Opinion: Afghan Evacuation Fundraiser Linked to Former Special Forces, CIA is Imperialist Propaganda

By Jakob Stein

Over the past week, an online fundraiser has surfaced, reaching over $6.8 million, claiming to raise money to charter planes to evacuate Afghans attempting to flee the country since the fall of the puppet government—the fundraiser is linked to a non-governmental organization (NGO) that is run by former Special Forces agents as well as a former CIA agent. While the US imperialist state could easily provide similar funding, the fundraiser functions as a propaganda tool in order to influence US civilians to support ‘humanitarian’ imperialist operations moving forward.

The fundraiser was started by Tommy Marcus, a social media personality who runs a popular liberal Instagram account by the name of Quentin Quarantino, and lists various NGOs like Raven Advisory, GOOD/Upworthy, and the International Women’s Media Organization as its beneficiaries. In the fundraiser’s description, Marcus explicitly mentions that he is working “in conjunction with the U.S. Military.”

During the course of the imperialist war in Afghanistan, NGOs played a pivotal role in the US counterinsurgency program—these organizations, while not formally related to the US military, were a part of the low-intensity warfare strategy meant to bolster support for the Afghan puppet government led by former president Ashraf Ghani.

Now that the US is pulling all of its military and diplomatic personnel out of Afghanistan, the monopoly media has been promoting imperialist NGOs, in this case directly linked to US military and intelligence apparatuses, as a way to ‘save the people of Afghanistan.’ Raven Advisory’s chief executive officer Sheffield Ford and chief operating officer David Heldt were both enlisted in the US Special Forces, and the senior executive vice president Philip Raveling worked for the CIA as part of its National Clandestine Service, the secret branch of the agency which according to its website serves as the “national authority for the coordination, de-confliction, and evaluation of clandestine operations across the Intelligence Community of the United States.”

On Tuesday, reports emerged that current CIA director, William J. Burns, traveled in secret to Kabul this week to meet with Taliban leadership, ostensibly to discuss the ongoing withdrawal and evacuation efforts. The CIA’s vested interest in aiding the transition is directly tied to its role in creating the conditions not only for the War in Afghanistan, but for the Taliban’s rise.

It is the same people that directly contributed to the misery of the Afghan masses who are now leading these campaigns under a ‘humanitarian’ facade. The evacuation campaign not only serves as a propaganda tool, but also to help clean up the mess created by the military withdrawal with regard to the Afghans that collaborated with the US. Even with the Taliban claiming they will grant amnesty to US-collaborators, clearing them out and minimizing the risk of potential reprisals creates the best situation for the post-war US government to justify economic ‘cooperation’ with the same group they have labeled ‘terrorists’ for the past 20 years.

In the wake of the US withdrawal and subsequent fall of the Afghan puppet government, the monopoly media narrative has shifted from the US military failure to the thousands of people attempting to flee the country. By doing so, US imperialism once again portrays itself as the savior of the Afghan people when it has nothing but its own interests in mind.

The fundraiser states: “If these people do not get rescued as soon as possible, neither they nor their family will make it through the month. The Taliban have a KILL LIST and are going door to door, searching for these people and reportedly killing them on sight if found.”

It is the US military committed countless atrocities during the 20-year military campaign, and even though the Taliban seized Kabul without bloodshed and have promised amnesty, the subsequent hysteria has led many people to be killed at the Kabul airport. Some of those deaths occurred when those attempting to escape fell from departing planes, and in recent days many have been crushed in the crowds pushing to get into the airport.

There should be no mistake that Taliban rule in Afghanistan will still oppress the people, as the group is guided by a reactionary, feudal ideology that enshrines centuries-old religious rules as law. However, the Afghan people are now in a far better position to fight for their democratic rights against the Taliban’s reactionary government when they do not have to focus on the invading foreign superpower and the previous puppet government propped up by US imperialism.

Anti-imperialist organizing should not limit itself only to protesting US military actions but should also vehemently oppose these forms of low-intensity warfare, like US ‘humanitarian aid,’ which play on people’s compassion but are designed, like weapons of war, to keep oppressed nations in conditions of misery. There should be no illusions about US involvement in Afghanistan—trading out soldiers for NGO operatives only changes the appearance of imperialist domination, but it cannot stop the people’s clamor for revolution.

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