Afghanistan: The Top Ten Lies that Recur in the Mainstream Media
By James O’Neill
June 20, 2012 "Information Clearing House" -- Recent announcements by the leaders of several of the nations forming the international assistance force in Afghanistan regarding their involvement post 2014 and their reasons for staying at least until then make it appropriate to consider the ostensible reasons for the invasion and occupation of this strategically located country. In considering recent history and those stated reasons there are at least ten major lies that recur in the mainstream media.
#1. That the West’s involvement in Afghanistan was initiated by the events of 11 September 2001. Afghanistan has been the subject of unwelcome attention from imperial powers over much of its long history. The British invaded three times in the 19th century, being soundly beaten each time. British motives were mixed but not the least of them was control of the lucrative poppy fields, a source then, as now, of much of the world’s heroin supply. Opium was one of the means by which Britain exercised colonial control, notably in China.
During the Carter administration the US began a program of undermining the secular nationalist government then in control of Afghanistan. The primary purpose, as its principal architect Zbigniew Brzezinski candidly admitted, was to give the USSR its “own Vietnam” by creating the conditions that would lure the USSR into Afghanistan. That duly happened in December 1979.
Throughout the 1980s the US, with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, financed, trained and armed guerilla fighters in Pakistan for infiltration into Afghanistan and the Muslim majority regions of the USSR and China. These mujahedeen or “freedom fighters” as Ronald Reagan described them included a young Saudi named Osama bin Laden. The Americans developed a data base of available mujahedeen willing to fight. That data base is better known by its Arabic name of Al Qaeda, then as now used by Western intelligence for fomenting trouble as and when required.
#2. That Al Qaeda planned and carried out the attacks of 11 September 2001 (“9/11”). This lie has had tremendous importance as it has formed the basis of at least two major wars, continuing attacks upon a number of countries, and a relentless assault on the legal rights of anyone deemed a potential threat and millions who have committed no crime nor are likely to ever do so. It is the font of the so-called war on terror which by definition is incapable of ever ending and is thus a perfect excuse for everything from suspension of the rule of law to ever increasing military and intelligence budgets.
There is now overwhelming evidence that the official conspiracy theory outlined in the 9/11 Commission Report and assiduously promoted by the mainstream media has almost no semblance to the real events of that seminal day. Kean and Hamilton, the co-chairs of that Commission have published a book casting doubt on their own Commission’s findings, saying they were “set up to fail” by the systematic obstruction of their inquiry by US government agencies.
A raft of peer reviewed articles have appeared in reputable scientific journals demonstrating the literal impossibilities of the official story, but they are ignored by the mainstream media whose favourite put down is that they are ‘conspiracy theories’, ignoring the fact that the official version is itself a conspiracy theory. Books have been published demonstrating the absurdities of the official story, but are never reviewed by the mainstream press, including one that was Publishers Weekly’s Book of the Week in November 2009. The FBI has given sworn evidence to a Court contradicting one of the most important planks of the official conspiracy theory, the alleged cell phone calls from the “hijacked” planes, but again not a word of this was reported.
#3. That the allegedly hijacked planes killed nearly 3000 people on 9/11. Even if one took at face value the official story of Flights 11, 77, 93 and 176 being hijacked by Atta and his colleagues and either flown into WTC1, 2 and the Pentagon or crashed in a field in Pennsylvania, the total deaths numbered fewer than 500. Three quarters of the deaths occurred when WTC1 and 2 were demolished 1 to 1&1/2 hours after the planes crashed into them.
The destruction of the three WTC buildings, 1, 2 and 7 (the latter never shown on US mainstream television after 9/11) have been the subject of intense scientific analysis. In April 2010 a team of scientists headed by Niels Harrit of the University of Copenhagen reported in a peer reviewed scientific journal that nano-thermite had been found in the residue of all three buildings. This finding has not been reported in the mainstream press. The use of nano-thermite explains how the three buildings were brought down in the manner they were. The official explanation of fire induced collapses ignores some fundamental laws of physics, another factor ignored by the mainstream media notwithstanding an admission by NIST that Building 7 fell in freefall for approximately one-third of its collapse time. This is literally impossible without the use of explosives.
The use of explosives has huge implications for the official story, which is probably why the mainstream media refuses to touch it in any systematic manner. Not the least of those implications is the oft repeated claim, most recently by President Obama in December 2011 that the US (and others) is in Afghanistan because of the attacks of 9/11 and the deaths they caused.
#4. That the Taliban Government refused to hand over Bin Laden in 2001. The Bush government demanded that bin Laden by handed over to them citing his alleged role as the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks. The Taliban government agreed to hand him over to an independent third country for trial, subject to one condition. They asked, not unreasonably, for evidence that bin Laden was in fact responsible. The Bush government refused to proffer that evidence. It has not, to this day, provided any such evidence. The FBI did not even have bin Laden on their ‘most wanted’ list for 9/11 although he was on that list for other alleged atrocities. When asked why not an FBI spokesman said it was because the “FBI had no hard evidence” of bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11.
#5. That the US (and its allies) were entitled to attack Afghanistan because of the 9/11 attacks. The UN Charter and international law provide very limited exceptions to the general ban on military force as a means of resolving disputes between member states. What is required is either a UN Security Council resolution authorizing such a response, or that it must be in self-defence, itself a tightly defined concept. On two separate occasions the UN Security Council refused to accede to the US demand for such a resolution. The prerequisites for self-defence are entirely absent. Australia’s involvement has no greater basis. In short, the invasion and occupation are illegal.
#6. That the Reason for the Attack on Afghanistan was the Events of 9/11. This is perhaps the most persistent lie. Prior to 9/11 the US and Afghan governments had been negotiating the building of a pipeline to carry natural gas from the enormously rich Caspian Basin to a warm water port on the Arabian Sea. For various political and geographic reasons the only feasible route was through Afghanistan. In June 2001 those negotiations collapsed. The Afghan government awarded the contract to an Argentinean company, Bridas Corp rather than to a US oil company with close links to the Bush family.
Bush then authorized an attack on Afghanistan which had to be commenced before the snows of October posed insuperable logistical problems. They lacked a plausible excuse however until 9/11 a few weeks later provided that. The plans for the invasion, drawn up long before 9/11, had a number of strategic objectives. These included control of the pipeline, military bases in yet another country abutting China and Russia, access to and control of Afghanistan’s rare earth minerals discovered by Russian surveyors in the 1980s, and reactivating the heroin trade which had effectively been closed down by the Taliban government. Heroin was and is an important part of US intelligence operations.
#7. That the Occupation Lead to Improvements in Social Areas such as Women’s Rights. Despite an 11 year occupation and billions of dollars the position of women, according to a recently released Save the Children report Afghanistan ranks second worst in the world, ahead only of Niger. While the occupation governments are quick to trumpet individual examples of improvements the fact is that on most social indicators the position of women is worse now than it was under the Tariki government that the US did so much to undermine.
#8. That the Occupation Makes us Safer from Terrorism. In fact the opposite is true. As a direct consequence of western attacks on Muslim countries (the US is currently bombing at least six and interfering in a dozen more) terrorist groups, some but not all claiming affiliation with al Qaeda, have proliferated. Insofar as there is any commonality of interest among these groups it is a hatred of despotic governments armed and supported by the west. As numerous studies have shown when people are denied legitimate redress for their grievances they resort to violent means. The picture is enormously complicated by a well established pattern of western governments arming and supporting terrorist groups for their own geopolitical reasons. There are numerous contemporary examples.
#9. That the Occupation Will End in 2014. It may well do so, but not voluntarily. The recent Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by Presidents Obama and Karzai envisage three major US bases in Afghanistan and the continued presence of US special forces until 2024. The Australian government has made similar announcements about its Special Forces remaining after 2014. It takes a major suspension of disbelief to accept such notions as constituting withdrawal. The mainstream media have utterly failed to analyze the MOU and such reporting as there has been has been woefully misleading.
#10. That the Afghan Government Will Survive Beyond 2014. Karzai, his government allies, and all others with a reason to fear the collapse of the regime have been preparing their bolt holes in Dubai and elsewhere, using a significant proportion of the billions expended in foreign aid and the profits from the drug trade to ease their transition into inevitable exile. While there might not be a rooftops of Saigon spectacle the inevitable consequence of significant western troop withdrawal, now accelerating, will see the rapid collapse of the Karzai puppet regime. The ensuing resolution, although likely to be decidedly unpleasant, will at least be an Afghan one.
James O’Neill is a barrister at law practicing in Brisbane. He has written extensively on international human rights issues.