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Pakistan - A Disinformation Campaign?

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The U.S. has been fighting a war inside of Pakistan. These actions, which have resulted in the death and injury of civilian populations have drawn the ire of the people of Pakistan, and condemnation (and attacks) from the government of Pakistan. The perception was that this was Bush unilaterally engaging in invading yet another country. However, then the news leaked that Bush approved the raids.

The word is that in July of 2008 George Bush "secretly" approved special forces to carry out assaults inside of Pakistan without the knowledge or approval of the Pakistani government. According to the NY Times report which broke the story:

The classified orders signal a watershed for the Bush administration after nearly seven years of trying to work with Pakistan to combat the Taliban and Al Qaeda, and after months of high-level stalemate about how to challenge the militants' increasingly secure base in Pakistan's tribal areas.

American officials say that they will notify Pakistan when they conduct limited ground attacks like the Special Operations raid last Wednesday in a Pakistani village near the Afghanistan border, but that they will not ask for its permission.


Almost in passing, the article also notes that:

The Central Intelligence Agency has for several years fired missiles at militants inside Pakistan from remotely piloted Predator aircraft. But the new orders for the military's Special Operations forces relax firm restrictions on conducting raids on the soil of an important ally without its permission.


So is it the CIA that is currently flying the drones on their bombing missions inside Pakistan? Isn't that a "military" function? Yes, it is, and it is part of the secret army within the CIA. This CIA assault force known as the Special Operations Group. Douglas Waller of Time wrote an excellent expose in February 2003 titled "The CIA's Secret Army."

But back to our "story."

The claim (included in the NY Times' article) was that officials inside Pakistan had tacitly agreed to the attacks inside their borders. There was no word of exactly what "officials" made that agreement. However, IF it such tacit approval happened, then it was likely the ISI (Pakistan's intelligence service) given the involvement of the CIA.

As outrage from the government of Pakistan has mounted over the attacks on its people and sovereignty, the claim of tacit approval of the U.S. cross border raids were thrown in yet again - this time by the Washington Post on November 16, 2008 ("Pakistan and U.S. Have Tacit Deal On Airstrikes). The nifty little floating of this story is not just the "tacit approval," but that Pakistan could pitch a fit over the incursions.

The officials described the deal as one in which the U.S. government refuses to publicly acknowledge the attacks while Pakistan's government continues to complain noisily about the politically sensitive strikes.


What a convenient "explanation" of Pakistan's appropriate anger at the U.S. incursions. Of course, Pakistan vehemently denies any such agreement.

What is information and disinformation?

Well some things seem to be real. First that President Bush approved the use of "special forces" to operate within Afghanistan. Those "special forces" could be military or CIA - or both. Second, that the attacks inside Pakistan have really happened : by ground which purportedly stopped in September 2008, and then drone bombing runs conducted thereafter. Third, civilians have been killed and injured and homes and villages destroyed. Fourth, the people of Pakistan are outraged, turning to the Taliban - even if we can't know (given the counter claims) whether the government of Pakistan is or not. Fifth, that the attacks undermine the authority of the new Pakistani administration.

There are a variety of reports that Pakistan's ISI was behind the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul on July 7, 2008 (UN Afghanistan Mission, NY Times, National Security Network). The various reports seem to indicate that Pakistan is targeting Indian missions and companies inside of Afghanistan out of concern out rising Indian influence inside Afghanistan. Further that Pakistan and the ISI are renewing alignments with Taliban, and perhaps other militant groups.

The short story is that complex situations tend to get more and more convoluted. Enemies and allies swirl in haze of conflicting interests and ongoing disputes and alliances. As always, the innocent are caught in the middle.

 

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Rowan Wolf is an activist and sociologist living in Oregon. She is the founder and principle author of Uncommon Thought Journal, and Editor in Chief of Cyrano's Journal Today.

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