For the oddly assorted alliance that joined Bush Junior’s "war on terror," this was too much. The Americans and the Saudis had actually backed Iraq during its eight-year war against Iran (1980-1988). America alone had sold Iraq $50 billion worth of weapons when Bush Senior was president.
"Also between 1985 and 1989, Iraq's Atomic Energy Commission got 17 batches of 'various toxins and bacteria.' In 1985, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) shipped at least three samples of West Nile Fever virus to Basra University. Other lethal samples included botulins and E. coli.
"In 1994, Senator Don Riegle (D-MI, 1976–94) reported a list of lethal bio-products sent to Iraq. Their presence was verified by UN inspectors in Iraq.
"Too many US corporations supplied Iraq with chemicals to list here; a class-action lawsuit filed by more than a thousand Gulf War vets in Galveston, Texas, in 1994 (Coleman et al v Alcolac et al) names several, including Alcolac, Phillips Petroleum, Unilever, Allied Signal, and Teledyne."
"Several congressional committees had found evidence that senior members of the Bush administration knowingly approved US-guaranteed loans for Iraq and technology transfers that were diverted into Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program, his chemical weapons and ballistic missiles. They also discovered evidence suggesting obstruction of Congress, false statements and perjury."
The American government has armed and trained terrorists since the Carter Administration. Influential national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski persuaded President Jimmy Carter to sign a secret executive order in 1979 providing funding for the new Islamic mujahideen terrorist movement, which the CIA subsequently trained in America, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. American "advisors" trained and instructed young Muslim recruits in the finer points of guerilla warfare and terrorism.
During the eighties, the Americans trained and armed Afghans to fight the Soviets.
"Over the years the United States and Saudi Arabia expended about $40 billion on the war in Afghanistan. The CIA and its allies recruited, supplied and trained almost 100,000 radical mujahideen from forty Muslim countries, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Algeria, and Afghanistan itself. Among those who answered the call was rightwinger Osama bin Laden and his cohorts." 2
"Largely created and funded by the CIA, the mujahideen mercenaries now took on a life of their own. Hundreds of them returned home to Algeria, Chechnya, Kosovo, and Kashmir to carry on terrorist attacks in Allah’s name against the purveyors of ‘corruption.’" 3
Osama bin Laden imported engineers and equipment from his father’s Saudi construction company to build tunnels for guerilla hospitals and arms dumps near the Pakistan border. The C.I.A. paid for the project. After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, the C.I.A. and the Pakistani intelligence agency sponsored the Taliban organization, a movement composed of the fanatic Wahhabi Islamic sect, the same sect dominant in Saudi Arabia.
The Wahhabi Taliban had the blessings of the Saudi royal family, the bin Laden family, the al Ahmoudi family, and the Mahfouz family--the richest and closest-knit clans in that medieval kingdom (Khalid bin Mahfouz is bin Laden’s brother-in-law). The desert oligarchs profited from world-wide investments as well as sleazy banking schemes like the infamous Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), a money-laundering, dope-dealing, extortionist bank, while covertly funneling money to fundamentalist organizations through fake charities. Members of the Saudi oligarchy, ambitious to dominate the Muslim world, covertly support radical Islamists throughout the world, but give them only faint encouragement at home because they fear that the Islamic extremists could overthrow the Saudi regime.
In 1989, bin Laden established al Qaeda (the Base) in Afghanistan to organize extremist Wahhabis and disperse their networks throughout the country. A year later, he returned to Saudi Arabia and founded a welfare agency for Arab-Afghan veterans. Bin Laden hoped to organize the veterans as a kind of religious-military army, but King Faud discouraged the venture. When King Faud invited 540,000 American troops to the kingdom to fight in the Gulf War, bin Laden lambasted the royal family and urged religious authorities to issue fatwahs (religious rulings) condemning the American infidels.
After the American Ambassador assured Iraq that America was neutral in the new quarrel over oil drilling rights between Iraq and Kuwait, Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in a rash attempt to seize the disputed oilfields while increasing Iraq’s narrow access to the Persian Gulf. Turkey and Saudi Arabia immediately severed Iraq’s pipelines inside their countries and condemned Iraq’s expansionist tactics. President Bush Senior announced that he was sending troops to Saudi Arabia at that country’s request, adding, in a moment of unwonted candor, "Our own freedom and the freedom of friendly countries around the world would suffer if all the world’s great oil reserves fell into the hands of that one man, Saddam Hussein." 4
Did Iraq actually pose a threat to the Saudis? Hardly. Throughout the eighties, the United States assisted the Saudis in a giant military buildup. Together, the Americans and Saudis installed airfields, ports, and bases throughout the kingdom, awarding many of the contracts to the largest construction company in Saudi Arabia, the Saudi Binladen Group. Iraq would have had nothing to gain from attacking the high-tech hardened bunkers in Saudi Arabia.
The victors were not magnanimous. By the terms of the treaty, Iraq agreed to destroy all chemical and biological weapons. United Nations commissions regularly searched the country for evidence that Iraq was constructing or storing such weapons. Soon Iraq’s oil-based economy foundered under the weight of heavy embargoes that prohibited Iraq from selling oil or buying weapons until such time as the United Nations would declare Iraq in full compliance with terms of the peace treaty.
Sanctions continue to this day, as well as incessant quibbling over the makeup and findings of the inspection teams. Cynics predict that the sanctions will not be lifted until the petroleum pashas no longer profit from stanching Iraq’s competing oil production, which formerly had been second only to that of the Saudis.
As recently as January 31, 2002 the head of the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Iraq had cooperated fully with its routine annual inspection of factories and other potential facilities for the production and storage of weapons. Nothing was found.
Recent inspection teams searching for chemical or biological weapons made similar reports. Hans von Sponeck, United Nations humanitarian aid coordinator for Iraq from 1998-2000, upon returning from Iraq in July 2002 said that all of the facilities the U. N. inspectors had previously destroyed were still disabled or destroyed.
He is troubled by Bush Junior’s stance.
"One does not need to be a specialist in weapons of mass destruction to conclude that these sites had been rendered harmless and have remained in this condition. The truly worrying fact is that the US Department of Defence has all of this information. Why then, one must ask, does the Bush administration want to include Iraq in its fight against terrorism? Is it really too far-fetched to suggest that the US government does not want UN arms inspectors back in Iraq? Do they fear that this would lead to a political drama of the first order since the inspectors would confirm what individuals such as Scott Ritter have argued for some time, that Iraq no longer possesses any capacity to produce weapons of mass destruction? This indeed would be the final blow to the ‘war against Iraq’ policy of the Bush administration, a policy that no one else wants." 5
Von Sponeck is correct in saying that the U.S. government knows Iraq does not have any weapons of mass destruction.
"According to the CIA itself, Iraq does not pose a threat to the West. A week after the axis of evil speech, the New York Times reported that 'the CIA has no evidence that Iraq has engaged in terrorist operations against the United States in nearly a decade, and the spy agency also is convinced that Saddam Hussein has not provided chemical or biological weapons to al-Qaeda or related terrorist groups.'"6
Finally, one of Jeff Rense’s readers translated a sobering report from the Swedish Aftonbladet.
"UN's weapons inspectors were pressured to engage in espionage on Iraq by the US, among others, said the former Chief of Inspection Forces, Ambassador Rolf Ekeus, on the Swedish radio program Goodmorning World.
The inspectors were searching for information about Iraqi intelligence and were also requested to find out where Saddam Hussein was located. Ekeus also said that controversial inspections were made deliberately to provoke conflicts with Iraq." 7
When the C.I.A- and Saudi-backed Taliban took Kabul in September 1996, the American State Department immediately established diplomatic relations with the Taliban rulers. Both the American and Saudi governments approved the partnership of American oil company UNOCAL with the Saudi Delta oil company in their efforts to build a gas pipeline from the Caspian Sea region through Afghanistan into Pakistan and the Persian Gulf. If the huge oil and gas reserves in Central Asia and the Caspian region were to be piped to markets in Asia, a stable government in Afghanistan was not merely desirable but necessary. The puritanical Wahhabi Taliban appeared to be the answer to a number of fervent prayers.
Other kinds of prayers for other ends were offered in the mosques frequented by fundamentalist Islamists, who determined to replace secular states and their laws with theocratic Islamist states under the law of sharia, based on a literal interpretation of the Koran. In 1991, Osama bin Laden and a coterie of Afghan veterans agitated in Sudan for a holy war against the enemies of Islam. In 1992, he claimed responsibility for the attack on American soldiers in Yemen, and again for attacks in Somalia in 1993. He was mum about the terrorist truck bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993, the explosion that killed six people and injured more than a thousand, but investigators knew bin Laden had donated heavily to the religious "charity" that financed the bombing operation.
In February 1995, John O'Neill was appointed chief of the F.B.I.'s counter-terrorism section in Washington. Literally before he had unpacked his bags, he immediately assembled and coordinated a team to capture Ramzi Yousef, who was en route from Pakistan to Afghanistan. Yousef was strongly suspected of planning and directing the World Trade Center bombing in 1993. In three days, the kingpin of the World Trade Center bombing was in custody, and O’Neill went on to to accumulate damning evidence against the 1993 World Trade bombers that led to their conviction in American courts. For the next six years, John O’Neill tirelessly investigated terrorist strikes against Americans and American interests in Saudi Arabia, East Africa, and Yemen, often encountering American officials’ roadblocks on the way.
Even in 1996, after Jamal Ahmed al-Fadl turned himself in at the American Embassy in Eritrea and divulged details of bin Laden’s and al Qaeda’s organization and operations, the State Department refused to list al Qaeda as a terrorist organization.
In February 1998, bin Laden assembled a number of terrorist groups, including Islamic Jihad, and issued a fatwa calling for the deaths of all Americans.
On August 7, 1998, 226 people died in the simultaneous bombing of embassies in Tanzania and Kenya . Investigators blamed bin Laden for the attacks.
On August 20, 1998, President Clinton amended Executive Order 12947 to add Osama bin Laden and his key associates to the list of terrorists, thus blocking their US assets--including property and bank accounts--and prohibiting all U.S. financial transactions with them. The United States conducted a missile attack against bin Laden's facilities in Afghanistan.
"A relationship that appeared smooth and even symbiotic to the outside world was rent by disillusionment, anger and petty one-upmanship. A country the U.S. considered a terrorists' paradise was, in the view of many of the terrorists who arrived there from other lands, more like a hell: They couldn't trust the locals, the food was bad, they considered the Taliban leader a bumpkin, and their work was stymied by the near-medieval backwardness of the place.
"'This place is worse than a tomb,' wrote a bin Laden associate from Egypt to comrades back home, after checking out Afghanistan. 'The country,' he said in a message stored on a computer found by The Wall Street Journal in Kabul, 'is not suitable for work.'
"The Taliban, in turn, grumbled that Mr. bin Laden was arrogant, publicity-seeking and disrespectful. The rift ran so deep that some of his entourage of Arab revolutionaries expected to get booted out of Afghanistan, as they had been earlier from Sudan. Indeed, by the summer of 1998, according to a former Saudi intelligence chief, Mullah Omar had agreed to send Mr. bin Laden packing.
"But then came the 1998 lethal bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, to which the U.S. replied by raining down cruise missiles on a bin Laden camp in Afghanistan. The retaliation had fateful consequences. It turned Mr. bin Laden into a cult figure among Islamic radicals, made Afghanistan a rallying point for defiance of America and shut off Taliban discussion of expelling the militants. It also helped convince Mr. bin Laden that goading America to anger could help his cause, not hurt it." 8
O’Neill was certain that bin Laden was back of the 1998 bombings of the American embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
"O'Neill persuaded [FBI director] Freeh to let the New York office handle the case, and he eventually dispatched nearly five hundred investigators to Africa. Mary Jo White, whose prosecuting team subsequently convicted five defendants in the case, said 'John O'Neill, in the investigation of the bombings of our embassies in East Africa, created the template for successful investigations of international terrorism around the world.’" 9
During his 1998 investigation of the African embassy bombings, O’Neill seized the computer of al Qaeda military chief Mohammed Atef and discovered a significant e-mail memo. Al Qaeda clearly knew about the continuing negotiations between the Taliban and American officials and business representatives. UNOCAL sought Taliban approval of its plans to construct an oil and gas pipeline across Afghanistan, but the al Qaeda organization did not believe the Taliban would agree.
On December 14, 1999, a border guard in Port Angeles, Washington discovered four timers and material for bomb construction in Algerian Ahmed Ressam’s car. Ressam confessed that his target had been Los Angeles International Airport.
The following day, Jordanian authorities arrested thirteen suspected terrorists who were planning to bomb buildings and sites visited by Western tourists. The suspects carried an Al Qaeda training manual on a CD-ROM. It looked as if the terrorists were planning coordinated strikes.
"Authorities had found several phone numbers on Ressam when he was arrested. There was also a name, Ghani, which belonged to Abdel Ghani Meskini, an Algerian, who lived in Brooklyn and who had travelled to Seattle to meet with Ressam. O'Neill oversaw the stakeout of Meskini's residence and spent much of his time in the Brooklyn command post."
"On December 30th, O'Neill arrested Meskini on conspiracy charges and a number of other suspected terrorists on immigration violations. (Meskini and Ressam eventually became cooperating witnesses and are both assisting the F.B.I.'s investigation of the September 11th attacks.)" 10
New York’s Joint Terrorism Task Force racked up an impressive record of successful investigations and convictions, convicting "twenty-five Islamic terrorists, including Yousef, six other World Trade Center bombers, the blind cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, and nine of Rahman’s followers, who had planned to blow up the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, the United Nations headquarters, and the F.B.I. offices." 11
On October 12, 2000, two suicide bombers ignited their boatload of explosives next to the USS Cole, an American destroyer refuelling in Aden, off the coast of Yemen. The blast killed seventeen sailors and wounded thirty-nine others. O’Neill and his investigating team were dispatched to Yemen and hit a stone wall. He had hoped satellite intercepts of phone calls between an al Qaeda operative in Aden and Osama bin Laden in Afghanistan would lead him to the mastermind of the Cole attack, but the American ambassador and the Yemeni officials blocked the investigation at every turn.
O’Neill went home for Thanksgiving, tired and twenty pounds lighter, and never went back. He resigned from the F.B.I. in July 2001 and signed on as security chief for the World Trade Center in September. He died in the attack on September 11, 2001.
In Forbidden Truth: U.S.-Taliban Secret Oil Diplomacy and the Failed Hunt for bin Laden, two French intelligence analysts, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, claim that the Clinton and Bush administrations impeded investigations of Bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist group in order to maintain good relations with Saudi Arabia and to maintain the stability of the oil market. "As the late John O’Neill told one of the authors [Brisard] of this book, ‘All of the answers, all of the clues allowing us to dismantle Osama bin Laden’s organization, can be found in Saudi Arabia.'" 12
In articles and interviews, Brisard has expanded on this statement, pronouncing the official story about bin Laden’s exile from his native Saudi Arabia in 1994 and his frozen assets to be a canard. Not only did O’Neill and the F.B.I. have extensive information concerning the finances of bin Laden and al Qaeda, but also Forbidden Truth documents the intricate connections between the bin Ladens, the Mahfouzes, the al Ahmoudis, and the Saudi royal family.
Although Brisard’s interpretation of events has been disputed, the documentation of Forbidden Truth is impeccable. Clearly, the finances and fortunes of the Saudi oligarchs and the Bush family have been intertwined for many years.
On November 6, 2001, the redoubtable investigative journalist Greg Palast, who has a knack for being miles ahead of the pack, revealed some astonishing information in a BBC broadcast.
Palast: "In the eight weeks since the attacks, over 1,000 suspects and potential witnesses have been detained. Yet, just days after the hijackers took off from Boston aiming for the Twin Towers, a special charter flight out of the same airport whisked 11 members of Osama Bin Laden's family off to Saudi Arabia.
"That did not concern the White House. Their official line is that the Bin Ladens are above suspicion - apart from Osama, the black sheep, who they say hijacked the family name. That's fortunate for the Bush family and the Saudi royal household, whose links with the Bin Ladens could otherwise prove embarrassing. But Newsnight has obtained evidence that the FBI was on the trail of other members of the Bin Laden family for links to terrorist organisations before and after September 11th.
"This document is marked 'Secret'. Case ID - 199-Eye WF 213 589. 199 is FBI code for case type. 9 would be murder. 65 would be espionage. 199 means national security. WF indicates Washington field office special agents were investigating ABL - because of its relationship with the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, WAMY - a suspected terrorist organisation. ABL is Abdullah Bin Laden, president and treasurer of WAMY.
"This is the sleepy Washington suburb of Falls Church, Virginia where almost every home displays the Stars and Stripes. On this unremarkable street, at 3411 Silver Maple Place, we located the former home of Abdullah and another brother, Omar, also an FBI suspect. It's conveniently close to WAMY. The World Assembly of Muslim Youth is in this building, in a little room in the basement at 5613 Leesburg Pike. And here, just a couple blocks down the road at 5913 Leesburg, is where four of the hijackers that attacked New York and Washington are listed as having lived.
"The US Treasury has not frozen WAMY's assets, and when we talked to them, they insisted they are a charity. Yet, just weeks ago, Pakistan expelled WAMY operatives. And India claimed that WAMY was funding an organisation linked to bombings in Kashmir. And the Philippines military has accused WAMY of funding Muslim insurgency. The FBI did look into WAMY, but, for some reason, agents were pulled off the trail."
The following day, Palast added that the FBI files were closed in 1996 "apparently before any conclusions could be reached on either the Bin Laden brothers or the organisation itself. High-placed intelligence sources in Washington told the Guardian this week: ‘There were always constraints on investigating the Saudis.'"
"They said the restrictions became worse after the Bush administration took over this year. The intelligence agencies had been told to ‘back off’ from investigations involving other members of the Bin Laden family, the Saudi royals, and possible Saudi links to the acquisition of nuclear weapons by Pakistan. ‘There were particular investigations that were effectively killed.’" 13
On November 10, 2001, The Boston Herald carried this scathing report about the Arabian untouchables:
"Two billionaire Saudi families scrutinized by authorities for possible financial ties to Osama bin Laden's terrorist network continue to engage in major oil deals with leading U.S. corporations.
"The bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi clans, who control three private Saudi Arabian oil companies, are partners with U. S. firms in a series of ambitious oil development and pipeline projects in central and south Asia, records show.
"Working through their companies - Delta Oil, Nimir Petroleum and Corral Petroleum - the Saudi families have formed international consortiums with U. S. oil giants Texaco, Unocal, Amerada Hess and Frontera Resources.
"These business relationships persist despite evidence that members of the two Saudi families - headed by patriarchs Khalid bin Mahfouz and Mohammed Hussein Al-Amoudi - have had ties to Islamic charities and companies linked financially to bin Laden's al-Qaeda organization. So far, bin Mahfouz and Al-Amoudi, who have denied any involvement with bin Laden, have been left untouched by the U. S. Treasury Department, which has frozen the assets of 150 individuals, companies and charities suspected of financing terrorism."
The people behind the coup that installed George W. Bush in the presidency have no qualms about enforcing their agenda on the United States and the world. The attack on the World Trade Center would have been prevented had it not served the cabal’s purpose: to replace the old Cold War enemy with a nebulous, shifting, implacable, hidden enemy who would unite the country behind wars of conquest anywhere in the world--in short, terrorism.
The cabal’s efforts to link Iraq to terrorism or weapons of mass destruction have proved unavailing, so we’ll probably be hearing more lies and more justifications for a war. Odd, isn’t it, that nothing the Saudis do can provoke us, while Saddam Hussein’s mere existence appears to be an affront to humankind and a spur to war.
Eric Margolis lost his idealistic view of war when he enlisted to fight in Vietnam.
In a paragraph, Margolis sums up the rationale for Bush’s war on Iraq:
"The so-called ‘war on terrorism’ is being used to mask a far grander imperial design: the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. This will allow the US to gain control of Iraq's huge oil reserves, which are second only to Saudi Arabia's, and secure American control of the giant Caspian Oil Basin. The new US bases just happen to follow the route of the planned American pipelines that will bring Central Asia's oil and gas riches – the ‘new Silk Road’ – south through Pakistan. Each day, the US is plunging deeper and deeper into South and Central Asia – which I call the Mideast East. American soldiers could end up fighting there 50 years hence. In fact, the Bush administration seems to be emulating the old British Empire." 14
"The possibility of the world's largest oil reserves falling into the hands of an anti-American, militant Islamist government is becoming ever more likely - and this is unacceptable.
"The Americans know they cannot stop such a revolution. They must therefore hope that they can control the Saudi oil fields, if not the government. And what better way to do that than to have a large military force in the field at the time of such disruption. In the name of saving the west, these vital assets could be seized and controlled. No longer would the US have to depend on a corrupt and unpopular royal family to keep it supplied with cheap oil. If there is chaos in the region, the US armed forces could be seen as a global saviour. Under cover of the war on terrorism, the war to secure oil supplies could be waged.
"This whole affair has nothing to do with a threat from Iraq - there isn't one. It has nothing to do with the war against terrorism or with morality. Saddam Hussein is obviously an evil man, but when we were selling arms to him to keep the Iranians in check he was the same evil man he is today. He was a pawn then and is a pawn now. In the same way he served western interests then, he is now the distraction for the sleight of hand to protect the west's supply of oil."
1 The Observer (December 2, 2001)
2 Michael Parenti, 9-11 Terrorism Trap: September 11 and Beyond, (2000), City Lights Books, San Francisco, p. 58
3 ibid., p. 62
4 Extra! May 1991, p.9
5 The Guardian, July 22, 2002
6 Brendan O'Neill, "Bush's Gulf War Syndrome,"
12 Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002, p. 20
9 Lawrence Wright, New Yorker, January 14, 2002
14 Toronto Sun, March 10, 2002
6 Brendan O'Neill, "Bush's Gulf War Syndrome,"
12 Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002, p. 20
7 http://www.aftonbladet.se/vss/telegram/0,1082,59831239___,00.html8 http://www.msnbc.com/news/788932.asp
12 Thunder's Mouth Press, 2002, p. 20