In 1977 Afghanistan had no refugees.
Omar Mateen, the man believed to be responsible for the June 14th 2016 Orlando shooting massacre, was born in America twenty-nine years ago to Afghan parents who'd fled to the US as refugees following the fulfillment of President Jimmy Carter's National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski's scheme to inveigle the Soviets into Afghanistan to give Moscow its own Vietnam. In 1977 Afghanistan had no refugees. It was Brzezinski who set in motion the events that have come full circle through this tragedy and leaves Afghanistan today with the second largest refugee population in the world.
In 1977 Afghanistan was transforming itself into an enlightened, modern and democratic society. Eyewitness accounts from the 1960s and 1970s document the rapid changes embraced by Afghan men and women across a broad spectrum of society. Despite its poverty, Afghanistan had been independent in its foreign policy and self-sufficient in many areas, including food production; a vivid illustration of what life was like when Afghans were in control of their own state. It was also the year that Zbigniew Brzezinski stepped into the role as National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter. Brzezinski was about to turn back the clock for the Afghan people by inaugurating a plan to lure the Soviet Union into an invasion of Afghanistan that was fulfilled on December 27th 1979. Now the blowback from Brzezinski's scheme has delivered another dagger into the heart of America's soul and the people of Orlando, Florida.
This is how Zbigniew Brzezinski did it.Upon entering the White House in 1977 Brzezinski formed the Nationalities Working Group (NWG) dedicated to weakening the Soviet Union by inflaming ethnic tensions, especially among the Islamic populations of the region. While Brzezinski was activating his scheme, former CIA operative Graham Fuller was station chief (1975-1978) in Kabul, Afghanistan. Conveniently for Brzezinski, Fuller's focus was on how to politicize the Islamic world on behalf of American interests. In Fuller's own words, he explains his thesis:
"In the West the words Islamic fundamentalism conjure up images of bearded men with turbans and women covered in black shrouds. And some Islamist movements do indeed contain reactionary and violent elements. But we should not let stereotypes blind us to the fact that there are also powerful modernising forces at work within these movements. Political Islam is about change. In this sense, modern Islamist movements may be the main vehicle for bringing about change in the Muslim world and the break-up of the old "dinosaur" regimes."
In 1977 Fuller was in a position to activate Brzezinski's scheme. As CIA station chief in Kabul he was also perfectly positioned to provide Brzezinski with the intelligence needed to build his case for President Carter to sign the directive allowing him to lure the Soviets into invading Afghanistan.
As the first Americans to gain access to Kabul after the Soviet invasion for an American TV crew in 1981 we got a close-up look at the narrative supporting President Carter's "greatest threat to peace since the second world war" and it didn't hold up. What had been presented as an open and shut case of Soviet expansion by Harvard Professor Richard Pipes on the MacNeil-Lehrer News Hour could just as easily have been defined as a defensive action within the Soviets' legitimate sphere of influence. Three years earlier, Pipes' Team B Strategic Objectives Panel had been accused of subverting the process of making national security estimates by inventing threats where they didn't exist and intentionally skewing its findings along ideological lines. Now that ideology was being presented as fact by America's Public Broadcasting System.
In 1983 we returned to Kabul with Harvard Negotiation Project Director Roger Fisher for ABC's Nightline. Our aim was to establish the credibility of the American claims. We discovered from high level Soviet officials that the Kremlin wanted desperately to abandon the war but the Reagan administration was dragging its feet. From the moment they entered office, the Reagan administration demanded that the Soviets withdraw their forces, while at the same time keeping them pinned down through covert action so they couldn't leave. Though lacking in facts and dripping in right wing ideology, this hypocritical campaign was embraced by the entire American political spectrum and continues to be willfully-unexamined by America's mainstream media.
At a conference conducted by the Nobel Institute in 1995, a high level group of former US and Soviet officials faced off over the question: Why did the Soviets invade Afghanistan? Former National Security Council staff member Dr. Gary Sick established that the U.S. had assigned Afghanistan to the Soviet sphere of influence years before the invasion. So why did the US choose an ideologically biased position when there were any number of verifiable fact-based explanations for why the Soviets had invaded?
To former CIA Director Stansfield Turner, responsibility could only be located in the personality of one specific individual. "Brzezinski's name comes up here every five minutes; but nobody has as yet mentioned that he is a Pole." Turner said. "[T]he fact that Brzezinski is a Pole, it seems to me was terribly important."
What Stansfield Turner was saying in 1995 was that Brzezinski's well-known Russophobia led him to take advantage of the Soviet's miscalculation. But it wasn't until the 1998 Nouvel Observateur interview that Brzezinski boasted that he had provoked the invasion by getting Carter to authorize a Presidential finding to intentionally suck the Soviets in six months before they even considered invading. Yet, despite Brzezinski's admission, Washington's entire political spectrum continued to embrace his original false narrative that the Soviets had embarked on a world conquest.
For Brzezinski, getting the Soviets to invade Afghanistan was an opportunity to shift Washington toward an unrelenting hard line against the Soviet Union. By using covert action, he created the conditions needed to provoke a Soviet defensive response which he'd then used as evidence of unrelenting Soviet expansion. However, once his exaggerations and lies about Soviet intentions became accepted, they found a home in America's imagination and never left. US policy since that time has operated in a delusion of triumphalism that both provokes international incidents and then capitalizes on the chaos.
From its origins in 1977 as a covert program to destabilize the Soviet Union through ethnic violence and radical Islam in Afghanistan, Soviet Georgia, Azerbaijan and Chechnya, a straight line can be drawn to the alleged perpetrator of the Orlando massacre from theories, practices and policies implemented by Brzezinski prior to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
If it hadn't been for Brzezinski's scheme, Omar Mateen, the man believed to be responsible for the June 14th massacre, most likely would have been born in Afghanistan twenty-nine years ago instead of the United States. We will never know what kind of man Omar Mateen might have become had he been born and raised in home of his ancestors. One thing is sure; the time has come for Americans to question whether the legacy of Brzezinski's obsession with fulfilling his dream of conquering the world at any cost, should continue to be America's goal as well.
Copyright © 2016 Fitzgerald & Gould All rights reserved
Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould are the authors of Invisible History:Afghanistan's Untold Story, Crossing Zero The AfPak War at the Turning Point of American Empire and The Voice. For more information visit their websites at invisiblehistory.com and grailwerk.com. They can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.