The Osama Tale: Stranger and Stranger
by Eric Margolis: Why
bin Ladenís Ghost Is Smiling
security intelligence sources told me five years ago that Osama
bin Laden was hiding in an urban area in Pakistan.
If I, a humble
journalist, had a good idea where OBL was, why did it take CIA so
long to find one elderly man who had brazenly set out to defeat
the mighty American Imperium?
The whole Osama
bin Laden saga keeps getting more and more bizarre and incredible.
I am reminded of the ending of the film the Wizard of Oz, wherein
the fearsome wizard is revealed as a frightened old man with fake
scenery and a terrifying noise box.
Just when we
thought US-Pakistani relations could not get more poisonous, Americaís
most hated was finally discovered in lovely, downtown Abbottabad,
Pakistan, a mere stroll from that nationís military academy. The
Saudi Dr. Fu Manchu was living in a run-down villa, not the "luxury
mansion" described by over-excited reports.
government officials and legislators accuse Pakistan of duplicity,
treachery, and betrayal. Ordinary Americans are enraged against
Pakistan, a staunch ally since the 1950ís.
In a recent
WikiLeak, a US diplomat actually branded Pakistanís intelligence
service, ISI, "a terrorist organization."
The same ISI
that was our comrade in arms during the 1980ís war against the Soviets
well and truly in the dog house. The feeble Zardari government in
Islamabad and Pakistanís military face charges they were either
incompetent or duplicitous over bin Laden. A tough choice.
bitter foe, is crowing; so are the Afghan Communists and drug lords.
yahoos we saw cavorting with joy in the streets at the news of bin
Ladenís assassination seem totally unaware the almost decade-long
US jihad against him cost American taxpayers a staggering $1,283
trillion, and left the US stuck in 2.5 wars.
that $1,283 trillion is roughly what the US currently owes China.
Annual interest on the US debt alone runs around $450 billion.
oft-stated primary goal was to overthrow the Muslim worldís western-backed
dictatorships and drive the US from the region. He vowed to do so
back in the 1990ís by bankrupting and "bleeding" the US.
Thanks to a lot of help from Wall Streetís flim-flam financers,
that goal is well on its way.
triumph was quickly undermined by its shifting claims over the rubout
of the unarmed bin Laden, and by the dumping of his body in the
sea, a form of cadaverous disposal much favored by the New Jersey
mob. The attempt to posthumously humiliate the retired revolutionary
by airing pathetic home videos of him backfired, arousing
more sympathy than scorn outside North America.
Now, the US
says it wants to interrogate bin Ladenís wives, who are in Pakistani
custody. If information about bin Laden is wanted, why didnít the
US grab the unarmed bin Laden and whisk him away for thorough interrogation?
After which, he should have been sent for trial at the UN International
Criminal Court in the Hague, as was mass murderer, Slobodan Milosevic
and his henchmen?
hard to believe Pakistan didnít know the worldís most wanted man
was living in quiet retirement a short stroll from its military
academy. CIA certainly found out.
of Pakistanís air defenses to detect low-flying US helicopters in
the hilly terrain raised two key questions: did Pakistanís military
finally give the US a green light to go after bin Laden? If so,
how much did this "laissez-passer" cost?
could the US or India stage a similar lightening air assault to
destroy Pakistanís nuclear arsenal? Though these weapons are dispersed,
they look vulnerable after last weekís daring US raid using new
stealth helicopters optimized for nape of the earth missions.
claims it found bin Laden by following one of his couriers. But
some of my sources say that bin Ladenís compound was actually located
by Afghan intelligence, which remains dominated by Tajik agents
of the old Communist KHAD intelligence service, an arm of the Soviet
KGB. Bin Laden, who killed the Tajikís hero, Ahmad Shah Massoud,
a covert Soviet ally, was their number one target for revenge.
As a long-time
ISI watcher who received briefings by its director generals on my
every visit to Pakistan until recent years, let me suggest another
angle to this murky business.
In late 2001-2002,
according to then president Pervez Musharraf, the US threatened
to bomb Pakistan "back to the Stone Age" unless he bowed
to a US ultimatum: hand over to the US key air bases and air space,
port access, provide 120,000 troops for US use, put ISI under American
control and attack Taliban, Pakistanís anti-Communist proxy in Afghanistan.
ISI and its military were purged of senior officers that CIA and
the Pentagon deemed too Islamic or unresponsive to US demands. ISI
became in part an extension of CIA. Most Pakistanis think their
nation was virtually occupied by the US after 9/11, and remains
few independent deep cover units of ISI remained, notably those
that had long run the secret anti-Soviet war in Afghanistan. I first
became aware of these units as the first western journalist to be
briefed on the secret war by then ISI chief, Akhtar Abdur Rahman.
One of these
deep cover ISI units may have been keeping the retired Osama on
ice, pending a US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Though under heavy
US influence, ISIís priority was to defend Pakistanís strategic
interests, not those of the United States.
Bin Laden would
have been a useful tool to rally Pashtun tribes, among whom he is
venerated as a war hero, and lead the fight against Afghanistanís
entrenched Tajik and Uzbek Communists who, ironically, are today
that was the plan, it went horribly wrong. Now Washington is calling
for Pakistanís head Ė and probably new purges at ISI. Islamabadís
government and armed forces have become totally dependant on billions
in US aid. Over the next five years, the US has promised Pakistan
$7.5 billion Ė if it behaves.
The US Congress
is threatening to end this bonanza. However, the US canít wage war
in Afghanistan without Pakistanís cooperation, and Pakistan knows
it. So most of the American money will keep flowing.
US-Pakistani shotgun marriage will continue, at least for a while
longer. Meanwhile, Pakistan has become a hate factory, churning
out flaming anti-Americans and assorted violent jihadists.
him mail] is the author of War
at the Top of the World and the new book, American
Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the
West and the Muslim World. See his
© 2011 Eric Margolis
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