Afpakwar | Arshad Zaman | 30 July 2010It’s official: although careful not to leave any footprints, the U.S. has boots on the ground in Pakistan. U.S. troops in Pakistan ensure compliance by the government, under threat of overt occupation. This was revealed on Thursday 22 July 2010, when U.S. lawmakers Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio) and Ron Paul (R-Texas) introduced a Resolution in the House of Representatives:
“Directing the President, pursuant to section 5(c) of the War Powers Resolution, to remove the United States Armed Forces from Pakistan.”
“We have known that U.S. forces have been operating in secret inside the territories of Pakistan without Congressional approval. We recently learned from an article in the Wall Street Journal titled, ‘U.S. Forces Step Up Pakistan Presence’ that the United States is engaged in a covert strategy to increase our troops’ role there incrementally, with the goal of convincing Pakistan to be more accepting of our presence. This is a violation of the 1973 War Powers Resolution and it is our Constitutional responsibility as Members of Congress to act,” said Kucinich. “We became enmeshed in a war against Vietnam with advisers leading the way,” he said, “[we] are seeking to nip in the bud an expansion of U.S. ground presence in Pakistan.”
The Wall Street Journal (20 July) had reported that after waiting four months for approval from the Pakistan Army, the first 30 Special Operations troops arrived in Pakistan in October 2008—within days after President Zardari took office on 9 September 2008—in the guise of military trainers. Today, the U.S. has about 120-200 “trainers” in the country, with an expanded scope of mission, and the program is set to expand further. While it is public knowledge that U.S. and allied intelligence agencies, and contracted mercenaries, have been operating—by recruiting spies, bribing and assassinating targets—inside Pakistan, this bill confirms the long suspected presence of regular U.S. military forces in Pakistan.
In two reports in an American magazine (The Nation, 23 November 2009 and 4 February 2010), Jeremy Scahill had reported that in parallel with the CIA, soldiers from the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) of the U.S. Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), each with its own Blackwater/Xe and other contracted personnel, were thought to be operating in Pakistan—recruiting spies, running faux terrorists, staging apparent terrorist incidents, buying friends, bribing the recalcitrant, and assassinating targets. A much wider presence, however, was first confirmed by Christina Lamb’s story (Times, 07 Feb 2010) on three JSOC soldiers, in civilian clothes, who were killed in Lower Dir, while on their way to inaugurate a girls’ school built with U.S. money.
Although, amidst confused speculation on the identity of the deceased, the government insisted–and continues to insist–that US troops in Pakistan only provide counter-insurgency training for the Frontier Corps, a U.S. Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) press release identified two of the deceased as being from their 95th Civil Affairs (CA) Brigade (Airborne), and one from the 4th Psychological Operations (PSYOP) Group, who “were deployed in support of Operation Enduring Freedom” (OEF). The Frontier Corps is not tasked with either of these activities; nor does OEF officially extend to Pakistan. Until combat operations begin therefore the forces deployed in Pakistan, report to the U.S. Ambassador.Tracing its lineage to the 95th Military Government Group that undertook provisional government duties during the U.S. occupation of Japan (1945-1946), the 95th Civil Affairs Brigade was officially re-activated in 2006, essentially to be prepared for, and when necessary, provide a provisional government in the wake, either of an autonomous or engineered collapse of civil government, or of invasion and occupation by U.S. military forces. Highly trained, speaking least one local language fluently, and “trained to meld into the populace extremely well,” Civil Affairs soldiers analyse civic capabilities to identify country vulnerabilities (like ethnic and religious divides). They recruit local leaders, by providing them behind-the-scenes political, financial, and ‘security’ services–including tarnishing the reputations of, and even killing, opponents.
Where CA provides culturally-oriented, linguistically-capable soldiers to provide functional expertise for post-occupation governance, PSYOP is aimed at “preparing the battlefield” to prop up puppet regimes, and when necessary to facilitate military invasion by weakening the will to defend, and to implement post-occupation reconciliation. Although time alone will tell, it is likely that the creation of a national panic about the imminent fall of Pakistan to the Taliban in April/May 2009—forcing the Pakistan Army into Swat—will go down in textbooks as a classical PSYOP. Widely suspected as a fake, the enormously effective Swat flogging video that turned public opinion in Pakistan, could have been produced by the PSYOP Group. Clearly, the girls’ school in Dir was also a PSYOP/CA operation.
While the recently leaked logs kept by soldiers in Afghanistan don’t cover operations inside Pakistan, nor are beyond all suspicion, the methods they expose are fully consistent with the JSOC/CA/PSYOP model of imperial governance. American assassins, saboteurs, spies, and soldiers are in Pakistan, positioned to coerce compliance, and ready to occupy and govern if necessary. While careful not to leave footprints, the growing bloodstains that accompany their presence are all too visible. Expectedly, the Kucinich-Paul Resolution failed to carry by 38/372 votes on July 27; only the citizens of Pakistan–including those sworn to sworn to protect the sovereigntyof Pakistan–can “remove the United States Armed Forces from Pakistan”.
An abbreviated version of this article is expected to appear in the Express Tribune, of 30 July 2010.
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