#6 Nov. 3, 2001
By Bill Weinberg
THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT
1. Civilian Casualties: Propaganda Pawns?
2. US Food Drops: Cruel Farce
3. Martyred Rebel's Final Warning: Stop The Bombing
4. Northern Alliance: Pentagon Proxy?
5. US Invasion Planned?
6. Pakistan Spies Target RAWA
THE WAR AT HOME
1. Anti-Terrorist Bill Sweeps Through Congress
2. Good-Bye Posse Comitatus?
3. Detentions Top 1,000 In Terror Sweep
4. NRC Suppresses Report On Nuke Risks
5. Free Speech Takes A Hit
6. Sikhs Targetted
WATCHING THE SHADOWS
1. FBI Probes Neo-Nazis In Anthrax Attacks
2. US To Gut Biowar Treaty?
3. Nuclear Paranoia In Asia
WHO IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?
1. Osama: I Didn't Do It!
2. Osama & The CIA
3. Osama & ISI
4. Osama & McVeigh
5. Is Osama Dead?
THE AFGHANISTAN FRONT
1. CIVILIAN CASUALTIES: PROPAGANDA PAWNS?
The Pentagon denies Taliban claims of 1,500 civilian casualties in the US air raids, the New York Times reported Nov. 1. The paper said "facts prove elusive" on Taliban press tours of war damage in Afghanistan's cities. The article acknowledged a tour through the rubble of a destroyed Red Crescent clinic and two adjacent houses in Kandahar, but quoted local residents who said only 3 were killed in the raid--not the 11 claimed by tour leaders. The Times said the houses were destroyed because Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, now changing residences nightly, was believed to be there. This was the third time buildings were hit in efforts to kill the Mullah.
On Nov. 2, the paper reported the story of Mehmood, a Kandahar merchant who brought his family to his ancestral village of Chowkar-Karez to escape the air raids. His extended family, crowded into six cars, arrived at village just as it was "flattened" in an air raid. Ironically, the cars arriving in the night may have prompted the raid. Said Mehmood: "I brought my family here for safety, and now there are 19 dead, including my wife, my two children, my brother, sister, sister-in-law, nieces, nephews, my uncle... What am I supposed to do now?" Several refugees from the village fled to Quetta, Pakistan, where they were interviewed by journalists in the local hospital, but the Times did not hazard a guess at the death toll in the raid.
On Oct. 29, the Times ran a photo of a man preparing for burial the bodies of four young children--victims of air strikes that killed 13 civilians in Kabul. "I have lost all my family," said a sobbing woman in Qalaye Khatir neighborhood. "I am finished."
This coverage is restrained compared to daily live footage from Al-Jazeera cable TV. Oct. 28, the Qatar-based network reported US warplanes struck civilian dwellings in Kabul's Makrurian neighborhood, killing a number of people--including many children. The network again showed live footage of residents desperately digging through rubble for loved ones. Footage also showed several bodies being uncovered, including two young sisters whose father stood by crying and distraught. US warplanes circled overhead, and some people ran for cover. Al-Jazeera correspondent Taysir Allouni conjectured at least nine dead in the raid. The coverage "showed a neighborhood of very simple mud houses, which are simply pulverized when bombed." A summary of the footage by media watchdog Ali Abunimah is available online.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported Oct. 31 that CNN Chair Walter Isaacson has ordered his staff to "balance" images of civilian devastation in Afghanistan with reminders that the Taliban harbors murderous terrorists, saying it "seems perverse to focus too much on the casualties or hardship in Afghanistan."
2. US FOOD DROPS: CRUEL FARCE
The BBC reported Oct. 28 that the Pentagon has launched radio broadcasts into Afghanistan warning residents not to confuse the yellow-packaged food drops with the yellow-cased cluster bombs also being dropped by US planes--which may fail to explode on impact "in some special circumstances." Explaining how to distinguish between the cylindrical cluster bombs and rectangular food packages, the broadcast warned, "We would like you to take extra care and not to touch yellow-colored objects." The broadcasts, prepared by Army PsyOps units, appear intended to counter Taliban charges that the US is dropping food packages into areas "full of land mines."
Meanwhile, Concern, another aid agency attempting to work in Afghanistan, has joined widespread demands that the US bombardment cease during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan to allow delivery of urgent supplies to some 6 million people facing starvation in the coming months, the Irish Times reported Nov. 1. Concern regional director Dominic MacSorley said "humanitarian aid corridors" must be established so food, clothes and blankets can be distributed before winter. MacSorley said a bombing break for Ramadan, which begins November 17, would allow the delivery of humanitarian assistance as well as "pacifying" Muslims angered by mounting civilian casualties. He said food supplies from the UN World Food Program have been "negligible to erratic" since the bombing.
Jim Jennings, president of the aid group Conscience International echoed the call: "Time is of the essence: we must act now before winter. The bombing has to halt, we need to get food in or Afghan people will begin starving in great numbers at about the same time Americans sit down for their Thanksgiving feast." (Institute for Public Accuracy, www.accuracy.org, Oct. 29 )
The Nation reported Nov. 5 that UN human rights commissioner Mary Robinson also called for a halt to the bombing. "Are we going to preside over deaths from starvation of hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of people this winter because we did not use the window of opportunity?"
3. MARTYRED REBEL'S FINAL WARNING: STOP THE BOMBING
The UK Guardian reported Nov. 2 that Afghan rebel leader Abdul Haq argued against the US bombing--days before he was executed by the Taliban. Haq was not a part of the Northern Alliance, but a Pakistan-based Mujahedeen veteran who opposed both the Taliban and Northern Alliance. He was killed Oct. 26 while on a mission to Afghanistan to organize an anti-Taliban revolt. He was quoted by the Guardian saying "military action by itself in the present circumstances is only making things more difficult--especially if this war goes on a long time and many civilians are killed. The best thing would be for the US to work for a united political solution involving all the Afghan groups. Otherwise there will be an encouragement of deep divisions between different groups, backed by different countries and badly affecting the whole region."
In the interview with Anatol Lieven of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Commander Haq even warned that the air campaign is backfiring: "Before the attacks started, the Taliban's people were very nervous, and their support in the population was very low. Everyone was afraid. But...in these last weeks I have seen more support for the Taliban than before. We have been trying to create a revolt within the Taliban, but the US hasn't given us the chance. They seem to have been determined to attack, even if someone came up with the best proposal in the world to avoid this. This has been a big setback for me."
Haq called for aid for his anti-Taliban activities but insisted the US "should not bomb." He complained: "I have said all this to US officials, and so have others. But it's impossible to find anyone beneath the level of the president who is willing to take responsibility for a decision. If the US keeps bombing and helps the Northern Alliance, then our work will be much more difficult."
The Los Angeles Times reported Oct. 27 that Haq's mission was approved by Afghanistan's exiled king, Zahir Shah, to unite the country's various ethnic and religious factions in an anti-Taliban coalition. On Nov. 1, the New York Times said the CIA denies "any involvement" in the mission, but also reported that the agency "did offer satellite phones to Mr. Haq just before he set out." It also claimed that after Haq was captured, ex-National Security Advisor Robert MacFarlane "tried to use CIA contacts to save him." It is unknown if the agency tried to act before Haq's execution. A week later, Hamid Karzai, another Zahir-loyalist rebel, launched a new expedition into Afghanistan from Pakistan. Karai was likewise ambushed by Taliban forces, but escaped into the mountains. This time, the Taliban claimed four US helicopters attempted to rescue Karzai (Newsday Nov. 2). The Pentagon had no comment.
4. NORTHERN ALLIANCE: PENTAGON PROXY
On Nov. 1, the New York Times reported massive B-52 carpet-bombing of front-line Taliban troops facing the rebel Northern Alliance--something the rebel coalition had been demanding since the air campaign started. The paper also reported "more active support" for the Northern Alliance, including "American troops on the ground." The US ground troops are working not only to identify targets for air raids, but to "improve deliveries of weapons and aid." The following day's Newsday quoted Defense Secretary Donald Rusmfeld saying a "modest" number of US troops were in Afghanistan, but "nowhere near as many as we need" to place with all the Northern Alliance factions. Newsday estimated between 100 and 200 US troops in Afghanistan. The paper also reported that NATO-member Turkey had sent some 90 elite troops to Afghanistan to help train the Northern Alliance. Newsday reported Oct. 26 that Turkey had hosted a recent meeting between representatives of the Northern Alliance and of exiled king Zahir Shah in Istanbul.
Most Taliban troops, however, apparently escaped the carpet bombing, abandoning their positions and regrouping in the hills. On Oct. 29, the New York Times reported that a number of "errant bombs" hitting Northern Alliance-controlled territory--one killing a young mother in Ghani Kheil village--have left Alliance leaders "baffled." The paper said "refugees from Kabul warn darkly that the bombing campaign could swing public opinion firmly into the camp of the Taliban."
On Nov. 2, Newsday ran a surreal photo of a woman in Northern Alliance territory defending her home from Taliban attack with an AK-47, supposedly demonstrating the Alliance's more enlightened views on women's status. But the woman was dressed in a full-length burka and veil--hardly effective fighting gear.
5. US INVASION PLANNED?
The UK Guardian reported Nov. 1 that the US and UK are discussing plans for a large-scale ground invasion of Afghanistan from the north. Citing anonymous "defense officials," the paper said the invasion would be launched in the spring if the bombing, special forces raids and aid to local rebels had failed to topple the Taliban by then. Said US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld: "We do not have anything like the ground forces we had in World War II or in Korea or in the Gulf war, but we have not ruled that out... The United States of America has certainly not ruled out the use of ground troops." Chimed in his UK counterpart Secretary of State for Defense Geoff Hoon: "Nor have we." The Guardian's sources admitted that both governments are concerned that the air campaign is running out of targets. "We do not want to create anarchy in Afghanistan," one official said.
6. PAKISTAN SPIES TARGET RAWA
THE WAR AT HOME
Aditya Sinha, a US citizen covering the Afghan war for India's Hindustan Times, was summarily expelled from Pakistan after being detained by security police, the paper reported Oct. 28. Although Sinha's wife was waiting for him in Delhi, authorities insisted he get on a special flight booked for him back to the US. Sinha's visa had just been extended for 15 days and he was covering an Afghan tribal summit in Peshawar when he was detained. He reports that officers interrogated him about his contacts with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA), an anti-Taliban resistance group based in Pakistan. Because RAWA opposes all fundamentalist factions and supports gender equality, the group faces threats from nearly all sides in the conflict. Sinha was grilled by plainclothes officers about a RAWA representative he had interviewed days earlier. "I had to give her name, feeling terrible about what would be in store for her," he reported, but said he lied when the officers demanded her telephone number. Sinha said the officers warned him to get on the flight they had booked: "I would advise you, for your own good, that you do not delay your departure. Who knows what may happen to you if you stay for another day?"
1. ANTI-TERRORIST BILL SWEEPS THROUGH CONGRESS
The new anti-terrorism law has a catchy acronym: Provide Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism (PATRIOT). Approved by the Senate 98-1 on Oct. 25, the Patriot Act was signed by president Bush the following morning, giving federal agents broadly expanded powers to search homes, tap telephones and computers, and detain suspects. The Patriot Act unleashes the CIA to spy on US citizens, giving the Director of Central Intelligence authority to identify targets for domestic surveillance. It allocates over $1 billion to upgrade technology and hire new guards to police the nation's borders, gives the FBI warrantless access to medical and financial data, and removes the statute of limitations for many offenses. Attorney General John Ashcroft pledges to start using the new powers immediately. "The Department of Justice is positioned to launch a new offensive against terrorism," he boasted to the press. Sen. Russell Feingold (D-WI), who cast the lone dissenting vote, accused the Justice Department of exploiting "the emergency situation to get some things they've wanted for a long time." (Newsday, Oct. 26).
The Patriot Act's vast new federal police powers derive from an expanded but obtuse definition of "terrorist." "They have made defining terrorism almost as complicated as the internal revenue code," Tim Edgar, legal counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), told High Times, the counter-culture monthly . "Certain safeguards were in place to prevent sweeping in political groups indiscriminately--such as official State Department designation of terrorist groups. They've now adopted new provisions without those safeguards. Supporting designated terrorist groups is still illegal, but now so is supporting undesignated groups. The old law is still on the books, but it doesn't make much difference."
A slew of previously existing federal and state crimes are now considered "terrorism" if a political motive is involved. Once the activity is deemed "terrorism," the government can wiretap--or charge--anyone who provides assistance. Providing lodging to a "terrorist" (even for one night), is a new federal crime punishable by up to ten years. Most of the "terrorist" crimes in this section have to be "dangerous to human life" under the law, but Edgar believes the new definition could be interpreted to include "the kind of vandalism that might take place at a political protest."
Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches are nearly extinguished by the bill. One provision allows for "forum-shopping." Any federal judge can now order a wiretap which is effective nationwide, allowing agents to "shop around" for a sympathetic judge. The Patriot Act also blurs the line between "intelligence" and "criminal" surveillance. FBI agents seeking an "intelligence" warrant go to a special court created by the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA). Unlike criminal courts, the FISA court does not require "probable cause" that a suspect is engaged in criminal activity--only that he or she is involved with a "foreign power or organization." Now FBI criminal investigators can go directly to the FISA court for a warrant--with no probable cause. According to Edgar, the FISA court has never turned down a wiretap request, and FISA wiretaps far outnumber conventional wiretaps. "There are thousands of them," he says. The Patriot Act also allows for "secret searches," with only after-the-fact "delayed notice."
The law includes a four-year "sunset provision" under which it will expire unless Congress renews it, and the ACLU pledges to closely monitor implementation.
2. GOOD-BYE POSSE COMITATUS?
The Defense Department is considering a new "Homelands Command" to focus on the domestic war on terrorism, the Boston Globe reported Oct. 27. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld gave a pair of generals additional responsibilities for defending US territory while the Pentagon explores a permanent new command for operations within US borders. "Today's decision allows additional detailed planning and training to occur that will increase our military's capability to respond more effectively and quickly to requests from civil authorities," the Pentagon said in an Oct. 26 statement.
Rumsfeld announced that Army Gen. William Kernan, chief of the Joint Forces Command, Norfolk, VA, has temporary responsibility for land and maritime defense of the continental US. Air Force Gen. Ralph Eberhart, commander of North American Aerospace Defense (NORAD), in Colorado Springs, is in charge of defending US airspace, as well as providing support in computer network security.
Army Secretary Thomas White said restrictions on active-duty activities at home are being reviewed. White acknowledged that domestic military operations are barred by the Reconstruction-era Posse Comitatus Act. "But we are looking at the details of the law to see if revisions are appropriate."
3. DETENTIONS TOP 1,000 IN TERROR SWEEP
A week after a Pakistani waiter from Queens, NYC, died in a New Jersey jail, civil rights activists and local Pakistani leaders are demanding information on the 1,028 people now believed to have been detained in the federal sweep of Muslim immigrants since the 9-11 attacks. None of the detainees have been charged in connection with the attacks, and most are held on immigration violations and minor charges. Commenting on the case of Rafiq Butt, the man who died in custody, Ahsanullah "Bobby" Khan of Brooklyn's Pakistani Community Center said: "They didn't find anything against him except that his status expired. The people of the United States should raise their voice that its not fair what's going on." (Newsday, Oct. 31)
4. NRC SUPPRESSES REPORT ON NUKE RISKS
The US Nuclear Regulatory Commission has removed from the public reading room at its DC headquarters a 119-page report on the vulnerabilities of nuclear reactors. The 1982 study by the Energy Department's Argonne National Laboratory in Illinois found that a large commercial jet could crash through the containment buildings of nuclear power plants. The report, determining that a jet crashing into a concrete containment dome at over 460 mph would produce an explosion sufficient to overwhelm reactor shields, was pulled from the shelves after Sept. 11.
The story was reported Oct. 25 in upstate New York's Journal News, and the issue is a critical one in the paper's home turf of Westchester County, home of the Indian Point nuclear plant. A disaster at Indian Point, outside Peekskill--just 30 miles up the Hudson River from New York City--could mean evacuation of 20 million people. A spokesman for Entergy, which owns the two Indian Point reactors, said he had not read the Argonne report and was "somewhat uncomfortable commenting on it."
Last week, a "credible threat" against Pennsylvania's Three Mile Island nuclear plant prompted federal officials to put the facility on a high state of alert and shut down local airspace. The Harrisburg and Lancaster airports were closed for four hours as military aircraft patrolled the skies, and FBI and state police watched the plant.
Information in the Argonne report was disclosed by the DC-based National Whistleblowers Center, which filed a petition with the NRC demanding installation of anti-aircraft weapons at every nuclear plant. In their petition, the Whistleblowers charged that "the NRC improperly permitted nuclear plants to continue to operate under the assumption that there will never be a terrorist airborne assault on a nuclear power facility. This assumption is foolhardy and must end." NRC spokesman Victor Dricks said the report had been withdrawn for "security reasons."
5. FREE SPEECH TAKES A HIT
A West Virginia judge ruled that a 15-year-old sophomore cannot form an "anarchy club" or wear T-shirts opposing the bombing of Afghanistan, AP reported Nov. 1. Katie Sierra was suspended from Sissonville High School for three days for promoting the club and wearing shirts with messages such as: "When I saw the dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recovered sense of national security. God Bless America." In a complaint filed with her mother, Sierra argued her right to free speech was being denied. Judge James Stucky agreed that free speech is "sacred," but found First Amendment rights are "tempered by the limitations that they...not disrupt the educational process." Sierra said she will appeal, adding: "I don't want war. I'm not for Afghanistan. I think that what we're doing to them is just as bad as what they did to us, and I think it needs to be stopped." Countered James Withrow, lawyer for the Kanawha County Board of Education: "Anarchy is the antithesis of what we believe should be in schools." Sierra's attorney, Roger Forman, said she is "being punished for expressing her opinion."
6. SIKHS TARGETTED
Combining thuggery with ignorance, dim-witted xenophobes who cannot distinguish Sikhs from Arabs have been attacking Sikh immigrants in the New York area and around the country, Newsday reported Oct. 28. Karnail Singh of Richmond Hill. Queens, was coming home from praying at the neighborhood Sikh temple when he was attacked by a knife-yielding man who screamed, "You are Arab!" Singh pleaded: "I am not Arab! I am Sikh!" But he was slashed in the arm, chest and hand. He has returned to his native India in the wake of the attack.
Tejindar Singh Kahlon, a Nassau County family court official and 25-year US citizen, was not allowed onto a flight at Long Island's MacArthur Airport because he refused to remove his turban for security. Sikh religious strictures prohibit removing turbans in public. Kahlon, who was going to friend's wedding in Arizona, said, "What kind of freedom is this? This is not American."
Sikh leaders report 200 hate crimes directed against American Sikhs since Sept. 11, and have met with Justice Department officials to discuss the problem. Newsday says the FBI has launched 200 investigations into hate crimes since 9-11, including some against Sikhs. There have been two indictments, including of a Seattle man accused of attempting to blow up a mosque. Neither of the indictments concern attacks on Sikhs, but CNN.com reported Sept. 16 that a man was being questioned by police in the shooting death of Balbir Singh Sodhi, a Sikh gas station owner in Mesa, AZ.
WATCHING THE SHADOWS
1. FBI PROBES NEO-NAZIS IN ANTHRAX ATTACKS
Neo-Nazi extremists within the US are behind the deadly wave of anthrax attacks, according to Justice Department briefings cited by the UK Observer Oct. 28. Experts on the survivalist and Aryan underground have been drafted into the investigation, and the focus is shifting away from possible links with the 9-11 terrorists. "We've been zeroing in on a number of hate groups, especially one on the West Coast," The Observer quoted a Justice Department source. "[O]ne of the most compelling possible leads in the anthrax trail [is] that it is not really al-Qaeda's style, but rather that of others who sympathize with its war against the American government and media."
Links between domestic and Middle Eastern terrorists are also developing. Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an LA-based watchdog on anti-Semitism, said US neo-Nazis met with Islamic militants at a summit in Lebanon earlier this year. "There's a great solidarity with the point of view of the bin Ladens of the world," added Mark Potok of the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, AL, which monitors the far right. "These people wouldn't let their daughters near an Arab, but they are certainly making common cause on an ideological level. They see the same enemy: American culture and multiculturalism."
Neo-Nazi websites show support for Osama bin Laden's al-Qaeda terror network. Billy Roper of the West Virginia-based National Alliance posted on the group's page: "Anyone who is willing to drive a plane into a building to kill Jews is all right by me. I wish our members had half as much testicular fortitude." National Alliance is publisher of The Turner Diaries, the book which inspired the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building. The shift in the investigation echoes that which followed the Oklahoma City bombing--initially thought to be the work of Arab extremists, but proven the work of the home-grown extremists.
2. US TO GUT BIOWAR TREATY?
The US is proposing a rewrite of the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention, plugging it as a crackdown on bio-terror. But the Sunshine Project, a bio-weapons watchdog, says the changes actually undermine international controls. The proposals come one month before a major UN meeting to review international efforts to prevent bio-warfare. The plan is currently being presented to the White House's European allies.
The US wants to redesign Article I of the Convention, which prohibits all biological warfare agents. The changes would create two classes of bio-weapons, permitting the US to continue work on such projects as the anti-crop fungi ("Agent Green") the Pentagon wants to use on Andean coca farms. It would also allow the Pentagon to work on so-called "non-lethal weapons" to control "potentially hostile civilians," and genetically-modified superbugs that consume plastics, jet fuel, rubber, and asphalt.
The rewrite would also shift the focus away from prevention of bio-weapons development, instead instating a new regime of criminal punishment for use of illegal bio-weapons. The Sunshine Project says the "situation amounts to a 75-year legal setback to the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which prohibited use, but not development of biological (and chemical) weapons."
Additionally, US Congress is on the verge of passing a law (HR 3160) that would restrict citizen access to information about the US biological defense program under the Freedom of Information Act. "This measure will not only fail to protect the US from acts of bioterrorism, it will severely undermine the transparency of US biodefense research," writes the Sunshine Project. "The cat is already out of the bag... Using FOIA would only compromise a terrorist's intent and provoke investigation. Instead, the FOIA restriction will work against legitimate citizen and research groups who are monitoring the US biodefense program." (Oct. 22 press releases, www.sunshine-project.org)
3. NUCLEAR PARANOIA IN ASIA
A report by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in the Nov. 5 New Yorker claims US and Israeli commandos are training together to seize Pakistan's nuclear weapons in the event that military ruler Pervez Musharraf is ousted by Islamic hardliners. Hersh says Israel's elite Unit 262 came to the US soon after the Sept. 11 attacks and is preparing for the emergency heist with US Special Forces in case pro-Taliban fundamentalists in Pakistan's military stage a coup. But the precise locations of all the two dozen warheads is not known. Experts believe the weapons are scattered in a disassembled form, ready to be put together for delivery on short notice.
On Oct. 30, the Times of India reported that Pakistan turned three retired nuclear scientists accused of links with Osama bin Laden over to US authorities. Among those turned over was Sultan Bashiruddin Mehmood, once a leader in the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC). The paper claimed Mehmood and two fellow high-level PAEC veterans were handed over to a joint FBI-CIA team.
Mehmood was arrested Oct. 25, released the next day after being "cleared"--only to be re-arrested on the 28th, telling his family if they didn't hear from him in a few days to assume he is dead. Mehmood, who resigned from the PAEC in protest when Pakistan's government considered signing the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, later founded an aid group called Ummah Reconstruction to work in Afghanistan. US intelligence alleges the group is attempting to develop nuclear capability for al-Qaeda.
In a front-page story in the Nov. 1 New York Times, a spokesperson for President Musharraf called the allegations that Mehmood and his colleagues had been handed over to US intelligence "absolutely baseless and incorrect."
WHO IS OSAMA BIN LADEN?
1. OSAMA: I DIDN'T DO IT!
The BBC Monitoring Service noted Sept. 29 an interview with Osama bin Laden in the Pakistan's Ummat newspaper in which the accused terrorist mastermind denies having anything to do with the 9-11 attacks. Said the global scourge: "In the name of Allah, the most beneficent, the most merciful... I have already said that I am not involved in the 11 September attacks in the United States. As a Muslim, I try my best to avoid telling a lie. I had no knowledge of these attacks, nor do I consider the killing of innocent women, children, and other humans as an appreciable act. Islam strictly forbids causing harm to innocent women, children, and other people. Such a practice is forbidden ever in the course of a battle. It is the United States, which is perpetrating every maltreatment on women, children, and common people of other faiths, particularly the followers of Islam." He suggested that US or Israeli agents were behind the attacks, and called on Pakistan's people to join his jihad against the West.
2. OSAMA & THE CIA
Two months before Sept. 11, Osama bin Laden flew to Dubai for 10 days for treatment at the American hospital, where he was visited by the local CIA agent, says an Oct. 31 report the French newspaper Le Figaro, citing French intelligence sources.
Bin Laden is reported to have arrived in Dubai on July 4 from Quetta, Pakistan, with his personal doctor, nurse and four bodyguards, to be treated in the urology department. While there he was visited by several members of his wealthy family, top Saudi personalities, and the CIA. One Saudi visitor was Prince Turki al Faisal, then head of Saudi intelligence, who has since been maneuvered into resigning for his purported links with bin Laden and the Taliban. The report, which was picked up by Radio France International, said the CIA agent was called back to Washington after the meeting. The US denied the agent met with bin Laden, and the American hospital in Dubai denied that bin Laden was a patient there.
3. OSAMA & ISI
The Times of India reported Oct. 12 that the resignation of Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed as chief of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) two days earlier was sparked by "evidence" procured by India's intelligence services linking him to the 9-11 attacks. The paper claimed "US authorities sought his removal after confirming the fact that $100,000 were wired to WTC hijacker Mohammed Atta" on Gen Mahoomd's orders.
The New York Times reported Oct. 29 that "Ameican officials" say ISI cooperated with al-Qaeda on covert operations, using al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan to train Islamic separatist militants in Kashmir, the province contested by Pakistan and rival India. The story also emphasized instances of US-ISI cooperation--particularly in the 1980s, when the CIA mounted the "largest covert action program in its history" to aid Afghanistan's anti-Soviet Mujahedeen rebels. ISI served as a local funnel for CIA money to the Mujahedeen. Since then, ISI aided in the 1995 arrest in Pakistan of Ramzi Yousef, now convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing which left six dead, and the 1997 arrest of Mir Aimal Kansi, who killed two CIA employees in a shooting spree outside the agency's Langley, VA, headquarters in 1993.
4. OSAMA & McVEIGH
Noting claims in the last US News & World Report that Pentagon officials suspect Timothy McVeigh acted as an Iraqi agent in the Oklahoma City bombing, James Ridgeway wrote in the Village Voice Nov. 6: "That might seem a far-fetched idea, but federal agents initially put out a global dragnet, thinking the terrorists might have been Middle Eastern. Later, in preparation for McVeigh's trial, defense attorney Stephen Jones traveled around the world, stopping off in London, Tel Aviv, Belfast, and Manila. In the Philippines, Jones found people who told him [Oklahoma City co-defendant] Terry Nichols had met there with Middle Eastern terrorists, including Ramzi Yousef (the kingpin of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing) and, possibly, Osama bin Laden himself... McVeigh ridiculed the idea of Nichols' involvement in the Philippines, but Jones reports that his client later admitted it was possible. What makes these theories even more bizarre is that the leaders seem to have crossed paths and exchanged notes. At one moment, they all came together in one wing of a federal prison in Colorado. There, McVeigh, Yousef, and the Unabomber met and became buds."
5. IS OSAMA DEAD?
On Oct. 24, a Chinese Internet news site, Zhongxin Wang (www.chinanews.com.cn), ran a piece describing the purported assassination of Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar by members of their retinue at an underground base near Kandahar Oct. 16, both shot twice in the back. One of bin Laden's sons and two of Omar's were also killed. The story was picked up that day by Tokyo's Yomiuru Shimbun, the largest daily newspaper in Japan.
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