Saturday, April 30, 2011

Islamists, Heroin and The CIA

By Dean Henderson
April 10, 2011
Courtesy Of "Global Research"

The Wall Street Journal reported on April 7 that the Syrian government reversed a ban on women teachers wearing Islamic face cover in the classroom. The concession to Western-backed Islamist protestors is instructive, since the secular socialist Assad government is clearly in the crosshairs of City of London bankers attempting to redraw the political map of the Middle East. As in Libya and Afghanistan, the banksters are counting on fundamentalists to carry out their counter-revolutionary agenda.

Though Western intelligence had earlier cavorted with Islamists in attacking nationalist movements in Iraq, Indonesia and Iran; it was in Afghanistan where they unleashed the full force of their young Frankensteins.

This disastrous experiment came to a head last week when 2,000 Afghans attacked a UN compound in usually sedate Mazar-e-Sharif, killing 7 staffers. Though set off by the burning of a Quran by our own Florida version of the Taliban (see my Left Hook article “Pastor Jones & Mohammed Atta”), one must understand this nation’s history to fully comprehend Afghan anger towards their Western occupiers.

Afghanistan was founded in 1747 and ruled by a bloodline monarchy with rumored ties to the legendary Roshaniya- the all-seeing ones. In 1933 King Mohammed Zaher Shah took the throne, ruling the country in feudalistic fashion until deposed by his cousin Mohammed Daoud in 1973. [1]

In April 1978 Daoud was killed in a popular revolution led by socialist leader Nor Mohammed Taraki, who became President and embarked on an ambitious land reform program to help poor Afghan sharecroppers, who were traditionally forced to work land owned by the king and his cronies.

Taraki built schools for women who were banned from education under the monarchy. He opened Afghan universities to the poor and introduced free health care. When counter-revolutionary bandits began to burn down universities and girl’s schools, many Afghan’s saw the hand of the CIA. As the campaign of sabotage intensified, Kabul revolutionaries called on Soviet leader Leonid Brezynev to send troops to repel the bandits. Brezynev refused.

In 1979 pro-Taraki militants, convinced of a CIA destabilization plot, assassinated CIA Kabul Chief of Station Spike Dubbs. Indeed, in April 1979, a full seven months before the much-ballyhooed Soviet “invasion” of Afghanistan occurred, US officials met with Afghan warlords bent on overthrowing Taraki. On July 3, 1979 President Carter signed the first national security directive authorizing secret aid to Afghan warlords. Carter National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski said he convinced Carter that in his “...opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.”[2]

Taraki appointed Tabizullah Amin as Cabinet Minister in charge of land reform. Amin, who Soviet KGB Chief Yuri Andropov came to believe was a CIA deep cover agent provocateur, launched a brutal campaign of terror against political opponents. This turned world opinion against the Tariki government. Andropov believes the CIA had Amin infiltrate the Kabul government intent on discrediting the revolutionaries.

Taraki traveled to Moscow to consult with the Soviets on a strategy to get rid of Amin. The day he returned to Kabul, Amin had Taraki executed and seized power. A few weeks later CIA-backed warlords massacred dozens of Afghan government officials in the western city of Herat. The combination of these two events finally convinced Brezynev to send troops into Afghanistan. [3]

In December 1979 Soviet tanks rolled across the Panshir Valley, while KGB operatives stormed the Royal Palace in Kabul. They assassinated Tabizullah Amin and installed Babrak Karmal as the new leader of Afghanistan. Brzezinski now had the justification he’d been looking for to begin overtly arming counter-revolutionaries in Afghanistan. Though the Afghan conflict killed two million people, Brzezinski later boasted, “That (Carter’s secret directive) was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap.”[4]

CIA agents streamed into Peshawar in Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province. The city lay at the foot of Khyber Pass, the gateway to Afghanistan. Tens of thousands of Afghan refugees had flooded into Peshawar to escape the looming war. With help from the Pakistani Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI), the CIA scoured the refugee camps looking for modern-day Islamic fundamentalist Assassins who were prepared to intensify the guerrilla war on Kabul’s socialist government and now, to repel the Soviets from Afghanistan.

The Company found what it needed in Hezbi-i Isbmi, a force of feudal-minded Islamist fighters assembled and trained by the Pakistani military with CIA oversight. Their leader was Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a fanatic who in the early 1970’s had ordered his followers to throw acid into the faces of Afghan women who refused to wear their burkhas. In 1972 Hezbi-i Isbmi murdered hundreds of left-wing students in Afghanistan then fled to Peshawar, where they escaped prosecution under the protection of the US-allied Pakistan military government. [5] The group was feared and despised by Afghans and Pakistanis alike, who viewed them as a terrorist organization.

Pakistan became the third largest recipient of US military aid in the world, behind only Israel and Egypt. Much of that aid was going to arm the mujahadeen who launched raids into Afghanistan, seizing large chunks of real estate. A pattern emerged.

Each time the Hezbi-i Isbmi secured land, they immediately planted it to poppies. Between 1982-1983 opium harvests along the Afghan/Pakistani border doubled in size and by 1984 Pakistan was exporting 70% of the world’s heroin. [6] During that time the CIA Station in Islamabad – Pakistan’s capital – became the largest spook den in the world. Golden Crescent heroin output surpassed that of the Golden Triangle just as the CIA began its biggest operation since Vietnam.

While Hekmatyar’s troops planted poppies, mujahadeen leader Sayed Ahmed Gailani was supplying the Turkish Gray Wolves syndicate with Pathan opium. The Gray Wolves’ Iranian supply had dried up when their good friend the Shah was deposed and Iranian revolutionaries cracked down on the country’s heroin epidemic.

Gailani was a wealthy Afghan aristocrat with ties to former King Zaher Shah. He owned the Peugeot dealership in Kabul and his drug smuggling was underwritten by the Saudis. [7] A 1989 State Department report admitted that Afghanistan had become the world’s leading source of heroin.

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar followed squarely in the footsteps of Vang Pao, Phoumi Nosavan and Khun Sa – the CIA heroin lords of the Golden Triangle. Soon Hekmatyar was recognized as the world’s heroin kingpin. Alfred McCoy, in his excellent book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, first exposed the CIA’s role in facilitating the guns-for-drugs quid pro quo. He terms the CIA approach “radical pragmatism”.

This same approach would seem to belie the CIA’s penchant for backing Islamic extremists.

In 1978 Lieutenant General Fazle Haq was appointed governor of Northwest Frontier Province where Peshawar became an arms supermarket for the mujahadeen and home to hundreds of heroin refineries. Haq was one of the largest depositors at the CIA’s Bank of Credit & Commerce International (BCCI). He was President Zia’s closest confidant and a good friend of Zia’s son, who ran the BCCI Karachi branch.

Haq became de facto overlord for mujahadeen operations and provided protection for the heroin labs. Hekmatyar himself ran six labs further south in Baluchistan Province. A State Department Narcotics Suppression Officer based in Islamabad accused US Ambassador to Pakistan Ronald Spiers of refusing to forward any evidence of Pakistani military officials’ involvement in the heroin trade to DEA, though it was widely known that Haq and others were key players. [8]

In the 1980’s Pakistan became the world’s poster child for political corruption. The Islamabad junta’s unflagging support for Reagan’s mujahadeen was at the root of the corruption. A senior US official stated that, “key Hekmatyar commanders close to the ISI run heroin laboratories in southwest Pakistan and the ISI cooperates in heroin operations”. [9]

In September 1985 the Pakistan Herald reported that military trucks belonging to the National Logistics Cell of the Pakistan Army were being used to transport arms from the Port of Karachi to Peshawar on behalf of the CIA, and that those same trucks were returning to Karachi sealed by the Pakistani military and loaded with heroin. The practice, according to the Herald, had been going on since 1981, just as Hekmatyar’s forces began planting poppies.

Two high-ranking Pakistani military officers were caught with 220 kilos of heroin, but were never prosecuted. The US had seventeen DEA agents stationed in Pakistan. During their tenure they made zero arrests. Golden Crescent heroin captured 60% of the US market, where bricks of hashish appeared stamped with a logo of two crossed AK-47 assault rifles circled by the words, “Smoke out the Soviets”. From 1982-1992, roughly the period of US involvement in Afghanistan, heroin addiction in the US rose by 50%. [10]

There was evidence that President Zia himself was involved in the heroin trade. In 1984 a Pakistani national named Hamid Hashain was caught smuggling heroin into Norway. During a routine search of Hashain, customs officials found original copies of President Zia’s personal bank statements. The incident caused a major scandal in Pakistan, where allegations of Zia’s corruption grew louder. The US increasingly saw him as a liability.

In 1988 Zia’s helicopter went down in a ball of fire. Both he and US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphael were killed. The crash bore an eerie resemblance to the one that killed Panama’s President Omar Torrijos in 1981, which even General Noriega, who rose to power because of Torrijos’ death, later claimed was a CIA assassination. The US blamed the Soviets and US Air Force officials cordoned off the wreckage, barring Pakistani authorities from investigating the crash. Reagan offered his condolences, citing Zia as, “a strong supporter of anti-narcotics activities in Pakistan”.

It is no coincidence that virtually all Arab nations which the West considers allies embrace Islamic fundamentalism, a repressive belief system which is quite congruent with global monopoly capitalism. Both are based on a return to rule by feudalistic monarchy and a diminished role for government and thus democracy.

Most US Arab enemies embrace secular socialism, which aims to stop the exploitation of oil resources by the Four Horsemen and their Rockefeller/Rothschild owners. Great Arab leaders including the Egyptian Nasser, the Algerian Boumedienne, the Libyan Qaddafi, the Syrian Assad and the Iraqi al-Bakr support(ed) a secular socialism (though Qaddafi proclaims himself precisely to be anarcho-syndicalist), which poses a very real threat to the neo-liberal globalization agenda.

Interventions in Libya and Syria follow the same counter-revolutionary template employed by the City of London banksters in Afghanistan.


[1] “Nation Endures History of Turbulence”. Greg Myre. Springfield News Leader. 11-10-01. p.9A
[2] “War Criminals, Real and Imagined”. Gregory Elich. Covert Action Quarterly. Winter 2001. p.23
[3] “Soldiers of God”. CNN Presents. 12-23-01
[4] Washington’s Secret War Against Afghanistan. Philip Bonosky. International Publishers. New York. 1984.
[5] Convergence. Christic Institute. WashingtonDC. Fall 1991
[6] Ibid
[7] The Great Heroin Coup: Drugs, Intelligence and International Fascism. Henrik Kruger. South End Press. Boston. 1980. p.222
[8] The Outlaw Bank: A Wild Ride into the Heart of BCCI. Jonathan Beaty and S.C. Gwynne. Random House. New York. 1993. p.49
[9] Convergence
[10] Beaty and Gwynne. p.303

Dean Henderson writes a weekly column called Left Hook.  He is the author of Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network and The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries.  His blog is at

 Global Research Articles by Dean Henderson

Al Qaeda, The Taliban & the Texas Oil Giants

By Dean Henderson
April 14, 2011
Courtesy Of "Global Research"

In the mid-1980’s the UN tried to broker a peace deal in Afghanistan involving a complete Soviet withdrawal in return for an end to US and Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) support for the Afghan rebels. The Reagan Administration refused the UN deal. It wanted to “give the Soviets their Vietnam” as part of a grander scheme to rip apart the Soviet Union. It also wanted the socialist Karmal government out of Kabul. In 1986 US military aid to the mujahadeen increased dramatically to $1 billion/year.

In 1988 the US and the Soviets signed the Geneva Accords which called for an Afghan arms embargo. Both countries ignored the deal and the fighting continued. Mujahadeen fighters routinely tortured and mutilated captured Russian and Afghan soldiers- often in the presence of American advisers. [1]

In 1989 the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan. Their hand-picked Prime Minister Babrak Karmal had been replaced by the democratically-elected Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai in 1986. But Najibullah was also a socialist and democracy was never a State Department priority. He represented the Parchom faction of the Communist People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

Though the Soviets were gone, the US kept funding the guerrilla campaign against the duly-elected government in Kabul. In 1992 Najibullah was overthrown. One of seven fighting mujahadeen factions led by Burhaddin Rabbani took power. Six of the seven rebel groups laid down their arms and got behind Rabbani.

The one that did not was CIA-favorite Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hezbi-i Isbmi, which proceeded to soak the streets of Kabul in yet another round of blood. Though the UN now recognized the Rabbani-led faction as Afghanistan’s legitimate government, the CIA still saw Rabbani as too much the leftist.

Hekmatyar’s forces finally seized Kabul. Rabbani and his government fled north into the Mazar-i-Sharif region where, under the command of military chief Sheik Ahmed Shah Massoud, the ousted mujahadeen factions reconstituted themselves as the Northern Alliance. In 1995 Hezbi-i Isbmi suddenly stepped down, ceding Kabul to a new creation of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) already in charge in Kandahar- the Taliban.

More than two million Afghans had died in the decade long war CIA war- its biggest covert operation since Vietnam. US taxpayers spent $3.8 billion prosecuting the genocide. The House of Saud matched that amount and the other GCC monarchs kicked in as well.

The US did nothing to help rebuild Afghanistan and the forces which the CIA created to fight their proxy war were increasingly turning their anger towards the West.

An October 1999 coup brought General Pervez Musharraf to power in Pakistan. Musharraf supported the rise of Islamic fundamentalism. He served on the board of Rabita Trust for the Rehabilitation of Stranded Pakistanis- an Osama bin Laden fundraising front. After the 911 terror attacks on the US, the Bush Administration gave Musharraf thirty-six hours to step down from the Rabita board. When he refused, the State Department simply removed Rabita from its list of groups that sponsor terrorism. [2]

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar joined many other mujahadeen leaders in expressing anger and contempt at the US for abandoning them. During the Gulf War, several ex-mujahadeen commanders supported Iraq. Following the war, the wealthy Saudi Osama bin Laden, who served as the House of Saud’s emissary in recruiting Afghan Arab fighters, while putting his construction background to work in building the CIA’s Khost, Afghanistan mujahadeen training camps in 1986, now called for a jihad against the “Crusader-Zionist Alliance”. [3] Many of his fellow ex-mujahadeen fighters heeded his call and al Qaeda emerged as the ugliest Frankenstein yet.

In 1993 al Qaeda extremists led by Ramzi Yousef attempted to blow up the World Trade Center by planting a bomb in a parking garage below the towers. Six people died. A week prior to the bombing, a FAX was received in Cairo warning of an impending attack on US interests. The FAX was fittingly sent from Peshawar, where the CIA first recruited mujahadeen. It was signed by al-Gamaa al-Islamiya (Islamic Group), a mujahadeen faction.

In March 1993 an ex-mujahadeen member walked up to the security checkpoint at CIA headquarters in Langley and opened fire, killing two agents. In March 1995, two CIA agents working out of the US Embassy in Karachi were gunned down by another mujahadeen veteran. Both assailants used AK-47 assault rifles paid for by the Saudi government and supplied by the CIA. Surplus CIA-supplied mujahadeen hardware including Stinger missiles also made its way to Iran and Qatar.

In 1996 bin Laden operatives bombed Khobar Towers military barracks at a US base in Saudi Arabia. Bin Laden Construction had built the facilities. In 1997, two days after a US court convicted the Pakistani responsible for the shootings at CIA headquarters, four auditors with Texas Union Oil Company were gunned down in Karachi.

In 1998 bin Laden loyalists blew up US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania within minutes of one another. Hundreds died. In 2000 al Qaeda operatives crashed a raft full of explosives into the side of the destroyer USS Cole as it docked in Yemen, where bin Laden’s family originated. Twenty-six US sailors died.

The US was finally forced to apply public pressure on the Pakistani government, which was still hosting the CIA Frankensteins. Clinton CIA Director James Woolsey said Pakistan was close to being placed on the State Department’s list of states that sponsor terrorism. This public pressure further angered the Pakistani people, who had watched as the CIA created and grew these narco-terrorists for a decade, using their country as a training ground. Now the US wanted to offload their culpability onto the Pakistani people. The mujahadeen were furious.

Jordanian mujahadeen Abu Taha put it this way, “The United States is a bloodsucker…and Pakistan is the puppet of America.” Another mujahadeen veteran, Abu Saman, said, “We were not terrorists as long as we and the Americans had the same cause- to defeat a superpower. Now it doesn’t suit the American and Western interests so we are branded terrorists.”[4]

In 1994 the Taliban sprang forth from religious schools known as madrassas in Northwest Pakistan. The schools were run by Jamiat-Ulema-i-Islami- an Islamic fundamentalist group with close ties to Pakistani ISI and funded by the Saudi government. The Taliban launched raids from Pakistani soil, just as the mujahadeen had, gaining notoriety when they freed a Pakistani military convoy captured inside Afghanistan. Within a year they controlled one-third of Afghanistan, establishing a provisional government in Kandahar.

The Rabbani government was ousted in Kabul by Hekmatyar’s Hezbi-i Isbmi. In 1995 as Taliban forces advanced on Kabul, Hekmatyar’s troops handed over control of Kabul to the Taliban. A Western diplomat said of the Taliban, “Clearly the Pakistanis are playing some kind of role”. [5]

When the Taliban came to power in 1996, saying they would establish an “Islamic emirate”, planes landed in Kabul carrying Taliban leaders and seven top-ranking Pakistani military officers. [6] Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the UAE immediately recognized the Taliban.

The Four Horsemen (Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco, BP Amoco & Royal Dutch/Shell) took a shine to the Taliban, viewing them as a “stabilizing force in the region”. They were eager to convince the feudalists of the importance of building a gas pipeline across Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean from the vast natural gas fields of Turkmenistan, which borders Afghanistan to the north.

The Rabbani government had been negotiating with an Argentinean consortium called Bridas to build the pipeline. This angered the Four Horsemen, who backed a Unocal-led consortium known as Centgas. In 2005 Unocal became part of Chevron. Many citizens of Kabul were convinced that the CIA had brought the Taliban to power on behalf of Big Oil. [7]

The Four Horsemen were busy exploiting their new Caspian Sea oil and gas reserves in the newly formed Central Asian Republics just north of Afghanistan. Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan contain vast crude oil reserves estimated at over 200 billion barrels. Neighboring Turkmenistan is a virtual gas republic, containing some of the largest deposits of natural gas on earth. The biggest gas field is at Dauletabad in the southeast of the country near the Afghan border. All told there are an estimated 6.6 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Caspian Sea region.

The Centgas consortium also planned to build a pipeline which would connect oil fields around Chardzhan, Turkmenistan to the Siberian oilfields further north. [8] Turkmenistan also has vast reserves of oil, copper, coal, tungsten, zinc, uranium and gold.

With Rabbani out of the picture, Centgas began negotiating in earnest with the Taliban for rights to build their pipeline from Dauletbad across Afghanistan and Pakistan to the port of Karachi, where a US Naval base was in the works on a 100-acre site given mysteriously handed over to Omani Sultan Qaboos.

The Four Horsemen brought with them to Central Asia some loyal Saudi business partners. Saudi billionaire Sheik Khalid bin Mahfouz- owner of BCCI and National Commercial Bank and an enthusiastic supporter of the mujahadeen- embraced the Taliban. Bin Mahfouz- whose net worth is over $2 billion- controls Nimir Petroleum, a partner with Chevron Texaco in developing a 1.5 billion barrel Kazakhstan oil field. A Saudi Arabian government audit found that bin Mahfouz’ National Commercial Bank had transferred over $3 million to Osama bin Laden charities in 1999. [9]

Saudi-owned Delta Oil was a partner with Amerada Hess in Azerbaijan oil ventures. Delta-Hess is part of a Bechtel-led group building the $2.4 billion Caspian Pipeline Consortium’s trans-Turkey pipeline to the Russian Black Sea port of Novorosisskyk. Delta Oil is also a partner in Centgas.

According to French writer Olivier Roy, “When the Taliban took power in Afghanistan, it was largely orchestrated by the Pakistani secret service (ISI) and the oil company Unocal, with its Saudi ally Delta”. [10]

In January 1998 Centgas agreed to pay the Taliban government $100 million a year to run their gas pipeline across Afghanistan. Centgas arranged high-level meetings in Washington between Taliban officials and the State Department.

Representing Unocal was Zalmay Khalilzad, who was Assistant Undersecretary of Defense in the Bush Sr. Administration and worked at Cambridge Energy Research Associates before working at Unocal. Khalilzad was born in Mazar-i-Sharif to wealthy Afghan aristocrats. His father was an aide to King Zaher Shah. Khalilzad also worked at Rand Corporation- long a CIA asset. [11] Khalilzad left his post at Unocal to join the National Security Council in the Bush Jr. Administration. [12] In 2002 Bush appointed Khalilzad as the first US envoy to Afghanistan in over 20 years. The first item on his agenda was to revive talks on building the Centgas pipeline.

Bin Mahfouz was under investigation for funding Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda terror network. He was represented in the US by Washington law firm Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld. The firm represents the House of Saud and the world’s largest Islamic charity- the Saudi-based Holy Land Foundation for Development and Relief. Within three months of the 911 terror attacks, Treasury had frozen the assets of the Saudi foundation. Akin, Gump successfully defended bin Mahfouz when the BCCI scandal broke. Three partners at the firm are good friends of President George W. Bush. Partner James C. Langdon is one of Bush’s closest friends. George Salem was involved in Bush campaign fundraising. Barnett “Sandy” Cress was appointed by Bush to head a White House-sponsored education initiative. [13]

According to French intelligence analyst Jean-Charles Brisard, President Bush Jr. blocked US Secret Service investigations into US-based al-Qaeda sleeper cells while he continued to negotiate secretly with Taliban officials. The last meeting was in August 2001 just five weeks before 911. Bush wanted the Taliban to deliver bin Laden in return for US and Saudi economic aid and support for the Taliban. [14]

Deputy FBI Director John O’Neill resigned his post in July 2001 to protest the Bush Administration’s cozying up to the Taliban. Brisard says O’Neill told him, “the main obstacles to investigating Islamic terrorism were US corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia.” O’Neill took a job as Chief of Security at the World Trade Center in New York and was killed during the 911 attacks. [15]

According to the French newspaper Le Figaro, the CIA met with bin Laden several times during the months prior to 911. According to the Washington Post, the CIA met with Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar’s envoy Rahmattullah Hashami in July 2001. Hashami offered to hold on to bin Laden until the CIA could capture him but, according to the Village Voice, the Bush Administration turned down the offer. That same month the CIA met with Jamiaat-i-Islami leader Qazi Hussein Ahmed.

The US government gave $43 million in aid to the Taliban in 2000 and $132 million in 2001. The Taliban were told by the Bush White House to hire a Washington PR firm to scrub up their image. The firm was headed by Laila Helms- niece of former CIA Director and BCCI crony Richard Helms. Big Oil representatives were present at the Bush-Taliban negotiations, where one official told the Taliban at that last August meeting, “You either accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs.”[16]

Even after the 911 terror attacks, President Bush omitted the names of two House of Saud-funded groups- International Islamic Relief Organization and Muslim World League- who financed al Qaeda from a list of groups whose assets would be frozen by the US Treasury. [17]

As French intelligence analyst Brisard noted, “The American addiction to Saudi oil and arms money threatens to undermine national security in the West”.


[1] “War Criminals, Real and Imagined”. Gregory Elich. Covert Action Quarterly. Winter 2001. p.23
[2] “Handbook for the New War”. Evan Thomas. Newsweek. 10-8-01
[3] “The Mesmerizer”. Rod Nordland and Jeffrey Bartholet. Newsweek. 9-24-01. p.45
[4] “Terror Sweep Drives Arabs from Pakistan”. AP. Arkansas Democrat Gazette. 4-13-93. p.1
[5] “The Rise of the Taliban”. Emily MacFarquhar. US News & World Report. 3-6-95. p.64
[6] “The World Today”. BBC Radio. 9-24-96
[7] “Morning Edition”. National Public Radio. 10-2-96
[8] “The Roving Eye: Pipelineistan, Part I: The Rules of the Game”. Pepe Escobar. Asia Times Online. 1-25-02
[9] “The White House Connection: Saudi Agents and Close Bush Friends”. Maggie Mulvihill, Jonathan Wells and Jack Meyers. Boston Herald Online Edition. 12-10-01
[10] “al-Qaeda, US Oil Companies and Central Asia”. Peter Dale Scott. Nexus. May-June, 2006. p.11-15
[11] Escobar
[12] “US Ties to Saudi Elite May be Hurting War on Terrorism”. Jonathan Wells, Jack Meyers and Maggie Mulvihill. BostonHerald Online. 12-10-01
[13] Mulvihill, Wells and Meyers
[14] Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth. Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie. Paris. 2001
[15] Ibid
[16] Ibid
[17] Nordland and Bartholet. p.45

Dean Henderson writes a weekly column called Left Hook.  He is the author of Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network and The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries.  His blog is at

 Global Research Articles by Dean Henderson

Afghan History: The Central Asian Grand Chessboard

By Dean Henderson
April 20, 2011
Courtesy Of "Global Research"

In 1997 Trilateral Commission founder Zbigniew Brzezinski, the godfather of the Afghan mujahadeen, wrote a book titled, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geopolitical Imperatives. In the book Brzezinski - who sat on the board at BP Amoco - argues that the key to global power is control of Eurasia and that the “key to controlling Eurasia is controlling the Central Asian Republics”.

Brzezinski’s plan called for ruling Central Asia via control of Uzbekistan - which borders Afghanistan to the north. In 1997 Enron attempted to negotiate a $2 billion deal with the Uzbek state-owned Neftegas with help from the Bush White House. [1] When that effort and other privatization attempts were rebuffed in 1998, CIA-backed Islamist attacks on Uzbekistan’s government were ratcheted up.

In 1999 a series of explosions rocked the Uzbek capital of Tashkent. Islamic al-Qaeda-trained militants were to blame. The rebels - who called themselves the Islamic Party of Turkistan - attempted to assassinate socialist President Islam Karimov. They attacked the fertile Fergana Valley in an attempt to disrupt harvests and the Uzbek food supply. Karimov was also attacked by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan and Hizb-ut-Tahrir.

After the “carpet of bombs” began raining down on neighboring Afghanistan in October 2001, Uzbekistan - along with neighbors Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan – were coerced into accepting new US military bases. In 2005 Kyrgyzstan’s nationalist President Askar Akayev was deposed by Islamists in the Tulip Revolution. Within days Donald Rumsfeld was meeting with the new leaders. [2] Karimov had seen enough and ordered US troops out of Uzbekistan.

The timing of both Brzezinski’s book and the Bush Jr. Administration “carpet of bombs” threat to the Taliban are instructive since both occurred prior to the 911 attacks, which provided the perfect pretext for the massive Central Asian intervention that Brzezinski, Bush and their City of London bosses were advocating.

Dr. Johannes Koeppl - former German Defense Ministry official and adviser to NATO Secretary General Manfred Werner - explained of this rash of “coincidences” in November 2001, “The interests behind the Bush Administration, such as the Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberger Group, have prepared for and are now implementing open world dictatorship (which will be established) within the next five years. They are not fighting against terrorists. They are fighting against citizens.”


Central Asia produces 75% of the world’s opium. According to the UN, the surge in opium production in the region coincided with the disintegration of the Soviet Union, which was “encouraged” by the Reagan Administration and the CIA. It also coincided with the Four Horsemen’s (Exxon Mobil, Chevron Texaco, BP Amoco & Royal Dutch/Shell) Caspian Sea oil boom.

While the US issued humiliating certifications to judge countries on their ability to stop drug traffic, Big Oil produced 90% of the chemicals needed to process cocaine and heroin, which CIA surrogates process and distribute. CIA chemists were the first to produce heroin.

As Ecuadorian Presidential Candidate Manuel Salgado put it, “This world order which professes the cult of opulence and the growing economic power of illegal drugs, doesn’t allow for any frontal attack aimed at destroying narco-trafficking because that business, which moves $400 billion annually, is far too important for the leading nations of world power to eliminate. The US...punishes those countries which don’t do enough to fight against drugs, whereas their CIA boys have built paradises of corruption throughout the world with the drug profits.”[3]

The Afghan “paradise of corruption” yielded 4,600 metric tons of opium in 1998. In 1999 the Taliban announced a crack down on opium production in Afghanistan. The move angered the CIA, the Afghan aristocracy and their Turkish Gray Wolves allies, whose smuggling routes mirror those of the Four Horsemen’s Caspian Sea oil pipeline recently opened for business through Turkey.

When the Taliban cracked down on opium production, poppy fields bloomed to the north where CIA/ISI-sponsored Islamists were fighting in Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, Dagestan, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Asia Times writer Pepe Escobar termed the entire region “Drugistan”. [4]

Pakistani writer Ahmed Rashid says the Saudis- fulfilling their usual “paymaster” role - funded the northward shift in poppy production. [5] It was part of a larger operation run by Western intelligence agencies to encircle Russia, seize oilfields and destabilize the entire Central Asia region using Islamic fundamentalists and heroin proceeds.

In 1991 Air America/Iran-Contra super spook Richard Secord showed up in Baku, Azerbaijan under the cover of MEGA Oil. [6] Secord did military training, sold Israeli arms, passed “brown bags filled with cash” and shipped in over 2,000 Islamist fighters from Afghanistan with help from CIA-favorite Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.

Afghan heroin began flooding into Baku. Russian economist Alexandre Datskevitch said of 184 heroin labs that police discovered in Moscow in 1991, “Every one of them was run by Azeris, who use the proceeds to buy arms for Azerbaijan’s war against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh”. [7]

A Turkish intelligence source claims that Exxon and Mobil (now Exxon Mobil) were behind the 1993 coup against elected Armenian President Abulfaz Elchibey. Secord’s Islamists helped. Osama bin Laden set up an NGO in Baku as a base for attacking the Russians in Chechnya and Dagestan.

A more pliant President Heidar Aliyev was installed in Armenia. In 1996, at the behest of Amoco’s (now BP) president, he was invited to the White House to meet President Clinton - whose National Security Advisor Sandy Berger held $90,000 worth of Amoco stock. [8]

Not content with the Polish Solidarist-led grab of Eastern Europe and the partitioning of oil-rich Soviet Central Asian republics, the CFR/Bilderberger crowd now used mujahadeen surrogates in Chechnya to further squeeze Russia.

In 1994 35,000 Chechen fighters were trained at Amir Muawia camp in Afghanistan’s Khost Province. Osama bin Laden built the camp for the CIA. Now-deceased Chechen commander Shamil Basayev graduated from Amir Muawia and was sent to advanced guerrilla tactics camp at Markazi-i-Dawar, Pakistan. There he met with Pakistani ISI officials. [9] ISI has historically excelled at carrying out the CIA’s dirty laundry.

The Chechen Islamists took over a big chunk of the Golden Crescent heroin trade, working with Chechen crime families affiliated with the Russian Alfa Group that did business with Halliburton. They also had ties to the Albanian heroin labs being run by the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA). A Russian FSB report stated that the Chechens began buying real estate in Kosovo in 1997, just prior to the US-led partition of Kosovo from Yugoslavia.

Saudi-born Chechen commander Emir al-Khattab set up guerrilla camps to train KLA Albanian rebels. The camps were funded by the heroin trade, prostitution rings and counterfeiting. Recruits were invited by Basayev and funded by the House of Saud’s Muslim Brotherhood Islamic Relief Organization. [10]

In February 2002 sent 200 military advisers and attack helicopters to Georgia to “root our terrorism”. On September 20, 2002, Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov stated that the al Qaeda-trained Chechen rebels targeting his country were being given safe-haven by the government of Georgia. The Four Horsemen’s strategic Baku-Tblisi-Ceyhan pipeline was set to open through the Georgian capital Tblisi. The US deployment was a smokescreen for pipeline protection.

In October 2003 Georgian President Eduard Schevardnadze was forced to step down despite the fact that he had been elected to serve until 2005. IMF darling Mikheil Saakashvili was installed to complete the banker coup which was dubbed the Rose Revolution. According to The Guardian, Rose Revolution funders included the U.S. State Department, USAID, National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, International Republican Institute, Bilderberg Group, the NGO Freedom House, George Soros's Open Society Institute and National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

When Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ceded Kabul to the Taliban in 1995, Taliban training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan were taken over by Jamiat-ul-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) who, with help from Saudi Wahhabist clerics, recruited and trained Islamic fundamentalist volunteers to fight wars of destabilization throughout the Balkans and Central Asia.

Financed by Golden Crescent heroin, these terrorists shipped out to fight with Chechen rebels, the Kosovo Liberation Army, the Bosnian Muslim Army, the National Liberation Army (Albanian separatists fighting the government of Macedonia) and Chinese East Turkistan Uighur rebels fighting against Beijing.

Out of these same camps came Lakshar e-Taiba and Jamiash-i-Mohammed, who in December 2001 attacked India’s Parliament in New Delhi, killing fourteen legislators and provoking the Indians into a massive military deployment along the Pakistani border.

In the early 1990’s the CIA had helped Afghan mujahadeen veterans get passports to immigrate to the US. The Al-Kifah Refugee Center in Brooklyn, where many Afghans landed, turned into a CIA recruiting base for wars in Yugoslavia and Central Asia.

Among those who frequented the center were El Sayyid Nosair, who assassinated far-right Israeli Rabbi Meir Kahane; and Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, a fundamentalist Egyptian cleric linked to the assassination of Egyptian President Anwar Sadat. The CIA brought the sheik to Brooklyn as a recruiting tool. [11] His son was killed in December 2001 - a key al Qaeda leader fighting the US in Afghanistan.

The CIA arranged for Egyptian al Qaeda leaders to flea to Albania in 1997, where they helped train and fight with the Kosovo Liberation Army. Bin Laden’s #2 man Ayman al-Zawahiri heads Egyptian Islamic Jihad. Al-Zawahiri’s sidekick Ali Mohammed came to the US in 1984. He trained terrorists in Brooklyn and Jersey City on weekends. His regular job was to instruct US Special Forces at Fort Bragg. In 1998 he helped bomb the US Embassies in Africa. [12]

According to British MP Michael Meacher, in an article for The Guardian, M16 recruited up to 200 British Muslims to fight in Afghanistan and Yugoslavia. Meacher says a Dehli-based foundation describes Omar Saeed Sheikh, the man who beheaded US journalist Daniel Pearl in 2002, as a British agent. He says it was Sheikh who - at the behest of ISI General Mahmood Ahmed - wired $100,000 to Mohammed Atta just prior to 911, a fact confirmed by Dennis Lomel, director of FBI’s financial crimes unit. [13]

Restoring Petromonarchy

According to Mossad intelligence reports, as of July 1, 2001, 120,000 metric tons of opium was warehoused in Afghanistan awaiting shipment. Two months later the US was bombing Afghanistan. Opium shipments resumed.

The US paid several Afghan warlords $200,000 each and gave them satellite phones to lead a surrogate army Northern Alliance-led ground assault on the Taliban. Over $7 million was spent buying off these opium-trafficking warlords, including Uzbek butcher Rashid Dostum. [14]

Amnesty International and UN Human Rights Commissioner Mary Robinson called for an investigation of an incident at Mazar-i-Sharif where Dostum oversaw the surrender of hundreds of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters, who were then massacred in a bombing raid by US aircraft during in an alleged prison uprising. The “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh was among the few survivors.

The prisoners had come from Konduz where, according to investigative journalist Seymour Hirsch of The New Yorker, the White House had ordered US Special Forces to create an evacuation corridor whereby Pakistani military aircraft were allowed to fly no less than 2,500 al Qaeda and Taliban fighters - along with their ISI advisers and at least two Pakistani generals - to safety in Pakistan.

While the Bush Administration used an alleged al Qaeda/Saddam Hussein alliance as a pretext to turn its guns towards oil-rich Iraq, al Qaeda and Taliban leadership remained unharmed in Pakistan.

In Afghanistan US envoy and former Unocal executive Zalmay Khalilzad was busy paving the way for the construction of the Unocal-led Centgas pipeline. Later Khalilzad became US Ambassador to Iraq. US Ambassador to Pakistan Wendy Chamberlain huddled with Pakistan Oil Minister Usman Aminuddin and the Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan to plan the pipeline, which would run next to Khandahar - home of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar.

Omar favored the Centgas consortium and remains mysteriously at large. Northern Alliance leader Burhanuddin Rabbani- who had been Afghan Prime Minster until he was deposed by Hekmatyar and the Taliban in 1996 - was quietly dealt out of the new Kabul government, ostensibly for favoring the Argentine-led Bridas pipeline consortium. [15]

The World Bank and IMF set up shop in Kabul after a twenty-five year hiatus. Halliburton’s Brown & Root subsidiary and other post-war “reconstruction specialists” lined up for contracts. On December 27, 2002 Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan signed a deal paving the way for the Centgas pipeline.

The US-handpicked Afghan Prime Minister Hamid Karzai emerged after the assassination of contender Abdul Haq, who walked into a trap inside Afghanistan while supposedly under CIA protection. Haq’s handler was Robert “Bud” McFarlane, Reagan’s National Security Advisor who now runs a K Street oil consulting firm. Haq had no ties to the oil industry and was considered by the CIA to be too cozy with Iran and Russia. Rabbani’s Northern Alliance military commander Sheik Massoud was mysteriously assassinated just two days before 911.

According to Iranian, Afghan and Turkish government sources, Hamid Karzai was a top adviser to Unocal during their negotiations with the Taliban. He was also a CIA contact during the Company’s decade-long Afghan War. Bill Casey made sure Karzai’s family was moved safely to the US after anarchy took over in Kabul. [16]

Karzai is close to King Zaher Shah, who returned to Afghanistan from exile to convene the royalist loya jerga in July 2002. When all other presidential candidates mysteriously dropped out of the race just 24 hours before the election, Karzai got the nod as head of state. His people then shut down debate at the conference, stonewalled on the formation of parliament and refused to appoint a cabinet. Karzai secret police roamed the grounds of the conference looking for dissenters to jail. According to tribal representative Hassan Kakar, delegates disagreeing with Karzai were not even allowed to speak. [17]

The Karzai government represents a return of the Afghan monarchy, compliant as ever to international banker interests in the region. In 2005 Chevron Texaco bought Unocal, cementing Four Horsemen control over the trans-Afghan Centgas pipeline.

[1] “Central Asia Unveiled”. Mike Edwards. National Geographic. 2-02
[2] Reaping the Whirlwind: The Taliban Movement in Afghanistan. Michael Griffin. Pluto Press. London. 2001. p.124
[3] “The Geostrategy of Plan Columbia”. Manuel Salgado Tamayo. Covert Action Quarterly. Winter 2001. p.37
[4] “The Roving Eye: Pipelineistan, Part I: The Rules of the Game”. Pepe Escobar. Asia Times Online. 1-25-02
[5] Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia. Ahmed Rashid. Yale University Publishing. New Haven,CT. 2001. p.145
[6] Azerbaijan Diary: A Rogue Reporter’s Adventures in a Oil-Rich, War-Torn, Post- Soviet Republic. Thomas Goltz. M.E. Sharpe. ArmonkNY. 1999. p.272
[7] “al-Qaeda, US Oil Companies and Central Asia”. Peter Dale Scott. Nexus. May-June, 2006. p.11-15
[8] See No Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism. Robert Baer. Crown. New York. 2002. p.243-244
[9] “Who is Osama bin Laden?” Michel Chossudovsky. 12-17-01
[10] Ibid
[11] “The Road to September 11”. Evan Thomas. Newsweek. 10-1-01. p.41
[12] “Bin Laden’s Invisible Network”. Evan Thomas. Newsweek. 10-29-01. p.42
[13] The Asian News. 9-30-05.
[14] “US Paid Off Warlords”. Andrew Bushnell. Washington Times2-7-02
[15] Michel Chossudovsky. 1-23-02
[16] Ibid
[17] “Evening Edition”. National Public Radio. 6-17-02

Dean Henderson writes a weekly column called Left Hook.  He is the author of Big Oil & Their Bankers in the Persian Gulf: Four Horsemen, Eight Families & Their Global Intelligence, Narcotics & Terror Network and The Grateful Unrich: Revolution in 50 Countries.  His blog is at

 Global Research Articles by Dean Henderson

‘The US Does Not Care About Pakistan’

Renowned author Noam Chomsky believes Americans only serve themselves.

By Rabia Mehmood
Published: April 19, 2011
Courtesy Of "The Express Tribune"

NEW YORK: Professor Noam Chomsky sits on the eighth floor of the quirky-looking Stata Center of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, US. Former head of the linguistics department, the author and intellectual now serves as Professor Emeritus at the university.

The man is known worldwide for his incredibly popular and polarising criticism of American foreign policy.

“The US doesn’t care about Pakistan, just like the Reagan administration didn’t care about either Afghanistan or Pakistan,” says Chomski, when asked how he sees the relationship between Pakistan and the US. “They supported Zia, the worst dictator in Pakistan’s history, and pretended they didn’t know that Pakistan was developing nuclear weapons. So basically they supported Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programme and radical Islamisation in their bid to defeat the Russians. And that has not helped Pakistan.”

According to Chomsky, the reason the Pak-US relationship hasn’t worked is because the concern of US planners is not the welfare of Pakistan, it’s the welfare of their own constituency. “But it’s not the people of US either, just the powerful sectors within the US,” he said. “If the US policy towards Pakistan happens to benefit Pakistan it would be kind of accidental. Maybe it will to some extent, but that is not the purpose.”

Chomsky believes Pakistan has serious internal problems but says there are solutions. But, he insists, these problems have to be solved from within instead of from outside. “These problems have to be dealt with inside Pakistan, and not by the US; providing them with massive military aid, carrying out drone strikes, which enrages the population rightly,” he says. “Drone attacks are target assassinations and therefore a crime. Whether they are militants or not, these people are being targeted because the US doesn’t like them. Targeted assassination is an international crime. United Nations’ special rapporteur Philip Alston, a very respected international lawyer, came out with a report which simply says that it is a criminal act.”

He also supports the 1973 constitution and believes it is suitable for Pakistan. “It looks sensible on paper. It provided a degree of autonomy within a federalised system, which makes sense for a country like Pakistan,” he says. “Devoting resources to education, development and not military will help.”

Relationship With India
Speaking about Pakistan’s relationship and outlook towards India, he said that the Pakistani military has a strategic doctrine that they have to have a military presence in Afghanistan to counter India. “That’s a losing proposition because Pakistan cannot compete with India in terms of military force. Besides, the strategic position in Afghanistan doesn’t really mean anything in case of a war,” he says. “Pakistan has undoubtedly supported terrorist groups in Kashmir and terrorism in India, which has made the situation worse.”

The Americans are avoiding the Kashmir issue, he says, which is central to the resolution of conflict in South Asia. “India has a very ugly record in Kashmir – horrible atrocities, fraudulent elections, most militarised place in the world. You can’t just ignore it,” he says.

US-India Relations
Professor Chomsky says that it is a “joke” when US talks about giving aid for civilian nuclear facilities in India. “The aid for the civilian nuclear use can be easily transferred to military use. By granting India the right to import US nuclear technology, it has not only allowed India to freely develop nuclear weapons, the US has also violated the nuclear non-proliferation treaty,” he says.

Afghan War’s Future
“It is a complicated situation but I think there is good evidence that the US military and political structures recognise that they cannot have a military victory,” Chomsky says.

However, he says, they [US] can conquer whatever they like, but the Russians also won every battle in the 1980s but eventually lost the war. “The Americans are therefore trying to find a way to extricate themselves in some fashion, that it can be presented as a victory. They don’t want to admit they’ve lost the war, like the Russians.”

Published in The Express Tribune, April 19th,  2011.

Canada's Military Industrial Complex

Ottawa's Complicity In The Multibillion Dollar Arms Trade

By Richard Sanders
April 21, 2011
Courtesy Of "Global Research"

Stoking the Tsunamis of War and Repression

Finally, after years of delays and just a few hours after Japan’s horrifying earthquake on March 11, the government finally released its latest deeply-flawed report on Canada’s military exports between 2007 and 2009. This timing ensured that the latest data on Canada’s shameful role in the international weapons trade was conveniently buried beneath a tsunami of news about Japan’s natural catastrophe.

Corporate media institutions have not deigned to report on Canada’s new arms-export figures, let alone expose how the government’s report covers up far more than it reveals.

Although Canada’s top military-industry association states that Canadian companies exported $15 Billion in so-called “defence” and “security” products between 2007 and 2009, the government’s extremely-limited report accounted for less than $1.5 Billion during that period.

Despite massive loopholes in the government’s report, their data does reveal that almost all of Canada’s military exports went straight into the arsenals of about 40 belligerent nations fighting in the Iraq and/or Afghan wars, which have killed over 1.5 million people. (See COAT data table.)

Although reprehensible, the highly-profitable business of fuelling war has been conducted with impunity by all Liberal and Conservative governments. And, because this trade in arms contributes to a virtual tidal wave of war, repression and environmental destruction, it is arguably even more disturbing than Japan’s natural catastrophe.

But what makes the arms-trade tsunami more horrifying than an earthquake, is that the misery it creates cannot be explained away as a natural disaster beyond human control.

On the contrary, the arms trade – as our government proudly explains – is "closely controlled" using “policy guidelines mandated by Cabinet."

This is the real horror veiled by the latest dry, statistical report from the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade (DFAIT) on Canada’s big business of war-industry exports.

But Canada’s arms trade is not just monitored, administered and controlled by DFAIT, it is applauded and promoted by our government. As DFAIT explains, with its usual penchant for euphemism, “Canada's defence industry makes a valuable contribution to the nation's prosperity.”

So Don’t Worry, It’s All Under Control

Since 2003, each of DFAIT’s arms-trade reports has opened with the same audacious claim, saying: "A key priority of Canada's foreign policy is the maintenance of peace and security.” Similarly, DFAIT’s eight previous annual reports began: “The promotion of international peace and security constitutes a key Canadian foreign policy objective.”

Every arms-export report, since its inception in 1990, has extolled the government’s "export control policy guidelines," which unequivocally state that "Canada closely controls the export of military goods and technology to countries...involved in or under imminent threat of hostilities."

Canada's "guidelines" also blithely assert that DFAIT "closely controls" military exports to countries "whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens, unless it can be demonstrated that there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population."

Although DFAIT bureaucrats see “no reasonable risk” that Canadian munitions exports “might be used against the civilian population," those facing repression in the Middle East and elsewhere may view those risks differently. Canadian officials seem ever-willing to “risk” the lives of innocent civilians, if a tsunami of profits might make a “valuable contribution to the nation's prosperity,” or at least enrich Canadian military corporations.

To be clear, Canada’s strict "guidelines" are meant to “control” the flow of weapons systems, not actually stop them. Canada’s military products are in great demand not only by governments waging war, but by business-friendly regimes that control their populations through intimidation, threats and the fear of state “security” forces.

But, there’s no need for concern. Our government has it all under control.

And, Canadians generally aren’t concerned, because we too are under control. Thanks to government obfuscation, the corporate media’s acquiescence, and national myths portraying Canada as a global peacemaker, most citizens have no idea this country is awash in war technology. Few know that in 2009, Canada was virtually tied in a three-way race for sixth place among the world’s top arms exporters, right behind the U.S., Russia, Germany, the UK and China.

War is a booming business. And, as U.S. Major-General S. Butler said following his retirement in the early 1930s, “war is a racket.” A racket, he explained, “is not what it seems to the majority…. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.”

Speaking of his 33-year Marine-Corps career, Butler said: “I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket…. I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”

Nowadays, with $4 billion a year in military products streaming stateside, Canada is America’s top military supplier, and our hardware is deeply embedded in U.S. weapons fighting on three important war fronts: North Africa (Libya), the Middle East (Iraq and Israel) and Central Asia (Afghanistan). Such U.S.-led invasions, occupations, proxy wars and regime changes have long enforced unjust structures of economic control over resources in the Third World. Canadian complicity in manufacturing, exporting and deploying the instruments of war, has helped maintain our high-rank among the world’s most prosperous nations.

But because one would never know this from the tsunami of corporate news inundating Canadians, the world remains secure for those back-room boys who profit from the “swell racket” of war.

Loopholes To Fly A Warplane Through

According to the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries (CADSI) -- a government-funded lobby group representing 860 member companies -- Canada now exports $5 Billion to $7.5 Billion in military and so-called “security” products per year. This represents an increase over the previous five years, when CADSI reported annual exports to be worth $5 Billion.

DFAIT’s recently-released military-export data only documents $475 million in military exports per year between 2007 and 2009. That’s less than 10% of CADSI’s estimates.

This huge discrepancy is largely due to two bookkeeping loopholes. Although celebrated by successive governments since 1990 as proof of their commitment to “transparency,” DFAIT’s arms-trade reports have never included Canada’s exports to the U.S. According to CADSI, the U.S. gets the lion’s share (80%) of Canada’s military exports.

Another limitation is that DFAIT’s reports only include restricted munitions on Canada’s “Export Controls List.” So, even when Canadian helicopters were sold to Colombia’s Air Force, DFAIT didn’t count them, because no weapons were attached.

According to DFAIT’s 2007-2009 report, Canadian companies sold $1.1 Billion worth of restricted munitions to 107 countries. Of these, 39 were fighting in Iraq and/or Afghanistan. Knowing that the U.S. absorbs 80% of our military exports, Canadian sales to the U.S. were about $5.7 Billion. This means 96% of the munitions types tabulated by DFAIT went to countries waging these two wars.

DFAIT’s list includes 14 other countries fighting armed struggles within their own borders or, in Israel’s case, within occupied territories. Between 2007 and 2009, these belligerents received $47 million in munitions tracked by DFAIT. This increased the value to 97% of Canada’s military exports to warring governments. (See COAT data table.)

Only 2.8% of the value of Canada's restricted munitions exports went to countries that are not at war. (See COAT data table.)

Because we too are at war, and half our military production flows into Canada’s armed forces, the total percentage of our military-industrial output that is supplying belligerents, reaches 98.5%. This gives the lie to DFAIT assurances that it “closely controls” the stream of military hardware to those “involved in or under imminent threat of hostilities."

Controlling The Middle East and North Africa

For decades, Conservative and Liberal governments have preached peace and human rights, while issuing a steady flow of export permits for military sales to repressive, undemocratic regimes in the Middle East and North Africa. DFAIT data for 1990 to 2009, reveals Canadian exports of $1.99 Billion in restricted munitions – including small arms, ammunition, tear gas, rockets, missiles, armoured vehicles and high-tech electronics for major weapons -- to sixteen countries in that region:

Algeria ($21.4M), Bahrain ($1.4M), Egypt ($34.1M), Iraq ($59K), Israel ($18.4M), Jordan ($5M), Kuwait ($4.1M), Lebanon ($1.5M), Morocco ($2.5M), Oman ($80.2M), Qatar ($1.9M), Saudi Arabia ($1.7B), Tunisia ($3.1M), Turkey ($67.6M), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ($39.5M) and Yemen ($500).

If all Canadian military and police-equipment was included, these amounts would be perhaps twice as high, considering the disparity between DFAIT and CADSI figures. And, although Border-Services’ customs data includes Canadian small-arms exports to Iran, Libya and Syria, their absence from DFAIT’s report is unexplained.

(See seven sets of COAT data tables on Canada's military exports to the Middle East.)

The heavily U.S.-backed governments gracing DFAIT’s list include undemocratic regimes where human rights abuses are systemic, and torture is endemic.

· The absolute monarchies of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman and the UAE are run by royal decree, political parties are banned and elected legislatures do not exist. (Although the UAE finally had an election in 2006, only 2% of those over 18 were allowed to vote, and half the legislature was appointed by hereditary Emirs from the country’s seven absolute monarchies.) · In 2008, women held less than 5% of parliamentary seats in Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Turkey and Yemen. · Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia and UAE spent more on their militaries than on health and education combined. (Saudi military expenditures were almost twice their combined health and education budgets.) · Israel and Jordan spent more on their militaries than on either health or education.

Workers’ Rights Under the Gun Trade union rights in Middle East and North Africa are among the least protected in the world. Migrant workers in particular face extremely exploitative conditions, sometimes resembling slavery. Underpaid and often confined to employers’ homes, they are forced to work excessive hours and have their passports confiscated. Foreign workers are also victimised sexually and face beatings, arrest and deportation for asserting their rights. Composing a large percent of the workforce in Persian-Gulf states, they are particularly at risk in Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

· In Saudi Arabia, all unions, collective bargaining and strikes are illegal and the crime of union organising can lead to dismissal, imprisonment or deportation. · UAE labour law does not permit unions, strikes or collective bargaining. · Collective bargaining is also illegal in Bahrain and Jordan, while unions are still rare in Oman. · The right to strike is very limited in Oman, Qatar and Yemen, and is illegal in the Kuwaiti and Qatari public sectors. Meanwhile in Jordan, strikes are illegal without government permission. · The governments of Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and Yemen impose a trade union monopoly, granting official recognition to only one union. · In Algeria, unions have been unduly denied registration in 2010, and hundreds were arrested for legitimate union activities. · In 2010, Egyptians were permitted to form their first independent union in half a century, but its members have been intimidated and assaulted.

Arming Enemies Of The “Arab Spring “

Although this year’s protests throughout the Arab region have inspired the progressive world, popular demands for democracy and human rights have come up against the heavily-armed bulwark of state “security” institutions. Military and police forces are powerful obstacles to achieving peace, democracy, security and human rights.

According to DFAIT’s reports, the vast majority of Canada’s restricted munitions’ exports to the region went to one country, Saudi Arabia, which received about 87% ($1.74 Billion) of the $2-Billion total since 1990.

According to Human Rights Watch’s 2010 report, Saudi authorities:

“continue to systematically suppress or fail to protect the rights of nine million Saudi women and girls, eight million foreign workers, and some two million Shia citizens. Each year thousands of people receive unfair trials or are subject to arbitrary detention. Curbs on freedom of association, expression and movement, as well as a pervasive lack of official accountability, remain serious concerns.”

Although the Saudi theocracy has imported Canadian small arms, ammunition, electronics and various weapons-systems and components, their main import was armoured military vehicles from General Dynamics (formerly General Motors) in London, Ontario. Since 1992, DFAIT issued export permits totaling about $1.5 Billion for these vehicles. Apparently, DFAIT saw no “reasonable risk” they “might be used against…civilian[s]." (Canadian customs data reveals $1.85 Billion in armoured-vehicle exports to Saudi Arabia during the same period.)

On March 5, with protests spreading throughout the region, Saudi Arabia banned all demonstrations. Then, on the ides of March, Saudi armoured vehicles carrying more than a thousand troops were sent into neighbouring Bahrain. Saudi and UAE troops have been aiding Bahrain’s deadly crackdown on nonviolent protests in this kingdom which hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet. Saudi troops have since attacked peaceful Bahrainis rallying for democracy.

Meanwhile in Egypt, millions took to the streets to end decades of autocratic corruption. Being the most populous Arab nation and a centre of culture and communication, Egypt has stirred the region. But despite mass peaceful uprisings, Egypt’s military has not relinquished power, or ended the country’s 30-year emergency rule.

DFAIT reports show about $35 million in restricted-munitions exports to Egypt since 1990. Most were aircraft parts, probably for nine Canadian-made military transport planes, built by de Havilland.

But Canada’s direct sales to Egypt and Saudi Arabia, represent only one way for munitions to end up there. More significantly, Canadian military hardware is funneled through the U.S.

For example, Egypt’s arsenal includes U.S. weapons systems embedded with ample Canadian technology, such as F-16, F-4, C-130 and E-2C warplanes, and CH-47, AH-64 and UH-60 helicopters. The Saudi Air Force also has billions worth of U.S. war machines equipped with Canadian components, including F-15s, C-130s, AH-64s and UH-60s.

Since 1979, Egypt received about US$2 Billion per year in U.S. military aid, second only to Israel, which now gets about US$3 Billion. Canada’s direct exports of $18.4 million to Israel since 1990, probably pale in comparison to the value of Canadian-made parts within U.S. weapons given to Israel. For example, many Canadian companies have supplied parts for U.S.-made F-16 and F-18 fighter planes and AH-64 helicopter gunships used in Israeli airstrikes against Lebanon (2006) and Gaza (2008-2009).

No Quick-Fix Solutions For Long-Term Problems

Military powers have been arming client states in the Middle East for thousands of years. Canada is now part of this long-running saga. The solution to the age-old problem of brutal autocratic regimes, is not to authorise those who armed the dictators in the first place to launch humanitarian invasions to protect human rights. Such naïve, quick-fix military remedies perpetuate violence and merely empower new, hand-picked regimes with better PR.

Long-term solutions are required. Primary among these is to stop arming regimes that use war and repression to take or maintain power.

Citizens can use boycotts, divestment and electoral campaigns to withdraw consent from companies and governments complicit in militarism.

Given the widespread ignorance of Canada’s complicity in the arms trade, public education is essential. One approach is to focus on the most glaring manifestation of the military-industrial complex, the perennial arms bazaar.

In Canada’s case, the biggest weapons exhibition is CANSEC, to be held in Ottawa, June 1-2. Organized by the CADSI, it will include some 250 companies, of which about one third are known to have exported directly to the Middle East or North Africa. It is therefore a potent symbol of Canada’s control over the horrifying flood of military products that inundate warzones and oppressive regimes around the world.

Richard Sanders is coordinator of the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, and editor of its magazine, Press for Conversion! For more information, visit

This article will appear as the lead article in the May edition of The Monitor, published by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CCPA).

Richard Sanders is a frequent contributor to Global Research.  

Global Research Articles by Richard Sanders