Saturday, July 28, 2007

Musharraf's Way Ouy

Time for Pakistani Generals to Tell the Truth
Published: July 14, 2006

OPERATION 9/11 was a carefully planned intelligence operation, much like the smaller Operation C-Chase to entrap the BCCI. The 9/11 hijackers were agents and double agents and probably unaware of the scope of the operation. They, along with the ISI, were instruments of a carefully planned international intelligence operation, which was designed to entrap Osama bin Laden and allow for war on Afghanistan. The evidence confirms that the ISI was used as the local arm of the CIA in South Asia. After all, the ISI owes its existence to the CIA. Now that the truth is becoming known, what lies ahead for the ISI and Pakistan will depend on when Washington feels the time is right to turn Pakistan into another Iraq and Afghanistan. The ISI’s role in 9/11 has already forced Pakistan to pay a price in the form of permanent U.S. forces in Pakistan, and the agreement of continued provision of support to the U.S. war of aggression on Afghanistan.

History shows that the U.S. government has previously attempted to use ISI crimes to press Pakistani governments into submission. The Washington Post published a report by John Ward and Kamran Khan in its September 12, 1994 edition in an attempt to implicate the Pakistan army in drug trafficking. The News published the same report in October 1994. Another attempt was made through Kamran Khan in the April 04, 1999 edition of The News. More recently, the ISI faced severe criticism at a U.S. Senate briefing on the drug trade, a crime in which the CIA has been involved since 1960.285 This hearing of the U.S. Senate was just another threat in the vast trap being laid for the Pakistani army for the next several years.

The entrapment process adopted by the U.S. agencies is very simple. They plan and commit a crime of serious magnitude. They achieve their strategic objective behind the crime. At the same time, they involve the victim in just a fraction of the overall criminal plan. The unknown/unintended cooperation in the crime is then later used to punish the victim. This is exactly how the BCCI was trapped. Irrefutable evidence, as discussed in the earlier sections of this book, demonstrates that the CIA funded the operation against the BCCI with drug money, earned through the organized selling of drugs to its own employees. According to the court transcripts of the BCCI case: “By late 1987, the agents had passed approximately $2.2 million derived from Don Chepe’s proceeds through the IDC account, and had split the 7-8 percent commission profit with Mora and Don Chepe’s representative Javier Ospina, without telling any BCCI officers about drugs.”286 Yet, it was the BCCI that paid the price.

Similarly, the U.S. lawmakers planned to punish the ISI and Pakistan for drug trafficking, yet ignored the fact that even if some military or ISI officials were involved in drug trafficking on a personal level, the amount they privately smuggled into the United States was no more than a fraction of the amount trafficked by the U.S. agencies. According to Paul Johnson, Modern Times, “By the end of the 1980s it was calculated that the illegal use of drugs in the United States now netted its controllers over $110 billion a year.”287

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune (August 13, 1996), Celerino Castelo—a former DEA agent—stated that together with three other ex-DEA agents, they were willing to testify in Congress regarding their direct knowledge of CIA involvement in international drug trafficking. Castillo estimates that approximately 75 percent of narcotics entered the United States with the acquiescence or direct participation of CIA and foreign intelligence agents.

The drug case against the ISI was used to extract more obedience from Islamabad for strategic reasons. However, the case was set aside once the military regime accepted additional conditions, which are not publicly known. However, this will not be the case when it is time to discard the ISI and remove Pakistan as a hurdle in achieving unknown future strategic objectives of the administrations in Washington or Tel Aviv.

Making a case on the basis of the ISI’s involvement in drug trafficking was sufficient only for blackmailing the opportunist dictator in Islamabad into further submission. The case on the basis of the ISI’s involvement in Operation 9/11 can now pave the way for aggression against Pakistan. When it is time to turn Pakistan into another Iraq, as General Musharraf indicated as a possibility in early 2003, the Washington administration will ignore the fact that 9/11 was well-orchestrated, well-planned, and the product of numerous agencies—including the aviation authority, the Air Force, the FBI, the Immigration Services, and a centralized secret group of planners with international intelligence connections with the CIA, the ISI, and others. Only the ISI will be held accountable for everything that transpired on 9/11. If India is used to play a lead role in neutralizing Pakistan, that would realize General Musharraf’s worst nightmare. India has already been used as a threat to scare Musharraf into compromising on Pakistan’s sovereignty, principles of international law, and the norms of human decency.

In the case of Afghanistan, the United States was not ready to listen to any proposals from the Taliban government—as if it had already decided that occupation of Afghanistan was the only solution. The numerous, almost daily Taliban appeals to the United States for patience and restraint were dismissed. In Mullah Omar’s words:

“America always repeats threats and makes various accusations and now it is threatening military attack. This is being done in circumstances in which we have offered alternatives on the Osama issue. We have said, if you have evidence against Osama, give it to the Afghan Supreme Court or the Ulema (clerics) of three Islamic countries, or have OIC (Organization of Islamic Countries) observers keep an eye on Osama. But America rejected these, one by one. If America had considered these suggestions there would not have been a chance of such a great misunderstanding. We appeal to the American government to exercise complete patience, and we want America to gather complete information and find the actual culprits. We assure the whole world that neither Osama nor anyone else can use the Afghan land against anyone else.288

Future entreaties from General Musharraf or any Pakistani head of state at the time of U.S., Indian, or Israeli aggression—or any combination of these—against Pakistan would likely also fall on deaf ears. The United States will not want to lose the opportunity it created by engineering Operation 9/11. Under the leadership of an opportunist and myopic military leadership, Pakistan has slipped far too deep into the trap.

There is only one solution to the present crisis. Only truth will save Pakistan from the eternal bullying and blackmail by Washington. Air force Chief Mushaf Ali Mir has been eliminated. General Mahmood has been removed from his job and completely silenced. Saeed Sheikh has been convicted of a crime that he never committed. Khalid Sheikh is in the custody of the CIA, which has no plans to put him on public trial. All these individuals have a lot to tell. The information they possess can expose those individuals behind Operation 9/11.

One of the last remaining people who can tell the truth, and thus save Pakistan, is General Musharraf. He can tell the world how he is being blackmailed and what information is being used to blackmail him. Will he tell the truth to save Pakistan from further abuse and the rest of the humanity from the totalitarian designs of modern day fascists? Musharraf may worry about the consequences. Yes, he will undoubtedly lose his position, and even put his life at stake, but there are those who will believe. The world already knows so much. The information he could share would unravel the mysteries still surrounding the 9/11 attacks. These ambiguities exist due to the U.S. administration’s refusal to share basic information, such as details from the black boxes of the planes that hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Silence on the part of General Musharraf will never save Pakistan or keep him in power forever. General Musharraf will eventually be replaced, like many in positions of power before him. Both General Musharraf and General Mahmood are presently in a position to perform a service to humanity that no other individual can—they can tell the truth about the involvement of the ISI in 9/11, about the role of Saeed Sheikh and Khalid Sheikh, and about the evidence General Musharraf was shown before the U.S. attack on Afghanistan that forced him to submit to every demand from Washington and prompted his utterance, “The Taliban days are numbered.”

Unlike the silence of Pakistan’s chief of Air Staff, Mushaf Ali Mir, the silence of General Mahmood has saved his life—so far. Of course, revealing the facts about what actually transpired between General Mahmood and his fellow CIA and Mossad contacts in the United States before and on September 11 will jeopardize his life, but by telling the truth he will save the lives of thousands who are already dying and the millions who may die in the bigger wars to come. If General Musharraf and General Mahmood choose to remain silent, they will die with the blood of all those who are dead or dying due to Operation 9/11 on their hands.

General Musharraf wants to remain president-in-uniform till 2012. America wants to keep Pakistan occupied by its armed forces for as long as possible. It seems that with these complimentary objectives, Musharraf and Washington are getting along well. The reality, however, is totally different.

The United States extracted all concessions from General Musharraf through sheer blackmail. Musharraf would never have surrendered Pakistan’s sovereignty and independence merely on a phone call from Collin Powell or George W. Bush if he were not blackmailed for the ISI’s role in Operation 9/11.

Of course, the ISI was used to frame Arabs for the 9/11 attacks. But in the process, ISI’s guilt was established as an agency supporting and financing the so-declared hijackers. There are ample reasons to believe that evidence about ISI’s involvement in Operation 9/11 was used to blackmail General Musharraf into the quickest surrender of our age.

Washington knows that the general did not concede much by choice. With elections for the next parliament due in 2007, General Musharraf is desperately building a political base in the country to get a re-election from the new parliament for the next term or to get a change in the constitution to a presidential democracy to be able to shed the uniform and also to retain the political and executive powers as president. If Musharraf succeeds in this plan, this will go in favor of Washington. But Washington sees some serious problems, which would derail Musharraf’s bid to remain the most powerful man in Pakistan. This may lead Washington to settle General Musharraf’s issue the way it dealt with General Zia. The following factors show that assassinating Musharraf might become one of the best options for the United States in the present circumstances.

General Musharraf has not outlived his utility for Washington as yet. However, it is not possible for General Musharraf to remain the army chief forever. The best way Washington believes its interest could be served is to make General Musharraf’s autocratic rule look more democratic. For that, instead of crafting new webs and making another leader to fully submit to the colonial masters of present age, Washington would like to see Musharraf become another Hosnie Mubarak in Islamabad. Washington now wants him to shed his uniform and become a civilian president in the present setup.

The dilemma before Washington, however, is that Musharraf can become a president for life by deception and intrigue. However, he can never remain the chief of armed forces for life. On the other hand, no civilian ruler can use the military in the service of the United States as effectively as General Musharraf is doing because of his position as the military chief. At the same time, the U.S. efforts to create an alternate political leadership in the country to increase pressure on Musharraf also seem to be getting nowhere.

At the home front, General Musharraf’s present political allies are more of a liability than asset for him now. The main political allies, the Pakistan Muslim League (PML Quid-e-Azam group), are most corrupt, inefficient and ineffective, with no hope of securing required seats in the next elections. There is also serious internal dissent within the PML (Q).

General Musharraf’s other ally, Mutahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), is also considered a corrupt, blackmailing, sub-nationalist-minded, mafia-styled gang, which is fully exploiting the weaknesses of the General. MQM is the most unreliable, even treacherous, political ally for him.

Musharraf propped up the religious alliance of Muthahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) and then used it for constitutional changes in his favor. Musharraf reneged on public promises to MMA to relinquish the post of Chief of Army Staff as part of the process of restoring democracy in Pakistan. Islamabad’s suspension from Commonwealth was lifted on the condition that General Musharraf would give up his military uniform by the end of 2004 as a proof of his commitment to democratic reform. Now the religious alliance is sensing his weaknesses and is gearing up its barrage against him.

There is a very strong perception within the religious parties that the MQM was behind the Karachi blast in April 2006. Scores of people, including prominent MMA leader Haji Hanif Billo, were killed when a bomb went off at a religious gathering in Karachi. Since then, the government has contemplated no action against the MQM, a factor that will agitate more public anger.

Former prime ministers Nawaz, Sharif and Benazir are now flexing their muscles to challenge him in the coming days. There are talks of joint efforts to remove Musharraf and even the MQM is signaling that it is willing to join such a campaign. If Benazir and Nawaz decided to return before the elections, even their arrest would make them political heroes, creating more embarrassment for the General.

The entire governance and economy is in a big mess. Musharraf relied on Shaukat Aziz, who has miserably failed on all counts. Inflation is wrecking the life of the common man – the vote bank in any elections. That vote bank is not impressed with Shaukat Aziz blowing smoke in their face with economic jargon. For a common man, for example, it is enough to know that the sugar crisis is still haunting the country. The prices have almost doubled in recent months to record levels. Still, there are no imports and all the national demands are being met in abundant supply from local stocks. The price hike gave windfall profits of billions of rupees to a few select sugar cartel mafias within a few months. The much-vaunted National Accountability Bureau was forced to drop the probe immediately after it started. The common man knows that corruption is at an all-time high within the state machinery. Abuse of power and authority are daily headlines. Police and the judiciary system remain most corrupt as well.

Thus, General Musharraf and Washington are now left with extremely limited, difficult and almost impossible options.

· Even if the military is still behind General Musharraf, it is highly unlikely that he may decide to confront the Americans, forget about democracy, stop taking international pressures, and take absolute power in his own hands once again as he had when he took power in October 1999. It does not seem possible that Musharraf would once more abolish the assemblies, defer the constitution, draft his own constitution, and declare a presidential system or even martial law. In the past, he formed a team of so-considered honest, selfless and efficient professionals to rectify the damages done in the past few years and tried to bring back control in the economy, security, governance, judiciary and social welfare of the country. He has clearly failed. Of course, the suffering masses are not interested in democracy or martial law. They want security, dignity, cheap food and energy, as well as economic development. It does not matter to them who delivers this. Nevertheless, it will be a huge task to fool them twice with the same mantra. On the part of General Musharraf, it would amount to saying, “I am redoing the eight-year experiment from the scratch.”

· Another option is renegotiating with the Americans. It is not a problem for him to bend backwards even more. He would send Pakistani forces to Iraq, recognize Israel, commit more troops to Miran Shah and other tribal areas, take responsibility for finishing off the anti-occupation resistance in Afghanistan and the Madrassas in Pakistan, and allow more unrestricted access to the United States into Pakistan’s security and intelligence, as well as nuke apparatus. Nevertheless, for sustaining these approaches, he has to remain the chief of armed forces. With these measures, he can immediately become the blue-eyed boy of the Americans once again and there will be no further chatter in Washington about democracy, which is only intended to push Musharraf into further submission. But Musharraf will have a revolt on hand in the home front and perhaps even a rebellion in the army.

· The third option is to contest elections with whatever support base the General has so far and keep Benazir, Nawaz and Sharif out of the electoral process to weaken their collective nuisance. Some heavy-duty management will be required to “arrange” the required results and to neutralize the MMA and PPP/Nawaz factor. The general has done this with the help of ISI before and can do the same again. Consequently, MQM will continue to exploit the situation and basically nothing will improve in the country in terms of economy and governance or law and order; likewise, the same team of suspects will reappear to exploit him even further for the next four years. Things can get mismanaged if Nawaz and Benazir decided to come back before the elections and launch a street protest calling their court cases politically motivated. The MMA would also join them and a bit of “hidden hand” support could start an unexpected but very real inferno. Even if everything goes well, General Musharraf will have to give up his position as the military chief. Losing his military position will make him lose all attractiveness to Washington, which is mainly concerned with sustaining Pakistan’s occupation with the Pakistani armed forces and using the Pakistani army in the interest of the United States.

· The fourth option is that the General reads the writing on the wall and decides to quit, handing over power to the next army chief who would promise the elections or would decide to stay in power depending upon what he wants to do. Musharraf will have to leave the country with his family and may settle in some friendly or neutral country like Turkey or a country in Europe. This option suits Washington, but General Musharraf is addicted to power to an extent that it is highly unlikely that he will hang his boots up so easily.

· The last option is assassination. General Musharraf may be assassinated either by his army men, any local resistance groups, Baluchistan Liberation army assassins, or, most probably, someone sent by the Americans to blame “religious extremists” and pave the way for another military general to take over and continue Pakistan’s occupation for another decade or so. Being in charge of Musharraf’s personal security in many ways, it is only the Americans who can successfully carry out the assassination operation against him. His departure in a violent manner will serve many of the United States’ strategic objectives.

In the near future, events would basically unfold in one of the many options discussed above. Right now, both Musharraf and Washington are confused and have not clearly decided on any of the options.

For Washington, the assassination option carries the most weight. We know from experience that leaders in the Muslim world who associated themselves with Washington unconditionally are doomed. The Shah of Iran, General Zia and Saddam Hussein are prominent examples. General Musharraf may continue to rule by force and power, but would not have any grassroots support and hence would remain on shaky ground within his own country.

Besides blackmailing to the fullest, Washington is giving General Musharraf a very tough time. Musharraf was the architect of Kargil operation against India. At that time he was dare devil, hardly caring about anyone. However, after the blackmail for ISI’s misadventures, he has been turned into Washington’s most submissive serf. Out of fear, he has surrendered so much that now he is not finding the courage to stand up to Washington or to face the nation. He has gone silent these days and is not defending U.S. actions, nor is he making supportive statements about the U.S. strategy in the Muslim world. General Musharraf was under the misconception that Washington would appreciate his concessions, which it was obtaining from the General through blackmail, as his favors. This, however, was not the case. Washington didn’t appreciate the “sincerity” and “sacrifice” of the entrapped general. Now, the disillusioned general is annoyed and offended by the American rebuffs to his demands and is feeling ditched and betrayed. That is a sick feeling for a man who had put all his eggs in one big American basket and is now left alone and abandoned to be replaced with another strongman, who could keep himself in uniform for a longer period than the burnt out General Musharraf. A more docile and cooperative political leadership would be the last option considered in Washington.

General Musharraf is in the middle of nowhere at the moment. His only option is to come out clean on his relations with the Americans and to give voice to what he has been hiding from his people and the whole world. He might be portrayed as insane, but to save Pakistan and the world from the scourge of a greater war, he must tell the truth. To grab the initiative back and restore the confidence of his nation in his words and deeds, General Musharraf has to tell the whole story of his entrapment. Unless General Musharraf restores the confidence of his people in his policies at home by telling the whole truth about the way the ISI was used in 9/11 and how Pakistan has been blackmailed, he is doomed.

Unfortunately, General Musharraf’s doom will not be the end of the story. That will mark the beginning of some unprecedented problems for Pakistan, which has become perfectly entangled in the American web as a result of the ISI’s misadventures and military leadership’s myopic and supine approach.

Since there is no hope that Pakistanis will make their military accountable to the people; that political leadership in Pakistan and the masses will liberate themselves from the military occupation and exploitation; that they will get a lesson from the past; that America, India and Israel will give up undermining Pakistan’s very existence, the whole South Asian region is at the verge of witnessing prelude to the Greater War in the Middle East.

The day is not far away when Pakistan, India and Afghanistan will be burning in the same flames which have engulfed Afghanistan and Pakistan’s tribal areas today. The planners of Operation 9/11 were expert in deceiving the world. However, they were naïve enough to assume that their actions will have no side effects other than what they had planned to achieve their sinister objectives. Unfortunately Operation 9/11 was not another Operation C-Chase, nor will Pakistan disappear with whimper like the demise of the BCCI.

The culprits of 9/11 will not plead guilty. Nevertheless, the world knows what really happened and who was behind the whole operation. The world only needs an insider to come out and tell it all. General Musharraf was probably not part of the planning process. But he can tell how he was blackmailed and forced into submission to the U.S. illegitimate demands. He knows how General Mahmood was used and abused in the set-up phase of the 9/11. By telling the truth about the ISI’s saga of entrapment, these two persons can save the humanity from the scourge of a greater war. They can save lives of millions from the curse of modern day fascism.

This is an excerpt. For details and references, refer to Abid Ullah Jan’s book From BCCI to ISI: The Saga of Entrapment Continues.


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