Invisible History:
Afghanistan's Untold Story

Tells the story of how Afghanistan brought the United States to this place in time after nearly 60 years of American policy in Eurasia - of its complex multiethnic culture, its deep rooting in mystical Zoroastrian and Sufi traditions and how it has played a pivotal role in the rise and fall of empires.
Invisible History, Afghanistan’s Untold Story provides the sobering facts and details that every American should have known about America’s secret war, but were never told.
The Real Story Behind the Propaganda (read more)

Crossing Zero: The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire

Focuses on the AfPak strategy and the importance of the Durand Line, the border separating Pakistan from Afghanistan but referred to by the military and intelligence community as Zero line. The U.S. fought on the side of extremist-political Islam from Pakistan during the 1980s and against it from Afghanistan since September 11, 2001. It is therefore appropriate to think of the Durand/Zero line as the place where America’s intentions face themselves; the alpha and omega of nearly 60 years of American policy in Eurasia. The Durand line is visible on a map. Zero line is not.(Coming February, 2011) (read more)

Invisible History Blog

We'll explore anomalies we discovered while researching the causes of the Soviet and American invasions of Afghanistan. We look forward to your comments. Paul & Liz.

Where the Taliban and Hamas intersect

 A friend asked us this question: What do you feel the real objectives are of the Taliban?  

Here is our answer:  Pakistani/CIA trained drug trafficker and war criminal Gulbuddin Hekmatyar became the CIA’s favorite in America’s secret war against Moscow in the 1980’s thanks to Texas Congressman Charlie Wilson. Hekmatyar received the bulk of U.S. and Saudi money, despite outraged pleas from representatives of some of Afghanistan’s most revered religious families who denounced Gulbuddin “as a true monster and an enemy of Afghanistan… a dangerous fundamentalist, busy assassinating moderate Afghans, a man no self-respecting nation should support.” As a student at Kabul University in the late sixties, Hekmatyar earned an ugly reputation as a dangerous fanatic. Hekmatyar’s followers were known to be violently misogynist-throwing acid in the faces of women who did not wear the veil. Hekmatyar inaugurated the jihadist war against Afghanistan in 1973 with the covert assistance of Pakistani president Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s intelligence chief, Naseerullah Babar. The Taliban’s was a creation of Babar’s ISI during the Benazir Bhutto administration with the tacit blessing of the US. When Hekmatyar’s  takeover  of Afghanistan after the Soviet withdrawal failed, the Taliban took over.  The post-9/11 war against the Taliban was widely viewed at the time as a long overdue opportunity to correct the policy mistakes in Afghanistan embodied by the Taliban  but beginning with Hekmatyar. But instead of helping Afghans rebuild their nation by providing the necessary security, the war has turned once again against the Afghan people. Today, as Pakistani Taliban, and Hekmatyar’s fighters once again swarm over the countryside, due mainly to the failure of America’s policy makers,  the western alliance that pledged itself to establishing an Afghan democracy scrambles to negotiate its way out of its commitment by offering to share political power with Hekmatyar and the Taliban. Pakistan’s ISI would benefit from sharing power with Hekmatyar and the Taliban by adding strategic depth for their eventual war with India. But it would be a catastrophe for the Afghan people, once again.  

In an interview with Amy Goodman, Robert Dreyfuss, author of  Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam,  details a similar pattern of short-sighted decision making followed by a complete disassociation from the responsibility to the civilian populations when it came to the creation of Hamas.

AMY GOODMAN: It’s good to have you with us. How was Hamas established?  

ROBERT DREYFUSS: Well, gosh, you know, you can go back, really 60 or 70 years. The Hamas organization is an outgrowth, really a formal outgrowth, of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was a transnational organization founded in Egypt, which established branches in the ’30s and ’40s in Jordan and Palestine and Syria and elsewhere. And the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood was founded by a man named Said Ramadan, actually the father of Tariq Ramadan, who you mentioned earlier. Said Ramadan was one of the founders of the Brotherhood, who was the son-in-law of its originator, Hassan al-Banna, and he established the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan and in Jerusalem in 1945. And it grew rapidly during the ’40s and was, not surprisingly, a very conservative political Islamic Movement that had a lot of support from the Hashemite royal family of Jordan and from the king of Egypt.  For the full interview

Editorial Malpractise

Comment by Mark Ames 

The Nation  December 10, 2008 

Over the past few years, the Washington Post‘s editorial page has pushed an increasingly hostile line toward Russia, painting complex developments there in Manichaean terms and accusing the Kremlin–and usually Vladimir Putin–of responsibility for just about anything that goes wrong, real or imagined, in that part of the world. During the recent war between Russia and Georgia, Post editorials placed the blame squarely on alleged Russian neo-imperialism, going so far as to deny that the Georgians had inflicted serious destruction on the South Ossetian capital, despite reports from human rights organizations, the OSCE and even the Post‘s own journalists. This hardline, deeply flawed position by one of the nation’s most influential editorial pages has played a leading role in driving America and Russia to the brink of a new cold war.   

A hyperbolic October 22 lead editorial, “More Poison: Another prominent adversary of Vladimir Putin is mysteriously exposed to toxins,” led me to ask the Post‘s editorial page editor and onetime Moscow bureau co-chief, Fred Hiatt, about his sources for the paper’s charges. Hiatt’s painstaking response unintentionally offered a rare glimpse into how, when it comes to Russia and Putin, the editorial page’s incessant demonization puts more weight on ideology than on journalistic professionalism–or simple fact-checking. …full article

A Message to Zbigniew Brzezinski: Stop Blaming Russia for being Russian!

It was when we read Rich Barlow’s Boston Globe December 3, 2008 review of the Zbigniew Brzezinski and Brent Scowcroft interview with David  Ignatius it was time to call a racist a racist.  Brzezinski  argues that caving in to Russian demands against expansion of NATO and not welcoming former Soviet satellites Ukraine and Georgia would only be “reinforcing their imperial nostalgia.”  For those of us who grew through the depths of the Cold War, it was the Communist Soviet Union, we were told, that stood as the symbol of everything we as Americans stood against.  The Soviet Union was the reason for our exorbitant military expenditures, the reason we needed a draft, the reason we invaded Vietnam. To Americans of the 1950’s, 60’s, 70’s and 80’s the Soviet Union was simply the reason. Communism was an evil that had to be eradicated. As the Berlin wall came down and with the disillusionment of the Soviet Union the communist forces just went home. Throughout the 1990’s and with the help of American experts, Russia was transformed into a freewheeling capitalist paradise, dominated by powerful oligarchs. After ten years of crushing poverty, exploitation and gangsterism, Russia is now an economic force in its own right. But  why, after the fall of Soviet Union, was Russia still the enemy? We assumed it was Brzezinski’s anti-communism that gave him the license to throw out international law by drawing the Soviets’ into Afghanistan to destroy “evil.” But it turns out that Brzezinski’s  anti-communist campaign was really hiding a virulent form of racism against all things Russian. Now as he pushes his Russo phobic campaign again, it is still as dangerous, shortsighted and counterproductive today as was his use of Muslim extremists to destroy the Soviet Union back in 1979.

How Brzezinski’s Racism Against Russia Destroyed Afghanistan

The first official sign that the U.S. had entered the complex web of intrigues for Central Asia came in 1973 when a little noticed palace coup in Iran’s neighbor Afghanistan prompted U.S. Ambassador Robert Neuman to signal that a “limited Great Game” was back on. And when in 1978 a group of Afghan Marxists assumed power in a bloody coup, the limited game Neuman had spoken of only five years before, became the only game in town.

The U.S. responded by sending a seasoned diplomat, Adolph “Spike” Dubs to wean the Marxists away from Moscow and return them to a neutral buffer state. But Washington’s signals were split between detente minded Cyrus Vance and virulent anti-communist Zbigniew Brzezinski and as tensions rose between the Soviet Union, China and Iran, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, Dubs stood defenseless.

Kidnapped by a splinter group of Afghan Maoists, the U.S. Ambassador was killed in the rescue attempt and within days the policy that now sees the U.S. playing the Great Game for control of Central Asia was born.

Given a license by the death of Dubs, Zbigniew Brzezinski unleashed the floodgates of support for rival Islamic factions fighting the Marxists and their Soviet advisors in the mountains. Within months the chaos had drawn the Russians in and 30 years later the war still rages. Zbigniew Brzezinski’s radical policies fostered the destabilization of Central Asia that cost the Soviet Union its Empire, but at the same time it empowered radical elements in Islam to fight the Soviet Union and now the world must face Brzezinski’s creation.

A Message for the New President – Stop Killing Afghanis

(excerpt) read the complete article here

Come January, President-elect Barack Obama will confront the most difficult foreign policy crisis of his administration with the region-wide-war developing in Afghanistan. If he is to succeed, the new president must immediately change the tone of U.S. engagement. He can do this by first establishing a revised set of rules by which the United States must play, stressing the rule of international law and respect for civil and human rights. The president must then initiate these rules by announcing that the first priority of U.S. foreign policy in Afghanistan is the preservation of human life. In other words, stop killing Afghanis.

read more

A Man For All Seasons

It was when I was reading extensive article offering President-elect Obama a reality check titled, “No Breathing Space in Washington” By Tom Engelhardt, I had heard this logic or should I say, illogic before:

 Here’s the quote by the article:

“At least 12 such attacks have been carried out since then by special operations forces on Pakistan, Somalia, most recently Syria, and other unnamed countries. Signed off by former defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Bush, and built on recently by current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, these secret orders enshrine the Pentagon’s right to ignore international boundaries, or the sovereignty of nations, in an endless global “war” of choice against small, scattered bands of terrorists.”

Here is the quote from  A Man For All Seasons:

William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I’d cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned ’round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man’s laws, not God’s! And if you cut them down, and you’re just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I’d give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety’s sake!

Imperialist Propaganda

Second Thoughts on Charlie Wilson’s War
By Chalmers Johnson

I have some personal knowledge of Congressmen like Charlie Wilson (D-2nd District, Texas, 1973-1996) because, for close to twenty years, my representative in the 50th Congressional District of California was Republican Randy “Duke” Cunningham, now serving an eight-and-a-half year prison sentence for soliciting and receiving bribes from defense contractors. Wilson and Cunningham held exactly the same plummy committee assignments in the House of Representatives — the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee plus the Intelligence Oversight Committee — from which they could dole out large sums of public money with little or no input from their colleagues or constituents.  …full article

Lessons from the war in Georgia

By Herbert Bix, Asia Times 

President Mikheil Saakashvili made it easier for them to cover the war by hiring Aspect Consulting, a European public relations firm that sent in a top executive to disseminate daily, sometimes hourly, falsehoods about rampaging Russians attacking Georgian civilians.

American journalists fostered Russophobic sentiment by disseminating completely one-sided war news, demonizing Russia as the evil aggressor, and championing “democratic”, peace-loving Georgia. The American business magazine Fortune decried the bear’s “brutishness” and its threat to an interdependent world; Forbes labeled Russia “a gangster state” ruled by a “kleptocracy”.

TV newscasters likened the Russian Federation to Nazi Germany at the time of the 1938 Munich crisis. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice even asserted an American moral right to lecture Russia on how a “civilized country” should behave in the 21st century. All of which led Russia’s former president Putin to comment sarcastically, “I was surprised by the power of the Western propaganda machine … I congratulate all who were involved in it. This was a wonderful job. But the result was bad and will always be bad because this was a dishonest and immoral work.”  …full article

A strange coincidence connected to extremism

We noticed a strange coincidence connected to extremism this week. Apparently Israeli Jewish ultra-Orthodox vigilantes, as described in the 9/15/08 article below, have acquired the same tactics against women as Afghan Muslim extremists in the 1970’s in Kabul. They throw acid at women not dressed according to their standard. We interviewed an Afghan woman for our book who is now living in the US. She told us of witnessing two Afghan Muslim extremists throwing acid in the face of a woman at Kabul University in the early 1970’s.

“The girl screamed out,  “Oh! God I am burning, I am burning” We all rushed toward the woman, saw the young woman pointing to her knees and crying. The scene was horrifying. Her skin was peeling off the flesh. I thought her nylons were ripped and dangling down, in fact, it was her skin.”

Both men fled to Pakistan and found safe haven. ID’d by our witness as Gulbudin Hekmatyar and Ahmed Shah Masood, they became well-publicized “Freedom Fighters” and leaders of the Mujihadeen during the Soviet occupation. The CIA has claimed that the charges against Hekmatyar regarding this incident were Soviet propaganda. It’s also well known that Hekmatyar received most of the billions of dollars flowing through Pakistan from the US. Today Hekmatyar is one of the most powerful warlords attacking Afghans and Americans in an attempt to regain power.

Ultra-Orthodox vigilantes spread fear in Jerusalem

Sep 15 2008  02:34 AM   US/Eastern

Shaking as she recalled her brutal beating at the hands of Jewish ultra-Orthodox vigilantes, a 28-year-old Jerusalem woman who would only identify herself as M. said she feared for her life.

Some residents say the self-styled “modesty squads” are spreading terror among those seen as straying from the strict moral code demanded of the ultra-Orthodox in the more conservative neighbourhoods of the Holy City.

There life revolves largely around the study of holy texts and a strict dress code that has men sporting black coats and wide-brimmed hats and women covering their heads, arms and legs.

Two weeks ago police arrested two alleged members of a modesty patrol accused of brutally beating M.

The gang allegedly gagged her, hit her, kicked her and said she would be killed if she did not move out of the ultra-Orthodox Maalot Dafna neighbourhood.

“They beat me up, tied me up and threatened to kill me,” M. said, holding back her tears. “Who will prevent them from killing me?”  …full article

A Russian Conundrum From 1915

When we read this excerpt from Rudolph Steiner ‘s “Destinies of Individuals and Nations” January 17, 1915 lecture in The Occult in Russian and Soviet Culture predicting Russia’s future spiritual role in world development, we knew the Cold War with the Soviet Union was not what it appeared to be. We’ve included these pages for you to ponder.

“When Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925) reflected on the history of civilization, he envisioned a special role for Russia, because he considered Russia the country that could best embody the spirit of a new cultural epoch. In Russia, Anthroposophy developed beyond the mere study of an esoteric doctrine and its theory of knowledge. Anthroposophy sought to evaluate Russian and Soviet reality concretely, to interpret Russia’s historical development in the context of world history, and to become the basis of action for Russian cultural activities. Russian Anthroposophy is more than a variant of the Anthroposophical movement. Russia occupies a prominent place in the Anthroposophical conception of culture.

Steiner structured the history of civilzation in seven (post –Atlantean) periods: Indian, ancient Persia, Egyptian-Chaldean, Greek-Roman, Central European, Slavic, and American. According to his scheme, humanity at the end of the fifth ,the central European period-that is, at the threshold of the end of the fifth, the Central European period-that is, at the threshold of the sixth period, the Slavic period. The fifth post-Atlantean epoch began in the first half of the fifteenth century among the Germanic peoples. It manifested itself through an increase in individualism and through a growing interest in the sciences and technology. Around the year 3500, this era of perception was to be succeeded by the sixth epoch, the epic of the “Spirit Self” the characteristics of the Slavic people were to prevail: a sense of community, selflessness, patience, and the ability to accept a higher truth. These qualities constitute the basis for the ‘seed’ of the world spirit incarnation in the Russian people, according to Steiner, the broad Russian masses already carried in them the seed of the coming civilization. Steiner used the image of ‘seed’ repeatedly to describe the state of Russia’s development, the embryonic, nuclear state of the East as opposed to the ‘hypertrophy’ of the West. The spirit of the Russian people was ‘young and fresh in it’s hopes’ and ‘yet to confront it’s task.’ This task, to suffuse all aspects of life with new meaning, would be realized only in the course of history. Steiner called the Russian a child, in whose very soul one could find the questions that must be answered if humanity was to master the future. From the Russian character traits Steiner derived the capability of holistic thinking. In the Russian way of thinking, as he saw it, two opposing concepts can hold sway simultaneously so that rationality was mysticism and mysticism is rationality. ‘The Russian does not have the slightest understanding of what Westerners call ‘reasonableness.’ He is accessible to what we term ‘revelation. Basically, he will accept and integrate into the content of his soul anything he owns to a kind of revelation.”

In Soloviev’s ideas Steiner saw the seed of the philosophy of the ‘Spirit Self’ of the sixth epoch, for here the religious and philosophical worldviews merged. Soloviev’s philosophy spoke the language of religion, while his religion strove a philosophical worldview.” According to Steiner, this was where the superiority of the Russian philosophy over the aging Western philosophy lay: it transcended the limits of reason and it built a basis for a new holistic understanding. In order to develop the capacities and to fulfill its mission, Steiner said, the Russian people needed contact with the West; the ‘female East’ should be impregnated by the ‘male West.’ Intellectuality and technology, the achievement and problem of the fifth epoch of civilization, had led the life force to stagnate in Europe. Meanwhile this life force was at work in Russia, but was so lacking in form that it could fall into chaos. That was why Steiner felt that Russia depended on a Western awareness of form and consciousness. ‘To imagine that the East, at its present state, would develop on its own would be comparable to the foolish hope of a woman who wanted to have a child without a man. In the past, Eastern Europe had proved its receptiveness to the West. Steiner pointed to the reception of the Byzantine religion in Russia. Thus the Slavic peoples showed that they were also capable of absorbing higher truths- that is, the spirit of the sixth epoch.

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