Behind Bars

Echoes of Empire

By Mumia Abu-Jamal

In the wake of the Osama bin Laden killing on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan, grumblings have arisen from U.S. think-tankers and various other talking heads, about Pakistan’s alleged “double-game” with the U.S., and its apparent duplicity in the so-called War on Terror.

But such a reading is notoriously shortsighted and one-sided, and it ignores the old adage that nations have no friends—only interests.

And all nations play double, and sometimes triple games.

Oh, they talk of “allies” and “friends,” but these are only words—they mean subjects—or worse still—servants.

Consider this when next you hear some suit blab about the War on Terror. On September 10, 2002, Democrat congressman (Washington) Jim McDermott said the following on CNN’s “Crossfire:”

“But you’ve got to remember that of American policy, we put the Taliban there. We gave the money.... we funded the Taliban through the Pakistanis, and all that money—we could have cut off that money and stopped what was going on. We knew what was going on there. All we wanted was a stable, quiet Afghanistan so we could put a pipeline down through there. That’s really what we were up to.” [pp. 41-2]

This means that the Taliban, the forerunner of al Qaeda, was a creation of the CIA, the ISI (Pakistani intelligence), and M16 (British Secret Intelligence Service).

Pakistan wanted it as a buffer against Pashtun nationalism in Afghanistan, and as a potential weapon of war against the Soviet-backed government in Kabul.

Have we forgotten how an addle-brained Ronald Reagan compared the Taliban mujaheddin to “our founding fathers” because of their ferocity against the Soviets?

Stephen Kinzer, in his 2006 bestseller, Overthrow1 (Times Books), quotes an Afghan secularist telling the Americans, “For God’s sake—you’re financing your own assassins!” (pg. 296)

The Taliban gave birth and sustenance to al Qaeda, and rest is history.

The wars since then have also been of U.S. creation—for dominance, not democracy; for oil markets, not “free” markets; for resources, not for human rights., May 18, 2011

1 Kinzer, Stephen, OVERTHROW: America’s Century of Regime Change From Hawaii to Iraq. (New York Times Books/Henry Holt & Co., 2006)