Tuesday, January 31, 2012

LIE with General (R) Hamid Gul on ARY! AGAIN & AGAIN & AGAIN.

Now, we come to the second generation of officers who were in key decision-making positions during 80s. Former Director General (DG) of Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), Lieutenant General (Retd) Hameed Gul’s anti-American rhetoric in post-retirement phase makes headlines off and on in national news media. It is interesting that when he was DGISI, US ambassador attended the meetings of Afghan Cell of Benazir government. In fact the major decision of Jalalabad offensive in 1989 was made in one of those fateful meetings. To date there has been no evidence (no statement by any other participants of those meetings or by General Hameed Gul himself) that Mr. Gul made any objection to the presence of US ambassador in these meetings, which had wide ranging impact on national security. It is probable that Mr. Gul was at that time a top contender for the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) race, therefore he didn’t wanted to be on the wrong side of the civil government. When he was sacked, then he found the gospel truth that US was not sincere. Another example is of former Chief of Afghan Cell of ISI, Brigadier (Retd) Muhammad Yusuf. For five long years, he was a major participant in a joint CIA-ISI venture of unprecedented scale in Afghanistan. During this time period, he worked with several different level US officials and visited CIA headquarters in Langley. In his post-retirement memoirs, he tried his best to distance himself from the Americans. His statements like, ‘Relations between the CIA and ourselves were always strained’, ‘I resorted to trying to avoid contact with the local CIA staff’, ‘I never visited the US embassy’ and vehement denial of any direct contact between CIA and Mujahideen shows his uncomfortability of being seen as close with the Americans.5 Pakistan’s former foreign minister Agha Shahi in a conversation with Robert Wirsing said that in 1981 during negotiations with US, he gave a talk to a group of Pakistani generals on the objectives of Pakistan’s policy toward US. He stressed the importance of non-alignment and avoidance of over dependence on superpowers. Few days later one of the generals who attended Shahi’s briefing met him and told him that Americans should be given bases in return for the aid.6 The officer would not dare to make that statement public in view of the prevailing sentiments of the public. The hawkish generals of Zia reassured US about the full Pakistani support. John Reagan, the CIA station chief in Islamabad stated, “Their attitude was that Agha Shahi was doing his own thing, that we needn’t be concerned about it”.7 General Zia and DGISI Akhtar Abdur Rahman had very cordial relations with CIA director William Casey. To offset that uncomfortable closeness with Americans, Zia and Akhtar were portrayed as holy warriors of Islam and modern day Saladins. According to one close associate of Akhtar, ‘They (Casey and Akhtar) worked together in harmony, and in an atmosphere of mutual trust’.8 The most interesting remarks about the death of CIA Director, William Casey were made by Brigadier Yusuf. He states that, “It was a great blow to the Jehad when Casey died”.9 He did not elaborate whether by this definition one should count Casey as Shaheed (warrior who dies in battle in the cause of Islam). It will quite be amusing for Americans to know that one of their former CIA director is actually a martyr of Islam. In fifty-five years, we have come full circle, and in 2002, a retired Major General laments about the US and gives a long list of grievances. He states, “Discarding General Ziaul Haq when no more needed must never be forgotten. The treatment meted out to Pakistan after the victory in Afghanistan in late eighties cannot be forgiven ... It can be safely presumed that before mobilizing its armed forces on the borders of Pakistan, the US has (take it for sure) given a nod to India... Remember the visit of Mrs. Indira Gandhi to the USA and getting a silent approval from there before attacking East Pakistan in 1971. And the Pakistanis kept waiting for the seventh fleet to come to our rescue... They have already done a great damage to Pakistan by imposing an anti-Pakistan government in Afghanistan”.10 Very limited knowledge, paranoia, disregard of the facts, total lack of perception and extreme simplicity is quite evident from the statement and not a very good sign of the intellectual level of senior officers at highest decision making process. REFERENCE: Tale of a love affair that never was: United States-Pakistan Defence Relations Columnist Hamid Hussain analyses an ON and OFF affair. http://www.defencejournal.com/2002/june/loveaffair.htm

General Hamid Gul supported Pervez Musharraf on 12 Oct 1999


Hamid Gul, a retired general, accuses Mr Sharif of having presided over an administration which had failed to deliver the goods. "Sharif turned out to be a great destroyer of national institutions," he told the BBC. "Look at what he did to the judiciary. "He stripped them of power, put a set of judges against the chief justice, did the same to the press. "He gagged the parliament and finally he wanted to do the same to the army." REFERENCE: World: South Asia Pakistan's coup: Why the army acted Wednesday, October 13, 1999 Published at 23:20 GMT 00:20 UK http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/473297.stm 
On 26th January 2012, General (R) Hamid Gul shamelessly lied again on many thing and shamelessly declared that Objective Resolution should be declared National Motto, he also praised General Ziaul Haq for many pristine qualities whereas the truth is this that General Zia himself subverted the Objective Resolution which is recently unearthed by the none other than the Supreme Judiciary of Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry remarked that it was a criminal negligence to bring changes in the documents like Objectives Resolution as former president General (retd) Zia ul Haq tampered with the Constitution in 1985 however, the sitting parliament had done a good job by undoing this tampering. At one point Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry observed that the word ‘freely’ was omitted from the Objectives Resolution in 1985 by a dictator, which was an act of criminal negligence, but the then parliament surprisingly didn’t take notice of it. He said the Constitution is a sacred document and no person can tamper with it. The chief justice said credit must go to the present parliament, which after 25 years took notice of the brazen act of removing the word relating to the minorities’ rights, and restored the word ‘freely’ in the Objectives Resolution, which had always been part of the Constitution. The chief justice further said that the court is protecting the fundamental rights of the minorities and the government after the Gojra incident has provided full protection to the minorities. “We are bound to protect their rights as a nation but there are some individual who create trouble.” - DAILY TIMES - ISLAMABAD: Heading a 17-member larger bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry termed as criminal negligence the deletion of a word about the rights of minorities from the Objectives Resolution during the regime of General Ziaul Haq in 1985. Ziaul Haq had omitted the word “freely” from the Objectives Resolution, which was made substantive part of the 1973 Constitution under the Revival of Constitutional Order No. 14. The clause of Objectives Resolution before deletion of the word ‘freely’ read, “Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities to ‘freely’ profess and practice their religions and develop their culture.” DAILY DAWN - ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry on Tuesday praised the parliament for undoing a wrong done by the legislature in 1985 (through a constitutional amendment) when it removed the word ‘freely’ from a clause of the Objectives Resolution that upheld the minorities’ right to practise their religion. The word “freely” was deleted from the Objectives Resolution when parliament passed the 8th Amendment after indemnifying all orders introduced through the President’s Order No 14 of 1985 and actions, including the July 1977 military takeover by Gen Zia-ul-Haq and extending discretion of dissolving the National Assembly, by invoking Article 58(2)b of the Constitution. After the passage of the 18th Amendment, the Objectives Resolution now reads: “Wherein adequate provision shall be made for the minorities freely to profess and practise their religions and develop their culture.” The CJ said: “Credit goes to the sitting parliament that they reinserted the word back to the Objectives Resolution.” He said that nobody realised the blunder right from 1985 till the 18th Amendment was passed, even though the Objectives Resolution was a preamble to the Constitution even at the time when RCO (Revival of Constitution Order) was promulgated. REFERENCES: CJ lauds parliament for correcting historic wrong By Nasir Iqbal Wednesday, 09 Jun, 2010  http://archives.dawn.com/archives/32657   - CJP raps change in Objectives Resolution * Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry says deletion of clause on rights of minorities was ‘criminal negligence’ * Appreciates incumbent parliament for taking notice of removal of clause by Gen Zia’s govt in 1985 By Masood Rehman Wednesday, June 09, 2010 http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=201069\story_9-6-2010_pg1_1  CJ lauds parliament for undoing changes in Objectives Resolution Wednesday, June 09, 2010 Says minorities’ rights have to be protected; Hamid says parliament should have no role in judges’ appointment By Sohail Khan  http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=29367&Cat=13&dt=6/10/2010  

General (R) Hamid Gul dubious Role after General Zia's Death

When I got to Pakistan in February and called upon General Hamid Gul, the Director General of the ISI, I found out that political events had apparently overtaken this mandate. He told me that his agency had called off its investigation at the request of the government and had transferred the responsibility for it to a "broader based" government authority headed by a civil servant called F.K. Bandial. It was not using the resources of his intelligence service and, as far as he knew that committee had not begun the work. His tone suggested that, he did not expect any immediate resolution of the crime. REFERENCE: Who Killed Zia? VANITY FAIR September 1989 by Edward Jay Epstein http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/archived/zia_print.htm http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/archived/zia.htm

LIE with General (R) Hamid Gul on ARY - 1 (Off the Record 26 Jan 2012)


One week after a major explosion at a Pakistani ammunition dump, Defense Department officials say that they believe that the explosion was the work of agents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. The United States still has no firm proof that this was an act of sabotage, according to Administration officials. And some experts at the Central Intelligence Agency are said to believe that it is possible that the explosion was an accident. One Government expert said the ''overwhelming majority'' of the equipment at the installation was intended for the Afghan guerrillas. He said the supplies that were destroyed included Stinger antiaircraft missiles, antitank missiles and long-range mortars. This expert said the Stinger missiles destroyed in the blast constituted about one-third of the total supply of antiaircraft missile systems for the Afghan guerrillas. A Defense Department official said the explosion fits a pattern of recent attacks against military and civilian installations in Pakistan by agents of the Kabul regime. Comments Are Contradictory. ''Our opinion is that it was sabotage,'' said the Defense Department official, referring to the explosion last week. The explosion occurred last Sunday in an ammunition depot between the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. The explosion killed at least 93 people and wounded about 1,100 people. Pakistani leaders have made contradictory comments about the blast. At first, President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq called the explosion ''an extraordinary accident.'' But on Friday, President Zia said the blast was the result of sabotage. Over the last week, there have been differing intelligence reports about the possible cause of the explosion. One report said the blast was triggered when a truck bearing Afghan license plates and carrying an incendiary device entered the compound and exploded. Another report suggested the explosion might have been triggered when a Pakistani enlisted man dropped a white phosphorous shell. Circumstances Assessed Defense Department officials say they believe that the blast was the result of sabotage because of the circumstances surrounding the explosion. One Defense Department official said the explosion appeared to be part of a pattern of attacks last weekend, including an attempted rocket attack on an oil storage installation in Peshawar that ''didn't work,'' a fire at an ordnance factory in Lahore and a bomb that was discovered and defused in Islamabad. A State Department official offered a more cautious assessment. ''It could have been an accident. But it could equally have been sabotage.'' Officials at the Defense Department and the State Department disagree about what action the United States should now take in light of the explosion, according to a Government official. Guerrillas' Needs Cited. Defense Department officials are reported to have argued that the weapons destroyed are relatively long-range ones that are needed by the guerrillas to attack well-defended garrisons as well as Kabul, the fortified seat of the Soviet-supported regime. Defense Department officials are reported to have argued that more weapons of this type should be sent to the Afghan rebels. They have reportedly asserted that Soviet forces have recently been trying to destroy caches of the guerrillas' arms in Afghanistan in an effort to prolong the life of the Kabul regime. But State Department officials insist the significance of the explosion is exaggerated. One State Department official said that the Afghan rebels had a ''big cushion'' of weapons and said that the explosion would ''not have a big effect.'' This official added that he did not expect very intense fighting over the next couple of weeks, since the Russians appear to be intent on keeping casualties down while withdrawing their troops from Afghanistan. He asserted that the United States had been ''planning conservatively'' by sending significant quantities of weapons to insure that the Afghan guerrillas will have all the arms they need. A Defense Department official said that the United States did not believe that a bomb attack last weekend at a Saudi Arabian airlines office in Karachi was the work of the Kabul agents. He said that the United States believed that this bombing was the work of Iran, which is trying to strike back at Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia has said that it would restrict the number of Iranian pilgrims to Mecca this year because of demonstrations by Iranian pilgrims in Mecca last summer. U.S. Officials Link Pakistan Blast to Kabul Regime By MICHAEL R. GORDON, Special to the New York Times Published: April 17, 1988 http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/17/world/us-officials-link-pakistan-blast-to-kabul-regime.html http://www.nytimes.com/1988/04/17/world/us-officials-link-pakistan-blast-to-kabul-regime.html?pagewanted=2&src=pm

LIE with General (R) Hamid Gul on ARY - 2 (Off the Record 26 Jan 2012)


ISLAMABAD, April 9: Twenty years have passed but the images of destruction caused by the Ojhri Camp disaster are still fresh in the minds of many residents of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. Over 100 men, women and children were killed and many times more were wounded by the missiles and projectiles which exploded mysteriously and rained death and destruction on the twin cities on this day in 1988. Physical scars of the tragedy may have healed but the nation is unaware till this day what, and who, caused that disaster and why. An investigation was conducted into the disaster but, like in the case of all other probes into national tragedies, its report was not made public. The then prime minister Mohammad Khan Junejo appointed two committees, one military and the other parliamentary, to probe the military disaster. His action so infuriated military dictator Gen Ziaul Haq that he dismissed his handpicked prime minister on May 29, 1988 - the main charge being that he failed to implement Islam in the country. While the parliamentary committee, headed by old politician Aslam Khattak, went out with the Junejo government, the military committee under Gen Imranullah Khan submitted its report before the government’s dismissal. Subsequent governments of prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif which followed Gen Zia’s fiery death in a mysterious plane crash on August 17, 1988, also kept Gen Imranullah Khan’s findings under covers. Some opposition members called for making it public during the last five years of Gen Pervez Musharraf’s military rule but the PML-Q government took the position that it would not be “in the larger national interest”. Neither political observers expect the PPP and the PML-N doing so even when they have been swept into power again by the people and run a coalition government. Interestingly, when contacted, leaders of both the parties agreed that the Ojhri Camp inquiry report should be made public but refused to commit to do so. Junejo’s defence minister Rana Naeem Ahmed had told Dawn in an interview last year that he had received the report but said it did not fix responsibility on any one and declared the huge disaster an accident. Even then the ISI seized it in a raid on his office the day after the Junejo government was dismissed, he claimed. “They returned all my belongings, except the briefcase that contained the report,” he said, disclosing that the report was inconclusive and focused just on the causes of the blast. It was a bright and sunny morning on April 10, 1988, when the citizens of Islamabad and Rawalpindi were startled by huge explosions and swishing sounds as if fireworks were going off. Thousands of missiles and projectiles soon started raining down on the two cities the Ojhri Ammunition Depot, situated in the densely-populated Faizabad area, blew up. Officially the death toll was 30, but independent estimates put the figure much higher. Prominent among those killed was a federal minister Khaqan Abbasi whose car was hit by a flying missile while he was on his way to Murree, his hometown. His son accompanying him was hit in the head. He went into deep coma and died some two years ago after remaining on artificial respiration for 17 years. The Ojhri Camp was used as an ammunition depot to forward US-supplied arms to Afghan Mujahideen fighting against the Soviet forces in Afghanistan. There were reports that a Pentagon team was about to arrive to take audit of the stocks of the weapons and that allegedly the camp was blown up deliberately to cover up pilferage from the stocks. Some reports said that Ojhri Camp had about 30,000 rockets, millions of rounds of ammunition, vast number of mines, anti-aircraft Stinger missiles, anti-tank missiles, multiple-barrel rocket launchers and mortars worth $100 million in store at the time of blasts that destroyed all records and most of the weapons thus making it impossible for anyone to check the stocks. Prime minister Junejo had promised to the National Assembly that the inquiry report would be made public and the guilty would be punished but was sacked by Gen Zia. Senior members of the PPP and the PML-N admit that their governments in the past made no serious effort to make the report public. A PPP member however claimed that the second Benazir Bhutto government did attempt to do that but failed due to resistance from the “concerned quarters”. There are some elements in the Charter of Democracy, signed by the PPP and the PML-N, which could be pursued to make such reports public, he said. REFERENCE: 20 years on, Ojhri Camp truth remains locked up By Amir Wasim April 11, 2008 Friday Rabi-us-Sani 4, 1429 http://archives.dawn.com/2008/04/11/nat26.htm

A recently published book of Begum Kalsoom Saifullah `Meri Tanha Parvaz` (My Solo Flight) is selling quickly in the local market because of its controversial material. However, some of the disclosures in the book have created a breach among PML-Like-minded leaders. The first edition of Ms Safiullah`s autobiography was released on Wednesday (Sept 14) but the second one will not come for sale unless some of its chapters are withdrawn or removed. In the book, Begum Safiullah narrates the events of her 50 years worth of political experience. The author relates her version of the truth from the time of former Prime Minister and founder of present ruling Pakistan People`s Party (PPP) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto`s (ZAB) era to Nawaz Sharif`s tenure as prime minister in her autobiography. Her book includes her experiences of working with ZAB and other political figures as well as high ranking military officials. Ms Safiullah started writing the book two years ago when she probably had not considered the possibility that those very same people who she labels “opportunists” would later end up as political aides for her sons. “Gen Zia once told me when he came to Peshawar, he brought his wife in a Tonga. Similarly, Gen Akhtar Abdur Rehman told me that he could not even afford to buy a cycle. However, these people went on accumulating wealth and property in a manner which is incomprehensible,” she wrote. However, since writing these words and including other allegations in her book, her son Salim Saifullah, along with other leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) have made a separate faction within the party. Furthermore, her son became the head of PML-Likeminded group and Humayum Akhtar, son of Gen Akhtar Abdul Rehman, acquired the position of secretary general in the disgruntled faction. “We are in trouble because I am president of the party and the book annoyed my secretary general Humayun Akhtar,” said Salim Saifullah. In order to control the damage, Saifullah`s family tendered an apology to General Akhtar`s family. “We tendered our apologies not only to General Akhtar`s family but also to others who have been hurt by Begum Kalsoom`s revelations,” said Mr Saifullah. Mr Saifullah blamed the editor of the book instead of the author for what should not have been published in the autobiography. “I did not go through the book as I was out of the country and my elder brother Anwar Saifullah was handling the publication, but it is the editor`s fault that he did not remove controversial paragraphs from the book. My mother first met General Akhtar when he was a serving general and what she wrote about his past was on the basis of what she had heard from others.” Humanyun Akhtar said that Begum Kulsoom and Senator Salim Saifullah Khan contacted his family and apologised for the book`s comments about his father. “Begum Kulsoom is a very illustrious lady but because of old age and her eyesight problem, the book has been written and edited by other people. As a result these remarks inadvertently appeared in the book,” he said. He added: “Saifullah`s family assured us these remarks have been removed from all the remaining books and any future publications of it.” Interestingly, although Begum Kalsoom`s book has been distributed to book shops in large numbers, Salim Saifullah says that only 2,000 were originally marketed and that no new edition would be sent to the market for sale unless controversial remarks are removed from it. Book sellers in Islamabad said the book is doing good business and a large number of people are coming to buy it. The cost of the book is Rs500. “We have sold 300 books in only two days but we have been asked that the new edition be sent after some corrections,” said an employee of Mr Books in Jinnah Super Market. However, nothing can be done with the sold books and no one can be stopped in future from quoting it in their writings and speeches. Some other interesting disclosures in the book are that: ZAB could have saved his life had he controlled his tongue in the jail. ZAB`s attitude was rigid and inflexible after his arrest. During Bhutto`s imprisonment, some of his colleagues were busy arranging their marriages. On the Ojhri Camp tragedy, the author wrote, “I can confidently say that some Stinger missiles were taken out of the Ojhri Camp on orders from General Zia so that they can be provided to Iran, and Gen Zia ordered that Ojhri Camp be blown up before the arrival of the US inspection team.” REFERENCE: Begum Saifullah`s book lands Like-minded in trouble Syed Irfan Raza September 18, 2011 http://www.dawn.com/2011/09/18/begum-saifullahs-book-lands-like-minded-in-trouble.html Begum Sahiba’s not-so-solo flight by Waseem Altaf Hamuyun threw one crore rupees on the table and then asked the other party to begin the negotiations. This was being done by someone whose father could not even afford a bicycle http://www.viewpointonline.net/begum-sahibas-not-so-solo-flight.html

LIE with General (R) Hamid Gul on ARY - 3 (Off the Record 26 Jan 2012)


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 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1594200076/nationbooks08 --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 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0393326713/nationbooks08 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: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1574888498/nationbooks08 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 http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0871138549/nationbooks08 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? Chalmers Johnson Sunday, November 21, 2004 - 18:38 http://hnn.us/articles/8438.html 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.

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