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Below we have posted an article from the 'Times of India.' It reports that according to the BBC program, 'Newsnight,' the Bush administration told the FBI to back off from investigating the bin Laden family's terrorist connections before the attack on the World Trade Center.
According to the publication, 'Le Figaro,' a CIA agent visited Osama bin Laden last July. 'Figaro' reports that this meeting took place while bin Laden was being treated in the American Hospital in Dubai, one of the United Arab Emirates. The Figaro article unfortunately is not documented - that is, we only have the word of the author, Alexandra Richard, that the report is true. (6)
Much more compelling is the article we posted a few weeks ago, with excerpts from a congressional hearing last year on terrorism in South Asia. In that hearing, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher clashed with important US officials when he charged the Clinton administration with sabotaging efforts to arrest bin Laden. (4)
It has become increasingly evident that the official story, that Osama bin Laden broke with the U.S. Establishment and its Saudi Arabian junior partners a decade ago is false. The claim that he has been trying to destroy the U.S. Empire ever since is an invention. The claim made by the Clinton and Bush administrations, that they have tried, but unfortunately failed, to defeat the wily Mr. bin Laden is full of holes.
Here are a few of the bigger ones.
THE GULF WAR SCENARIO
According to the official story, bin Laden broke with the Saudi and U.S. governments over the Gulf War.
That may sound plausible to Western ears. After all, Iraq is an Arab country and bin Laden is an Arab.
But Iraq and Saudi Arabia are quite different. Saudi Arabia was and is tyrannized by the fanatical Fundamentalist Wahhabi sect, endorsed by the Saudi 'royal family' and by the rich bin Laden family as well. Though Iraq has a tyrannical government, it is a different sort of tyrannical government. It does not subscribe to Wahhabi teachings.
Bin Laden spent the 1980s fighting a secular government (which was backed by Soviet troops) in Afghanistan. Then he returned to Saudi Arabia where:
Why did he want "to raise a force ...to fight Iraq"?
Nobody can seriously argue that the Iraqis intended to attack Saudi Arabia. The argument between Iraq and Kuwait was over oil, and also over a geography that was inherited from colonial times. If you look at a map you will see that Kuwait looks like a tiny but strategic piece chopped out of Iraq. (For map, see http://home.achilles.net/~sal/icons/iraq.gif)
The Iraq-Kuwait fight was in fact a local war. All reports indicate that Saddam Hussein believed that a) Iraq was in essence being attacked by Kuwait and that therefore an invasion would be a counter-attack and b) that the U.S. would not intervene.
On Sept. 22, 1990, the 'N.Y. Times' published what is apparently an accurate transcript of a conversation between Saddam Hussein and U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie. This conversation took place on July 25, eight days before the outbreak of fighting. We will post the Glaspie-Hussein conversation as soon as possible. It is most interesting. In it, she suggests that the Bush administration understands the Iraqi point of view and does not wish to meddle in an Arab dispute. For instance, Amb. Glaspie says:
Since Hussein wanted to make sure of U.S. neutrality before taking action against Kuwait, and since Saudi Arabia is Washington's key Arab ally, with huge U.S. military bases, of which, of course, the Iraqi leaders were aware, it is simply not conceivable that Iraq planned to attack Saudi Arabia.
Thus, bin Laden had no defensive reason to call on "the Saudi royal family to organize civil defense in the kingdom" let alone "to raise a force from among the Afghan war veterans to fight Iraq."
So why did he take such a provocative stance?
The most reasonable explanations are a) that he wanted to crush Iraq because it was a non-Wahhabi Muslim state and/or b) that he was associated with the CIA, which had decided to attack Iraq and was therefore attempting to increase tensions between Iraq and Saudi Arabia, or even to provoke Iraq into launching a preemptive strike against Saudi Arabia, thus giving the U.S. an excuse to attack Iraq.
In any event, it was clear bin Laden was not upset by the notion of fighting Iraq. Why then, according to the official story, did the Gulf War so upset him?
The official answer is, because it involved a Saudi-U.S. alliance, which he felt desecrated Saudi Arabia.
This is a little much to swallow. Bin laden had worked closely with U.S. forces - namely, the Central Intelligence Agency - as the representative of the Saudi 'royal family' in Afghanistan during the decade when the CIA nurtured Islamist forces to fight Afghan government and Soviet troops.
He was no idealistic holy man. He and his family made a fortune off the carnage in Afghanistan. (This is discussed below.)
Why should bin Laden suddenly go berserk because the Saudi Arabian government was doing exactly what he himself had done - as the representative of the Saudi Arabian government?
Because (according to the official story) the war brought tens of thousands of U.S. troops into Saudi Arabian bases and this massive infidel invasion desecrated Saudi Arabia's sacred soil. Horrified, he broke with the Saudi Arabian 'royal family' and the U.S.
CONSTRUCTION BIDS ARE THICKER THAN WATER
It's a compelling story, but no cigar. The sacred soil that the U.S. infidel soldiers supposedly desecrated was located in a series of top secret facilities built during the 1980s by the U.S. military at a cost (mostly to Saudi Arabia!) of - are you ready? - over 200 BILLION dollars. This was the largest U.S. military construction project ever attempted outside the continental USA. As a Public Television program reported in 1993:
The contracts for building those bases, ports, and airfields went in part to Saudi construction companies. Osama's family company, Saudi Binladin Group (the name is spelled differently but it's the same family) is intimate with the Saudi royal family; moreover it is the biggest Saudi construction company (and also a giant in the telecommunications field).
So as sure as death and taxes, Saudi Binladin Group got a nice chunk of that $200 billion. And while the bin Ladens were building those U.S. bases, who did Osama think was going to be using them? Martians?
DEMOLITION AND CONSTRUCTION
Getting back to the matter of construction contracts, consider what happened after the Khobar Towers complex in Dhahran was bombed on June 25, 1996. Osama bin Laden was accused by the U.S. of masterminding that bombing, which killed 19 U.S. airmen and wounded about 500 others.
Afterwards, a new 'super-secure' facility was erected:
'Irony' is not exactly the word I would use, but OK.
Osama did some building for the infidels in Afghanistan as well. That was during the late 1980s. Under contract with the CIA, he and the family company built the multi-billion dollar "caves" (1) in which he is now, supposedly, hiding, thus causing the U.S. and Britain to bomb the Red Cross, the Red Crescent, and other strategic military installations:
OH DEAR, DON'T SEND THAT AWFUL MAN TO US!
After supposedly breaking with the Saudi rulers - though we doubt the story - bin Laden went to Sudan. Soon the Sudanese tired of his presence. In March, 1996, Maj. Gen. Elfatih Erwa, then the Sudanese Minister of State for Defense, offered to extradite bin Laden either to Saudi Arabia or the United States.
U.S. officials turned down the offer of extradition. 'The Washington Post' article that reported this goes into some length quoting U.S. officials attempting to explain exactly why they turned down the offer. The officials are quoted explaining that the Saudis were afraid of a fundamentalist backlash if they jailed and executed bin Laden, that they resented Sudan, that the U.S. resented Sudan, that the U.S. didn't have sufficient evidence to put him on trial. Everything, in fact, except the simplest explanation: that bin Laden was a U.S. asset - either part of the CIA, or someone whom the CIA used. Perhaps the 'Washington Post' writers were hinting at this explanation when they wrote:
Emphasis on the word 'treat' as in 'pretend that he was.'
In any case, the Sudanese offer of extradition was turned down.
Note: "We said he will go to Afghanistan, and they [US officials!] said, 'Let him.'"
I find this chilling.
THAT WOULD BE ILLEGAL!
It is mind boggling that U.S. government officials would try to justify rejecting Sudan's offer to extradite bin Laden because the Clinton administration was 'lacking a case to indict him in U.S. courts at the time,' ('WP', 3 Oct.) Do they think Americans have no ability to remember what happened the day before yesterday? For example, that this same U.S. government didn't hesitate to bomb Sudan, Iraq and Yugoslavia, all of which bombings constituted the worst criminal violations of international law? Not to mention Afghanistan.
Moreover, according to the highly reputable 'Jane's Intelligence Review:'
So bin Laden had been named as an unindicted co-conspirator a year before Sudan offered to extradite him.
Why couldn't the U.S. government have accepted the Sudanese offer to extradite bin Laden? Why couldn't they have jailed him, gotten together their best case and put him on trial? What exactly did the U.S. government have to lose? The worst that could have happened would have been that they failed to convict him and had to let him leave the country...
JUST LET HIM GO, OH, ANYWHERE. MAYBE TO - AFGHANISTAN!
Instead, the U.S. asked Sudan to expel bin Laden, knowing full well that he would go to Afghanistan - and Kosovo and Macedonia. (2)
By the way, two years later, the U.S. military bombed Sudan, supposedly because the Sudanese government was allied with bin Laden. Doesn't it sound like bin Laden's real friends were not in Sudan, as President Clinton tried to convince the world when he sent cruise missiles to destroy a Sudanese medicine factory, but in the U.S. State Department?
There is so much about bin Laden that suggests he is still in some way associated with the CIA:
* His activities in Afghanistan prior to 1990;
* His activities on the "U.S. side" in Bosnia, Kosovo and, quite recently, in Macedonia; (2)
* The refusal of the Clinton administration to allow Sudan to extradite him in 1996;
* The very convincing arguments by Congressman Rohrabacher that the Clinton administration sabotaged efforts to apprehend him (4);
* His functioning as a lightning rod for dissenters - getting people who oppose U.S. policy to support his ultra-repressive Islamist politics. This is discussed in the article, 'Bin Laden, Terrorist Monster.' Take Two!, which can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/taketwo.htm;
* His amazing transformation regarding the World Trade Center attack. At first he denied involvement, saying "that dozens of terrorists organizations from countries like Israel, Russia, India and Serbia could be responsible" (i.e., it was the work of Satan) and "insisted that al Qaida does not consider the United States its enemy." But a week later he issued a video tape where he said "God Almighty hit the United States at its most vulnerable spot....When Almighty God rendered successful a convoy of Muslims, the vanguards of Islam, He allowed them to destroy the United States. I ask God Almighty to elevate their status and grant them Paradise." This latter statement was pre-recorded and released immediately after the U.S. government started bombing Afghanistan, that is, precisely when Mr. Bush needed the emotional impact of just such a statement in order to 'justify' yet another illegal war; (3)
* And now this report from the BBC that the Bush administration suppressed investigations into connections between members of the bin Laden family and possible terrorist groups.
Doesn't all this point to a working relationship between U.S. covert forces and Mr. b. L?
"WE ARE DEADLY ENEMIES, SO TAKE THESE 400 TRUCKS, O CURSED ONE!"
Earlier I said I doubted the reality of the 'break' between bin Laden and the Saudi Royals. According to the book, "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia,'' by Ahmed Rashid, who is the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asian correspondent for the 'Far Eastern Economic Review':
They were all, I am told, Toyotas.
One final point. Part of the official Osama story is that the elusive Mr. bin Laden broke with his family because of his extreme Fundamentalist religious-politics.
Let us consider a few pieces of information which might suggest we adopt a stance of extreme skepticism:
1) "...when Osama bin Laden decided to join the non-Afghan fighters with the Mujaheddin, his family responded enthusiastically." ('Pittsburgh Post-Gazette,' 23 September 2001)
2) The entire family is known for its fiercely conservative Islamist (Wahhabi) views: "His father is known in these areas as a man with deeply conservative religious and political views and for his profound distaste for non-Islamic influences that have penetrated some of the most remote corners of old Arabia." UPI, quoted at http://www.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2001/1/3/214858.shtml
2) It is true that families have feuds. In the typical U.S. family, wars may happen. People fight; they make peace.
But Osama does not come from a 'typical U.S. family.' He comes from an intensely conservative rural Yemeni clan. Such families don't have petty fights and stop talking to each other for ten years and then make up and it's no big deal:
3) If such clans do feud, it can get violent. And certainly, it is hard to believe that Osama would be disowned by this sort of clan-family (as the official story claims he was) but nevertheless maintain cordial relations with family members. Consider this report:
And, finally, from 'Le Figaro':
The article from the 'Times of India' follows.
-- Jared Israel
[Correction: As originally posted, this article included a longer quote from the 23 September 2001 'Pittsburgh Post-Gazette': "His father backed the Afghan struggle [meaning: the U.S.-supported terrorist war against the Afghan government] and helped fund it; when Osama bin Laden decided to join the non-Afghan fighters with the Mujaheddin, his family responded enthusiastically."
Since Mohammed Awad bin Laden died in 1968, this is most likely a typographical error. It should most likely read, "His family."]
Bush took FBI agents off Laden family trail
'Times of India' 7 November 2001
(c) 'Times of India,' 2001 Posted for Fair Use Only
Other stories on the BBC Newsnight report:
1) 'Taliban Camps U.S. bombed in Afghanistan Were Built by NATO'. Based on 'N.Y. Times' article. Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/docs/camps.htm
2) 'Bin Laden in the Balkans.' Mainstream news reports that confirm bin Laden's support for terrorism - and, alas, for the 'U.S.' side - in the Balkans. Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/news/binl.htm
3) "'Bin Laden, Terrorist Monster.' Take Two!," by Jared Israel. Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/articles/jared/taketwo.htm
4) 'Congressman: U.S. Set Up Anti-Taliban to be Slaughtered' Comments by Jared Israel followed by excerpts from congressional hearing. Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/misc/rohr.htm
(Full transcript of hearings can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/misc/rohrfull.htm )
(5) 'Red Cross Spokesmen Refute Pentagon Lies'. An Interview by Emperor's Clothes with the Red Cross about the U.S. bombing of its Afghan facilities. Can be read at http://emperors-clothes.com/interviews/redcross.htm
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