Monday, January 19, 2009

Lawless Wazirestan Is Not so Lawless as They Have You believe

By Andres Kargar (

Watching the news the other day and thinking about the lies and distortions of the US media, I was wondering to myself: “how can you tell that a suicide bomber that has just blown himself or herself up to smithereens was a woman - much less a handicapped woman?” I mean in the middle of this whole mess and chaos in Iraq, the forensic capabilities of the Iraqi police must be phenomenal, or is this yet another story planted by the US propaganda machine and mindlessly repeated by our corporate reporters without any questions asked?

Remember the time when the corporate media tried to dupe you by calling waterboarding "simulated drowning"? Well, there's no simulation there. The victim can actually suffocate if the torture drags on. The phrase was simply invented to soften the effect and make waterboarding sound like an innocent act.

How about when the media described the destruction of the CIA tapes. They got you so preoccupied with the illegal act of destroying the evidence that you unknowingly accepted the premise that the tapes strictly dealt with torture of Al-Qaeda prisoners, a very clever trick to tacitly say: "who cares about those people anyway?". They didn’t give you a chance to think that perhaps the tapes were destroyed because they documented much more horrific crimes on the part of the US intelligence, or that they perhaps exposed the fallacies and lies of the Bush regime about Al-Qaeda and the Administration’s war of terror. "They were afraid the tapes would fall into the wrong hands," the corporate media ranted, as if the annals of the CIA have no other top secret or classified material that can jeopardize its agents -- and many bought this nonsense without any further thought.

Well, now the "official" press talk is about the "lawless land of Wazirestan" and the need for the United States to support the Pakistani dictator Pervez Musharraf who is the neoconservatives’ darling in their "War on Terror” because, they say, extremists are having a field day in that “lawless land of Wazirestan.” Well, you know what? The real truth is that Wazirestan is not as lawless and mysterious as they have you believe.

Wazirestan is a mountainous region in northwest Pakistan bordering Afghanistan that covers about 4500 square miles. It is known for its rugged terrain and has few roads. It is precisely because of the terrain that the population is quite sparse (about a million) in a country that has a population of about 164 million. The inhabitants of Wazirestan are mostly Waziri tribes, independent-minded people who live by their own laws and traditions and who have never quite accepted the rule or the presence of foreign forces, be they the British, the Pakistani army or the Taliban. Foreign fighters have been historically planted in Wazirestan by the Pakistani Intelligence services (ISI), and the Pakistani army has suffered heavy casualties in attempting to bring the Waziri tribes under its influence and control.

When the US media mention Al-Qaeda or the Taliban forces easily slipping back and forth between Afghanistan and Wazirestan, they are talking pure nonsense. Because of the rough terrain, lack of roads, and the harsh climate, even the Pakistani army would have a tough time getting around would they not have the use of their helicopters. Moreover, the area is surrounded and sealed by Musharraf’s army which makes it extremely difficult for the insurgents to go back and forth. Arab fighters could not survive and move around under such a harsh terrain, and do you think they would be tolerated by tribes who defeated the British colonial forces that were armed to the teeth? The Pentagon and the corporate media fully utilize the people’s lack of knowledge of the area in spreading false propaganda. It seems that since September 11, 2001, Muslims have been attributed with magical powers, capable of defying natural laws.

Wazirestan, nevertheless, is the fig leaf that, according to the US government propaganda hides Osama bin Laden, the mythical Al-Qaeda militias, and the Taliban forces. Without Wazirestan and General Musharraf and his secret police (the ISI), the Bush administration would have a tough time milking the American people out of billions of dollars to pursue its “War on Terror” crusade. Without Wazirestan, the official 9/11 account comes undone. That is exactly why the White House has gone out of its way, at the risk of being discredited to support the dictator General Pervez Musharraf, now in civilian clothes, who has pretty much gutted the Pakistani judiciary. Can you name the other president that shamelessly resorted to a similar measure, and was caught in the act?

We should never forget US corporate media’s collaboration and crucial role in presenting the fairy tales that have helped justify the Bush administration’s bellicose and disastrous policies towards the Middle East. Anything that one hears from them, one should take with a grain of salt and a great deal of suspicion and caution. By distorting the facts, the news and entertainment industry has inflicted immeasurable harm to the life and well-being of the American people. What can we do to take back the media, our airwaves, the internet, and our newspapers and make them subservient to the needs and interests of our people?