Monday, August 10, 2009
Losing The Plot (Dreaming Dulles)
By Maniza Naqvi
She had been at Arlington cemetery on that hot swampy August day when a flag draped coffin had arrived from Andrews Air Base. The constant roar of planes taking off from National Airport nearby and the insistent shrill of their landings was making it difficult for Eileen to hear the speeches though it was possible to catch their gist: A great debt was owed. Jet stream streaked the steamy skies above.
Colleagues, hundreds of them, yanking and tightening their ties given the occasion and sweating in their suits on that hot humid afternoon, had come to pay their last respects from both sides of the beltway and the river. Old buddies had gathered that day to say their goodbyes and pay their respects—she had spotted George Schultz —Bill Webster and Bob Gates, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and Zbigniew Brzezinski; there was Judge Bork and Alexander Haig and Edmund Muskie, and Charles Percy—and the intrepid Charlie Wilson and so many, many others that she recognized. Good men. Strong men. Brave hearts. Men with resolve. Patriots.
There must’ve been a thousand people at the funeral that day by the time the second coffin was lowered into the ground. There had been no wives to receive the folded flags—both men recently divorced. Ambassador Arnold Raphel and Brigadier General Herbert M. Wassom. They’d laid down their lives for their country---bringing down the Soviet Union. No two ways about it. God Bless them.
The head of the Pakistan Intelligence Services a General had been there too, of course. A man who could be sinister in a roomful of people to those he considered as lesser in the species and at once genial to a fault to those considered his superiors. A man of considerable zeal, also to a fault, he was there at the funeral as though he were family. In fact he was the main receiver of condolences, embraces, pats on the back. Naturally. A man who had a special vision for his country and understood the pulse of Pakistan.
In her own way she understood it too. Eileen knew Pakistan well. Or rather Eileen knew the Pakistanis who counted, well. She had written off Stanley’s off color remark as just his being drunk rather than being a jab at her. Not much there. Eileen had managed to change her name from Irene Stone to Irene Khan to Eileen Costa, in several decades. She had been a widow and a divorcee. Neither one of her marriages had lasted long—one man had obliged her by dying, the other one by leaving her for another man in Washington DC. There was not much to embellish. Eileen knew how to compartmentalize, recognize the useful, take it and move on. This was her core competency. At the age of nineteen she had been passing through Pakistan as a college dropout after having decided after her sophomore year to hitch-hike across the planet instead of graduating. This decision of hers to go further had been a sure why not kind after she had arrived in Europe with a group of friends in the summer of 1970. They had made their way across Europe and were in Trieste when she was faced with the choice of taking that one space left in the car to join a couple of friends who had purchased a Citroën and were going to drive it through Yugoslavia to Bulgaria on through Turkey into Iran and Afghanistan and on to Pakistan. The plan was to get to India. The plan stopped there. The idea was that by the time they arrived in India they would know who they were and where they were going: presumably to an ashram. All would be revealed. All they had were their passports, a few hundred dollars for the gas—and some change of clothing each. Almost everywhere they stopped along the way they ate for free—welcomed by people into their homes. They had heard about the treachery of border guards and highway robbers but they never got to experience any of this. They ate, drank, smoked, sang and drove their way through all the way to Pakistan. Eileen got sick in Rawalpindi. Too sick to travel any further: Hepatitis. Her friends left her in the care of the nuns and a very attentive and kind doctor at the Holy Family hospital. Eileen was given a private room by the staff who after seeing that she was a foreigner felt she was in need of special care. There lay Eileen for four months, a hue of seasick green and chalk, her hazel eyes sunken and circled by dark shadows, her face gaunt, her long honey brown hair now cropped by the sisters to improve its health. Two months after that she had not only made a full recovery but also she had married the doctor who had been treating her: the very kind and middle aged Dr. Asfandiyar Khan. At the age of twenty Eileen, half her husband’s age and towering above him by a good six inches found herself catapulted to the position of being the much admired and looked up to (literally) wife of a respected physician. Dr. Khan was considered a remarkable man because he had broken away from the traditions of his feudal family who presided over the supervision of large tracts of farming land and did precious little else except the very strenuous task of ruling and controlling. Now she was the daughter in law in a family of a powerful Government civil servant who was the special advisor to the President who was a military General, of course. She had in-laws and relatives-in-laws who’s names read like the who’s who list in the military, bureaucracy and business corridors in the country. To keep herself busy she volunteered once a week at a women’s center for handicraft production; twice a week at the United States Information Center—as a librarian and teaching English; and once a week at the American School as a substitute teacher. The marriage was exciting, fun and mercifully short lived. By the time she found herself getting bored, the physician too had obliged and died of a heart attack. Shortly after the funeral Eileen had taken a Pakistan International Airline flight back home. The same plane she was told that had taken Kissinger and his team to Beijing, for secret talks with Zhou En Lai thanks to Pakistan’s services in its status as the best friend forever of both China and the US and therefore the ideal match maker. The marriage, Eileen’s, hadn’t produced progeny. So all she had was the experience and it was to serve her well. It had been enough, this intense cultural immersion, upon which to build a career. It had made her as they put it on either side of the Potomac, a Pakistan hand. In addition to writing several novels with names such as “The Veil and the Sword”; followed by the “Veiled Caravans followed by two more: “Wives are Witches and Mothers Saints” and “The Naked Fakir”, she had managed to complete her college and university education in international relations and gender studies with a specialization on Pakistan. She had made her way back to Pakistan almost a decade later. And there at a garden party one evening at the embassy replete with white gloved waiters; guests with gossip and innuendos as their depth of political analysis and Chinese lanterns dangling amongst the lush fragrant blossoms of the Frangipani she had met Stanley. Who, at that time, sardonic and handsome was playing his part as the spy master intellectual and she a USAID consultant on gender issues. That was the summer of 1984.
Eileen had repeated and rehashed at least a thousand times what Stanley had said to her on the phone three nights ago until she realized that he had said something very different from what she had understood. He had said their names when he called her in the middle of the night. She had played it back in her head over and over again—and it seemed to be clearer now. But she couldn’t be sure. She thought he had mumbled on about infallible innocence. But now she thought he had said something like Raphel and Wassom, Eileen, Raphel and Wassom. She hadn’t heard what he had said before that—but then she was sure he had said our infallible innocence before hanging up.
Stanley had been there too at Arlington Cemetery. He seemed very alone though he was surrounded by so many colleagues. He had accompanied the coffins back home from Islamabad.
She had looked across at him—standing there in his seasonal but inappropriate occasion wise and very crumpled cream colored seer sucker suit, his face pale and gaunt, aviator glasses masking his eyes. The sun was strong. He was looking towards her but she couldn’t tell whether he had picked her out in the crowd or was looking at her—. She hadn’t seen him in over a year. A lot had happened since then. She’d gotten married to a career diplomat Jeffery Costa—posted recently in Nairobi. And Stanley had continued on in Islamabad.
After the ceremony, as the crowd made its way to the parking lot, she had caught up with him. She had offered to drive him to his hotel and he had accepted. Instead, when she stopped her Ford Taurus at the last light before she turned into the hotel in Chrystal city—and Stanley had said: God, I need a drink, she had offered to fix him one at her home. He had come back with her to the apartment in West Falls Church which she and her husband were renting while she completed her training at Langley and he was away doing a tour of duty in Kenya. A rental worked in this transitory life style. As she had explained to Stanley, later when Jeff and she retired they would get something in Georgetown or out in Rapphanock County. Stanley was jetlagged, drunk and still shaken. After a few minutes of fumbling with love making, Stanley had patted her on the head; rolled over and promptly started to snore. A few hours later she had driven him back to the hotel. They had chalked their lack of enthusiasm to the events and the fact that Stanley was drunk, shaken and jetlagged.
The day before, just before dusk, in the incandescent light of a sinking sun on the horizons of the capital, in a plot in the same cemetery other funerals had taken place. Here too, US flag draped coffins, two, had been lowered in gently and had been given the full honors. No speeches. The remains of General Zia ul Haq and General Akhtar Rahman were buried with full honors in Arlington Cemetery as fallen American heroes. Zia and Rahman. Raphel and Wassom.
Stanley had attended with several colleagues and the ISI General. There was one very special guest, General Zia’s mistress, the blonde bombshell from Miami, who sobbed throughout the short ceremony her eyes red and swollen behind the black net veil of her hat—her long legs in black fish net stockings, her low cut cocktail satin sheath of a dress entirely appropriate for the patriotic part she had played in keeping the stressed out General happy.
Stanley had imagined that he had heard a ghostly drawl whispered in his ear: Islamabad’s half as big as Arlington cemetery and twice as dead. When the pieces began to fall into place in later years the habit of hearing Dulles in his ear became a past time on quiet evenings of reflection over whiskeys, listening to the BBC world service and watching the light diminish against the hills in Islamabad. Stanley imagined himself in conversations with the founding father the legendry and long dead CIA Director Allen Welsh Dulles –In Stanley’s day dreaming he would be sitting beside Dulles in his study in front of a crackling log fire in a beautiful home in Georgetown along a tree lined street near Dumbarton oaks. Just beyond the closed door filtering sweetly in, would be the sounds of grand children chasing each other their parents telling them to keep it down. The aroma of many mingled good scents wafting around them: tobacco, whisky, leather seats Old Spice and the smell of turkey on its final minutes of roasting.
Stanley did not know whether to place Dulles in the setting of an ascetic—of mission furniture—and austere surroundings—enveloped in silence—outside a bleak dead scene of January or instead in the embrace of domestic bliss. Stanley had chosen to imagine him this way:—surrounded by warmth—on the coziest day of the year—thankful, contented and satisfied. Poinsettias on the bay window sill sat looking out on to a white picket fence. An autumnal tree lined cobbled street beyond. Persian carpets at his feet—miniatures on the walls— here a Ming vase in the corner, there a stone relief from Angkor Wat—or instead perhaps something encrusted with sapphires a snuff box from Battambang. It was a full house of living long and prospering. If you want to keep it this way over here—then we have to keep it that way over there.
There was Dulles—puffing on his pipe—wiping his spectacles with his silk tie before readjusting them on the bridge of his nose and holding forth on his life’s experiences: Back in my day just when I was getting started in all this I learned a lot from the British and the Germans. Everything I know. I wrote a book—I know Stanley, you’re a fan—you’ve read it back and forth—memorized it I’ll bet: The Craft of Intelligence. So you know how much I love secret operations.
As do I Sir. As do I.
Yes Stanley. But be careful son. In trying to understand one’s adversary my boy—one risks the danger of becoming him—or at the very least empathizing. This is a hazard of the trade.
How often does that not happen? Stanley in his musings had asked.
Stanley had rephrased his question: That we don’t become him? At some point far along in the operation, do we even know the difference between him and us? Especially if we have created him?
Dulles nodded: Ah—yes—that would be the mirror effect—---looking too deeply at something has the effect of reflecting back one’s own image—even if there is nothing at the point at which our gaze is directed—If we look hard enough—an image emerges—like a mirage in the desert. It can happen to great men like ourselves. It always does on principle---happen to great men like ourselves.
I approve of your creativity Stanley—thinking outside and inside the box—you’re committed to constant change! As I was in my time: Operation 40; Operation Mockingbird, Operation Paper Clip---ah those were the days! The only problem is that over time—these things can establish and entrench themselves and morph into their own organizations—cartels even—unless there is constant change. The first principle of a good organization committed to maintaining its monopoly on information and power, Stanley is constant re-organization. But here’s the dilemma, Stan—how can you ensure change to be constant when you’re the agent for stopping change?
Indeed Sir. How?
Ah, Stanley my boy---I like your idea—a coffee company—it has merit. I had an idea like that myself called it the United Fruit Company. So you see Stanley it’s all been done before there’s nothing new—no phenomena at all. No surprises. Besides—in your case—the country you’ve grown so fond of—Pakistan is as old as we are, the Agency. I mean. It is our lover, our mistress----it is our sibling in a way isn’t it—if not our very own child?
Stanley must have grimaced at this suggestion because Dulles seemed to have admonished him: Now don’t go getting ideas Stanley that anyone of these shits including that chit of a girl that Bhutto’s daughter was any different. They are all our products. Not worth losing any sleep over. All created, groomed and taught by us. All of these so called leaders—right and left—belong to us—belong to each other---they’re our quislings—can’t do without our commodities, our luxuries—our way of life. Don’t expect them to rise up against us, do you? They are us. More us than we are us. Indebted to us--no, not just indebted to u--indelibly us.
And Stanley had interrupted: The question is: who will rise up against them?
Well now that’s what we need to look out for and look into. That’s what we’re forever trying to fix aren’t we? The non-quislings’ rebellion. In that our interests seem to converge with that of the cartel’s. We want to keep the natives from getting restless, so to speak, keep the rebellion down.
Stanley had interjected: But the cartel Sir, is our enemy too. It will destroy us as surely as it will Pakistan.
And Dulles would have had replied: There are no permanent enemies as they say my dear boy, only permanent interests. We are permanent. And I assure you Pakistan will not be destroyed it is permanent, have no fear. It is ours permanently. Henry Mortimer Durand and Sir Cyril Radcliff—did the deed of breaking off the chunk that was of interest to us. They were assigned the task to make the mess we have today. The British weren’t interested in keeping all of India—they couldn’t leave fast enough—two world wars had finished them. The only part of India that ever interested them was the western part and that’s the chunk they broke off and kept for themselves. That’s the part that gave them access to Central Asia, China, Russia, and Iran. That’s the part, which fit their imperial needs and commercial enterprises best. And then of course ours too. No sunlight between the Brits and ourselves you see. That’s the part they irrigated, grew cotton in and parceled off to their stooges—And those stooges—those stable boys who tended the British horses those two anna servants of the Raj who scraped, bowed and cow-towed at noon—the time when the Englishmen loved to ride---those are the guys who became a strengthened tribal and feudal elite. The Two-annas, and Noon and so forth. Our stable hands—at the helm. It was this part—with the rivers—the water and the glaciers; the cotton and wheat fields; and the irrigation systems, which they put a boundary around garrisoned and called Pakistan. This was the part that they wanted to keep—the jewel in the crown so to speak. The eastern part was a mistake---and that corrected itself in 1971—we right sized the chunk we wanted. And it is this Pakistan that is ruled by the Brits and us to this day through our quisling class that speaks English and is educated in Oxbridge—and Sandhurst and now of course in Yale, Harvard and Princeton and in the War Colleges in the United States and so forth.
And then when that stopped working they got themselves goons like the one who controls Karachi and General Musharraf—both of whom live in London protected by the British! Of course, that’s fine by us. The days of the gentlemen lawyers studying at Lincolns Inn are over—They were quite useless in following through effectively on the plans in any case. Lily-livered. The new mafia bosses are more up to the task and greedy too. They do the job for us in this day and age and they are the ones that rule now. It’s all about ensuring that the port functions just fine for our commerce and our coalition forces....The British never left. They got themselves a permanent garrison. And of course we just took over. And who ever has come along and decided, foolishly, very foolishly indeed, to question these boundaries these rules of the game—or turn on the deals they’ve made with us—in these past 60 years—well it’s been fatal for them—they’ve gotten very sick and died of arsenic poisoning—termed as cancer or a heart attack, or have been assassinated—Till I was around this is how things were done. And later much the same things continued: executions, assassinations or simply disappearances. No need for investigations or anything into any of these murders. Oh yes, when the crowd amongst the quislings clamored for some level of inquiry or investigation—we agreed to the Brits trotting out Scotland Yard to sort things out—From the murder of the first Prime Minister all the way to Benazir—all an inconclusive investigation---and then we provided the record as a press release through our BBC. Everything sounds better in British English---sounds truthful. Even to us. We kept everything running smoothly at the big ol’ Garrison!
You tell me that the Taliban are the wretched chaps flailing about—in their rage---against us and the cartel. I can see your point of view Stanley. Your theory may have some merit. It’s a rebellion of the have-nots who have risen up against the cartel—without even knowing who is in the cartel. Poor saps—the only problem is that we are using them too—and so is the cartel. They are our pawns: our mules and our minions--and therefore our worst enemies. They are nobody and they are everybody who wants their country back and everybody who wants an end to misery. But misery never ends. That’s the dynamic of power. But here we are: Our own minions and mules dare to mutiny against us. Tsk. Tsk. What a sorry state of affairs. It always is.
And Stanley had asked: And what do we plan to do now? I mean what’s our end game? What’s the grand plan? Are we in danger of creating another Khmer Rouge—are we going to end up instigating the carnage that we had in Cambodia during the Vietnam war?
Dulles had looked at him with indulgence: Grand plan? There is none. We do it, for its sake. That’s the plan.
Do we keep fighting till we’ve killed every Afghan, every Pathan, every Punjabi, every Baluchi and every Punjabi and every Pat Tillman that gets it? And then, what? Where does this stop?
And Dulles replied: Does it?
Dreaming Dulles for Stanley always stopped there. Dulles was his own special theatrical tintinitus.
On the fourth night of his absence Stanley had returned. When he knocked on her hotel door—she had opened it, and the look on his face accusatory perhaps had made her scream out his name and rush forward to hug him and pull him into the room.
Where have you been Stanley! I’ve been worried to death. Three days ago you called me at 4 a.m. three days ago and then you disappeared!
Stanley sounded tired and calm: I didn’t disappear—who said I disappeared---I closed my shop and went for a trek in the mountains. But tell you what—I had a little visit from our colleagues four days ago—snooping around my house---Hey Eileen did you sound the alarm on me?
Eileen had started crying to Stanley’s surprise.
She crisscrossed her arms across her chest holding onto her shaking shoulders and hugged herself: What was I supposed to do? I called you in the morning---you didn’t answer—you weren’t answering any of your phones.
Stanley interrupted her—No I meant did you—
Eileen sobbed: The help in your house or your coffee shop had no idea where you were so what was I supposed to do? I was petrified, I was completely at my wits end. I informed the Embassy. They looked for you and….
Looked for me? Stanley laughed….well here I am Eileen.
Really Stanley….Eileen had begun…You have no idea what I’ve been through. I cancelled everything. I haven’t moved from here, from the hotel waiting for word from you. The embassy called me in today and showed me a video. I thought I would die.
Come on now Eileen—you?
Stan! I thought I had lost you Stanley. I was so scared. It was a video of a guy in a hood sitting cross legged on the floor—some Arabic words behind his head —Three guys standing behind him were also hooded and in shalwar kameezes carrying automatic weapons. They told me it was a video they had received from your kidnappers and Stanley—they are planning on going public with it.
Stanley laughed….well here I am Eileen. How do you think they’re going to explain their little foray into Hollywood?
I don’t know, Eileen replied as she pulled him to her and onto the bed. Look at you, just look at you she said over and over again.
Stanley lying half over her propped his head on his arm seemed amused and surprised: What’s gotten into you girl—I thought we were done.
Done? I’ll never get passed you Stan. Murmured Eileen, as she reached up and pulled him down and began with gusto to demonstrate to him her love.
Later—sleepless and satiated with Eileen in bed next to him he had kissed her head and said: I guess they’ll call it a false alarm—they’ll have some terrorist expert come on to explain that this is a disinformation propaganda tactic by the terrorists to break our morale. I don’t know.
What’s going on Stanley—I don’t understand.
I just told you what I think. The kidnapping looks pretty real doesn’t it? We’re good at making things look real. We lead in making movies. And here I was only hiking in the mountains. Darn! But hey kid—I didn’t know you felt this way—I’m touched.
Shut up Stanley! Eileen laughed with embarrassment. She appeared endearingly clumsy, gawky in her stance and almost shy.
Stanley replied gently: Okay.
I mean over all these years Stan—you’re the only one. Eileen her eyes moist, her nose red had sniffled and stared at Stanley’s face.
You should have let me know you were alright Stan. I’m scared for you. I’m scared there’s something terrible that’s going to happen to you. I don’t understand what you’re doing here. I mean for three days you completely disappear---the embassy shows me a video of your kidnapping—Now you’re here in my hotel room I mean what’s next?
The end of the drug cartel.
Uh huh Stan-drug cartel. I thought it was the coffee shop…..
Stanley had asked: Can I trust you Eileen.
And she had replied wide eyed: I don’t know Stan can you?
The coffee business as you must know Eileen is just a front.
A front? A front for what Stanley—I thought you said you had had enough of us and wanted a break.
Yup, you heard right. The coffee shop gave a couple of us a good front to start following the money--. I get to stay here—there are a couple of us in this with me.
Couple of you? Who? What? Where? Doing what exactly Stan?
I’m here, the others are stationed in Miami, Dubai, Yerevan, Kyiv and Pristina, I haven’t met them yet—but we’ve all met on line. That’s the way we want to keep it to insure each other’s security. We’ve got started on a little coffee investigation. It's our front—from my little café to the coffee importers and exporters offices we've set up in other places. No one's suspicious about a guy gone native trying to grow some coffee and starting up a coffee shop. So we've been looking into where to grow it, how to finance it, how to transport it—Who to talk to about licenses, clearances, finances, imports, exports, port authorities, truckers---the whole distribution network. Funny, how everything here involves the Generals—and the truckers. And coffee growing follows the pattern of poppies—from blossoms to bombs. And interesting how coffee and heroin have the same routes and the same bankers. And everything in between is a growth industry: drugs, oil, weapons and human trafficking.
We set up shop Eileen, to see who would show up, offering to buy, sell and finance. It’s interesting what we’re learning. The defeat of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war right? Let Freedom ring, right? Ching-ching! After all free people are free to loot, right? Free market, right? It’s called unbridled capitalism.—the war we won when we took down the U.S.S. of R. So when the cartel wants to expand into tourism—build hotels and they find that there’s existing over capacity---well they simply blow up the existing capacity-----same thing for anything else—they’ve learned the B-52 way of getting things done---if it’s getting in the way—just blow it away.
I was here on April 10, 1988 when the arsenal depot at Ojheri camp, the ammunition depot to supply the Afghan war, which was located in Islamabad exploded, days before a Pentagon investigation panel was supposed to arrive to take inventory of the Stinger missiles and other weapons that were supposed to have been in there.
Kaboom! Live ammo falling all over the city. The smell of burning flesh and death, Three things happened that day. Thousands of civilians were killed by the debris and exploding weapons. No problem. Zia used that to dismiss the civilian stooge Prime Minister who was beginning to make noises against him. No problem. Evidence of missing Stinger missiles—sold by a weapons cartel---gone. No problem. But it was a problem. The explosion at the arms depot was a huge problem for us. It was clear that there was collusion between the CIA and the Pakistanis. The arrival of the weapons panel was supposed to have been a top secret. Even the members of the panel weren’t supposed to know until the last moment after they had boarded the plane as to what their mission was supposed to be. It was on a strictly time sensitive need to know basis. The coincidence of the camp exploding—was too big—someone on the inside on our side and all the way up there on the food chain had to have leaked the information.
The information that the leak was being investigated was leaked as well. Our guys and their guys had set up a pretty cozy drugs and arms business with a gigantic network. They had a pretty free reign for a long, long time, no questions asked. Ojehri Camp which was supposedly housing our Stingers was blown up to make sure that the trail ended there and no investigation panel could ever verify what was missing. Now all that was needed was one more spectacular act to ensure that the business could flourish. Take-off.
We know that a C-130 exploded over Bahawalpur on August 17, 1988. We know that the plane carried the President of Pakistan and the Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq and his top seven generals: We know that the plane carried the US Ambassador Arnold Raphael and Brigadier General Herbert M. Wassom.
We know that by 1988—the Soviets had left Afghanistan—the drug trade was at its peak---and the Generals in Pakistan were making money hand over fist on this trade. We know that the CIA was using the drug trade to finance their war in Afghanistan. We don’t know whether the guys handling the Generals and supervising the whole operation were involved in making money for themselves.
What if the Generals and their American friends including the Ambassador had forged a loving relationship in a drugs and arms cartel? What if they staged their own deaths—and are now running the whole drug mafia operation under different names—different identities, different faces? What if General Zia, General Rehman (CJCSC), Lt Gen Afzaal (CGS), Maj General Nasir (DGCD), Maj General Abdus Sami (VCGS), Maj General Awan (GOC 23 Div) Arnold Raphel and Brigadier General Herbert M. Wassom are all alive and well? What if all eight of them Generals and the Ambassador are living in Houston, Miami and Dubai and operating the world’s most successful and lucrative drugs and weapons cartel? What if the rest of the guys on that plane—are dead? Those poor saps, the pilots and the ADCs etc murdered before the plane took off-the plane was flown by two cartel pilots. What if the C-130 took off and landed safely—what if what exploded in mid air—was a drone.?
Stanley, what if I tell you that you need to be fitted for a straight jacket?
The Americans on the plane, if we don’t count the fact that all the Generals including Zia had American citizenships—were Ambassador Arnold L. Raphel, who was considered, like myself a Pakistanphile—the expert who had been a close friend and confidant of Zia. The other guy was Herb—remember him? General Herbert M. Wassom, the head of U.S. Military aid mission to Pakistan?
I know who was on the plane Stan.
General Akhtar Abdur Rehman, was Zia’s best friend. He was the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and. That made him the number two guy after Zia, in Pakistan. Under Zia, General Rehman headed Inter Service intelligence (ISI), Pakistan's and he worked closely with us in Afghanistan against the Soviets. He was responsible for putting the mujahideen force together, training them, organizing them into fighting units—raising resources and getting our weapons to them. He ran the circus on that freak show with a couple of freaks from our side.
And then the explosion—Kaboom. And with that it was all over. Eleven years a powerful military regime and eleven years of our backing it with everything we had---everything-----and not a whimper even when it blew up? A funeral—and then nothing? Isn’t that strange? No follow up by the army—the most powerful force in the country—no follow up by us?—At all? Not for Arnie not for Herb? Nothing? Even though we had our guys on the plane plus our most trusted ally who had defeated the Soviet Union? Nothing? Granted, neither left a widow behind to rail and rant demands for an investigation. But why was the FBI involvement to investigate-stopped, huh?--Why was their investigation stopped? An investigation which was mandated by law? Why was it stopped by the Centcom Commander back then General George Crist? And none of the FBI agents were even allowed into Pakistan to look into anything having to do with the plane crash till seven months after the event. And meanwhile we were told that evidence from the crash had disappeared not only from the crash site but also from the hangar in which supposedly parts of the C-130 were kept.
The cartel was functioning fine—the drug trade was thriving—then the Taliban happened. A major setback for a while but then the ISI was deployed to rein them in and to do the cartel’s bidding. All was going well. And business continued to show growth. There were promising opportunities for expansion and diversification. The cartel defeated the USSR and set up its own shop. To the victors go the spoils, right? Now that the Soviet Union had fallen ----mafias were thriving and had taken root. What if amongst them was the biggest one---the cartel started in the name of Washington's and Zia’s jihad against the infidel the USSR? There was potential to be tapped into apart from the drug and weapons trade. There were oil and gas fields, ports pipelines and hotels. And more wars to finance and infrastructure construction. Dubai was a shining success story. New Jersey started to get constructed as a financial center right across the river from the World Trade Centers----right around that time, didn’t it Eileen? Coincidence?
But then a real setback to the cartel happened when Ahmed Shah Massood who sat on a major trafficking route into Europe and on major poppy fields---informed the cartel that he was cutting loose---striking out on his own—going straight to the source through his own networks in Kosovo. On September 9, 2001 the cartel took care of this little rebellion by Massood. Two days later---the cartel’s plan to take full control began to unfold.
Eileen laughed: You expect me to buy any of this?
Sovereign debt. That’s where they’re sitting, Eileen. Governments have been selling bonds—the cartel has been buying up the bonds. They’ve been buy up the bonds through private equity investment firms that belong to them based out of Dubai. Governments have in effect been laundering money for the largest criminal organization in the world headquartered in Dubai. The bonds are financing the wars. The cartel is financing the wars. The cartel owns us. Isn’t it something!
Stanley, you’re losing it…
We live in the age of Erik Prince and Blackwater--Xe--why is this so unbelievable for you? What if I tell you that the attacks in Mumbai—and the war that we are fighting in Afghanistan—are their war to keep the drug and weapons trade and their business interests, their vast business networks thriving?
Stanley—I’d have to say you’re……
You have to trust me Eileen. You asked me Eileen ---whose side I was on? I decided Eileen to go to the other side, gather information for the law protectors. I decided to join a group of guys and become an informant for the FBI. Enforcing the law and protecting the constitution seems much more appealing to me then enforcing our foreign policy. Now Eileen, who’s side are you on?
Posted by Maniza Naqvi at 12:02 AM | Permalink