Secret Italian Bribes to Taliban — Tip of the Iceberg?

When I was researching my recent piece on Taliban extortion rackets in Afghanistan, it was easy to find examples of the Taliban extorting private contractors hired by western governments and companies engaged in humanitarian and reconstruction projects. What was tricky was connecting payoffs to the Taliban by contractors who were moving supplies and food to U.S/NATO troops in the field. But the evidence is out there if you look hard enough — it’s just no one wants to talk about the possibility that we are paying off the enemy in order to maintain the occupation. It’s madness.

That’s what the French are saying today, just after the The Times (UK) broke a story charging that the Italian secret service had been systematically paying off the Taliban in exchange for protection in the Italian army’s area of operation — a charge that has since been denied — adamantly — by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. But the French say when they took over that territory in July they were never told about the bribes and therefore made a “catastrophically incorrect threat assessment.” They blame the brutal killing and mutilation of 10 French soldiers in an ambush August 18 in the Uzbin Valley on the Italian secret service. The Italians had left just a month before,and had all but declared the area benign — they had only lost one combat soldier in the previous year. Now we may be getting some insight as to why.

Western officials say that because the French knew nothing of the payments they made a catastrophically incorrect threat assessment…

“One cannot be too doctrinaire about these things,” a senior Nato officer in Kabul said. “It might well make sense to buy off local groups and use non-violence to keep violence down. But it is madness to do so and not inform your allies.”

One wonders how widespread the protection rackets are, and how far up the food chain they operate. Private contractors paying  bribes trying to get their convoys through insurgent-riddled communication lines to military installations are bad enough –  but governments paying the Taliban directly? And not doing it to eventually end the war, but to merely get through the next rotation? Catastrophically incorrect is a good way of putting it.

  • reality-based

    Smart, those Italians. Go along with the American bullshit to make them happy. But quietly secure the safety of Italian troops.

    Kudos.

    • andy

      Italians looking out for Italians. I guess you can't blame them for that. Too bad America only looks out for Israel and doesn't learn from Italy.

      • Klyde

        We look out for oil and gas company profits, isreal and then maybe the US in that order.

    • Exactly what I was thinking. Another example of Latin practicality. There's far too much honor and such in Northern cultures — it gets people killed.

  • masmanz

    "we are paying off the enemy in order to maintain the occupation. It’s madness."

    Why do you call it a madness? How else can you have a perpetual war for perpetual peace? If there were no wars in Afghanistan how would we fight them there so the Afghans cannot come and fight us here? Nothing in the article suggests that the American and British are not doing the same. What France is saying, if you read between the lines, is that had they known about the payment they would have continued it. Why risk your soldier's life?

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  • Empiricon

    American Conservative magazine has an article on this very subject is the current issue: http://www.amconmag.com/article/2009/nov/01/00020

  • Yep, endless war for endless profits, all at the expense of suffering average Americans, of course. Even the "enemy" is getting a piece of the action! And around and around the empire's wars go, and where it all stops is as plain as your nose: the total destruction of the economy and the impoverishment of the American people. But, maybe that won't be so bad in the long run. With the total destruction of the economy, and the fall of that tyrranical government on the Potomac that is sure to follow, serious secession movements just might stand a good chance of succeeding. When I think about living in a country with real freedom, real property rights and a real and lasting prosperity, it almost makes me giddy. I would just love to see my native and beloved Southland a free and independent country again.

  • Yep, endless war for endless profits, all at the expense of suffering average Americans, of course. Even the so-called enemy is getting in on a piece of the action! And around and around the empire's wars go, and where it all stops is as plain as your nose: the total destruction of the economy and the impoverishment of the American people. But, maybe that won't be so bad in the long run. With the total destruction of the economy, and the fall of that tyrranical government on the Potomac that is sure to follow, serious secession movements just might stand a good chance of succeeding. When I think about living in a country with real freedom, real property rights and a real and lasting prosperity, it almost makes me giddy. I would just love to see my native and beloved Southland a free and independent country again.

  • Yep, endless war for endless profits, and all at the expense of suffering American taxpayers, of course. Even the so-called enemy is getting in on a piece of the action! And around and around the empire's wars go, and where it all stops is as plain as your nose: the total destruction of the economy and the impoverishment of the American people. But, maybe that won't be so bad in the long run. With the total destruction of the economy, and the fall of that tyrranical government on the Potomac that is sure to follow, serious secession movements just might stand a good chance of succeeding. When I think about living in a country with real freedom, real property rights and a real and lasting prosperity, it almost makes me giddy. I would just love to see my native and beloved Southland a free and independent country again.

  • hacklheber

    Welcome to less-than-total war, where paying off your enemy is an option that's "on the table". It's a time-honoured tradition, often used in occupations. Italy and Japan at the end of WWII come to mind.

  • Viriathus

    Good on the Italians, they’re just doing what the Empire’s been doing in Iraq for years now, and I’ll bet they don’t need forklifts to pay them off, either.

    But the day the “Southland” breaks off will be a happy day – not for the reborn Confederacy, but for the true American Republic. I’ve seen the red-state brand of “Freedom,” and brother, you can keep it.

  • 1ManLan

    I think that if the Italians did not tell the French about their arrangement with the Taliban, then that was indeed madness of a sort. But paying off the Taliban in the first place? Madness?

    Let us suppose the Americans decided to pay off the Taliban to stop attacks. Suppose they called that COIN. Suppose they called that peace.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/af

    Food for thought

  • lolol omg, that's so typically Berlusconi. play both sides against the middle and have your cake and eat it too. and share it with your mistress.

    peace

  • Orville H. Larson

    Afghanistan is FUBAR (F**ked Up Beyond All Repair). Get the hell out, now.

  • richard vajs

    Good for the Italians – they figured out the great WOT is total bullshit. So they cynically fake a militaristic orgasm for the benefit of their insane allies. So why didn’t the famously “worldly” French, figure out the game sooner? Since Sarkosy, maybe they have hung around the Brits and us long enough to get stupid.

    • Well, Chirac didn't join because George W. Bush tried to persuade him using stupid rhetoric about Gog and Magog and the Second Coming of Jesus. Chirac concluded that Bush was a deluded fool and that nothing good could come from the venture.

  • We have no legitimate reason to occupy Afghanistan and thus place our soldiers and Marines in harms way. We were NOT attacked by Taliban nor by the Afghan state. We squandered numerous overtures by the Taliban to extradite bin Laden to waiting FBI agents in Pakistan. bin Laden is nothing more than an alleged monster we have marketed to the world in order to justify our presence and pave the way for US concerns to build the Trans-Afghan Pipeline from Turkmenistan to the Arabian Sea. With an American presence in Afghanistan, the competition for the pipeline (Iran, Russia and China) are effectively frozen out of the process. We fail to remember that the planning for the 9/11 attack took place not in Afghanistan, but in Germany, the Philippenes and finally in the US. Given the Washington war on terror mind-set, we should therefore invade and occupy Germany, the Philippenes and place Coral Gables Florida under martial law!!

  • Dana

    There were no commercial plane crashes on 9-11. After 8 years…not one single piece of verifiable debris from any of the 4 planes from any of the 4 locations on 9-11 has ever been physically verified in any way by anyone. Witnesses, video, film, or photos have NEVER in aviation history physically verified a plane or plane crash….only wreckage does. Each plane had over 2 million time-stamped parts that could immediately ID it anywhere in the world. Not one single piece has ever been found.

    There were no commercial plane crashes on 9-11. The never ending global US war on terror is a murderous fraud for the ability to borrow trillions and kill millions in a war without end.

    • andy

      You can't be serious. Where exactly do you think the planes are? And the passengers? And the pilots?

      • I'm not going to answer Danas' comment but yours, Andy. I'd love to see the wreckage, seats, luggage, landing gear, engines, bodies or body parts at the Pentagon or Pennsylvania… except there isn't any. So lies and disinformation have ruled from day 1 and I guess this piece only illustrates that even more.

    • Dick Stallion

      Umm…you're not talking about the no-airplanes/CGI theory are you?

      The impacts at the pentagon, and at Shanksville, weren't commercial aircraft, I'll grant you that…but the twin towers were definitely struck by two large commercial aircraft.

      • stlla

        The reason that you must continue the lies at the WTC's is because it would then immediately expose the US military owned media outlets to the treason of 9-11. GE, the worlds largest military contractor, owns NBC. Westinghouse owns CBS. I wont even go into Murdoch or ABC…they're even worse.

        The reason that armies are paying their enemies is because they were never their enemies! There were no commercial plane crashes on 9-11. It was all a fraud.

  • We have no legitimate reason to occupy Afghanistan and thus place our soldiers and Marines in harms way. We were NOT attacked by Taliban nor by the Afghan state. We squandered numerous overtures by the Taliban to extradite bin Laden to waiting FBI agents in Pakistan. bin Laden is nothing more than an alleged monster we have marketed to the world in order to justify our presence and pave the way for US concerns to build the Trans-Afghan Pipeline from Turkmenistan to the Arabian Sea. With an American presence in Afghanistan, the competitors for the pipeline (Iran, Russia and China) are effectively frozen out of the process. We fail to remember that the planning for the 9/11 attack took place not in Afghanistan, but in Germany, the Philippines and finally in the US. Given the Washington war on terror mind-set, we should therefore invade and occupy Germany, the Philippines and place Coral Gables Florida under martial law!!

    • Dick Stallion

      The planning for 9/11 took place in Tel Aviv, Langley, VA., Washington, D.C., and London…not at the places you've mentioned.

      As far as legitimacy goes: I really don't think they give a f*#k about it…'cause 8 years later they're still there! I'll never forget the Diane Sawyer/Dick Cheney interview…"2/3rds of Americans say it's not worth fighting (Iraq war)…" and Cheney said: "So?" They don't give a hoot about you or me…and why should they? I mean honestly, we allowed them to operate with complete impunity – to this very day no punitive actions have ever been taken against the Neocon cabal…and none ever will be! Why is that? Because the "anti-war" movement was controlled opposition right from the start…and as we can all see, it is now in total disarray…brought to this by the very clandestine forces that breathed life into it in the first place!

      PS…don't forget about Israel's vast natural gas holdings in Turkmenistan when calculating the reasons why we're in Afghanistan. The only way they can pipe it down to India and put a meter on it is if the US continues to occupy Afghanistan.

      PSS…almost forgot: you'll also want to factor in the fact that the US government now effectively controls 87% of the world's heroin market…that's worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 Billion a year.

    • ObamaKoolAidDrinker

      We fail to remember that the planning for the 9/11 attack took place not in Afghanistan, but in Germany, the Philippines and finally in the US."

      Yes! Also, don't forget the planning for the 9/11 attacks that took place in Langley, Virgina. :-)

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=229649036

  • Big Bambino

    Machiavelli would be proud.

    • You should read M. some time. You might find him stimulating, even when you don't agree.

  • This sort of thing worked quite well for both China and the Byzantine empire.

  • Encourage opium use in Afghanistan, too. Opium addicts are less likely to be dangerous.

    • ObamaKoolAidDrinker

      It's an open secret that the USA and its NATO allies are both (ahem) overseeing the cultivation and transport of Opium in Afghanistan.

      This is nothing new. The USA has a long history of drug trafficking such as in the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam War in the 1960s and 70s; the Crack Cocaine trade during the US dirty wars in Latin America in the 1980s; the drug trafficking in the Balkans War during the 1990s; and of course now during the USA's global Terror War.

      The common theme: Wars, US Military, and Drug dealing.

    • ObamaKoolAidDrinker

      "Encourage opium use in Afghanistan, too. Opium addicts are less likely to be dangerous"

      Done.

      CIA COVERT ACTIONS & DRUG TRAFFICKING
      http://sonic.net/~doretk/Issues/97-08%20AUG/ciaco

      War, the CIA and Narco-Trafficking
      Afghanistan, American Drug Colony
      http://www.counterpunch.org/whitney09082004.html

      Afghanistan: Drug Addiction Lucrative for Neolib Banksters, CIA
      http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va

  • makman

    The US is doing this too everywhere,
    this is how they got the Iraqis to stop
    attacking them.

  • Lear K

    “Encourage opium use in Afghanistan, too. Opium addicts are less likely to be dangerous”

    The British forced the people of India instead of to grow opium instead of rice and starvation was the result and then forced Chineseto become addicted to opium!

    see opium war,Boxer rebilion.

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  • Lear K

    It has always been that the US creates the problem to begin with then pertends to fight it!

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  • doalive

    no thair paying em to plow the fields (fields of what & whair does it go when bleed dry

  • Perun

    “Yep, endless war for endless profits, all at the expense of suffering average Americans, of course.”
    =============
    There are not “average Americans”, there are the ruling elites and serfs who exist to serve the rulers.

  • Not for the first time are Americans confusing themselves with everybody else. Dollars and cents AREN'T the motive force for everything, and some things really are, credit card jokes aside, priceless.

    The notion that enemy forces are just 'making a living' $75 at a time, the same way US service personnel are 'serving' their country, is disproven by the fact that some – like the North Vietnamese – won't take a bribe and others may take your money and continue to not be your friend.

    However the problem lies not so much in the money, but with the spirit in which it's given. The Salvation Army and the US Army are the antitheses of 'aid'.

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  • Why this would happen..please let me know about this.thanks for limited info.I want to help you to sort out this problem.