A Lullaby of Lies

While most Americans were sitting out on their decks barbecuing over the Memorial Day weekend, our leaders were planning to barbecue a few Pakistanis, as the Washington Post reported:

“The U.S. military is reviewing options for a unilateral strike in Pakistan in the event that a successful attack on American soil is traced to the country’s tribal areas, according to senior military officials.”

Hey, wait a minute: I thought Attorney General Eric Holder has supposedly already established that the Pakistani Taliban were directly involved in the Times Square bombing attempt – which, although not successful, did succeed in generating shockwaves from Washington to Islamabad.

Well, not quite: the evidence for the existence of a “network” supposedly assisting Shahzad – consisting, so far, of three Pakistani-Americans and immigrants living in the US – is far less solid than Holder and the Obama administration would have us believe. In the case of Aftab Khan, a gas station attendant and Pakistani immigrant arrested at his home in Watertown, Mass., the only piece of evidence they can come up with is Shahzad’s phone number, which was stored on a phone said to be Khan’s and written on a piece of paper found in the apartment.

Shahzad’s phone number was doubtless in the possession of a number of individuals, and this factoid is a pretty thin reed on which to hang a case – let alone one which has become a pivot point for war. The extreme tenuousness of this alleged “link” was underscored during the immigration hearing on the case, when the government failed to produce the agent who conducted the search, and so it could not be established that the phone and the paper actually belonged to Khan. According to Khan’s lawyer, only the name “Faisal” was written on an envelope, sans any telephone number: Khan has a relative named Faisal, who lives in Watertown, Massachusetts. To add to all this, the Boston Globe reports that, according to Aftab Khan’s lawyer, his client “had high-security clearance in his civilian job as a convoy commander on the US Army base in Kuwait.” “If he was a threat,” says Saher J. Macarius, who represents Aftab and his cousin, Pir Khan, “he would have caused more damage on the soil of the US Army when he was in Kuwait,” the lawyer said. The prisoner, for his part, denies knowing, meeting or ever speaking with Shahzad.

Aftab Khan’s cousin and room-mate, Pir Khan, a Pakistani taxi driver married to an American and a 20-year resident of the US, is also being held, and the authorities are “treating him like Osama bin Laden,” according to Barry Hoffman, the Pakistani consul in Boston. When Hoffman went to see him in the visitation area, Khan was wearing leg irons, chains, and handcuffs. He has yet to be criminally charged – and that’s justice in Barack Obama’s America.

A third detainee, Mohammad Shafiq Rahman, a 33-year-old computer programmer living in Maine and married to an American, also apparently has no real connection to Shahzad, other than to have known him very casually seven or eight years ago.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, Adnan Ahmad, a former major in the Pakistani army arrested in connection with the “investigation” has been released: it was all a “misunderstanding,” according to Mr. Ahmad. Of the thirteen Pakistanis arrested for having alleged connections to Shahzad, seven have so far been released.

The Justice Department is saying Shahzad’s three American-based “accomplices” may not have known what he was planning: they say the detainees – being held on immigration violations – may have transferred money to Shahzad via the informal “hawala” system popular among immigrants from much of the Muslim world, where restrictions make it difficult to wire significant amounts of money out of the country. This is sufficiently vague to credibly claim a “link” or a “connection” between Shahzad and a wide variety of individuals, who may have never met or spoken to him: in short, the existence of the hawala system is a great opportunity for “investigators” to construct an elaborate conspiracy theory where none exists – one credible enough to pass muster with credulous journalists

In any case, what about this planned attack on Pakistan – just when can we expect to wake up one morning and find that we’ve fired the first shot in our next major war? The Post reports:

“Ties between the alleged Times Square bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and elements of the Pakistani Taliban have sharpened the Obama administration’s need for retaliatory options, the officials said. They stressed that a U.S. reprisal would be contemplated only under extreme circumstances, such as a catastrophic attack that leaves President Obama convinced that the ongoing campaign of CIA drone strikes is insufficient.”

In order to understand this, one has to fully appreciate what really happened on September 11, 2001, when those planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon: the sheer force of the impact opened up a fissure in the space-time continuum, and threw us into an alternate universe – Bizarro World, where up is down, right is left, and the laws of reason and common sense no longer apply. It is therefore necessary to translate the above citation from the original Bizarro-ese, i.e., simply invert it:

“The Obama administration’s desire for some ‘retaliatory’ fireworks has sharpened the need to establish ties between the alleged Times Square Bomber, Faisal Shahzad, and elements of the Pakistani Taliban.”

Oh, but don’t worry – they’re going to wait until we are hit with “a catastrophic attack” before they unleash the full military might of the US on Pakistan. Which makes lots of Bizarro sense, for sure….

Indeed, nothing about this murky affair makes sense, but then again when you’re constructing a “narrative,” instead of trying to discover the truth, one tends to make it up as one goes along. Never mind that they don’t have much of a case, it’s full speed ahead: “Planning [for a full-scale attack on Pakistan] has been reinvigorated in the wake of Times Square,” said one of the officials cited by the Post.

Of course it has. This planning process has no doubt been going on for a long time, before Obama was sworn in as President, initiated by Pentagon officials who realized they would soon have to break the artificial constraints put on their given task of conquering and occupying Afghanistan. Such a campaign could not, naturally enough, be contained within the formal borders of the Afghan non-state: it had to eventually spill over into Pakistan, and neighboring regions, and so it has.

In order to sell it to the American people, however, the Obama-ites have to somehow link it to a credible danger to the continental US – an actual physical threat emanating from the wilds of Waziristan and reaching right into the very epicenter of American life, which our rulers imagine to be New York City. The Times Square Fizzler fits the bill. It matters little that their story is falling apart almost as fast as they can put it together: US officials have only to get it out there, and pretend like they’re acting on the basis of a proven fact. Which brings to mind this bit of reporting from journalist Ron Suskind, writing in the New York Times Magazine:

“The aide [to George W. Bush] said that guys like me were ‘in what we call the reality-based community,’ which he defined as people who ‘believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.’ … ‘That’s not the way the world really works anymore,’ he continued. ‘We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.’”

It doesn’t matter which party is in power, or what sainted individual has his feet up on the desk in the Oval Office: this is the mentality of power. They create reality, and the rest of us are doomed to live in it – but for how long? How long will the American people allow themselves to be lulled to sleep by a constant lullaby of lies?

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of Antiwar.com, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].