This certainly isn't the first time that the media has posted blatant propaganda, nor will it be the last, but the Associated Press article "CIA chief Panetta: US has driven back al-Qaida" found on Yahoo news is a clear example of brainless junk-food news, pandering to the weak-minded for political gain in support of the war in Afghanistan. There are so many things wrong with this article it's hard to know where to begin. So let's start with al-Qaeda.
There is no al-Qaeda, as the public has been led to believe. There is no organized network of terrorists training in desert camps and biding their time in sleeper cells around the world, waiting to do the bidding of Osama Bin Laden or any mysterious successor. There is no organized group of elite, dedicated gunman and operatives taking orders from some "terrorist-in-chief." Al-Qaeda, meaning literally "The Base," was a term used in reference to a computer database of a few thousand CIA-sponsored Mujahadeen fighters, including Osama Bin Laden, who were fighting the Soviets at the time. Since the 1980's, those fighters have died off or gone on about their lives as any other Afghan. Some probably went on to support the Taliban, others the Northern Alliance and the current reigning U.S.-supported government in Kabul, others still the various mountain warlords with their intricate web of questionable loyalties. Once you realize the truth of it, you realize how idiotic the term really is, as it is blazoned across headlines and emphasized in political speeches over and over again. It's as stupid as blaming every criminal act in America on "The Gang" while completely ignoring the fact that there is no one gang but a wide array of organized crime groups as well as untold numbers of individuals, each with their own motivations for every crime in the book. But of course, al-Qaeda "sounds foreign" so simple-minded folk are none the wiser and the media keeps right on reporting total rubbish.
Here is a related segment hosted on YouTube of a BBC special, and links for the full length version on Googlevideo...
The Power of Nightmares: Part 1
The Power of Nightmares: Part 2
The Power of Nightmares: Part 3
The series is also available for download here...
So what they are telling us with that headline, and the introduction to the article when they say, "The U.S. has driven al-Qaida into hiding and undermined its leadership," is nothing short of complete fabrication. They are lying to you, blatantly and without reservation. It is no more news than a supermarket tabloid declaring with all certainty that aliens were spotted having lunch with Elvis at the Ritz-Carlton hotel. Yet the fabrication is taken as gospel coming from the esteemed Associated Press, who pretty much dictate all mainstream media news reports in America by the way, and then disseminated by such seemingly reliable sources as Yahoo news or the various other media outlets that have carried this story. Nowhere in the national media, in neither left nor right leaning news outlets, do we see a peep of dissent questioning the validity of this fabrication. Of course President Obama is looking to gain support for his war strategy in Afghanistan, so some news to make it look like things are on track is needed now in the wake of his firing of General McChrystal, the theatre commander. Not to mention the troop surge and announced 2011 departure from Afghanistan of U.S. troops, which has all left the media pundits in a frenzy.
The article then goes on to sell a little fear to the reader once again by reporting CIA Director Panetta has stated that al-Qaeda is increasingly relying on terrorists without previous ties to terrorism, and those already in the United States. Of course, there is no evidence whatsoever that any of the recent acts of terrorism in the U.S., as almost laughably unsuccessful as they have been, were in any way tied to this fictitious terror organization. But they aren't about to waste a perfectly good opportunity to have the reader jumping at shadows, in order to chip away at the last vestiges of liberty and to justify this enormously expensive police-state we now live in.
Panetta's own estimation is that there are fewer than a hundred al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. So it takes almost a hundred-thousand U.S. troops to hunt down less then a hundred of the world's most dangerous and wanted terrorists? That would be assuming of course, that al-Qaeda were as real as he would have us all believe. Mention is made of more members of the imaginary terror network holed up just across the border in the mountains of Pakistan. He then sates that U.S. drone strikes and spy operations have helped to take down half of al-Qaeda's top leadership. So we are making great headway finally against this imaginary enemy. Director Panetta then tries to give us with the impression that we are winning the fight of all fights stating, "We are engaged in the most aggressive operations in the history of the CIA in that part of the world, and the result is that we are disrupting their leadership." Yes Mister Panetta, so we've heard, for about a decade now.
Of course he is not so confidant when he is talking about the fight against the Taliban. The very real group of fighters, clan elders, and spiritual leaders who were the legitimate government of Afghanistan until the U.S. came marching in on the flimsiest of fabricated evidence and turned the whole country upside down. Even at the onset of the invasion the only crime that the Taliban were supposedly guilty of was harboring al-Qaeda. But if there is and never was any al-Qaeda, what was their crime at all? Most of the supposed 9/11 attackers were from Saudi Arabia, not Afghanistan, nor Iraq for that matter. A few weeks ago the New York Times reported that the U.S. had discovered more than a trillion-dollars worth of precious minerals in Afghanistan. A trillion little reasons to go to war? Perhaps. Or just more spin to justify to the American people our continued presence there, by dangling a prize of riches in front us, at a time when our economy is imploding more each day and the middle class is being driven off a cliff.
The article then goes on to discuss the problems inherent in propping up a puppet democracy in a land where the people aren't interested and only making a half-hearted effort to "win" a war in their own land that isn't even their war in the first place. Fewer than an estimated 9,000 Afghan fighters are prepared to to join the U.S. in an assault against the Taliban's spiritual heartland in Kandahar. Sure, there are plenty of Afghans who have no love for the Taliban, but this isn't simply a matter of us backing one side in a civil war. Afghanistan is a patchwork of tribal lands with many powerful factions. Something that obviously the United States does not even comprehend, or pretends not to, when we wind up funding the Taliban ourselves through their protection racket, extorting "security payments" through middlemen to allow our supply convoys to move about the countryside unmolested. So now the U.S. military is guilty of supporting "terrorists" financially, which is more than any support the Taliban ever gave to Osama Bin Laden.
Almost as an afterthought near the end of the article the reporter interjects, "On a separate issue, Panetta said that the CIA had no choice but to hire the company once known as Blackwater for $100 million to provide security in Afghanistan." Wait, what? The CIA had no choice but to hire a company known to openly engage in killing civilians at random and without cause? A company who's officials are under Federal indictment for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, and weapons charges? But the CIA "had no choice" since this company of Christian zealot mercenary terrorists had outbid the competition by $26 million. Some folks may also rest easy knowing that a CIA review of the newly renamed Xe Services has concluded that the contractor has "cleaned up it's act." Does that put you at ease? Perhaps we might just convince the Taliban to clean up their act so that we can go home. The whole article then wraps up with a nice little bow reminding us of how seven CIA employees and some contractors were killed in Afghanistan in December when a suicide bomb went off. Well then, that justifies everything then they must figure.
When will people start questioning this sort of reporting? When will those who question it be heard? It seems we all might just as well sit back and get all of our news from The Onion...