Friday, February 19, 2010

On Marja: More Bananastan Bull Feathers

The propaganda continues to pile higher and deeper regarding our war in the Bananastans (Afghanistan and Pakistan, our Central Asian banana republics). The latest piece of manipulation disguised as news comes from Dexter Filkins of the New York Times, who is rapidly supplanting Thomas E. Ricks as the Pentagon’s favorite bull feather merchant.

In a February 15 piece titled "Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander," Filkins and co-author Mark Mazetti breathlessly announce, "The Taliban’s top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan." The unnamed "American officials" we’ve come to know so well over the course of our woebegone war on terror say that the prisoner, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, "ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder." Details of the raid are, not surprisingly, "murky."

Baradar’s capture was supposedly a "joint effort" between the CIA and Pakistan’s Inter Service Intelligence agency (ISI). "Officials" say that the arrest "had provided a window into the Taliban and could lead to other senior officials," including and especially Omar. Yeah, right.

Unnamed officials have told us we’ve captured or killed a number-two evildoer so many times since 9/11 that by now I couldn’t give a number two less. Regardless, Filkins and Mazetti tell us that the unnamed officials tell them Baradar is "the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago." If that were all I had to show for eight years of war, I wouldn’t brag about it, but the propaganda operatives who fed this tripe to Filkins and Mazetti aren’t targeting the sharpest tools in the American shed.

Throughout the article, one senses the hidden, guiding hand of Rear Admiral Gregory Smith, the former Chief of Naval Information (CHINFO) who is now the Director of Communication for the International Security Assistance Force (DIC-ISAF). A career public affairs officer, Smith is in charge of, among other things, General Stanley McChrystal’s "information operations," AKA misinformation, disinformation and deception stratagems.

Filkins and Mazetti describe Taliban leader Omar as "a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks," and note that the Taliban "have so far refused to disavow al-Qaeda." Both statements had to have been cut and pasted from an ISAF press release, and like most of what Smith’s minions put out, are so misleading that they amount to outright falsehoods.

Thanks to Gareth Porter of Inter Press Service and Arnaud de Borchgrave of United Press International, we know that Omar and bin Laden have never been kissing cousins. Porter gives us convincing evidence (including, gasp, sources identified by name, just like real reporters used to do back in the real reporter days) that in 1998 Omar placed severe restrictions on bin Laden in an attempt to prevent him from carrying out plots against the United States. Nine years ago, prior to 9/11, Omar himself told de Borchgrave that he had "offered the United States and the United Nations to place international monitors to observe Osama bin Laden pending the resolution of the case, but so far we have received no reply."

And as Porter also tells us, Taliban leadership in recent months has expressed a willingness to throw al-Qaeda under the caravan, and he notes that "In September, Mullah Omar declared the Taliban has no interest in a global jihadist campaign and in December a Taliban statement said the organization is ready to provide ‘legal guarantees’ against ‘meddling’ in foreign countries – an obvious reference to any al-Qaeda bases – as part of a settlement involving withdrawal of foreign forces."

How much more of a disavowal do we need. What do we want Omar to do, make bin Laden kiss his naked rear end live on al Jazeera?

The Filkins-Mazetti Times article contains a grain of truthiness nested below the headline and lede paragraphs, well past the point where most readers quit reading, which is where our mainstream media most often hide the truth.

The reporters quote Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid as saying the news of Barada’s capture "is just rumor spread by foreigners to divert attention from the Marja offensive." A statement from a Talibani that Barada wasn’t really captured seems hard to swallow, but then again, the guy telling us that went on record, which is a lot more than you can say about the guys telling us Barada was captured. And unlike "unknown officials," Zabiullah Mujahid never talked us into invading another country by lying about its non-existent weapons of mass destruction program.

But half of what Mujahid says you can take to the bank: Gregory’s minions are trying to keep headlines in the U.S. from reading "McChrystal Makes Major Mistake in Marja." The latest news from the front reveals that the best trained, best equipped military in history has been stymied by sniper fire from fighters who likely had to teach themselves how to shoot.

Marja was supposed to be, according to the Karen de Young of the Washington Post, "a key test of Obama’s strategy." I’m not sure Obama has a strategy for Afghanistan except maybe to go along with whatever McChrystal and David Petraeus want, which is to make their Long War last as long as possible. I doubt if even McChrystal has any hopes that the Marja offensive will produce anything more tangible than whatever his publicity people manage to spin out of it.

Ultimately, the Pentagon is shooting for an official narrative that says whatever peace accord comes to pass was only made possible by offensive U.S. military operations. This is the same pile of bull feathers the warmongery blew up the American public’s skirt over Korea, the three-year war that contained two years of unsuccessful peace talks, and Vietnam, where we pursued "peace with honor" throughout the Nixon presidency, and Iraq, where we’ve been brokering a civil war since young Mr. Bush declared "mission accomplished" nearly eight years ago.

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes at Pen and Sword. Jeff's novel Bathtub Admirals (Kunati Books), a lampoon on America's rise to global dominance, is on sale now.


  1. Anonymous10:38 AM

    I would like to pass along an idea that was suggessted to me a few days ago. Srtictly for informational purposes. I think that it is neccessary for people of good will all across the planet to consider this suggestion. It has become necessary becasue it has become apparent to me that by creating a phony crisis over Greek Debt levels the US has shown that it is not only at war in Afghanistan and Iraq but it is waging war against the entire planet. For years appeasment has been the world's policy towards these acts of unjust war.
    Is it time that the citizens of the world and the US in particular who are still sane start to fight back? The problem is that there is very little collective action that the world can take to punish those who are responsible for carrying out these policies. The idea that was suggested to me is for concerned citizens the world over to call a US military telephone number at least once a day and talk with whoever picks up the telephone. This is not something that would shut down the US military telephone system or disrupt the work, that is worthless anyways, of at least part of the US military, if only a few people do it. The trick would be to get at least unofficial backing from some large institutions such as Green Peace.
    Such institutions may not be able to officially back such an action as it could result in a law suit.
    But somewhere there must be some people who are well connected organizers capable or of organizng such a program. Many military numbers are available from open sources. Anti war veterans may be able to supply additional numbers.
    If the anti fascist supporters of truth and justice are not willing to spend a few minutes of their time each day to be at least a nusciance to the evil empire then perhaps the world collectively speaking is getting the rule of an empire that they deserve. Since rates for international telephone calls in at least in some parts of the world have fallen so low in at least some parts of the world this is a program that can be implemented world wide. Even in coutries with no US military bases.
    It would not be risk free the US military may try to retaliate by messing with the phone service of those who are calling US military bases. But the risks of injury or arrest are much less than blocking streets or even legally protesting in the US let alone a country like Iran.
    I am not the well conected organized person to recruit hundreds of people who are capable or recruiting thousands more who are capable of reruiting thousands more but such a perosn is out there somewhere. Is it you?
    Is it you, or is it you?

  2. Y ou might like this.

  3. Anonymous10:39 PM

    One day it might be nice to hear about a non Taliban, Afghan provincial chief who is not a war lord or opium trader.

    One who could win hearts and minds in his province without plundering the US.

    Killing or capturing Taliban for Cheney to waterbroad has not resulted in any progress.

    Other than to propose more plundering the US.


  4. " the propaganda operatives who fed this tripe to Filkins and Mazetti aren’t targeting the sharpest tools in the American shed."

    Who, or should I say what tools, are they targeting?

  5. Looks like the infighting is starting among the military planners in Afghanistan.

    Probes Overlook General McChrystal's Role in Costly Afghan Battles

    Meanwhile, King David has just received the "James Madison Medal, the University's top honor for graduate alumni" from Princeton.

    Dear gawd.

    Alumni Day honorees emphasize leadership, civility

    "Petraeus, who earned his master's in public affairs and a Ph.D. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1985 and 1987, respectively, is renowned both as a military leader and public intellectual.

    ...[R]eferring to the 2007 surge of U.S. troops in Iraq, Petraeus said, "The truth is that the surge of ideas was even more important than the surge of forces, though clearly the increase in forces enabled us to implement the big ideas much more rapidly than otherwise might have been the case."

    I think I'll just go away now and beat my head against a wall.

    Or maybe I'll remind myself of Admiral William Fallon's assessment of both Petraeus and the "surge" back in 2007.

    Fallon Derided Petraeus, Opposed the Surge by Gareth Porter

    "In sharp contrast to the lionisation of Gen. David Petraeus by members of the U.S. Congress during his testimony this week, Petraeus's superior, Admiral William Fallon, chief of the Central Command (CENTCOM), derided Petraeus as a sycophant during their first meeting in Baghdad last March, according to Pentagon sources familiar with reports of the meeting.

    Fallon told Petraeus that he considered him to be 'an ass-kissing little chickenshit' and added, 'I hate people like that', the sources say. That remark reportedly came after Petraeus began the meeting by making remarks that Fallon interpreted as trying to ingratiate himself with a superior."

    There. I feel better now.

    But I don't suppose Admiral Fallon will be getting any medals from Princeton any time soon, unless the Princeton types smarten up a bit.

  6. Anonymous5:15 AM

    I heard this story yesterday and I understand that the story is being turned in to a movie. It is the story of Adam Dreyling. He was working in a mine near Innsbruck when there was a cave in and he complained about safety standards. Well he got fired so his uncle who was in charge of an armaments firm in Innsbruck gave him a job and he became a trusted member of the firm.
    He had access to production techniques that were far above those in England at the time. An English Agent in Austria managed to get him to defect so one night he stole all the plans and hightailied it to Venince were in the middle of the night he was picked up by a small English ship in the middle of the night. We the information that he brought back to England was vital in winning the war. But after it was clear that England had been saved he was not happy with the way the English ingored the important contribution that he had made.
    So what did he do? He went to Poland!! Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha!
    Andre S.