Since late 2006, United States government, military, intelligence and media have been orchestrating regular attacks against Pakistan, creating a false alarm about its nuclear capability and portraying its premier spy agency, the ISI, as a threat to world peace.
The weak and apologetic reactions by Pakistan’s political officials encouraged this American double game. But here comes the smoking gun, more than 90,000 leaked US intelligence documents, which prove how the Washington establishment has been running a vilification campaign against Pakistan both under Bush and Obama administrations, without any evidence except malicious intent.
Here is a chance for Pakistan to use these documents to argue its own case more confidently. As soon as the classified documents were leaked over the weekend, US government sprung into action to minimize damage by shifting the focus toward Pakistan.
US government and military officials succeeded in making Pakistan and ISI the main story and hide the massive and spectacular US failures in Afghanistan, including evidence on war crimes and civilian carnage. It’s an exercise that bears the hallmarks of a CIA-style public diplomacy [a la Iraq invasion].
Instead of brooding over the American failures and war crimes that have been neatly hidden from the world for eight years, the mainstream US media chose once again to indulge in anti-Pakistanism which is rampant and endemic within the US media and among think-tank types. A British journalist, Declan Walsh, couldn’t help but notice this anti-Pakistan streak in how the Obama administration handled the leaks.
“In issuing such a strongly worded statement with implicit criticism of the ISI,” Mr. Walsh wrote in The Guardian, “the White House may be trying to keep ahead of a tide of US opinion that is hostile towards Pakistan.”
A taste of American deceit
Here’s a quick look at how ISI and Pakistan are a small part of the story blown out of proportion:
- Out of more than 90,000 classified US documents, only about 180 mention ISI, and only about 30 or so charge the legendary Pakistani spy service of wrongdoings in Afghanistan.
- The whole case built by US against Pakistan and ISI is based not on evidence but on information sourced to ‘informants’, ‘sources’, initials, and sources linked to either the new US-created Afghan intelligence or the Indians. Both Karzai’s spies and the Indians have been telling anyone who’d listen that they are the preeminent source for any credible information on Pakistan.
- Many of these classified US documents carry a disclaimer added by the authors or their handlers in the US military and intelligence. The disclaimer emphasizes that information in these reports can’t be trusted, is unverified, is sourced to people working for monetary gain or are linked to biased parties such as the Indians and Karzai’s intelligence.
- Most importantly, many of these documents carry a warning that US policymakers should not rely on information in the reports to formulate policy.
- According to the Guardian, most of the American propaganda on Pakistan is “Rumours, bullshit and second-hand information.”
The Real Story
The real story, the one hidden in the bulk of the 90,000 leaked documents, is this:
- How the US government, military and CIA have hidden a US military disaster in Afghanistan from the American public and the world.
- How the mainstream US media is complicit in misleading the American public and the world.
- How the United States is involved in war crimes in Afghanistan, especially in mass murder of innocent Afghan civilians.
- How the US and its allies within the Pakistani government and military are most probably hiding similar tales of mass murder of Pakistani citizens in Pakistan’s tribal belt who fell victim to CIA-run drones.
Pakistani Official Complicity
Some important questions that arise out of these documents are:
- If this is the level of US propaganda against Pakistan over the past five years, why have Pakistan’s political leaders acquiesced in US’s anti-Pakistan pressure tactics and failed to appropriately respond to American disinformation?
- If this is the quality of US intelligence in Afghanistan, why has Pakistan’s government accept faulty US intelligence to allow US covert military operations inside Pakistan that have almost pushed the nation to civil war?
Pakistan’s leaders have almost wasted one opportunity – the Pakistan-US strategic dialogue in March 2010 – to redefine the terms of cooperation between Islamabad and Washington in Afghanistan. The storm over the leaked secrets provides a second opportunity to Pakistani policymakers to review their generally weak and apologetic policy that has messed up Pakistan in little less than eight years.