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U.S. Should Pay Iran Reparations by DAVID SWANSON, Counter Punch

FEBRUARY 5, 2021

U.S. Should Pay Iran Reparations

BY

DAVID SWANSON

 

Why would I say such an outrageous, treasonous, delusional, OBVIOUSLY-funded-by-Putin thing? Am I hoping to enrage war-crazed sadists who’ve seen too much television “news”?

Not at all. I want them to still be around when I say that it would actually be preferable for the United States to pay reparations to the entire rest of the earth.

Well, then, why would I say such a thing, and exactly what type of mental disorder would allow me to believe the Iranian government to be saintly perfection?

Ah, that’s the key question, isn’t it? Because, as we all know, in every court that has ever ordered anyone to compensate someone else, it’s been necessary to prove that the someone else was a flawless embodiment of paradise. Proving that someone was harmed has never been relevant at all. Nope. The burden of proof has always been on the victim to show that they have never once done any unpleasant thing to anyone. This is why reparations and compensation and restitution never ever happen. In fact these things don’t even exist as concepts. If they did, the following story might matter.

In the 1720s, the newspapers of the colonies that would become the United States wrote positively about the Persian Empire, that place that 2500 years ago held some 60% of humanity. Various U.S. “founding fathers” like Thomas Jefferson sought models in Persian history. From the 1690s to 1800s, based on their school books, U.S. children were unlikely to think of “xylophone” with the letter “x” and likely to think of “Xerxes.” In a staple of U.S. education for generations, Abbott’s Histories, four non-Westerners were included. Three of them were Xerxes, Cyrus, and Darius. Examples from Persian history were tossed around in Congressional speeches. U.S. towns named themselves (and they still are named) Media, Persia, Cyrus.

From the 1830s to 1930s Presbyterian missionaries from the United States lived and raised families in Persia with the goal of converting Christians there to a preferred flavor of Christianity. In that, they largely failed, but they succeeded in providing schools, medicine, and generally positive ideas about the United States.

From the 1850s to 1920s Persian newspapers promoted the United States as a model. Right up through the 1940s the Iranian government generally sought greater U.S. influence in Iran, and the U.S. government usually refused, usually contemptuously.

Iran, from the 1820s on was forced by Russia and Britain and other European nations into a cycle of debt and concessions. It was principally as an alternative to Russia or Britain that Iran was attracted to the United States, or at least to the idea it had of what the United States was. In 1849, with the United States never having had an ambassador in Iran, Iran began secret (don’t tell the British!) talks with the U.S. minister in Constantinople. In 1851 they signed a Treaty of Friendship, Commerce, and Navigation. It was incredibly fair and respectful by comparison with European treaties with Iran, but it was never ratified. To my knowledge Iran did not ask a single Native American nation what good ratifying it would have done. In 1854, the Shah of Iran asked the United States to put U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf and U.S. flags on every Iranian ship, but the U.S. government wasn’t interested. It wasn’t until 1882 that the U.S. Congress could be persuaded to send any U.S. representative to Iran, and then only because a key Congress Member had a sister there as a missionary and potential victim of “Mohammedan fury.” That representative would not be called an ambassador, due to Iran not being a European country, but his arrival in Tehran in 1883 was cause for a major celebration. Five years later, Iran sent its first envoy to Washington, where the U.S. government generally refused to pay any attention to him and U.S. newspapers were so cruel to him that he resigned after nine months.

In 1891 Iranians publicly rebelled against the Shah’s awarding of a tobacco monopoly to the British. In 1901, for 20,000 pounds, the Shah gave a Brit the right to drill almost anywhere for oil for 60 years. Meanwhile, in 1900 a new minister began representing Persia in the United States and significantly increased trade between the two nations, especially in Persian carpets. The Persian pavilion at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair was a great success (and gave the U.S. the waffle cone).

In 1906 Persia saw a major popular uprising, including widespread use of the sit-in as a tool of nonviolent action (hey, Iran-hating auto worker with a good salary, I’m looking at you), and won the creation of a representative parliament. In 1907, Russia and Britain sought to divide Persia into zones for their respective control. The parliament (Majles) resisted, and the Shah tried hiring bands of thugs to instigate a coup against the Majles. The nation descended into civil war. In 1909 an American named Howard Baskerville became a hero still honored in Iran when he was killed by the royalists.

In 1909 the Majles asked the United States to provide a treasurer-general to oversee the nation’s finances. W. Morgan Shuster got the job. He became more than an accountant. He became a leader of the constitutionalist resistance to the efforts of royalists to overthrow the Majlis. In this, he was not acting on behalf of the U.S. government. When Russian forces demanded Shuster’s ouster, the Majles wrote to the U.S. Congress for help, but Congress had no interest (it did get a good laugh). A violent coup followed. Shuster was out. A Russian puppet government was in. Back in the United States, Shuster was a star. Persian fashion was hot. The U.S. Post Office took its motto from Herodotus’ description of the postal system of the Persian Empire. But actual Persia was of no concern.

 

 

 

 

 

When Europe launched the insanity of World War I, Persia declared neutrality. This was simply ignored by both sides, which proceeded to use the place as a battlefield and to cut off supply lines, resulting in some 2 million Persians starving to death or dying of disease. When Christians massacred Muslims, with the complicity of U.S. missionaries, the good impression those missionaries had made for decades were ruined. Persia nonetheless kept asking the U.S. government for help and for the return of Shuster. In 1916, the Shah asked permission to hide in the U.S. legation and to fly the U.S. flag from the Imperial Palace — both of which requests were turned down. At the end of the war, Persia hoped for some justice out of the negotiations in Paris, but was shut out by British maneuvering, including bribing the Shah. This left Iran without the chance to have its hopes in Woodrow Wilson shattered like the rest of the world’s, blame going instead to Britain. The U.S. minister in Tehran handed out a public statement claiming that the United States had tried its best to get Persia included in the Paris Peace Conference. The country was shut down by pro-U.S. riots. Read that last sentence twice.

The secret dealings of Britain with Persia, behind Wilson’s back, was a key argument in the U.S. Senate for refusing to join the League of Nations. Persia offered the United States oil and continued to implore it to become more involved, but the U.S. government had a higher priority, namely not offending the British. In 1922, the U.S. State Department sent a new financial advisor, but he was no Shuster. When a U.S. oil company was finally chosen to work in Persia, it immediately was hit by the Teapot Dome scandal, and those plans collapsed. Then, in a case of mistaken identity combined with insane murderousness, a mob beat a U.S. consul to death, and the U.S. government insisted that three boys be killed as compensation, and so they were.

Iran kept reaching out to the United States, turning over its archaeological efforts to Americans, welcoming new missionaries and their schools. Up through 1979, many Iranian government officials were graduates of a U.S. missionary school called the Alborz School.

The Shah flirted with Nazism. The theories of an “Aryan” (Iranian) origin of a superior Nordic race — theories largely of U.S. origin — were used by Nazi Germany to appeal to Iran. Yet Iran still declared its neutrality during the sequel to WWI, and it still didn’t matter. The Soviet Union and Britain invaded. Iran, of course, asked the U.S. government to object. The U.S. government, of course, ignored this. During the war, in fact, Roosevelt, Churchill, and Stalin used Tehran as a place to meet while doing their best to ignore the fact that anyone lived there. Stalin was effectively the host. Even the Shah was not invited to a birthday party for Churchill. But when the Great Men left, Roosevelt sent the Shah a note saying he hoped the Shah would someday visit Washington. The Shah clung to that hope and pushed to make it real for years after. Meanwhile some 30,000 U.S. soldiers were in Iran from 1943 to 1945 with the usual drunkenness and rape and Apartheid flaunting of wealth in the face of hunger that has been the trademark of U.S. bases around the world from that day to this.

Once the two world wars had ended, Iran began a golden age of democracy and relative well-being. It wouldn’t last long. In 1947, an Iranian democracy movement asked if it could hold a sit-in demonstration at the U.S. embassy as a symbol of democracy. It was of course told to get lost. The U.S. Ambassador from 1948 to 1951 had extremely Churchillian attitudes toward the irrational natives, who were of course incapable of and unready for democracy. He and the Shah got on well. It was in 1949 that the Shah finally got his first of many visits to the United States, land of democracy. In 1950, Iranians learned of U.S. complicity in British manipulation of their government, and persisted in criticizing the United States in tones of shock and disappointment, using all the language of straying from principles that is so routine in this-is-not-who-we-are speeches from U.S. politicians. Then the Iranians, despite Britain and the United States, elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh.

For the first time in forever, an Iranian representative government had represented the wishes of the Iranian public, not those of a king or his foreign sponsors and handlers. This outrage was not to be tolerated. Mossadegh, like most Iranians, believed that Iranians, rather than Britain, should profit from Iranian oil. He nationalized the oil, and his fate was sealed. But before it was, he would appeal in every way he could to the world and to the United States. He compared his actions to the Boston tea party. He traveled to New York and eloquently won his case at the UN Security Council. He immediately headed for Philadelphia to pose with the Liberty Bell. He got himself made Time magazine man of the year. He also negotiated with the U.S. to allow Britain to still play a major role in Iranian oil, but Britain threw that idea in his face. The oil was, after all, a British possession that had somehow found it way under Iranian soil. Gallup found that a full 2 percent of the U.S. public thought the U.S. should take Britain’s side against Iran. My guess is that’s about the percentage of the U.S. public that now know that the U.S. did just that.

Kermit Roosevelt, grandson of Teddy, claimed he and the CIA overthrew the Iranian government using $60,000. Norman Darbyshire of Britain’s MI6 claimed he spent over 1.5 million pounds and drafted the coup plans and assassinated the Mossadegh-loyal chief of police and talked Roosevelt out of quitting when their coup first failed. Col. Stephen J Meade of the CIA, who was also involved in the 1949 coup in Syria that is largely erased from coup histories even by those who know about Iran 1953, claimed he was the U.S. partner of Darbyshire in planning the whole thing. Indisputably this coup required electing Churchill in the UK and Eisenhower in the U.S., and Eisenhower appointing the Dulles brothers, who began planning the coup with the British before Eisenhower was inaugurated. It also required that Eisenhower, having campaigned on Cold War anti-communism, believe or pretend to believe his own propaganda and the ridiculous notion that Mossadegh was a commie sympathizer.

The coup at first failed, looking even less competent or threatening than the Beer Belly Capitol Putsch of 2021 in Washington. The Shah, whom the failed coup intended to install as dictator, looked ridiculous fleeing to Rome. But mobs on the streets and a visit of 28 tanks to Mossadegh’s house did the trick. Iran was liberated! The Shah returned! Democracy was out! Quoting Jefferson would now be left to various other Untermenschen banned from the Paris Peace Conference, such as Ho Chi Minh. Freedom was on the march! The Shah was empowered, armed, and turned into the world’s top weapons customer, and the United States into the world’s top weapons dealer. A philanthropic operation called SAVAK was established under the tutelage of the CIA and later the Mossad, specializing in torture and murder. All was right with the world, and the U.S. government was finally paying attention to Iran and funneling money into it. A leader even came to visit Iran for the first time (not counting FDR visiting Stalin), and it was Vice President Richard Nixon.

The Shah’s dictatorship learned well, bought weapons, provided oil, and even created a “two-party system” so ridiculously copied from the U.S. model that Iranians referred to them as the party of “Yes” and the party of “Yes, Sir.” U.S. influence was finally in Iran as a reality rather than a dream. By 1961, there were 5,000 Americans living in Iran, and Hollywood was all over the cinemas and televisions, Newsweek and Time on the news stands. Many were less than pleased at finally having gotten what they’d spent so long asking for. Saying that out loud could get you killed, which may have been a big part of the problem. In 1964 the U.S. got a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) to give U.S. troops immunity for crimes in Iran. Many were enraged. But someone fearlessly spoke against that basing SOFA, a man known as Ayatollah Khomeini.

When the United States elected Jimmy Carter president, the Shah worried momentarily about the “human rights” rhetoric, until realizing it was just for show. The weapons kept flowing as before. Carter even visited the Shah and toasted him as an “island of stability” one week before he was overthrown by a revolution with the slogan “Death to America’s Shah.” The revolution, however, was mainly nonviolent. The Shah was not killed. He spent the better part of a year searching the globe for someplace to live. When Carter let him into the United States, Iranians feared the worst. They did not believe the Shah needed U.S. medical treatment, because the Shah had hidden the fact that he was ill. They did believe that the United States would use its embassy in Tehran, as it had done 26 years earlier, to overthrow the Iranian government and re-install the Shah. So, Iranian students broke in and took over the U.S. embassy, creating a hostage crisis, ending Jimmy Carter’s presidency, and initiating Day 1 of the history of U.S.-Iranian relations in U.S. media, for whom nothing prior to the hostage crisis ever happened. Iran, in 2021 U.S. cultural understanding, came into existence in 1979.

In 1980 the despotic ruler of neighboring Iraq, a man who had been brought to power with U.S. assistance, Saddam Hussein, invaded Iran. The Iranian revolution, begun as a coalition including leftists and liberals as well as the religious, now moved in the direction of resembling what it had overthrown. It did so in the name of unity and survival. Ronald Reagan’s government aided both sides in the war, hoping to damage both sides and make money from both sides. Both sides unnecessarily prolonged the war. Both sides committed horrors. Iranian-backed militias blew up U.S. Marines in Lebanon. The U.S. helped Iraq know where to bomb people, and helped Iraq acquire and get away with using chemical weapons. The U.S. also secretly sold weapons to Iran, because, just like the Israeli government, the U.S. government had an agenda often at odds with its own propaganda. You, dear reader, are supposed to go on hating Iran and adoring Reagan, and quoting Reagan on “not dealing with hostage-takers,” but the reality was Reagan selling weapons to Iran to try to free hostages in Lebanon and to get money for a war in Nicaragua that Congress had forbidden him to fight. The Bush Senior government finally persuaded Iran to get those hostages freed, by making promises it immediately and casually broke, without so much as an “I’m sorry.” In fact, when the U.S. shot down an Iranian passenger plane full of men, women, and children, Bush announced that he would never apologize for anything and didn’t care what the facts were.

He and every other U.S. president since has, however, very much cared what Israel wanted. Iran offered the U.S. an oil deal in 1995 and Israel killed it. On September 11, 2001, while people across the Middle East cheered, Iranians mourned. The President of Iran offered to come to the site of the World Trade Center and condemn such barbarism. His offer was of course dismissed out of hand. Iran offered to assist the United States with its war on Afghanistan, and that offer was quietly accepted, used, and forgotten. Bush Junior then declared Iran a member of an Axis of Evil with the nation that had waged war on it, Iraq, and a nation it had virtually nothing to do with, North Korea. In 2003, Iran offered to negotiate away its nuclear program, to allow full intrusive inspections, to accept a 2-state solution in Palestine/Israel, and to keep participating in the “war on terrorism.” Iran was told to go Dick Cheney itself.

Since 1957, the United States had been providing Iran with nuclear technology. Iran has a nuclear energy program because the U.S. and European governments wanted Iran to have a nuclear energy program. The U.S. nuclear industry took out full-page ads in U.S. publications bragging about Iran’s support for such an enlightened and progressive energy source. The U.S. was pushing for major expansion of Iran’s nuclear program just before the Iranian revolution of 1979.

Since the Iranian revolution, the U.S. government has opposed Iran’s nuclear energy program and misled the public about the existence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran. This story is well-told in Gareth Porter’s Manufactured Crisis.

When the United States assisted Saddam Hussein’s Iraq in a war against Iran in the 1980s, in which Iraq attacked Iran with chemical weapons, Iran’s religious leaders declared that chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons must not be used, even in retaliation. And they were not. Iran could have responded to Iraqi chemical attacks with chemical attacks of its own and chose not to. Iran says it is committed to not using or possessing weapons of mass destruction. The results of inspections bear that out. Iran’s willingness to put restrictions on its legal nuclear energy program — a willingness present both before and after any U.S. sanctions — bears that out.

When the Soviet enemy disappeared, new ones were quickly found. According to both former NATO commander Wesley Clark and former UK prime minister Tony Blair, the Pentagon made a list of several nations’ governments to be overthrown, and Iran was on it. In the year 2000, the CIA gave Iran (slightly and obviously flawed) blueprints for a key component of a nuclear weapon. In 2006 James Risen wrote about this “operation” in his book State of War. In 2015, the United States prosecuted a former CIA agent, Jeffrey Sterling, for supposedly having leaked the story to Risen. In the course of the prosecution, the CIA made public a partially redacted cable that showed that immediately after bestowing its gift on Iran, the CIA had begun efforts to do the same for Iraq. In 2019, Sterling publishing his own book, Unwanted Spy: The Persecution of an American Whistleblower.

I can only make sense of one reason why the CIA hands out blueprints for nuclear bombs (and in the case of Iran planned to deliver actual parts as well). Both Risen and Sterling claim that the goal was to slow down Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Yet we now know that the CIA had no solid knowledge that Iran had any nuclear weapons program, or if it had one how advanced it was. We know that the CIA has been involved in promoting the false belief that Iran is a nuclear threat since the early 1990s. But even assuming that the CIA believed Iran to have a nuclear weapons program in 2000 (which the 2007 U.S. National Intelligence Estimate would later claim had been ended in 2003), we have not been offered any explanation of how providing flawed blueprints could have been imagined to slow such a program down. If the idea is supposed to be that Iran or Iraq would simply waste time building the wrong thing, we run up against two problems. First, they would likely waste vastly more time if working without plans, as compared to working with flawed ones. Second, the flaws in the plans given to Iran were obvious and apparent.

When the former-Russian assigned to deliver the blueprints to the Iranian government immediately spotted the flaws in them, the CIA told him not to worry. But they didn’t tell him that the flawed plans would somehow slow down an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Instead they told him that the flawed plans would somehow reveal to the CIA how far along Iran’s program was. But how that would happen has never been explained either. And it conflicts with something else they told him, namely that they already knew how far along Iran was and that Iran already had the nuclear knowledge that they were providing. My point is not that these assertions were true but that the slow-them-down rationale was not attempted.

One never wants to underestimate incompetence. The CIA knew next to nothing about Iran, and by Sterling’s account was not seriously trying to learn. By Risen’s account, around 2004 the CIA accidentally revealed to the Iranian government the identities of all of its agents in Iran. But incompetence does not seem to explain a consciously thought-out effort to distribute nuke plans to designated enemies. What does seem to explain it better is the desire to point to the possession of those plans, or of the product of those plans, as evidence of a hostile threat of “weapons of mass destruction,” which, as we all know, is an acceptable excuse for a war.

That we are not entitled to find out, even 20 years later, whether giving nuke plans to Iran was incompetence or malevolence, or to ask Bill Clinton or George W. Bush why they approved of it, is itself a problem that goes beyond incompetence and into the realm of anti-democratic tyrannical governance by secret agencies.

We have no possible way of knowing a complete list of countries the U.S. government has handed nuclear weapons plans to. Trump tried giving nuclear weapons secrets to Saudi Arabia in violation of the Nonproliferation Treaty, his oath of office, and common sense. The silver lining is that whistleblowers on giving nukes to the Saudis have apparently been listened to by certain members of Congress who have gone public with the information. Whether the difference is the individuals, the committees, the sides of Capitol Hill, the party in the majority, the party in the White House, the involvement of the CIA, the general culture, or the nation being given the keys to the apocalypse, the fact is that when Jeffrey Sterling went to Congress to reveal the giving of nukes to Iran, Congress Members either ignored him, suggested that he move to Canada, or — with horrible timing — died before doing anything.

Ignoring Iran was a long Congressional tradition before the establishment of the tradition of claiming Iran is a threat to the world. Now lying about Iran is a major industry. The United States now imposes deadly sanctions on the entire nation of Iran, in violation of the Geneva Conventions. Iran made an agreement for more thorough inspections than any other nation on earth to get sanctions relief. The United States violated and tore up the agreement, and now says that Iran had better change its ways if it wants the agreement back.

There are, not one, but two Iranian shah dynasties with descendants in the United States awaiting their turns.

One includes Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, the son of the last dictator whom the United States imposed on Iran from 1953 to 1979. Pahlavi lives in Potomac, Maryland, (across the river from Langley) and openly advocates for an overthrow of the Iranian government (because 1953 has worked out so well?) or, as the Washington Post puts it, “runs an advocacy association that is outspoken about the need for democracy in his home country.”

Yet Iranians — like either saints or an abused spouse, you decide — persist in declaring their openness to negotiating with the U.S. government. I, for one, apologize and propose reparations. At the very least, end the sanctions!

Much of what I’ve described above can be found in America and Iran by John Ghazvinian. I also recommend watching a movie called Coup 53.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is executive director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson‘books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a Nobel Peace Prize nominee, and was awarded the 2018 Peace Prize by the U.S. Peace Memorial Foundation. Longer bio and photos and videos here. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook

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Afghanistan yesterday, today, tomorrow Pakistan-US role by Brig.Gen(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja.

Afghanistan yesterday, today, tomorrow

Pakistan-US role

By

Brig.Gen(Retd) Asif Haroon Raja.

Part-One

 

                                      “While we all hope for peace it shouldn’t be peace at any cost but peace based on principle, on justice” Corazon C. Aquino

 

Background

Pakistan and Afghanistan never enjoyed friendly relations since the latter didn’t accept the Durand Line as an international border and laid claims over Pashtun inhabited areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Baluchistan. Afghanistan has traditionally remained close to India and hostile towards Pakistan. Relations dipped during the rule of President Daud after he seized power in 1973 from King Zahir Shah. Insurgents in Baluchistan were provided safe havens and Pakhtunistan movement was fueled.

 

When Afghanistan was occupied by Soviet forces in December 1979, and 4 million Afghans became refugees in Pakistan, Pakistan under Gen Ziaul Haq condemned the invasion and decided to support the Afghan resistance forces. The US and Saudi Arabia came in support of Pakistan led covert war in June 1981. The two provided funds and weapons only. The Soviet forces accepted defeat and pulled out by February 1989 but in the ten-year gruesome war, the country was devastated and two million Afghan civilians lost their lives. Pakistan had to face KGB-KHAD-RAW-Al-Zulfiqar sabotage and subversion.

 

No sooner the US achieved all its objectives, the US not only ditched Pakistan in 1990 and put it under harsh sanctions, but to rub salt on wounds of Pakistan, it made India its strategic partner which was the camp follower of USSR. The Mujahideen eulogized as holy warriors were abandoned as a result of which civil war broke out between the warring groups.

 

 

  

 

The Taliban under Mulla Omar started their Islamic movement from Kandahar in 1994 and after capturing Kabul in 1996, they established Islamic Emirate. Taliban were in control of 93% territory till 07 Oct 2001, and only 7% in the north was controlled by the Northern Alliance (NA) comprising Uzbeks, Tajiks and Hazaras. The military wing of NA was trained by the Indian and Iranian military trainers in Iran.

 

 

 

From 1997 onwards, the Taliban regime came in bad books of Washington because of cancellation of oil & gas pipelines project of UNICOL and was put under sanctions. Al-Qaeda under Osama bin Laden that had been created by CIA to fight the Soviets turned hostile and started hitting American targets in Gulf of Aden and African countries.

During the 5-year rule of Taliban, Afghanistan was made free of warlords, crimes and social vices including rapes and drug business. People could leave their houses and shops unlocked since none dared to commit theft. Justice was cheap and quick. For the first time since 1947, Pakistan enjoyed very cordial relations with Afghanistan and its western border became safe and Indian presence in Afghanistan faded. The closeness promoted the concept of strategic depth. After the forcible removal of Taliban regime by the US-NATO forces in November 2001, Pak-Afghanistan relations have strained and Indian influence has bounced back in a big way. It was owing to their social and judicial achievements that Talibanization crept into FATA and Malakand Division in Pakistan and later give birth to TTP and TNSM.   

 

Pakistan-US relations 1954-2000

 

Pakistan-USA relations have all along been transactional in nature and never developed into deep-rooted strategic relationship based on mutual trust and friendship. The 74 years history has seen many ups and downs; the US behaving like an overbearing mother-in-law and Pakistan put on a roller coaster ride behaving like a submissive daughter-in-law, taking her barbs without a whimper. Such an unfair treatment was meted out in spite of Pakistan having put its national security at stake three times and each time suffering a great deal.

 

The US embraced Pakistan for the accomplishment of its objectives in this region and no sooner the objectives were achieved, it was unceremoniously dumped. Each time the US ventured into this part of the world, it found Pakistan to be most suitable and most pliable to serve its ends. Pak-US relations were at their best during Eisenhower-Dulles era after which the US started wooing India and forced Pakistan to lean on China.

 

During the Cold War, Pakistan was reluctantly taken on board by the US in 1953/4 to help in containing communism in South Asia after India which was the camp follower of the Soviet Union refused to become part of the US defensive arc. Pakistan joined the western pacts due to its extreme security concerns from India and Afghanistan, both backed by former Soviet Union.

 

Although Pakistan earned the title of ‘most allied ally of the US’ and became totally dependent upon the US arms and technology, but the US disappointed Pakistan when its support was needed the most in the 1965 and 1971 wars with India. Pakistan was denied the crucially needed war munitions from the US as well as diplomatic support during the two wars, while India continued to receive arms from the USSR and kept the resolution of Kashmir dispute at bay due to Soviet vetoes. 

 

The US ignored India’s nuclear explosion in 1974 but promptly imposed sanctions on Pakistan in 1979 on mere suspicion that it was working on a nuclear program. However, soon after, when Pakistan’s services were needed to fight the occupying Soviet forces in Afghanistan, it once again hugged it in 1981 and doled out monetary and military assistance.

 

Throughout the 1990s, Pakistan was kept under the leash under the charges of developing an Islamic bomb, nuclear proliferation and cross border terrorism in Indian Occupied Kashmir (IOK). Holy warriors were dubbed as terrorists and hounded. Indo-US relations blossomed into strategic relationship during Bill Clinton rule and thereon it kept flourishing leaps and bounds.

 

Post 9/11 events

 

Pakistan was once again taken on board by the US after 9/11 for the achievement of its short-term regional objectives in Afghanistan. From the very outset, the US intoxicated with power ignored the geography, history, culture, sociology and ideology of Afghanistan. It didn’t bother that it had been a graveyard of empires where it was easy to enter but near impossible to exit safely. Not only Alexander the great fell, but the British also failed and the USSR disintegrated.

 

Blinded by rage to avenge the 9/11 attacks and immersed in the pool of arrogance and egotism, the US and its western allies jumped into the inferno of Afghanistan with full zeal and enthusiasm, and vaulted from one plan to another in pursuit of a hollow strategy, which was never changed to correct its course.

 

Gen Musharraf accepted all 7 demands of the US since he was denied the option of staying neutral. To save Pakistan from destruction, he ditched the Taliban and provided airbases, seaport, land routes and intelligence cooperation to the invaders. The US could not have so easily toppled the Taliban regime and occupied Afghanistan in a month if Pakistan had not provided full support.

 

Completely isolated and encircled from all directions, and the traditional fallback position of FATA denied, the Taliban could fight the ground forces of NA, but couldn’t have resisted the massive air bombing for long. Hence they wisely undertook a tactical withdrawal to regain strength and start bleeding the occupiers through prolonged insurrectional war. The euphoric George W. Bush sounded the victory bugles too prematurely and took it for granted that the Taliban were down and out.

 

Mistakes made by Bush administration

 

Much against Pakistan’s advice, the US installed NA heavy regime in Kabul which was pro-India and anti-Pakistan. The puppet regime ignored the Afghan Pashtuns and started giving more space to India to make it the preeminent player in Afghanistan as was desired by the US.

 

Ignoring the heavy majority Pashtuns and relying solely on the minority NA regime was the first mistake made by Bush administration. This blunder was followed by another when it imposed the US tailored constitution upon the tribal based society. 

 

Opening of the second front by USA in Iraq in 2003 without consolidating the gains in Afghanistan was another slip-up, since engagement on two fronts diluted the war effort of the US-NATO and allowed breathing space to the Taliban to regroup in FATA.

 

Yet another error was raising non-Pashtun heavy Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) which turned into a liability.

 

CIA and NATO as well as Afghan warlords indulged in drug business which had almost been eliminated by the Taliban. These distractions loosened the grip of ISAF led by weak military commanders over Afghanistan and enabled the Taliban to recover lost space in southern and eastern Afghanistan and also earn money from drug business for their war effort.

 

Since the two land routes from Pakistan used by NATO containers passed through the Taliban dominated rural belt, the US security contractors and Afghan officials had to pay toll tax to the Taliban for passage of every container which also became a source of income for them.

 

The US dual standards

 

Misled by misconceived victory, over confident Bush instead of fulfilling the promises made to the Afghans by promoting democracy, education and development works, he gave preference to covert operations against Pakistan and forced Pakistan to fight the Al-Qaeda in South Waziristan (SW). That way, Pakistan earned the hostility of Al-Qaeda and own tribesmen.

 

Ironically, while Washington waged war in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring democracy, it stoutly upheld Pakistan’s military dictatorship.

 

While Pak security forces fought the Pakistani Taliban and Baloch rebel groups in FATA and in Baluchistan that were funded, trained, equipped and guided by RAW-NDS combine to destabilize Pakistan, they didn’t confront the Afghan Taliban whose struggle was entirely confined to Afghanistan and they never fired a bullet against Pak forces.

 

Pakistan started taking measures to protect its national security in 2008 once it learnt that CIA-FBI had gained complete sway over FATA with the help of TTP formed in Dec 2006. Blackwater was inducted in 2008 to bolster CIA-FBI in urban areas of Pakistan. Nexus of CIA-RAW-NDS-MI-6-Mossad-BND in Kabul supported anti-Pakistan proxies in FATA and Baluchistan.

 

In order to keep the supply routes to the TTP open so that it could indulge in terrorism in FATA and KP, the US rejected Pakistan’s proposal to fence the western border, or to increase number of border posts on Afghan side to prevent infiltration.

 

A coordinated Indo-Afghan propaganda campaign backed by the west was launched to defame Pakistan and its premier institutions.

 

Obama’s Nightmare era

 

Based on Obama’s Af-Pak strategy of anvil and hammer, managed by Richard Holbrook, ISAF failed to provide the anvil when Pak forces delivered the hammer in SW in 2009, thus letting the TTP militants under Hakimullah Mehsud to flee to Afghanistan. Pak forces managed to retrieve 17 out of 19 administrative units under the influence of TTP and confined its presence to the last bastions of North Waziristan (NW) and Khyber Agency.

 

But for Pakistan which nabbed over 600 Al-Qaeda senior leaders and operators and handed them over to CIA, the ISAF couldn’t have dismantled and defeated them in Afghanistan as claimed by Obama. Bulk of Al-Qaeda fighters had otherwise shifted to Iraq in 2004 and formed Al-Qaeda Arabian Peninsula after the US-NATO forces occupied Iraq in May 2003.

 

Two troop surges in 2009 raised the strength of ISAF (an amalgam of 48 military contingents) to near 1,50,000, but it proved futile since it resulted in heavy casualties of the occupiers. Adoption of rearward posture and abandonment of boots on ground strategy by ISAF after suffering setbacks in battles of Helmand and Nuristan and putting ANSF in the forefront, and thereafter putting heavy reliance on airpower, was a wrong decision made by Gen McChrystal. It enabled the Taliban to snatch the initiative and build momentum of offensive, which couldn’t be reversed by the occupying force.   

 

Tensions between the US and Pakistan kept increasing when the US adopted a highly discriminatory policy of blaming Pakistan for the failures of ISAF-ANSF, and instability in Afghanistan; subjecting it to drone war; insulting and penalizing it and constantly pressing it to do more against Haqqani Network (HN) and Quetta Shura, and at the same time covering up the sins of India and Kabul regime and going out of the way to reward them. Extreme pressure was mounted to flush out HN from NW. Discriminatory policy brought in element of distrust.  

 

2011 was the worst year for Pakistan in which Raymond Davis, Abbottabad attack, Memogate and Salala attack took place which forced Pakistan to cut off military cooperation with the US and stop the two NATO supply routes for six months.  

 

The reason behind the discriminatory behavior was that while Indo-US-Afghan-West-Israel are strategic partners and work in collusion to achieve their common objectives, Pakistan doesn’t fit into the US security paradigm or the Indo-Pacific strategy, and as such was accepted as a tactical partner to fight terrorism both inside Pakistan and in Afghanistan.

The points of friction which kept the Pak-US relations dysfunctional are Pakistan’s nuclear program, the CPEC, its closeness with China, hostility against India mainly due to unresolved Kashmir dispute, its refusal to recognize Israel, and its refusal to fight Afghan Taliban.

Initiation of peace talks by Obama in 2011 which led to opening of Taliban’s political office at Doha in mid-June 2013 lacked sincerity since whichever Taliban leader came forward for a peace deal, whether from TTP or the Taliban, was droned. Wali, Baituallah Mehsud, Hakimullah Mehsud, Akhtar Mansour, were all killed by drones. Fight and talk strategy was aimed at dividing Taliban movement.  

After withdrawal of bulk of ISAF forces by Dec 2014, the Taliban rapidly captured more territory and gained a military ascendency over occupying forces and the ANSF. Demoralization set in among the occupiers and collaborators; green-over-blue attacks as well as suicide cases increased; rate of desertions in ANSF accelerated.

Installation of a unity regime in Kabul in 2016 by Obama regime was a bad decision. Due to poor governance, corruption and power tussle between Ghani and Abdullah, writ of the government got confined to Kabul.

The Taliban gained dominance over 56% rural territory through which major supply routes pass; its influence stretched to well over 80% area where they installed shadow governments; could strike any part of the country; developed war economy; had sound command, control & communication infrastructure; fair judicial system and dedicated fighters.

The Taliban succeeded in breaking their isolation and were wooed by China, Russia, Turkey, Iran, Qatar, UAE, KSA, and Germany. China signed a $ 3 billion development project with the Taliban. It reduced the clout of Pakistan over them.

Writ of the ANSF backed by the US led Resolute Support Group got restricted to capital cities which are often attacked by the Taliban.    

   

Landmark peace agreement

After maximizing force against the Taliban and pressure against Pakistan, Donald Trump reopened the stalled peace talks in July 2018 and finally inked the historic peace agreement with the Taliban on February 29, 2020, in which the Kabul regime was excluded. The UN, Russia, China and Pakistan endorsed the agreement.

The Taliban agreed not to allow Afghan soil for terrorism against the US/allies, reduce violence, desist from attacking western targets in Afghanistan, sever ties with al-Qaeda, and to open inter-Afghan dialogue for a comprehensive political settlement. The US agreed to pull out all troops by May 1, 2021 and to refrain from attacking the Taliban. 5000 Taliban prisoners and 1000 ANSF prisoners were to be released within 3 months after start of intra-Afghan talks on March 10, 2020, and Taliban leaders removed from the UN blacklist. 

Intra-Afghan dialogue got delayed due to Ashraf Ghani’s reservations and foot dragging over prisoner exchange. Firefight between the Taliban and ANSF supported by the US continued in which former had an upper hand.

Trump was keen to end the longest war and make a clean break from Afghanistan and he reduced the US troop level to 2500 only.  

To be continued

The writer is a retired Brig Gen, war veteran, defence & security analyst, international columnist, author of five books, 6th book under publication, Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre, takes part in TV talk shows. Email: asifharoonraja@gmail.com     

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Archive Article – American Democracy on Trial: Trump vs. Biden Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

American Democracy on Trial: Trump vs. Biden

Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

 

 

President Trump’s Fault lines and Delusional Concept of Power

 

America is entrenched in deep political crises of multiple dimensions. The working of political institutions, politicians, human character, morals and responsibility signal rituals of evil eye paradigms and a future of miseries of innumerable multitudes. The snapshot of American democracy and a rethinking moment in time appears shrouded by unknown purpose of catastrophic political consequences. Aftermath of the presidential election and an opportunity for great transformation to a peaceful change looks unpredictable between the end of the old delusional concept of power and the beginning of the new. Tonight (January 3, 2021), the CNN is playing an hour long audio tape of President Trump’s conversation with Brad Farrensperger (Georgia Secretary of State) asking: “ I just want 11,780 votes  …one more vote” to victory and  “find” votes to “tilt the 2020 election” and you can “recalculate” the election.  Carl Bernstein and other US media analysts demand immediate resignation of Trump and interpret it as a political conspiracy to invalidate the Joe Biden presidential election. Others call it a “bomb shell” and a crime against American democracy just as it was the “Watergate” planned by Nixon.  President Trump claims victory in other states and again calls it a “stolen election” from his candidacy – a highly contentious image of political time left at the White House. It seems that love of power is at the heart of incomprehensible claims of dreadful mystery. This formidable evidence could prolong the systematic and peaceful transfer of power as a destabilization factor in American modern history. In an endless self-repeating false rhetoric, the refutation of Biden presidential confirmation at the Senate on January 6, could lead to widespread public outrage and unrest in time and space unheard of in contemporary American politics.

 

Brad Farrensperger sounds unwilling in audio to accord any substance to Trump and his illogical demand. He tries to clarify the election authentication process and its legitimate outcome in favor of Joe Biden- the President Elect. The 2020 American Presidential election should have been a springboard for planned peaceful transfer of power and political change for future-making. Despite legal authentication of the election outcomes and declaration of Joe-Biden, the President Elect, Mr. Trump continues to search for morally and intellectually forbidden vicious tactics to undermine the US systems of democratic norms.  The road to egoistic political hell is paved with good intentions without any reality. Assumingly, no American court or tribunal could prosecute political wickedness and obsessed crimes against democracy. If all goes to favor the poisonous politics of the few and 140 coerced GOP Republicans by Donald Trump will challenge the public verdict to oppose the Biden -President Elect confirmation on January 6 at the US Senate confirmation. It could be interpreted as a hybrid political culture of cataclysmic end in modern history.

 

Global Community Watching the American Political Quagmire

The world will watch with alarmed curiosity – how America and its acclaimed liberal democracy are vulnerable to unthinkable change and unpredictability for the future generations. It would affirm that US textbooks on a working democracy are incomprehensible to the “Common Sense” and rational understanding.  There appears to be “No Goodwill” active political bridge builders in current extreme American emotional and intellectual decadent upsurge. Those invested with public trust are far from any logical pursuit to speak out truthfully any bipartisan political language of the time. Joe Biden and the Democratic Party appear mature, resilient, intellectual and morally conscience and self-disciplined without erratic behavior to ensure that American systems of political governance should work for the good of WE, the People of America. It could be a political crime to dislodge Joe Biden from assuming the presidency on January 20th, 2021. The Republican leadership under Trump appears delusional and intellectual exhausted and making conflicting statements to assert their own verdict of “fraudulent election” when all the 50 states and territories have confirmed the winner – Joe Biden as President Elect. President Trump failure is more of a blindfolded person leading the blinds as there is always inconsistency in politically delusional adventures.

 

What is Next out of American Political Chaos?

America is in desperate need of moral and intellectual leadership. In situations of adversity and crises, leaders represent self-confidence and optimism for change, not egoistic agenda and belligerent outbursts as the nuisance of individualistic political indoctrination. President Trump is pursuing an unsurpassably intense political conspiracy to degenerate the present and future of American political governance. Trump is a warrior without any characteristics of true wisdom and political vision.

Comforting the major paradoxes of history as Arnold Toynbee (A Study of History) described warrior as dreamers devoid of moral and intellectual imagination when they come close to stagnation they jump to irrational outbursts and conclusions about the facts of life. Wrong people, glued to wrong thinking, do the wrong things without any rational sense of time, people’s interest and history. Trump failed to see the interests of the America people and global community to a peaceful approach to conflict management through dialogue and non-rhetoric belligerent statements. Naïve egoism and one-sided complacency to individualistic interest cannot further the cause of peace within America.

Biden and his team would urgently need rethinking and men of ideas and creative strategies to undo the harm and distrust that fractured the American political stability. The new administration if installed on January 20th, should articulate a Plan enriched with wisdom, vision and forbearance to pursue political, moral and intellectual pursuits for change. Would Biden and his team give priorities to dogmatic concepts of power and exploitation of truth or the forgotten – We, the People? In a recent article: “America at Crossroads: Presidential Election and the Clash of Democracy” (Uncommon Thought Journal, USA: 12.14.2020), this author envisaged the following agenda for Biden and team to take urgent action: https://www.uncommonthought.com/mtblog/archives/2020/12/14/america-at-the-crossroads-the-presidential-election-and-the-clash-of-democracy.php

  1. Plan, organize and set your strategic priorities in writing – like the statement of top objectives and monitor and achieve success by doing the best. The WHO, Global Warming ( a time bomb in waiting) Climate Summit and Global mankind is waiting for you and so are the neglected people targeted victims of colors, ethnicity and creed- all leading to more man-made disasters.
  2. The COVID-19 Pandemic is a critical issue and a priority to be dealt with cautiously and scientifically for the good of the masses.
  3. Mankind looks for Hope, Unity, Peace and Co-existence amongst the divergent cultures and nations of the world. You take initiatives to bridge gaps between cultures and civilizations, including Russia, China, the Muslim world and others abhorred and hated by Trump presidency. If Immanuel Kant’s ‘Perpetual Peace’ was taken seriously, today’s America and Europe would have been at peace, not wars within themselves and with the global community.
  4. Trump lacked imagination and visionary foresight and neglected advice and reasoning in all official endeavors. He opted for transgressors, killers and morally corrupt dictators, kings and princesses across the globe. You Mr. President (elect) will have the opportunity and time to take corrective actions to enhance human equality, human rights – be it in America’s Black Life Matter, Kashmir, Palestine, Myanmar-Burma, China or elsewhere and take initiative to legislate changes to ensure participation of the indigenous, black and people of colors as equal citizens in American political systems.
  5. Your Chief Justice will administer the official oath in the name of God –The Beneficent – The Merciful – the Creator of the World – Who created the human being from a living sperm and sustained life on Earth – and you will perform the art of leading mankind as being part of mankind on a living Universe and Earth as we are accountable for all of our commitments and pursuits.
  6. Be a peacemaker, not a warmonger as there is much evil and much good in the creed of human optimism. True leaders create new leaders and always listen and accept readily intelligent advice from people of knowledge and wisdom. Every beginning has its end as America is at the conclusion of an unpredictable age, not the end of world. Your vision and leadership initiatives will reframe the historic time for a progressive and changing America for the best of people and humanity.

 

 

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American Democracy on Trial: Trump vs. Biden by Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

The Times

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 6:56:05 PM

World

Tue Jan 5, 2021

American Democracy on Trial: Trump vs. Biden

  • Written by Mahboob A. Khawaja, PhD.

President Trump’s Fault lines and Delusional Concept of Power

America is entrenched in deep political crises of multiple dimensions. The working of political institutions, politicians, human character, morals and responsibility signal rituals of evil eye paradigms and a future of miseries of innumerable multitudes. The snapshot of American democracy and a rethinking moment in time appears shrouded by unknown purpose of catastrophic political consequences. Aftermath of the presidential election and an opportunity for great transformation to a peaceful change looks unpredictable between the end of the old delusional concept of power and the beginning of the new. Tonight (January 3, 2021), the CNN is playing an hour long audio tape of President Trump’s conversation with Brad Farrensperger (Georgia Secretary of State) asking: “ I just want 11,780 votes …one more vote” to victory and “find” votes to “tilt the 2020 election” and you can “recalculate” the election. Carl Bernstein and other US media analysts demand immediate resignation of Trump and interpret it as a political conspiracy to invalidate the Joe Biden presidential election. Others call it a “bomb shell” and a crime against American democracy just as it was the “Watergate” planned by Nixon. President Trump claims victory in other states and again calls it a “stolen election” from his candidacy – a highly contentious image of political time left at the White House. It seems that love of power is at the heart of incomprehensible claims of dreadful mystery. This formidable evidence could prolong the systematic and peaceful transfer of power as a destabilization factor in American modern history. In an endless self-repeating false rhetoric, the refutation of Biden presidential confirmation at the Senate on January 6, could lead to widespread public outrage and unrest in time and space unheard of in contemporary American politics.

Brad Farrensperger sounds unwilling in audio to accord any substance to Trump and his illogical demand. He tries to clarify the election authentication process and its legitimate outcome in favor of Joe Biden- the President Elect. The 2020 American Presidential election should have been a springboard for planned peaceful transfer of power and political change for future-making. Despite legal authentication of the election outcomes and declaration of Joe-Biden, the President Elect, Mr. Trump continues to search for morally and intellectually forbidden vicious tactics to undermine the US systems of democratic norms. The road to egoistic political hell is paved with good intentions without any reality. Assumingly, no American court or tribunal could prosecute political wickedness and obsessed crimes against democracy. If all goes to favor the poisonous politics of the few and 140 coerced GOP Republicans by Donald Trump will challenge the public verdict to oppose the Biden -President Elect confirmation on January 6 at the US Senate confirmation. It could be interpreted as a hybrid political culture of cataclysmic end in modern history.

Global Community Watching the American Political Quagmire

The world will watch with alarmed curiosity – how America and its acclaimed liberal democracy are vulnerable to unthinkable change and unpredictability for the future generations. It would affirm that US textbooks on a working democracy are incomprehensible to the “Common Sense” and rational understanding. There appears to be “No Goodwill” active political bridge builders in current extreme American emotional and intellectual decadent upsurge. Those invested with public trust are far from any logical pursuit to speak out truthfully any bipartisan political language of the time. Joe Biden and the Democratic Party appear mature, resilient, intellectual and morally conscious and self-disciplined without erratic behavior to ensure that American systems of political governance should work for the good of WE, the People of America. It could be a political crime to dislodge Joe Biden from assuming the presidency on January 20th, 2021. The Republican leadership under Trump appears delusional and intellectually exhausted and making conflicting statements to assert their own verdict of “fraudulent election” when all the 50 states and territories have confirmed the winner – Joe Biden as President Elect. President Trump failure is more of a blindfolded person leading the blinds as there is always inconsistency in politically delusional adventures.

What is Next out of American Political Chaos?

America is in desperate need of moral and intellectual leadership. In situations of adversity and crises, leaders represent self-confidence and optimism for change, not egoistic agenda and belligerent outbursts as the nuisance of individualistic political indoctrination. President Trump is pursuing an unsurpassably intense political conspiracy to degenerate the present and future of American political governance. Trump is a warrior without any characteristics of true wisdom and political vision.

Comforting the major paradoxes of history as Arnold Toynbee (A Study of History) described warriors as dreamers devoid of moral and intellectual imagination when they come close to stagnation they jump to irrational outbursts and conclusions about the facts of life. Wrong people, glued to wrong thinking, do the wrong things without any rational sense of time, people’s interest and history. Trump failed to see the interests of the America people and global community to a peaceful approach to conflict management through dialogue and non-rhetoric belligerent statements. Naïve egoism and one-sided complacency to individualistic interest cannot further the cause of peace within America.

Biden and his team would urgently need rethinking and men of ideas and creative strategies to undo the harm and distrust that fractured the American political stability. The new administration, if installed on January 20th, should articulate a Plan enriched with wisdom, vision and forbearance to pursue political, moral and intellectual pursuits for change. Would Biden and his team give priorities to dogmatic concepts of power and exploitation of truth or the forgotten – We, the People? In a recent article: “America at Crossroads: Presidential Election and the Clash of Democracy” (Uncommon Thought Journal, USA: 12.14.2020), this author envisaged the following agenda for Biden and team to take urgent action: https://www.uncommonthought.com/mtblog/archives/2020/12/14/america-at-the-crossroads-the-presidential-election-and-the-clash-of-democracy.php

  1. Plan, organize and set your strategic priorities in writing – like the statement of top objectives and monitor and achieve success by doing the best. The WHO, Global Warming ( a time bomb in waiting) Climate Summit and Global mankind is waiting for you and so are the neglected people targeted victims of colors, ethnicity and creed- all leading to more man-made disasters.

  2. The COVID-19 Pandemic is a critical issue and a priority to be dealt with cautiously and scientifically for the good of the masses.

  3. Mankind looks for Hope, Unity, Peace and Co-existence amongst the divergent cultures and nations of the world. You take initiatives to bridge gaps between cultures and civilizations, including Russia, China, the Muslim world and others abhorred and hated by Trump presidency. If Immanuel Kant’s ‘Perpetual Peace’ was taken seriously, today’s America and Europe would have been at peace, not wars within themselves and with the global community.

  4. Trump lacked imagination and visionary foresight and neglected advice and reasoning in all official endeavors. He opted for transgressors, killers and morally corrupt dictators, kings and princesses across the globe. You Mr. President (elect) will have the opportunity and time to take corrective actions to enhance human equality, human rights – be it in America’s Black Life Matter, Kashmir, Palestine, Myanmar-Burma, China or elsewhere and take initiative to legislate changes to ensure participation of the indigenous, black and people of colors as equal citizens in American political systems.

  5. Your Chief Justice will administer the official oath in the name of God –The Beneficent – The Merciful – the Creator of the World – Who created the human being from a living sperm and sustained life on Earth – and you will perform the art of leading mankind as being part of mankind on a living Universe and Earth as we are accountable for all of our commitments and pursuits.

  6. Be a peacemaker, not a warmonger as there is much evil and much good in the creed of human optimism. True leaders create new leaders and always listen and accept readily intelligent advice from people of knowledge and wisdom. Every beginning has its end as America is at the conclusion of an unpredictable age, not the end of world. Your vision and leadership initiatives will reframe the historic time for a progressive and changing America for the best of people and humanity.

 

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in international affairs-global security, peace and conflict resolution with keen interests in Islamic-Western comparative cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest: One Humanity and the Remaking of Global Peace, Security and Conflict Resolution. Lambert Academic Publications, Germany, 12/2020

 

 

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The 2020 Election Bamboozle: We Are All Victims of the Deep State’s Con Game

Question Everything!

The 2020 Election Bamboozle:
We Are All Victims of the Deep State’s Con Game

By John W. Whitehead

“We’re run by the Pentagon, we’re run by Madison Avenue, we’re run by television, and as long as we accept those things and don’t revolt we’ll have to go along with the stream to the eventual avalanche…. As long as we go out and buy stuff, we’re at their mercy… We all live in a little Village. Your Village may be different from other people’s Villages, but we are all prisoners.” –  Patrick McGoohan

October 13, 2020
This is not an election.
This is a con game, a scam, a grift, a hustle, a bunko, a swindle, a flimflam, a gaffle, and a bamboozle.

In this carefully choreographed scheme to strip the American citizenry of our power and our rights, “we the people” are nothing more than marks, suckers, stooges, mugs, rubes, or gulls.

We are victims of the Deep State’s confidence game.

Every confidence game has six essential stages: 1) the foundation to lay the groundwork for the illusion; 2) the approach whereby the victim is contacted; 3) the build-up to make the victim feel like they’ve got a vested interest in the outcome; 4) the corroboration (aided by third-party conspirators) to legitimize that the scammers are, in fact, on the up-and-up; 5) the pay-off, in which the victim gets to experience some small early “wins”; and 6) the “hurrah”— a sudden manufactured crisis or change of events that creates a sense of urgency.  

In this particular con game, every candidate dangled before us as some form of political savior—including Donald Trump and Joe Biden—is part of a long-running, elaborate scam intended to persuade us that, despite all appearances to the contrary, we live in a constitutional republic.

In this way, the voters are the dupes, the candidates are the shills, and as usual, it’s the Deep State rigging the outcome.

Terrorist attacks, pandemics, civil unrest: these are all manipulated crises that add to the sense of urgency and help us feel invested in the outcome of the various elections, but it doesn’t change much in the long term.

No matter who wins this election, we’ll all still be prisoners of the Deep State.

We just haven’t learned to recognize our prison walls as such.

It’s like that old British television series The Prisoner, which takes place in a mysterious, self-contained, cosmopolitan, seemingly idyllic retirement community known only as The Village.

Perhaps the best visual debate ever on individuality and freedom, The Prisoner (17 episodes in all) centers around a British secret agent who abruptly resigns only to find himself imprisoned, monitored by militarized drones, and interrogated in The Village, a beautiful resort with parks and green fields, recreational activities and even a butler.
While luxurious, the Village is a virtual prison disguised as a seaside paradise: its inhabitants have no true freedom, they cannot leave the Village, they are under constant surveillance, all of their movements tracked. Residents of the Village are stripped of their individuality and identified only by numbers.

First broadcast in Great Britain 50-some years ago, The Prisoner dystopian television series —described as “James Bond meets George Orwell filtered through Franz Kafka”—confronted societal themes that are still relevant today: the rise of a police state, the loss of freedom, round-the-clock surveillance, the corruption of government, totalitarianism, weaponization, group think, mass marketing, and the tendency of human beings to meekly accept their lot in life as prisoners in a prison of their own making.

The series’ protagonist, played by Patrick McGoohan is Number Six.

Number Two, the Village administrator, acts as an agent for the unseen and all-powerful Number One, whose identity is not revealed until the final episode.

“I am not a number. I am a free man,” was the mantra chanted on each episode of The Prisoner, which was largely written and directed by Patrick McGoohan, who also played the title role.

In the opening episode (“The Arrival”), Number Six meets Number Two, who explains to him that he is in The Village because information stored “inside” his head has made him too valuable to be allowed to roam free “outside.”

Throughout the series, Number Six is subjected to interrogation tactics, torture, hallucinogenic drugs, identity theft, mind control, dream manipulation, and various forms of social indoctrination and physical coercion in order to “persuade” him to comply, give up, give in and subjugate himself to the will of the powers-that-be.

Number Six refuses to comply.

In every episode, Number Six resists the Village’s indoctrination methods, struggles to maintain his own identity, and attempts to escape his captors. “I will not make any deals with you,” he pointedly remarks to Number Two. “I’ve resigned. I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, debriefed or numbered. My life is my own.”

Yet no matter how far Number Six manages to get in his efforts to escape, it’s never far enough.

Watched by surveillance cameras and other devices, Number Six’s attempts to escape are continuously thwarted by ominous white balloon-like spheres known as “rovers.” Still, he refuses to give up. “Unlike me,” he says to his fellow prisoners, “many of you have accepted the situation of your imprisonment, and will die here like rotten cabbages.”

Number Six’s escapes become a surreal exercise in futility, each episode an unfunny, unsettling Groundhog’s Day that builds to the same frustrating denouement: there is no escape.

As journalist Scott Thill concludes for Wired, “Rebellion always comes at a price. During the acclaimed run of The Prisoner, Number Six is tortured, battered and even body-snatched: In the episode ‘Do Not Forsake Me Oh My Darling,’ his mind is transplanted to another man’s body. Number Six repeatedly escapes The Village only to be returned to it in the end, trapped like an animal, overcome by a restless energy he cannot expend, and betrayed by nearly everyone around him.”

The series is a chilling lesson about how difficult it is to gain one’s freedom in a society in which prison walls are disguised within the seemingly benevolent trappings of technological and scientific progress, national security and the need to guard against terrorists, pandemics, civil unrest, etc.

As Thill noted, “The Prisoner was an allegory of the individual, aiming to find peace and freedom in a dystopia masquerading as a utopia.”

The Prisoner’s Village is also an apt allegory for the American Police State: it gives the illusion of freedom while functioning all the while like a prison: controlled, watchful, inflexible, punitive, deadly and inescapable.

The American Police State, much like The Prisoner’s Village, is a metaphorical panopticon, a circular prison in which the inmates are monitored by a single watchman situated in a central tower. Because the inmates cannot see the watchman, they are unable to tell whether or not they are being watched at any given time and must proceed under the assumption that they are always being watched.

Eighteenth century social theorist Jeremy Bentham envisioned the panopticon prison to be a cheaper and more effective means of “obtaining power of mind over mind, in a quantity hitherto without example.”

Bentham’s panopticon, in which the prisoners are used as a source of cheap, menial labor, has become a model for the modern surveillance state in which the populace is constantly being watched, controlled and managed by the powers-that-be while funding its existence.

Nowhere to run and nowhere to hide: this is the new mantra of the architects of the Deep State and their corporate collaborators (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Instagram, etc.).

Government eyes are watching you.

They see your every move: what you read, how much you spend, where you go, with whom you interact, when you wake up in the morning, what you’re watching on television and reading on the internet.

Every move you make is being monitored, mined for data, crunched, and tabulated in order to amass a profile of who you are, what makes you tick, and how best to control you when and if it becomes necessary to bring you in line.

When the government sees all and knows all and has an abundance of laws to render even the most seemingly upstanding citizen a criminal and lawbreaker, then the old adage that you’ve got nothing to worry about if you’ve got nothing to hide no longer applies.

Apart from the obvious dangers posed by a government that feels justified and empowered to spy on its people and use its ever-expanding arsenal of weapons and technology to monitor and control them, we’re approaching a time in which we will be forced to choose between obeying the dictates of the government—i.e., the law, or whatever a government official deems the law to be—and maintaining our individuality, integrity and independence.

When people talk about privacy, they mistakenly assume it protects only that which is hidden behind a wall or under one’s clothing. The courts have fostered this misunderstanding with their constantly shifting delineation of what constitutes an “expectation of privacy.” And technology has furthered muddied the waters.

However, privacy is so much more than what you do or say behind locked doors. It is a way of living one’s life firm in the belief that you are the master of your life, and barring any immediate danger to another person (which is far different from the carefully crafted threats to national security the government uses to justify its actions), it’s no one’s business what you read, what you say, where you go, whom you spend your time with, and how you spend your money.

Unfortunately, George Orwell’s 1984—where “you had to live—did live, from habit that became instinct—in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized”—has now become our reality.

We now find ourselves in the unenviable position of being monitored, managed, corralled and controlled by technologies that answer to government and corporate rulers.

Consider that on any given day, the average American going about his daily business will be monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways, by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

A byproduct of this new age in which we live, whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency, whether the NSA or some other entity, is listening in and tracking your behavior.

This doesn’t even begin to touch on the corporate trackers that monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere.

Stingray devices mounted on police cars to warrantlessly track cell phones, Doppler radar devices that can detect human breathing and movement within in a home, license plate readers that can record up to 1800 license plates per minutesidewalk and “public space” cameras coupled with facial recognition and behavior-sensing technology that lay the groundwork for police “pre-crime” programspolice body cameras that turn police officers into roving surveillance cameras, the internet of things: all of these technologies (and more) add up to a society in which there’s little room for indiscretions, imperfections, or acts of independence—especially not when the government can listen in on your phone calls, read your emails, monitor your driving habits, track your movements, scrutinize your purchases and peer through the walls of your home.

As French philosopher Michel Foucault concluded in his 1975 book Discipline and Punish, “Visibility is a trap.”

This is the electronic concentration camp—the panopticon prison—the Village—in which we are now caged.

It is a prison from which there will be no escape. Certainly not if the government and its corporate allies have anything to say about it.

As Glenn Greenwald notes:

“The way things are supposed to work is that we’re supposed to know virtually everything about what [government officials] do: that’s why they’re called public servants. They’re supposed to know virtually nothing about what we do: that’s why we’re called private individuals. This dynamic – the hallmark of a healthy and free society – has been radically reversed. Now, they know everything about what we do, and are constantly building systems to know more. Meanwhile, we know less and less about what they do, as they build walls of secrecy behind which they function. That’s the imbalance that needs to come to an end. No democracy can be healthy and functional if the most consequential acts of those who wield political power are completely unknown to those to whom they are supposed to be accountable.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

None of this will change, no matter who wins this upcoming presidential election.

And that’s the hustle, you see: because despite all of the work being done to help us buy into the fantasy that things will change if we just elect the right candidate, the day after a new president is sworn in, we’ll still find ourselves prisoners of the Village.

This should come as no surprise to those who haven’t been taking the escapist blue pill, who haven’t fallen for the Deep State’s phony rhetoric, who haven’t been lured in by the promise of a political savior: we never stopped being prisoners.

So how do you escape? For starters, resist the urge to conform to a group mind and the tyranny of mob-think as controlled by the Deep State.

Think for yourself. Be an individual. As McGoohan commented in 1968, “At this moment individuals are being drained of their personalities and being brainwashed into slaves… As long as people feel something, that’s the great thing. It’s when they are walking around not thinking and not feeling, that’s tough. When you get a mob like that, you can turn them into the sort of gang that Hitler had.”

You want to be free? Remove the blindfold that blinds you to the Deep State’s con game, stop doping yourself with government propaganda, and break free of the political chokehold that has got you marching in lockstep with tyrants and dictators.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, until you come to terms with the fact that the government is the problem (no matter which party dominates), you’ll never be free.

Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead is founder and president of The Rutherford Institute. His new book Battlefield America: The War on the American People  is available at www.amazon.com. Whitehead can be contacted at johnw@rutherford.org.

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