April 28, 2002
CBC Coverage

CBC (that's Canada's much better funded equivalent to NPR) Newsworld had some surprisingly good in depth coverage of Israel/Palestine tonight, and will continue to broadcast longer documentary pieces and discussion (Robert Fisk is on on Tuesday) through Tuesday.

NYPress: Interview with Tariq Ali on the state of the Islamic world.

The killing of Danny Pearl, in my opinion, could not have been done without the knowledge of the [Pakistani] intelligence agencies. Any Western journalist, white-skinned journalist, who arrives in that country–not even white-skinned, any foreign journalist who arrives in that country and tries to investigate independently of the Ministry of Information and state agencies–is followed nonstop. They keep tabs on them. So the notion that they don’t know who kidnapped Danny and killed him just beggars belief. It’s just not possible.


You would include the Taliban as one of the fanatical groups created and funded by Pakistan?

Totally. The Taliban could not exist, and in fact ceased to exist, once the Pakistani military withdrew their support.

And Al Qaeda?

This is the story I think Danny was investigating... I have a feeling he got too close to something. The story everyone wants to know is Al Qaeda’s links to Pakistani military intelligence. Most people believe the links are there, and they were there on Sept. 11. Whether [the military] knew about [bin Laden’s plans] no one knows. People don’t even speculate–they don’t want to know. But the links were definitely there. These people were going in and out of Pakistan, landing in Pakistani airports. The circumstantial evidence is there to suggest that Daniel Pearl had got close to this story, and that rogue elements within the intelligence agencies laid a trap for him and he fell into it.

The thing is, the United States must know this. This is the shocking thing. They must know it. Whereas Colin Powell has gone out of his way to say, "We know the Pakistan government was not involved." How do you know that? No one in Pakistan believes that. General Musharraf himself described Daniel as "an over-intrusive" journalist.

Salon: Interview with the author of "the world's most dangerous places" travel guides. It could be titled "dozens of things the press could be paying attention to but isn't".

what do you think is going unreported over there?

Well, they kill a lot of people. The thing that doesn't come through is that we have killed thousands and thousands and thousands of people and you've very rarely seen an American soldier kill a foreign national [on television]. You've never seen a foreign national kill an American soldier. They're removing the bits that make war what it is and everybody's a hero. You drop a bomb on yourself you get a medal. That's the way the war has been fought.


So what's the way out for significant American troop presence in Afghanistan?

There is no exit strategy. It's absolutely identical to what the Russians did. People respond to what they think is an opportunity. In this case it was an opportunity to overthrow the Taliban leadership, and once you get in there and you destabilize a country, you have a choice: You leave immediately, which would bring down a lot of grief on your heads from the world community, or you stay and try and figure things out. The staying and figuring things out part is a lot more difficult than going in and destabilizing a fairly backward regime. The only thing that concerns me is when George Bush gets full of himself and starts expanding our war to include places as bizarre as North Korea and Iran and Iraq, but doesn't include a lot of the known harbors and supporters of terrorist groups. That makes me nervous.

What are you hearing about us going into Iraq?

They tried to, and then they got told: "You've got to be kidding."


Surely these big-time reporters have these questions and are asking them.

That's not true. You ask Barbara Walters. Why was Barbara Walters in Saudi Arabia? Did she get up one day, buy a ticket and take a camera in with her? No. She was invited by the government as part of a P.R. campaign to convince the American public that the Saudis who flew the planes into the buildings had nothing to do with the country of Saudi Arabia. That's an overt P.R. campaign. Why do you think the military invites journalists into a combat area? Because they know there's going to be a nice clean operation and it'll look good when we blow stuff up and they'll write about how we're winning the war.


Do you think Afghanistan has a chance at a legitimate government?

Yeah, if they start writing checks to Afghans. The problem is they're writing all these checks to Americans. They just wrote a check for $6.5 million to a university in, I think, Nebraska or something to create textbooks for Afghanistan. Well, Christ, for that kind of money they could set up an entire printing outfit and fly people over there to set up a state-of-the-art document processing system.

This from a guy who is anything but anti war, much less anti american. A very interesting interview.

posted by dru in blog