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FTR #678 Interview (#1) with Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould

MP3 Side 1 [1] | Side 2 [2]

Intro­duc­tion: Access­ing infor­ma­tion from the vital­ly impor­tant recent (in 2009) book Invis­i­ble His­to­ry: Afghanistan’s [3]Untold Sto­ry [3], this inter­view with the book’s authors [4] sets forth covert his­to­ry of the Cold War and the Sovi­et Union’s inva­sion of Afghanistan. (Sub­se­quent inter­views with the authors will present more infor­ma­tion from this land­mark book, bring­ing the Afghan tragedy up to date, through the Sovi­et with­draw­al, the birth of the Tal­iban and Al Qae­da, the 9/11 attacks and the ongo­ing U.S. mil­i­tary involve­ment in that nation.) NB: this descrip­tion fea­tures text excerpts that illus­trate the major points the authors make in this inter­view. The text is not tran­scribed from the inter­view.

Open­ing with a cap­sule his­to­ry of Afghanistan in the nine­teenth and twen­ti­eth cen­turies, the pro­gram notes the British empire’s attempts at bring­ing Afghanistan into its impe­r­i­al fold, and fail­ure to do so. A naval impe­r­i­al pow­er, Britain looked at the enor­mous land­mass of the bur­geon­ing Russ­ian empire and saw its dom­i­na­tion of the “earth island,” the land mass incor­po­rat­ing Europe, much of the Mid­dle East and most of Asia. This land mass con­tains most of the world’s ter­ri­to­ry, most of its pop­u­la­tion and most of its nat­ur­al resources. Con­trol of this land mass yields world dom­i­na­tion.

The British (and lat­er oth­ers) saw con­trol of Afghanistan as key to that dom­i­na­tion. In addi­tion, the British saw the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a Russ­ian-con­trolled Afghanistan as a pos­si­ble threat to their Indi­an colony.

In order to geopo­lit­i­cal­ly iso­late Afghanistan–and by exten­sion Russia–the British devised the Durand Line [5], which was to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in Eurasian pol­i­tics from that point for­ward. Sep­a­rat­ing trib­al groups into ter­ri­to­ries belong­ing to dif­fer­ent nations, the Durand Line helped gen­er­ate the trou­bled semi-autonomous trib­al areas that have become an epi­cen­ter of Tal­iban and Al-Qae­da activ­i­ty in the present.

Next, the authors tack­le the peri­od of time after World War II. Fol­low­ing the Sec­ond World War and with the Sovi­et Union now replac­ing Rus­sia as the “glob­al bogey­man” of the Earth Island, the Unit­ed States assumed Britain’s geopo­lit­i­cal role in Afghanistan, work­ing to block the U.S.S.R. by sti­fling Afghanistan’s attempts at reform and mod­ern­iza­tion. Inter­pret­ed by the U.S. as “com­mu­nist” in nature, Afghan reform was opposed by U.S. Cold War strate­gic doc­trine, oblig­ing that nation to approach the Sovi­et Union for aid.

As the authors note, the U.S. view of Third World reform as sub­ver­sive placed Amer­i­can Cold War pol­i­cy in line with the val­ues of the Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist move­ment.

Next, Paul and Eliz­a­beth set forth the ascen­sion of “Team B” [6] under George H.W. Bush’s tenure at the CIA–an event that set the stage for a U.S. trap designed to lure the Sovi­et Union into Afghanistan. Brought in by Bush to “reassess” Sovi­et inten­tions and capa­bil­i­ties, “Team B” ful­filled their mis­sion of pre­sent­ing a fan­tas­ti­cal­ly exag­ger­at­ed pic­ture of the USSR. The “Myth of the Ten Foot Tall Russ­ian” dis­sem­i­nat­ed by Team B  informed U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy dur­ing the clos­ing phase of the Cold War.

Fol­low­ing their dis­cus­sion of Team B, the authors set forth Carter nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Zbig­niew Brzezin­ski’s [7] col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Chi­nese and Mus­lim Broth­er­hood into to delib­er­ate­ly lure the Sovi­ets into invad­ing Afghanistan. This inva­sion would appear to be the ful­fill­ment of Team B’s analy­sis and played direct­ly into the pro­pa­gan­da that would bring Ronald Rea­gan to pow­er and, with it, the forces that would deter­mine the clos­ing phase of the Cold War.

Among the rev­e­la­to­ry items in the book is dis­clo­sure of a Sovi­et intent to with­draw from Afghanistan as soon as pos­si­ble. Dis­cussing this diplo­mat­ic ini­tia­tive, the authors note the ascen­sion of for­mer K.G.B. chief Yuri Andropov [8] to the head of Sovi­et lead­er­ship. Attempt­ing to stem the tide of delib­er­ate silence and active dis­in­for­ma­tion sur­round­ing the Sovi­et inva­sion of Afghanistan, Eliz­a­beth and Paul broke ranks and pre­sent­ed the truth. They dis­cuss their efforts in this inter­view. Note that the Sovi­et inva­sion of Afghanistan was viewed by Team B and their asso­ciates as the first step in a Sovi­et mil­i­tary advance on the Mid­dle East oil fields.

Pro­gram High­lights Include: Review of the elder George Bush’s role in draft­ing the dis­in­for­ma­tion about Sovi­et inten­tions in the Mid­dle East (this was used by team B to jus­ti­fy pol­i­cy); the role of Dick Cheney and Don­ald Rums­feld in the Ford White House (along with the elder Bush, who was CIA direc­tor at the time); the role of the nar­cotics traf­fic in the Afghan war, includ­ing com­plic­i­ty on the part of ele­ments of the U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty estab­lish­ment. (Lis­ten­ers inter­est­ed in the authors’ work are encour­aged to check out FTR #‘s 680 [9], 683 [10], 685 [11].)

1. Open­ing with a cap­sule his­to­ry of Afghanistan in the nine­teenth and twen­ti­eth cen­turies, the pro­gram notes the British empire’s attempts at bring­ing Afghanistan into its impe­r­i­al fold, and fail­ure to do so. A naval impe­r­i­al pow­er, Britain looked at the enor­mous land­mass of the bur­geon­ing Russ­ian empire and saw its dom­i­na­tion of the “earth island,” the land mass incor­po­rat­ing Europe, much of the Mid­dle East and most of Asia. This land mass con­tains most of the world’s ter­ri­to­ry, most of its pop­u­la­tion and most of its nat­ur­al resources. Con­trol of this land mass yields world dom­i­na­tion.

The British (and lat­er oth­ers) saw con­trol of Afghanistan as key to that dom­i­na­tion. In addi­tion, the British saw the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a Russ­ian-con­trolled Afghanistan as a pos­si­ble threat to their Indi­an colony.

“. . . Described as the ‘World-Island’ by nine­teenth-cen­tu­ry British geo­g­ra­ph­er [Hal­ford] Mackinder, Rus­si­a’s geo­graph­ic posi­tion at the cen­ter of the Eurasian land mass more than rivaled Britain’s as an island fortress. But unlike Britain, Rus­si­a’s island stood vir­tu­al­ly impregnable–overflowing with resources and beyond the reach of Britain’s ocean­go­ing arma­da.

‘Mackinder was struck by the omi­nous impli­ca­tion for an island king­dom whose impe­r­i­al reach was based on sea pow­er. In the­o­ry, the new mobil­i­ty [of rail­roads] made Rus­sia the mas­ter of an invin­ci­ble inte­ri­or fortress, which Mackinder called the World Island,’ Mey­er and Brysac write. Mackinder fore­saw Rus­sia, as it emerged into the twen­ti­eth cen­tu­ry, escap­ing its history–and with the advance­ment of railroads–expanding with feroc­i­ty toward India. The idea inspired an entire cen­tu­ry of reli­gious and geopo­lit­i­cal pan­ic in the West. Between Mackinder, Nazi Ger­many’s geopoliti­cian Karl Haushofer, and Amer­i­can cold war­rior James Burn­ham, Russ­ian dom­i­nance of Cen­tral Asia implant­ed an undy­ing night­mare of an apoc­a­lyp­tic horde sweep­ing from the Russ­ian steppe across Europe and into the Mid­dle East. . . .”

Invis­i­ble His­to­ry: Afghanistan’s Untold Sto­ry by Paul Fitzger­ald and Eliz­a­beth Gould; City Lights Books [SC]; Copy­right 2009 by Paul Fitzger­ald and Eliz­a­beth Gould; ISBN-13: 978–0‑87286–494‑8; p. 43. [3]

2. In order to geopo­lit­i­cal­ly iso­late Afghanistan–and by exten­sion Russia–the British devised the Durand Line, which was to play a sig­nif­i­cant role in Eurasian pol­i­tics from that point for­ward.

“. . . With­in the con­text of late-nine­teenth-cen­tu­ry colo­nial expan­sion, the cre­ation of the Durand Line demar­cat­ing the bor­ders of Afghanistan from Britain’s new­ly con­quered ter­ri­to­ry across the Indus Riv­er appeared to be of no extra­or­di­nary impor­tance. Yet no bor­der divi­sion in the his­to­ry of colo­nial con­quest could match the ongo­ing con­se­quences posed by the Durand Line. Cre­at­ed in 1893 by Indi­a’s for­eign sec­re­tary, Sir Mor­timer Durand, the 1,519-mile arbi­trary bor­der which par­ti­tioned ‘ter­ri­to­ries and peo­ples who, since time immemo­r­i­al had been con­sid­ered part of the Afghan home­land and nation’ from British India was received bit­ter­ly by Abdur Rah­man Khan and remains con­test­ed to this day. Seized by British forces and there­after dubbed the North-West Fron­tier Provinces of India, these indige­nous Afghan ter­ri­to­ries would always remain law­less, beyond British con­trol and a con­stant source of fric­tion. A focus of East-West con­flict dur­ing the Cold War, the ter­ri­to­ries would become an inspi­ra­tional source of anti-Sovi­et pan-Islam­ic rad­i­cal­ism and sub­se­quent­ly the spawn­ing ground of the rad­i­cal Islam­ic human ‘data­base’ known as Al Qae­da.

Ini­tial­ly agreed to by Abdur Rah­man Khan as a means for loose­ly demar­cat­ing areas of polit­i­cal respon­si­bil­i­ty on either side of the Hin­du Kush, in prac­tice the Durand Line would come to mark the west­ern bound­aries of the British empire and sub­se­quent­ly the emerg­ing state of Pak­istan. Intend­ed by Britain as a step toward paci­fy­ing the Pash­tun trib­al areas and absorb­ing them, the arti­fi­cial line that ignored topog­ra­phy, demog­ra­phy and even mil­i­tary strat­e­gy did exact­ly the oppo­site, lay­ing the foun­da­tion for blood­shed even as it was being drawn. While inflam­ing Afghan nation­al­ism, the cross-bor­der con­flict result­ing from the arbi­trary sep­a­ra­tion of tribes, fam­i­lies and resources would ignite ten­sions and rival­ries that would give way to a con­stant state of low-inten­si­ty war­fare, cross-bor­der infil­tra­tion and polit­i­cal insta­bil­i­ty. . .”

Ibid.; pp. 50–51. [3]

3. Fol­low­ing the Sec­ond World War and with the Sovi­et Union now replac­ing Rus­sia as the “glob­al bogey­man” of the Earth Island, the Unit­ed States assumed Britain’s geopo­lit­i­cal role in Afghanistan, work­ing to block the U.S.S.R. by sti­fling Afghanistan’s attempts at reform and mod­ern­iza­tion. Inter­pret­ed by the U.S. as “com­mu­nist” in nature, Afghan reform was opposed by U.S. Cold War strate­gic doc­trine, oblig­ing that nation to approach the Sovi­et Union for aid.

“. . . Biased by Britain against Afghanistan’s stub­born inde­pen­dence from the out­set, the neg­a­tive Amer­i­can response to repeat­ed Afghan pleas for mil­i­tary assis­tance was fur­ther com­pli­cat­ed by the grow­ing influ­ence of a new Cold War mythol­o­gy. That mythol­o­gy, Manichean by design, inten­tion­al­ly viewed Third World post colo­nial nation­al­ism in much the same light as Sovi­et com­mu­nism and act­ed against it accord­ing­ly. Hemmed in, but shel­tered by treaties and mutu­al agree­ments between Britain and Rus­sia through­out the colo­nial era, Afghanistan’s inde­pen­dence-obsessed lead­er­ship viewed Amer­i­ca’s new exclu­sive align­ment with Pak­istan with alarm. This sim­plis­tic Amer­i­can pol­i­cy act­ed as a self-ful­fill­ing prophecy–alienating many of the new­ly inde­pen­dent, post colo­nial republics like Afghanistan, brand­ing them as ene­mies, deny­ing them resources, and forc­ing them toward the Sovi­et sphere of influ­ence. Summed up by Robert Drey­fuss in his Dev­il’s Game, the pol­i­cy reju­ve­nat­ed the worst ele­ments of an old-world impe­ri­al­ism at just the moment when a fresh, mod­ern Amer­i­can approach was expect­ed by the devel­op­ing world . . .”

Ibid.; pp. 82–83. [3]

4. View­ing Third World reform as sub­ver­sive placed Amer­i­can Cold War pol­i­cy in line with the val­ues of the Islam­ic fun­da­men­tal­ist move­ment.

“. . . ‘Dur­ing the Cold War, from 1945 to 1991, the ene­my was mere­ly not the USSR. Accord­ing to the Manichean rules of that era, the Unit­ed States demo­nized lead­ers who did not whole­heart­ed­ly sign on to the Amer­i­can agen­da or who might chal­lenge West­ern and in par­tic­u­lar, U.S. hege­mo­ny. Ideas and ide­olo­gies that could inspire such lead­ers were sus­pect: nation­al­ism, human­ism, sec­u­lar­ism, social­ism. But sub­ver­sive ideas such as these were also the ones most feared by the nascent forces of Mus­lim fun­da­men­tal­ism. Through­out the region, the Islam­ic right fought pitched bat­tles against the bear­ers of these notions, not only in the realm of intel­lec­tu­al life but in the streets. Dur­ing the decades-long strug­gle against Arab nationalism–along with Per­sian, Turk­ish, and Indi­an nationalism–the Unit­ed States found it politic to make com­mon cause with the Islam­ic right. . . .”

Ibid.; p. 83. [3]

5. Next, Paul and Liz set forth the ascen­sion of “Team B” under George H.W. Bush’s tenure at the CIA. Brought in by Bush to “reassess” Sovi­et inten­tions and capa­bil­i­ties, “Team B” ful­filled their mis­sion of pre­sent­ing a fan­tas­ti­cal­ly exag­ger­at­ed pic­ture of the USSR. The “Myth of the Ten Foot Tall Russ­ian” dis­sem­i­nat­ed by Team B  informed U.S. nation­al secu­ri­ty pol­i­cy dur­ing the clos­ing phase of the Cold War.

“. . . Ger­ald Ford’s CIA direc­tor George H.W. Bush opened an out­side door to a small, right-wing corps of like-mind­ed defense intel­lec­tu­als. . . Known as Team‑B, [Albert] Wohlstet­ter’s hand-picked men brought to work in 1976 revived assump­tions that were as old as the Sovi­et Union itself. It might even be said that the think­ing of the group-mind rep­re­sent­ed by Team‑B was so old-world and elit­ist as to pre­date the very exis­tence of the Sovi­et Union. Led by an obscure Har­vard Pro­fes­sor of Czarist Russ­ian his­to­ry named Richard Pipes and com­posed of a unique com­bi­na­tion of ex‑U.S. mil­i­tary men, retired cold war­riors, neo­con­ser­v­a­tives, and right-wing ide­o­logues, the mem­bers of Team‑B . . . shared the con­vic­tion that detente and Strate­gic Arms Lim­i­ta­tion Talks were noth­ing more than a Sovi­et scheme. That scheme was to bar­gain and talk Amer­i­ca into a false sense of secu­ri­ty while Sovi­et agents and prox­ies sub­vert­ed Amer­i­can influ­ence both polit­i­cal and mil­i­tary around the globe. . . . The Sovi­ets were prepar­ing for a ‘third world war’ and were naked­ly expan­sion­ist, they claimed in their top secret 1976 report. . . .The assess­ment at the time was con­sid­ered rad­i­cal and, by many, inten­tion­al­ly mis­lead­ing. [Team B mem­ber] Paul Nitze had done this sort of thing orig­i­nal­ly in NSC 68 . . . ”

Ibid.; pp. 139–141. [3]

6. Fol­low­ing their dis­cus­sion of Team B, Liz and Paul set forth Carter nation­al secu­ri­ty advis­er Zbig­niew Brzezin­ski’s col­lab­o­ra­tion with the Chi­nese and Mus­lim Broth­er­hood into to delib­er­ate­ly lure the Sovi­ets into invad­ing Afghanistan. This inva­sion would appear to be the ful­fill­ment of Team B’s analy­sis and played direct­ly into the pro­pa­gan­da that would bring Ronald Rea­gan to pow­er and, with it, the forces that would deter­mine the clos­ing phase of the Cold War.

“. . . Order­ing an increase in sup­port for Mus­lim rad­i­cals in Pak­istan fol­low­ing Her­at, Brzezin­s­ki direct­ed that U.S. aid be sent to the bur­geon­ing Chi­nese-sup­plied, mujahideen train­ing camps in order to ‘orches­trate and facil­i­tate weapons pur­chas­es and relat­ed assis­tance,’ accord­ing to Har­ri­son. In May of that year, in a fate­ful deci­sion that still haunts the Unit­ed States, the CIA’s sta­tion chief in Islam­abad, John Joseph Rea­gan, pledged Amer­i­can sup­port to a known reli­gious fanat­ic and hero­in traf­fick­er, Gul­bud­din Hek­mat­yar. . . .

Although Sovi­et efforts to avoid an inva­sion would con­tin­ue through­out the spring and sum­mer, events were sig­nal­ing that a full-fledged cam­paign on the Sovi­ets’ south­ern bor­der had begun, a cam­paign that was, accord­ing to Brzezin­s­ki, inten­tion­al­ly designed to pre­cip­i­tate a Sovi­et Inva­sion. [Ital­ics are Mr. Emory’s.] [Robert] Drey­fuss writes ‘In the Nou­v­el Obser­va­teur inter­view, Brzezin­s­ki admit­ted that his inten­tion all along was to pro­voke a Sovi­et inva­sion of Afghanistan–even though, after the Sovi­et action occurred, U.S. offi­cials expressed shock and sur­prise. ‘We did­n’t push the Rus­sians to inter­vene, but we know­ing­ly increased the prob­a­bil­i­ty that they would,’ said Brzezin­s­ki.’ ”Now,’ he told Pres­i­dent Carter in 1979, ‘we can give the USSR its Viet­nam war.’. . .”

Ibid.; pp. 162–163. [3]

7. Among the rev­e­la­to­ry items in the book is dis­clo­sure of a Sovi­et intent to with­draw from Afghanistan as soon as pos­si­ble. Dis­cussing this diplo­mat­ic ini­tia­tive, Liz and Paul note the ascen­sion of for­mer K.G.B. chief Yuri Andropov to the head of Sovi­et lead­er­ship.

Attempt­ing to stem the tide of delib­er­ate silence and active dis­in­for­ma­tion sur­round­ing the Sovi­et inva­sion of Afghanistan, the authors broke ranks and pre­sent­ed the truth. They dis­cuss their efforts in this inter­view. Note that the Sovi­et inva­sion of Afghanistan was viewed by Team B and their asso­ciates as the first step in a Sovi­et mil­i­tary advance on the Mid­dle East oil fields. This, in turn, was pred­i­cat­ed on a report drawn up by the elder George Bush’s CIA. (This is dis­cussed at length in, among oth­er pro­grams, FTR #214 [12].

“. . . Pred­i­cat­ed entire­ly on the mis­tak­en assump­tion that the Sovi­ets were run­ning out of oil, as summed up in a secret 1977 CIA memo titled, ‘The Impend­ing Sovi­et Oil Cri­sis,’ an apoc­a­lyp­tic Third World War fan­ta­sy was being dreamed into real­i­ty, and by 1981, the Rea­gan White House was get­ting ready to act on it. In 1986, KGB defec­tor Oleg Gordievsky revealed that the Sovi­et Union had gone on an extra­or­di­nary intel­li­gence alert in ear­ly 1981 and remained so until late in 1983, con­vinced that the Unit­ed States was prepar­ing a sur­prise nuclear attack to fore­stall a Sovi­et attack on the Mid­dle East.

Hav­ing played a crit­i­cal but unher­ald­ed, back-chan­nel nego­ti­at­ing role in the Iran hostage release, Roger Fish­er’s involve­ment at that crit­i­cal moment in time-when Afghanistan threat­ened to cause the Cold War to esca­late to nuclear war-was­n’t hard to fath­om.

Fol­low­ing the death of the Sovi­et gen­er­al sec­re­tary of the Com­mu­nist Par­ty, Leonid Brezh­nev, in the fall of 1982, his suc­ces­sor, for­mer KGB chair­man Yuri Andropov, opened the door to the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a Sovi­et with­draw­al. A hard­ened real­ist and for­mer chief spy, Andropov grasped the widen­ing impli­ca­tions of the Sovi­et stale­mate in Afghanistan and moved quick­ly to cut his loss­es. Feared more in Rea­gan’s Wash­ing­ton and Thatch­er’s Lon­don for his abil­i­ty to actu­al­ly lessen ten­sions than to aggra­vate them fol­low­ing his offer to reduce inter­me­di­ate-range nuclear mis­siles in Europe, the pow­ers-that-be dri­ving the new Cold War viewed Andropov with the deep­est sus­pi­cion.

[For­mer chief arms nego­tia­tor] Paul Warnke told us, ‘Look back some­time . . . at some of the arti­cles when Andropov took over. They refer to him as ‘Scary Yuri’-you know, the prod­uct of the KGB, bad days are here again, that Chernienko was a slob but this guy’s a sneak. And there’s noth­ing to sup­port that. He was put into the KGB because the civil­ians want­ed to con­trol the KGB and he was one of them.’

Land­ing with us in Kab­ul that spring of 1983, Roger Fish­er’s abil­i­ty to put both the Rus­sians and the Afghans at ease was imme­di­ate­ly appar­ent, and his rev­e­la­tions com­ing away from meet­ings at the sand­bagged Sovi­et embassy with Sovi­et Afghan spe­cial­ist Stanislav Gavrilov were no less than shock­ing. The Sovi­ets want­ed, out, Gavrilov informed Fish­er in no uncer­tain terms. The Sovi­et sol­diers were unpre­pared to fight in such a war and were los­ing their will as well as their belief in the Sovi­et sys­tem. Drugs, typhoid, dysen­tery, and malar­ia were exact­ing an enor­mous toll for a polit­i­cal out­come that was far less than clear. Should the Amer­i­cans hold back their sup­port for the rebels long enough to save face, Sovi­et troops could with­draw from the front lines, then, fol­low­ing a short hia­tus, retreat across the Amu Darya Riv­er. ‘We make mis­takes,’ Gavrilov admit­ted. ‘But we’re not stu­pid. We want to go home.’

Con­tract­ed to ABC News Night­line before we left the Unit­ed States, we were greet­ed with blank stares by the Night­line staff upon our return. Held as a close­ly guard­ed secret by top man­age­ment dur­ing our absence, our suc­cess­ful return with sur­pris­ing news from the Afghan front was once again a cause for con­cern. By 1983, the mis­tak­en and exag­ger­at­ed Team‑B assump­tions of Sovi­et inten­tions had become so ingrained in the main­stream media that the very idea that they might be wrong was itself a con­tro­ver­sial if not hereti­cal point of view. The entire Rea­gan defense buildup rest­ed on the erro­neous assump­tion of a sovi­et dri­ve to the Mid­dle East. Word had fil­tered down through the stan­dard and approved mouth­pieces that Andropov was on a ‘charm offen­sive.’ Falling prey to Sovi­et pro­pa­gan­da was career sui­cide. What was to be done?

Reject­ed out of hand as a wor­thy news sto­ry by the staff of ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jen­nings, we were grant­ed one Thurs­day evening after mid­night to tell our sto­ry and make the case for a nego­ti­at­ed Sovi­et with­draw­al. Inter­viewed live by Ted Kop­pel along­side Sovi­et dis­si­dent Vladimir Bukovsky, Roger Fish­er’s effort to explain the war’s deep­en­ing cost to the Sovi­ets was tak­en polite­ly but not seri­ous­ly, with Bukovsky’s dead­en­ing deliv­ery of the Team‑B line com­ing down on Roger’s high-lev­el, back-chan­nel com­mu­ni­ca­tion like a blud­geon. . . .”

Ibid.; pp. 187–189. [3]

8. Fore­shad­ow­ing a top­ic of dis­cus­sion that will occu­py con­sid­er­able amounts of future inter­views with the authors, the pro­gram high­light­ed the role of drug traf­fick­ing in the fund­ing of the Afghan con­flict and com­plic­i­ty of ele­ments of U.S. intel­li­gence in some of the hero­in traf­fic.

“. . . Author and activist Rob Schulthe­is, who’d cov­ered the mujahideen for Time mag­a­zine dur­ing the war against the Rus­sians, con­tin­ued to hold very strong opin­ions on how the Afghan hero­in prob­lem went glob­al. ‘My the­o­ry is that a lot of the pol­i­cy deci­sions that were made here that were so inex­plic­a­ble were pro­duced by cor­rup­tion on a local lev­el by CIA sta­tion chiefs and low­er. I actu­al­ly know some things about that. Some­body I know in Wash­ing­ton told me . . . ‘This all I’m going to say to you; the planes flew in full and they flew out full, that’s all I’m going to say.’ You know a lot of for­tunes have been made in Lan­g­ley. I think a lot of dirty things went on at that lev­el and a lot of what’s hap­pen­ing today is being done by friends of those peo­ple cov­er­ing for them at this point because they don’t want to see old Colonel Klutz or [whomev­er] going to prison. And I think stuff’s prob­a­bly still going on because of that.’

Schulthe­is minced no words about CIA cul­pa­bil­i­ty for 9/11 and the hideous betray­al of both Amer­i­can and Afghan lives being cov­ered up by the blanker secre­cy imposed by the war on ter­ror. ‘I worked for the agency briefly on my way out of col­lege. My father was a lif­er at the agency. Now I find them moral­ly repul­sive. The major­i­ty of them should be in prison who were in charge of the Afghan-Pak­istani [oper­a­tion]. They were get­ting paid a lot of mon­ey to make sure that was­n’t going to hap­pen and they did­n’t do any­thing. But there were a lot shady deals hav­ing to do with Arab mon­ey and drug mon­ey and weapons mon­ey and there were kick­backs, I’m sure. And I think a lot of the evils in the pol­i­cy can be traced back to a lot of indi­vid­ual actors, because indi­vid­ual actors out here have a lot of pow­er. I think [there are] peo­ple out hunt­ing fox­es in Lees­burg on the backs of dead Afghans because Gul­bud­din [Hek­mat­yar] and ISI kicked X amount to them. I’ll bet any amount of mon­ey on that because there’s no oth­er rea­son for a lot of this. . . .”

Ibid.; pp. 259–260. [3]

[3]