Afghanistan: “Big Beasts,” Big Bloodbath

Closing The Loop

The “big beasts” of the pre-digital media age are in big trouble, the Guardian tells us. In the last year, they have faced, not only structural challenges but the worst recession for a generation:

“As advertising revenues dried up, newspaper, television and radio owners – especially those in local media – faced a stark challenge: adapt or die.

“The result was tens of thousands of job losses and unprecedented uncertainty over how the media landscape will look in just a few years’ time. How many national newspapers will survive? Can commercial radio avoid complete meltdown? How much are people prepared to pay for content online – if at all?” (9)

At the heart of the uncertainty lies the internet and how to make it pay. For 100 years the corporate mass media has flourished thanks to its monopoly of the means of mass communication. Reviewing the history of the British media, James Curran and Jean Seaton write that the industrialisation of the press in the early twentieth century triggered “a progressive transfer of power from the working class to wealthy businessmen, while dependence on advertising encouraged the absorption or elimination of the early radical press and stunted its subsequent development before the First World War.” ((Curran and Seaton, Power Without Responsibility — The Press and Broadcasting in Britain, Routledge, Fourth Edition, 1991, p.47.))

The effect of advertising was dramatic: “one of four things happened to national radical papers that failed to meet the requirements of advertisers. They either closed down; accommodated to advertising pressure by moving up-market; stayed in a small audience ghetto with manageable losses; or accepted an alternative source of institutional patronage.” ((Curran and Seaton, Power Without Responsibility — The Press and Broadcasting in Britain, Routledge, Fourth Edition, 1991, p.9.))

Unable to compete on price and outreach, the radical press was pushed to the margins. Hard to believe now, but there were once 325 newspapers and magazines published by supporters of the US Socialist Party, reaching 2 million subscribers.

A torrent of propaganda has poured out of the corporate media monopoly. Former BBC Controller, Stuart Hood, argued that both the BBC and commercial TV have always “interpreted impartiality as the acceptance of that segment of opinion which constitutes parliamentary consensus. Opinion that falls outside that consensus has difficulty in finding expression.” ((Curran and Seaton, Power Without Responsibility — The Press and Broadcasting in Britain, Routledge, Fourth Edition, 1991, p.200.))

But if media “impartiality” is based on the “parliamentary consensus” then, by definition, even highly rational challenges to that consensus will be rejected as “biased” and will “find difficulty in finding expression”. An example was provided in 2006 by the BBC’s Diplomatic Correspondent Bridget Kendall:

“There’s still bitter disagreement over invading Iraq. Was it justified or a disastrous miscalculation?” ((Kendall, BBC Six O’Clock News, March 20, 2006))

The “parliamentary consensus” does indeed limit thinkable thought between the two poles arguing that the invasion was either “justified” or, at worst, a “miscalculation”. The far more reasonable argument — that the invasion was a war crime — is usually ignored because it falls beyond “that segment of opinion which constitutes parliamentary consensus”.

Amazingly, then, parliament is, in effect, granted the right to define reality, with the media acting in support to affirm the definition. If this sounds fantastical, consider comments made in 2004 by Nick Robinson, then political editor at ITV news, in the Times:

In the run-up to the conflict, I and many of my colleagues, were bombarded with complaints that we were acting as mouthpieces for Mr Blair. Why, the complainants demanded to know, did we report without question his warning that Saddam was a threat? Hadn’t we read what Scott Ritter had said or Hans Blix? I always replied in the same way. It was my job to report what those in power were doing or thinking… That is all someone in my sort of job can do. We are not investigative reporters. ((Robinson, ‘“Remember the last time you shouted like that?” I asked the spin doctor,’ The Times, July 16, 2004))

Thus, the media act as intellectual filters, reinforcing the consensus view and ignoring or attacking challenges to it. If it turns out that parliament is in thrall to elite interests offering a Tweedledum/Twiddledee no-choice, then the media will promote, rather than expose, this empty shell of a democracy. And this, of course, is exactly the situation we are in: politics and media work together to insulate power from rational thought and public interference.

The corporate media got away with its role in this closed-loop oppression for so long by simple virtue of its monopoly power to suppress dissent. But the world has changed. The internet allows non-corporate journalists and commentators to bypass the corporate gatekeepers and communicate to a global audience, instantly, at almost zero cost. These analysts generally do not charge for their work — almost all radical material is freely available on the internet.

And here is the rub for the mainstream: this non-corporate journalism is unconstrained by the distorting influence of wealthy owners and parent companies with busy fingers in any number of economic and political pies. It is unconstrained by the reliance of corporate journalists on corporate advertising, with all that that implies. It is uncompromised by the insidious dependence on government and other official sources for cheap news; by thoughts of career progression in the revolving door between journalism, public relations and government.

The result is really beyond argument: dissident reporting and commentary is rational, honest and, therefore, interesting, in a way that corporate journalism can never be. This has struck us with very great force, many times. In researching specialist issues relating, for example, to Haiti, Iran, Korea and the financial crisis, we constantly find ourselves unable to make sense of the mainstream version of events, which is compromised and distorted to the point of incomprehensibility. By contrast, when we turn to independent, non-corporate expert opinion, we are quickly able to understand what is happening and why. (The specialists cited in our recent media alert, ‘Cartoon Korea’, provide an excellent example of this.) The mainstream is just not able to compete on honesty and rationality. And, crucially, it needs to charge for its extremely poor product.

The deceptiveness of the corporate media version of the world is all around us, rendered invisible (like the nose on our face) only by its omnipresence. In announcing MediaGuardian’s latest annual list of the 100 “most powerful people” in the media, the Guardian boldly declares of itself:

“The paper is the voice of the left in the British press.”

Evidence for the claim is proffered: “a Guardian leader last month said Labour should replace Gordon Brown as its party leader and prime minister. ‘The truth is there is no vision from him, no plan, no argument for the future and no support,’ it said.”

This is the Guardian’s idea of speaking up for the left!

At 51 on the Guardian list, the BBC’s political editor Nick Robinson is a fiercely challenging interviewer, we are to believe. He “can have earned no higher accolade than that afforded him before Barack Obama’s first appearance before the British press. He has ‘generally considered the most important job in British political journalism’, said a briefing prepared for the president by US intelligence officials. It added that he has ‘carved out a niche as a persistent irritant to world leaders’.”

Again, an example is given. Robinson proved his mettle by “stumping the normally word-perfect Obama with a question about who was to blame for the financial crisis. Robinson, with his trademark glasses and bald pate, presumably won’t have to be pointed out to the president next time.”

This is the anaemic version of dissent sold by an industry whose priority is “the smooth operation of the machinery of everyday life and the perpetuation of the present arrangement of wealth and power,” as Howard Zinn has noted. ((The Zinn Reader – Writings on Disobedience and Democracy, Seven Stories Press, 1997, p.339.))

In January 2003, Robinson told ITV news anchor Nicholas Owen:

However, Nick, +they+ look at these things in a slightly different way in Downing Street. +Yes+, almost two-thirds of the public say they’re not convinced of the case for war, that it hasn’t yet been made, but Tony Blair would probably say the same — he would say we’re not +yet+ making the case for war, we’re making the case that you have to be ready for war otherwise Saddam Hussein won’t back down. The difficulty, as one Downing Street insider put it to me, is we’re more in a parallel with 1930 than with 1939. In other words, this isn’t a dictator who’s already attacked another country; it’s a dictator who +might+ do something, who’s got potential. His [Blair’s] message, very simply, Nick, is we +have+ to confront this man – we can’t back down. ((Robinson, ITV News, 12:30, January 13, 2003.))

Robinson later described how hundreds of British troops were “risking their lives to bring peace and security to the streets of Iraq.” ((Robinson, ITV News, September 8, 2003.))

The MediaGuardian 100 list at least provides some insight into the world of the “big beasts” who control what we know and think. Consider number 8 on the list, Rebekah Brooks (nee Wade), editor of the Sun and chief executive elect of News International:

Married last month to her second husband, horse trainer Charlie Brooks, the guest list at the wedding was like a who’s who of Westminster, Fleet Street and the City including Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Jeremy Clarkson, Carphone Warehouse boss Charles Dunstone, and the extended Murdoch family, including Rupert, James, Elisabeth and her husband, Matthew Freud. The Daily Telegraph editor, Will Lewis, was the best man.

A feature in Tatler magazine last month described how the pair liked to rise early ‘at their two-bedroom taupe-painted barn outside Chipping Norton’ to fly to Venice by private jet for lunch at Harry’s Bar before returning to central London for dinner at Wilton’s restaurant in Jermyn Street.

Afghanistan — “The Verbiage About ‘Democracy‘s War’”

The latest manifestation of the media monopoly reinforcing a “parliamentary consensus” involves the US-UK war on Afghanistan. In an article entitled, ‘Back our boys — they fight for your lives,’ Sue Carroll asks in the Mirror:

Enjoy your barbecue at the weekend? Sleep easy in your bed last night? Get to work without any problems? I trust you did because this is what liberty is all about. The right to live safely in a civilised community free from the oppression of thugs and fanatics who wouldn’t think twice about crushing our democracy and slaughtering us as we sleep.

It’s hard-earned, this easy living. Millions of men have died for our freedom and more are losing their lives in Afghanistan to protect us. So less of the hand-wringing please about whether we should or should not be fighting a war against the Taliban. It’s a no-brainer.

This is the approved propaganda view, not just of the current conflict, but of every war throughout history. The Telegraph comments:

“The conflict in Afghanistan is complex and difficult but it is, on balance, a war worth fighting to crush the camps which train terrorists for assaults on Western cities.” ((Leading article, ‘Our troops in Afghanistan need the right tools for the job,’ Daily Telegraph, July 10, 2009.))

There are problems, in fact absurdities, but conveniently, the Telegraph reminds us, “The Obama surge is addressing all that.” ((Leading article, ‘Our troops in Afghanistan need the right tools for the job,’ Daily Telegraph, July 10, 2009.)) Indeed, the Telegraph did a good job of explaining Obama’s utility and popularity right across the political spectrum:

“If this anti-Iraq war disciple of ‘soft power’ feels the need to put 20,000 more American troops in harm’s way, there surely must be good reason for concern.” ((Irwin Stelzer, ‘A lesson from history that goes unheeded; Great leaders can see the bigger picture; in times of conflict,’ Daily Telegraph, July 15, 2009.))

We can be sure Obama knows best. Curiously, the disciple of “soft power” has (“temporarily”) increased the size of the US Army by 22,000 soldiers, raising the total number of active US soldiers from 547,000 to 569,000.

In 2004, an Egyptian academic described how hatred of the US is rooted in its support for “every possible anti-democratic government in the Arab-Islamic world… When we hear American officials speaking of freedom, democracy and such values, they make terms like these sound obscene.” ((Quoted Noam Chomsky, Hegemony Or Survival, Hamish Hamilton, 2003, p.215.))

The Financial Times reported: “while only might can destroy al-Qaeda, its expanding support base can be eroded only by policies Arabs and Muslims see as just”. Destroying al-Qaeda will therefore have little effect if “the underlying conditions that facilitated the group’s emergence and popularity – political oppression and economic marginalisation – will persist.” ((Editorial, Financial Times, May 14, 2003.))

Two political scientists commented:

“Delicate social and political problems cannot be bombed or ‘missiled’ out of existence… Violence can be likened to a virus; the more you bombard it, the more it spreads.” ((James Bill and Rebecca Bill Chavez, Middle East Journal, autumn 2002.))

Ami Ayalon, the head of Israel’s General Security Service (Shabak) from 1996 to 2000, has suggested that “those who want victory” against terror without addressing underlying grievances “want an unending war.” ((Quoted Noam Chomsky, Hegemony Or Survival, Hamish Hamilton, 2003, p.213.))

This appeared to be obvious to the editors of the Guardian in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks. On September 15, 2001, a Guardian editorial observed:

“But America’s dilemma, once the verbiage about ‘democracy’s war’ and ‘freedom’s brightest beacon’ is cut away, is that its military options, to the extent that they are currently understood, are largely unsuited to the task in hand.

“Indeed, much of what appears to be under contemplation will just make matters worse. For consider: any major air and/or ground attack mounted against Afghanistan in pursuit of prime suspect Osama bin Laden will certainly produce civilian casualties. It may not produce Bin Laden (who may not even be there). Such an attack would inflame Muslim opinion and hand the terrorists a second triumph: following Manhattan, here would be the ‘holy war’ they have long sought to provoke.“ ((Leading article: ‘The penknife and the bomb: Brute force is not the way to defeat the terrorist threat,’ The Guardian, September 15, 2001.))

Consider how the ideological blinkers had fallen over the Guardian’s eyes by 2006 in relation to “democracy’s war”, when it referred to “the foreigners helping steer this long-suffering country towards stability and democracy.” ((Leading article: ‘Afghanistan: The forgotten war,’ The Guardian, January 18, 2006.))

More recently, the Guardian noted that the reality in Afghanistan “is a country where security is getting worse and advances – such as democracy, the return of refugees and universal education – are under threat.” ((Leading article: ‘Afghanistan: Bravery may not be enough,’ The Guardian, June 10, 2008.))

Not only had “the verbiage about ‘democracy’s war’” been more than verbiage, it had resulted in actual democracy, which was now under threat.

By striking contrast, the war correspondent Reginald Thompson commented on attempts to bring “democracy” to the Korean peninsula by force of arms in the 1950s. In his superb book, Cry Korea, published in 1951, Thompson wrote:

“What a mockery it was to name this kind of thing democracy! What a Quixotic business – at best – to try to establish it, to imagine it possible to establish an evolutionary result without evolution.” ((Thompson, Cry Korea – The Korean War: A Reporter’s Notebook, Reportage Press, 2009, p.175.))

Thompson was even able to comprehend Chinese suspicions:

“But would the USA or the UN leave Korea? China might think not – it was already apparent to all observers that democracy is not a saleable commodity but an evolutionary growth in certain circumstances. It might take a long time to take root, even given the circumstances, in a peasant country like Korea, accustomed only to tyranny of one kind of another. So that the US and UN role might be reasonably that of conquerors and colonisers.” ((Thompson, Cry Korea – The Korean War: A Reporter’s Notebook, Reportage Press, 2009, p.222.))

By contrast, an Independent leader comments:

“We need to be mentally prepared for the duration of this vital mission to secure Afghanistan’s democratic future, as well as the likely human cost.” ((Leading article, ‘The public mood is shifting, but the mission must push on,’ The Independent, July 13, 2009.))

Roger Alton, the pro-Iraq war editor of the Independent, remains onside:

The Western mission in Afghanistan, though overshadowed by the foolish invasion of Iraq and often poorly carried out these past eight years, remains a worthy one… Nato troops, including Britain’s contingent, are in Afghanistan at the invitation of the democratically elected government of President Hamid Karzai. And their purpose is to protect civilians from the depredations of the Taliban while the Afghan army builds up the capacity to take over the job.

They are also fighting for the protection of British citizens. Some three-quarters of UK terror plots under surveillance by the authorities have links to militants based on the Afghan/ Pakistan border. The Taliban granted al-Qa’ida a base before 2001. There is no reason to suppose they would not do the same again if they returned to power. Our own security is bound up with the safety of the Afghan people. ((Leading article, ‘The public mood is shifting, but the mission must push on,’ The Independent, July 13, 2009.))

In a rare departure from the propaganda norm, the Guardian published comments by former diplomat and deputy governor in occupied Iraq, Rory Stewart, now Ryan Family professor of the practice of human rights, Harvard University:

Afghanistan’s political and strategic significance has been grossly exaggerated. The idea that we are there so we don’t have to fight terrorists in Britain is absurd. The terrorist cells and training camps are not in Afghanistan. The people the Americans and British are fighting in Afghanistan are mostly local tribesmen resisting foreign forces. Does al-Qaida still require large terrorist training camps to organise attacks?

Could they not plan in Hamburg and train at flight schools in Florida; or meet in Bradford and build morale on an adventure training course in Wales? Those who argue that we have the right strategy provided we have enough troops and equipment were saying not long ago that if we had only had 7,000 troops in Helmand instead of 5,000, we could defeat the Taliban.

Impressively honest, but Stewart’s views on Afghanistan have been mentioned in a total of four articles in the entire UK national press. As ever, opinion that falls outside the parliamentary consensus “has difficulty in finding expression”.

Media Lens is a UK-based media watchdog group headed by David Edwards and David Cromwell. The most recent Media Lens book, Propaganda Blitz by David Edwards and David Cromwell, was published in 2018 by Pluto Press. Read other articles by Media Lens, or visit Media Lens's website.

4 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. mary said on July 24th, 2009 at 9:27am #

    Craig Murray, the highly principled Independent candidate in the Norwich North by-election, who spoke out against this illegal war in Afghanistan came sixth today and the Conservative won. The status quo continues with the three party rota system following the resignation of the former Labour MP in the expenses scandal.

    Craig Murray resigned as British Ambassador to Uzbekistan (an adjacent state to Afghanistan) having exposed Blair’s complicity in the CIA torture being carried out there. He gave evidence to a parliamentary human rights committee earlier this year, half of whose members are incidentally members of their party’s Friends of Israel lobby groups.

    The BBC completely airbrushed Craig from their coverage and he met with other obstacles such as pre-booked local authority school halls suddenly becoming unavailable.

    As my brother David said today – Westminster party trio straight jacket = more wars, more fascism here and abroad = the ‘war on Islam’ for decades = the last breath for a free Palestine on its land. The lumpen have made the sign of the cross, or at least 45 % of them have. They will be the lumpen of the lumpen. Their spirit hardly exists and their vision stops at the leylandii hedge. They profess concern for the weeping child abroad but their interest is self interest. The British are, as always and in the majority, treacherous and cruel.

    Stand quietly as the hearses go by and speak of pro patria. Do not ask about the unseen ambulances with those 18 yr olds reduced to kit form and brainless.


  2. bozh said on July 24th, 2009 at 10:36am #

    it is a myth that we have a democratic governance anywhere. However, we can have better or much better governance than presently in switzerland, sweeden, finland.
    but as long the education and media reports are controled by plutos, we will not see any improvment in governance nor management of it.
    parents need to give their chldren a civic education as well.

  3. Mulga Mumblebrain said on July 25th, 2009 at 5:41pm #

    The theory of rule by psychopaths is yet further re-inforced, I believe, by the behaviour of the mainstream media. As Chomsky and Herman and many others noted, and any reader not totally bereft of all intelligence must have understood for decades, the media act as propaganda systems. Indeed, as Chomsky said in Manufacturing Consent, the unanimity of acceptable opinion would have impressed Stalin.
    Here in Australia we have three main sources of media propaganda. The Murdoch sewer is uniformly, hysterical and often diabolically (meant literally) extreme Right. Murdoch’s flagshit ‘The Australian’ which has the monstrous gall to call itself ‘The Heart of the Nation’ (I have long seen it, rather, as ‘The Fundament’-The Arse-hole of the Nation, in that its product is best consigned to the cess-pit) has moved so far to the Right that it seems self-parodying. It is home to a number of Judaic extreme Rightwingers, the Likudnick tendency being central to Rightwing agitation in this country, as throughout the West. Therefore ‘The Australian’ is, in my opinion, an absolutely ferocious centre of anti-Arab, anti-Islam and anti-Palestinian hatred, posing as journalism, opinion, or in the letters pages, where really vile hatemongering by Likudniks is regularly published. Similar sullage traducing Jews would not, of course, be even contemplated for a second. ‘The Australian’ also specialises in anthropogenic climate change denialism, which it pursues with Rightwing ideological ferocity, while, with truly stupefying hypocrisy, posting little vanity adverts claiming ‘News Ltd will be ‘carbon free’ by 20and some date’. Interestingly, illustrating the intellectual milieu that News Ltd inhabits (The Australian is upmarket compared to Murdoch’s other rags)the 100% biased coverage of climate change, where the vast body of scientific experts that support climate change is totally unrepresented, and every loony denialist gets a regular bully pulpit, is often praised by the brain-dead denialist foot-soldiers as ‘the only balanced debate’ available in the country. It reminds one of that other Murdoch sewer, FoxNews, with its ‘fair and balanced’ coverage that would have put Big Brother to shame.
    The other mainstream media empire, Fairfax, is, I would say, slightly less Rightwing, and as a result is regularly parodied by the zealots at ‘The Fundament’ as, amongst other alleged crimes, being involved in ‘agenda journalism’. Coming from a rag whose every breath is employed in pushing an extreme Rightwing agenda in every field of human activity, this is, I think it is plain, a hypocrisy of truly immense proportions, but the even more horrible possibility is that these creatures actually believe this stuff, that their thought processes and spiritual nature are so deranged that they are actually convinced of it.
    Fairfax may be slightly less Right, but it is just as pro-Israel. It was long known to journalists in the days when Fairfax was run by the Fairfax family, particularly Sir Warwick Fairfax, that criticism of Israel in any manner was career-ending behaviour. For a few years, after the Fairfaxes lost control, ‘The Age’, the Melbourne newspaper in the chain, erred on the side of a certain sympathy for the Palestinians. This resulted in an hysterical hurricane of denunciation, calumny and invective from the local Zionists, with the usual slimy slur of ‘anti-Semitism’ being mobilised, as usual, to shut up any comment but total adulation and gobsmacked admiration for the Holy State.
    The third force in Australian mainstream media is the ABC, the national broadcaster. It once presented a range of views, from the Right, to the Left, with the ideological extremes left out. No longer. It marched steadily to the Right, under the Hawke/Keating regime, then was frogmarched to the extreme Right under the Howard regime.Howard, as he did with every Government organ, stacked the ABC Board with extreme Right ideologues. The entryism of certain groups became more and more obvious. Opinion almost identical with that of ‘News Ltd’ is presented on topics from Israel/Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Venezuela to the causes of the curent financial implosion. Coverage of climate change is still balanced (despite the denialists representing about 1% or less of scientific opinion)although even here the Right tendency is growing in influence.
    One particularly cogent example, at least in my opinion, of what has happened at the ABC, was the ‘Religion Report’. Now thankfully defunct, this half-hourly weekly program emanated from the still extant Religious Affairs Department. Its head is Rachaeal Kohn, a proud and unapologetic Zionist and, I would say, a pro-Israel zealot. This program for years produced a steady output of anti-Islamic sludge, and groveling sycophancy to Israel and Judaism. Any anti-Moslem agitator imported by one local Zionist organ or other was guaranteed a run on the Religion Report, with kid-gloves treatment. Anti-Moslem propaganda from the likes of MEMRI or CAMERA featured prominently-you know the stuff. The evil Hamas brainwashing their poor children etc. The ‘Eurabia’ garbage of Bat Yo’er was peddled, at the same time that it was, with stunning synchronicity, being pushed on FoxNews.
    After one piece that propagandised the Israeli claim to all of Jerusalem, the presenter, forgetting discipline I suppose, commented on all the ‘smiling Israeli faces’ he could see in the control room. Naturally no-one would think, for an instant, how it came to pass that the faces in a control-room of the Australian national broadcaster came to be Israeli, or if that might be detrimental to even-handed and balanced treatment. Of course that gives the game away. Even-handed treatment of Israel is, by definition, ‘anti-Semitism’. Anything less than total obeisance to Israel, any stand that implies, even at the margins, that Israel may have acted in any manner less than completely morally is ‘anti-Semitism’. Hence all the rubbish about a leap in anti-Semitic incidents. When you define ‘anti-Semitism’ as broadly as to encompass any criticism of Israel or any Jew, anywhere, for any action, whatsoever, you get all the ‘anti-Semitism’ you desire.
    We need not even consider why the proliferation of Likudnik Jews in the media, not to mention their goy collaborators, elicits no comment, not even an admission of its existence. One can hardly imagine the reaction if this entryism had been performed by Moslems or Palestinians.The basic question must surely be, why has the media become so debased, so wicked in ceaselessly pushing violence and cruelty as the solution to every problem. Why are certain groups, the Palestinians, the Shia of Lebanon, any Moslems who resist Western state terror etc, demonised and traduced, preparatory to the murder of millions of their people. Why do media insects insist on using the fraudulent Iraqi Body Count figures for the civilian death-toll in Iraq, rather than the real figures.It’s like speaking of the 500,000 Jews killed by the Nazis. Imagine the outrage! What sort of debauched facsimile of a human being uses such a figure knowing the truth, or shuts their mind to the truth, for reasons of career advantage or out of sheer moral cowardice. I think these must be ponerology’s ‘characterpaths’, those manipulated by the psychopaths of Rightwing power into behaving despicably, and who go along out of sheer self-interest. The media in the West is simply a microcosm of the diseased and morally evil state of our societies as a whole, and perform a vital but diabolical service in deepening and extending that moral and spiritual death.

  4. Chipher said on July 26th, 2009 at 6:59pm #

    I’ll try to keep this brief, although then it sounds like a tin-foil hat, but long before 9/11, the US sponsored the Northern Mujahideen, and our allies in Pakistan sponsored the Taliban, both then to resist the Soviet occupation, itself in support of a national ‘Marxist’ Afghan coalition which overthrew King Mohammed Zahir. Then followed ten years of civil war between the Mujahideen and Taliban, ignored then by USA, and goaded on by Pakistan, which holds two former Afghan territories, NWT and Baluchistan, granted to it by the British Durand Line, so has a conflicted interest in keeping Afghanistan as their weak sister, and why Afghans loathe Pakistanis, that, and the oppression of the Punjabis.

    This was 1989, and soon forgotten in the collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Well, Taliban won, seized power in Kabul, and in 1998 were guests of Texas Governor George Bush and his oil company friends in Houston, to discuss Soviet geological surveys which revealed that Afghanistan has *world-class* deposits of strategic metals, gold, oil and gas, some deposits the largest in Asia. Bush’s response, under Cheney’s prodding, was to send an assistant Secretary of State to Kabul to tell the Taliban, “either accept our carpet of gold [for the resource concessions], or we will bury you under a carpet of bombs.” Both India and Pakistan were made aware that Bush intended to invade Afghanistan that October.

    Then came “9/11”, the Taliban’s refusal to kowtow perhaps, although more and more it appears it was truly an inside job, and “that changed everything”, although it changed nothing. The American invasion came right on schedule, already completely planned logistically, and pushed the Taliban out of power in a circus-circus up at Tora Bora, looking for some Saudi prince to assassinate before he could reveal US complicity.

    As George Bush snickered that Osama ‘wasn’t leading any parades’, Dick Cheney at the same moment was in possession of the Soviet geological records, and in contact with World Bank, directing them to prepare Afghan Hydrocarbon and Minerals Laws for resource concessions, and the ink was barely dry on those Western-written “laws” before Cheney then installed Hamid Karzai, Afghan expat living in the US, advisor to UNOCAL and schmoozer around World Bank as an Afghan consultant.

    This was June 2002, wreakage of the WTCs still molten and smoking!

    Karzai’s was installed as a republican form of government, where the Executive has the power to sign laws without legislative debate, and that’s exactly what he did, calling for a secret ballot of the loya jirga, a national assembly of 1575 elders and warlords who were bribed by the CIA to vote (they say, … it was counted in secret) for Karzai as chief in power, and with that deal secure in place, Cheney ran off towards Iraq.

    This was May 2003, the 9/11 Commission beginning their coverup.

    Karzai’s first executive act was to sign the World Bank Hydrocarbon and Minerals Laws into place, and build a $1,000M a year corrupt bureaucracy, army and militia in Kabul to hold his powerbase. With the US busy chasing Iraqi oil, and CIA support money drying up fast, especially after Katrina, Karzai had his Ministry of Mining and Heavy Industries [since ‘MoM’] tender the Afghan copper concessions and awarded a ~$300B reserve to **China MCC** for a $3B signing bonus and $400M a year in royalties, about 0.8c on the $1 at 2006 value, one of the lowest royalty rates on the planet, ever.

    Alarm bells went off at the Pentagon! That was in November, 2007, which, as you recall, is when Cheney started rattling the sabre about the need to ‘surge’ in Afghanistan, since the China MCC concession only gave them four years to get the mining underway, or they would lose the lease. Stir up the hornets, swat a few Taliban, and those China MCC would be running back to Beijing with their tails between its legs.

    And that’s exactly what Cheney set in motion before the elections, and exactly what Obama has continued to execute after the charade of US democracy had been played out at the polls. 22,000 hardened US troops are surging into Afghanistan, and Pakistan has mobilizing their forces in the NW Territories at Swat, near the China MCC leasehold. Now SecDef Gates has announced another surge, of another 22,000!

    At the same time, as Karzai is primped and prompted for the upcoming (re)elections this August 20th, less than 30 days from now, Gustavson Associates, a US-based resource management company, has already tendered and privately short-listed to US:UK mining firms remaining Afghan oil & gas reserves and world-class iron deposits. Never say the Americans don’t hedge their bets, they are backing prime contender to Karzai, Ashraf Ghani, Karzai’s former finance minister, also an Afghan expat, and **former World Bank man himself**.

    Regardless of who ‘wins’, either candidate will just sign away Afghan natural resources valued at over $700B, massive oil & gas reserves that would mean 100 years of energy self-sufficiency for Afghans, if they applied the $3B China MCC signing bonus to building a refinery, and it will all be stolen away by the World Bank and IMF for a mere 1% royalty, where US royalties are 12.5%, Alaskan royalties 25%, Canada and EU 33% and so-called ‘leftist’ countries will demand up to 90%.

    Even poor Pakistan, Afghanistan’s neighbor, demands in addition to resource royalties the creation of a National Workers Fund to provide for assistance and pensions. But not Afghanistan. Not the World Bank. Although Karzia’s MoM ‘promises’ to conform to Extractive Industries Transparency Inititative (EITI), there is absolutely no requirement to. There is also no environmental clause in the laws, no environmental monitoring, no environmental remediation, no cleanup, no payments to displaced citizens, just a wide open Nigerian Delta brownfield lease!

    Tick, tock.

    Within 15 years, Afghanistan will become a burnt out hulk, with 5M internally displaced refugees and over 800,000 orphans, with no other resources of value than grapes, pomengranates and chopped down trees for firewood, to trade to Pakistan for $12 a gallon jug gas, at tremendous foreign trade tariff disadvantages, under the tremendous Pakistani corruption of the billionaire playboy Zardari’s government, you remember, widower to the massively corrupt Bhutto mafia?

    Within 15 years, Afghanistan will look just like Colombia, a narcostate, that works for Defense too. Narcostates are black money and black ops, even higher war profits than the so-called Second Front in the Global War of Terrorism, which popes and pontiffs called The Great Crusades.

    And nobody gives a damn, because our media is bought and sold, and Wall Street is mafia controlled, and WADC is the largest welfare tax dole on the planet, ever, the equivalent of 50% of our wealth drained off for tithes to this or that bureaucracy, to endless war, and constant terror at the loss of our jobs, our health, and our meager SSTF security.

    As Sarah Palin shouted, “I’m Fighting for You!” and that’s good enough, and as easily as US:UK steals Afghan’s birthright, is as easy as Russian spies operating in India will uncover your personal financial data left in the open hands of Indian outsource finance and bookkeeping firms!
    How doubly ironic, that Micheal Gorbechev warned US that the Right in power would subvert Obama, and turn America into a kleptocracy.

    And won’t that be proof that the gods are truly laughing, that America threw a $T dollars of treasure and 5,000 lives in blood for war crimes?