RECOMMENDED READING: “The CIA’s Islamist Cover Up”


Former Wall Street Journal reporter Ian Johnson has written an article for the New York Review of Books arguing for a release of historical information concerning the relationship between the CIA and the Muslim Brotherhood. The article begins:

The tenth anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington will be accompanied by the usual solemn political pronouncements and predictable media retrospectives. Pundits will point out that the West’s own economic mismanagement of the past decade has done more to weaken Europe and North America than the Islamists’ attacks. Some others will note how radical Islamists are still strong in Afghanistan and point to the recent downing of a military helicopter with dozens of US troops dead. Still others will use the anniversary to pontificate on how our concerns about Islamism have given racists an excuse to tarnish an entire religion. We will also hear about how the democratic uprisings in the Arab world—Libya being the latest—have undermined Islamists (by providing the region’s disgruntled masses with examples of positive, instead of destructive change). All of these points are well and good and worth hearing again. But they shouldn’t distract us from a very precise and practical problem that hasn’t been addressed: the refusal of the CIA to disclose the details of its involvement with Islamist groups. In recent weeks, the agency has tried to block sections of a new book that deals with its handling of al-Qaeda before and after September 11. But this is only one part of a large-scale cover-up that Western governments have been perpetrating about decades of ties to Islamist organizations. Until we clarify our murky history with radical Islam, we won’t be able to understand the background of the September 11 attacks and whether our strategies today to engage the Muslim world are likely to succeed. Of course some of this history is well known. The blowback story—how the US armed the mujahedeen, some of whom morphed into al-Qaeda—has been told in book and film. We are also getting a sense now of how parts of the US-backed Pakistani military-intelligence complex have actively supported radical Islamists. Collusion between Britain and Islamist movements over the past century has also been explored. And of course, Israel’s support for Hamas as a counterweight to the Palestinian Liberation Organization has gone down as one of the great diplomatic miscalculations of recent history.

Read the rest here.

Previous posts have discussed two other works by Mr. Johnson- his book titled “Mosque in Munich” referred to in the above piece and his paper for the Hudson Institute titled “The Brotherhood’s Westward Expansion” which traces the connections between the Muslim Brotherhood as it developed in Europe and the United States


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