Here is an odd story
from AP: It seems that the Pakistan newspaper The Nation (considered a mouthpiece for the Pakistani military) has named the CIA station chief in Islamabad, based (it would seem) on information given by someone in Pakistan's security services.
AP says that it it has learned that the name is not genuine. The same "wrong name" story can be found in the Wall Street Journal
Nevertheless, AP refuses to divulge the name (which the Pakistanis have already divulged)...
...because he is undercover and his identity is classified. It was not immediately clear whether the Americans would pull him out of the country.
Heh heh. Have you
spotted the contradiction here, dear reader? Good.
What we are seeing here, methinks, is a form of low-intensity warfare. As previous posts have pretty much proven, Pakistan provided semi-covert aid to the Americans during the raid that ended in Osama Bin Laden's death.
(Interestingly, the story of U.S.-Pakistani cooperation was first broken by The Nation, which means the news came from a military source.)
To placate the locals, Pakistan asked the Americans to pretend that they did the deed all on their lonesome. But they did not anticipate the reaction in America.
The fact that Osama Bin Laden lived within walking distance of the Pakistan Military Academy has led to widespread suspicion in this country (and elsewhere) that the Pakistanis had been protecting Bin Laden all along. This perception now endangers aid to that country.Leon Panetta
made a derisive and impolitic comment which fueled this belief. This may be the only genuine blunder I've ever seen Panetta make. Few Americans have noted his comment, but the Pakistanis are pissed off about it.
Look at it from the point of view of the ISI. Those guys must be thinking: "We helped the U.S. kill Bin Laden, and where did it get us? We get none of the credit and all of the blame."
Now let's get into specifics.
Various U.S. sources are saying that if Pakistan wants to continue to receive American money, ISI Director Ahmad Shuja Pasha must go. He's pushing back. If you look at the original Nation story
that caused this furor, it becomes pretty obvious that Pasha is probably the source who supplied the name of the CIA station chief.
Now, it may strike you as pretty bloody unlikely that the head of the ISI wouldn't know the name of the CIA station chief in his country. But A.P. and the Wall Street Journal are prestigious institutions, and their reporters must know what they are doing. Far be it from me to claim that those two august exemplars of the fourth estate would ever print false information at the request of the American government. Being a patriot, I certainly would never believe that the government would lie
to those two esteemed organizations.
One has no choice but to presume that name printed here
was, as A.P. assures us, incorrect. My patriotic credentials will remain beyond reproach if I tell you that the man who is the CIA station chief in Islamabad is definitely not
anyone named Mark Carlton.
(That name, incidentally, is all over the foreign press. So don't accuse me of revealing secret info to America's enemies.)
The Nation story reports that Pasha met with He-Who-Is-Not-Carlton and had some heated words, but that piece does not tell us just what was said. The Pak Tribune
fills in this gap, reporting that
According to the credible sources, ISI chief Lt. Gen. Ahmed Shuja Pasha personally delivers threat to CIA Islamabad station Chief Mark Carlton: "We will declare we are out of your war on terror and ask you to move all your assets out of from Pakistan, CIA is penetrating Pakistan government".
Make what you will of that
poorly punctuated statement.
Here's another lovely bit which buttresses the thesis developed in earlier Cannonfire posts:
Moreover, Obama has openly announced that very categorically that the operation would have not been possible without the assistance of Pakistan. The residents of the targeted area have also revealed that ambulance and military troops have cordoned the compound during the operation.
Just to prove that Pakistani reportage can contradict itself as freely as the AP does, here's the very next sentence:
Thus, it is evident from the above discussion that intelligence about Osama was provided by Pakistan but final operation was carried out unilaterally by the U.S.
"Carried out unilaterally"? Um, what about those ambulance and military guys doing crowd control? According to other news reports (previously cited), those guys were there before
the Americans showed up.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani citizenry is now worried that the U.S. wants to pull off another raid to steal their nuclear weapons
. That's a pretty absurd thing to fret over, but even absurd memes may have unforeseen consequences. (Also see here
What we are seeing here are lies built on lies built on lies. I believe that all of these escalating exercises in paranoia rest on a single foundational lie about Osama Bin Laden. There's something about that man which we have not been told. I don't know what that "something" may be (and please don't pretend that you
know, because you don't), but I suspect that it concerns the illegal drug trade.
Both the American people and the Pakistani citizenry sense the presence of an unspeakable truth about the leader of Al Qaeda. As long as that truth remains unrevealed, average people will construct paranoid myths.
Here's the kicker: There are so many myths now in circulation, the reality -- even if stated plainly -- would be doubted.