کور / سياسي / The known and untold

The known and untold

Fragments from History

Is secrecy the difference between the known and unknown, or the known and untold?

Dr. T.P. Wilkinson

October 7, 2001: On this day, combined U.S. military and Northern Alliance forces launched a massive attack against Afghanistan’s Taliban faction. Statements by officials representing the administration of President George W. Bush claim the attack had been in response to Afghanistan’s refusal to extradite Osama bin Laden. President Bush has been quoted as saying that ‘Afghanistan is the launching pad for 9/11.’  Over the years since, we have learned that Afghanistan was not the launching pad for 9/11, and though Afghanistan and the United States have no extradition treaties in force at the time of9/11, the Taliban made innumerous gestures of good will to the United States regarding invalidating the residency status and facilitating the subsequent deportation of Osama bin Laden. In addition, during the summer of 2001, a Taliban emissary to Washington advised the Bush State Department that the Taliban would agree to arrest and hold bin Laden for extradition notwithstanding the fact that no treaties of extradition were in existence between their respective countries. The demand criteria that fueled this and many additional gestures of cooperation on the part of the Taliban was simply that Washington provide a Bill of Particulars articulating the allegations against Osama bin Laden and as supported by an unimpeachable evidentiary brief. However, as the violent history of the last decade provides, and from investigative journalists’ revelations emanating from a conference held in Berlin during mid-July, 2001, attesting to bellicose threats against Afghanistan issued by U.S. officials, prove beyond a shadow of doubt that the U.S. harbored a non-conciliatory, non-negotiating and belligerent posture towards Afghanistan and had therefore prepared for war. (See: US Planned War before September 11, By Patrick Martin,www.wsws.org/articles/2001/nov).

Fragment from History: As students and scholars of international law have come to learn, the allegations against Afghanistan are baseless. Afghanistan was not ‘the launching pad for 9/11’ had never in its tumultuous history posed a threat to the United States. The charge of harboring the international fugitive and terrorist, Osama bin Laden, does not as well hold up to legal scrutiny. The U.S. attack on Afghanistan is in serial violation of international law, convention and protocol.  Analogous to the question of the morality of America’s response, one may consider the case of Dr. Orlando Bosch, a Cuban anti-Castro activist alleged to have blown up a Cuban airliner in 1976 which killed 73 passengers.  Subsequently, Cuba asked the U.S. to provide extradition of this wanted criminal who had taken up residence in Florida through recognized U.S. State Department channels. The George W. Bush Administration refused. Also at that time, Jeb Bush was Governor of Florida where Bosch was living and was celebrated in an atmosphere of pomp and pageantry… not as an international terrorist, but as an ‘anti-Castro warrior’ feted with a gala parade under a gubernatorial proclamation: ‘Orlando Bosch Day’, courtesy of Governor Jeb Bush. So, is America seriously against terrorism? The insulation against prosecution and celebrity afforded Dr. Orlando Bosch would suggest otherwise. Bosch was an ardent anti-Castro activist. Castro, who was a declared enemy of the United States, legitimized overt acts of terrorism against his country in the wisdom of U.S. policy makers.  Such acts of terrorism were deemed morally acceptable and therefore within the province of an ‘anti-Castro warrior’. By U.S. measure, Cuba should have bombed, invaded and occupied the United States for ‘aiding and abetting and harboring an international fugitive from justice.’ (See: Killing Hope, U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, by William Blum, 2004, Monroe, ME, p.387).

Government Sanctioned Assassination: The assassination of Osama bin Laden by elements of the U.S. Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) represents the 94th plot perpetrated by the U.S. to kill a foreign leader or national. Since the close of World War II, the U.S. has actively participated in 94 actual or attempted assassinations. The total of 94 is inconclusive however, as history unfolds, there are sure to be additional remains unearthed assuring an incremental increase as enumerated in this morbid accounting (See: Killing Hope, U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II, by William Blum, 2004, Monroe, ME, pp. 463-464).

America’s Ally in the War on Terror: Northern Alliance link to al-Qaeda?: Whereas the Bush and Obama Administrations’ decade-long disinformation campaigns as facilitated through their media-mavens and the CIA’s psychological warfare plots, have rendered the Taliban synonymous with al-Qaeda in their effort to market the so-called ‘war on terror’ to an unsuspecting American public and the world-at-large, it may surprise many that a link exists and existed between al-Qaeda and the Northern Alliance.

Between 1992-1995, Ahmad Shah Massoud smuggled arms aboard Ariana Afghan Airline, the national carrier, to Somalia warlord, Muhammad Farah Aidid, arms which were subsequently deployed with deadly precision against American forces engaged in Somalia at the time and for which he and his co-ideologues Burhanuddin Rabbani, and the wily Abdullah Abdullah received ten-million dollars in payment from Osama bin Laden, alleged ‘mastermind’ of 9/11 and acknowledged chief of the amorphous entity, al-Qaeda. (Source: personal interview with former Ariana Airline executive, Sayed Ibrar and Dr. Wadir Safi, Minister of Civil Aviation, Kabul, 1997, translation: by Sayed Noorulhaq Husseini, journalist).

 Noteworthy as well is the granting of Afghan citizenship to Osama bin Laden and 837 members of al-Qaeda by Massoud and his titular boss Burhanuddin Rabbani, some of whom remain to this day within the military formations of the Northern Alliance. Presently, the Northern Alliance, ever the internationalists continue to engage in inking mutual security agreements with Russia, Iran, India, etc.… as they had during the Soviet/Afghan War.  The military arm of the Northern Alliance continues to battle against its perennial nemesis, the Pashtuns/Taliban, under the guidance and support of the U.S., Russia, Iran, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. And are therefore currently under advisement by military attaches and advisors from those nations as well. The transparent strategy of the Northern Alliance is therefore to utilize the U.S. military to defeat or marginalize the Taliban and thereby gain political and administrative control of the country.  

The Embezzlement of Afghanistan’s Reconstruction Funds: Reconstruction investment falters amid allegations of widespread corruption in the Kabul Bank. In a Washington Post article titled ‘In Afghanistan, signs of Crony Capitalism’ February 22, 2010, Andrew Higgins reveals the connection between the shadowy Kabul Bank and Afghanistan’s power elite. The Washington Post article discloses a multitude of banking irregularities, as one example, the financing provided remnants of the faction known to the Soviets as sekretnye sotrudniki  (secret collaborators), or to their Western affiliates as the Northern Alliance for the purchase of a number of sumptuous villas in Dubai, UAE, costing millions of dollars.  Collateral for the highly questionable financial real estate transactions and subsequent repayment capital are alleged to have as their source proceeds emanating from drug trafficking.  To investigators, the Kabul Bank appears as a financial institution reminiscent of Pakistan-based BCCI, irreverently dubbed the ‘Bank of Crooks and Criminals International’, for their involvement in arms and drug trafficking during the Cold War. (See: Afghan Mirror, serial no. 118, volume 23-March 2010-Hamal 1389).

Owners of record for Kabul Bank are Sherkhan Farnood, a Moscow trained financial adviser and fund raiser for the Karzai Administration, the president’s brother, Mahmoud, Ahmad Zia Massoud, Haseen Fahim, brother of Muhammad Qasim Fahim, former military and intelligence aide to Ahmad Shah Massoud and current Vice President. Farnood took more than ½ billion dollars in loans, while Mahmud Karzai, brother of the Afghan President received 22 million dollars. They are among a throng of prominent officials to have taken non-collateralized or unsecured loans that may amount in the billions of dollars. Loans were facilitated by presenting faked loan documents created for fictitious companies registered with the Afghan Investment Support Agency. The funds obtained were then diverted to those individuals’ accounts in Dubai, UAE, viewed in financial circles as the nefarious ‘money laundering capital of the world,’ for their personal use.  During a routine customs inquiry and inspection, Ahmad Zia Massoud was detained at the aerodrome in Dubai when customs officials noticed that he was in possession of millions of dollars in cash sequestered in several suitcases.  His subsequent release and retaining possession of the cash has raised many, many questions. In yet another outrageous example of corruption extant among Afghanistan’s power elite, the New York Times reported on 4 January 2001, that former President Burhanuddin Rabbani is the owner of record for a string of McDonalds’ restaurant franchises located in Canada and reportedly worth over 100 million dollars.

Arab wrath or intra-party politics?: It has long been alleged that Osama bin Laden, aided and abetted by al-Qaeda operatives and Pakistan’s ISI, planned, financed, and launched the assassination of Ahmad Shah Massoud on September 9, 2001, presumably as ‘a gift to Mullah Omar.’ Yet for many, an internal power struggle cannot be dismissed as the passions (Israeli occupation of West Bank and Gaza, and uncritical U.S. support of Israel) known to motivate Arab suicide missions, of which Massoud had no known link, mitigate against alleged Arab participation. Masood Khalili recounted the events of that day to members of the Indian press during a conference in June, 2007. Just prior to the explosion that took the life of Ahmad Shah and critically injured himself he said that he ‘observed a bright streak of light that appeared as a missile coming directly toward the building.’ As sole survivor Khalili’s reconstruction of events lend certain credibility to the perception that someone inside the Northern Alliance power structure and close to Massoud was the architect of his assassination. It has been well-documented, for example that a serious breach in their friendship had ensued between Muhammad Qasim Fahim and Ahmad Shah Massoud over the disbursement and allocation of party funds.