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Gerald Posner and the CIA

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Russ Baker has an interesting article in today's Huffington Post about Gerald Posner's relationship with the CIA. You need to read the whole article but here is a taster:


Here, the words "assassination" and "CIA payroll" caught my eye. Gerald Posner is perhaps the leading author in the world who has worked assiduously to convince Americans that Lee Harvey Oswald killed John F. Kennedy and acted alone. As if to ward off all the questions about what the CIA knew about the peculiar events leading up to and taking place on November 22, 1963, Posner titled his book "Case Closed."

But even the House Select Committee on Assassinations concluded in its 1979 final report, fifteen years after the discredited Warren Commission Report, that in all probability there was some kind of organized effort to remove Kennedy: "scientific acoustical evidence establishes a high probability that two gunmen fired at President John F. Kennedy." It concludes " ...on the basis of the evidence available...President John F. Kennedy was probably assassinated as a result of a conspiracy."

Posner's work on the JFK assassination issue puts him essentially in the CIA's camp, by consistently leading readers away from a mountain of evidence regarding CIA connections with key figures in the story, including Lee Harvey Oswald. Posner plays a similar role with the assassination of Martin Luther King with his book, Killing the Dream: James Earl Ray and the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Now, this journalist is suddenly doing p.r. work for a man accused of being on the CIA's payroll.

Can anyone see a possible pattern here? For further insight, take a look at the reporting by Carl Bernstein (of Woodward and Bernstein fame) for Rolling Stone on CIA infiltration of US media, and maybe some of the fine books on Operation Mockingbird.

Also, another curiosity. The Times waited six days from the date on the letter (which was presumably emailed, as is the custom these days), and then three days after publishing it came out with a blistering piece looking further at convoluted machinations involving the CIA and the Karzai family. (For comparison, note that on August 25 The Times published a letter dated August 25, so they can do so when they want.)

Would be nice to know what's going on behind the scenes with all this.

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Guest Tom Scully

John, I know this is a bit OT, but it helps to illuminate some of the intricacies and how the script is revised as they go long, for the sake of expediency. Karzai was installed in Afghanistan by CIA agents Zalmay Khalilzad and his mentor, Thomas Gouttierre.


CIA, scholar links to Asia, Mideast reexamined

By Chris Mooney, Globe Correspondent, 11/25/2001

Andrew Hess, who teaches a course on Afghanistan at Tufts University, is one of the nation's top specialists on a suddenly crucial part of the world. Since the United States started its Afghan campaign - and began getting criticism for its lack of expertise in Central Asia - Hess has waited for the government to tap his knowledge.

He's still waiting.

This fall Hess has taken calls from newspaper reporters and television stations - but hasn't received one call from US intelligence. He says he's baffled.

''I'm the only person with a program at the graduate level in the United States that deals with southwest Asia,'' he said.

Since Sept. 11, the CIA has made clear that it is eager for recruits familiar with the Middle East and Central Asia, especially those who can speak Arabic, Dari, or Pashto. And applications have shot through the stratosphere, many from recent college graduates.

But the deeper knowledge of the area and language lies not with students but with professors like Hess. And when it comes to academics, many intelligence watchers say that contact with the CIA largely remains limited to those scholars who have well-established credentials as insiders.

....The Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha has longstanding ties with Washington policymakers and collaborates regularly with intelligence. ''We're at war,'' said center director Thomas Gouttierre. ''I'm an American, and the American government is leading this war. If we have some knowledge or analysis that could be of advantage, we should be forthcoming.''....


December 1997: Unocal Establishes Pipeline Training Facility Near Bin Laden’s Compound

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Thomas Gouttierre. [source: University of Nebraska]Unocal pays University of Nebraska $900,000 to set up a training facility near Osama bin Laden’s Kandahar compound, to train 400 Afghan teachers, electricians, carpenters and pipe fitters in anticipation of using them for their pipeline in Afghanistan. One hundred and fifty students are already attending classes in southern Afghanistan. Unocal is playing University of Nebraska professor Thomas Gouttierre to develop the training program. Gouttierre travels to Afghanistan and meets with Taliban leaders, and also arranges for some Taliban leaders to visit the US around this time (see December 4, 1997)

July-August 1999: Taliban Leaders Visit US

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About a dozen Afghan leaders visit the US. They are militia commanders, mostly Taliban, and some with ties to al-Qaeda. A few are opponents of the Taliban. Their exact names and titles remain classified. For five weeks, they visit numerous locales in the US, including Mt. Rushmore. All their expenses are paid by the US government and the University of Nebraska. Thomas Gouttierre, an academic heading an Afghanistan program at the University of Nebraska, hosts their visit. Gouttierre is working as a consultant to Unocal at the time, and some Taliban visits to the US are paid for by Unocal, such as a visit two years earlier (see December 4, 1997). However, it is unknown if Unocal plays a role in this particular trip. Gouttierre had previously been paid by the CIA to create Afghan textbooks promoting violence and jihad (see 1984-1994). It is unknown if any of these visitors meet with US officials during their trip. [Chicago Tribune, 10/21/2001]


National Public Radio: Analysis: Zalmay Khalilzad named as US …

- National Public Radio - NewsBank - Sep 23, 2003

Mr. THOMAS GOUTTIERRE (University of Nebraska): I've known Zalmay since he was 19. He played basketball on a team that I coached. I used to coach the Afghan ..


New York Times - Oct 17, 2009

Mr. Gouttierre, who spent his decade in the country as a Peace Corps volunteer, a Fulbright scholar and the national basketball team's coach, said, ..

Los Angeles Times

June 14, 2002 Friday Home Edition

Section: Part A Main News; Part 1; Page 1; Foreign Desk

Headline: The World; Karzai Chosen As Leader, Vows To Rebuild Nation;

"Although challenged by two other candidates, his victory was preordained by the controversial influence of U.S. and other foreign advisors, which could taint the credibility of his tenure. Mohammad Zaher Shah, the nation's former king, withdrew from the political stage on the advice of President Bush's envoy [Zalmay Khalilzad]. Former President Burhanuddin Rabbani's departure from the race is believed to have been arranged in return for a prestigious title to be bestowed later. Still, Karzai's selection--he received 1,295 of the 1,575 votes cast--clearly reflected majority sentiment among those gathered for the weeklong convocation. Even his rivals joined in the spirit of celebration over what they see as the beginning of a new age in their homeland."


Traditional Council Elects Karzai as Afghan President

June 14, 2002, Friday

By CARLOTTA GALL (NYT); Foreign Desk

Late Edition - Final, Section A, Page 14, Column 1, 1201 words

....The United States, which helped put him in power as part of its war against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, openly backed his candidacy. The American envoy to Afghanistan, Zalmay Khalilzad, was on stage offering his congratulations this evening as the results were read inside the vast tent where the loya jirga has been meeting for several days.

''He became a consensus candidate,'' said Mr. Khalilzad in an interview after the election. ''It looked like he was going to win, and it happens often in Afghan loya jirgas when a victory looks inevitable, then they move towards a consensus.''

Mr. Karzai had won over the strongest challengers to his side earlier in the week, securing important endorsements from the former king, Mohammad Zahir Shah, who ruled out any post for himself, as well as a former president, Burhanuddin Rabbani, and the strong Tajik faction in his own cabinet, including Defense Minister Muhammad Qasim Fahim. Mr. Karzai is an ethnic Pashtun.

A final challenge came when royalists put forward their own candidate for chairman of the loya jirga on Wednesday. But when the chairmanship was won this morning by Ismail Qasimyar, a supporter of Mr. Karzai, it became clear that there was broad support for him.......


Thursday, 19 December, 2002, 11:18 GMT

Afghan legal system under spotlight

...Mr Karzai has made it clear that Afghanistan, a predominantly Muslim society, intends to maintain sharia law, while at the same time establishing pluralistic democracy and an independent judiciary....



Zalmay Khalilzad and the Bush Agenda

by Jennifer Van Bergen

t r u t h o u t | January 13, 2001 - The appointment by the Bush Administration of Zalmay Khalilzad as special envoy to Afghanistan which was announced on December 31, 2001, only nine days after the U.S.-backed interim government of Hamid Karzai took office in Kabul, seems timely and logical. Khalilzad, a U.S. citizen born in Afghanistan with extensive knowledge of the region and experience, appears to be the right person for the job.

Khalilzad's presence, however, is the fruit of an older agenda, one that reaches back at least to the Reagan era, and Khalilzad has more connections to that agenda than meets the eye.

Simply put, Khalilzad's appointment means oil. Oil for the United States. Oil for Unocal, a U.S. company long criticized for doing business in countries with repressive governments and rumored to have close ties to the Department of State and the intelligence community.

Zalmay Khalilzad was an advisor for Unocal. In the mid 1990s, while working for the Cambridge Energy Research Associates, Khalilzad conducted risk analyses for Unocal at the time it had signed letters of approval from the Taliban. The analyses were for a proposed 890-mile, $2-billion, 1.9-billion-cubic-feet-per-day natural gas pipeline project which would have extended from Turkmenistan to Pakistan. In December 1997, Khalilzad joined Unocal officials at a reception for an invited Taliban delegation to Texas.



Unocal was the "Development Manager" of the Centgas consortium. The purpose of Centgas was to build an 890-mile-long pipeline from Turkmenistan through Aghanistan to Pakistan.

Centgas, or the Central Asia Gas and Pipeline Consortium, was a group formed in the mid-1990s which was made up of the government of Turkmenistan and six international companies: Delta Oil Company (Saudi Arabia), Indonesia Petroleum, ITOCHU Oil Exploration Co. (Japan), Hyandai Engineering & Construction Co. (South Korea), Crescent Group (Pakistan) and Gazprom (Russia). Unocal owned nearly half of the shares of Centgas.

As Centgas' Development Manager, Unocal opened talks with the Taliban and the Northern Alliance. To show its good will, Unocal donated money to CARE projects in Afghanistan and provided support for earthquake relief efforts. (According to the CIA World Factbook, damaging earthquakes are known to occur in the Hindu Kush mountains, which run across the center of the country.)

According to L.A. Weekly, Unocal also gave nearly a million dollars to the University of Nebraska's Center for Afghan Studies, which Unocal stated was not used to "provide pipeline constructions skills training." Unocal said the money was used to provide "basic job skills training and education" for Afghans and elementary schooling for their children. However, according to the Asia Times, the Center for Afghan Studies also at one time produced a study of oil and gas reserves in Central Asia, placing their total worth at around US$3 trillion. Thus, the Center was not only interested in helping Afghans obtain basic education and job skills.

Thomas E. Gouttierre, the director of the Center for Aghan Studies, is an old friend of Zalmay Khalilzad. In fact, Gouttierre coached Khalilzad on a high school basketball team when "Zal" first visited America as an exchange student.

The Clinton administration offered backing for Unocal's Centgas project, but after the U.S. bombed Aghanistan in 1998 in retaliation for the Embassy bombings, Unocal withdrew from the consortium, citing "sharply deteriorating political conditions."

Unocal stated that it would only participate in a Centgas pipeline project "when and if" Aghanistan achieved the "peace and stability necessary to obtain financing from international agencies and a government that is recognized by the United States and the United Nations." In February 1999, Unocal denied reports published in Pakistan that it was considering rejoining Centgas, and Unocal continues to state on its Homepage that it has no plans to return to the consortium. Unocal spokesman, Mike Thatcher, stated last October that "We're not going to do it, but sooner or later, someone will."..........


U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad

In September 2001, Zalmay Khalilzad, now the U.S. ambassador to Iraq and a key player in the country's democratic process, was working as an obscure staffer in the National Security Council.

But as the Bush administration's war on terror unfolded after 9/11, Khalilzad, an Afghan-born Muslim with a background in Middle East policy, rose to a prominent role as an adviser, Zalmay Khalilzad intermediary and policymaker. He was appointed as a special presidential envoy to Afghanistan following the U.S.-led invasion to oust the Taliban, and in 2003, Khalilzad became U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

He helped acting Afghan President Hamid Karzai set up a transitional government in the country of his birth and oversaw its first democratic elections in late 2004.

President Bush appointed Khalilzad to replace John Negroponte as U.S. ambassador to Iraq in June 2005 where his first task was negotiating a compromise between the Kurds, Shiites, Sunnis and secular groups over the constitution. He paid special attention to bringing Sunnis into the political process, especially after a coalition of Shiite parties won the most in parliamentary elections held in December 2005.

"The fundamental problem of Iraq is that the various communities are polarized along ethic and sectarian lines," Khalilzad told the NewsHour in February 2006. "And to deal with this problem, they need to form a national unity government, and that's what we are encouraging."

Khalilzad earned a reputation as a strategic thinker and one who can balance the complexity of politics in the Middle East with U.S. policy.

"He brings a lot more to bear than his predecessors, who knew nothing about Iraq. I wonder how many of our top decision-makers knew, a few years ago, the difference between Sunni and Shia," said Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser for President Jimmy Carter, in an interview with The New Yorker. "He is a broad-minded pragmatist and an insightful strategist. He has a unique advantage in a part of the world in which the United States has become massively engaged and does not have many people at the top equipped to deal with it."

In Iraq, Khalilzad lives in the Baghdad's Green Zone and travels in a security convoy often backed up with armed helicopters for air support. He works from his office in Saddam Hussein's former marble presidential palace supervising a staff of 5,000, the largest U.S. Embassy in the world.

Khalilzad was born in 1951 in Mazar-i-Sharif in northern Afghanistan. His father worked in the local office of the ministry of finance. His mother, though illiterate, kept informed by having her children read the newspapers out loud to her.

His family moved to Kabul when he was in eighth grade. In high school he spent a year as an exchange student in California that he credits with giving him a different approach to his home country.

Khalilzad went on to attend Kabul University but transferred to the American University of Beirut after winning a scholarship. He studied political science and history of the Middle East in Beirut from 1970 to 1974. During this time, he met his wife Cheryl Bernard who was researching a dissertation on Arab nationalism. The couple has two sons.

In 1975, Khalilzad came to American to pursue his doctorate at the University of Chicago under the guidance of Albert Wohlstetter, an expert in military strategy who helped him make contacts in Washington. Wohlstetter exposed Khalilzad to the so-called neoconservative approach to foreign policy that places an emphasis on using America's military power.

Khalilzad accepted a teaching position in the political science department at Columbia in 1979 and wrote articles about the Soviet Union's invasion into Afghanistan that received considerable attention from experts. In 1984 he became an American citizen and accepted a fellowship with the Council on Foreign Relations.

From 1985-89, Khalilzad served as an adviser on Afghanistan and the Iran-Iraq war at the State Department where he wrote a policy paper that called for the U.S. to shift its focus from Iraq to Iran. He left the government for the Rand Corporation, a nonprofit research organization where he founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies.

During the first Persian Gulf war, Khalilzad worked for the Defense Department as the assistant deputy undersecretary for policy where he received the Department of Defense medal for outstanding public service.

Convinced that the United States had left unfinished business after driving Iraq from Kuwait, Khalilzad encouraged then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney to remove Saddam Hussein from power and continued to push for regime change in Iraq.

After the war, he was assigned to analyze America's strategic position in the post-Cold War world and helped draft the Defense Planning Guidance of 1992 that outlined a strategy for maintaining America's global hegemony using the threat of military force.

When George W. Bush was elected in 2000, Khalilzad headed the Bush-Cheney transition team at the Pentagon and was a counselor to Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. In 2001, he moved to the National Security Council to become the Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Southwest Asia, Near East and North African Affairs


How the U.S. Government financed millions of Islamist textbooks in cooperation with the Taliban.

By John Stuart Blackton

......Let me start with a direct quotation from The <b>Devil's Game:</b>

"During the U.S.-Taliban era of cooperation from 1994 to 1998 - which ended with the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa...a key UNOCAL consultant [on cutting a deal for an oil pipeline through Taliban territory] was a University of Nebraska academic named Tom Goutierre...... funding for Goutierre's work was funded through the State Department's Agency for International Development, the CIA was is sponsor. It turned out that Goutierre's education program consisted of blatant Islamist propaganda including the creation of children's textbooks in which young Afghanis were taught to count by enumerating dead Russian soldiers and adding up Kalishnikov rifles"...........


In Nebraska, an Oasis of Insight Into Afghanistan's Heart; [biography]

Jodi Wilgoren. New York Times. (Late Edition (East Coast)). New York, N.Y.: Oct 6, 2001. pg. A.8

WHEN Thomas E. Gouttierre, a baker's son from Maumee, Ohio, applied for the Peace Corps in 1964, he had never even flown on an airplane, never mind traveled beyond the United States. He wanted to go somewhere that ''wasn't hot'' and ''wasn't in the Western Hemisphere,'' so he listed Iran, Turkey and ''anyplace but Latin America'' as his three choices.

Soon Mr. Gouttierre was teaching English and coaching basketball in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Instead of the Peace Corps' standard two years, he stayed nearly 10. Then he came here to the University of Nebraska's Omaha campus, home to the nation's only Center for Afghanistan Studies and its largest library of works on Afghanistan. As dean of international studies, he visited 70-some nations before losing count, and has studied the Taliban and Osama bin Laden for the United Nations....

...THE Center for Afghanistan Studies was started in 1973 as the Omaha campus's attempt to break into international academics by focusing on an area few others considered. From 1986 to 1994, the university spent more than $50 million in grants training teachers and funneling textbooks to more than 130,000 students in Afghanistan and Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan. The library has 8,000 manuscripts and documents on the region, from an 1860 handwritten volume of poetry known as the Haft Aurang to the Afghan Communist Party's first newspaper a century later.

Mr. Gouttierre, who graduated from Bowling Green State University in Ohio, never finished his Ph.D., though he has three honorary doctorates....

Anatomy of a Victory: CIA's Covert Afghan War; $2 Billion Program Reversed Tide for Rebels Series: CIA IN AFGHANISTAN Series Number: 1/2; [FINAL Edition]

Steve Coll. The Washington Post Washington, D.C.: Jul 19, 1992. pg. a.01

...In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 166, and national security adviser Robert D. McFarlane signed an extensive annex, augmenting the original Carter intelligence finding that focused on "harassment" of Soviet occupying forces, according to several sources. Although it covered diplomatic and humanitarian objectives as well, the new, detailed Reagan directive used bold language to authorize stepped-up covert military aid to the mujaheddin, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a Soviet withdrawal.

New Covert U.S. Aid

The new covert U.S. assistance began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies - a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987, according to Yousaf - as well as what he called a "ceaseless stream" of CIA and Pentagon specialists who traveled to the secret headquarters of Pakistan's ISI on the main road near Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

There the CIA specialists met with Pakistani intelligence officers to help plan operations for the Afghan rebels. At any one time during the Afghan fighting season, as many as 11 ISI teams trained and supplied by the CIA accompanied the mujaheddin across the border to supervise attacks, according to Yousaf and Western sources. The teams attacked airports, railroads, fuel depots, electricity pylons, bridges and roads, the sources said.

CIA and Pentagon specialists offered detailed satellite photographs and ink maps of Soviet targets around Afghanistan. The CIA station chief in Islamabad ferried U.S. intercepts of Soviet battlefield communications.

Other CIA specialists and military officers supplied secure communications gear and trained Pakistani instructors on how to use it. Experts on psychological warfare brought propaganda and books. Demolitions experts gave instructions on the explosives needed to destroy key targets such as bridges, tunnels and fuel depots. They also supplied chemical and electronic timing devices and remote control switches for delayed bombs and rockets that could be shot without a mujaheddin rebel present at the firing site.......


From U.S., the ABC's of Jihad

Violent Soviet-Era Textbooks Complicate Afghan Education Efforts

By Joe Stephens and David B. Ottaway

Washington Post Staff Writers

Saturday, March 23, 2002; Page A01

In the twilight of the Cold War, the United States spent millions of dollars to supply Afghan schoolchildren with textbooks filled with violent images and militant Islamic teachings, part of covert attempts to spur resistance to the Soviet occupation.

The primers, which were filled with talk of jihad and featured drawings of guns, bullets, soldiers and mines, have served since then as the Afghan school system's core curriculum. Even the Taliban used the American-produced books, though the radical movement scratched out human faces in keeping with its strict fundamentalist code......

Many of the 4 million texts being trucked into Afghanistan, and millions more on the way, still feature Koranic verses and teach Muslim tenets.

<h3>The White House defends the religious content, saying that Islamic principles permeate Afghan culture</h3> and that the books "are fully in compliance with U.S. law and policy." Legal experts, however, question whether the books violate a constitutional ban on using tax dollars to promote religion.

Organizations accepting funding from the U.S. Agency for International Development must certify that tax dollars will not be used to advance religion. The certification states that AID "will finance only programs that have a secular purpose. . . . AID-financed activities cannot result in religious indoctrination of the ultimate beneficiaries."

The issue of textbook content reflects growing concern among U.S. policymakers about school teachings in some Muslim countries in which Islamic militancy and anti-Americanism are on the rise. A number of government agencies are discussing what can be done to counter these trends.

President Bush and first lady Laura Bush have repeatedly spotlighted the Afghan textbooks in recent weeks. Last Saturday, Bush announced during his weekly radio address that the 10 million U.S.-supplied books being trucked to Afghan schools would teach "respect for human dignity, instead of indoctrinating students with fanaticism and bigotry."

The first lady stood alongside Afghan interim leader Hamid Karzai on Jan. 29 to announce that AID would give the University of Nebraska at Omaha $6.5 million to provide textbooks and teacher training kits.

AID officials said in interviews that they left the Islamic materials intact because they feared Afghan educators would reject books lacking a strong dose of Muslim thought. The agency removed its logo and any mention of the U.S. government from the religious texts, AID spokeswoman Kathryn Stratos said.....

.... Some legal experts disagreed. A 1991 federal appeals court ruling against AID's former director established that taxpayers' funds may not pay for religious instruction overseas, said Herman Schwartz, a constitutional law expert at American University, who litigated the case for the American Civil Liberties Union.

Ayesha Khan, legal director of the nonprofit Americans United for Separation of Church and State, said the White House has "not a legal leg to stand on" in distributing the books.

"Taxpayer dollars cannot be used to supply materials that are religious," she said.

Published in the dominant Afghan languages of Dari and Pashtu, the textbooks were developed in the early 1980s under an AID grant to the University of Nebraska-Omaha and its Center for Afghanistan Studies. The agency spent $51 million on the university's education programs in Afghanistan from 1984 to 1994. .....

.... AID dropped funding of Afghan programs in 1994. <b>But the textbooks continued to circulate in various versions, even after the Taliban seized power in 1996.</b>

Officials said private humanitarian groups paid for continued reprintings during the Taliban years. Today, the books remain widely available in schools and shops, to the chagrin of international aid workers. ....

.....Above the soldier is a verse from the Koran. Below is a Pashtu tribute to the mujaheddin, who are described as obedient to Allah. Such men will sacrifice their wealth and life itself to impose Islamic law on the government, the text says.

"We were quite shocked," said Doug Pritchard, who reviewed the primers in December while visiting Pakistan on behalf of a Canada-based Christian nonprofit group. "The constant image of Afghans being natural warriors is wrong. Warriors are created. If you want a different kind of society, you have to create it."

....In early January, UNICEF began printing new texts for many subjects but arranged to supply copies of the old, unrevised U.S. books for other subjects, including Islamic instruction.

Within days, the Afghan interim government announced that it would use the old AID-produced texts for its core school curriculum. UNICEF's new texts could be used only as supplements.

Earlier this year, the United States tapped into its $296 million aid package for rebuilding Afghanistan to reprint the old books, but decided to purge the violent references.

About 18 of the 200 titles the United States is republishing are primarily Islamic instructional books, which agency officials refer to as "civics" courses. Some books teach how to live according to the Koran, Brown said, and "how to be a good Muslim."

UNICEF is left with 500,000 copies of the old "militarized" books, a $200,000 investment that it has decided to destroy, according to U.N. officials.

On Feb. 4, Brown arrived in Peshawar, the Pakistani border town in which the textbooks were to be printed, to oversee hasty revisions to the printing plates. Ten Afghan educators labored night and day, scrambling to replace rough drawings of weapons with sketches of pomegranates and oranges, Brown said.

"We turned it from a wartime curriculum to a peacetime curriculum," he said.


Getting children back to school is a number one priority in Afghanistan's post war government. But the big question is: what will they learn?

Back to school in Afghanistan

CBC News Online | January 27, 2004

The National | Airdate: May 6, 2002

Reporter: Carol Off | Producer: Heather Abbott | Editor: Catherine McIsaac

....A student learns to add and subtract bullets

Math teachers use bullets as props to teach lessons in subtraction. This isn't their idea. During decades of war, the classroom has been the best place to indoctrinate young people with their duty to fight. Government-sponsored textbooks in Afghanistan are filled with violence. For years, war was the only lesson that counted.

The Mujahideen, Afghanistan's freedom fighters, used the classroom to prepare children to fight the Soviet empire. The Russians are long gone but the textbooks are not. The Mujahideen had wanted to prepare the next generation of Afghans to fight the enemy, so pupils learned the proper clips for a Kalashnikov rifle, the weight of bombs needed to flatten a house, and how to calculate the speed of bullets. Even the girls learn it.

"We were providing education behind the enemy lines."

But the Mujahideen had a lot of help to create this warrior culture in the school system from the United States, which paid for the Mujahideen propaganda in the textbooks. It was all part of American Cold War policy in the 1980s, helping the Mujahideen defeat the Soviet army on Afghan soil.

University of Nebraska

The University of Nebraska was front and center in that effort. The university did the publishing and had an Afghan study center and a director who was ready to help defeat the "Red Menace."

"I think Ronald Reagan himself felt that this was a violation of the rights of the Afghans," <b>says Tom Goutier, who was behind the Mujahideen textbook project.</b> "I think a lot of those working for him thought this was an opportunity for us to do the Soviet Union some damage."

Goutier's personal involvement in Afghanistan began in 1964 as a young U.S. peace corps volunteer. Over the years, he rubbed shoulders with Mujahideen leaders and he learned Afghan languages. During the 1980s, his love of America and his love of Afghanistan merged.

"We were living in an era in which the Afghans were trying to learn to survive," he says. "They were fighting for their survival in which a million of them were killed, a million and a half wounded. So, at that time, there was a lot of militaristic thinking."

The Soviet Union occupied Afghanistan in 1979. Its fighting forces were well armed and ruthless. The Mujahideen fought the Soviets throughout the 1980s with a lot of covert aid from the U.S.

In 1986, under President Ronald Reagan, the U.S. put a rush order on its proxy war in Afghanistan. The CIA gave Mujahideen an overwhelming arsenal of guns and missiles. But a lesser-known fact is that the U.S. also gave the Mujahideen hundreds of millions of dollars in non-lethal aid; $43 million just for the school textbooks. The U.S. Agency for International Development, AID, coordinated its work with the CIA, which ran the weapons program.

"We were providing education behind the enemy lines," says Goutier. "We were providing military support against the enemy lines. So this was a kind of coordinated effort indeed.

"I eventually was involved in some of the discussions, negotiations for removing the Soviets from Afghanistan. I was an American specialist in these discussions and many people in those discussions said just as important as (the) introduction of stinger missiles was the introduction of the humanitarian assistance because the Soviets never believed the U.S. would go to that extent."

"The U.S. government told the AID to let the Afghan war chiefs decide the school curriculum and the content of the textbooks," says CBC'S Carol Off. "What discussions did you have with the Mujahideen leaders? Was it any effort to say maybe this isn't the best for an eight-year-old's mind?"

"No, because we were told that that was not for negotiations and that the content was to be that which they decided," says Goutier.

There were those who opposed the text book project, such as Sima Samar who ran a school in those days, but opposition did little good.

Sima Samar

"I was opposing but we had no choice," says Samar, who served as minister of women's affairs for the interim government that ran Afghanistan after the Taliban were driven out. "It was already done and… nobody had the freedom to speak against all those things."

"I was interested in being of any type of assistance that I could to help the Afghans get out of their mess and to be frank also anything that would help the United States in order to advance its interests," says Goutier.

American interests were well served. But after the defeat of the Soviet empire, the U.S. abandoned Afghanistan. The country descended into civil war. The U.S. gave almost no money to help rebuild after the war against the Soviets and no money to rewrite the school textbooks.

.....The latest war in Afghanistan is now over but there's a constant threat of a new one. In the markets, tailors make uniforms for the stream of young men who want to be mercenaries. Only hunting guns are sold now since the heavy weapons are banned. But they still exist, woven into the very fabric of the country.

The Afghan children who returned to school in 2002 got new textbooks with new ideas but from the same old publisher. The University of Nebraska secured the contract again for $6.5 million from the United States government.

However this time there was a promise that they will not contain war propaganda.

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Guest Robert Morrow

Let's not forget Posner's book Citizen Perot - which came out in 1996 - a hit job on H. Ross Perot one of the top political enemies of George Herbert Walker Bush. GHW Bush was the one who used elite CIA assassins to neutralize/intimidate/terrify Ross Perot into getting out of the presidential race in 1992. Perot knew ALL about the Bush/CIA drug smuggling of the 1980's.

So Posner's book was a hit job on Perot. Hey, do you ever see Gerald Posner do a hit job on GHW Bush, Jeb Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton or anyone CIA? Ever?



And here is Posner's hit job on Ross Perot: http://www.amazon.com/Citizen-Perot-His-Life-Times/dp/0679447318

Bo Gritz Letter to GHW Bush re: CIA Golden Triangle drug smuggling.


CIA linked to Barry Seal’s assassination in 1986:


Oliver North and the Bushes (GHW Bush, Jeb Bush) probably murdered Barry Seal:


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