WORLD WAR III REPORT #2
Oct. 6, 2001
WHO IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?
OSAMA BIN LADEN: CIA's "BLUE-EYED BOY"
Accused terrorist mastermind Osama Bin Laden is the former "blue-eyed
boy of CIA," charges the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan,
an exiled pro-democracy dissident group (RAWA press release, Sept. 14; www.rawa.org).
of studies and reports from the region bears out this accusation.
Osama Bin Laden was born in 1955, the youngest of some twenty sons of one
of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest and most prominent families. His father was
a Yemeni construction magnate who made a fortune as top contractor to the
palace-happy Saudi royal family, and became a close friend of King Faisal.
After a youth as a playboy in Beirut, in 1984 Bin Laden moved to Peshawar,
the Pakistan border city then serving as the key staging area for Afghanistan's
Mujahedeen guerillas. He arrived in an unmarked military transport plane,
loaded with bulldozers and other heavy equipment. He deployed these to design
and build defensive tunnels, military roads and storage depots for the
Mujahedeen-who were then being massively funded by the CIA. The equipment
was furnished by his father's Bin Laden Group, with the approval of both
the CIA and the Saudi regime (Mary Anne Weaver in The New Yorker, Jan.
24, 2000). His close collaborator in the Saudi regime was Prince Turki,
who personally oversaw delivery of more vehicles and equipment (Robert Fisk
in The Independent, UK, Sept. 26, 2001).
Osama became a central figure in a Peshawar-based organization known
as the Maktab al-Khidmat ("services center"), or MAK, a clearinghouse for
Mujahedeen volunteers from the Arab world, where they were armed, briefed,
indoctrinated and dispatched to the front. CIA money flowed into the MAK
through Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) secret police agency.
Osama assumed command of the MAK when its previous boss was assassinated
in 1989-the same year the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan and the CIA scaled
back involvement. He quickly transformed the MAK into his Al Qaeda network (Taliban:
Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed Rashid,
Yale, 2000; Michael Moran on MSNBC, Aug. 24, 1998).
Bin Laden briefly returned to Saudi Arabia in 1989, but, radicalized by
the Mujahedeen, became disgusted with the Saudis for their corruption and
closeness to the West. He broke with the Saudis entirely when they allowed
US military troops into the country in 1991's Operation Desert Storm. After
a period in Sudan, he returned to Afghanistan when the Taliban took power
there in 1996. His Al Qaeda network has been linked to numerous terrorist
attacks around the world, including providing a Pakistan safe-house for Ramzi
Ahmed Yousef, convicted mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing,
and sheltering Sheikh Omar Abd Al-Rahman (the "Blind Sheikh"), also convicted
in the attack. In 1998 he issued a fatwa (decree) which called killing Americans
and Israelis-"civilians and military"-the duty of all Muslims, citing the
military presence in the holy land of Arabia, the ongoing bombardment of
Iraq, and oppression of the Palestinians by "the Crusader-Zionist alliance"
(ADL press release, Aug. 20, 1998). He has been convicted in the July 1998
bombings of the US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania and the October 2000
explosion of the USS Cole off Yemen-but not yet in the September 2001 WTC/Pentagon
attacks (BBC, Sept. 18, 2001).
BUSH-BIN LADEN FAMILY CONNECTION
The Wall Street Journal reported Sept. 29 that George H.W. Bush, father
of President George W. Bush, works for the Bin Laden family business in
Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group, an international consulting firm.
The senior Bush has met with the Bin Laden family at least twice. Other
top Republicans are also associated with the Carlyle group,
such as former Secretary of State James A. Baker. Osama has supposedly
been "disowned" by his family, which runs a multi-billion dollar business
in Saudi Arabia and is a
major investor in the senior Bush's firm. But some reports have questioned
whether all family members have truly cut off Osama, and the FBI has subpoenaed
the Bin Laden family's bank records.
The public-interest law firm Judicial Watch earlier this year strongly
criticized the elder Bush's association with the Carlyle Group, pointing
out in a March 5 statement that it is a
"conflict of interest [which] could cause problems for America's foreign
policy in the Middle East and Asia." In a Sept. 29 statement, Judicial Watch
says: "This conflict of interest has now turned into a scandal. The idea
of the President's father, an ex-president himself, doing business with
a company under investigation by the FBI in the terror attacks of September
11 is horrible. President Bush should not ask, but demand, that his father
pull out of the Carlyle Group." (www.judicialwatch.org)
BP-AMOCO LINKED TO OSAMA'S SUDAN PROTECTORS
Sudan, like Afghanistan, was struck by US missiles in retaliation for
the African embassy bombings in 1998, allegedly masterminded by Osama Bin
Laden. The Sudan regime
protected Osama for several years before he relocated to Afghanistan,
and is still believed to protect his network. It is also accused by human
rights groups of gross atrocities against rebel tribes in the south. But
this hasn't prevented US oil companies from investing in the war-torn country.
The American Anti-Slavery Group (AASG) has called a national boycott
of Amoco gas stations to protest to BP-Amoco's stake in an oil project
that fuels slavery and genocide in
Sudan. BP-Amoco seeks to invest $1 billion in PetroChina, a subsidiary
of the China National Petroleum Company (CNPC), which has been directly
linked to war crimes in Sudan. Whole
tribes are cleared off oil-rich land by the Sudanese military and sold
as slaves. Sudan's fundamentalist regime-officially deemed "genocidal" by
the US Congress-brags that oil
proceeds will fund its war effort. Boycott leaders say Amoco's investment
in PetroChina makes it a partner to these atrocities. "Amoco has become
the proxy of a genocidal regime
in Sudan," said AASG's Charles Jacobs (AASG press release, March 27,
According to government sources in Uganda, some of the slaves captured
by the Sudanese army are
supplied to the giant marijuana plantations reportedly operated by Osama
in Sudan to fund global terrorist activity (Daily Telegraph, UK, March 29,
DOES OSAMA HAVE THE NUKE?
Osama Bin Laden has at least 20 nuclear weapons, according to an April
report in the weekly intelligence newsletter Geostrategy-Direct.com. Bin
Laden, the report said, was
able to gain access to the weapons via Chechen rebels who had managed
to steal them from Russian weapons depots. The newsletter quoted Russian
and Arab sources, who confirmed
that Bin Laden had received some "suitcase" nuclear bombs and other
materials from Chechen rebels. Bin Laden had supplied the rebels with money,
weapons and volunteers in their battle against Russian army forces, which
has raged off-and-on since 1994. The newsletter said whether Osama has
the bomb is "no longer in doubt... The question is how many."
A Sept. 19 report in Long Island's Newsday supports the allegations.
"Bin Laden has been trying to get his hands on enriched uranium for seven
or eight years," Newsday quotes
former CIA director James Woolsey. A former Russian intelligence official,
in a memorandum to a US counterpart provided to Newsday, said Russian security
forces halted a 1998 attempt to sell an unspecified amount of Soviet-origin
bomb-grade uranium to a Pakistani company controlled by Bin Laden. During
testimony earlier this year at the New York trial of four men accused in
the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa, a defector from Bin Laden's network
said he had served as a go-between in a 1993 effort to acquire a cylinder
containing uranium of South African origin (described by several sources
as enriched uranium-235.) The defector, Jamal Ahmed al Fadl, said he had
been ordered by one of Bin Laden's lieutenants to buy the uranium from former
officer Salah Abdel Mobruk for $1.5 million. But Fadl said he was removed
from the negotiations and never learned whether the deal went through.
THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT
US ALREADY LOSING TROOPS, PLANES IN AFGHANISTAN?
Qatar TV reports that three US Special Forces troops have been captured
by Osama Bin Laden's Al Qaeda organization in western Afghanistan-countering
a denial by the Taliban regime. The correspondent attributed his information
to "unimpeachable sources" close to Al Qaeda, who called the network office
in Peshawar to announce the capture. The US would neither confirm nor deny
the report. "We're not going to get into the habit of
commenting on every story that comes out of that region," a Pentagon
spokesperson said. "It's a slippery slope once we start getting into that
habit." President Bush, meanwhile,
suggested that covert operations had begun. "I said loud and clear,
sometimes people will be able to see what we do on the television screens,"
he told reporters. "At other times,
the American people won't be able to see what we're doing." But he added,
"make no mistake about it, we're in hot pursuit." (AFP, Sept. 29)
The Pentagon also refuses to confirm or deny claims that the Taliban has
shot down two US planes over Afghan territory. "We have no information,"
a Pentagon spokesperson told
AFP. On Sept. 21, the US admitted it had lost contact with an "unmanned
surveillance plane," but did not confirm Taliban claims it was shot down.
The report of the second plane
comes from the Russian TASS agency, citing the Taliban's own Bakhter
agency (AFP, Sept. 23).
TALIBAN AND NORTHERN ALLIANCE: "FLIP SIDE OF SAME COIN"
The "Northern Alliance" of Islamic fundamentalist factions fighting
the Taliban are now being backed up by the US and UK with funds, arms and
Special Forces troops. But Afghanistan's most militant pro-democracy dissident
group protests this as a continuation of the same policies which led to
the current disaster and "the trend of terrorism." Saima Karim, spokesperson
for the Revolutionary Association of Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), told
a press conference in Peshawar, Pakistan, that her organization opposes
the Taliban but considers the Northern Alliance "the other side of the
same coin." She called upon the world community to halt financial and political
support to both factions. She added that the
people of Afghanistan have nothing to do with Osama and his accomplices,
and called upon the US not to unleash "vast and indiscriminate military
attacks." (Peshawar Frontier Post,
Sept. 22; www.rawa.org)
Northern Alliance military leader Ahmad Shah Masoud was killed by suicide
bombers posing as journalists on September 9, two days before the WTC/Pentagon
attacks, in what is widely believed to be a hit organized by Osama Bin
Laden as a favor to his Taliban protectors (AP, Sept. 15). Writing in the
The Independent (UK) on Oct. 3, correspondent Robert Fisk blasts the Northern
Alliance leadership, especially Uzbek warlord Abdul Rashid Dustum, "whose
men looted and raped their way through the suburbs of Kabul in the '90s.
They chose girls for forced marriages, murdered their families, all under
the eyes of Masood. Dustum had a habit of changing sides, joining the Taliban
for bribes and indulging in massacres... then returning to the Alliance
weeks later." He also accuses Northern Alliance Pashtun warlord Rasoul Sayaf
of engaging in systematic torture and rape of Shi'ite religious minorities-just
like the Taliban. He concludes, "the terrified people of Kabul are chilled
to the bone at the thought that these criminals are to be among
America's new foot-soldiers."
TALIBAN TO DROP OPIUM BAN?
The Taliban funded its 1994-6 drive to power by taxing opium cultivation
in its zones of control. But at UN behest, Taliban ruler Mullah Muhammad
Omar issued a sweeping edict banning cultivation of opium last July, hoping
to win international recognition of his tyrannical regime. This April,
in a first move towards normalizing relations with Taliban Afghanistan,
the US State Department sent two "narcotics experts" as part of a UN-coordinated
team to witness the regime's opium eradication campaign (New York Times,
April 25, 2001).
Proclaiming the eradication a success, the US and UN also began funding
"crop substitution" programs in Afghanistan. But The Times of London reported
Sept. 25 that Afghanistan's peasants "are ready to swamp world markets with
heroin" amid signs that the Taliban has dropped its ban. Citing "ruthless
and efficient" Taliban enforcement, The Times boasts: "UN figures show
that Afghanistan's opium production was 4,600 tons in 1999, but this
is thought to have dropped to 100 tons this year." Now, however, The
Times ominously notes, "the sudden halving of the price of raw opium to
$250 a kg suggests the decree has been reversed." Even if it remains in
place, the article speculates, desperate peasants are expected to resume
opium planting while Taliban security forces are engaged fighting the US
and its proxies. Given that opium planting season is just beginning,
and the crops will not be ready for
harvest until the Spring, it seems unlikely global prices could be affected
so quickly by a change in Taliban policy. In any case, heroin paranoia makes
for good war propaganda. Although the New York Times reported Sept. 26 that
"intelligence experts have never established a direct link between the [opium]
trade and Mr. bin Laden," the same paper on Oct. 4 cited anonymous US officials
as saying Bin Laden was trying to develop an
ultra-potent "super heroin" for export to the US. The only official
cited by name was DEA chief Asa Hutchinson, who said his agency had "limited
information" about the reports. On
Oct. 5, the Times reported the latest UN data indicates most opium in
Afghanistan is grown in territory controlled by the Northern Alliance-now
being groomed as a US proxy force to fight the Taliban.
BLOWBACK IN UZBEKISTAN
An historical irony: In 1987, the CIA approved guerilla attacks by Afghanistan's
Mujahedeen across the border into the Soviet republics of Tajikistan and
Uzbekistan, and the first raids were organized with the agency's oversight
(Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia by Ahmed
Rashid, Yale, 2000).
15 years later, NATO's Partnership for Peace program has established military
ties with Uzbekistan and other
post-Soviet republics in the region to help fight Islamic guerrillas
(RFE Newsline, Sept. 23, 1998). The guerillas are mostly based in Tajikistan,
which the US, UK and Russia are
now turning into a staging ground for the new campaign in Afghanistan.
The US State Department recently added the Taliban-backed Islamic Movement
of Uzbekistan to its
list of global terrorist groups. The guerilla group won a $6 million
ransom from the Japanese government after kidnapping four Japanese geologists
in the Pamir Mountains in 1999 (New York Times, May 3, 2001).
THE WAR AT HOME
"ANTI-TERRORIST" POLICE STATE ADVANCES
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is urging citizens to oppose
the anti-terrorist legislation now pending in Washington, charging that
it grants intelligence agencies
unchecked powers. "Ten years from now, our fear is that the American
public will look back to this legislation and say, 'this is where we crossed
the line to a surveillance society,'"
says Laura W. Murphy, Director of the ACLU's Washington national office.
"Because of the broad new powers to wiretap telephone and Internet communications,
weakens essential checks and balances that the judicial branch has exercised
over law enforcement." The group also protests that the bill's definition
of "terrorism" is overly broad, covering actions that "no reasonable person
would consider terrorist activities." For example, under the version already
adopted by the House Judiciary Committee, "an organization like the People
for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) could be investigated as a
terrorist group because one of its members hits the Secretary of Agriculture
with a pie." The bill would also grant the government the authority to request
"secret searches" in any criminal case. "This vast expansion of power goes
far beyond anything necessary to conduct terrorism investigations." (ACLU
press release, Oct. 4, 2001)
Some changes have been instated unilaterally by the White House without
waiting for Congressional approval. The Bush administration has announced
a major expansion of its power to detain immigrants suspected of crimes.
The new rules allow legal immigrants to be detained indefinitely during
a "national emergency" such as terrorist attack. Citing the new powers,
the Justice Department says it will continue to hold 75 immigrants arrested
in connection with the WTC/Pentagon attacks. Previously, the department
faced a 24- hour deadline on whether to release detained immigrants or charge
them with a crime or violating the terms of their visa. (New York Times,
Sept. 19, 2001)
Meanwhile, the New York State Legislature has already passed new anti-terrorist
legislation, and Gov. George Pataki signed it into law Sept. 16. Civil rights
groups also consider the legislation overly broad in defining "terrorism"-now
punishable by life in prison-as commission of an offense designed to "intimidate
or coerce a civilian population" or "influence the policy of a unit of
government." AP, Sept. 17, 2001
WEB SITES SHUT DOWN BY "HOMELANDS SECURITY"
On Sept. 29, Radio Free Eireann on New York's WBAI reported that IRARadio.com,
the web site which archives all Radio Free Eireann broadcasts, has been
taken down because the web service provider was threatened with seizure
of assets if it continued to host "terrorist" radio programs. Travis E.
Towle, founder and CEO of Cosmic Entertainment Company, which put up IRARadio.com,
was told by their service provider, Hypervine, that they had been "strongly
advised" to take the web site down. A Hypervine representative read Towle
a statement that, under an Executive Order recently signed by President
Bush, the newly-created Office of Homeland Security can seize all assets-"without
any notice"-of any company found to "support terrorism." Hypervine is a
subsidiary of the New
York based Skynet.
Cosmic Entertainment also hosts the web sites archiving two other WBAI
radio programs, "Our Americas" hosted by Mario Murillo, and "Grandpa Al
Lewis Live," featuring
commentary by the actor and political activist who starred in "The Munsters"
and "Car 54 Where Are You?" The "Grandpa Al Lewis Live" site has apparently
also been taken down.
Radio Free Eireann, which broadcasts Saturday afternoons at 1:30 on
WBAI 99.5 FM, has covered the conflict in Northern Ireland for over twenty
years. Guests have included
Bernadette Sands, the sister of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands; Rauri
O'Bradaigh, the President of Republican Sinn Fein; Sinn Fein chief negotiator
Martin McGuinness; and Irish
Prime Minister Bertie Ahern.
STARBUCKS EXTORTS BLOOD MONEY
The urban legends-busters at Snopes.com have confirmed reports from
Brooklyn's Midwood Ambulance Service that a Manhattan Starbucks outlet charged
World Trade Center rescue workers $130 for three cases of water. According
to an account by a family
member of one of the Midwood volunteers who was dispatched to Ground
Zero on Sept. 11, when volunteers asked at the coffee chain outlet for water
for shock victims, they were
told that no water was available but the expensive bottled variety.
One volunteer shelled $130 out of his own pocket for three cases of bottled
water. When Midwood volunteers
later called and e-mailed Starbucks corporate headquarters to complain,
they got no response. Snopes.com reports: "Only after the [account] became
circulated on the Internet did Starbucks address this matter. It has since
delivered a $130 check (via
messenger) to the ambulance company, and its president, Orin Smith,
has called to apologize personally."
WATCHING THE SHADOWS
EX-FBI COUNTER-TERRORISM CHIEF KILLED IN WTC ATTACK
John P. O'Neill, who left the FBI in August to become chief of security
for the World Trade Center, died in the collapse of the towers on Sept.
11. O'Neill spent the last several
years heading major investigations of Osama Bin Laden. In 1997, when
he was head of the FBI's counter-terrorism division in New York, he warned
at a conference on terrorism
that militant terrorist groups were operating quietly within the United
States. "A lot of these groups now have the capability and the support
infrastructure in the United States
to attack us here if they choose to," he said at the time, adding that
there was a particular danger from Islamic militants. But FBI sources confirmed
that O'Neill was
under investigation after he left a briefcase containing classified
information unattended in a hotel in Tampa last year. The briefcase-which
was recovered and returned to
O'Neill-contained several documents, including a report outlining virtually
every national security operation in New York. It was in the wake of the
lost-briefcase incident that
O'Neill announced that he would retire from the FBI. New York Times,
Sept. 23, 2001
REPORT: FBI KNEW IN ADVANCE OF 1993 WTC BLAST
Law enforcement officials planned to thwart the 1993 bombing of the
World Trade Center by substituting harmless powder for explosives, but
the scheme was called off by the FBl,
the New York Times reported on Oct. 28 of that year. Tape recordings
secretly made by an FBI informer reveal that authorities were in a far better
position than previously
known to foil the Feb. 26 bombing of New York's tallest towers, in which
six died and over 1,000 were injured. The New York Times published conversations
the informer, 43
year-old former Egyptian army officer Emad Ali Salem, taped with his
FBI handlers. On the tapes, Salem recalls that the FBI had planned on "building
the bomb with a phony
powder and grabbing the people who were involved in it." But the informer,
who is heard lecturing his handlers, said the powder scheme was called off
and "we didn't do that."
Salem also is heard on the tapes criticizing the agents for ignoring
his warnings that the World Trade Center was to be bombed. "Guys, now you
saw this bomb went off and you
both know that we could avoid that," the newspaper quoted him as saying.
JEW-HATERS MAKE HAY
The Internet rumor that 4,000 Jews who worked at the World Trade Center
stayed home on Sept. 11, warned in advance of the impending attack, has
actually been reported as
fact by some international media outlets, including Russia's Pravda
and Al-Manar TV in Beirut-which cited "Arab sources" quoted in Jordan's
al-Watan newspaper that the Jewish employees had all been tipped off by
Israeli intelligence. The urban
legends-busters at Snopes.com-while acknowledging the danger of legitimizing
such claptrap by answering it-have repudiated the rumor, documenting numerous
press accounts of Jews who died in the attacks (www.snopes.com/rumors).
The implication is that Israeli intelligence was really behind the attacks,
or allowed them to happen, in order to inflame world opinion against the
Arabs. In fact, the UK Telegraph reported Sept. 16 that "Israeli intelligence
officials say they warned their counterparts in the United States last
month that large-scale terrorist attacks on highly visible targets on the
American mainland were imminent."