Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Unveiling the Hidden Hand


Maryam Sakeenah

Ear splitting blasts, gored flesh, charred limbs, corpses falling left right and centre in a steadily mounting death toll. A matter of course. Nothing to be shouting about from the rooftops.

The Quran says: “Whosoever killeth a human being, except by way of punishment for murder or spreading fitnah in the land, it shall be as if he killeth the whole of mankind, and whosoever saveth a human being it shall be as if he saveth the whole of mankind.” (5:32)

The judgement is easy to make, in fact simplistic. It’s that ‘Islamist’ again. Full stop. When a suicide bomb went off the other day, the news flash reporting it took care to specify in its 4-word content, ‘Bearded terrorist kills 9’. In this age of information influx, news flashes and alerts, there’s hardly another version to choose from. It’s the Islamists bombing the hell out of everywhere. They’re at it again. It is too obvious for any digging-in-deeper.

But a closer look is unsettling for the simplistic assumptions. In the final analysis, who is the loser? Who gains? Who suffers the ire, the renewed vigour for ‘crushing extremism’? It is the state that wins understanding and approval for its dirty methods, the powerful boost of the ‘silent majority.’ It wins solider grounds for justifying the alliance with the U.S in the War on Terror and for the militarization of our northern buffer zone of yore. It wins sympathies, concern and millions of dollars from overseas in ‘combatting the common threat.’ The crusade is powered with every bomb going off, and each time someone can say, ‘We told you so. See?’ That someone is not the Islamist.

Even when it gains him not a shred of anything at all but reasons and excuses for his enemies to use; even when it gains nothing but gusto for the War on Terror; even when it gains only disappearances and deportations to Cuba; even when it merely adds to the terror of the Terrorist apparition and no more, the Islamist goes on killing himself. An insanity we seriously believe_ the whole lot of us.

And why? There’s a clear agenda. Dr. Nasir Khan writes, “Everywhere, the media reveals a sort of preconceived image of Islam the writers intend to convey to their readers.” They intend to convey a propaganda-based image of a subhuman, archaic, barbaric creed bred out of the wilderness of the Arabian desert; a patriarchal, misogynistic, narrow cult whose followers are vile, depraved, bloodthirsty, pathologically violent gun-toting terrorists planning a global spine-chilling Hollywood-like terrorist plot. On CNN, the phobia of a grand terror conspiracy against the U.S in the making is almost palpable, systematically pumped into the viewer’s brain. “But”, writes Dr. Khan, “in view of the real power wielded by the West throughout the Middle East and beyond, the so-called ‘threat of Islam’ is really quite groundless. In fact, right-wing political manipulators and Christian fundamentalists can very easily provoke major crises between the Muslim world and the West. In fact, the global expansion of Western colonialism is the story of plunder and destruction across continents.”

The ongoing crusade unleashing terror and hate all across the globe is another feather in the cap of Western civilization. The West’s intelligence agencies and its monopoly over the media combine to form a live warring mechanism firing and pumping up the ongoing War of Ideas. The limelight, however, is not here, for it doesn’t serve The Purpose.

Consider that arsonists desecrating mosques in Bradford, setting fire to Islamic centres in Texas, bombs going off in mosques where Muslims are the minority community or hate-filled anti-Muslim wall-chalking is never an issue anywhere. But when a young protestor spontaneously cries out that British army combatants in Iraq should be killed, he gets sentenced to 27 years following a media hype about the ‘crime’. There goes ‘freedom of speech.’ Yet, it weaves a methodical pattern.

On August 5, following the U.S’s brash threats to Pakistan for real possibilities of strikes on ‘suspected targets’ within its territory, the Washington Post ran a jolting report. It said that the US intelligence estimate submitted to President Bush last month was deliberately changed to prove that Pakistan has Al Qaeda bases operating inside its territory. As a natural, foreseen consequence, the threats to attack Pakistan followed. And the Presidency aspirant Obama cashed heavily on the skewed-up report for his electoral campaign.

So much of what really is a pervasive, global threat is unreported, unexposed. The hidden hands go on pulling the strings behind the iron curtains. Claudia Nelson writes in her article ‘A Terrorist Organization’, “The CIA is a terrorist organization according to both international ands American definitions of terrorism and is guilty of engaging in unconstitutional and illegal behavior.” In her article she quotes numerous instances where the CIA was involved in shady activities. The operation in Vietnam, masterminded by the CIA, claimed 20,000 lives, often at random. In the 80s, the CIA used profits from cocaine smuggling to engineer coups and destabilization movements in Africa in which tens of thousands of civilians died. The coup in Chile bringing in the unscrupulous, violent Pinochet regime was funded and supervised by the CIA. The Cuban airline bombing in 1973 killing 73 unearthed clues pointing again to the CIA. In America itself, the CIA conducted the ‘Operation CHAOS’, which was a ‘vicious , aggressive domestic surveillance operation against anti-war activists.’ More to the CIA’s credit is the failed coup against Chavez in Venezuela in 2002 and distortions of data about Iraq to justify its occupation by the U.S. Nelson concludes, “You cannot claim to fight terrorism, or claim to be the beacon of democracy with an organization like the CIA in your ranks.”

V.K Singh, a high-ranking army officer in India worked as a senior officer in the Research and Analysis Wing_ India’s powerful intelligence agency ‘RAW.’ Singh writes about the organization, “There is a lack of any accountability and misuse of the agency by its political masters… there is absolutely no parliamentary monitoring… the chiefs have unlimited powers and are not accountable to anyone at all.” He further mentions a RAW official Rabinder Singh, who was a CIA mole working in the RAW. After his hidden motives came to light, no investigation was carried out, or was deliberately delayed. The spy conveniently defected to the U.S, alongwith top-secret RAW documents, including ‘sensitive information on neighboring South Asian countries.’ There was no follow-up to this infamous case either.

Shortly after the spate of suicide attacks began in Pakistan, the national press ran an important report regarding ‘proofs of foreign involvement’ in the bombings. The Nation reports, “In the flood of suicide attacks in the aftermath of the Lal Masjid operation, the country’s intelligence has found proofs of Indian involvement in the militancy.” The official revealing the fact called the proofs ‘strong, irrefutable and rock-hard.’ “The investigation into the killing of the Chinese nationals also point a finger at the same country. There is also significant proof of the involvement of the RAW in the Baloch nationalist uprising. The neighbouring country’s intelligence agencies are ‘pouring in huge funding’ for the purpose, the official further stated.”

A fortnight ago in Peshawar, a terrorist gang of three brothers was busted. The convicts confessed to “being involved in a series of blasts in the city and sabotage activities including two bomb blasts in bus terminals. They were planning more of the same on trade centres, banks, important public buildings. There was also evidence of their involvement in the killing of the Chinese on Charsadda road. The netted terrorists had backing by the intelligence agency of a foreign country.” (The Nation)

The news item bore a tiny header eclipsed somewhere in the odd inside pages of the paper. However, this was the only paper carrying the sensitive details. Luckily, the report had caught my eye. The paper failed to add, however, that the terrorists this time were ‘unbearded.’

There’s an audible silence, a hush that gives away a great deal. We’re tight-lipped, being pawns in the game_ sans sovereignty. Just like the corpses trodden underground and the bloodied colour painted up on the walls of the idelibly 'Lal' Masjid, the shocking revelation is cast aside, the lesser said the better. The dead are gone and their mourners hushed up. The blasts don’t hurt, after all_ they help win converts to the wisdom of Enlightened Moderation and the anti-terror crusade. Blasts in the violet air keep the crusade charged for the propaganda to thrive in and the ideas of a ‘pro-West’ Muslimhood to take root. They keep the dollars coming as we shake hands and smile at the camera for another press release, another ‘confidence building measure.’ Who said Pakistan was First?