by Douglas Valentine: The
French Connection Revisited: The CIA, Irving Brown, and Drug Smuggling
as Political Warfare
On Dec. 31, I listened in dismay as an NPR “terrorism” expert
condemned the suicide bombing that killed seven CIA employees in Afghanistan
as especially hideous because the CIA victims were spreading economic
development and democracy in the area as members of a Provincial Reconstruction
but no less disingenuous were the comments of CIA Director Leon
Penetta who said the dead CIA officers were “doing the hard
work that must be done to protect our country from terrorism."
And President Barack Obama’s depiction of the CIA officers
as "part of a long line of patriots who have made great sacrifices
for their fellow citizens, and for our way of life."
On New Year’s
Day, Washington Post staff writers Joby Warrick and Pamela
Constable began to fill in some of the blanks that the initial propaganda
had ignored. Warrick and Constable reported that the CIA officers
were “at the heart of a covert program overseeing strikes by
the agency’s remote-controlled aircraft along the Afghanistan-Pakistan
In the past
year, those strikes have killed more than 300 people (perhaps as
many as 700) who are invariably described by the U.S. news media
as suspected “militants,” “terrorists” or “jihadists"
– or as collateral damage, people killed by accident.
There is never
any distinction made between Afghan nationalists fighting the U.S.-led
occupation of their country and real terrorists who have inflicted
intentional violence against civilians to achieve a political objective
(the classic definition of terrorism).
the U.S. news media’s frequent description of the Dec. 30 attack
on the CIA officers as “terrorism,” it doesn’t fit
the definition since the CIA officers were engaged in military operations
and thus represented a legitimate target under the law of war, certainly
as much so as Taliban commanders far from the front lines.
Many U.S. press
accounts also have suggested that the suicide attack was in retaliation
for drone strikes on Taliban forces. But there is now some speculation
that the suicide bomb attack on the CIA personnel may have been
payback for the Dec. 27 killing of 10 people in Ghazi Khan village
in Narang district of the eastern Afghan province of Kunar.
The 10 Afghanis
were shot to death during a raid by American commandos, apparently
a Special Forces unit.
often Green Berets or Navy SEALs detailed to the CIA’s Special
Activities Division, operate outside traditional legal restrictions
on warfare. During the post-9/11 “global war on terror,”
these teams have engaged in kidnappings, killings and executions
of suspected “terrorists,” “insurgents” and
initially labeled the 10 victims in Ghazi Khan as “insurgents”
or at least relatives of an individual suspected of belonging to
a “terrorist” cell that manufactured improvised explosive
devices used to kill U.S. and NATO troops and civilians.
But later reports
from Afghan government investigators and townspeople identified
the dead as civilians, including eight students, aged 11 to 17,
enrolled in local schools. All but one of the dead came from the
of Handcuffed Victims
Dec. 31 article published by the Times of London, the
American-led raid faces accusations “of dragging innocent children
from their beds and shooting them. … Locals said that some
victims were handcuffed before being killed.”
statement posted on Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s Web site
said government investigators who were dispatched to the scene concluded
that the raiding party “took ten people from three homes, eight
of them school students in grades six, nine and ten, one of them
a guest, the rest from the same family, and shot them dead.”
Wafa, who led the investigation, told The (UK) Times that
the U.S. unit flew by helicopter from Kabul, landing about two kilometers
from the village.
walked from the helicopters to the houses and, according to my investigation,
they gathered all the students from two rooms, into one room, and
opened fire,” said Wafa, a former governor of Helmand province.
“It’s impossible they [the victims] were al-Qaeda. They
were children, they were civilians, they were innocent.”
The Times also
quoted the school’s headmaster as saying the victims were asleep
in three rooms when the raiding party arrived. “Seven students
were in one room,” said Rahman Jan Ehsas. “A student and
one guest were in another room, a guest room, and a farmer was asleep
with his wife in a third building.
the foreign troops entered the guest room and shot two of them.
Then they entered another room and handcuffed the seven students.
Then they killed them. Abdul Khaliq [the farmer] heard shooting
and came outside. When they saw him, they shot him as well. He was
outside. That’s why his wife wasn’t killed.”
The guest was
a shepherd boy, 12, called Samar Gul, the headmaster said, adding
that six of the students were in high school and two were in primary
school. He said that all the students were his nephews.
A local elder,
Jan Mohammed, said that three boys were killed in one room and five
were handcuffed before they were shot. “I saw their school
books covered in blood,” he said, according to The Times.
National Security Directorate, which usually is a compliant outlet
for CIA communiqués, said "international forces from
an unknown address came to the area and without facing any armed
resistance, put ten youth in two rooms and killed them.”
the killings erupted throughout Kunar Province, where the deaths
occurred, as well as in Kabul. Hundreds of protesters demanded that
American occupation forces leave the country, and that the murderers
be brought to justice.
A NATO spokesman
claimed there was “no direct evidence to substantiate”
the claims of premeditated murder. He asserted that the assault
force had come under fire from several buildings in the village.
Yet, the record
of American forces engaging in indiscriminate and intentional killings
of unarmed people in Afghanistan and Iraq is now a long one, with
testimony about premeditated executions even emerging in U.S. military
disciplinary hearings. [See Consortiumnews.com’s “Bush’s
Global Dirty War.”]
Nations also has warned against nighttime raids of private homes
because the attacks often cause civilian deaths. In the case of
Ghazi Khan, however, the Afghan government account indicates that
most of the killings were cold-blooded murder, not nighttime accidents.
too, that these types of brutal operations may be increasing in
frequency with Obama’s plan to “surge” 30,000 additional
U.S. troops into Afghanistan, bringing the total to about 100,000.
Yet, this ratcheting up of the cycle of violence only seems likely
to incite more and more revenge killings.
have vowed to avenge the killings of the school children by the
U.S. commandos, and the CIA is now vowing to avenge the killing
of its officers, who included the base chief, a mother of three
In the meantime,
the surviving CIA personnel at Forward Operating Base Chapman barricaded
themselves inside as they questioned all Afghan employees who were
on duty at the time of the Dec. 30 bomb attack. Afghans who worked
with the CIA on the outside were locked out.
events are instructive in explaining how CIA covert operations,
including their own psywar and terror operations, are conducted
and whitewashed by the mainstream American news media.