporary intellectuals on the concepts of civilization and related them to the evolution of human thought and ideas and "the way of life", rather than to the study of human races and their habits. Pulling all of his ideas together, he declared Islam a "movement" which struggles (jihad) to enforce "the way of life". For Maududi, an Islamic state is a blessing for all irrespective of religion, caste and race under "the way of life". Later, Maududi translated the Koran with an accompanying commentary, as if presenting it as the manifesto of a revolutionary movement. At this time, the middle of the 20th century, such presentation of Islam was highly unpopular and rejected in traditional circles. But traditional clerics were not Maududi's target audience. Rather, he wanted to address Western-educated people, which he did, in effect presenting an Islam parallel to theories of the time, such as Marxism and capitalism. Maududi's ideas began to take root in Pakistan's elite class from the very inception of the nation in 1947, when it was carved out of British India, and steadily spread further across the social spectrum. This was separate from the development of the JI's structures. In other words, at the beginning there was a twofold spread of Maududi's thoughts: through the growth of the JI as a defined organization, and infiltration into intelligentsia circles and beyond. For instance, prominent educationalist Allama I I Qazi, the founder and the first vice chancellor of Sindh University, was never a member of the JI, but he was a main source in spreading Maududi's writings. Internationally famed Pakistani constitutional expert A K Brohi was the first person in Pakistan's early days to publicly reject the Koran as a source of law-making. Qazi introduced him to Maududi's writings, and he remained an Islamist until the end. Similarly, top Pakistani bureaucrat-turned-journalist (and a former editor of Dawn newspaper) Altaf Gohar, a Marxist, read Maududi while in jail, and converted to Islam, and he became well-known for his lectures on television.

This kind of influence continued to spread. The publisher of the Dawn Group of Newspapers, Hameed Haroon, recalls that by the 1970s the JI was characterized by its members and supporters coming from the brightest segments of society. Its influence in the country's major media grew, as well as on campuses. It was not yet a political force, though. In 1970 the JI was wiped out in elections, gaining only four seats in the National Assembly. At the same time, the JI's student wing, Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba, swept union elections in the universities of East Pakistan. The campuses became the JI's main playing field, which it cultivated throughout Pakistan, and of course these students went on to join the establishment, including the army. General Zia ul-Haq's 11-year rule (1977-88) proved a golden period for the JI as he officially promoted Maududi's literature and Koranic commentary in the army. The result was that officers like retired Lieutenant-General Hamid Gul - whose duty it was to indoctrinate people - himself became indoctrinated with Maududi's thoughts. This process continued, so much so that only a year ago, the ISI was forced to ask a major-general who was once a leader of the Islami Jamiat-i-Talaba to speak with the MMA leadership when talks on the issue of President General Pervez Musharraf continuing to wear his uniform had become a hot political problem. In the field of mainstream politics, politicians who embraced Maududi's thought ranged from Sardar Abdul Qayyum Khan (many times president of Pakistani Kashmir and leader of the Muslim Conference) to the imprisoned acting president of the Pakistan Muslim League, Syed Javed Hashmi, to seasoned liberal politicians like Sardar Sher Baz Khan Mazari.

The mother of international Islamic movements

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in Egypt in 1928, 13 years before the JI, by Hasanal Bana, who also presented Islam as a system, but he did not have the conceptualization to attract many educated people. Thus, by the late 1940s, Maududi's ideas had fully penetrated the Muslim Brotherhood's literature. Books written by the most popular Muslim Brotherhood ideologue, Syed Qutub, show clear inspiration from Maududi. The Egyptian government objected to Pakistan in the 1960s for instigating trouble in Egypt when a prominent Brotherhood member, Saeed Ramadan al-Misri, visited the JI's Lahore headquarters to learn how to integrate the revolutionary structure of the Brotherhood into mainstream national politics, like the JI. Similarly, the JI exported the same political restructuring and ideas to Iran. The ideologue of the Iranian revolution of 1979, Dr Ali Shariati, shows his complete inspiration from Maududi in his writings. So, too, the leader of the revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called Maududi an imam.

How Pandora's box will open

The JI has always operated as a mainstream political party within the law of the land. This message was passed on and emphasized to other Islamic movements in the Arab world, especially in Egypt, where splinter groups emerged to work as underground organizations to topple the government. A late JI leader, Khurram Jah Morrad, was once stationed in London, where he tried to disengage the splinter groups from their activities and induce them to join the mainstream Muslim Brotherhood. During one of Maududi's messages delivered on a visit to the US, where his son was employed as a hospital doctor, exiled leaders of international Islamic movements held big gatherings, where Maududi was invited to speak. A collection of these lectures is available in book form, and they show a complete condemnation of underground movements, and in a muted way Maududi instructed the participants to bring about changes from within the state, or in other words, become pro-establishment. "Islam is an open message. I request you with my heart for the sake of Allah, don't indulge yourself in underground organizations. It brings enormous complications in which the real message of Islam is lost and it is quite contrary to the Prophet's way of life. No matter how much oppression, executions come your way, don't indulge in underground organizations." In this manner, an apparent radical organization such as the JI became part and parcel of the Pakistani establishment. Its first real opportunity for this came in 1971 when India and Pakistan became embroiled over East Pakistan, where the Pakistan army had no local roots. The JI extended its help, thereby establishing the first nexus between the JI and the Pakistani army, which appeared in the shape of militias like al-Badr and al-Shams, which fought side-by-side with the Pakistan army against the Bengali rebellion and Indian invasion.

The nexus deepened during the decade of the Soviet invasion on Afghanistan, starting in 1979. The JI's Afghan connections were represented in the shape of two charismatic mujahideen, Ahmed Shah Masoud and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar. The present chief of JI, Qazi, a former college lecturer in geography, was involved with Afghanistan's Islamic movement and coordinated closely with the ISI's Afghan cell once he was elevated to general secretary of the party. Qazi was very much trusted by the ISI for his strategic view of Afghanistan. Indeed, when factions of the JI of Masoud and Hekmatyar's Hezb-i-Islami began attacking each other's interests, the ISI chose Qazi to resolve the dispute. So on Qazi's advice, the anti-US Hekmatyar was preferred to receive ammunition and other goods, much of which, incidentally, originated in the US. The establishment of the Matabal Khidmat (an organization led by Dr Abdullah Azzam which later evolved into al-Qaeda) and jihadi training camps in Afghanistan for Arabs were all joint ventures in which the ISI and the JI were involved together. Also, the export of jihad to the Central Asian republics to pressure the USSR was a joint venture of the ISI, MI6 - British Secret Intelligence Service - the JI and and the Hezb-i-Islami Afghanistan. MI6 directly remitted money into an account in Qazi's name, which he was to use to pump Islamic literature and money into the republics to incite the local Naqshbad circles (a Sufi group) to rebel against the communist governments. Similar projects were undertaken in Chechnya and Bosnia, in which the JI sent several of its members to fund local opposition movements. Several still hold key positions in the JI structure. So both within Pakistan - including in the army - and abroad, the JI has deep links. By taking on the JI in Pakistan, Musharraf could face a situation of virtual civil war. REFERENCE: Pakistan turns on itself By Syed Saleem Shahzad South Asia Aug 19, 2004

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