On June 26, the following story appeared on India's Web news site, Indiareacts.
India in anti-Taliban military plan
India and Iran will "facilitate" the planned US-Russia hostilities against the Taliban.
By Our Correspondent
26 June 2001: India and Iran will "facilitate" US and Russian plans for "limited military action" against the Taliban if the contemplated tough new economic sanctions don't bend Afghanistan's fundamentalist regime.
The Taliban controls 90 per cent of Afghanistan and is advancing northward along the Salang highway and preparing for a rear attack on the opposition Northern Alliance from Tajikistan-Afghanistan border positions.
Indian foreign secretary Chokila Iyer attended a crucial session of the second Indo-Russian joint working group on Afghanistan in Moscow amidst increase of Taliban's military activity near the Tajikistan border. And, Russia's Federal Security Bureau (the former KGB) chief Nicolai Patroshev is visiting Teheran this week in connection with Taliban's military build-up.
Indian officials say that India and Iran will only play the role of "facilitator" while the US and Russia will combat the Taliban from the front with the help of two Central Asian countries, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, to push Taliban lines back to the 1998 position 50 km away from Mazar-e-Sharief city in northern Afghanistan.
Military action will be the last option though it now seems scarcely avoidable with the UN banned from Taliban-controlled areas. The UN which adopted various means in the last four years to resolve the Afghan problem is now being suspected by the Taliban and refused entry into Taliban areas of the war-ravaged nation through a decree issued by Taliban chief Mullah Mohammad Omar last month.
Diplomats say that the anti-Taliban move followed a meeting between US Secretary of State Collin Powel and Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov and later between Powell and Indian foreign minister Jaswant Singh in Washington. Russia, Iran and India have also held a series of discussions and more diplomatic activity is expected. . . .
Three months later, on September 27, Reuters released the following story:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is not now contemplating joint military operations with Russia in the war on terrorism but such cooperation remains an option for the future, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said.
How can both of these reports be true?
I believe the June 26 report. It explains why the formation of the Russian-U.S. alliance has taken place so smoothly during the last two weeks, despite protests on both sides that such an alliance was unlikely.
I believe that this story will not get out to the general public. If some enterprising reporter in a mainline newspaper works on it on his own authority, the story will be spiked by his editor.
Nevertheless, let's assume hypothetically that some reporter, anxious to become the next Woodward/Bernstein, were to present the following proposal on his editor's desk. "Sir, there is a disconnect between these two news stories. I want to pursue the matter. I want to get the following questions answered."
How long before June 26 did top-level strategists for Russia and the United States come to agreement regarding a joint anti-Taliban military alliance?
Why was this information made available to an obscure Web publication in India, but not to the news media in the United States?
What were the underlying strategic motivations on both sides of this alliance prior to September 11?
When did the high-level strategists on both sides plan to reveal the existence of this alliance to the legislatures of both nations?
Then there is the question that an experienced reporter would not dare place in front of his editor:
What kind of public event was deemed necessary by the strategists on both sides of this alliance to justify it to the legislatures of both nations?
I predict that no one in the news media will pursue this story. It will be dismissed as not being newsworthy.
In the good old days, it might have been possible for a reporter at a Presidential press conference to ask a question about this. But when was the last time any President held a press conference?
The reason why I came across this story is because of a tip from a reader. Because of the World Wide Web, and because of search engines such as Google, inquiring people can find information like this. Because of Websites like www.freerepublic.com and www.lewrockwell.com, stories like these can get in front of a limited number of people. Finally, because of the Forward and File/Send buttons, these stories do reach a wider audience. But they never reach the general public.
There are perhaps a few hundred thousand Americans who would regard this story as newsworthy. But I suspect that most Americans, now caught up in the war against terrorism, would shrug it off. That's why it is possible for the government and the media to bury stories like this one.
There was a brief report from Jane's on March 15 that India had joined an anti-Taliban alliance that included Russia and the United States. But it did not indicate that the United States would supply anything more than information and logistical support.
If you think this story is worth pursuing, please send a link to this page to anyone you think might understand its significance.
To every reader, I say, if you find additional material on the Web that deals with this story, send the link to me: [email protected]
When I think of the Internet's effect on politicians, I think of Joe Louis's comment to a reporter regarding Billy Conn's quickness: "He can run, but he can't hide." Well, they can still hide, but it's getting a lot harder.
October 12 , 2001
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